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

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THE GODDESS GETS HER GUY by Ashlyn Chase

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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Excerpt

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

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Buy Links

KindlePaperback

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Giveaway

3 Copies of THE GODDESS GETS HER GUY by Ashlyn Chase

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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About the Author

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

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

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

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

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

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

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

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Excerpt

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

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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

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Giveaway

5 Copies of The Cowboy’s Honor

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: COWBOY FIREFIGHTER CHRISTMAS KISS by Kim Redford

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COWBOY FIREFIGHTER CHRISTMAS KISS (Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, Book 5) by Kim Redford

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

A12FC05E-9AA5-4537-ABED-00599D763CBBThe firefighting cowboys of Wildcat Bluffs take Christmas VERY seriously…

When Ivy Bryant arrives in town to run the historic honkytonk, she finds herself immersed in traditions that can’t be bucked. Luckily, cowboy firefighter Slade Steele has an idea to increase both the honkytonk’s income, and his own. It’s an offer Ivy couldn’t refuse, even if the passion between them wasn’t already reaching the boiling point.

Ivy and Slade’s love story is legendary—when you add in arsonist cattle rustlers, a runaway Angus bull, and a chili recipe that includes liquor AND chocolate, Wildcat Bluffs will be celebrating a cowboy Christmas unlike any other.

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Excerpt

As Ivy Bryant stood on her tiptoes with arms raised to toss decorative tinsel over deer antlers on the wall above her head, she heard the side door that led to the Wildcat Hall’s beer garden open and boots hit the floor with a determined stride.
“We’re closed!” she hollered, not bothering to look over her shoulder. “Come back next week.”
“You look like you could use a little help,” a man said.
She froze with her hands in the air as she felt the deep male voice with that melodic, slow cadence of a born-and-bred Texan strike her body and go deep, as if she’d been pierced by a flaming arrow. Talk about red-hot. She tried to shrug off the heat, but the chair shifted under her, making her sway.
“Easy does it,” he said. “Chairs have a way of pretending they’re bulls sometimes.”
“Bulls?” She didn’t know whether to laugh at the joke or appreciate he’d tried to make her feel better about almost toppling to the floor. Still and all, if she’d known she was going to have company, she’d have put on something besides formfitting yoga pants and top in hot pink with black trim. He was getting an eyeful.
“In my case, I always tried to pretend bulls were chairs.”
“How’d that work out?” She eyed the antlers, mind half on her next throw and half on the amusing man behind her.
“About like you can imagine.” He sighed, as if life had been unfair. “I finally had to give up bulls for chairs.”
“I bet the bulls were grateful.” She definitely wanted to see the face that went with the voice, but she wanted to finish her task more.
“Yeah…but I’ve broken a few chairs.”
“Maybe even one of the chairs here in the honkytonk.”
“Might be. Looks like your chair is keeping an uneasy peace with the floor
“That’s one way of putting it.” She rose to her tiptoes again, trying one last time to get the tinsel to disobey the laws of gravity.
“Let me help.” He spanned her waist with large hands and lifted her so she could easily reach the antlers.
She caught her breath in surprise at his strength—and his boldness. But she wasn’t looking a gift horse in the mouth. She quickly twined the antlers with red tinsel until they looked festive for the holidays.
“Pretty,” he said.
She shivered in response. What had gotten into her? She should be struggling to get away. Instead, he was revving her up with his hot hands.
“Got any more tinsel to put up?” he asked in a deep voice gone husky. “I could hold you all day and into next week.”
“I suggest you put me down before you get into trouble.”
“If you’re the one handing out trouble, I’d wait in line to get it.”
She couldn’t help but chuckle because he was laying it on thick in that teasing way Texas men would do to get them out of problems with women. “Better put me down before your arms give out.”
“Not a chance. You’re light as a feather.”
She laughed harder. “Guess some women would fall for that one. What are you selling?”
“As a matter of fact, I’m here to help you, but you might consider it selling to you, too.” He gently set her down so her feet were steady on the floor, and then he stepped back.
She turned to face him—and felt her breath catch in her throat at the tall hunk of a cowboy. He wore pressed Wranglers that accentuated his long legs and narrow hips, with a wide leather belt sporting a huge rodeo belt buckle. His blue-and-white-striped, pearl-snap shirt tucked neatly into the waistband of his jeans emphasized the width of his shoulders and breadth of his chest. Blond haired. Blue eyed. Square jawed. Full lipped. He looked as if he’d been made to dazzle—and she was suddenly and breathtakingly susceptible to every single one of his charms.
“Whatever you’re selling, I think I’m buying.” She spoke the words with a teasing lilt in her voice and a mischievous smile on her face. Still, she meant it. And he probably knew it because he was definitely heartbreaker material. How many women had already fallen to his charms and been left in the dust? She didn’t intend to be a notch on his belt, but if she’d known leaving the city for the country paid off so well in eye candy, she might’ve followed her sister sooner.
He chuckled at her words and held out his hand with a thick, muscular wrist that came from controlling thousand-pound-plus animals. “Slade Steele. If you haven’t heard of me, maybe you’re aware of the Chuckwagon Café and Steele Trap Ranch. Family businesses. I’m not just any guy off the street.”
“You’re definitely not just any guy.” She slipped her hand into his big one and felt him gently enclose her fingers. “Smart guy to throw a few compliments my way. Guess you’re more than a pretty face.” She tried to keep the teasing going, so their interaction stayed on a light note, but he was still holding her hand and she wasn’t pulling away and his eyes were heating up to a blazing blue fire.
“Nothing but the truth.”
“My sister Fern is the star.” She tried to tug her hand away, but he held on another long moment, nodding as if deciding something or conveying something or accepting something before finally letting go.
He grinned with a gleam in his eyes, revealing teeth white against the tan of his skin. “Yeah, she is that…but you make the earth move.”
“Oh my.” She returned his grin while fanning her face with one hand in that old Southern way, as if he was too hot to handle. “You really do want to sell me something, don’t you?”
“How am I doing?”
“Not bad.”

Excerpted from Cowboy Firefighter Christmas Kiss by Kim Redford. © 2019 by Kim Redford. 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 Hot for a Cowboy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

KIM REDFORD is an acclaimed author of Western romance. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at kimredford.com.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: ONE DARK WISH (Deadly Force) by Sharon Wray

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ONE DARK WISH (Deadly Force Series, Book 2) by Sharon Wray

Publication Date: September 24, 2019 

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

2885ECBD-6FB2-4E0B-B61F-A38D3742AE66Her life must be forfeit for his to be redeemed

Historian Sarah Munro is not used to being shot at, but that’s just what happens while she’s poking around cemeteries on Georgia’s Isle of Grace, searching for the key to a centuries-old cipher. Her quest has unwittingly drawn the attention of two deadly enemies intent on destroying each other—and anyone who gets in their way.

Ex–Green Beret Major Nate Walker is on a mission of his own: to restore the honor of his men. To do that, he is required to stop Sarah—or one of his own men will die. Caught in the middle of a deadly rivalry, Nate can’t afford to trust the woman standing in his way. But his heart says he can’t afford not to…

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE 

“The man bowed.” Sarah Munro hiked her straw bag higher on her shoulder and followed the officer down the Savannah Police Department’s hallway. He held a cell phone to his ear, and she yanked his arm. “And a woman died tonight.” 

He nodded, but his deep frown, as well as his dismissive wave, told her he wasn’t too concerned about the murder. Or the fact that Sarah had found the body in the Savannah Preservation Office’s courtyard fountain. 

Was a death in the historic district so commonplace that it didn’t warrant its own investigator? Frustrated, she followed him around the corner toward the second-floor landing when her cell phone buzzed. A text from her father. Where are you? 

She halted near the stairs, her fingers hovering over the phone’s keyboard. She debated how much to tell him. Then again, he probably already knew. 

She texted, I’ll be home soon. 

Someone bumped her as they passed, and she moved closer to the vending machine that carried only rows of Coke cans. Her officer stood nearby, talking on the phone, while federal, state, and local LEOs congregated in groups around the open area. Her father had told her that the city had numerous task forces, all trying to combat the rising crime rate. She and her dad had returned to Savannah nine months ago, and in that short time, they’d both noticed the uptick in drug use and violence. 

It’s dark. I’ll come get you, her father texted back. 

No. Not only did she not want her father worrying about her, he wasn’t supposed to drive. I’m leaving soon. Drink your tea. 

I hate that tea. It tastes like sh*t. 

Despite the ache in her chest, she smiled. Yes, he hated the tea. Yet it was the only thing that helped with his recurring seizures. And if he thought that being even more cranky than usual meant she’d ease up on the herbal leaves, he was wrong. I don’t care. Drink it. 

She glanced at her officer—who was still on his phone—and debated leaving. If the cops wanted her statement, they knew where she worked. The same place where a woman had been murdered. “I’m leaving, Officer. But I know what I saw.” 

He ignored her, and she turned toward the stairs. 

“Sarah?” A male voice cut through the station’s din, ringing phones, and metal chairs scraping along seventy-year-old linoleum. 

She blinked one man into focus. Tall, broad shoulders, long blond hair tied at the base of his neck, angular face, and deep, ocean-green eyes. The kind a girl could lose herself in. “Nate?” 

Was that her breathy voice? She swallowed, and a warm flush rose from her neck to her cheeks. She wasn’t sure why, but since meeting Nate Walker yesterday, she’d felt shaky and incoherent and…restless. 

Does he know what I did to his map? 

“I heard what happened.” He touched her arm before shoving both hands in the front pockets of his jeans. His biker jacket stretched across his shoulders, the black leather rustling with the movement. “Are you okay?” 

“I wasn’t hurt.” She stared at the red-and-white vending machine and blinked. Daughters of cops didn’t cry. They endured. “This is my fault, Nate. I’d asked my assistant to do some research for me. I had no idea she was staying late.” 

“This isn’t your fault.” He leaned in closer, the scar on his cheek appearing deeper and more ragged. His pine-scented aftershave tickled her nose. “I’m sorry.” 

She wiped her palms on her chiffon skirt, relieved he didn’t seem to realize she’d secretly photographed the seventeenth-century map he’d brought to the preservation office for her to look at. The map included the only layout she’d ever seen of the remote, colonial-era Cemetery of Lost Children on the Isle of Grace. Even though the property’s owner—and Nate himself—had both told her to stay away, she was determined to visit as soon as possible. 

She was a terrible person. “My dad was a police chief in Boston, so unfortunately I’m used to things like this. I’d just hoped Savannah was safer.” 

“Nate?” A man built like a wrestler with long, black, braided hair yelled from the lobby on the first floor. “We gotta go, man.” 

Nate ignored him and kept his attention on her mouth. “I couldn’t help but overhear. What did you see?” 

She licked her lips. “You’d never believe me.” She wasn’t sure she believed it herself. Loud voices downstairs distracted her. Two military policemen in full uniform and carrying weapons had entered the station. “That’s odd. What do you think they want?” 

Nate took her hand and led her into a nearby alcove. “What did you see?” 

She pressed her hands against his chest. His heart pounded, and he radiated heat like an engine revving. “What are you doing?” 

“Nate?” The man with the braid ran up the stairs. “Time to go. Now.” 

“Please, Sarah. Tell me. 

The MPs were right behind Nate’s buddy. 

“In the shadows, I saw a man bow.” 

She heard Nate’s sharp inhale right before he kissed her, his gentle hands on her shoulders at odds with his demanding lips. His warmth wrapped her in an erotic haze and he tasted like mint and summer breezes. 

Had she moaned? Good golly Moses. 

“Excuse me, ma’am.” 

Nate broke off the kiss because the man with the braid had taken his arm and dragged him down the hallway to the emergency exit, the MPs on their heels. Chills scurried along her arms, and she wrapped her sweater around herself. She touched her swollen lips, still stunned. Still tasting his peppermint mouthwash. Still inhaling his scent that reminded her of freshly cut grass and pine trees. 

Nate glanced at her before he hit the metal exit and disappeared. The door slammed shut with a loud reverb. Apparently, he’d locked it as well. When the MPs couldn’t force it open, they turned and ran past her, one of them brushing her skirt as they headed toward the stairs. 

What do MPs want with Nate Walker? 

“Miss Munro?” The officer who’d been ignoring her touched her elbow. “I’m ready for your statement.” 

She pulled away, her attention on the MPs racing out the front doors. She was a woman who sought the truth in both her professional and personal life. But tonight’s revelation was more than a cheap magazine tell-all. It was an earth-shattering event that stripped away the delusions she’d been carrying her entire adult life. One delusion in particular: when Nate’s lips had touched hers, she discovered she’d never truly understood what it meant to be kissed. 

“Ma’am?” 

She nodded. She’d give her statement. Then go home to her father. But as she followed the officer into an interrogation room, she couldn’t help but wonder if she’d ever see Nate again. No. If she was being honest with herself, which she always tried to be, she wondered if she’d ever kiss Nate again. 

Excerpted from One Dark Wish by Sharon Wray. © 2019 by Sharon Wray. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

5 Copies of EVERY DEEP DESIRE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Version 3Sharon Wray is a librarian/archivist who studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes stories of adventure, suspense, and love. She’s a three-time Daphne du Maurier® winner and an eight-time RWA Golden Heart® Finalist. She lives with her super-hero husband and teenage twins in Northern Virginia.

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: CLAIMING SARAH by Susan Stoker

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CLAIMING SARAH (Ace Security Series, Book 5) by Susan Stoker

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author Guest Post

Opposites Attract: When Cole Claims Sarah

In Claiming Sarah, Cole Johnson is co-owner of one of his town’s most popular gyms. He’s extremely busy since his partner, Felicity, is out of town. He makes an appointment to meet with Sarah Butler, to arrange for some self defense training for her, but he almost loses his chance when she overhears him telling his secretary he’s too busy and to give her an excuse as to why he can’t meet her. The couple (obviously) works out that awkward first meeting and Sarah begins learning how to defend herself from a creepy man who keeps giving her inappropriate presents. Of course the more time Cole spends with Sarah, the more he likes her and they end up dating. When she disappears it’s up to Cole, and Ace Security, to put together the clues to find her before it’s too late.

Cole Johnson is a man who’s used to plowing through his day and when he needs or wants something, he simply gets it. Sarah Butler is more reserved. As a kid who didn’t feel wanted until she was finally adopted she was used to being in the background. Cole and Sarah compliment each other perfectly. Cole is able to ferret out what Sarah wants and needs and he delivers. And in return Sarah keeps Cole grounded. She smooths out his jagged edges.

I think that’s how good relationships work, at least in my books. The Hero is there to protect and shield his woman from anyone or anything that might want to hurt her, and she’s there to keep him grounded and to support him. It seems to just work.

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Synopsis

45FDF5E8-370B-4770-A58E-8B11BCE56280Sarah Butler isn’t flattered. She’s angry and unnerved. She’s been getting intimate gifts from a man she barely knows. Nothing threatening yet, but there’s just a weird vibe she can’t ignore. Her recourse is Ace Security. Their solution: self-defense lessons at Rock Hard Gym with a personal, hands-on instructor. One look at the bearded, tattooed, green-eyed alpha is enough to take Sarah’s breath away.

Cole Johnson is definitely the man for the job. He’s eager to train her. Eager to get closer. And when it comes to Sarah’s instincts, Cole knows she’s not imagining things. He’s also not imagining the intense attraction between them—and his desire to protect her is growing. But so are Sarah’s fears, the worst of which come true when she disappears.

Enlisting the help of Ace Security, Cole will stop at nothing to find the love of his life . . . before she vanishes forever.

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Donna 4 stars

 

I enjoyed this installment in the Ace Security series, though not as much as the others. Sarah was a little too self-depreciating for me…needing assurances all the time. It didn’t really match her upbringing for me. That being said…she was sweet, caring, and a perfect match for Cole. The antagonist in this story had a nice twist as well. A bit different than the usual fare, so adding a nice dimension to show Sarah’s caring nature. They had a nice spicy romance that developed rather quickly into love. It was a quick read that I could not put down and made me anxious for the next installment.

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

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Excerpt

“Do you ask out every woman you train at your gym? It just seems . . . fast.”

Cole stared at her for a long moment, and when he frowned, Sarah felt as if she’d somehow disappointed him.

“No, I don’t ask out every woman I train. Not even close. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked anyone out. And believe me, Sarah, I’m looking at you—and I like what I see. A lot. You’ve got an air of innocence about you that I find fascinating. You’ve had a tough life, but haven’t let it harden you. I respect you, and I . . . I’d like to get to know you better.”

She bit her lip and took a deep breath, but didn’t immediately protest, so he went on. “I have a feeling simply being around you will make me a better person.”

Sarah shook her head. “Don’t do that. Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m not some paragon walking around sprinkling glitter throughout the world.”

Cole laughed. Threw his head back and laughed as if she’d said the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

Sarah tugged on her hand again, somewhat offended, but he still refused to let go.

When he got himself under control, he said, “I know you’re not perfect. You’re too trusting. You see the good in everyone, even when there isn’t any there. You probably neglect your own health in order to do something good for someone else.”

“You make me sound like an idiot,” Sarah grumbled, despite being secretly kind of flattered.

“You’re not an idiot. You’re refreshing. And I’m not. I’ve got more than my share of flaws that I’m sure you’ll discover sooner rather than later. But as I said, if you let me get to know you, go out on a few dates with me, I’m hoping you’ll find that you like me back . . . just a little.”

Sarah frowned. “I already like you, Cole, but I don’t understand you. You don’t know anything about me. I could totally be lying to you right now, and you just bought my lies hook, line, and sinker.”

He smiled again. “You’re not lying.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m an expert at reading body language. I’ve been around some bad people in my life, angel. You are who you say you are. What you see is what you get.”

Sarah licked her lips nervously, and his gaze immediately followed the movement.

Cole persisted. “Say you’ll go out with me, Sarah.”

“I thought I was here to figure out how to defend myself.”

“You are. And we’ll get to that. Agreeing to go out with me in no way affects whether or not I’ll teach you some basic moves that will allow you to get away from someone and get to safety.”

“But if I say no, things could get weird.”

“Then say yes,” Cole cajoled. “I swear you’ve got nothing to fear from me. I’ll even get references if that will make you feel safer.”

“It’s not that. I think I feel safer with you than anyone I’ve ever been around . . .” She
hesitated.

“But?”

“I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’ll decide I’m annoying. Too much work or something. I work odd hours, weird shifts. And I looked you up online. I know about your friend and what happened to her. And about the Andersons. The last thing I want is my stalker getting upset when he sees us together—because he will—and taking out any anger on you and your friends.”

“Breathe, angel. Take a breath. Nothing is going to happen to them.”

“You can’t control people, Cole,” Sarah pressed. “They’re unpredictable.”

“Fine. Then we’ll meet with Logan, Blake, Nathan, and Ryder, and make sure they know everything about this Owen guy. We’ll let them investigate and figure out what will make him back off. In the meantime, we’ll hang out at my place. Or here. Or your house. We won’t shove our relationship down Owen’s throat. We’ll be discreet. How’s that sound?”

Sarah could only gape at him. “How’d we go from me wanting some tips on protecting myself to having Ace Security investigating Owen and you and me hanging out at each other’s houses?”

He smiled at her again, but didn’t answer her question.

She took a deep breath and gave him the only answer she could. “Okay.”

He beamed. “Okay,” he said quietly. Then he finally let go of her hand and stood, before immediately reaching the same hand down to her again. “Time for your first lesson.”

Automatically, she reached up and let him help her off the floor. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. A kiss to seal the deal. A hug. A discussion about when and where their first date would be. But so far, Cole hadn’t done anything the way she expected him to.

“First lesson for today will be how to get a guy to let go of your hand if he’s been holding on too long and you’re uncomfortable.”

Sarah knew he was referring to her feeble attempts to pull her hand out of his, and blushed. But he was right, this was something she should know. It would come in handy at the hospital too, just in case one of the patients or family members got a little too familiar, as they’d done in the past.

Concentrating on his instruction, she did her best to put her nerves about dating Cole behind her.

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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 CLAIMING SARAH

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.

Blog Tour & Review: QUIET MAN: A Dream Man Novella by Kristen Ashley

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QUIET MAN: A Dream Man Novella by Kristen Ashley

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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6A52F103-D0D4-48E1-96E2-72C9D9667338From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley comes a new story in her Dream Man series…

Charlotte “Lottie” McAlister is in the zone. She’s ready to take on the next chapter of her life, and since she doesn’t have a man, she’ll do what she’s done all along. She’ll take care of business on her own. Even if that business means starting a family.

The problem is, Lottie has a stalker. The really bad kind. The kind that means she needs a bodyguard.

Enter Mo Morrison.

Enormous. Scary.

Quiet.

Mo doesn’t say much, and Lottie’s used to getting attention. And she wants Mo’s attention. Badly.

But Mo has a strict rule. If he’s guarding your body, that’s all he’s doing with it.

However, the longer Mo has to keep Lottie safe, the faster he falls for the beautiful blonde who has it so together, she might even be able to tackle the demons he’s got in his head that just won’t die.

But in the end, Lottie and Mo don’t only have to find some way to keep hands off until the threat is over, they have to negotiate the overprotective Hot Bunch, Lottie’s crazy stepdad, Tex, Mo’s crew of frat-boy commandos, not to mention his nutty sisters.

All before Lottie finally gets her Dream Man.

And Mo can lay claim to his Dream Girl.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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Trailer

➣ Watch the book trailer: http://bit.ly/2YZZ70T

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Cori 5 StarsThis book gave me all the feels! I loved QUIET MAN! This novella is part of the Dream Man series, but Lottie is really part of the Rock Chick group and Mo is one of Hawk’s Commandos. JHawk’s book is the first book in the Dream Man series so it’s kind of of a blend of both series. I loved every minute of Lottie and Mo’s story. It had all that Kristen Ashley story magic! Emotion, excitement, fun and smoking hot romance. I highly recommend this series for romance lovers. Kristen Ashley is one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait for the new spin-off series, the Dream Series, releasing next year featuring more hot commandos!

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

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Crumpled pink linen on bed

Buy Links

KindlePaperback

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PRE-ORDER SPIN-OFF:
✦DREAM MAKER (The Dream Series Book 1) by Kristen Ashley (Releasing 05/26/20) ➢ Kindle $6.99 https://amzn.to/2RCzVYp
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✦DREAM MAN SERIES BY KRISTEN ASHLEY✦
✦Mystery Man ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1fy7t2y
✦Wild Man ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/15tikVs
✦Law Man ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/18fhoWh
✦Motorcycle Man ➢ Kindle http://amzn.to/1G5yibS
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✦ROCK CHICK SERIES BY KRISTEN ASHLEY✦
► Amazon Series Link: http://amzn.to/1SPur4w
✦ 1 ~ Rock Chick ➢ KINDLE http://amzn.to/1aiEqxy
✦ 2 ~ Rock Chick Rescue ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/13KMqjM
✦ 3 ~ Rock Chick Redemption ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/1cYoguq
✦ 4 ~ Rock Chick Renegade ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/17WYlfn
✦ 5 ~ Rock Chick Revenge ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/12hasoI
✦ 6 ~ Rock Chick Reckoning ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/16Awq9M
✦ 7 ~ Rock Chick Regret ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/1aiF5PB
✦ 8 ~ Rock Chick Revolution ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/13xkYuU
✦ Prequel Novella ~ Rock Chick Reawakening ➢ KINDLE: http://amzn.to/28LIgnL
✦ 9 ~ Rock Chick Reborn ➢ KINDLE: https://amzn.to/2TTThcE

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 Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn’t taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen’s Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she’s blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Blog Tour, Review & Excerpt: BETWEEN YOU & ME by Kimberly Kincaid

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BETTER THAN ME (Remington Medical Series Book 3) by Kimberly Kincaid

Publication Date: August 13, 2019 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

BD940BDD-601B-4E73-AA91-4971DFFE085AHe hates the corporate world.
She’s all business.

Now they have to work together
on the one job that could
make or break them both…

Connor became a flight medic
for one reason, and
one reason only.
To help people.
If he can keep his head down
and his past in the past while he’s at it?
Even better.

Until Harlow appears to upend his world
with an offer he can’t refuse.

She’s calculating. Composed.
Scalpel-sharp.

And she’ll stop at nothing to make
her father’s business successful.

Even if that means teaming up with Connor
to turn around a failing clinic.

He shouldn’t like her.
He definitely shouldn’t want her.
But the more they work together
the less he’s able to resist.

But Connor’s secrets run deep.
Will Harlow’s ambition ruin him,
or will she be his salvation?

From USA Today best-seller Kimberly Kincaid comes an enemies-to-lovers story full of emotion and heat. This full-length romance features a muscle-bound veteran flight medic and a smart, tart female CEO finding happily ever after…the hard way.

Previous books in the series (books one and two stand alone, but book 3 contains some series spoilers, so all are best read in order!)

Book 1: BACK TO YOU ➢ https://amzn.to/2Gkw0N8
Book 2: BETTER THAN ME ➢ https://amzn.to/2D6zFdV

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Donna 5 Stars

I was wondering when Conner would get his book, I had so many questions about him and wanted to know his story. I was not disappointed! He made my heart pang one minute, then swoon the next. I could not imagine how prickly Harlow would ever be good enough for him and was prepared to dislike her from page one. Sometimes a “enemies to lovers” premise frustrates me on the attraction aspect. Thank heavens that didn’t happen. Ms. Kincaid gave Harlow enough depth to illustrate how and why Conner would fall for her beyond just lust. They fulfilled each other in such a way that I am still smiling. Their romance built beautifully to a steamy climax, never hindering the flow of the story. Then you add in all the other characters at Remington Medical, and you have a feel-good romance that I couldn’t put down.

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

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Excerpt

Christ, her need was pouring off her in waves, each one of them slamming into his chest. Without breaking the connection of their mouths, Harlow reached down, yanking his shirt up just far enough to close her fingers around the waistband of his scrubs.

It took everything he had—and he really meant everything—to capture her fingers with his own and bring them to stillness. “Wait,” he said against her lips.

“No.” She grasped the hem of her sweater, yanking the heavy material up and over her head. The move made her hair wild around her face, but not enough to cover the emotion there.

“Yes.”

Harlow froze, her eyes glinting in the low light. “Connor, I want—”

“I know what you want, sweetheart. But I want something, too.”

Her brows gathered in question, and he cupped her face to answer.

“Let me in, Harlow.” He tipped her chin back, kissing the juncture where her jaw came together by her ear. “If all you want to do tonight is feel, then let me make you feel perfect. Slow down and let me make you feel everything.”

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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REMINGTON MEDICAL SERIES BY KIMBERLY KINCAID
Book 1: BACK TO YOU ➢ Review 4.5 Stars | Kindle
Book 2: BETTER THAN ME ➢ Review 5 Stars | Kindle
Book 3: BETWEEN ME & YOU ➢ Kindle

 

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About the Author

159C05B3-1F2F-4229-AF40-6FF3D6E9F51FKimberly 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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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE WALLFLOWER WAGER by Tessa Dare

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THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: Girl Meets Duke Series Book 3 by Tessa Dare

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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89E87107-6DB1-491D-8938-A02923A1F82AThey call him the Duke of Ruin. To an undaunted wallflower, he’s just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

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Excerpt

She circled back, standing before him. “There now. Better?”

He gave a reluctant nod.

“Can you move your arm in all directions?”

He rolled his shoulder to prove it. “Yes.”

“What about your grip?

“My grip is strong.”

“Perhaps I should wrap the arm in a sling.”

“I do not need a sling.”

“Wait here. I’ll dash upstairs to fetch some linen and—”

“For the love of God, woman. My shoulder is fine.” He took her by the waist and lifted her straight off the floor, until they were eye to eye. “There. Believe me now?”

She nodded, wide-eyed.

“Good.”

In his hands, she was delicate, breakable. Her hair was a golden treasure he should never, ever touch. And oh, how he hungered for those soft, pink lips.

The familiar voice echoed in his ears.

Don’t touch, boy. She’s not for the likes of you.

Put. Her. Down.

But before Gabe could lower those beribboned pink slippers to the floor, she captured his sooty, sweaty face in her hands—

And kissed him on the lips.

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Cori 4 Stars

This book was so much fun! I loved all the rescue animals Penny had. Penny and Gabriel’s story had all the hot romance, the emotion and the fun the animals brought to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. THE WALLFLOWER WAGER is the third book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke Series and each book can be read as a stand-alone, I recommend this series for romance lovers looking for a historical romance series with some laughs, great characters and feel good love stories.

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

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Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: Girl Meets Duke by Tessa Dare

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (8/26) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by Avon.

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5EF0B3E0-E85F-4191-A769-504BD0D64088Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

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

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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

The Lady’s Plan

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

The Bastard’s Proposal

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

An Unexpected Passion

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

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Excerpt

Chapter One

September 1837
Mayfair

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

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Cori 5 Stars

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

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

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Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of BRAZEN AND THE BEAST by Sarah MacLean

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

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

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

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

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Genre: Western/ Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Buy Links

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Giveaway

5 Copies of Fearless in Texas

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About the Author

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

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