Review, Q&A & Giveaway: JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March

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JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

86C83BDF-B847-4BC9-A4EE-91E0A5391DF6From New York Times bestselling author Emily March comes Jackson, the newest novel in the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series.

Sometimes it takes a new beginning

Caroline Carruthers thinks she buried her dreams along with the love of her life…until a stranger named Celeste dares her to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.

to reach a happily-ever-after

Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love—he even has the old song lyrics to prove it—but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true…and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I loved this spin-off from the Eternity Springs Series, it was the perfect segue and kept me wanting more. If you’ve read the Eternity Springs books, you know that Celeste is like an earth-bound-fairy-godmother. She wove her magic and put two hurting souls together so they could lean on each other in writing the next chapters of their lives. Jackson and Caroline were likeable from the start, making my heart smile as they moved from strangers, to friends, to lovers. Their friends and family brought banter to a fun level, making me want to move into town and shove my way in. No danger, no hot and heavy sex….just a sweet love story that still has me smiling.

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

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Excerpt

Read Excerpt Here

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1. You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Jackson and the rest of the books in the Eternity Springs world?

The saying “Write what you know” says it all in my case. I’m a small-town girl and my family and friendships are center to my world. I write about love and family and friendships. I have roots in both the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Hill Country, so it was natural for me to set Eternity Springs and Redemption there. The idea for JACKSON grew out of my interest in the music currently being written and performed in Texas. I’ve always thought singer/songwriters are romantic figures so I was excited to create a hero with this background. Unfortunately, I’m not a musician and I’m definitely not a singer, but I am creative so it was fun for me to explore that aspect of a character.

2. Introduce us to your main character!

Okay. Well, Americana singer/songwriter Jackson McBride is a bit damaged when the book begins. His famous, talented and wealthy ex has won a custody battle that severely limits his access to his six-year-old daughter, so Jackson goes home to the Texas Hill Country to nurse his broken heart. He finds solace in Enchanted Canyon hiking the trails with the dog he rescues and working to bring a historic dance hall back to life. The last thing he expects is to find love again with a woman whose heart is as battered as his own.

3. Walk us through a day in the life of Emily March.

Ready to be bored? Now that my daughter’s and niece’s weddings are behind me—they consumed me for months—I’m boring and happy about it. I split my time between Fort Worth where we have a condo downtown in a 1930’s passenger train station and our lake house in the Texas Hill Country. I recently gave up my office in town because I’m spending more and more time at the lake. My husband also offices out of our condo, so on days when we are both working in town, I’ve started riding the new TexRail train that runs from our building to DFW airport. It’s quiet and comfortable and I don’t have Internet to distract me. And at $5 a day, it’s much cheaper than office rent. 🙂 When I’m at the lake I’m either working or doing yard work. My new favorite toy is my power washer.

4. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

I’ve always thought that one of the most important things you can do for your writing is to read. And read. And read some more. Read across genres. You absorb so much about pacing and plotting and character development when you read. Plus, you get to READ! 🙂

5. How is the Jackson trilogy different than your other series?

I don’t think it’s necessarily different from the rest of the Eternity Springs series. I write about love and family and friendship—that doesn’t change. Readers will still see old friends from Eternity Springs and a few scenes in JACKSON are set in Colorado. What’s new is we get to spend some time in the Texas Hill Country and meet a few new characters—Celeste’s cousin, Angelica, for example.

6. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’m a big fan of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series and I’m reading her latest right now, STORM CURSED.

7. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

My goals as a writer are to touch a reader’s heart, to entertain her and make her laugh, to maybe cry a little and sigh with satisfaction upon reaching the end. With JACKSON, I believe I’ve achieved those goals.

8. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Family. Family. Family. 🙂

9. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Walking out of the junior high school cafeteria in seventh grade, not realizing that my very short dress—it was the 70’s—had gotten hung up in my underwear and I inadvertently flashed my rear end to the entire cafeteria—including the tables where the football players sat. Thinking about it even today gives me the hives.

10. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in JACKSON?

I love the ending. Jackson is a songwriter who has lost his music and when he finds it again…the song he sings to Caroline…just makes me melt.

11. What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Call your mother.

12. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to read, so that is part of it, but my father was my primary inspiration. He was a fabulous storyteller. I grew up sitting at his feet and listening to him tell stories about his youth and his experiences in Europe during World War II. Listening to him tell his stories was my favorite thing to do. I didn’t inherit his talent for verbal storytelling, but I think I learned from him how to tell a good story on the page.

13. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

Like I mentioned before, I’m pretty boring. My perks and habits are always evolving. The train writing thing is new for me. I usually write on a laptop and edit on a desktop. I listen to movie soundtracks when I write and always finish a book with The Last of the Mohicans.

14. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author

I’m always a little surprised and honored that readers are excited to meet me. Like I said…I’m a boring person.

15. What is your favorite state to visit?

Colorado, of course, because I must keep returning to Eternity Springs. 🙂

16. What are hobbies or interests do you have?

We are lake people, so I love waterskiing and boating and fishing. As I write this we’ve just finished Memorial Day weekend at the lake, so I sort of feel like chief cook and sheet-and-towel washer, too. I love, love, love hosting big holiday gatherings of family and friends at the lake house, but I will admit I do tire of the mountain of laundry in the aftermath.

17. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

I’m writing Tucker’s story. Fun fact for this—as part of my research I attended a survivalist training school for a weekend. I searched long and hard to find one where I could return to town to spend the night in a comfy hotel rather than sleep on the ground—I’m only willing to go so far for my art. I did learn to start a friction fire, though, something I’me VERY proud of. 🙂

18. How can readers connect with you online?

My website is http://www.emilymarch.com. I’m active on Facebook. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/emilymarchbooks. You can also reach me by email at emily@emilymarch.com.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

Paperback Copy of JACKSON: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas by Emily March.

Enter on Facebook Post HERE

Winner will be selected Monday (7/1) by 6PM EST. Paperback provided by St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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About the Author

53D3159B-691A-4514-BFD5-CFC309929A4FEmily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE COWBOY MEETS HIS MATCH by Margaret Brownley

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THE COWBOY MEETS HIS MATCH (The Haywire Brides Series, Book 2) by Margaret Brownley

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis

D684EA04-1263-45F0-9095-51489D39511EHis first mistake was marrying her.

His second was falling in love.

Chase McKnight will do anything to secure his family’s ranch—but marriage to a complete stranger? That’s a hard pill to swallow. Yet the will is clear: Chase needs a wife by his side if he wants to keep his home, so he meets his veiled lady at the courthouse steps and reluctantly says “I do”.

Too bad he married the wrong bride.

When Boston runaway Emily Fields agreed to marry a Texas stranger to escape her family’s scandal, she wasn’t prepared to get hitched to the wrong cowboy! Stuck in a secret compromise, she has one year to learn the ways of the ranch and convince Chase’s family they’re happily married. But when the lie becomes true, the past catches up to them and they must save the love they never expected…

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Excerpt

Watching Emily stagger away like a drunken cowhand, Chase kicked himself mentally. Now he’d done it.
All he’d wanted to do was keep a safe distance from her emotionally. It was the only way he could keep from thinking things he had no business thinking. Things like how she’d looked in that blasted towel.
But he’d gone too far, and now it appeared he had pushed her away completely.
He hated thinking that he’d taken out the resentment toward his father on her. She wasn’t to blame for any of this and was as much a victim of circumstances as he was.
Feeling lower than low, he watched her cross the yard for a moment before chasing after her. She might not admit it, but it was clear by the way she limped that she was hurting.
Emily stopped when he caught up to her. “Now what?” she demanded, eyes flashing.
“I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
If she was surprised by his interest in her welfare, it didn’t show. “I’m fine!” she snapped. “No thanks to you.”
Yep, she was hurting all right. He could see the strain in her eyes. She also looked like she’d been through the wringer. She straightened her hat, but not much could be done for the abundance of yellow hair that had sprung free from its bun. The intriguing smudge on her cheek, however, called for a man’s touch. His touch.
When he reached a finger to her smooth, silky skin to rub the spot away, her startled blue eyes met his. “Sorry,” he said, pulling his hand away. “You had somethin’ on your face.”
Her hand flew to her cheek, and her already heated face turned another shade darker.
“It’s gone now,” he said.
Her mouth formed a perfect circle, and she lowered her hand to her side.
He felt bad for giving her a hard time. Lack of sleep had made him start the day out of sorts, and his encounter with Cassie Decker hadn’t helped. Poor woman. She had counted on their marriage for her children’s sakes.
His failure in keeping his promise to Cassie had made him more determined to do right by Emily. Or at least to see to her safety. He’d let one woman down; he sure in blazes didn’t want to fail another.
Horses were dangerous. The land was dangerous. But a part of him knew there was more. A lot more. As long as they were at each other’s throats, he could control his thoughts. Or at least keep from dwelling on such things as Emily’s gold-tipped eyelashes. Or the little indentation on her cheek when she smiled. Or even the way her eyes flashed during their many confrontations.
Looking away, he reminded himself how unsuited she was for ranch life. How unequipped she was to deal with the harsh land. She was much more suited to the city.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go a little easier with your lesson,” he said, hoping to make amends for his bad behavior.
She lifted her chin, her face dark with anger. “There won’t be any more lessons.”
“Come on,” he said gently. “You don’t mean that. Look at you. You’re fine.” More than fine…
“No thanks to you!”
Surprised by the vehemence in her voice, he stepped back “Me? What did I do?”
Her blazing blue eyes met his. “You put me through hell, that’s what!”
“By teachin’ you the proper handlin’ of a hoss?”
“By making me obey your every command like a helpless imbecile!”
He drew in his breath. He’d been rough on her, but he never meant to make her feel bad. “You have to admit your knowledge of hosses leaves much to be desired.” Taking her silence to mean she agreed, he added, “Tomorrow, same time, same place.”
She shot visual daggers at him. “If you expect to have your way with me a second time, you better think again.” With that, she stormed away.
Her words struck a chord that was better left untouched. Still, he couldn’t hold back the words that popped into his head. “Trust me,” he called after. “If I wanted to have my way with you, it wouldn’t be on a hoss!”

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Buy Links
Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

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

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

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Author Guest Post

A Mountain Mercenary’s Sneak Attack with Author Susan Stoker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Synopsis

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

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

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

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Donna review 4.5 stars

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

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

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Excerpt

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

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

“The Pit.”

“Where?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He looked at her in surprise. “What?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

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Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author

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

 

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: SPITFIRE IN LOVE by Isabelle Ronin

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SPITFIRE IN LOVE by Isabelle Ronin

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

E97F9993-78DD-404A-978C-C40B8B74F16BFrom the International Phenomenon with over 200 Million Reads on Wattpad

She’s never at a loss for words.

He’s determined to have the last one.

KARA

There he was with his piercing blue eyes and Lucifer black hair.

He was leaning against the wall, a lollipop in his mouth, hot as hell and twice as dangerous.

Kara Hawthorne never backs down, especially when it comes to protecting her family.

CAM

She looked so soft, harmless, like a pretty kitten, but she was as safe as a ticking time bomb.

My sweet, sweet Spitfire.

Cameron St. Laurent isn’t intimidated by the feisty woman at his doorstep. And when she asks him for the impossible, Cameron knows just how to sweeten the deal…

The two combustible personalities are faced with unavoidable off-the-charts chemistry. But when Cam’s dark past shows up, he’ll have to slay his demons and lay himself on the line to win Kara, body and soul.

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Excerpt

“Just…an experiment. You’re an experiment,” she stammered.

“An experiment?”

Slowly, I stepped toward her. Her eyes were wide, watching my every move. The pulse on her neck was pounding.

“You want me to be your experiment?”

She swallowed.

“What do you have in mind for me?” I whispered.

I placed my hand on the soft skin of her neck, gently stroked the side of it with my thumb. “I might say yes if you tell me.”

She closed her eyes, her muscles relaxing and her body swaying softly toward me. I wrapped an arm around her waist to support her.

“How about I make you a deal?” I continued. She smelled of peaches. Ripe, sweet peaches. “You said your brother doesn’t have insurance. See, you shouldn’t have told me that. Now I’ve got an ace.”

Her eyes flew open. She slammed her hands on my chest and pushed me away.

“Get off me!”

I stepped back. “You’re too honest for your own good.”

She scoffed. “Oh, believe me when I say that I’m not!”

“Maybe,” I allowed. “But in my book, you are.”

“What do you want?” she spat it out. Her stance was confrontational, her voice dripped with venom.

If she thought that would turn me away, she was mistaken. I wanted more of it.

I leaned against the counter, reached for the cup of coffee she’d made for me. “If I go to my insurance, my bike will be fixed.”

“But you’re going to have to cough up your deductible—”

“I can pay for my deductible easily. And I can take it to the mechanic who’s been servicing my motorcycle for years. Why should I go to a shop that I have no idea if they’ll do a good job or not?”

If looks could kill, I’d be decapitated by now.

“Have you heard of subrogation? My insurance will go after your brother. It’s also a hit-and-run. The police will be very interested.”

I gave her a moment to absorb that. Then I said, “So now that we know where we both stand, let’s make a deal.”

I took a sip and very nearly choked. It was too strong. When I saw her face, I knew she’ddeliberately made it undrinkable.

This girl would cut me off at the knees without batting an eye. Why did that excite me?

Damn. I’m in trouble.

“First, tell me why you’re doing this for your brother.”

She crossed her arms in front of her. “I don’t need to tell you dick.”

My mouth twitched. “Tell me why the hell he isn’t owning up and paying for his mistake.”

“You’re not going after him for this. If you do, I’ll castrate you.”

“You like making threats, don’t you?”

“I like putting them in action too. Try me and you’ll find out.”

“Oh, I think I want to. I’m looking forward to it.” To prove it, I took another sip of her coffee without breaking eye contact with her. “Tell me where he is.”

“I won’t let you—”

“I’m not going to hurt him. Don’t you think he owes me an apology? Or do you think that’s too much to ask?”

She opened her mouth, closed it. Sighed. “No,” she said, capitulating. “It’s not too much to ask. He went fishing with my dad.”

“So…” I looked at her lips. Her bottom lip was fuller than the top. I moved my gaze up and met hers. “You’re alone with me.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Yeah. And no one would know who murdered you when I hide your body in the shed.”

I paused and threw my head back laughing.

“I like you,” I said.

“Listen, I don’t go out with guys. Ever.”

I paused. There was something about her expression that told me she wasn’t feeling as firm on this as she sounded. “Girls?”

“No.”

“Never had a boyfriend?”

“Never met anyone who measured up.”

“To what?”

“My standards.”

“Tell me what they are.”

“You’re playing with me.”

“Am I?”

She let out a huff and walked to the living room. “Let’s talk about this deal so you can leave. I have a very busy day.”

“Sure.” I poured the coffee in the sink and rinsed the cup before following her to the living room. I sprawled on the couch. She leaned against the wall opposite me, eyeing me warily.

“That’s my dad’s bed. Feel free to soil it or anything.”

The house looked like it had two bedrooms and a bathroom. The two rooms must be for her and her brother.

“I like sleeping on the couch too,” I said. I stopped for a moment. I hadn’t meant to tell her that.

She gave me a bored look. “What’s the deal?”

I looked her directly in the eye. “Give me a ride.”

She blinked slowly. “Come again?”

“Until my motorcycle is finished to my satisfaction, you’re going to drive me where I need to be. Not your brother. Not your best friend. You.”

“Have you lost your mind? What, do you think I have all the time in the world?”

“Since I saw you trying to break into my house last night, I’m going to have to say yes.”

“You have a mint truck in your driveway! That’s yours, isn’t it?”

“That’s not mine.”

It was the company truck assigned to me, which would make what I said technically a lie, but I couldn’t let her know that or she would never agree.

“You can get a rental!”

“Are you paying for it?”

“This is blackmail.”

“You make it so easy. Rule number one: don’t expose your weakness to the enemy.”

“Are you my enemy?”

Wanna find out?” I stood up, walked toward her.

She stood her ground. Unflinchingly.

“If I do this, you’ll let my shop fix your motorcycle? You won’t file a claim with your insurance?”

“Yeah.”

I want to know what your lips taste like.

“No accessories,” she added.

What they feel like.

“And no maintenance,” she finished.

She’d drive me to bankruptcy if she could. And laughing while she was at it. She could shut me down and kick me out if she really didn’t want the deal, but some part of her was thriving on the tension between us. I could feel it in the way her body turned toward me, the way her eyes flashed with excitement, and the hint of a smile on her lips she tried to hide.

“The deal includes maintenance.” Before she could open her mouth to protest, I added, “But you can get out of it. Easily.”

“Why don’t you tell me how, oh wise one?”

I rubbed the stubble on my jaw. It was getting itchy. Time for a shave. I headed to the front door and put on my shoes. I opened the door, then tossed her my keys.

“I’ll let you know.”

Excerpted from Spitfire In Love by Isabelle Ronin. © 2019 by Isabelle Ronin. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

3 Bundle Packs of Chasing Red and Always Red

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

EFBB5CF2-5E8E-4445-B7D6-B4C478F99457Isabelle Ronin is a Filipino Canadian writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her Wattpad story, Chasing Red, has garnered over 150 million reads and was one of the most-read stories of 2016. As a result of the story’s immense popularity online, several major publishers around the world have acquired the rights to Chasing Red.

When she’s not writing, Isabelle can be found hanging out in bookstores, cafes, and whenever possible, the beach.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Blog Tour, Review & Excerpt: BETTER THAN ME by Kimberly Kincaid

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BETTER THAN ME (Remington Medical Series Book 2) by Kimberly Kincaid

Publication Date: May 7, 2019 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Synopsis

341C1E29-F7D2-4533-BFF2-5E104E6347EERemington’s most notoriously single,
notoriously sexy
surgeon
is about to fall for the one woman
he can’t have

Did I mention that she’s
A) his best friend
B) immune to his panty-melting charm, and
C) sleeping on his couch for the next six weeks?

But Jonah’s not made for commitment,
and a good man is the one thing Natalie deserves.
Not someone who can only offer up
a couple of sizzling hot, no-strings-attached nights
of pure pleasure.

Unless that’s what she wants.

Because Jonah wants her. And with each
moment they spend working together—
living together
the harder it is to resist temptation.

And even harder to resist the fall that
might break them both…

A steamy medical contemporary romance from USA Today best-selling author Kimberly Kincaid. Watch this cocky hero fall head over scalpel for his sweet and sexy BFF. Full-length standalone story with action in the emergency room and the bedroom, and a sweet-and-sexy happily ever after.

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Donna 5 Stars

I love Kimberly Kincaid’s books, but this has to be my favorite. Natalie and Jonah were easy to like, their interaction was effortless and nicely written. One of my favorite parts of this series, is the camaraderie amongst their friends and colleagues. It’s realistic and fun, pulling me into their world so that I want to stay. I have come to care about them all and how they deal with each other.

Sometimes a friends-to-lovers story falls flat for me. NOT this one. Natalie and Jonah moved smoothly from friends to smoking hot lovers. It is one of the most romantic sexually charged books I’ve read in a long time. Now I believe I need a little Remington Medical after-glow time. I cannot wait for the next one, the teaser has me quite anxious.

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

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Excerpt

“Come on, Jonah. You and I are just friends, and my living with you would only be temporary. I’m neat and fairly low-maintenance, and I really can cook like a boss. I know you like your space.” It was a euphemism, and if the smile poking at the corners of her lips was anything to go by, Natalie knew it as well as Jonah did. He was a freaking island, and it wasn’t by accident. “So I can totally stay out of your hair if you want me to. But please.” In a blink, her smile disappeared. “I’m begging you. Don’t make me stay with my parents.”

Jonah’s nice-guy propensity came out of hiding to pick a fight with his defenses, both of them quickening his pulse. His defenses didn’t fight fair, though, reminding him that he had damn good reasons for not being a long-haul guy.

He opened his mouth to say he was sorry. To tell Natalie, rationally and with good reason, why he just couldn’t let her move in with him for six weeks.

But what came out was, “Okay. You can stay.”

           Christ, his inner nice-guy was a sneaky son of a bitch.

           “Really?” Natalie let out a gasp that quickly slid into an adorable ear-to-ear grin, and okay, Jonah was going to have to do some damage control here.

           “With a couple of stipulations,” he said, holding up his fingers to count them off. “If you want to watch rom coms or that channel that plays all those gooey holiday movies, you’ve got to do it on your iPad.”

Jonah knew from experience that she loved both, and with Christmas only a month away, she’d certainly want to mainline them whenever she had down time. But while happily ever after might be on some people’s agendas—and more power to them as long as they didn’t try to convert him to coupledom—he sure as hell wasn’t going to let it parade across his big screen TV.  

“Come on! Not even It’s a Wonderful Life?” she asked, but he stood firm.

“The only Christmas movie that flies in my apartment is Diehard.”

Her hands moved to her hips. “That is so not a Christmas movie.”  

“Take it or leave it, Kendrick. Yippie-ki-yay is all the holiday cheer you’re going to get out of me.”

Natalie frowned, but didn’t push her luck, so Jonah continued. “I’ll take that you cook, I clean bargain. I don’t mind doing all the dishes, and I wasn’t kidding when I said I can’t cook. No complaining about football or hockey—the Rogues are kicking ass again this year on the ice and I want to watch every game that I can. And for the love of all that it sacred and good, no bras on the shower curtain rod.”

           “Done.”

           His surprise must have stumbled over his face, because she laughed and tacked on, “What? You know I love hockey, too, and after meeting Finn Donnelly over the summer at that fundraiser at The Crooked Angel? I’m all-in for the Rogues. I promised you I’d cook, and the other stuff”—she lifted one shoulder beneath her light pink sweater—“I can stipulate, even if it iskind of grinchy. So, do we have a deal? I can come live with you until this mess is all fixed?”

           Jonah exhaled. “Yes, we have a deal.

~*~*~*~

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Book 1: BACK TO YOU ➢ Review 4.5 Stars | 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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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: WHEN TO CALL A COWBOY by June Faver

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WHEN TO CALL A COWBOY (Dark Horse Cowboys Book 3) by June Faver

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Western Romance

Synopsis

1A22168A-8A39-43C8-9A50-E52763B7CD00Rekindling old flames can be dangerous…

Beau Garrett may look rough around the edges, but under that exterior beats a heart of gold—a heart that was broken when his high school sweetheart disappeared days before graduation. Years have passed, but Beau’s never forgotten the fiery-haired girl who left him high and dry.

Dixie Moore has her reasons for being angry with Beau. When a family emergency calls Dixie back to her hometown, she brings with her an explosive secret that could divide them for good—if the culprit behind a recent crime spree doesn’t get her first. It’s up to Beau to unmask this dangerous criminal…and keep Dixie out of the crosshairs.

~*~*~*~

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Excerpt

Dixie had taken Scott to see the local doctor. Scott had sustained a broken nose and had also fractured two bones in his right hand when his fist impacted the pavement instead of Beau’s face.

Now, Scott looked almost comic, with his right hand in a cast and the entire arm immobilized in a sling to remind him not to use it. He also had rolled up gauze stuffed in his nasal cavities and both eyes were turning black with bruising. In all, he looked like a petulant walrus with his two gauze tusks.

“Whatever were you thinking?” Dixie glanced over at Scott as he slouched in the passenger seat of her burgundy SUV “I could have told you Beau would whip your ass.”

“You know why,” Scott said. Due to the gauze up his nose, he was mouth breathing, and his voice was raspy and nasal.

Dixie figured Scott recognized Beau from the high school photos she had of him in her apartment. Somehow, she just couldn’t put them away. And seeing him again was like stabbing her straight in the heart. He was even better looking as a man than he had been as a teen. His shoulders were broader and his tall, lanky teen form had filled in with a solid bank of muscle.

She swallowed hard. It was the eyes that got her. Those killer Garrett eyes. Beau’s hair was a little lighter than his two older brothers but they all had those incredible blue eyes. Almost turquoise, ringed with black lashes all around.

When Scott and Beau had been fighting, she knew Scott was the underdog. Although he had greater muscle mass and was much heavier, he didn’t stand a chance against Beau Garrett. And there was the fact that Scott had started the fight, so he had the element of surprise on his side. He would never think of himself as a loser…but in this match, he was far out-classed.

Beau Garret could always whip his weight in wild cats and had done so, on occasion, while defending Dixie’s honor.

She fought to control the smile threatening to break out as she recalled how valiant Beau had been. Always her hero. Well, almost always…

And now she had her friend Scott trying to defend her honor against her former hero. How sad is that? She glanced over at her sullen protector and reached out to give him a pat on the arm.

“You’re sweet, you know?”

“I’m a dumb-ass, apparently.” Scott placed his good hand on top of hers. “But, I love you, you know?”

“I know. Love you too, You’re my best friend in the whole, wide world.”

He nodded. “I don’t know what I would do without you, and Roger, of course.”

Dixie smiled at the mention of Scott’s lover and soon-to-be groom. “I’ll have to thank him for letting you come with me. I don’t think I could face this ordeal without you.”

“I’m always here for you. It’s terrible that your father was murdered.” He shook his head. “This little town doesn’t exactly look like a hot bed of crime.”

She pressed her lips together, strengthening her resolve to tie up loose ends as fast as possible and try not to get caught up in whatever happened to Vernon Moore. She couldn’t imagine her mild-mannered father getting involved in anything that would get him killed. But then again, maybe she didn’t know him at all anymore. She had been gone a long time. “Yeah,” she intoned. “I’m sure the sheriff will deal with it.”

He wagged his head from side to side, the tusks making a wide arc. “I don’t understand,” he said. “I can take anybody at the gym. I was on the boxing team in college. How come this punk cowboy can chew me up and spit me out?”

“Don’t feel bad,” she said. “He’s no punk. That cowboy works hard every day. He’s just one big muscle. And if memory serves, just the mention of a fight and all the Garretts would jump in.” Shaking her head, she let out a chortle. “It wasn’t the same kind of fight as in a gym with a referee. Those Garrett boys knew how to fight.”

Scott made a guttural noise in the back of his throat. “One of them still does.”

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

3 Copies of HOT TARGET COWBOY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Release Blitz: IGNITE (Dark Kings Series) by Donna Grant

9C0FAAA1-84D5-4B79-955C-8CD1D27FC049

IGNITE (Dark Kings Series, Book 15) by Donna Grant

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romance 

IMG_3306

D5B917E0-2C4C-4438-A353-93D3A3C86564Every inch of him was molded as if from granite…and her blood ran like fire…

For centuries, V has waited to awaken from his doomed sleep and reclaim his destiny. But this Dragon King—one among a legion of legendary warriors sworn to protect the human race from darkness—must first find a way to win back his sword. Wield its power. And try not to fall prey to his own illicit desires.

Claire may possess the beauty and soul of a goddess but V knows better than to mess with a mere mortal. Still, he instinctively knows that Claire is The One who can help him regain the use of his sword and restore his place at Dreagan. But if she learns the truth about who—and what—he really is, her memories of him would be erased forever. How can V love Claire truly, madly, deeply…and protect her from the forces of fire and darkness that could destroy them both?

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CF2649B1-767E-4FB4-8950-608DDF90B70A

IMG_3308

Kindle | Amazon PBK

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image

donna_grant_new

Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** DRAGON KING Goodreads

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE by Linda Broday

 

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SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE (Outlaw Mail Order Brides Series, Book 2) by Linda Broday

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

84EE6BE2-AF36-487C-9792-CB648CABEB7EWhen the West was wild
And man’s law favored the few
These extraordinary women could be found…
…in the heart of an outlaw.

He may be a wanted man, but all outlaw Jack Bowdre ever desired was a second chance. Now he’s on his way to jail, completely unaware that his unexpected—and unexpectedly beautiful—traveling companion is none other than Nora Kane…his mail order bride.

It’s too bad Nora doesn’t know Jack is her groom-to-be. All she sees is a scoundrel. But when their stagecoach crashes and the truth comes spilling out, they’re suddenly left to fend for themselves—and each other. The longer they’re together, the stronger their feelings grow. Hounded by desperate men bent on doing them harm, Nora and Jack will do whatever it takes to find their happily ever after…but first, they’ll have to shake the devil from their trail.

~*~*~*~

6AF10901-4E5F-41FB-A396-7E6C08E344E8

Excerpt

For Nora there were lots worse things than being shackled to Jack Bowdre. Why she trusted this outlaw was hard to explain yet instinct told her he wasn’t a threat—not to her. She gave Jack’s rugged profile a sideways glance. He seemed deep in thought the way he stared into the distance.
Maybe how to get rid of her?
Panic swept up her spine. What if he got their handcuffs unlocked and left? How would she survive?
He rose. “I need to find a good rock so I can break this chain. I had planned to shoot out one of the links, but without bullets, the gun is useless.”
“You can break these iron links apart with a rock?”
“Planning to.”
“Can’t you use the butt of the Colt?” That sounded logical to her.
“That’ll damage it and it won’t fire.” He said that like it was something everyone should know.
“But we have no cartridges so why keep something that doesn’t work?” Lord help this poor outlaw.
Jack stopped and stared as though she’d suggested he gnaw through the iron links with his bare teeth. He inhaled a slow breath and seemed to be…counting? “Even if a gun has no ammunition, it still has plenty of worth. If someone corners us, I can still point it at someone. I’m very good at making men believe they’re about to die.”
“Oh. I guess that’s why you’re the outlaw and I’m…a bride you kept secrets from.”
The way color flooded his face said he didn’t appreciate her remark. “Over there.” He pointed to a group of rocks that seemed to have been stacked on purpose.
She allowed him to pull her along, and he chose a hefty one, about nine by six inches. Although he had very large palms, she still had no idea how he’d lift the makeshift sledgehammer and slam it onto the chain with one hand. But with his inability to accept criticism, she thought it prudent to hold her tongue.
Stretching the six-inch chain across a boulder, Jack lifted the rock. The mighty blow jarred her, sending vibrating waves along the chain and stinging her wrist. Plus, the impact didn’t even put the slightest dent in the iron. He slipped his free arm out of the duster sleeve and tried again. Nothing. He unbuttoned his shirt, tugging at the collar, and Nora sucked in a breath at the sight of that broad chest with rippling muscles.
My oh my!
To run her hands over that. She’d always assumed men who lived by the gun would be too thin, too pale, their bodies too…standard. After all, what work did an outlaw do other than ride his horse and shoot?
Apparently, Jack did physical work of some kind. She tried not to stare, but her eyes refused to obey.
Over and over he pounded the chain and with each strike, she flinched, dodging the flying chips of stone. Sweat poured off him despite the cool day. Frustrated curses slipped from his mouth, although he restrained himself far better than she expected.
“I have a hairpin if you want to try picking the locks.” That idea made more sense to her.
“I’ll get this in a minute. It’s stubborn, that’s all. I have to hit it just right.”
The sun rose higher, he kept working until the rock finally broke in half…but the chain held.
He met her gaze. “Failure is just the opportunity to begin again. We’re not licked.”
Nora cocked her head, catching a faint sound. “Someone’s coming.”
“Hurry.” Jack took her hand and led her down into a ravine, where they flattened against the side. “Don’t make a sound.”
Her heart hammered in her ears. Or was that his heartbeat? He put his free arm around her and pulled her against all that brawn. The scent of the wild Texas land melded with leather and manly sweat, and Nora could do nothing but sag against him as limp as warm jelly.
His mouth was mere inches from hers.
Perspiration trickled between her breasts, and she could barely draw a shaky breath into her lungs. No one had a right to be so rugged, so enticing, so…so sensual.
What would it be like to feel his lips on hers? Her pulse raced.
He shifted a little, knitting his brows, frowning down at her. Shoot! Had she spoken aloud?
The empty Colt tucked in his waist pressed into the area above her belly, reminding her they were in grave danger. In truth, she was having trouble forming a complete thought.
The hoofbeats became louder until the rider was right above them. The horse snorted with impatience. Other than the horse, all was silent.
Good. That meant only one person, not a whole posse.
Jack removed his hat, gripped the empty gun, and took a look. The suspense proved too much for Nora. She raised on tiptoe to peek and froze.
The horseman was the man she’d caught following her in Fort Worth. The white of her discarded bustle bulged from his saddlebag.
She ducked, pressing the trembling length of her body tightly against Jack. How could the tracker have found her? If he’d seen the stagecoach wreck, he’d put two and two together.
Jack’s hard gaze followed the man as he rode on. “Who was that? You recognized him.”
Careful. The lies would pile up on top of each other until she couldn’t keep them straight.
Her eyes widened. “No one here in Texas would have absolutely any interest in me. I came to marry you, Jack, and I have to say it’s been a rather arduous trip. If I could just go back to the moment when I snapped the marshal’s handcuff on me and threw the key I would.”
She smiled brightly, refusing to let the outlaw’s dark scowl worry her.
“We’ll have to talk about the marrying part, Nora.”

~*~*~*~

Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

3 Copies of Saving The Mail Order Bride

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

About the Author

Linda Broday_newAt a young age, LINDA BRODAY discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: FOREVER WOLF (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale

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FOREVER WOLF (The Legend of All Wolves, Book 3) by Maria Vale

Publication Date: March 26, 2019 

Gesnre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

4BB63E09-DBEF-45A0-B4D9-F91D52CCD006Born with one blue eye and one green, Eyulf was abandoned as an infant and has never understood why, or what he is…Varya is fiercely loyal to the Great North Pack, which took her in when she was a teenager. While out on patrol, Varya finds Eyulf wounded and starving and saves his life, at great risk to her own.

Legend says his eyes portend the end of the world…or perhaps, the beginning…

With old and new enemies threatening the Great North, Varya knows as soon as she sees his eyes that she must keep Eyulf hidden away from the superstitious wolves who would doom them both. Until the day they must fight to the death for the Pack’s survival, side by side and heart to heart…

~*~*~*~

 

Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

~*~*~*~

Giveaway

5 Copies of THE LAST WOLF

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~

Excerpt

I focus on the still-pink circlet of scars around his leg, pulling the scar tissue gently apart with two fingers to see how elastic it is. Then I push down, softly at first, and gradually harder. If it starts to swell or bruise, the change will tear apart the underlying network of blood vessels.
He jerks.
“That’s a bad sign.” “What?”
“Well, it shouldn’t hurt that much.” “Doesn’t,” he says.
“This is not the time to hide what you’re feeling. If you change before you’re fully healed, you will tear yourself open again. I know what I’m doing.”
He leans forward, his arms draped between his legs. “I’m not sure you do.”
Ah. The towel that was barely adequate before is simply laughable now that it is also responsible for covering a thickly engorged cock.
I look up, up, up to his eyes. They’ve changed, darkened. They are no longer the pale blue of old ice and bright variegated green of forest depths, but the deep blue of late evening and the dark green of rain- drenched fir. His white hair loops forward and then falls over his shoulder. A sharp, green muskiness like rubbed coriander bothers my nose with something warm and dangerous.
I jump away, like a skittish fawn.
“I don’t think it’ll open up. Remember, your trigger is here.” I point without touching toward the place I’d found before. “It’s inside, not outside, so you need to tighten those muscles. But take your shirt off first.”
“Okay,” he says, pulling off his shirt. “Why?” “Because if by some miracle you get it right, I’ll have to cut you out of it, and we don’t have that many changes of clothes.”
Turning away, I smooth the T-shirt still warm from his body against my chest. Philadelphia Frostbite Regatta, it says. When I glance back, his eyes are closed and a tremor roils through the cut muscles. Parts of him around his pelvis that don’t look like they could tighten any more ripple.
Sitting down on a dry trunk, I stare at the lower slopes of Norþdæl, blanketed with wine and gray and dark gold, dotted with dark-green evergreens and occasional skeletal fingers of white birch.
“How are you doing over there?”
“Working on it.” He coughs a handful of fake coughs, trying, I suppose, to reproduce whatever caused that earlier change.
“Hey?” he says.
“Yes?”
“I’m going to be able to change back, right?”
“Of course. Once you learn what your trigger is, you’ll never forget it.”
“Like riding a bike.”
I scratch my ear. “It’s nothing like riding a bike. You’re changing into a wolf. Wolves don’t ride bikes.”
“It’s a… That’s not what I… Never mind.”
A squirrel squats on his hind legs, eyeing me from a distance. At this moment, from this angle, the daylight moon forms a curved crown above his head. “Except… you do know not to change before the Iron Moon, right?”
“Why?”
The squirrel’s whiskered nose twitches, worriedly. “Because the Iron Moon takes us as she finds us and makes us wilder. If she finds us in skin, she makes us wild. But if she finds us wild, she makes us æcewulfs. Real wolves. Forever wolves.”
“And you don’t change back?”
“That’s why they’re called forever wolves.”
He stares down at his feet, clenching and stretching his toes, as though confirming that for now at least, he still looks human. “Is it like when you’re a wolf, but you still know who you are? You still remember everything?”
“Nobody knows what they remember or don’t, but they’re definitely not the same. They’re not Pack any- more.” Over my shoulder, I see the panic on his face, his hand clinging to the little towel, like the last vestiges of his humanity.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let that happen to you,” I say. His eyes consider mine for a moment. I nod at him, and he starts again, pressing harder, moving, clenching, roiling, undulating.
The squirrel takes advantage of my distraction and bolts up a nearby tree. High up, he hangs, head down, legs splayed, and chitters at me for invading his territory.
Varya!
I leap at Eyulf’s strangled cry, just managing to catch him as he pitches forward, his feet narrowing, arch elongating, calf muscle tightening.
How did I forget to tell him to lie down?
I stagger to the ground, his body writhing in my arms. His green eye searches blindly, his grotesque mouth mangles a groan before going silent. The towel drops away from his narrowing hips and his clutching fingers. My hair falls forward over him.
Astille, wulf. Þu eart gesund mid me.
Hush, wolf, you are safe with me.
My hands run over his skin, like water.

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About the Author

2519C8DF-822E-41D5-9F32-6809592F1626Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.

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Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A LORD APART by Jane Ashford

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A LORD APART (The Way to a Lord’s Heart Book 2) by Jane Ashford

Publication Date: March 26, 2019

Genre: Historical Romance

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22FDE54D-1A0E-4E76-A4FD-716CF225D3D5Family secrets, an unlikely alliance—and a love neither expected…

After his parents’ sudden death, Daniel Frith, Viscount Whitfield, is struggling to unravel a web of chaotic family records. He is astonished to learn his father’s will contains a mysterious legacy: a house left to a complete stranger. He knows nothing about the beautiful Penelope Pendleton and he’s not sure he wants to…until she turns out to be a whiz at all those nasty tasks involved in estate administration…

Penelope has no idea why Rose Cottage was left to her. But it’s a godsend after her brother’s reckless actions disgraced her family. She had planned to stay out of Viscount Whitfield’s way, not grow ever closer to him. But when they discover how entwined their families really are, Daniel and Penelope must collaborate to avoid a scandal that reaches much higher than they could have guessed…

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“They taste good even if they look ridiculous,” said Daniel. He took a second bite of a Shrewsbury Cake that he’d shaped so ineptly. The room seemed different with Miss Pendleton installed in a chair beside his at the desk. Fresh and lovely in a blue cambric gown, she transformed it from a place of dry drudgery to a chamber full of possibility. She’d seemed harried when she first came in, but the sight of his documents, and the donning of her oddly charming dust sleeves, had visibly settled her.
She finished her cake. “That’s the great thing about pastry,” she said. “It’s still delicious even when you’ve sat on the box. Although eclairs are rather a challenge in that regard.”
Daniel raised an eyebrow. “That sounds like wisdom drawn from direct experience.”
Miss Pendleton nodded. “The…rather squashed looking Shrewsbury Cakes reminded me.”
“I must hear the story.”
Her smile was pensive, a little distracted. “As a special treat, my mother and I sometimes visited a bakeshop in a town near where we lived. Mama used to say the owner was an artist of the oven. On this particular day I insisted on carrying the box with its wonderful pink string. I was so proud, like an altar boy bearing the chalice.” She glanced at him. “I was four years old, you understand. I put the box on the seat of the carriage while I climbed up. Mama stepped in after me and sat on it.” She shook her head. “I hadn’t thought of that in ages.”
Daniel imagined how his own austere mother would have reacted to this misstep. “Was she annoyed?”
“Oh, worse than that.”
He had visions of a thundering scold, even a boxed ear.
“She burst into tears,” said Miss Pendleton.
The picture in his mind underwent a quick revision.
“She’d picked out a lemon tart, one of her favorite things in the world. She was looking forward to it as much as I was to my éclair. More, perhaps. And now they were both ruined.” She made a melancholy face. “So I had made my Mama cry.”
“Difficult.” Daniel started to point out that it wasn’t entirely her fault. Her mother might have been more careful about where she sat. But Miss Pendleton went on before he could speak.
“Utterly tragic for a small girl.”
“You might have gone back to the shop and replaced them.”
“I suppose. We didn’t. Perhaps there was a reason Mama had to be back. But in any case, she soon recovered. She was wonderful that way. She turned setbacks into…festivals.”
Rather like her daughter did with an upended life, Daniel thought. “How does one redeem squashed pastry?”
“Ah.” Miss Pendleton’s smile was impish now. “We took our flattened box to her sitting room and hid it away until a maid had brought tea for Mama and a glass of milk for me.”
“Hid it? Why?”
“We didn’t want to hurt Cook’s feelings by letting her know we’d bought pastry. She was very skillful, but not with sweets. So we always ate our treats in secret.”
“That was kind,” said Daniel. Had his parents had any such concerns about Frithgerd’s cook? Or any of the servants? He didn’t think so.
Miss Pendleton blinked rapidly. “My mother was extraordinarily kind.” She took a deep breath. “When the coast was clear, we spread open the box and ate spoonfuls of the…contents. We decided to call it an eclart. Which I still think is a very fine word.”
“Like a burst of excitement in your mouth,” he replied.
“Exactly!”
As their eyes met, alternative meanings for this phrase seemed to unfold between them. Daniel was suddenly conscious of the beautiful shape of her mouth, not far away at all. He wasn’t aware of leaning forward until he noticed that she’d done the same. They were inches apart. He wanted to wrap his arms around her, pull her close, and kiss her passionately, repeatedly, until they were both dizzy. He could just barely make himself sit back. The effort left him rigid, in more ways than one.
Penelope caught her breath. She hadn’t touched him, but it felt as if she had. The sense of connection had been as intense as an actual caress. She’d never experienced anything like it. She was suffused with longing. Did it show on her face? Was he wondering what was wrong? Her hand twitched. Their fingers brushed, and another bolt of sensation coursed through her.
Whitfield moved his hand away. He raised it, left it hovering in the air for a moment, then reached for another Shrewsbury Cake.
Penelope ordered her hands to stop trembling, and they obeyed. She’d learned to hide her feelings in the past year, as she discovered that a person being questioned by the authorities, particularly a woman, had to appear calm and rational at all times. Emotion roused suspicions and drew contempt. Interrogators might shout, and be seen as forceful, but they would pounce on the slightest tremor in their prey and call it instability. Not that Lord Whitfield was like that. She was muddling two very different things. She had to get hold of herself.
Picking up a page from one of the piles she hadn’t yet investigated, Penelope scanned the contents.

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The Happily Ever Organized Gift Set giveaway is live now and runs through 11:59 p.m. on April 20th. This super cute gift set includes a pack of Bloom floral file folders, three pretty gold pens, a Lemome Original notebook (it has pockets!), and two lovely floral teacups. What better prize to honor the two loveable nerds in this Regency Romance?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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