Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: YOURS ALL ALONG (The Loving on the Edge Series) by Roni Loren

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YOURS ALL ALONG

(The Loving on the Edge Series)

by Roni Loren

Genre: M/M Erotica Romance

 Publication Date: June 16, 2015

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The new Loving on the Edge romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing Between Us turns on the heat between two men who wonder how much they’re willing to risk in the name of love.

Four years after an accident tore their friendship apart, Hunter and Devon are living separate lives. Hunter is now the all-America hero—a congressman’s son and a pro pitcher in Houston preparing to marry his beauty-queen girlfriend. Devon is in Dallas running a new restaurant.

But when Hunter unexpectedly shows up in Devon’s bar, Devon can’t turn him away. Damn it if the man isn’t still gorgeous. But engaged? Hell no. All he’s doing for Devon is bringing back memories of their college-roommate days, and the night their relationship went too far. Turns out Hunter has never forgotten it either.

Now Devon can’t help but be drawn in all over again by the only guy who’s ever gotten close enough to break his heart. Maybe one more night together would be enough for both of them to finally move on. Or maybe one night will change everything…

  

“But first . . .” Phil said, wincing a bit. “I have one more customer who requested to see the manager.”

“Ah, fuck.” One more complaint tonight and Devon might lose it. “Where?”

Phil pointed to a booth near the front window. “Big guy in the baseball cap. He’s nearly polished off a bottle of cabernet, so be warned.”

Great. Only thing worse than an unhappy customer was a ranting, drunk one.

Devon swallowed another sip of his own drink, then headed toward the corner booth. The guy’s back was to him, and he seemed to be staring out the window at the cars passing by on the downtown street. The flatbread he’d ordered was sitting mostly untouched in the center of the table.

Damn, Bryce couldn’t have managed to screw up a simple pizza, could he? Devon squeezed between two empty tables and straightened his suit jacket before stepping around to face the man, an apology poised on his lips. “Sir, how can I help—?”

But the question died in the air as the man looked up from beneath the bill of his ball cap. Dark, soulful eyes stared back at Devon from a face he knew better than his own. Any cogent response melted right out of his ears. “Jesus Christ.”

Hunter looked Devon up and down, his brows knitting in that way that indicated alcohol-blurred thoughts. “Wow, you look . . . important.”

Devon couldn’t help taking his own eyeful. Shaggy black hair peeking out from beneath the cap, tight T-shirt spread over shoulders and pecs honed for top athletic performance—a body Devon had ogled way too many times when he and Hunter had shared a room in the frat house.

“And you look . . .” Fucking amazing. Perfect. Even better than on TV. “Drunk. What the hell are you doing here, Hunt?”

His grin was lazy, lopsided. “I’m on vacation.” He raised a finger to his mouth. “Shh, don’t tell anyone. Top secret.”

Devon braced his hands on the table and sank onto the bench seat on the other side of the booth, not sure his legs were going to continue to hold him up. “Vacation?”

Hunter lifted his glass. “You know I haven’t had alcohol in four years.”

Four years. Which was exactly how long it’d been since Devon had last seen him. He tried to take a breath, but the room seemed to have less air in it than a moment before. He ran through the reasons why Hunter could possibly be here right now. Drinking. In his bar.

The guy had become the poster child of clean living after college. And over the last few years, the sports media had nearly canonized him for the turnaround. The congressman’s son. The stellar pitcher. The all-American guy with the beauty queen girlfriend.

Not that Devon had been paying attention. Or recording every game he pitched.

God, he was pathetic.

He cleared his throat, trying to come up with something to say. “Why are you drinking now?”

Hunter pointed at him, his finger wavering. “Good question.”

He followed up with a sage nod like he’d explained everything.

Fuck. The guy was hammered. The waitress probably hadn’t blinked at letting Hunter order a few glasses. He was big and broad—a guy who looked able to handle his liquor. But Hunter’s tolerance had always been low, and if he’d been sober for four years, that would only have made it worse. Devon grabbed the stem of Hunter’s half-empty glass, moved it to the side, and then replaced the spot in front of him with the flatbread. “You need to eat something, big man.”

The old nickname rolled off of Dev’s tongue before he caught it, and Hunter stiffened. Sober awareness flickered in his dark eyes, as if the words had snapped him temporarily from the wine haze. He shook his head. “Need to go.”

He shifted as if to stand, but Devon jumped up and put a firm hand on Hunter’s shoulder, pushing him back down. Their gazes locked for a moment, Devon looming over Hunter, the position dragging him back to memories he didn’t want to access right now, fantasies he’d conjured since. He shook them off and cleared his throat. “No way. You’re not going anywhere.”

*******

You can also read Chapter 1 on Roni Loren’s site here: http://www.roniloren.com/yours-all-along

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 Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars, er, rock concerts. Yeah, that’s it. She is the National Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: All the Right Places by Jenna Sutton

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ALL THE RIGHT PLACES

Riley O’Brien & Co. Series #1

Jenna Sutton

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

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The first in a brand new contemporary romance series starring the men and women who are determined to keep the billion-dollar denim dynasty, Riley O’Brien & Co, on top, but aren’t about to let success stand in the way of love…

Amelia Winger is a small-town girl with big dreams of becoming a successful designer. So when she gets a gig designing accessories for denim empire Riley O’Brien & Co., it’s a dream come true. Amelia can handle the demanding job, but she isn’t quite prepared for sexy CEO Quinn O’Brien. She’s doing her best to keep things professional, but the attraction sparking between them makes it personal. And so does the secret project she’s working on behind his back…

Quinn’s not interested in the new accessories, but he is interested in the woman designing them. Amelia is smart, sexy, and talented, and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since they met. Mixing business and pleasure isn’t wise, but that doesn’t stop him from coming up with excuses to spend time with her. He thinks he understands the risk he’s taking when he gets involved with Amelia. But he doesn’t know he’s risking a lot more than his heart.

 

He realized Teagan was still talking. “. . . knew you were going to be in the office today, so I told her it would be okay.”

“Wait, what did you say?”

Looking down, she tapped her fingers against her bottom lip. He tensed. She was a terrible liar and an even worse poker player because she always tapped her lips when she was nervous or unsure.

He stood. “Tell me,” he demanded when she stayed silent a beat too long.

“I told Amelia Winger you would be available to meet her this morning.”

“Shit, Teagan! You know I hate it when you ambush me with things like this. . . .”

She stopped tapping her lips and started tapping her toe, never a good sign for innocent or not-so-innocent males nearby. “This is a priority, Quinn,” she shot back. “I’ve already worked out all the legal details with Amelia. All she wants is a meeting with you. So it’s not on your calendar. Deal with it.”

“When will she be here?”

“She’s already here.”

“Of course she is,” he said dryly. He ran a hand through his hair before smoothing the mess he had made. “Let’s go get her.”

With Teagan click-clacking alongside him, he made the trek down the hall. He wasn’t looking forward to this meeting, and not just because his sister had sprung it on him. The women’s division limped along like a three-legged dog, and he doubted some new belts and purses would make a difference.

“Are you sure Amelia Winger is the right person to design our accessories?” Quinn asked.

He’d reviewed the information Teagan had provided about the designer, but he still had his doubts, especially since Amelia Winger had no formal design training, and she’d never done any work for a company like Riley O’Brien.

“I’d never heard of her before you mentioned her,” he continued. “Just because her best friend is a country music star and wears her designs doesn’t mean Amelia has any real talent. It just means she’s smart enough to capitalize on Ava Grace Landy’s success.”

“Ava Grace doesn’t wear Amelia’s designs just because she’s her best friend. She wears them because they’re incredible.”

Pushing open the door to the reception area, he ushered his sister through it before following. Frank turned at the sound, winking at Teagan.

The security guard tilted his head toward the only person sitting in the reception area. “There’s your girl,” he said with a smile.

Teagan hurried toward the woman with her arms outstretched. “Amelia, it’s so nice to see you again!” she exclaimed.

The woman dropped the magazine she’d been reading and quickly rose from her orange chair. It clashed horribly with her long red hair, and his heart kicked in his chest as Teagan gestured toward him.

“Amelia Winger, this is my brother, Quinn O’Brien. Quinn, this is the fabulous designer we talked about.”

Amelia released Teagan’s hands and stepped forward to greet him. “It’s nice to meet you,” she said, offering her hand to him. Her voice had a slight twang to it, betraying her Texas roots.

Clasping her hand, he gazed down at her. She couldn’t have been more than an inch or two above five feet tall because the top of her curly head didn’t even reach his shoulders. Her brown eyes crinkled as she smiled, and he noticed a slight gap between her top front teeth.

Her smile wobbled a bit as he stood there silently, staring into a face sprinkled with freckles that reminded him of brown sugar. Finally, he spoke, but when he did, it wasn’t exactly what he had intended.

“Nice ass,” he said.

Damn. Did I really say that out loud?

 

 

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IMG_1598 Jenna Sutton spent most of her career as an award-winning journalist covering business-related topics including healthcare, commercial real estate, retail, and technology. Nowadays she writes about hot, lovable guys and the smart, sexy women who make them crazy. It’s the culmination of a lifelong dream, and she feels so lucky to be able to do it.

Jenna has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Christian University and a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.

Jenna and her husband live in a 103-year-old house in Texas.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads


 

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Falling Hard: Bad Boys Undercover by HelenKay Dimon

 

Falling Hard: Bad Boys Undercover by HelenKay Dimon

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

  

After a grueling assignment with the black ops force known as the Alliance, Weston Brown is craving downtime. Instead, he’s pulled into his deadliest operation, in the one place he never wanted to see again. No-nonsense and so damn hot, Lexi Turner lied to get him to her mountain clinic in Pakistan. But the threat is terrifyingly real.

Lexi has been asking too many questions, drawing the wrong kind of attention. As soon as she lays eyes on West, she can tell he’s quiet—yet tough—and has a rescue complex which will come in handy for going up against the world’s most ruthless gunrunners.

Cut off from the rest of the Alliance, Lexi and West navigate the brutal terrain and a primal sexual attraction. Sticking around has never been West’s way, but now he’ll use every resource to keep Lexi by his side, safe from a killer who leaves no loose ends behind.

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

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

After spending most of his adult life in the Marines, Weston Brown recognized a shithole when he stepped right in one. He had no one else to blame for this assignment. Just his piss poor decision-making. Next time his team leader told him about an optional operation, he’d take a pass. Wouldn’t kill him to sit one out now and then.

With his gun in his hand and his finger skimming along the side, right off the trigger, he scanned the area, squinting to check his surroundings in the fading light. Skardu, Pakistan. The town served as the launching area for high-altitude climbing expeditions. Dusty and barren, filled with grayish-brown boulders and outlined by a towering mountain range. A few rivers and bursts of green provided by man-made irrigation systems broke through the rough landscape.

This was not his idea of the ideal vacation spot, and that’s what he was supposed to be doing—taking mandatory leave—forced rest between assignments with the Alliance, the elite black ops fighting force put together mostly from the United States’ CIA and MI6, the British intelligence service.

The work suited him since he wasn’t a desk guy, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to go a week or so without choking or shooting someone. When his eyes locked on the target dead ahead, he knew the no-violence thing wasn’t going to happen today.

He’d done this a million times. Careful steps, slowed breathing. A mental countdown to impact. Calculating the risks and preparing a second option if this one went sideways. He’d been trained to be ready—always. To kill without thinking.

His boot hit the ground right behind the armed unknown leaning against a tree and aiming his weapon at the building in the distance. The guy must have sensed him because he flinched a second before contact. Started to turn. West locked his arm around the guy’s neck before he could call out and bring his friends running.

Flailing and full of panic, he had one last burst of energy. The bottom of the guy’s shoes scraped against the loose pebbles on the ground as he beat his fists against West’s arm. West pressed harder and the guy fell in a heap in the dirt.

West had been using the choke hold since boot camp. Just shy of thirty-four and he could still take a man down in less than four seconds.

Oorah.


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BLOG TOUR, Review & Giveaway: Asking For It by Lilah Pace 

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ASKING FOR IT by Lilah Pace

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

 Genre: Erotica Romance 

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“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker…

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

 

Three days later, just after sundown, I’m back in the same wine bar where Jonah and I first met for “negotiations.” I guess this is round two.

Tonight, however, the bar is less sultry, more rowdy. This is a home-game weekend, which means Longhorns football fans and UT alumni are already swarming into town. I didn’t put on anything special this time – I’m wearing the same fawn-colored cotton dress I put on this morning. Yet I feel overdressed anyway, because I’m surrounded by a sea of orange T-shirts and football jerseys. It’s like being trapped in a can of Fanta.

Somehow I know the moment Jonah walks in. I turn my head toward him even before he’s fully through the door. His shirt and jeans are black, his gaze sharp as he instantly focuses on me. He doesn’t smile as he comes closer, cutting through this raucous crowd like a knife.

“We can’t talk like this,” he says as he reaches me.

“Hello to you too.”

But Jonah’s right. Having an intimate conversation here is impossible. We’d have to shout to hear each other. Bad idea. “I think this place has a patio in back.”

It does. Of course, the patio is crowded too – but it’s not as awful, and at least here the talking and laughter around us isn’t deafening. I can even hear soft Spanish guitar music playing. The heat that lingers even after nightfall curls around me; my skin is already moist, and strands of hair that have escaped my ponytail stick to the nape of my neck.

Jonah reaches toward me, like he’s going to take me by the arm, but I don’t let him lead me. It’s not like I don’t see where we’re headed – the one empty corner. Strings of multicolored lights overhead sway as the breeze as we walk there together, to a small dark passage near the back door that leads into the alley. When I stop, Jonah does too, still a few steps between us.

“Let me repeat my question,” he says. “What changed?”

“You took off without a word! That’s what changed. How is that not obvious?”

I can see the muscles tense in his shoulders, his jaw. He’s so built, so aggressively masculine, that I first think he’s barely holding himself back from biting my head off. Yet his voice is steady, not angry. “I wasn’t aware we had to check in with each other about our daily schedule.”

“I didn’t ask for hourly reports. You left for weeks, and you never even told me you were going anywhere.”

“The point was to remain strangers. Wasn’t it? To keep it … raw.”

Something about the way he says that – raw – makes my breath catch in my chest. As angry as I am with Jonah, I can’t forget the way his touch makes me feel.

I can’t stop wanting him.

Jonah must sense my weakness. A slow smile begins to dawn on his face. Almost a smirk. “You can have neat, tidy and safe. You can have tame. Or you can have what you really want. But you can’t have both, Vivienne. And I think we both know which one you’re going to choose.”


I was intrigued by the synopsis and short commentary made by the author so I had to check this book out. A woman with dark fantasies has a chance to try them out with someone she can trust. I was worried about how it would be portrayed and am pleased to say it was realistic and all consensual between Viv and Jonah. In fact they in a way help each other through their hot role-play. I found the story not only sexy but moving and touching. Each have their demons and were lucky enough to find someone to work through them. I’m looking forward to the second book to see how their relationship progresses. Yes this book may not appeal to everyone but then, what book does?

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


 

  

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Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling YA author. This is her first adult novel.

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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: SWEET ACHE (A Driven Novel) by K. Bromberg 

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SWEET ACHE (A Driven Novel) by K. Bromberg

Meet Hawke & Quinlan in SWEET ACHE – the newest Rock Star stand-alone in the Driven Series by K. Bromberg!

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The New York Times bestselling author of Slow Burn turns up the heat when a sexy bet turns into so much more….

Hawkin Play, the bad boy rock star with a good guy heart, has lived a lifetime of cleaning up after his twin brother’s mistakes. Hunter’s most recent screwup could land Hawke in jail and risk the band’s future. Hawke agrees to guest lecture at a local college to stay in the judge’s good graces—and a bet with his bandmate to seduce his sexy teaching assistant is icing on the cake.

Quinlan Westin is harder to bed than Hawke imagined. She knows his type and is determined to avoid the rocker at all costs—even if their attraction runs deeper than simple lust.

Just as Hawke might finally be winning over the girl, his brother has other plans. When Hunter realizes his twin finally has a weakness, he’ll stop at nothing to take advantage….



Quinlan

I walk toward him, the sight of him slightly unkempt with a carefree smile he hasn’t possessed for days calls to my libido on so many levels it’s ridiculous. He brings a shot of something to his mouth and I don’t even give a second thought to what it is because I know I’ll taste it on my lips momentarily.

He hums deep in his throat when I step up into his body and there is something so inherently sexy about the sound—knowing that I caused that reaction—that together with the feel of his firm body against mine lets me know there will be no interruptions this time.

He looks at me, eyes darkening and one hand sliding beneath my shirt a beat before our lips meet in a hungry, no-holds-barred kiss. His empty bottle clatters on the counter behind him so that his other hand can join in the temptation. I lose myself in the taste of the tequila on his tongue, and the hypnotizing feeling of his hands on my body.

The music thumps hard around us, the noise buzzes, and the faint scent of cigarette smoke wafts in from outside but it’s as if none of it hits me because I’m consumed by everything about him: his taste, his cologne, the groan I can’t hear but can feel against our connected chests, the heat of his body. I don’t care who’s watching because it’s almost as if the overwhelming emotions that he’s experienced all week long are manifesting themselves into our mutual desperation.

“Upstairs. Now,” he murmurs against my lips, and I’ve never heard more perfect words. He grasps the bottle of tequila behind him in one hand and my hand in the other without saying anything further and walks with purpose through the crowd. I can’t see his face but he must have a determined look on it because not one person stops him to talk when that’s been the norm for the evening thus far. At the bottom of the stairs, I catch the eyes of the three wannabe women and just smirk. Call me bitchy, but I can’t help it, I’m with the one they were hoping to land tonight.

 

Sweet Ache was just epic! I loved it! Sweet Ache is part of K. Bromberg’s Driven Series, but it can be read as a standalone romance. You don’t need to read the series to fully enjoy the book. I love the series though and highly recommend them. I didn’t think the series could get any better, but Sweet Ache blew me away. It had everything I look for in a great love story. I devoured it! I fell in love with Hawk, the bad boy rocker along with the heroine, Quinlan. I loved their interactions and they left me smiling. Smoking hot romance at it’s best! K. Bromberg delivered a love story I won’t soon forget and this one is a new favorite I’ll read over and over. Go grab a copy and fall in love with a rock star.

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



 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author K. Bromberg is that reserved woman sitting in the corner who has you all fooled about the wild child inside of her—the one she lets out every time her fingertips touch the computer keyboard.

K. lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. When she needs a break from the daily chaos of her life, you can most likely find her on the treadmill or with Kindle in hand, devouring the pages of a good, saucy book.

On a whim, K. Bromberg decided to try her hand at this writing thing. Her debut novels, Driven, Fueled, and Crashed of The Driven Trilogy were well received and went on to become multi-platform bestsellers as well as landing on the New York Times and USA Today lists. Her other works include a short story, UnRaveled, and a companion piece to The Driven Trilogy titled Raced. She is currently working on three stand alone Driven novels, Slow Burn, Sweet Ache, and Hard Beat. She also plans to release a novel addressing the 10 year gap at the ending of Crashed in late fall 2015

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Against the Tide (The Brodies of Alaska #3) by Kat Martin

 

Against the Tide

The Brodies of Alaska #3

by Kat Martin

Releasing May 26, 2015

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Secrets—and safety—melt under a midnight sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life, and the cops haven’t been able to do a thing to help. But there’s one man who makes her feel safe, no matter what…rugged charter boat captain Rafe Brodie.

To Rafe, Liv is a beautiful mystery, one he can’t ignore. He means to unearth her secrets, and in the process, if luck is on his side, maybe the spark between them will ignite.

But Liv’s past is more dangerous than Rafe could guess, and when his first mate turns up dead, she fears that she’s next. That there’s something else coming she can’t see. That even Rafe and the remote village of Valdez, Alaska can’t protect her forever…

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The breakfast crowd at the Pelican Café had begun to arrive, as people did every morning when it opened at six a.m. The café had opened its doors in the fifties and been going strong ever since. Of course, it had passed through a dozen different owners, had its ups and downs, and been near financial ruin more than once.

Having purchased the restaurant six months ago, Olivia Chandler was the most recent person to step into the driver’s seat. Unlike the previous owner, who had let the place sink into disrepair, Olivia had been making changes, most of which had been heralded with great enthusiasm by the local customers.

The bell above the door rang as a young mother and her little girl walked in and headed for one of the light blue vinyl booths. Melissa Young, Olivia remembered, was her name. Liv made a point of getting to know her customers— just not too well.

While Melissa grabbed a child’s high seat and settled one-year-old Suzy in it, the waitress, a slim little blonde named Katie McKenzie, grabbed the coffeepot off the burner behind the counter and headed for the booth. Katie smiled as she filled Melissa’s mug and handed her a menu.

“I’ll give you a minute to decide,” Katie said, hurrying off to another table to refill an earlier patron’s cup.

One of the changes Liv had made was to hire a new cook—one who wasn’t high on marijuana half the time. Wayne Littlefish was Alaska Native, reliable and great in the kitchen. An older man, Charlie Foot, worked the dinner shift.

Liv had also hired two part-time waitresses instead of one full-time worker, which gave each of the girls a more flexible schedule and made taking time off easier for all of them, including Olivia and long-time employee, Nell Olsen.

A buxom woman with thick, silver-streaked black hair, Nell had worked at the café for more than ten years. She was as much a fixture as the sky-blue interior, the ocean theme, and the anchors and fishing nets on the walls.

Nell had been invaluable in helping Liv take over the business since, aside from waiting tables for the past couple of years, being a fairly decent cook, and a very fast learner, Liv had almost no experience in running a restaurant.

Still, in the last six months she had managed to keep the old clientele happy and add new customers. The tourist season was just starting, so business was getting even better.

“Well, look who’s coming,” Nell said, staring out the window at a tall man in jeans and a sweatshirt crossing the outside patio. The brick patio was empty now while it was still cold, but with summer approaching, soon would be noisy with people. “If it isn’t Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.”

Katie walked past Liv just then, a platter of bacon and eggs riding on the flat of her hand. “I just call him Mr. Freakin’ Hot.”

“Shame on you,” Liv teased. “You just turned twentyone. Rafe Brodie’s got to be at least a dozen years older.”

“Just means he’s a man not a boy. And I like a guy with a little experience.”

“From what I hear, he has plenty of that,” Liv said dryly as Katie sailed off to deliver the food.

Nell chuckled. “I’m fifty years old and that man can still make me swoon.”

Olivia busied herself wiping off the long Formica-topped counter as Rafe shoved through the door, ringing the bell above. Seating himself in his usual booth, he stretched his long legs out in front of him. Rafe was a regular in the café, which sat on North Harbor Drive right across from the boat dock.

“Katie’s busy,” Nell said with a matchmaking glint in her eyes. “Why don’t you wait on him?”

Olivia shook her head. “I’m busy, too. You go ahead.”

Knowing there was no persuading her, Nell sighed. “Probably better you don’t. Everyone in town knows Rafe’s a dedicated bachelor.”

As the owner of the café, Olivia caught most of the local gossip. According to Cassie Webster, the other part-time waitress, Rafe Brodie had dated a woman named Sally Henderson for nearly three years, until she dumped him four months ago because he refused to marry her.

Apparently, he’d made his intentions—or lack thereof— clear from the start, but Sally hadn’t believed him, poor girl.

Dedicated bachelor or not, Nell and Katie were right. With the thick, dark brown hair curling just over his collar, the faint shadow of beard that usually lined his hard jaw, and those hot, whiskey-brown eyes, he was one of the best-looking men Olivia had ever seen.

Which was exactly the reason she had avoided him since the day she had met him.

Oh, she’d been pleasant enough when she had to be, spoken to him for a moment when she’d been introduced to him at a chamber of commerce mixer right after she’d bought the café, but she always managed to be too busy to wait on him.

No use putting temptation in her path. It was simply too dangerous.

Still, as she worked taking orders and delivering meals to the patrons at the counter, she couldn’t help an occasional glance in his direction. He had always reminded her of a dark-haired lion, powerful and dangerous yet fascinating in some primitive way. He looked different today, the shadow along his jaw darker, as if he hadn’t had time to shave, his handsome features set in grim lines, and faint shadows under his eyes.

She watched as Nell chatted with him a moment, then Liv watched the easy smile Nell usually gave him slip from her face.

The coffeepot wavered. Rafe grabbed the glass pot to keep her from dropping it and spilled hot coffee over his hand.

Olivia didn’t hesitate, just grabbed a towel, wet it with cold water, and hurried in Rafe’s direction. He was sitting down again, Nell fussing over him, relieved to see Olivia approaching.

“Here—wrap this around your fingers.” She handed him the wet towel. “It’s cold enough to ease the pain and keep the burn from getting worse.”

“I’m all right,” Rafe said. “It’s no big deal.” But he accepted the wet cloth and looped it over the back of a big, suntanned hand.

The man was all of six-four, two-hundred-plus pounds, with a solid, athletic build and very wide shoulders. Liv was five-nine, but Rafe was more than half a head taller. She tried not to stare at his mouth, which seemed harder this morning without the smile he always had for Nell.

She glanced in her friend’s direction, sucked in a breath as Nell’s pale blue eyes filled with tears.

“Oh God, what is it?”

Nell blinked and the tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped at the wetness with a trembling hand. “I could tell something was wrong. It was stamped all over Rafe’s face.”

Liv glanced from one to the other, saw the same grim expression on both of their faces. “Tell me what’s happened.”

Nell swallowed. “It’s . . . it’s Scotty. He was killed last night.”

Olivia felt the blood seeping out of her head. She found herself sinking down on the bench opposite Rafe. “Oh God. That’s why Cassie didn’t show up for work this morning.” The reason Olivia had had to call Katie.

Rafe’s towel-wrapped hand unconsciously fisted. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything. I figured since Cassie works here, Nell already knew.”

“I’m glad you told me,” Nell said. “I need to go to her, make sure she’s okay.”

“I’ll cover while you’re gone,” Liv said. “We’ll be fine.” Nell wiped fresh tears from her cheeks. “This is going to break her heart. She loved Scotty so much. Everyone loved him.”

“I can’t believe he’s dead,” Liv said, aching for the young woman whose future had been shattered. “What happened?”

“The police think it was a mugging,” Rafe said. “Whoever did it stole his wallet, jewelry, cell phone.”

“Where did it happen?”

“On the dock next to the Scorpion.”

“Last night?”

“That’s right.”

Liv frowned. “What was he doing down at the dock at night? He’s usually home with Cassie.”

“I don’t know. I talked to Jaimie Graham before I came over. She had no idea what he was doing down there.”

“Jaimie had an awful crush on Scotty,” Nell said. “She must have taken the news real hard.”

“Jaimie isn’t good at hiding her feelings,” Rafe said. “She ran out of the house as soon as I told her, took off so no one would see her cry.”

Nell shook her head, moving the thick, salt-and-pepper hair that came to her shoulders and was clipped back on each side. “Poor thing.”

“I still can’t figure why Scotty was down at the dock,” Olivia said.

Rafe’s brown eyes swung to her face. “I’m hoping once things settle down, Cassie’ll be able to tell us.”

Olivia thought of the young woman who worked for her, imagined her pain, and her throat went tight. In the six months she had been running the café, she and Cassie had become close friends. Or at least as close as Liv could allow.

She looked over at Nell, whose face was still pale. “You go on. Go to her. As soon as the breakfast rush is over, I’ll join you at Cassie’s house.”

Nell just nodded. Picking the coffeepot up off the table, she headed for the breakfast counter, set the pot on the burner at the back. Removing her sky-blue Pelican Café apron, she slipped out through the side door near the rear of the building.

Liv glanced across the table at Rafe. His jaw looked iron hard, his eyes so dark she could barely see a hint of gold. For the first time it occurred to her that Rafe was hurting, too. Scotty was his first mate and they were friends. Cassie had said Scott idolized Rafe, had thought of him as an older brother.

Reaching toward him, she settled a hand over the fist he rested on top of the table. “Are you okay?”

His dark eyes flicked down to her hand, then moved up to her face. “Scott was a good man. One of the best. Whoever killed him is going to pay.”

A little shiver ran through her. It wasn’t a statement. It was a vow. “Surely the police will find the man who did it.”

“There’re eleven guys in the Valdez department. Eleven police officers to cover two-hundred-seventy square miles, including the pipeline terminus.” Valdez was the end point of the Alaska pipeline. The huge oil shipping facility at the edge of town was one of the things that made Valdez famous.

Along with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Eleven million gallons killed 250,000 seabirds and hundreds of otters and seals, a disaster it took thirty years to recover from. That and the biggest earthquake in U.S. history.

More recently, the tiny town was a place known for its majestic scenery and fabulous fishing.

“What about the State Troopers?” Olivia asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Rosen is a good man, but cops can be pissy about their territory. He may think he can go it alone.”

“Maybe he can,” Liv said, but she didn’t really trust the police. Hadn’t since she’d been forced to run for her life and couldn’t count on the police to help her.

“Maybe,” Rafe said. “I guess we’ll see.”

Liv watched his jaw settle into a determined line and thought of the vow he had made. Clearly it was a promise he meant to keep.

As she slid out of the booth, she realized her legs still felt shaky. “Would you like something to eat? You look like you could use it.”

Rafe rubbed a hand over the bristles along his jaw. “Lost my appetite. I just need some coffee. That’s what I came in for.”

She noticed the china mug in front of him had never gotten filled. “I’ll take care of it.” She headed across the café, grabbed the pot off the burner, and returned, poured his mug to the brim. “It’s on the house today.”

“Thanks . . . Liv.” Rafe’s gaze fixed on her face. It was the first time he had used the more familiar version of her name.

Olivia didn’t like the way her stomach lifted at the way he said that single, softly spoken word.

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 Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty books across multiple genres. Sixteen million copies are in print and she has been published in twenty-one foreign countries, including Japan, France, Argentina, Greece, China, and Spain. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA award and won both the Lifetime Achievement and Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews.

A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She and her author husband, L.J. Martin, spend their winters in Ventura, California. She is currently writing her next Romantic Suspense.

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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: When Darkness Ends (Guardians of Eternity) by Alexandra Ivy 

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  The Guardians of Eternity are facing a final battle to save their world—but battles of the heart may be the most difficult to fight…

Cyn, the vampire clan chief of Ireland, is an unabashed hedonist whose beauty is surpassed only by his insatiable appetite for pleasure. It’s no wonder he’s furious when he’s transported from the magical land of the pureblooded feys to his desolate private lair—only to have his very existence thrown into a chaos that even he cannot charm his way out of…

Most women may be all but powerless against Cyn, but Fallon, a sharp-witted fairy princess, is less than beguiled by the silver-tongued vampire. She’s a serious soul with no time for the sort of games he plays—especially when they learn that someone is trying to close the veil that separates the dimensions. But seduction may prove the most powerful force of all, as attraction ignites between the unlikely pair even as worlds are colliding around them…

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Ireland, present day

Cyn, clan chief of Ireland and former berserker, moaned as he slowly regained consciousness. His brain was fuzzy, which meant it took a full minute to realize he was lying butt-naked on the cold stone floor of a cave.

Bloody hell. It had been a millennium since he’d woken in this precise cave, naked and disoriented. He didn’t like it any better today than he had a thousand years ago.

What’d happened?

With a groan he forced himself to a sitting position, his body hardening at the intoxicating scent that teased at his nose.

Champagne?

A fine, crisp vintage that made his entire body tingle with anticipation.

For a blissful minute he allowed the fragrance to swirl around him. It was oddly familiar. And, surprisingly, it stirred a complex mixture of emotions.

Arousal. Wariness. Frustration

It was the frustration that abruptly forced him to recall why the scent was so familiar.

Muttering a curse, Cyn had a searing memory of following a beautiful fairy through a portal. No . . . not a fairy, he wryly corrected himself. A Chatri. The ancient purebloods of the fey world who’d retreated to their homeland centuries before.

He’d been there to help Roke locate his mate, but Princess Fallon had shoved him out of the throne room when it was obvious that Roke and Sally needed time to work out their differences, insisting that he leave them in peace.

He’d only been vaguely annoyed at first. He didn’t trust the cunning Chatri as far as he could throw them, especially not their king, Sariel. But he wanted Roke to work out his troubles with his mate.

Besides, he was male enough to appreciate being in the company of a beautiful woman.

Or in the case of Fallon . . . a breathtakingly exquisite woman.

Her hair was a glorious tumble of rich gold brushed with hints of pale rose. The sort of hair that begged a man to bury his face in the silken mass. Her eyes were polished amber with flecks of emerald and framed by the thickest, longest lashes Cyn had ever seen. And her ivory features . . . gods almighty, they were so perfect they didn’t look real. He might be suspicious of Fallon, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy fantasizing about having her tossed on the nearby chaise longue while he peeled the gown off her slender body, he’d assured himself.

So he’d allowed himself to be distracted by the lovely female as he sipped the potent fey wine, not realizing the danger until his head began to spin and the world went dark.

Idiot.

He should have known that they were plotting something.

He might have a fondness for the fey, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t well aware of their mercurial natures.

And their love for luring the unwary into their clever traps.

With a low growl he turned his head, easily spotting the female who was sprawled naked on the ground, her golden hair shimmering even in the darkness.

He wanted to know how the hell she’d managed to bring them to the caves beneath his private lair. And he wanted to know now.

Cyn moved to bend beside her slumbering form, pretending that he wasn’t acutely aware of the enticing temptation of her long, slender body and the fragile beauty of her pale face.

Sleeping Beauty . . .

A scowl marred his forehead. Aye. She was a beauty. She was also a powerful fey princess who’d managed to catch him off guard once.

It wasn’t going to happen again.

“Fallon?” Cyn murmured, his voice deep and laced with an accent that hadn’t been heard in this world for centuries. She heaved a sigh at the sound of his voice, but she remained stubbornly asleep. Cyn knelt at her side, knowing better than to touch her. The feel of that satin skin beneath

his fingertips was guaranteed to make him forget he was pissed as hell at her little trick. “Fallon,” he growled, his voice a command. “Wake up.”

She gave a small jerk, her lashes fluttering upward to reveal the striking amber eyes with the shimmering flecks of emerald.

For a long moment she studied him in stunned confusion.

Understandable.

Most people found Cyn . . . intimidating. At six foot three he had a powerful chest and thick muscles that marked him as a warrior. His thick mane of dark blond hair hung halfway down his back except for the front strands that he kept woven into tight braids that framed his face.

His features were chiseled along blunt lines with a square jaw and high cheekbones. His brow was wide and his jade green eyes heavily lashed. Females seemed to find him handsome enough, but there was never any mistake that he was a ruthless killer.

She sucked in a shaky breath as her gaze lowered to the barbaric Tuatha Dé Danann tattoos that curled and swirled in a narrow green pattern around his upper arms, emphasizing the perfect alabaster of his skin.

His lips twisted, wondering what she would think of the golden dragon tattoo with crimson wings that was currently hidden beneath the thick mane of his hair.

He’d earned the mark of CuChulainn that was branded onto his right shoulder blade after he’d survived the battles of Durotriges.

It marked him as a clan chief.

“Vampire,” she muttered, as if having difficulty remembering who he was.

He narrowed his gaze, wondering what game she was playing. “Cyn.”

“Yes . . . Cyn.” Her confusion was replaced with a horror as if she were suddenly remembering who he was. A horror that only intensified when she belatedly realized they were both butt-naked. “Dear goddess.” She shoved herself to a sitting position, curling her arms around her knees as she glared at him with angry accusation. “What have you done to me?”

 “Me?” He made a sound of disbelief, unconsciously reaching to push a strand of golden hair off her flushed cheek.

“No . . .” With a flare of panic she was scrambling backward, a genuine fear flaring through the amber eyes. “Stay away.”

Cyn muttered a low curse. Her pretense of confusion was annoying the hell out of him, but he didn’t like the thought that she was afraid of him.

Strange when he’d devoted several centuries to terrifying his enemies.

“Settle down, princess,” he murmured softly.

“Settle down?” A flush stained her beautiful face. “I wake up naked in the company of a strange vampire far away from my home and you want me to settle down?” She bit her bottom lip, her flush deepening to crimson. “Did you—”

“What?”

“Violate me?”

What the hell? Cyn surged upright. Six foot three of quivering, offended, naked male.

“No, I didn’t damned well violate you,” he rasped. “And if I had, I can assure you that you would not only remember, but you’d be on your knees thanking me for the privilege.”

Her fear was replaced by a more familiar disdain. As if he was a bug that needed to be squashed beneath her royal heel.

“Why, you arrogant . . . leech.”

He folded his arms over his massive chest. “At least I’m not a stuck-up prig of a fairy.”

“If you didn’t violate me, why are we naked?” she demanded, careful to keep her gaze locked on his face. Was she afraid his bare body might strike her blind? “And how did we get here?”

He snorted. “That’s a question I should be asking you.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I’m a vampire.”

Her lips thinned in annoyance, her chin tilted as she continued her ridiculous charade of innocence.

“Yes, I had managed to figure that out.”

“Then you know that I can’t create portals,” he snapped, deliberately allowing his gaze to skim downward. Unlike the aggravating female, he had no problem enjoying a naked body. Especially one so appetizing. “Only the fey can do that.”

She frowned, belatedly realizing she couldn’t try and pin the blame of their abrupt teleportation on him.

Odd, she hadn’t struck him as stupid.

Just the opposite, in fact.

“Fey aren’t the only creatures who can create portals.” She tried to hedge.

“Well, I obviously didn’t do it.”

“Neither did I.”

He made a sound of impatience. Why was she continuing with this game?

“You expect me to believe you?”

The flecks of emerald shimmered in her eyes. “My father has forbidden his people to leave our homeland.”

“Oh aye, and a daughter has never dared to disobey her father.”

She cast a condemning glance around the barren cave.

“Trust me. If I did decide to defy my father, I wouldn’t choose to travel to this dump.”

His low growl filled the air. He was a true hedonist. A vampire who reveled in rare books, fine wine, and beautiful women.

And in turn, women adored him.

All women.

But this female . . .

She wasn’t the warm, willing, bundle of pleasure he was accustomed to. She was rude and prickly and downright dangerous.

“Watch your tongue, princess,” he snarled. “This dump happens to be a part of my private lair.”

“There.” She pointed an accusing finger toward him. “I knew it. You kidnapped me.”

Cyn rolled his eyes. Could this farce get any more ridiculous?

“The only one kidnapped was me.”

“Why would I kidnap an oversized, ego-bloated vampire?”

Yeah. Why would she? It took him a minute to shuffle through his still-fuzzy thoughts.

“To keep me from protecting my friend,” he at last concluded.

Hadn’t she pulled him out of the throne room, leaving Roke at the mercy of her father, Sariel? And then she’d plied him with some wicked fey brew that had knocked him unconscious.

Aye. It made perfect sense that it was a nefarious plot to separate him from his friend.

At least it did until she glared at him in outraged disbelief.

“Are you completely mental? Your friend was exactly where he wanted to be.”

Okay. She had a point. Roke hadn’t looked like he needed Cyn’s services. In

fact, the last he’d seen of his fellow vampire, he was wrapping his mate in his arms, his expression one of besotted devotion.

Bleck.

“Then perhaps you simply wanted to be alone with me.” He flashed a smile that revealed his snowy white fangs. One way or another he was getting answers. “You wouldn’t be the first female to use magic to get me into your bed.”

She muttered something distinctly unladylike beneath her breath.

“I am a fairy princess.”

“And?”

“And I don’t share my bed with—”

He planted his hands on his hips, his expression daring her to finish the sentence.

“With?”

Her lips parted to complete her insult, but before she could speak there was a sizzle of power in the air. Cyn turned toward the center of the cave, his muscles coiled to attack as there was a faint pop, and then a tiny demon dressed in a long white gown appeared out of thin air.

Cyn gave a startled hiss, his eyes widening at the creature who could easily pass as a young girl with her small stature and long silver braid that nearly brushed the floor. Cyn, however, wasn’t fooled. He recognized the strange oblong eyes that were a solid black and the sharp, pointed teeth.

This was no harmless juvenile.

She had enough power to crush him and his entire clan.

Even worse, she was an Oracle. One of the rare demons who sat on the Commission, the ultimate rulers of the demon world.

“Enough squabbling, children,” she chided, folding her hands together as she studied them with an unnerving intensity.

“Holy shite.” Cyn offered a belated bow. “Siljar.”

Fallon crouched on the ground, her arms wrapped around her knees in a futile effort at modesty.

“You know this person?”

“Not person,” Cyn corrected, shivering as Siljar’s energy sizzled over his skin. “Oracle.”

The amber eyes widened. “Oh.”

“Forgive me.” Siljar gave an absent wave of her hand and Cyn made a strangled sound of shock as he found himself covered by a plain white robe that hit him just below the knees. The Oracle gave another wave of her hand and Fallon was covered in a matching robe. “I haven’t created a portal into the fairy homeland for a number of centuries.”

Cyn scowled, ignoring Fallon’s I-told-you-so glare. “You brought us here?” he demanded.

Siljar gave a nod of her head. “I did.”

“Why?”

“Because I have need of you.”

His acute hearing picked up Fallon’s soft sigh of relief as she rose to her feet and brushed her hands down the satin robe.

“You need the vampire?”

“I have a name,” he reminded the princess with a snap.

Siljar clicked her tongue, her gaze shifting from Fallon to Cyn.

“I need both of you.”

Cyn stiffened. It was never, ever a good thing when an Oracle had need of him.

“Why?”

There was the unmistakable scent of sulfur as Siljar’s expression tightened with anger.

“I fear the Commission is being tampered with.”

Cyn arched a brow. Hadn’t Styx sent word that they’d uncovered the plot by the strange demons who’d been holding Fallon’s father captive?

“Aye, we know the Nebule planted a spy to pose as an Oracle,” he said.

Siljar shrugged. “He has been destroyed.”

Oh. Cyn grimaced. “You suspect there’s another traitor?”

“That was my first thought,” Siljar admitted. “But I believe that on this occasion the Oracles are being manipulated without their knowledge.”

That seemed . . . unlikely.

“Why are you suspicious?” he demanded.

Siljar hesitated a second before revealing what was troubling her.

“Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself awakening as if from a trance to discover I’m seated in the Council Room,” she at last said.

Cyn blinked in confusion. That was it? He’d been kidnapped and dropped naked in these caves because the old gal was becoming forgetful?

He forced himself to consider his words. Only an idiot implied that an Oracle might be going a bit batty.

“The past year has been stressful, especially for the Commission,” he murmured.

“It has. And if I was the only Oracle to experience the strange phenomenon, then I would assume that your implication that I’m suffering from some sort of mental decay was right.” Her lips twitched as he flinched at her blunt words. “I am, after all, quite old and it wouldn’t be entirely unlikely that I would accidentally transport myself to a familiar location without realizing what I’m doing.”

Cyn ignored Fallon’s barely hidden amusement at his discomfort.

“But?”

“More than once I discovered I wasn’t alone.”

Cyn grimaced even as he heard Fallon suck in a startled breath.

Having Siljar suffering from an occasional blackout was one thing. To think of the entire Commission being controlled by some unseen force . . . bloody hell.

“The other Oracles didn’t know how they got there either?” he rasped.

Siljar gave a somber shake of her head. “No.”

******

Another great book in Alexandra Ivy’s Guardians of Eternity Series. I’m obsessed with this series! I love the world Alexandra Ivy has created and the characters. Most series seem to fizzle out over time but the Guardians of Eternity series keeps getting better. When Darkness Ends is the 12th book in this series and can be read as a standalone but I recommend starting at the beginning. It’s a great paranormal series. When Darkness Ends is full of action, danger, and passionate romance. Cyn, a Berserker Vampire, and Fallon, a fairy princess, are perfect for each other. I loved their interactions. Their story hooked me from the beginning and took me on an enjoyable journey. If you haven’t read this series I highly recommend it for paranormal romance lovers and if you have read it you’ll love this new addition to this incredible series.

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


  

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imageALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at http://www.alexandraivy.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: A Sorceress of His Own (The Gifted Ones Book 1) by Dianne Duvall

  

From the Bestselling author of the Immortal Guardians series comes a new paranormal historical romance that inspired it all, and is sure to enchant fans new and old!



A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN

The Gifted Ones Book 1

Dianne Duvall

Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Dianne Duvall

 

 From the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Immortal Guardians series comes an enchanting new series full of romance, danger, and loyalty: The Gifted Ones

Since the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet only the wisewoman seems invariably at ease in his presence. Perhaps because she garners the same fear in others that he does himself.

For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon’s side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed—or cursed—with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.

All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon’s life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything—even the wrath of his king—to be with her.

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“Tis bewildering.”

His eyebrows rose. “Is the change in him so difficult to accept?”

She let her gaze rove his muscled body, lounging so casually and comfortably with her own. “’Tis not only the change in Sir Robert that confuses me.”

Dillon’s expression sobered. His cerulean eyes turned watchful. “Am I different with you, Alyssa?”

The sound of her name falling so smoothly from his lips after so many years should not inspire this depth of pleasure. Swallowing nervously, she wished now that she had held her tongue. “You know that you are.”

“In what way?” His gaze swept her hidden form. His voice deepened, turned husky. “Tell me.”

Alyssa’s heart hammered beneath her breast. What was he doing to her? With just a look… such a look… he peeled away her exterior and threatened to expose all of her hidden desires.

“In this way,” she managed to say. “The way you look at me.” As though you are a starving wolfhound and I a choice bit of venison that has fallen at your feet.

“I thought you gray-haired and wrinkled beneath your robes. Yet, here you are, younger than myself by several summers unless I miss my guess. To discover such exquisite beauty… ’Tis not surprising that I look at you differently.” Still reclining on one elbow, he leaned forward and, with his free hand, brushed his fingers across her forehead, traced the arch of one brow and trailed down her temple to her cheek.

Images stirred in her mind. Erotic images that stole her breath and began a flash fire in her body.

Dillon drawing back the blankets, baring her body to his heated gaze.

Dillon’s hands and mouth touching her in the most shocking places.

His clothing miraculously vanishing as he lowered his body to hers.

Sucking in a breath, she drew away.

Hurt dimmed the sparkle in his eyes as he dropped his hand.

“That does not explain why you…” She bit her lip, afraid he would laugh if she finished her thought. What if it was all her imagination? Could it not be that the earthy desires that frequently flooded her at his touch were her own, rather than his?

“Continue,” he urged her.

“You do not treat me as formally as you used to.” She danced around the issue, of course. Without her robes to hide her expression, she found herself battling a new shyness and uncertainty when with him.

Flattening his hand on the bed, he splayed his fingers and frowned down at it. “You would prefer formality? Distance?”

She opened her mouth, ready to say aye, that aught would be better than this confusion he inspired.

Unfortunately, to do so would be to lie outright and—with the exception of neglecting to correct his assumptions regarding her age—she had always dealt honestly with him.

“Nay,” she admitted softly.

“Then what troubles you about my recent behavior toward you, Alyssa?”

She closed her eyes and repressed a shudder of pleasure. What troubled her about it? That she craved more and more and more of it and feared she would soon become a glutton.

Lifting her lashes, she stared at his bent head. “I simply do not understand why you are treating me with such… tenderness.”

His eyes rose and captured hers. “Because you are letting me.”


I loved this book! A Sorceress of His Own is the first book in Dianne Duvall’s Gifted Ones Series. The Gifted Ones Series is a spinoff series from The Immortal Guardians Series. Some of the characters from the Immortal Guaridans are in The Gifted Ones Series, but you do not have to read the series to enjoy this one. A Sorceress of His Own is a historical paranormal romance set in England. It’s full of danger, intrigue and passion. Dianne Duvall brought the characters to life and delivered an addicting and exciting new series. I’m hooked! Go grab a copy and devour it! 

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

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Dianne_Duvall_AuthorPicDianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne’s books “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly), “extraordinary” (Long and Short Reviews), and “wonderfully imaginative” (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn’t writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit www.DianneDuvall.com.

You can also find Dianne online . . .

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress (Millworth Manor, Book 5) by Victoria Alexander

 
The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress

(
Millworth Manor, Book 5)

by Victoria Alexander

*****

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

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To Do:

Swim naked in the moonlight

Play in a high stakes card game

Ride an elephant

Be painted sans clothing.

Take a lover…

Lucy Merryweather has inherited a fortune—and her great-aunt’s list of unfulfilled wishes. What better way to honor her memory than by accomplishing as many of them as possible? And with Lucy’s family an ocean away in New York, nothing stands in her way—if one ignores the private investigator hired to spy on her.

Yet Cameron Effington is infuriatingly difficult to ignore…

As a reporter, Cameron is always looking for a good story. An American heiress running rampant between Millworth Manor and Mayfair is the perfect subject. Not to mention captivating. And extremely kissable. And if Lucy believes he’s a detective? Well, the truth should never get in the way of a good story—or hinder delicious, impetuous passion…


“I am well aware that I am under no obligation to Great-aunt Lucinda, at least not legally, but I feel a, well, a moral obligation if you will. I was quite moved by the letter she left for me and by her regrets, but there was nothing I could do about it when you and I had our lives planned out for us. Now, everything has changed.” She shook her head. “I do not want to reach the end of my life and have a list of those things I wanted to do but failed to so much as try. The very idea terrifies me. I don’t want regrets of my own.” She met his gaze directly. “And if I don’t do this for her—for me— I know I will.”

“Perhaps . . .” He settled back in his chair and chose his words carefully. A deceptively casual note sounded in his voice. “You should do those things you’ve always wanted rather than those someone else wished to do.”

“Excellent, Jackson.” She fixed him with a firm look. “And just what do you suggest those might be?”

He shrugged. “I have no idea.”

“Unfortunately, neither do I.” She crossed her arms over her chest and drew her brows together. “Every bit of my life has been planned and expected up until now. I’ve never veered from the course set out for me. Why, I never even questioned whether you and I should marry. At least not aloud.”

“Nor did I,” Jackson said under his breath.

“But as I am no longer expected to marry you, I’m not sure what I want to do.”

“Surely you wish to marry someone someday?”

“Oh, probably someday, but at the moment . . .” She shook her head. “I feel very much like a bird who has at long last been released from its cage.”

“Thank you,” he said wryly.

“Come now, you know what I mean.” She waved off his comment. “Now that I am free, I have no idea what I want to do with my freedom. Until I determine that, it seems the best course is to do those things my great-aunt never had the opportunity to do.”

“I’m not sure that is indeed the best course. Still . . .” He studied her for a moment. “You haven’t told me what these regrets of your aunt’s are. I’m assuming the worst, you know. That they are all improper or scandalous or dangerous.” “Not all of them.” She had no intention of telling him everything on Lucinda’s long list, but she could tell him one or two items. “Some of them are a little silly and some are really rather sweet. For one thing, she always wanted to have a dog but was never able to have one as dogs made Great-uncle Charles sneeze. There are quite a few that are as innocent as that.”

His eyes narrowed. “But not all of them?”

“Well, some are a bit more daring.” She cast him an innocent smile. “But not substantially so.”

“I don’t believe you for a moment.” He shook his head. “I don’t think this is the least bit advisable, Lucy.”

“Why not? You’re going off to do exactly what you want. Aside from the notion of following in your father’s adventurous footsteps, your plans are even less definitive than mine. Why shouldn’t I do what I want?”

 “For one thing, you’re female,” he said in a distinctly patronizing manner. She did so hate it when he was patronizing. It was the banker in him, no doubt. And even though he was now forgoing his life as a banker in favor of something far more exciting, it was obviously easier to take the man out of the bank than the bank out of the man. “For another, you have no practical experience at being on your own. Although I could hire someone to make certain of your safety, I suppose. A bodyguard or some sort of private investigator—”

“You most certainly will not! I do not need a nursemaid or a watchdog.”

“I don’t like leaving you here alone with no one to watch over you.”

She raised a brow. “Goodness, Jackson, I had no idea you had such a poor opinion of my abilities and intelligence.”

“I didn’t mean that quite the way it sounded.” Jackson shook his head. “You’ve simply taken me by surprise. I’ve no doubt you’re probably extremely capable underneath all that”—his eyes narrowed—“pleasantry.”

“I am unfailingly pleasant.”

“Yes, I know.” He studied her for a long moment. “You’re determined, aren’t you?”

“I am.”

“Well, I suppose you’re right.” He heaved a resigned sigh.

“There’s no reason why you can’t do what you wish. And I suspect there’s nothing I can do to stop you.”

She cast him her sweetest smile.

“Therefore, I have no objection—”

“Oh, lucky, lucky me.”

He ignored her. “However, I do have conditions.”

“Conditions?” She scoffed. “I thought we had established that it’s no longer your right to have any say whatsoever about what I may or may not do. I am nearly twenty-four years old, you know.”

“I have the right of a good friend, as someone who cares about you. But if you would prefer not to agree to my conditions”—he shrugged—“I might feel compelled to write to your parents, or better yet, your brothers, and tell them of my concerns.” It was his turn to smile pleasantly.

Lucy narrowed her gaze. She had no doubt he would do exactly that if she didn’t give in to his demands. “Very well. What are your conditions?”

“One, that you restrict your pursuit of these adventures of your great-aunt’s to England and reside either here at Millworth or at Channing House in London.” He held up his hand to forestall her objection. “My parents and aunt and uncle will all be traveling, so you would be as independent as you plan. Of course, the servants will be here.”

Lucy bit back a satisfied smile. She was well aware that very nearly everyone in his family would be heading toward different parts of the world in the coming days. She was only telling Jackson all this in the first place because she intended to ask if she could stay on in his family’s residences while they were away. She had already decided to pursue her quests in England for several reasons. First and foremost, she was here, delightfully far from home and everyone she knew. Besides, her great-aunt had always wanted to travel to England as her mother, Lucy’s great-grandmother, was born here. Lucy’s visit to England meant she could already cross one regret off the list. Beyond that, as this would be Lucy’s first attempt at adventure of any kind, it did seem it might be easier to have grand adventures if she fully understood the language. While she had studied French and Italian, languages simply eluded her and she could do little more than ask for directions to the library or the train station. She nodded. “I can agree to that.”

“And you will periodically call on my cousin, Lady Dunwell, so that someone will be assured of your well-being.”

“Your cousin Beryl?”

Jackson nodded. “As everyone else will be out of the country, Beryl is an excellent choice. Her husband, Lionel, is expected to be prime minister one day. I doubt that I could leave you in better hands.”

Apparently Jackson was not aware that, while Lady Dunwell and her husband were most respectable at the moment, the gossip about their past was extremely interesting and not the least bit proper. Lucy couldn’t think of a more perfect watchdog. She forced a resigned note to her voice. “Very well.”

“And.” His tone hardened. “You will allow me to hire a companion for you.”

“I don’t need a companion.”

“And I have been lax in my correspondence.”

She narrowed her eyes. “You do realize there is a word for what you’re doing?”

“I daresay there are any number of words for what I’m doing.” The smug note in his voice matched the satisfied look in his eyes.

“Blackmail and extortion immediately come to mind.” He cast her a completely unrepentant grin. She could not recall ever wanting to smack that grin off his face before.

“All right.” She sighed. “A companion it is then.” Still, she could always discharge any companion Jackson found once he was out of the country.

Jackson paused. “You do realize once your parents find out—”

“They shall no doubt send someone to bodily haul me home.” It was awkward to sail off into the unknown when your family refused to accept that you were an adult. She wasn’t entirely sure how she was going to deal with that situation should—when it occurred. She’d always been a perfect daughter. She’d never done anything unexpected or improper in her life. It was a pity, really. If she’d had more experience with impropriety she’d probably know how to handle the repercussions of doing the unexpected. “Yes, I do realize that, which means I probably don’t have a great deal of time to accomplish what I want.”

“You will write to them?”

“I already have.” She forced a note of indignation to her voice. “I would never want to worry them. Besides, your mother wrote to them as well.” Unfortunately, as Mrs. Channing’s letter had been placed on a hallway table to be posted, Lucy might possibly have dropped it into the fire. Accidentally, of course.

“And you did tell them that you are no longer accompanied by my mother.”

“Goodness, Jackson.” She drew her brows together. “One would think you didn’t trust me.”

“I didn’t mean—”

“Have I ever in my entire life lied to you?”

“Not that I know of.”

“And do you consider me to be a liar? Someone who prevaricates? Who hides the truth?” She pinned him with a firm look. “Well?”

“Of course not.” Jackson shook his head. “I am sorry. It’s . . . well . . .” He ran his hand through his hair in an endearingly familiar manner. For a moment she could see the future they had both expected. It would have been quite pleasant and it was a tiny bit sad to see it vanish. But not marrying Jackson would never be one of her regrets. “It’s been a difficult few days.”

“Not to mention the months preceding it.” She again resisted the urge to bring up Lady Theodosia.

“Still, you’re right.” He shrugged apologetically. “I have no reason not to trust you.”

“Thank you, Jackson.” She beamed at him. Perhaps there was something to be said for having a spotless reputation after all. And it wasn’t a complete lie. She had written, she simply might not have mentioned that Jackson’s mother had decided to travel the world with her estranged husband in the hopes of rekindling what they once had. It was terribly romantic. And extremely convenient.

Nonetheless, even though Lucy had assured Jackson’s mother she would write to her family, as indeed she had, Lucy had no doubt that at some point Elizabeth Channing would again write to her dear friend Pauline Merryweather. Said letter would surely mention Elizabeth’s travels with her husband and that Lucy had stayed in England. At which point Pauline would realize she wasn’t entirely certain exactly where her only daughter was or what she was doing, and there would be hell to pay. As frustrating as the slow speed of mail and transport across the Atlantic was, at the moment, Lucy was grateful. By her calculations, she had a minimum of a month to do what she wanted to do. If she was lucky, she would have far more.

She was under no illusions that she could do everything on her great-aunt’s list, but it did seem to her that the worth was as much in the effort as the success. After that, Lucy had no idea what she would do, but her future certainly didn’t need to be decided here and now. She had time and money and freedom.

“You are absolutely certain you want to do this?” Jackson asked.

“Aside from not marrying you”—Lucy grinned—“I have never been more certain of anything in my life.”

“Again, thank you.”

She laughed. She would always treasure Jackson, but they were choosing their own roads to follow. She hadn’t the slightest doubt that one day he would walk his with Lady Theodosia by his side. Precisely as it should be.

Lucy’s own road was a bit less clear. Which should have concerned her but didn’t. It was as exciting as it was daunting. Besides, when fate offered you a hand, you would be a fool not to take it. Adventure was where one found it, after all, and opportunities were not to be squandered.

What Jackson didn’t know, what Lucy had never revealed to anyone, was that her great-aunt wasn’t the only young girl to make a list of those silly or improper things she wished to do in her life.

Lucinda Wilhelmina Merryweather had long had a secret list of adventures of her own.

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New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in a very old house in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two allegedly grown children and two bearded collies. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it’s never too soon to panic.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads

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Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Exposed (Ethan Frost, Book 3) by Tracy Wolff 

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Exposed: Ethan Frost, Book 3 By Tracy Wolff 

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

   

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Ethan Frost, the irresistible leading man from the New York Times bestsellers Ruined and Addicted, returns once again in Exposed—a novel that’s perfect for fans of J. Kenner and Sylvia Day.

Will Ethan Frost go too far for the woman he loves?

The moment Chloe Girard walked into my life, she exposed secrets and emotions I always thought were best kept buried.

She wants to move on, to ignore the past. But I can’t do that. Not when she still suffers. And not when the man who hurt her remains unscathed. So when I discover the perfect opportunity to make him pay for what he did to Chloe, I can’t walk away, no matter the consequences.

But there’s a fine line between justice and obsession. As I turn up old crimes and new lies, I know that I’m playing with fire—and risking the very foundations of our relationship.

My love for Chloe is absolute. I just hope it’s enough to save us both.

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✦Book 1: Ruined ➢ Kindle B&N | Kobo | iBooks 
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✦Book 3: Exposed ➢ Kindle | B&N | Kobo

 

After several long minutes, my heartbeat finally returns to normal. I pull out slowly, rolling Chloe over so that she’s cuddled into my chest and I can feel her breath against my neck, her heart beating against my own.

“I love you,” she says, her lips moving drowsily against my sweat-slicked skin.

“I love you, too.”

It’s a vow on my part as much as it is a declaration. Because loving her has never been the problem. I’ve loved her almost from the beginning—I started falling the minute she refused to drink the blueberry smoothie I made her and by the time she’d returned the Vitamix I’d bought her for the second time, I was all in.

Yes, loving her is easy. But keeping her—that’s something else entirely. I’ve already fucked things up with her, twice. I lied to her, tried to break up with her, hurt her over and over again when all I’ve really wanted to do is protect her.

I don’t know how one man can fuck up as badly—and as many times—as I have. And yet, by some miracle, she’s still here. In my arms. In my bed. Though, technically, we’re in her bed at the moment.

That’s something else I intend to change as soon as possible. Not that I have anything against Chloe’s room—or her roommate. But I need her with me, in my space. I need her in my house, her stuff cluttering up my dresser, her shoes tripping me on the way to the bathroom, her sexy-sweet scent hanging in the corners of every room I enter.

I need her things mingled with mine, need her life mingled with mine.

Because no matter how much I’ve fucked up, no matter how many mistakes I’ve made, I can’t let her go. I won’t let her go. Not now. Not ever. We’re tied together, our lives twisted and tangled together long before we had a clue what we would mean to each other. I wouldn’t have chosen our past, how we started out. But it exists. It’s real, and it’s something we’re both going to have to live with—for better or worse.

That’s the nightmare. That one day she won’t be able to live with what Brandon did to her. With the part I played in keeping him safe because I didn’t know better. Because I was blind.

But that’s a future I hope will never happen—a future I’m determined to never let happen. Right now, in the present, she’s still here. Still in my arms. Still willing to give me—to give us—a chance to get this right.

It’s more than I deserve, but I’m taking it.

I stroke her back, murmur nonsense words in her ear as Chloe snuggles close to me. Her breathing evens out and she’s asleep again within minutes. She’s exhausted, the toll of the last few weeks—the last few months—impossible to ignore. For both of us.

I close my eyes, try to follow, but my mind is too crowded to allow any kind of sleep to creep in. Chloe’s words from earlier chase themselves around inside my head—and there’s a part of me that knows she’s right. That knows I’ll be messing with all kinds of old wounds if I keep pursuing this. Opening them up, making them bleed. Making her bleed.

Hurting her any more than she’s already been hurt is the last thing I want to do.

But as I lay here staring at the ceiling, I can’t stop thinking about my brother. About the fact that he hurt her when she was young and defenseless. About the way he continues to hurt her even now.

I flash back to the way he looked at her in my driveway that day when the whole world came crashing down around our ears for the first time. So smug, so satisfied, so convinced of his own invincibility. The nondisclosure agreement—agreements, I remind myself, thinking back to the call I just took—make him untouchable and he knows it. More, he revels in it.

I’m not okay with that.

I’m not okay with any of it. Not what he did to Chloe and those other women. Not how he got away with all of it. And most definitely, not how he’s planning to run for Congress and beyond, building a life for himself making laws that he feels absolutely no compunction to follow.

None of that is okay.

Chloe might be strong enough to live with the past—and a future where Brandon never pays for his crimes. But I’m not. And I never will be. 




 

imageTracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.


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Ebook of RAVEN by Ashley Suzanne
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