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A perfect family living a perfect lie...
IF IT WALKS LIKE A KILLER
by Kiersten Modglin
Series: The Caroline Killer Files #1
Genres: Thriller | Crime | Suspense
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
What Caide and Rachael Abbott want you to believe…
They are happily married college sweethearts, parents to two beautiful children, and they lead a perfect, quiet little life.
What you should believe…
Nothing they tell you.
Nothing you hear.
In fact, nothing in the Abbotts’ picture-perfect world is what it seems.
But when their small town of La Rue, North Carolina is rocked by the brutal murder of a beloved member of the community, a manhunt begins, and neither Caide nor Rachael thought they would become prime suspects.
Every belief Caide and Rachael have about their lives is thrown out the window…
With mounting evidence and lives on the line, the Abbotts are forced to uncover what mysteries are hiding behind closed doors. When old wounds are torn open, secrets are revealed, and their sanity is put to the ultimate test, even memories can’t be trusted in their quest to find the truth. And when the community rallies for justice, suspicions of one another rise, leaving one question begging to be answered...
If it walks like a killer, will the small town of La Rue ever know who the real murderer is?
Watch the BOOK TRAILER!
ABOUT THE AUTHORKiersten Modglin
lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and their two Boston Terriers, Cedric and Chloe. A psychology fanatic, lover of Netflix, coffee and all things Harry Potter, Kiersten can almost always be found curled up in her favorite writing chair with a good book. Kiersten writes psychological suspense novels that explore the darkest parts of human nature and the inner workings of twisted minds. Writing has always been an important part of Kiersten’s life; for her, this is just the beginning.
*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.
Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!Aquafortis got me thinking about comfort reads a few weeks ago. While I really started reading fiction mostly late in high school, I have some read-again books which resonate with me mostly because of... Read the rest of this post
Synopsis: Suspense stories that deal with kidnapping and imprisonment (consider that your trigger warning) don't always put an equally weighty focus on the aftermath of the trauma. This particular thriller suspensefully covers both the dramatic... Read the rest of this post
Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!I tried very, very hard in high school English to read Dickens. I hated Dora. I loathed David. I wanted to smack Uriah Heep (but then, didn't everyone). I hated Our Mutual Friend. I had no luck with... Read the rest of this post
It's July 4th! Maybe by now you're tired of sunshine, patriotic colors, smoke from the bbq or your neighbors, relatives, and friends, and would prefer to get back to your usual semi-monastic existence of reading and not speaking to people. At... Read the rest of this post
Kate SeRine dropped by the virtual offices to share a Top 10 list!
Top 10 Items You’ll Never Find in Kyle’s Bedroom
Kyle Dawson is the youngest of the Dawson brothers and definitely has cocky, confident swagger to spare. But beneath that swagger is an intelligent, caring, ambitious guy who’s dealing with a lot—both personally and professionally. And what better way to get to know a guy than by taking a peek at what’s in his bedroom—or, in this case, what’s not. So here are ten things you’ll never find in Kyle’s bedroom…
Lots of hipster hair/body products. Kyle’s pretty low-maintenance.
Anything related to work. Leave it at the office—whether that’s the actual office or the home office. Gotta have a sacred space where the cases can’t intrude or the job will kill you.
A varied wardrobe. Pretty much the same kind/color of suit, shirt, and tie every day. It’s an FBI thing.
Work out equipment. He stays in shape running and going to the gym to workout. If he relied on working out at home it’d be too easy to just sit on his ass after a long day on the job.
Books. Kyle loves to read, but his favorite place to do so is stretched out on the couch with Abby snuggled up beside him.
Decorative anything. A bedroom is for sleeping—or not, depending on who’s with you.
Television. See #6.
Food of any kind. Unless it’s being licked from Abby’s skin. Then all bets are off.
Clothes on the floor—unless they were tossed there in his haste to get naked with Abby…
Sexual enhancement products. Kyle doesn’t need any help pleasing his woman. He’s got this.
Title: Stop at Nothing
Author: Kate SeRine
Series: Protect & Serve, #1
Pubdate: November 3rd, 2015
When a high-profile investigation goes wrong, FBI Agent Kyle Dawson is transferred back home where he is forced to confront his demons…and the only woman he ever loved. Three years ago, Kyle and Abby Morrow shared a wild, passionate summer—then Abby broke his heart.
Now she needs his help
Kyle never stopped loving Abby. So when Abby uncovers evidence of a human-trafficking ring, leading to her sister’s kidnapping, he swears he’ll stop at nothing to bring her sister home and keep Abby safe. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse and blindsided by their own explosive desires, they must set aside the past before it’s too late.
Kate SeRine writes award-winning romantic suspense and paranormal romance. A past recipient of an Emily Award and the National Readers Choice Award, she has also been a finalist in the Fire and Ice Contest, Finally a Bride Contest, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. She lives with her husband and two sons outside Indianapolis, Indiana. Connect with Kate at www.kateserine.com.
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This December starts off with a bang as M.L. Buchman releases TARGET ENGAGED, the first in his brand new (and action-packed) Delta Force series! To celebrate his new release, Sourcebooks Casablanca is sharing the first six chapters of Target Engaged for FREE! Click here to download the first six chapters and check out a special note from M.L. Buchman below.
A Note from M.L. Buchman
Welcome to my newest series: the first women of Delta Force. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun this was to write.
Most of us know little more about Delta Force than the Chuck Norris movies (which leave a lot to be desired) or perhaps we only know the name. In researching my Night Stalkers series, I kept running into these guys. They are the elite of Special Operations Forces. They are at a level of SEAL Team 6, and most would argue they were even beyond that. They are the ghost and shadow warriors who helped take down drug lord Pablo Escobar, capture Noriega, were undoubtedly behind the locating of Saddam Hussein, and are the main reason that Al-Qaeda abruptly stopped being a topic in the Iraq War when over three thousand of their leaders were swept off the board.
Yet the Pentagon states that they don’t exist. Fascinating.
And while they often work with undercover female operatives, no woman has yet managed to kick in the front door on one of the most arduous selection programs in the military.
I decided to change that.
Carla Anderson stepped forward to take the challenge. She is a not a woman out to prove she can match any man, she’s out to prove that she can beat them at their own game. And that was the first thing that I loved about writing this series.
In the Night Stalkers, the women were strong, excellent, and determined.
To be a Delta Force woman, Carla had to add enough attitude and drive to plow through all obstacles which just made her so much fun. Nothing was off the table when it came to her attitude or her actions.
And that was the second thing I came to love about this series launcher, Target Engaged. Being Delta Force, they really do operate outside so many bounds. They are sent to do the tasks that no one else can. To that I added the additional challenge that Robert Ludlum gave to Jason Bourne (though I’m quoting the movie): “I don’t send you to kill. I send you to be invisible. I send you because you don’t exist.” I’m pretty convinced that this is part of Delta’s mission.
It is occasionally said by retired Delta Force operators (as the on-duty ones never speak): “If we’d been sent in to take down bin Laden, you still wouldn’t know how it was done.” To bring that to life gave me a permission as a writer to run my characters into hard and strange places and be just a little gonzo doing it.
But writing is a give and take, and I can’t begin to tell you how much the characters I created shaped my telling of this story. I like to think that they had as much fun as I did bringing this story to life.
I hope that you enjoy the reading even half as much as I enjoyed the writing!
M.L. Buchman (the Oregon Coast, November 2015)
Get to know the Carla, and the entire Delta Force team by reading the first SIX chapters of TARGET ENGAGED for free! Just click here to download them! To get you started, we’ve included the first few pages below:
Title: Target Engaged
Series: Delta Force, #1
Author: M.L. Buchman
Book 1 in M.L. Buchman’s thrilling NEW Delta Force series
Delta Force: The most dangerous elite counter-terrorism force on the planet
• The deadliest shooters •
• The most out-of-the-box thinkers in any military •
• Will die to get the mission done •
Sergeant Kyle Reeves: The premier soldier of the new recruits
Sergeant Carla Anderson: The first woman of Delta Force
If the training doesn’t kill them, their passion may—but Kyle Reeves and Carla Anderson blast right in. Show no fear. Have no fear. Then they get the call. The most powerful drug-smuggling ring in Venezuela needs a takedown, and Delta’s newest team leaps into the deep jungle to deliver. Giving their all? Not a problem. Giving their hearts? That takes a new level of courage.
M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the Year,” nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews, and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year” placing two of his titles on their “The 101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.
In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.
He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1MJf5ez
Every town has their ghost stories and tales of the past that remains mysteries to this day. That’s why The Headmaster’s Cave book review with matching activities was an intriguing journey!
The Headmaster’s Cave Book Review
In D.S. Allen’s book The Headmaster’s Cave, the town of Ballymagee is tainted by a horrible past: the murder of seven students by their headmaster. Descendants of the victims still mourn their families, but they all accept the mystery at face value—that the crazy headmaster kidnapped the kids and murdered them in a cave by the coast.
When friends George, Katie, and Dougie receive a mysterious email asking them to come to Headmaster’s Cave (a dangerous journey), they are both intrigued and frightened. They all three want answers, especially Dougie and George, both descendants of victims, however, George and Katie both recognize the danger of the journey and agree to go on a different, less lethal, adventure. But this isn’t good enough for Dougie. When George and Katie, along with George’s best four-legged friend Flanagan, realize that Dougie has decided to meet the sender of the mysterious emails, they have no choice but to go after their friend and help him.
After encountering many trials along the way—bullies, The Magic Forest, Old Maggie and her pack of bloodthirsty dogs, and bullies again—they are saved by a gentle giant by the name of Leonard who seems to appear out of nowhere. He explains that he can lead them to Dougie, who is already waiting for them at the cave. Little do the friends know (well, maybe Flanagan knew; dogs are intuitive after all), that they are walking right into a trap!
Will they solve the mystery of The Headmaster’s Cave? And most importantly, will they survive to tell the tale?
This is an intense, action-packed adventure, great for both guy and girl readers! The two main characters, George and Katie, are a great pair, both powerful and intelligent in their own ways. I love how important George’s dog, Flan, was to the story mainly because I think that dogs are awesome! This was definitely a riveting story.
DISCLAIMER. This book has some intense material and scenes. This book should be reserved for intermediate – middle school aged kids (Age Level: 8 – 12, Grade Level: 3 – 6). They’ll love the action, mystery, and adventure! Get ready for a couple good ghost stories.
Thanks to the author D.S. Allen and Renee from Mother/Daughter Book Club for providing a review copy.
The Headmaster’s Cave Activities-Something To Do
1. George’s dog Flanagan is very crucial to this story. He’s basically a main character. Are you thinking about getting a four-legged friend? Then here’s a quiz to help you find the perfect, loyal dog breed for you!
2. George prided himself on the fact that he knew how to make a fire, however, he accepted Katie’s help when he realized he might not know as much as he thought. Here’s two fire tutorials: one real and one a nice decoration for the holidays:
3. Interested in learning chess like George and Dougie? Here’s a chess 101 lesson from Enchanted Yankee:
**some of the above links are affiliate links. I was gifted a copy of Headmaster’s Cave and the opinions expressed are purely my own.
Note from Valarie: As the holiday season approaches, consider adding the gift of books to your shopping list. There are many wonderful booklists available for parents looking to give their child the gift of reading and adventure. A book makes a great gift because they are meaningful, beautiful, portable, appealing, and inexpensive and it’s a gift that can be opened again and again. Books are the perfect gift for any age and a gift that doesn’t require batteries or sizing instruction!
If you would like to get started on your family reading adventure, or would just like to add to your family bookshelf, Audrey Press has some special deals on their catalog of books to get readers and gift-givers on their merry way. From November 30th to December 15th, give the gift of reading, adventure and education at extra-special (and extended) Black Friday prices! Go here for the full scoop on the Holiday Book Love Sale!
The post Every town has ghost stories: The Headmaster’s Cave appeared first on Jump Into A Book.
This is less of a book review than a book reaction, and is a little more self-indulgent than the way I usually book talk here in the Wonderland tree house. However, after reading just this morning that there's a thirteen day period where PTSD is... Read the rest of this post
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ebook copy of SPECIAL FORCES SAVIOR
SPECIAL FORCES SAVIOR
Omega Sector: Critical Response #1
Released Dec 15th, 2015 (Print)
Released Jan 1st, 2016 (Digital)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Janie! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Janie Crouch] Adventurous sassy mom
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Janie Crouch] I live as an American citizen in Germany (for my husband’s Department of Defense job with the U.S. Military) so I never leave without my international driver’s license (if I’m out and about in Germany without it and something happens, I can get in real trouble)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Janie Crouch] 1. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. (Highly recommended for anyone who writes or is thinking about writing!)
2. Large sheet of sketchpad paper filled with brainstorming and flow charts for the current Omega Sector: Critical Response book I’m writing. I like to have an outline (I’m definitely a plotter not a pantser) but the visual representation of the story really helps me too. I keep it nearby until the book is finished.
3. A picture of my entire extended family. We just celebrated my grandparents 70th (70th!!!!!) wedding anniversary and had a picture made of the entire family.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?
[Janie Crouch] German chocolate. Particularly, dark chocolate by Ritter Sport – a local brand that’s absolutely delicious. And I somehow have it in my mind that dark chocolate is somehow good for you.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Janie Crouch] Someone on vacation on a tropical island.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?
[Janie Crouch] Definitely teleportation! I sometimes feel very far from my family who are spread out all over the United States (from Georgia to Virginia to Oregon). Being in Germany seems so far! If I could take a week and pop in on all of them, I would love it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Janie Crouch] The Martian by Andy Weir – not the normal type of book I read (I generally stick to romance or romantic suspense), but I loved it. I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. I thought the movie was excellent, but, as always, a lot more happens in the book.
I’m also loving The Profiler series by Elizabeth Heiter. Her first two books in the series were fantastic (HUNTED & VANISHED) and the third one, SEIZED, just released last week. I’m devouring that one right now.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Janie Crouch] I love to hear from readers! There are multiple ways to connect with me.
Website (with contact info): http://www.janiecrouch.com
About the book:
He has to shut down the terrorists or lose everything. Including the woman who’s become a target.
Omega Sector: Critical Response agent Derek Waterman is hunting the architects of a lethal terrorist bombing. After weeks of chasing cold leads, he has finally found the evidence that could expose the perpetrators. But in order to take them down, he needs help from Dr. Molly Humphries, Omega’s lead forensic scientist.
Shy Molly works to retrieve the data–and overcome her debilitating crush on the sexy agent. Derek carefully suppresses his mutual smoldering attraction, sure that his dark past will drive Molly away if she knows. But when Molly is kidnapped, he will stop at nothing to save her. Even if a lethal enemy will do everything to keep him from doing so.
Pinned down behind his car with someone shooting at him from across the street was not how Omega Sector agent Derek Waterman had planned to spend his afternoon. He wasn’t exactly sure how he had planned to spend his afternoon, but this was definitely not it.
Derek slid closer to the ground as a bullet whizzed past his head and shattered the concrete behind him.
Whoa. Too close.
The saving grace in this situation was at least the entire block was empty of any innocent bystanders. No upstanding citizen had much reason to be in this section of West Philly. The less upstanding citizens had exited when Derek and his team had shown up, obviously law enforcement, and the shooting had started.
“Uh, what exactly was the intel you got on this place again, Derek?” Jon Hatton asked from where he was also pinned down a few feet away. Although highly trained in weapons and combat as all Omega Sector’s Critical Response agents were, Jon was primarily a behavior analyst in the Crisis Management Unit.
“What’s the matter? You having problems remembering how to use your weapon, Jon? Too much analyzing, not enough action in your life?” Liam Goetz, the other team member, smacked his gum and grinned. As a member of Omega’s Hostage Rescue team, no one ever asked Liam if he remembered how to use a weapon. Liam had pretty much been born with one in his hand.
“I’m just asking to see if there is any sort of plan here besides hide behind the car until the bad guys run out of ammo,” Jon responded. “Which, at the rate they’re shooting, should be sometime next week.”
True, the number of shots being fired at them seemed to be dwindling. The people in the building obviously weren’t trying to kill Derek and his team, just keep them pinned. But damned if this entire situation wasn’t starting to piss Derek off.
The empty apartment building across the street gave the enemy the tactical advantage. That advantage wasn’t something Derek, as the lead tactical team specialist of Omega’s SWAT generally gave up.
But the intel they’d received on this location had required an immediate response. Time for tactical analysis hadn’t been available. Thus, the taking cover behind their SUV as the bullets flew by their heads.
Derek had moved in on this location so quickly because it had been the first substantial lead pertaining to a terrorist attack on Chicago two weeks earlier. A bombing that had killed or injured over five hundred people.
None of the leads Omega had followed up on until now—and there had been hundreds of them—had provided any useful intel. Each location had been totally cold.
Another bullet flew by. This location definitely wasn’t cold.
“All right, to hell with this.” Derek looked over at Liam, “Jon and I will lay down cover-fire. You head around to the back of the building.”
Liam was grinning like an idiot. He loved this sort of thing, danger be damned. “Now you’re talking.”
Derek nodded. “Remember, we need them alive, if at all possible.”
“Hey, it’s me!” Liam actually winked at them. “I wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Derek rolled his eyes and heard Jon groan under his breath as Liam made his way down the line of abandoned cars parked on the street. Still using their SUV for as much cover as possible, Derek and Jon began firing their weapons toward the abandoned building, hoping to draw any return-fire back at them and away from Liam.
But there were no shots at all coming at them from the house.
Derek looked over at Jon. “Again.”
Using the hood to brace his arm, Derek fired three shots at the house while Jon did the same from the rear of the vehicle. Still no return fire. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Liam make it across the street at the side of the building. No shots were fired at him either.
The bad guys weren’t in the building anymore; they must be on the run. Whoever had been shooting at them just a few moments ago was Omega’s best lead in Chicago’s terrorist attack. They were the only lead. And now they were about to get away.
“Move in, but be careful,” Derek said to Jon as they made their way forward, weapons still raised.
Derek was reaching for the knob of the door, Jon covering him from a cross angle when they heard a rapid burst of gunfire from the back of the building where Liam had been heading.
Both men backed out of the doorway and sprinted around the building without a word. Each of them knew that getting inside was secondary to helping Liam if he was under fire. As they rounded the building, Derek was relieved to see Liam unharmed, chasing a suspect farther down the road behind the apartment building. Derek and Jon continued running to catch up with them. Helping capture a known suspect was better than sticking around for what may or may not be in the house.
“Stay with them,” Derek told Jon, then made a sharp turn. He would run down a parallel side street and try to cut off the runner. He forced more speed out of his legs.
As he made a sharp turn around the next group of buildings, Derek saw the perp slowing down with Liam only a few yards behind him, Jon just beyond that.
It was obvious Liam was going to catch the guy at any moment, and the perp knew it, too. He fired his weapon at the Omega agents behind his back in some haphazard fashion without even stopping his run, but the bullets didn’t come anywhere near either of them.
Derek turned again and began running toward them.
“Stop!” he called out to the man, and saw distress wash over his face. The man stopped running altogether, sliding to an awkward stop.
“You’re under arrest,” Derek continued between breaths. “Place the gun on the ground and put your hands on your head.”
The man turned around, frantically looking for another way out, but didn’t put his gun down. All the Omega agents gripped their weapons tighter. Nobody wanted to shoot this suspect, he was too important. But they would if necessary. Especially if he turned his weapon on them rather than where it currently lay in his hand pointing at the ground.
“Put your weapon down,” Derek repeated. He nodded toward the ground with his forehead, as the man turned back in his direction. “Do you understand? All we want to do is ask you some questions.”
That wasn’t entirely true, but Derek just wanted to get the man’s gun out of his hand.
The man nodded and Derek eased his finger off the trigger just the slightest bit. But then, almost as if it was in slow motion, and before any of them could react, the guy brought his gun up to his own temple and fired. He crumpled to the ground, dead instantly.
Derek’s curse was vile. Jon rushed up to the man and crouched down to take his pulse at the wrist, but Derek knew it was too late.
Their best lead—their only lead—had just blown his brains out rather than be taken into custody.
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Janie Crouch loves to read – almost exclusively romance – and has been doing so since middle school. She cut her teeth on Harlequin (Mills & Boon) Romances when she lived in Wales, UK as a preteen, then moved on to a passion for romantic suspense as an adult. Her favorite authors include: Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, and Elizabeth Lowell.
Janie recently relocated with her husband and four children to Germany (due to her husband’s job as support for the U.S. Military), after living in Virginia for nearly 20 years. When she’s not listening to the voices in her head (and even when she is), she enjoys traveling, long-distance running, movie-watching, knitting and adventure (obstacle) racing. Janie completed an Ironman Triathlon in 2014.
Most of all, she loves to laugh and smile and count her blessings. And her blessings are many.
EXTREME HONOR by Piper J. Drake (January 26, 2016; Forever Mass Market; True Heroes #1)
HONOR, LOYALTY, LOVE
David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility . . . and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.
Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else-and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both . . .
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And don’t miss the second book in the True Heroes series, ULTIMATE COURAGE, on sale July 26, 2016!
Elisa Hall is good at starting from scratch. Leaving an abusive relationship in her rearview, she packs everything she owns into the trunk of her car and heads for refuge with her friend in Hope’s Crossing, North Carolina.
Alex Rojas returned from his second deployment as a Navy SEAL to find his condo empty and divorce papers on the breakfast table. Now he’s building a life for himself and his daughter at Hope’s Crossing kennels training younger dogs and handlers to search and rescue, struggling to adjust to life back in the States and as a single father.
When Elisa shows up at the kennels, it’s obvious she’s running from something. Luckily, the dogs and trainers at Hope’s Crossing are more than capable of warding off trouble. And with every minute he spends with Elisa, Alex becomes even more and more determined to protect the woman he’s certain he won’t be able to live without…
Pre-order the book!
About the author:
Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre. PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award. PJ’s romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.
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“How’s Atlas doing?”
“He’s acknowledging her existence.” And didn’t that chafe his ass just a little bit. “She’s out walking the perimeter with him now.”
Speaking of, the pair came into view finally, far out across the grounds. Atlas kept pace with Lyn’s short stride, adjusting to her changes in speed and coming to heel when she paused to check out flowers or whatever.
Dog still maintained an air of disinterest, but he was out there with her and not laying on his belly in the kennel.
“So he’s making progress.” Beckhorn pressed for more.
“Baby steps, my friend.” Cruz chuckled. “Don’t go reporting him as recovered any time soon.”
“This mean you don’t want me to keep digging into who sent her?”
Cruz leaned back in his chair, considering. Her fear had been real the night before. Terror, really. “She was damned shaken up last night. Take a look at the debrief I sent you, off the record. Someone was looking for info she didn’t know she had. Or maybe she didn’t have it yet.”
“She’s a liability.” His friend made a grim noise.
“I had her check out of the hotel and gave her a place to stay here where I can keep an eye on her.” He didn’t entirely trust her yet but he was sure she hadn’t been faking anything the evening before. Her reactions had been genuine.
“You’re going to keep her around?” Beckhorn whistled, low and long. “Is she that hot?”
“It’s not about that and you know better.” Of course, Lyn chose to bend over right about then, checking out a pretty wildflower or weed or something, and he got a faraway view of her shapely rear.
Okay, she was hot.
But he wouldn’t keep a liability around just for that. He had Atlas in mind.
“Yeah, yeah,” Beckhorn continued, oblivious of the view. “What’s the plan now?
“We both know there was something to the way Calhoun died.” It was a big part of the reason Beckhorn had called Cruz so soon for Atlas. He’d needed someone he could trust to oversee the dog’s recovery before something unfortunate occurred. “Accidental friendly fire, my ass.”
“It’s the ‘accidental’ part in question. We both know it wasn’t friendly even if the round did come from one of ours.” Beckhorn’s tone went flat. “What we need to do is both prove it and find out why. Calhoun reached out to you just before he died and whatever drunk text he sent you pointed to Atlas.”
“At the time, the message hadn’t made any sense so I assumed it was a drunk text.” Cruz swallowed hard on the guilt and self-recrimination there. Not sure what he could’ve done from across a damned ocean but he still felt he should’ve realized something was wrong and helped his friend stay alive.
“It still doesn’t make any sense.” A string of curses followed. “Look. No ripping ourselves up for what we would’ve, should’ve, could’ve. We do the right thing now.”
“Yeah.” Cruz nodded even if Beckhorn couldn’t see.
Lyn resumed her stroll and Atlas took up position by her side. Dog might play like he wasn’t interested in the woman but he was engaged and Cruz would take whatever help there was to be had.
Of course, he might have more in common with the dog than he’d prefer to admit.
Last night, she’d suffered a bad scare. Things could have been far worse if he hadn’t shown up when he did. He’d been ready to rip her a new one when he’d come to her door, ajar only because her phone had landed in the entryway. It’d taken seconds to change gears from being angry with her to charging in to help her.
He’d have still gotten through, but it would’ve taken longer for him to realize what was going on and to break down the door. She’d been very lucky.
In those moments, he’d become someone else. The man he used to be. The stranger he’d locked down after he’d returned from deployment. When he’d heard her in danger, he’d gladly embraced the old rage and the cold calm to rush the door. Eliminate the threats.
“You still there, man?” Beckhorn brought him back.
A cold chill passed through Cruz as he realized he’d come to his feet. Maybe he hadn’t completely put the other him to rest yet, but it’d take some time to ease back and he hadn’t been all too relaxed as it was. It’d been why he’d come to spend time at Hope’s Crossing. “Yeah. Here.”
Now. Just a minute ago? Not so much. Seemed like Miss Evelyn Jones had a way of pushing all sorts of buttons with him without even trying to.
“You wanna share what you’re thinking? I can almost hear the gears turning in your head.”
Way across the field, Lyn had come to a halt. It was Atlas’s posture that got Cruz moving. “I’m going to have to call you back.”
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Two very different titles (genre- and style-wise) to cross my desk this past week were Terry Pratchett's final Tiffany Aching book and S.A. Bodeen's latest action-packed suspense tale. The Shepherd's Crown brings to a close that subset of the... Read the rest of this post
I think this is a pretty effective cover.Synopsis: Need, which I randomly picked up as part of a recent library haul, is a suspenseful thriller with a topical premise—the insidious power of social media and the questionable ease of online... Read the rest of this post
Blog: Kelly Hashway's Blog
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In my Monday Mishmash and all over social media last week, I announced that I'm merging Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway. Why you ask? When I initially launched the pen name, Ashelyn Drake, I wanted to make sure I could stand on my own two feet as a romance author, separate from Kelly Hashway. Once I did that, I revealed Ashelyn Drake and Kelly Hashway are the same person. And since then, I've been using this banner to show that I'm still one person even though I write under two names:
The problem is, I wasn't acting like one person. I have separate Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and blogs for Kelly and Ashelyn. Why? My website, newsletter, and Instagram are for both names, so why aren't my other social media accounts?
From now on, they will be. I'm moving Ashelyn over to Kelly. You'll notice my Facebook page now has both names listed. As does my blog. Twitter won't allow enough characters to display both names, but you'll see this banner and Ashelyn's name appear in my bio.
Very soon, Ashelyn's accounts will disappear, so make sure you're following the new links below to stay up to date on my Ashelyn Drake romance books as well as my Kelly paranormal and upcoming mystery/suspense/thrillers (Yes, I'm branching out!):
FacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+Look at that. Kelly and Ashelyn are truly merging into one author with two names, just like the slogan says. :)
*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.
Welcome to another session of Turning Pages!Every adult summer of my life, I look back with disgust on the summers I squandered, wishing school would start again. Adult Me wishes I had endless days off to read basically non-improving books. We call... Read the rest of this post
May Contain Spoilers
I read The Girl Who Could Fly because I received a copy for a blog tour. I love middle-grade books, and since it’s been a while since I read one, I was excited to start this. I loved the author’s voice, especially while Piper is still at the family farm. She’s a surprise to her older, salt of the earth parents, and when the lively, happy Piper is born, they are taken aback. They are, while not joyless folk, serious and dedicated to the land that has been in the family for generations. They don’t need much and are content to get by, farming the land, tending their livestock, and fitting, uneventfully, into their community.
Then along comes Piper. She floats. Her mother Betty immediately realizes that her daughter isn’t “normal.” To a woman who embraces being normal and not tempting fate, who relishes doing things as they have always been done, Piper is an unexpected hiccup in her road of normalcy. Betty decides that it’s best to keep Piper on the farm, homeschooled and doing her chores, so that the neighbors don’t start gossiping about them. Piper upsets her plans one summer day, when she watches a momma bird push her babies out of the nest. Piper wonders if she can fly too. And once Piper sets her mind to something, nothing is going to get in her way until she accomplishes it.
An unfortunate event at the Fourth of July picnic, the first that Piper’s been allowed to attend, has disastrous consequences. The entire community learns that Piper can fly. Soon, the entire world knows. When Dr Letitia Hellion and her crew from the top secret institute I.N.S.A.N.E. show up at the farm, promising to school Piper in her abilities, and to keep her safe, the McClouds have no choice but to let their daughter go with them. What Piper finds isn’t exactly the paradise she’s been promised, but it takes the help of a mean supergenius to figure out that she’s actually a prisoner and not a student at the high tech facility in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles and miles of snow and ice.
I loved Piper and Conrad. Piper is completely guileless, the total opposite of Conrad. Conrad is frustrated and just plain mean, and Piper’s happy attitude grates on his last nerve. He picks on her mercilessly, and Piper, who doesn’t have much experience in social settings, first tries to win him over, and when that doesn’t work, tries to ignore him. Of course he gets her into trouble every chance he can, until one disturbing event makes Piper realize that all is not as it seems at the institute. Conrad and Dr Hellion have been locked in a battle of wits for four years, and Conrad believes that with Piper’s help, he’ll finally get the best of her.
I liked how Piper fought to be true to herself, even at a terrible price to herself. While she yearns to fit in, she begins to realize that being who she is is more important that being popular. Her sunny disposition does endear her to others, regardless of how hard they try to resist. I liked the message that being different isn’t bad, and everyone deserves a chance to be who they really are.
The Girl Who Could Fly is a quick read, with action, adventure, and danger. It’s also about learning to get along with others despite their differences, and the importance of being yourself. I am looking forward to The Boy Who Knew Everything, because I enjoyed Conrad so much.
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.
Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.
Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops.
Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.
School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.
Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.
At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as “the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men…Prepare to have your heart warmed.” The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.
Summary: I finished reading this one today…and I just started reading it last night, right before bed. When I picked it up again this morning to enjoy with my coffee, it turned out to be basically un-put-down-able. It's easy to see how this... Read the rest of this post
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It’s been a while since I read the first two volumes of LIMIT, but I didn’t have any problems jumping back into the series again. This is a survival story; a bus of high schoolers is headed to the mountains for a camping trip. There’s a terrible accident, and the bus plunges off the road and down the mountainside. There’s only a handful of survivors, and they are all girls. Bickering and power struggles begin at once, and Morishige, the only one with a weapon, quickly takes charge. Morishige has issues. She has grudges against the other girls, and establishes herself as the leader of her battered, hungry, and terrified classmates. When Isui changes to power dynamic by running off with Morishige’s scythe, there’s a rebellion against Morishige’s cruel leadership.
Things are pretty grim for our tiny group of survivors. Usui has run off into the fog and hasn’t been seen since. There’s only a little food to share, and Morishige is still trying to keep herself in control through threats and violence. Since she doesn’t have her weapon anymore, that is only getting her so far. She and Ichinose fight, bickering about how misguided Morishige’s behavior has been. In a fit of rage, Morishige storms off.
In the morning, Konno goes off in search of Isui. Weak and cold, she falls into a lake and almost drowns. At the last minute, she’s saved! By Hinata, who everyone thought was dead. And boy am I glad he’s not, because I really like Hinata! If I was stranded on a mountain with bleak prospects for rescue, I’d want to see his cheerful face. Hinata is a force of positive thoughts and good vibes, and if anyone can make the impossible come true, I firmly believe it’s him. Of course, his sudden resurrection doesn’t sit well with Morishige, especially after he calls her out for her previous “leadership” skills. Morishige, getting back to her issues, has a real problem with males. After a flashback to her dreadful homelife, one can’t help but understand where her lack of people skills stems from. The victim of abuse, she doesn’t know how else to deal with her problems other than to strike out against them.
LIMIT is a very fast read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s brutal, suspenseful, and creepy. The dire situation isn’t bringing out the best in everyone, and in fact, the utter hopelessness is turning some of the cast into evil little monsters. There’s very little one for all and all for one until Hinata shows up. There’s a lot of self-destruction and back-stabbing, as well as resource hogging, because who wants to share when it means that you may not have enough to eat and starve to death? Desperate times means really, really bad behavior!
I love the art, which matches the tenor of the story perfectly. It’s detailed and expressive, but also dark and brooding. Moods change in an instant from hopeful to oh my gosh we are all going to die, and the art clearly reflects that.
Review copy provided by publisher
In the third volume of The Limit the survivors’ worst fears have come true. One of their members has fallen. And this death amongst them will test the limits of their unity. New fears will be born from this tragedy and instead of using their combined strength to search for a way home, their lack of trust will force them all to retreat into their own micro-cliques. The balance of power is now undone, and a new face-another survivor-will eventually turn things upside down!
By: Becky Laney
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Notting Hill Mystery. Charles Warren Adams. 1862/2015. Poisoned Pen Press. 284 pages. [Source: Review copy]Dare I say that I enjoyed The Notting Hill Mystery at least as much as Wilkie Collin's A Woman in White? What if I say I liked it even more?! Granted, it has been a few years since I've read A Woman in White. But Notting Hill was such a surprisingly wonderfully old-fashioned mystery, and, with good reason, I suppose, since it was published in the 1860s!
If you enjoy sensational Victorian novels, this one proves a satisfying treat. The "hero" of the novel has collected all the evidence he can about a certain case. He's not positively sure it's a murder case, because if it is murder, it's far from straight-forward. The less you know, the better the novel will read, in my opinion. But it involves TWINS and mesmerism and poison.
At first, I thought this one would be a slow read, since the evidence consists of letters, diaries, interviews, etc. But I found it an entertaining and satisfying read.
It is easy for me to recommend this one. I think mystery lovers will appreciate it. And if you have a love for all things Victorian, then you may really, really LOVE it, just as I did.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Please give a warm welcome to Dixie Lee Brown!
Top Five Reasons Why Military Heroes are Hot by Dixie Lee Brown
I’m excited to be here at the Manga Maniac Café today to talk about my top five reasons military heroes are HOT! However you prefer your heroes, maybe you’ll identify with some of these.
5) What makes military men hot? The uniform, of course! A man all cleaned, pressed, and buttoned up automatically lets our heroine know that, if nothing else, he should be able to pick up his dirty clothes and throw them in the hamper. Right? But it goes far beyond that. Even a man in fatigues seems to do it for our heroine. It tells her he’s disciplined, he pays attention to detail, he’s protective, and fresh from the fight.
Remember these great lyrics from this song, Holding Out For a Hero, sung by Bonnie Tyler in the movie, Footloose?
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night.
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.
A hero fresh from the fight is hot! Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the uniform he’s wearing showcases broad shoulders, thighs of steel, and a chest that screams lean-on-me.
4) The military hero is in top physical condition due to the nature of his job. Garrett, the hero in my new release, is an Army Ranger. Ranger school is grueling by itself, but that’s not the end of a Ranger’s training. When they’re not deployed on a mission or on leave, they’re learning new techniques or improving old ones. These heroes have strong muscles and mad skills! Who wouldn’t go for a hero like that?
3) Military men learn to operate as a unit. The team is crucial. They come to rely on the man next to them and would do anything to protect that man. To the heroine, the no man left behind adage is very sexy! It shows the ability to commit.
2) Our hero exudes integrity and courage. He commands respect with action, words, and bearing. The idea that he will stand firm in the middle of a crisis, and that our heroine can count on him for safety and security makes him a true hero in her sight. Nothing is hotter than knowing your man has your back when it counts.
1) The top reason military men are hot becomes evident when the uniform comes off. No, I’m not talking about those rock-hard abs…or those amazing buns. (Although that sounds pretty good too!) I’m referring to the sensitive man who appears when he removes his armor. The man who can love his woman unselfishly and with abandon, but who might need a little help to realize he’s a hero to her. If you love strong and sensitive heroes, you’ll love my new book.
Woot! That was fun. Thanks for stopping by and please leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite hero.
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RESCUED BY THE RANGER
RESCUED BY THE RANGER
Dixie Lee Brown
Releasing on Sept 8th, 2015
Protecting those in trouble is what Army Ranger Garrett Harding does best. But after helping a feisty redhead toss a couple of losers from her Idaho bar, the woman is anything but grateful for his assistance—in fact, she seems to know him. Worse, she almost certainly hates him.
The only thing Rachel Maguire wants is to send this smart-mouthed, muscled military man packing. She knows Garrett has his own reasons for staying, so when he offers Rachel a deal—two days to prove his worth or he leaves—she reluctantly agrees. Despite wanting to loathe him, Rachel finds herself drawn to his quiet confidence…and the way he fills out a t-shirt.
But when Rachel receives a phone call from the past, everything changes. The stalker who destroyed her life ten years ago is closing in once more. Refusing to put anyone else in harm’s way, Rachel hits the road hoping to lure danger away from those she loves. But Garrett won’t leave this sexy spitfire to face her stalker alone. He’ll do anything to protect her. Even if it means risking his life—and his heart.
She stood with elbows braced against the far side of the bar, drawing down on the kid with the rifle she gripped like a modern-day Annie Oakley, and Garrett didn’t doubt her threat for a minute. Clearly, however, the dimwitted kid didn’t have the sense to take her seriously. Shit. It chapped his ass to have to take this worthless scum’s side. “Uh . . . Rachel is it? Maybe we should let the police handle this.”
A disbelieving laugh burst from her. “The police are worse than Riley here.”
With her attention solely on the young Riley, Garrett sidled up to the bar, shoved the barrel of the rifle up, and pulled it from her hands. “Trust me. He’s right about this. You don’t want to do that.”
Riley picked that moment to laugh.
“Damn it. Shut up, kid, if you know what’s good for you.” Garrett’s patience was at its breaking point.
Rachel inhaled sharply, and Garrett’s attention jerked back to her. She stared at the door.
“Drop the rifle, Mister.” The new voice was deep and raspy, and it was followed by the sound of footsteps moving closer.
Garrett slowly turned to see the two men from the old Ford pickup standing one on each side of the swinging panels. Both carried sawed-off shotguns. They reminded him of Darryl and Darryl, two no-doubt inbred brothers from an old sitcom he’d watched once. These two weren’t quite as funny, though.
Riley hooted, strode toward Garrett, and confiscated the Winchester. “What the hell are you boys doin’ back here? I told you to go pick up the supplies.”
“We saw this yahoo park and go inside. Thought there could be some trouble.” Darryl #1 smirked as though that’s what he’d been hoping for.
Riley gave him a playful shove. “Oh, and you didn’t think I could handle it by myself?”
“Naw, Riley. Just didn’t want you havin’ all the fun.”
Darryl #2 chewed on a toothpick as he studied Rachel, then swept his gaze to Garrett. “Thought we was just supposed to git the girl. What we gonna do with him now?” The older of the two jabbed his shotgun toward Garrett.
“What d’ya think?” Riley smirked.
What the hell was going on here? This wasn’t some awkward kid trying to coerce a kiss out of a reluctant girlfriend. Not even close. Both parties seemed willing to kill over whatever the stakes were in this little game, and Garrett was sadly out of the loop. He met Rachel’s gaze and cocked an eyebrow in question.
“I’d say I told you so, but the satisfaction would be short-lived. Bet you wished you’d stayed on the interstate now.” She lowered her eyelids, and it appeared she was studying something below the level of the bar, then she slowly opened them again until she was looking into his once more. There was a message in her green depths—if he could only figure out what it was.
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DIXIE LEE BROWN lives and writes in Central Oregon, inspired by what she believes is the most gorgeous scenery anywhere. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who make sure she never takes herself too seriously. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, movies, and trips to the beach.
There's a lot of information in the news on how female gamers aren't really thought about, or marketed to in the video game industry, so I was interested, reading the description of this book, in the female protagonist. The author didn't touch on... Read the rest of this post
This book is both a quiet coming-of-age novel, and a suspenseful mystery, making it somewhat difficult to review without providing spoilers. In some ways, it was a fairly typical YA novel about a high school girl - yet, there was a lot else going... Read the rest of this post
Full disclosure: I consider the author a friend of mine, though we've never yet managed to meet in person. (Darn it.) I read this book out of affection, but am raving about it, because I found it to be flat out astounding.One of the weird things... Read the rest of this post
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RECKLESS RIVER (Book Three)
Men of Mercy #1
Releasing Oct 21st, 2015
Cypress Bend Publishing
Hunter James didn’t want or need redemption. Until one mission turns his world upside down.
He left Mercy to fight for his country and escape a broken heart. Years later, he is hard. Cold. A man without mercy. Part of an elite Task Force, he tracks a brutal terrorist to his home town. And runs into the woman who betrayed him…
Evangeline Videl was destroyed when Hunter left. Determined to move on, she finds another man, but discovers too late the monster hidden beneath his smooth smile. Struggling to find the conviction to live, Evie finds her life spinning out of control.
Then Hunter returns…
Forced to band together to find the terrorist before its too late, Hunter and Evie must learn to forgive or risk losing the promise of redemption and their lives…
Men of Mercy #2
Releasing Oct 21st, 2015
Cypress Bend Publishing
Ranger James accepted his best friend’s death like a good soldier. With guilt. Regret. Vengeance. But a forbidden desire keeps pulling him from his mission…
Desire for his best friend’s widow.
Killed in Action. That’s why Rachel Carter’s husband wasn’t coming home.
A war widow, alone and broke, Rachel struggles to revive her family’s crop dusting service to survive. Now she takes to the skies to find escape. Escape from the pain. From the guilt. From the earth-shattering desire for her husband’s best friend.
Rachel and Ranger can’t fight the attraction between them any longer. But one fateful night cleaves their new found love in two…
Can they find the will to fight for true love? Or will an evil so shocking destroy their lives for good?
Men of Mercy #3
Releasing Oct 21st, 2015
Cypress Bend Publishing
They say you can’t go home again. Jared Crowe never wanted to.
Home meant facing memories of abuse and neglect. Of dark closets and evil nightmares. Of his own relatives intent on killing him. But now his brother’s kidnapping forces him to face those demons. Only this time, Jared isn’t a scared little boy. He’s a full-grown Special Forces operative bent on revenge.
As a little girl, Sparrow Pickney risked her life to free two abused boys. As a grown woman Sparrow needs to earn a place in her adopted family’s business or be forced into a life of degradation. The chance to prove her family loyalty comes when she catches Jared spying on the compound and captures him.
When Jared sees his captor, he realizes she’s the girl of his dreams and vows to rescue her from a life of poverty. What Jared doesn’t know is Sparrow may not be the savior he remembers…but the one responsible for abducting and torturing his brother.
Jared is determined to find the truth. But that truth may be more than his heart can take.
Excerpt: from RESURRECTION RIVER
Rachel spun around, the yellow airplane a perfect backdrop to her beautiful face. “What are you doing here?”
Ranger let his gaze travel from her scruffy boots, torn jeans and gloriously figure hugging tank, to the top of her dark red head. Her pink cheeks flushed.
“Like what you see?”
Ranger approached, her green gaze turned wary. Good. She should be worried. She’d doused him in chemicals. His skin still itched. He reached forward, plucked an oil stick from her ponytail and sent her hair spilling to her shoulders. He caught the brief scent of flowers and oil.
Rachel grabbed her hair, lips parted. Angry. Stubborn. Sexy.
He held up the stick right in front of her face. “Oil stick.”
Rachel snatched it from his fingers and tossed it across the room. “I told you to stay away from me.”
Ranger shrugged, his brain still caught on the image of her jean-clad ass hanging out of that airplane. Forget Sports Illustrated. He had farm fucking fantastic right here.
“Don’t you think dropping that all-natural excuse for chemicals on me is a bit dramatic? If you want to get me naked all you had to do is ask.” Ranger gestured to himself, sweeping his hand from his head down to his torso, Rachel’s eyes followed.
That definitely wasn’t desperation or anger in her gaze.
The desire he’d been trying to hold in check for months reared up inside him.
“You think I want to see you naked?” Rachel snorted, lifted her chin. “Besides, I figured anything would be an improvement to your normal smell.” So much for her vulnerability.
The wind picked up, blew into the hangar. Ranger shifted, praying the wind wouldn’t open the fly on his boxers, and almost covered himself. Almost. Until he remembered she was the reason for his stench. Instead, he stood tall. “You’ve never had a problem with the way I smelled before.”
“My manners were just too good to say anything.” She strode past him, punishing him with the sexy sway of her hips.
Dammit, he was so hard up for her, even her walk had his mind blanking. He stood there, nearly naked, and drenched in herbicide, and she walked past him like a stranger on a sidewalk.
Running from him. Again.
“Rachel Ann.” He didn’t yell, but she stopped mid-stride. Turned. Lips parted.
“You did that on purpose,” Ranger said. She’d been hard headed even in high-school, when he tried to break up with her, explaining that he needed a little space to see if life in Mercy was what he really wanted. Jumping on the marriage and kids bandwagon at eighteen years old had scared the shit out of him. But he’d obliterated any chance for reconnecting with Rachel when she’d seen him making out with Tonya at the football game senior year.
He hadn’t thought that leaving her to sow the wild oats of his youth would be a self-fulfilling prophecy of regret. Or that his best friend would move in on Rachel so fast and fill the void that Ranger had left in her heart.
“You bet your ass I did.”
“What the hell for?” He couldn’t get her smell, her taste, her touch out of his head. But she’d dumped shit on him for the last time.
Her eyes narrowed and her lips flattened. “I warned you.”
Yeah, she’d warned him to stay away from her. He’d stayed with her for weeks, helping her after the funeral. She’d healed physically, but remained an emotional tomb.
“I promised Shane, if anything ever happened to him, I’d look out for you.” He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss that angry expression right off her face. He’d wanted her since high-school, but when she’d married Shane, he’d vowed to put those feelings away. Forever. But the attraction hadn’t disappeared. And he knew it never would. “I know the chemistry between us is weird. Scary. But dammit it’s real and it’s here and now. You’re just flying through the clouds because you don’t want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you.”
If he hadn’t been studying every minute expression on her face he would have missed the brief flash of vulnerability in her gaze. Then her anger slid back in place. “The only thing I feel is annoyance. Are you so desperate that you have to chase after what you can’t have? You dumped me first, remember?”
Him? Desperate? No. He’d never had a problem getting women. Until Rachel.
If he hadn’t been so young and stupid he would have been the one she’d married. Not Shane.
Now all he could think, all he could see, was the small sprinkle of freckles across her pert nose. He could be on a mission in a third world country or down the road. It didn’t matter. She affected him.
He had an all-consuming need for his best friend’s wife. He hadn’t counted on lust eating him alive.
But he had honor. He had loyalty. Ranger had vowed over Shane’s grave to take care of Rachel.
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Lindsay Cross is the award-winning author of the Men of Mercy series. She is the fun loving mom of two beautiful daughters and one precocious Great Dane. Lindsay is happily married to the man of her dreams – a soldier and veteran. During one of her husband’s deployments from home, writing became her escape and motivation. An avid reader since childhood, reading and writing is in her blood. After years of reading, she discovered her true passion – writing. Her alpha military men are damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and determined to win the heart of the woman of their dreams.
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One year ago, David Church kissed a beautiful, brilliant woman on an airfield in Iraq-and hasn’t stopped thinking about her ever since. Now, the military veteran gets a chance to rekindle that fire when he sees his lost love again-looking sexier than ever-at an international conference in Athens. David yearns to take her in his arms, to hold her close and never let go. But when the bullets begin to fly, it’s not just his heart on the line. It’s his life.
When Molly Solent agreed to deliver intelligence for the U.S. government, she didn’t realize she’d be caught in the crossfire of a surprise ambush-and underneath the hard-muscled body of David Church. Shielding her from harm and swearing to protect her, the elite bodyguard reignites a searing passion that Molly can’t resist. But with unforeseen danger around every corner-and unquenchable desire in every embrace-falling in love could be the greatest risk of all . . .
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About Emmy Curtis
Emmy Curtis is an editor and a romance writer. An ex-pat Brit, she quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled for the time being, in North Carolina. When not writing, Emmy loves to travel with her military husband and take long walks with their Lab. All things considered, her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference…well, she already considers you kin.
Hell, he looked good. All these months waiting for him, and he was just here.
When she first really laid eyes on him, she was peeking at him through a window as he took an impossible shot into a trailer and saved them. He’d been drunk, and impossible. And she’d wanted him so much. Wanted to save him, to make him feel better. To stomp on whatever demons were keeping him from participating in reality. To run her fingers through his short dark hair. His eyes had been so sad, and he’d seemed resigned. Like he’d already given up on life. In that second he’d broken her heart, as he’d saved her life.
It hadn’t hurt that he was tall, and built in the way only a career combat military guy could be. Broad shouldered, with hard arms that she just wanted to be wrapped in. When his dark eyes had rested on hers, the hard lines on his face faded, and although his lips remained pressed into a hard line, his eyes had smiled at her. She thought. Maybe she hoped.
She wanted to touch his face. To kiss him. To understand what had happened to him, and what had changed. And he had changed. He seemed more in control, sober, obviously. He spoke with a lower voice. Seemed less…something. She couldn’t put her finger on the change. Her hand reached out to him, but she snatched it back before she could touch him.
She was on a mission. She was supposed to destroy the envelope she didn’t use, but in the end she hadn’t had time to give him either of the messages, so she figured she should keep them, but everything was getting confused in her mind. Should she destroy them both? Is there someone else she should give the message to? She had to keep working through the problem. If she stopped, she feared she’d break down and might never be able to pull herself together. She didn’t want him to witness that. She clenched her fists.
“Who was he?” David asked.
“He’s the Russian Minister of Antiquities. Alexandre Doubrov. Why would someone…?”
“I have no idea,” he said leading her back to the bed. “But you’re not going anywhere. There was no way he’d have been able to survive that shot. I’m sorry.”
She nodded but said nothing. He’d died right in front of her. Poor Alexandre. She had to get hold of Brandon to tell him she’d failed. But she wanted the whole picture before she called him. She yawned. Suddenly sleepy.
“So what have you been doing this past year?” David said, his voice seeming miles away.
Her mind immediately went to the airport at Iraq, as it had a million times before. He’d grabbed her and roughly pulled her into his arms, telling her that he would find her and come for her. Then he’d kissed her forehead hard and departed with his old team of explosive experts on a mission, leaving her to return to the states. Damn him.