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Birmingham Rebels #1
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
Perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake, the deeply sensual new Birmingham Rebels series introduces an unforgettable team of chiseled football gods—and the daring, provocative games they play behind closed doors.
Birmingham Rebels offensive linemen Beau Perez and Cass Zielinski are inseparable, on and off the field. Cass, the captain with the cowboy swagger, is a loose cannon. Beau, the veteran tight end, is cool under pressure. And ever since they were caught on tape in a steamy threesome, their exploits have fueled more than a few tabloid headlines—and naughty fantasies.
Marian Treadwell knows all about the video. And now that she’s the Rebels’ new assistant offensive coach, she can’t look at Beau and Cass without picturing their hard, naked bodies—with her pressed in between. Marian would like nothing more than to indulge those impulses, but she knows better than to get too close to her players, a bunch of adrenaline-fueled alpha males who don’t always follow the rules. Just the thought of sharing the gorgeous yet guarded Marian drives Cass wild. At first, Beau isn’t sure she’s right for them . . . and lately, all he desires is a little alone time with Cass to explore their new intimacy. But it’s only a matter of time before Cass breaks through both of their defenses. Because when seduction is the game plan, he always plays to win.
Broken Play is intended for mature audiences.
“Get. In. Here.” Marian spoke in that one-word-sentence staccato that had become so popular on television and that she’d sworn she’d never imitate. Now she knew it wasn’t a choice. She was simply so mad she couldn’t get more than one word out at a time. Beau didn’t argue. He simply slid sideways in through her office door, past where she stood holding it. She started to close it, but a hand grabbed it from the hallway and pushed it open again. Cass. Of course. “Can’t I even yell at him without your presence?” she asked coldly.
“Nope. Team captain. Got to be here.” Cass turned and closed the door behind him, then leaned against it, his arms crossed, that damn cowboy hat in one hand.
“Fine,” Marian said. “Since you piss me off, too, you can share the punishment.”
“I don’t take punishment,” Cass said, his usual charming smile gone as he gave her a heated stare that made sweat pop out along her spine. “I give it.”
It took Marian a moment to get past the images that flashed through her head at that outrageous claim. “On the field, not in my office,” she said a little unsteadily.
“Anywhere I choose,” Cass told her calmly.
“Maybe I should go,” Beau said from behind her.
Marian jumped and spun around to face him. She hadn’t been paying attention. She couldn’t believe she’d let him flank her like that.
“Settle,” Cass said quietly but firmly. “There’s no threat here.”
“You just made threats,” she countered, backing up until her back hit the wall a few feet off to Cass’s left.
“No,” he said, the charm back in his voice, a sexy little drawl making it sound like Naw. “Those were promises.”
She actually felt a bead of sweat slip down her cleavage, and she shivered.
“Stop it,” Beau said. “You’re scaring her.” She glanced at him and he looked a little sad, his eyes big and golden brown, and soft with some emotion she couldn’t name. Instinctively she knew he wasn’t the threat here, which threw her into confusion. Wasn’t he the one in charge?
“I’m not scared,” she said. It was a knee-jerk reaction, something she’d said so often in the past few years—to others and to herself—that it was second nature.
Cass sort of rolled himself along the wall toward her until he was leaning over her, not quite pressed against her, his hands on either side of her head, one still holding his hat. “Good,” he said, his voice rough and heavy with wanting. “I don’t want you scared.”
She was breathing too fast. “Move your arms,” she said, and she winced at the panic in her voice.
“Cass,” Beau said. She saw his hand on Cass’s shoulder and her heart nearly beat out of her chest. She had to put her hand up to her chest and press against it to make sure it didn’t.
“You know I’d never hurt you,” Cass said softly. He turned and tossed his hat onto the couch, against the opposite wall. Then he dropped both arms to his sides. He didn’t move back, though. He stayed close enough that she could feel his heat and smell his cologne and a hint of his sweat and deodorant and laundry detergent and shampoo, all the things that combined to be Cass’s scent. She hadn’t realized she knew his smell so well. It was an odd thought and made her frown at him. He frowned back. “Don’t you?” he asked.
It took a moment to remember what he’d said. “Yes.” She did know it. But that didn’t make her heart slow down, because she wasn’t afraid of him. She was afraid of herself, and what she’d let him do if she let go.
“Yell at me.” Beau’s soft words were lost in Cass’s gaze for a second and then they sank in.
“I should,” she said, standing straighter and tugging on the hem of her shirt nervously. “What in the hell do you think you were doing out there?” She pushed on Cass’s chest, but he wouldn’t budge, so she stood on tiptoe and glared at Beau over his shoulder.
“Speaking my mind,” Beau said. He walked over and dropped down on the couch, easily within her sight, making sure not to crush Cass’s hat. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.”
“So you decide to do it on my watch?” Marian said in a strangled voice. “Gee, thanks.”
“On your watch?” Beau asked, obviously getting angry. “Now you’re my babysitter, too? Jesus, how many do I need?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Cass said, turning to glare at Beau, hands on his hips.
“Don’t try to distract me with a lovers’ quarrel,” Marian warned them. “I’m still pissed about Beau’s big mouth.”
Cass slowly swung his head back around and pinned her to the wall with his stare. He had the bluest eyes, and they could go cold and hard as fast as they could turn hot and heavy-lidded. “Lovers’ quarrel?” he asked quietly. Too quietly. Marian tried to slide sideways along the wall, out of his reach.
“That’s right,” she said, full of false bravado. She thought for a second that this must be what the canary felt like before the cat pounced.
Suddenly Beau laughed loudly, a harsh bark that sounded more incredulous than amused. It broke Cass’s stare and Marian quickly moved over to lean against her desk, facing them on more solid ground. “What’s so funny?”
“We”—he gestured between him and Cass—“are not lovers. We’re friends and we fuck women together. That’s it.” He didn’t sound happy about it. Or was he unhappy that people thought they were?
“Beau.” This time it was Cass trying to yank on the leash with a warning in his voice.
“Forget it,” Beau said flatly. “I’ve come out of my shell today. I’m not crawling back in.”
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Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children, two boys and one girl. With a master’s degree in American history, she spent seven years as a high school history teacher before becoming a full-time writer and mom.
This morning I have a review of Jodi Thomas’ Ransom Canyon, but first, Jodi dropped by the virtual offices with a special greeting for all of you!
Greeting from Jodi:
The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle. I wanted to write about the real west of today. I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true. Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn. He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.
As I began my first book in the series Staten Kirkland jumped off the page. He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him. She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.
Their friendship develops into a gentle, loving affair that grows to rock both them with its depth. Staten will have to learn to love again and Quinn will have to open up to someone. The whole town watches the birth of passion and love as Staten stands beside her letting her be strong and quiet Quinn discovers one man’s love can wash away all the pain in her past.
Readers will feel, not like they came to visit, Crossroads, Texas, on the edge of Ransom Canyon, the town will start to feel like home. My goal as a writer is to keep you up late reading because you have to know what happens next.
So come along with me on a series set in today’s West. You’ll love it.
May Contain Spoilers
One of the aspects of a Jodi Thomas novel that I enjoy is getting to know all of the characters. There are usually 5 or 6 major characters, and their personal stories are told from alternating points of view. Because of the small town setting, their lives often intersect, so we get so see how others perceive them, too. Ransom Canyon takes place in Crossroads, Texas, a tiny town that most people just pass through without a second glance. Staten Kirkland’s family has lived there for generations, running a large cattle ranch and investing their time and money supporting the small, close-knit community. The story is mainly Staten’s struggle to learn how to live again after the tragic deaths of his beloved wife and teenage son.
Staten wasn’t my favorite character. He’s emotionally detached because of his heartbreaking past, and I thought he was just taking advantage of Quinn, a childhood friend who has become his buddy with benefits. Quinn was his wife’s BFF. After Staten’s wife succumbed to cancer, and his son died in an accident just a few years later, his world crumbled. He found himself seeking comfort from Quinn, a reclusive woman he’s known all his life. Whenever the weather turned dark and stormy, just like the night his son was taken from him, he visits Quinn. She never turns him away, and more times than not, they end up in bed. Then Staten steals quietly from her small house and heads back home, firmly putting any feelings or deeper meaning to their hookups out of his mind.
Quinn has loved Staten since grade school. She has kept it a secret, because her best friend and Staten had already formed an unbreakable bond. After Staten loses his family, Quinn is content to give what comfort she can, knowing that Staten will never return her feelings. When unplanned complications arise, their friendship is put to the test. This is when I decided that I really didn’t like Staten all that much. The guy is completely clueless. Quinn lives like a hermit, and she is uncomfortable around other people, so for him to voice his doubts like he did got him exactly what he deserved. While he eventually manned up, I wasn’t completely won over by his contrite apology.
The other characters are Lucas and Lauren, high school students who both have their stuff together. Lucas wants to make something of himself, so he works on ranches, moving the cattle from one pasture to another, riding fence lines, and saving every penny he earns. He has big dreams, and he’s not going to let anything get in the way of them. He has a crush on Lauren, the sheriff’s daughter, but because she’s younger than him, and because the timing isn’t right, he decides that their friendship is going to be more important, right now, than dating her. Lauren’s also an intelligent, caring young woman, and she agrees with Lucas. They both have things to accomplish before they can even consider a romantic relationship. Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, and that is the theme of their relationship. Of all the couples in the story, though, I thought they have the soundest foundation for a lasting relationship, and I hope we see more of them in later installments.
Yancey rounds out the cast. He’s a young ex-con, in town looking for an opportunity to score a little cash and move on. His plans are interrupted when his backpack and all of his meager possessions are stolen, and if it weren’t for the kindness of the small local retirement community, he’d be up a creek without a paddle. Yancey is a fun character because he has so few practical life experiences. He’s spent most of life on the wrong side of the law, in and out of jail because he can’t catch a break. When the seniors take him under their wing, he finally discovers a sense of belonging that had been missing in his life. It helps to ground him, and finding steady employment and a group of people who care for him make all the different in the world. He’s goofy, naïve despite his rough edges, and he was probably my favorite character.
If you are a fan of Jodi Thomas, Ransom Canyon won’t disappoint. If you haven’t read her yet, give it a try. I find her books fast, soothing reads. Despite how messed up a character’s life may appear at first, you can be confident that they will find the right person to love them and give them their HEA.
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice
Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O’Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.
Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand’s son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn’t imagined.
Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn’t plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals, isn’t prepared for what he encounters.
In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.
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The Hornsby Brothers #1
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
No offer is more daring…
An Intriguing Proposition
Passion. Seduction. Pleasure. These are the qualities of any courtesan worth her salt. As owner of The Starling Club, London’s most notorious house of ill-repute, Madame Philomena McGrattan has seen it all, heard it all, done it all. There is little that surprises her anymore, and even less that excites her. So when she is presented a chance at an irresistible seduction, she can’t help but rise to the challenge.
A Dangerous Game
Studiousness. Practicality. Discipline. Such are the attributes of a good scholar, and such are the principles Lord Spencer Hornsby has built his life around. Alone in the Welsh countryside, with only his wolfhounds for company, Spencer has thrown himself into his work. There is little time for the pleasures of society, not even to think of the joys of the fairer sex. But when an unexpected guest arrives at his isolated hunting lodge, Spencer cannot help but be baffled by the presence of this dangerously beautiful woman. And when he discovers the reason for her arrival, and the pleasures she promises, he cannot help but find himself irresistibly intrigued . . .
Finally, he asked, “And who are you, her replacement?”
Her? A housekeeper? Should she pretend to be a servant? Bugger that. “Hardly. I believe the old hag had plans to leave anyway as her bag was packed and at the ready. I’m here at the invitation of two of your acquaintances. Mr. Jacob Williamson and Mr. Clive Christopher.”
The professor frowned. At least she thought he did. It was hard to read his expression under the wiry thatch of hair surrounding his mouth. He rifled through a pile of unopened correspondence. “Oh? I do not recall any recent note from those gentlemen.”
“I believe I am to be a surprise present for your birthday tomorrow.”
His owl eyes blinked rapidly as if he could not process what she said. “I do not require a maid, though you tell me Mrs. Brickell has departed. It appears I could use a housekeeper…”
He had absolutely no idea why she came to him. His mind did not even consider the fact it could be for carnal reasons. What a sheltered life he must lead. “I’m no servant, though you need tidying up as much as your home does. You bear a striking resemblance to a painting of a French Canadian trapper I saw in a book once. All wild and shaggy—all that is missing is the plaid coat and the beaver pelts.” She gave him a sweet, smug smile.
With his lips pressed into a straight line, he sat back and regarded her. “Oh? You read a book once?” His elegant voice dripped with self-righteous sarcasm.
“Touché, Professor. Well aimed. A direct hit.” Phil pointed to the dogs who still stared at her. Their unblinking attention followed her every minute move. “Should I be afeared for my life? Your animals are intimidating.”
“Justinian. Theodora. Easy.” The hounds relaxed at his command, laying their heads on their paws. “They are Irish Wolfhounds. ‘Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.’”
Phil placed a hand on her hip. “Does that saying apply to you as well, Professor Hornsby?”
Did he smile slightly? Again, hard to tell under the facial hair. Phil pulled a chair toward the desk and placed it a few feet away. She raised one leg to the chair.
“Now, I don’t claim to be a blue-stocking, but I am able to read.” Phil grasped the hem of her green striped gown, and with a slow, deliberate movement, raised it past her ankle boots. She glanced at the beast behind the desk. His gaze remained steady as it slid down to where she continued to raise her petticoats to reveal one of her shapely legs. At least she’d been told they were shapely. No matter. Running her hand over the sheer white stocking, she lingered near her silk garter. “I do not think they are blue. You better come closer and inspect the shade of my stockings for yourself…Professor.”
He coughed and looked away. She made him uncomfortable, and she would wager to guess–a little aroused. No sound could be heard in the room except a whimper from one of the dogs and the huge clock in the corner ticking away the awkward minutes.
Hornsby faced her. “Who are you, madam, and why are you here?”
She continued to fondle and caress her leg, and having the unkempt man watch her caused a slow roll of heat to travel through her. Again, his voice. Like molten gold or a cello played by a master that vibrated with life, power, and resonance.
“My name is Philomena McGrattan. I am indeed a madam and hired to relieve you of your virginity.”
There was no further reaction from the professor whatsoever. This did not bode well.
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Karyn lives in a small town in the western corner of Ontario, Canada. She whiles away her spare time writing and reading romance while drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea. Tortured heroes are a must. A multi-published author with a few bestsellers under her belt, Karyn loves to write in different genres and time periods, though historicals and contemporaries are her favorite.
As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.
THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE
Sex, Love & Stiletto’s #4
As Lauren Layne’s salacious Sex, Love & Stiletto series returns, a jaded columnist discovers a steamy way to get over an old flame: falling for him all over again.
As Stiletto magazine’s authority on all things breakup-and-heartache, Emma Sinclair writes from personal experience. Five years ago, Emma was Charlotte, North Carolina’s darling debutante and a blushing bride-to-be. Now she’s the ice queen of the Manhattan dating scene. Emma left her sultry Southern drawl behind, but not even her closest friends know that with it she left her heart. Now Emma’s latest article forces her to face her demons—namely, the devilishly sexy guy who ditched her at the altar.
After giving up everything for a pro-soccer career, Alex Cassidy watches his dreams crumble as a knee injury sidelines him for good. Now he’s hanging up his cleats and giving journalism a shot. It’s just a coincidence that he happens to pick a job in the same field, and the same city, as his former fiancée . . . right? But when Emma moves in next door, it’s no accident. It’s research. And Alex can’t help wondering what might have been. Unlike the innocent girl he remembers, this Emma is chic, sophisticated, and assertive—and she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. The trouble is, Alex has never wanted her more.
“You’re looking . . . glamorous,” Camille said, as Emma crossed her legs and carefully made sure her short satin dress didn’t ride up.
“Long story,” Emma said. Though her friends had an easy relationship with Camille, Emma was newer to the group—newer to Stiletto—and she wasn’t quite secure enough in her position at the company to run her mouth.
Not that Emma was ever one to run her mouth. She was more the live-and-let-live type.
It was a natural evolution for someone who’d grown up with a twin sister who’d had more than enough personality for the both of them. And speaking of her twin, Emma had no doubt that Daisy’s southern-belle sensibilities would probably be all why, I never! if she could see Emma’s current state of dishevelment.
Emma’s perfectly coiffed sister would have found a way to emerge from a flooded apartment looking every bit as darling as she had at the daffodil parades. All the daffodil parades.
It hadn’t been easy being Daisy Sinclair’s quiet, boring sister. When they were growing up, Daisy had been the quintessential little princess. She always wore dresses, and the dresses would never have lemonade spilled down the front like Emma’s. Daisy knew exactly what to say to boys to make them fall all over themselves, whereas Emma had been horribly shy around the opposite sex.
When Emma had gotten engaged first, she’d been braced for Daisy’s resentment. Not because Daisy was generally resentful, but because everyone—Emma included—had assumed that Daisy would be the first sister down the aisle. But nobody had been happier for Emma and Cassidy than Daisy. Because as if it weren’t enough that Daisy were the charming one, she was also good. Emma would be annoyed if she didn’t love her sister so damn much.
And as it turned out, Daisy had been the first—and only—twin to walk down the aisle after all. Of course, she’d also been the only sister to get divorced. Daisy always joked that the twins had two unshakable things in common: a face and a shit-ton of heartache.
Except Daisy hadn’t actually said the “shit-ton” part. That was Emma’s special profane spin on the situation.
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” Camille said.
Camille pointed a coral fingernail at Emma’s still-damp hair. “You tell me why you’re rocking the fresh-outta-the-shower look, and I’ll tell you while I’m leaving my darling magazine in the hands of one of the Oxford buffoons.”
Emma pursed her lips. Couldn’t argue about the buffoon part. Although she was pretty sure that, despite her boss’s words, there was plenty of mutual respect between Cassidy and Camille. Still, Camille always saw Oxford as a bit of an enemy. The competition, so to speak.
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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren’s gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.
Start the Stiletto Series from the Beginning
AFTER THE KISS
LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH
JUST ONE NIGHT
Stiletto Spin Off:
OXFORD Series #1
Coming October 6th
Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.
Here's what's on my mind today:
- First Day of School My daughter went back to school today. :( I miss her already.
- Editing It's probably no shock that my plate is full with edits this week.
- Recovering From Knee Injury In case you didn't see my posts on FB and Twitter last week, I fell on the treadmill and now both knees look like I'm trying to audition for The Walking Dead—as a zombie of course. They're healing now, but ouch!
- Our Little Secret I'm SO excited for this release on September 15. Like SO excited. I love this book, and it's gorgeous thanks to the amazing team at Limitless Publishing. I have a lot planned for the month of September to celebrate, so stay tuned.
- Writer Wednesday Topics My posts from the other side of the submissions desk seem to be popular, so I thought I'd ask you if there's anything you'd like me to talk about in my Wednesday posts. What do you want to know about as far as submitting to editors?
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?
Hide Your Daughters,
The Porter’s are Coming…
KEEPING WHAT’S HIS
Porter Brothers Trilogy #1
Releasing Fall 2015
Young Ink Press
The Porter Brother’s were raised to live and die by Three Rules One, a Porter stands his ground Two, a Porter leaves no enemy standing
Sutton Creech was a cheat and a liar. Tate Porter had found that out when he was eighteen, and he had no intention of letting her make a fool out of him again. He didn’t care how much pain he saw in her eyes or how old memories tugged at his unforgiving heart until, the night a hidden secret is revealed and everything Tate had believed about their past is shattered, proving he had let the woman he loved get away.
Between trying to protect his family and running their pot growing business, Tate doesn’t have time to play the “Nice Guy”. He’d just have to remember the most important rule his father had given them: A Porter always keeps what’s his.
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“I was born in a small town in Kentucky. My family began poor, but worked their way to owning a restaurant. My mother was one of the best cooks I have ever known, and she instilled in all her children the value of hard work, and education. Taking after my mother, I’ve always love to cook, and became pretty good if I do say so myself. I love to experiment and my unfortunate family has suffered through many. They now have learned to steer clear of those dishes. I absolutely love the holidays and my family puts up with my zany decorations. For now, my days are spent writing, writing, and writing. I have two children who both graduated this year from college. My daughter does my book covers, and my son just tries not to blush when someone asks him about my books. Currently I am writing five series of books- The Last Riders, The VIP Room, Predators MC, Biker Bitches, and The Dark Souls. All my books are written for one purpose- the enjoyment others find in them, and the expectations of my fans that inspire me to give it my best.”
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Rachael! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Rachael Johns] Cheerful, optimistic, friendly, crazy and loud.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Rachael Johns] My iPhone
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Rachael Johns] Empty Diet Coke cans, my diary, decks of FIRE ME UP cards, which I’m planning to use for giveaways.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?
[Rachael Johns] Does Diet Coke count as a snack? If not, pretty much any chocolate I can get my hands on.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Rachael Johns] Nora Roberts
[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?
[Rachael Johns] Is flying a superpower? I’d really love to be able to fly!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Rachael Johns] Maisey Yate’s Part Time Cowboy; Always a Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk; Fiona’s Flame by Rachael Herron.
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FIRE ME UP
Deacons of Bourbon Street #2
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
Can a scorching affair with a bohemian beauty tame a motorcycle man with a dark side? Rachael Johns takes the wheel in the sexy series co-written with Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.
Travis “Cash” Sinclair values only two things from his days with the Deacons of Bourbon Street: his prized Harley Davidson and the man who gave it to him. But now Priest Lombard is gone, and Cash has inherited the Deacons’ clubhouse—not to mentions its unexpected tenant. She’s exactly the type of woman he tries to avoid: all incense and art, with a sharp tongue that promises trouble. So why does Cash want to push aside those flowing skirts and lose himself between her legs?
Billie Taylor fled a bad marriage to start a new life among the grit and glamour of the French Quarter. She refuses to let another man distract her from her dreams, especially an outlaw biker with nothing to offer except hot sex and an eviction notice. Cash is dangerous, with an untamed streak he tries desperately to conceal. He drives Billie wild, sending her too close to the edge for her own good. And she won’t fall under his spell—or into his bed—without a fight.
“This room is mine,” she said, folding her arms and glaring at him with more bravado than she felt as he turned to look at her with his dark, smoldering eyes. She shivered despite herself and almost forgot to add, “If you insist on staying, you’ll have to choose from one of the others.”
He took his time replying, his gaze sliding downward, scalding her body as if he’d actually touched her. For a moment she thought he was going to object—tell her that not only would he share her house but also her bed—but eventually he shut her wardrobe and nodded. “I always preferred the one next to this anyway.”
She swallowed. Of all the rooms in the house, he wanted to choose the one right next to hers? How would she sleep knowing he was mere yards away? Still, she was hardly in a position to argue, and if it would get him out of her personal space, well, that was a start.
“Fine.” She stepped back and gestured for him to leave. The only good thing about having Travis right next door was that she could keep an eye on him. Or was that a bad thing? Argh.
Surprisingly, he obeyed, stalking past her and smirking again as he did. She hated that she caught a waft of some raw, masculine cologne, which sent ripples of need through her body, rousing places she’d given little thought to over the last year. How ironic that the first sign of life down there had sparked because of a man who seemed intent on messing up her life. Why were the sexiest guys, the best-looking ones, always the biggest jerks?
He didn’t head straight for his room, instead going into the kitchen, and she found herself following. Her hackles rose as he opened the refrigerator and leaned inside, giving her a perfect view of his perfect butt. Oh help me, God! Had any guy she’d ever known looked so damn fine in faded jeans? Her thighs involuntarily clenched.
“No beer,” he said as he straightened.
Despite the traitorous hormones rushing through her body, she shook her head. It went against the grain of every single cell in her body not to be hospitable, but then again she hadn’t invited him to stay here with her. “Nope. Sorry. But there’s a bar next door.”
She wished he’d go back to it. He had to be one of the Deacons that had been hanging around The Priory the last few days. Sophie had given her a brief history of the motorcycle club—apparently it had disbanded around the time of Katrina—and informed her that it would be unlikely any of its members would hang around after her father’s funeral. But, dammit, it looked like she’d been wrong on that account. Billie needed to go see Sophie, make sure this guy was for real. For all she knew he could be anybody. He hadn’t shown her any proof that he owned the building, but something—maybe the way he’d leaned into her face when he told her no one tells him what the fuck to do—made her cautious. He was like a wild animal, and she didn’t want to make any sudden moves.
He smiled wickedly and leaned back against the counter, looking her over again, making her feel aroused and insulted all at once. “I know it. The bar and this place used to be my home.”
“Is that right?” She wondered about Travis Sinclair. He had the leather jacket, the swagger in his step and the don’t-mess-with-me attitude of a biker, but there was something about him that didn’t fit the image. He wore no patches like a couple of other guys she’d seen hanging around next door, but that wasn’t it. There was something else she couldn’t quite put her finger on. “And where is your home now?”
She waited for him to tell her it was none of her fucking business, but he shrugged off his jacket, hung it over one of the odd chairs that sat around her kitchen table and then pulled back the seat and straddled it. “Tallahassee,” he said as he leaned down and yanked a laptop out of his pack. It was a flashy MacBook Air—not at all the type of computer she’d expect of a biker. He didn’t even glance her way as he put it on the table in front of him, lifted the lid and tapped his boots against the tiled floor as he waited for the computer to spring to life.
No idea where Tallahassee was—geography had never been her thing—she vowed to google it later. Leaning back against the kitchen counter, she wiped her palm across her brow, feeling hot and more than a little bothered. Being warm in itself wasn’t unusual in New Orleans or in Western Australia where she came from, but the weather had nothing to do with the rise in her body temperature. And that disturbed her.
Her eyes zoned in on the bad-boy ink that traveled the length of his sculpted and tanned forearms, and the heat that had been simmering inside her boiled over.
Until this moment she’d have said she wasn’t a fan of body art—personally, she preferred her art on walls or in gardens—but Travis’s tattoos changed her opinion. And that was bad, because with her divorce only recently official, the last thing she wanted in her life was another man who thought he could walk all over her.
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Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeljohns.com
This morning, Marina Adair dropped by to share a Top 5! Be sure to enter the giveaway below!
Top 5 Books You’ve Read This Year
1. Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood (I reread this book every year or so)
2. The Reign series by Joya Ryan
3. Do or Die by Suzanne Brockman
4. The Best of Me by Elizabeth Barrett
5. This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
About the author:
Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her at www.MarinaAdair.com.
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A TASTE OF SUGAR by Marina Adair (August 25, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia #3)
A blast from her past…
Charlotte Holden, Sugar’s favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she’s focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder’s Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we’re still married.
…leads to tantalizing trouble
Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago—or so he thought. He’d walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he’ll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn’t going to let her go without a fight.
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SUGAR ON TOP by Marina Adair (April 28, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #2)
She’s sassy and sweet
The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .
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SUGAR’S TWICE AS SWEET by Marina Adair (November 25, 2014; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia Book #1)
He’s trouble she doesn’t need…
Thanks to a cheating fiance, Josephina Harrington’s perfect life just crashed and burned. Moving in with her overbearing parents is definitely not an option. No, she needs to prove she can make it on her own. And she will—by turning her great-aunt’s old plantation house into a destination getaway. She’s just not expecting her contractor to be so hands-on—and so totally irresistible.
…but everything she wants
Bad-boy golf champion Brett McGraw figured his hometown of Sugar, Georgia, was the perfect place to lay low and get his life back up to par. The leggy blonde with a pint-sized pup is the kind of sweet ’n’ sassy trouble he never saw coming. She doesn’t know a nut from a bolt and before long, he’s renovating her house…as she steals his heart. Can he convince Josephina that his womanizing ways are in the past and he’s ready for forever?
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“Morning, Dr. Holden,” he said, unfolding himself from the car.
“You’re late.” Charlotte stood and swished her way down the steps toward him. No good morning, no thanks for coming, just a you’re late as though they had plans, as though he’d disappointed her again.
“Sorry,” he said coolly, tapping the face of his watch. “Forgot to set it to Charlotte Standard Time.”
She stopped a few feet from him, and he could see the hesitation in her expression. Hesitation and something else. Something that looked an awful lot like vulnerability. Oh, there was a good portion of irritation and hostility glaring at him through those baby blues, but behind it all was definitely vulnerability. Interesting.
“You’re the one who said we had to go to Atlanta today.”
“I believe you told me you were too busy to make the time,” he said, not sure how he was going to handle six hours in an enclosed space with her. Just standing downwind taking in her floral scent was making him hard.
“I changed my mind.”
Jace looked at her for a long moment, then laughed. She was serious.
“Darling, you don’t change your mind. Ever.” Charlotte Holden might be a Southern belle, but her Kevlar wall of stubbornness could rival a Southern granny’s—and having been raised by the most mule-headed granny in the world, that was saying a lot. Oh, he believed that Charlotte had changed her mind, he just didn’t know why. “So what happened with your debutante sisters yesterday that has you desperate enough to call me?”
“Sugar Peaches,” she corrected. “And since when do you keep up on Sugar gossip?”
“Since you started calling yourself a Sugar Peach. I mean, weren’t the Peaches your mom’s thing?”
Charlotte had once confided in him that she moved to Atlanta to escape the pressure of following in her mother’s footsteps. The pageants and parties and social ladder climbing were Babette’s dream for Charlotte. Charlotte’s dream was to save lives—and she was a master at it.
“Well, it’s my thing now,” she said, and he couldn’t help but notice the resignation in her voice. He wanted to know what else had changed, then realized it didn’t matter anymore. “And that means I have to be back as soon as possible. Founder’s Day is only three weeks off, and I have a lot to do.”
“Yeah, me too.” He had to get an annulment, convince his buddy to fix Hattie’s car, and secure that loan before Dale pulled his offer.
“Good, because as the current regent of the Sugar Peaches it falls to me to plan the Founder’s Day Fair, so this trip needs to be a quickie,” she said, her bossy, take-charge tone making him smile.
“Quickies aren’t really my specialty,” he said. “But who am I to argue with a lady?”
“Easy and discreet, Jace. The last thing I need right now is to explain this to my parents,” she clarified as though he was slow, as though he didn’t know just how anxious she was to put the past behind them. Which shouldn’t have pissed him off, because that was what he wanted, too. But it did.
“Easy and discreet? Kind of like our marriage?” he mused.
She looked at him for a long moment and then slowly shook her head. “Nothing about our marriage was easy, Jace,” she said, and the absolute certainty in her voice made him want to prove her wrong.
“There was one easy thing between us,” Jace said, stepping into her and closing the distance, trapping her between the car and his body. He reached behind her neck, crushed his mouth to hers, and kissed the hell out of her.
Only one touch, and she was kissing him back. No hesitation, no second-guessing, just—pow —debutante to seductress. Not interested to tongue down his throat in two seconds flat.
And holy fucking God, it was perfect. The way she felt, the way she tasted, the way she crawled up his body and demanded more…How had he forgotten this side of her?
That insane pull between them, which he’d convinced himself didn’t exist, wasn’t only burning a hole through his clothes—and his mission—it also wasn’t one-sided. Which told him that he should a) back the hell up, and b) immediately cancel this field trip they had planned. Before things got crazy.
But then she made this sexy little sound in the back of her throat—the one that used to drive him batshit crazy, that still drove him batshit crazy—and he was a goner.
So he deepened the kiss, because why the hell not? Charlotte had her prim and proper hands all over him, and he was certain that this was the best kiss he’d ever had. Hot and needy and raw and so damn desperate it was like driving down the track at three hundred miles per hour with no breaks.
Then he realized that this was not only the best kiss ever, but probably also their last kiss ever, and he slowly pulled back, tugging her lower lip between his teeth as long as he could until the connection finally broke. And damn, he wished he hadn’t stopped.
That one second of uncharged air was all Charlotte needed. Sure, she was breathing heavily, and her gaze was dazed and confused. A mirror image of his own. But within a split second her eyes frosted over and that unflinching fortitude was back.
Not that he was fooled. Jace knew that they had chemistry, remembered how electric they were together, but what had arched between them just now floored him. And it had floored her, too.
Charlotte cleared her throat. “This changes nothing.”
Jace lowered his gaze to her hands, which were resting on the buckle of his belt. “Oh, it changes something.”
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Truly Paradise by Michelle Ziegler Waiting for the right one can be torture. Too bad for Hailey, impatience got the best of her. Finding Mr. Right in time for a destination wedding couldn’t happen fast enough. Instead of listening to reason, or rather her friends, she’s stuck in paradise alone, again. Nothing ruins a tropical paradise faster than catching your date with another woman. Justin’s ready for a change. He’s been caught up in his own success for too long and is looking to finally settle down. Timing is everything and his cousins wedding is the perfect start of his new life. His luck is changing with the captivating mystery woman on the beach. Now all he has to do is find her, before he agrees to his family’s match making plot. Excerpt: “This is paradise, though, or so the brochure said. I’m fairly certain a woman like you could find someone better in the matter of a few hours.” He glanced back to her. His gaze sent heat coursing through her in a way she’d never experienced, let alone expected. She couldn’t be certain the sudden wriggling in her stomach was something she’d eaten, or a good thing invoked by Mr. Beach-God. A hot burn seemed to claim her neck and kiss her cheeks. There was no suppressing the grin that spread ear to ear. No one had ever made her feel like she was an object of desire. Tossing her head, she took it in. Feminism aside, it was nice to be wanted. He smiled back at her, a full smile that reached his eyes. “Then again, it isn’t exactly bad to have morals. I respect the fact you didn’t head straight for a bar to try and pick up on someone new. I know my roommate certainly could use a few morals for the love of my sanity.” Is he hitting on me? “This is Mexico. Are you implying there are a lot of desperate men here?” She leaned into him, bumping his shoulder with hers. The bit of contact sent a new sizzling flash racing over her. The stranger’s brow knit together. “What? No. That’s not at all what I meant. I suppose it’s true though, unless there are a lot of cold showers to be had around here. Men are pretty useless around woman in bathing suits.”
About the Author: Michelle’s imagination started spilling out onto paper the second she could scribble. Her drawing never improved, but her love affair with words continued and evolved as she became infatuated with one story after another. If life could be written, Michelle would write everyone’s ending as a happily ever after. Michelle grew up in Chicago and later moved to Colorado. Her husband still makes fun of her Midwest accent. By day, she is an engineer, wife, and mother to two kids and two dogs. Her sanity survives on the pages she writes, even if her toddler is trying to drive her to the edge one temper tantrum at a time. Website: http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleZieglerAuthor Twitter: http://twitter.com/MZiegler_Writer
****Check out Michelle's story and the others in this anthology.
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May Contain Spoilers
All of the sheikh stories I have been reading are starting to blend together. I think it’s time for a break, but there seem to be so many of them! And I really did like the cover, so I jumped into The Desert Lord’s Bride with a great deal of anticipation.
Unfortunately, the plot was pretty forgettable. I read this one night and I could barely remember any of the plot details the next morning! Shehab, the heir to the throne, is determined to con the newly discovered princess of a neighboring kingdom into marrying him. That kind of makes her sound like a new species of flower or butterfly – unknown princess appears on the radar! The whole marriage game is upended! Which handsome prince can marry her and cement his place in the succession of his kingdom? It wasn’t even as exciting as that.
Farah’s already turned down Shehab once, so he disguises himself and pretends to not be himself. Farah is immediately drawn to him, then agrees to go out to dinner with him. What she doesn’t realize when they hop on his private jet, is that they’ll actually be flying somewhere. Uh, hello, what else would you do on a plane but fly it somewhere? If I had been Farah, I would have put the brakes on when we pulled up in front of Shehab’s aircraft. There would be no way I would get on a plane with a guy I had met an hour ago, but then again, I am to susceptible scary news stories about stranger danger, abductions, and murders.
To make things even more uncomfortable for me, Shehab whisks her away to his private island paradise, where they enjoy a multi-week vacation. I don’t have enough vacation days to miss that much time from work! Apparently, princesses, whether they want to be royalty or not, don’t have to worry about mundane things like that.
I thought Shehab was a bit creepy and stalkerish. He never seemed sincere in his pursuit of Farah, but then again, he wasn’t. He concealed his identity for almost the entire time and then ended up professing his undying love for her – I just didn’t buy it. I liked the art, though, so the story wasn’t a total loss.
Grade: C / C-
Review copy purchased from Amazon
“I promise to give you the best moment of your life,” whispers a beautiful, mysterious man after a passionate kiss. Those words make Farah throw all reason out the door. Career woman Farah is actually a desert princess, and had just found out that she is to be in an arranged marriage with a prince from a neighboring kingdom. Farah has always wanted to marry the man she falls in love with, and hoped that this man, who made her crazy, would be the one. Hot passion takes her over. Please, take me now! At that moment, the man’s eyes shine like a beast.
This morning I have an exclusive excerpt for Loving the Chase by Sharla Lovelace. I also have an awesome giveaway, so please enter below!
Exclusive Excerpt: Loving the Chase by Sharla Lovelace
Maddi kissed him. Out in the middle of a thunderstorm, soaked to the skin, she leaned in and planted a kiss on him that flipped back time and stopped it simultaneously. Suddenly Zach didn’t care about the rain or the mud in his hair or the puddle seeping through his jeans. All he cared about was keeping Maddi Hayes’s mouth on his.
Cradling her head in his hands, he pulled her in, searching her mouth, tasting her, taking all he could before she changed her mind. Before she remembered for both of them why they couldn’t do this.
His tongue slid over hers as he dove deeper, needing more, needing her. Then she gave a little moan in his mouth, making him nearly blind with need. God help him, this was actually happening. This was Maddi, losing herself in his kiss, her hands going into his wet hair, pulling him impossibly closer. Zach obliged, pulling her body to him until she was straddling him, her arms wound around his head in desperate desire. His hands pressing her tightly against him as he kissed her as deeply and thoroughly as he could. Making love to her mouth, feeling—fuck—feeling too damn much as things he couldn’t afford to feel came rushing to the surface. A burn hit him in the gut and the chest and the eyes at the same time, and he forced himself to pull back, kissing her face, trying to breathe. Tasting salt.
He opened his eyes to look into hers. They hadn’t made it far, and the light from the porch still made it possible to see the rivulets of water running down her face. But tears? Hell they might have been his. She gripped his face and pressed her forehead to his, pulling every ounce of gut-wrenching control from him. Someone had to think. Someone that wasn’t him.
“Maddi,” he breathed as lightning flashed overhead and thunder cracked over them.
“I know,” she whispered against his lips.
“You—you have to stop us,” Zach said against hers, his hands on her ass, pulling her against him and then sliding up her back. “God help me, I don’t think I can.”
She moved her hips against him as his hands roamed, and took a shaky breath as her fingers tangled in his hair. “I can’t, Zach,” she said. “I know I should, but I—” Her lips pressed against his face, raining kisses along his eyes, his temple, breaking his self-control and sending him into the place just under her ear that he miraculously remembered her liking. “I can’t stop touching you,” she breathed.
About the Book
Author: Sharla Lovelace
Title: Loving the Chase
Release Day: August 25, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Charming, adventurous Zach Chase has always craved the spotlight, and now he’s on the hunt for publicity for his family’s storm-chasing business. So when a reality TV network approaches him with the idea for a show profiling their work, he can’t resist. But the last person he expects to walk into the meeting is the former love of his life.
Production assistant Maddi Hayes was once engaged to Zach—until she was almost killed by a tornado he was out chasing. She walked away from her fiancé and their future together, convinced she’d always come second to his dangerous career.
Dreading the show and anxious over working so closely with Zach, Maddi also knows this project could mean big things for her career. If only Zach weren’t still so infuriating…and so infuriatingly sexy. Can they finally let go of their stormy past? Or will the passion still raging between them win in the end?
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Chase-Heart-Sharla-Lovelace-ebook/dp/B00TKQD1EC
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of The Reason Is You, Before and Ever Since, Just One Day, Don’t Let Go, and Stay with Me, as well as the Heart of the Storm series. She writes stories about small-town love filled with warmth and humor. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in southeast Texas with her retired husband, a souped-up golf cart, and two crazy mutts. She loves connecting with readers and is available by Skype for book club meetings and chats. For a list of her events and to sign up for her monthly newsletter, see her website at www.sharlalovelace.com.
Author’s Social Media Links
Website – http://sharlalovelace.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sharlalovelace
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sharlalovelace
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5020278.Sharla_Lovelace
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Thanks to Gallery Books, I have a copy of Emma Chase’s latest, Sustained, up for grabs! First check out Emma’s Top 5 favorite reads, then enter for your chance to win below!
Top 5 Favorite Reads by Emma Chase
1. Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey: James is my ultimate male lead character! Sarcastically funny, possessive, sexy with just the right amount of tender moments to make me sigh. If I was stranded on a desert island, this is the book I’d bring with me (along with the entire Malory series if allowed).
2. The Bride by Julie Garwood: I’ll never get tired of rereading this one – sexy and heart-tugging moments, spirited characters mixed with a tiny bit of intrigue! I love all of Garwood’s historical romances.
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: I’ve adored this book since I was fifteen years old – the drama, the passion! To me, Heathcliff is the prototype for every romantic “bad boy” who came after him.
4. Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren: Smart, sexy and fun! I love Will and Hanna, they never fail to make me giggle and blush. This book is always a good time.
5. The King by Tiffany Reisz: The Original Sinners Series is simply brilliant – and for me, it’s all about the characters. They’re sharp and complicated and so very funny at times! Every turn of the page is like peeling back a layer and discovering something brand new, making you care even more deeply for the characters and more invested in their unique happy ending.
Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with a brand new funny, romantic, sexy story!
A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.
When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.
Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.
Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I’m going to Mommy and Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal’s office.
Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.
And that—that, I know how to do.
About the Author
By day, Emma Chase is a devoted wife and mother who lives in a small, rural town in New Jersey. By night, she toils away bringing her colorful characters and their endless antics to life. Writing has always been her passion, and the release of her debut romantic comedy Tangled was nothing less than a dream come true. The subsequent books in her delightful, beloved series include Twisted, Tamed, and Tied. She is also the author of Sustained from her sexy new Legal Briefs series.
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Enjoy an excerpt from Rachel Lacey’s Ever After, and make sure to enter the giveaway below!EVER AFTER by Rachel Lacey (August 25, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Love to the Rescue #3)
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Olivia Bennett is not having a happy birthday. Instead of blowing out her twenty-nine candles, she’s stuck in jail, caught red-handed in a graffiti incident that (perhaps) involved one too many strawberry margaritas. Worst idea ever. The only bright side is that she ended up in the strong arms of the most gorgeous lawman she’s ever seen.
Pete Sampson (aka Deputy Hot Stuff) faces intense pressure from the sheriff to find out who’s behind a string of vandalisms. And after her spray-painting spree, Olivia is suspect number one. Still, Pete can’t stop thinking about her.Wanting her. Now he’s torn between his duty and his overpowering desire for the vivacious waitress. But he may have to bend the rules because true love is more important than the letter of the law . . .
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“Hurry up, Liv,” Kristi called from below her.
Olivia raised the canister and let loose another blast of red paint. She’d just started “I” when the sound of an approaching vehicle reached her. Her finger slipped, and a fresh coat of paint soaked her hands.
Kristi and Terence must have heard it too, because the flashlight shut off, leaving her at the top of the ladder in pitch darkness, afraid to move. Headlights slashed through the night from Garrett Road, some two hundred feet to her left. They slowed, then tires crunched over gravel as the car turned into the factory parking lot.
Christ on a cracker.
“Get the hell down, Liv. We’ve got to get out of here!” Terence whispered.
A swirl of blue lights turned the night into a kaleidoscope of oh, shit. She pressed against the side of the building, stymied by paint-slickened fingers as she fumbled for the top of the ladder.
She was so not getting arrested on her birthday.
Except that she so was. A spotlight shone from the cruiser, illuminating her in a blaze of light so bright she could do nothing but press a hand over her eyes and count how many ways spray-painting Halverson Foods’ chicken-processing plant had been a bad idea.
The ladder shifted beneath her, and she groped for the top rung. The combination of the spinning blue lights with the piercing glare of the spotlight was seriously disorienting.
“Hands where I can see them,” a male voice boomed.
She shoved her hands into the air, managing to smack herself in the face with the can of spray paint in the process. It fell to the ground with a muffled thump. Oh, this sucked.
“Come down from the ladder, nice and slow, and keep those hands up,” the cop instructed. He sounded nice-ish. Maybe he’d go easy on her. Maybe . . .
Awkwardly, she fumbled with her right foot for the next rung of the ladder. It swayed dangerously to the side.
“Terence!” she hissed, her fingernails scoring metal as she tried to steady herself.
Silence. She looked down, but the spotlight’s glare blinded her, preventing her from seeing past her own paint-spattered boots. “Terence? Kristi?”
She managed to get her foot settled onto the rung and took a step down. No answer came from her friends. What the hell?
She lifted her left foot to take the next step, and the ladder just dropped out from beneath her. One second it was there, the next she was plummeting through space.
“Oomph,” came a masculine grunt, as she slammed into someone’s chest and big, strong arms closed around her.
“Terence?” Her voice was a squeak, because Terence was nowhere near this strong, and he didn’t smell as good either. This man smelled faintly of cinnamon, his arms solid as steel behind her thighs, and based on the hard bulge stabbing into her kidney, he was also armed.
Oh, crap. Crap. Crap!
“Sorry,” he answered her question, setting her roughly on the ground. “Not Terence.”
“Oh.” She staggered, still blinded by the spotlight aimed at her. Disoriented, she turned her back and blinked at her shadow on the factory’s gray wall. Terence and Kristi had deserted her. Bastards.
“Keep those hands where I can see them,” Invisible Cop said.
With a sigh, she placed them on the wall before her. Her hands glistened blood-red in the harsh light. She had been caught red-handed. Dammit. She’d always hated being a cliché.
FOR KEEPS by Rachel Lacey (January 27, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Love to the Rescue #2)
A SUMMER FLING . . . OR SOMETHING MORE?
Merry Atwater would do just about anything to save her dog rescue – even if it means working with the most stubborn man on the planet. It’s hard to avoid the sparks that fly with TJ Jameson, the ruggedly sexy cowboy in charge of the children’s camp where she’s just taken an animal therapy job. But commitment is not Merry’s style, and TJ clearly wants more than just a roll in the hay.
TJ Jameson isn’t looking for anything complicated-just a peaceful life on his family’s ranch with a wife and kids. “No-strings” Merry Atwater doesn’t fit that bill, no matter how irresistible she is. But when he sees how Merry gets through to his autistic nephew and the other kids at Camp Blue Sky, TJ’s a goner. If he doesn’t give in to the now, he might just lose his shot at forever . . .
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UNLEASHED by Rachel Lacey (October 28, 2014; Forever Mass Market; Love to the Rescue #1)
What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?
Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it’s not because of all the foster dogs she’s rescued. She’s got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don’t get attached. It’s served her well with the dogs she’s given to good homes and the children she’s nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt’s sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.
Matt Dumont doesn’t need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he’d never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there’s no way he can start a relationship just as he’s about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they’ll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go…
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About the author:
Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter.
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[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sophia! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Sophia Henry] Driven. Compassionate. Funny.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Sophia Henry] Lip product of some kind. I’m addicted. I feel like a zombie without it. A dry-lip zombie.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Sophia Henry] Computer, a stack of books for a future giveaway, and a silly little bobblehead of a cat wearing gold chains that my grandpa bought me.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?
[Sophia Henry] Sour Patch Kids. I eat all the Sour Patch Kids when I’m writing!!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Sophia Henry] (Detroit Red Wings Forward) Tomas Tatar’s girlfriend? Sorry to my husband…
[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?
[Sophia Henry] This is such a hard question for me, because “with great power comes great responsibility,” ya know? I’ll say invisibility, because then I don’t need to be Tomas Tatar’s girlfriend, I’ll just be invisible in the Red Wings locker room for a week. I think more naughty than I write.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Sophia Henry] I’ve read so much awesome recently. Missing Pieces by Meredith Tate, Game of Love by Ara Grigorian, Across the Distance by Marie Meyer, The Rearranged Life by Annika Sharma, Run Away by Laura Salters, The List by Kate L. Mary, Letting Go by Jessica Ruddick. So many. I love to read (Obviously – ha). And love to support my fellow authors.
**Thank you so much for having me on your blog!
Pilots Hockey #1
Releasing Sept 1st, 2015
She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.
Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.
Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.
After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.
I’m pretty sure there were only two ways Crazy Hair could have looked better than he had at O’Callaghan’s. The first was as he did right now: sitting on a bench in the locker room wearing nothing but the lower half of his uniform, including his skates, sweat rolling over his sinewy pecs and creating a happy trail all the way into his hockey pants.
The second way—I can only assume—would be if he were completely naked.
“Aleksandr, this is Auden Berezin. She will be your translator.”
“I don’t need a translator.”
I almost laughed, because he’d said he didn’t need a translator in Russian.
“You must talk with the media at some point, Sasha. They’re riding my ass to get better answers from you than ‘was good game.’ ”
Aleksandr Varenkov, hot Russian hockey god, laughed, showing the perfect set of white teeth I’d noticed at the bar.
“You have your teeth in, but you haven’t even showered yet?” Orlenko asked.
Was Orlenko a mind reader? I sure hope not, because I would be fired for thinking about my client naked.
“I wanted to look good for pictures.” Aleksandr winked at me. Then he stood, and drops of sweat raced down the hard planes of his chest.
I’d never been so envious of perspiration in my life.
“Sometimes I talk in the shower. Will she translate for me in there?”
My cheeks began to burn, so I averted my eyes, lowering them to the black Cyrillic script tattooed down his sides, then thought better of that line of sight and studied the soiled beige carpet below my feet.
“Aleks—” Orlenko sighed, rubbing his forehead.
“Zhenya,” Aleksandr began. “You know I’m kidding, yes?” He shoved a towel onto the shelf above his nameplate and walked away without waiting for an answer.
“Yes,” Orlenko hissed. He’d said it under his breath, but I heard him and wondered what my grandpa had gotten me into. “Well, that was Aleksandr Varenkov, your client. He’s a talented player and a good man. But he can be a little—”
“Douchey?” I offered in English. I shouldn’t have said it, considering Grandpa’s professional reputation was in my hands. Then again, Evgeny Orlenko was Grandpa’s friend first, so maybe he wouldn’t be too hard on me. Besides, Grandpa knew what kind of mouth I had, and he’d sent me for the job anyway.
Orlenko laughed, and continued in Russian. “Wild was the word I was looking for, but your adjective may not be that far off.”
“I’ve got it, Mr. Orlenko.”
“Are you sure?” He inspected me through thick black-rimmed glasses that were too small for his puffy face.
“As a college student with an active social life, I’ve learned how to handle arrogant douche bags.” This time I was being paid to handle one.
“I shouldn’t be having this conversation about one of my clients,” Mr. Orlenko said, his lips quirking up, then back into a tight line. At least he was trying to keep a straight face. “You’re like a breath of fresh air, Audushka. I hope you stay that way even with his off-ice antics.”
Off-ice antics? What the hell did that mean and why would I have to deal with them? “Will I have to hang out with him outside of the arena? I thought I was here to translate for media interviews after games and some practices.”
“Aleksandr speaks very little English. He’ll need your assistance in all aspects of his career; interviews, community service. At least, until he gets acclimated. Vitya said you were here for the month, is that correct?”
“Yep. All of winter break.”
“You’ll be putting in a lot of hours.”
“I’m a hard worker. And I need the cash. Got cut from the soccer team, and I have to replace the scholarship money I lost.” I was running my mouth again. Maybe I did need to tone it down.
“Well, I’m sorry to hear that. The being-cut part.” He cleared his throat. “Here’s my card. I wrote my cell number on the back. If you have any trouble or if Aleksandr makes you uncomfortable in any way, please give me a call.”
“Thanks.” I scanned the card wondering if I should try to memorize his number now, since I wasn’t sure how stable this client sounded.
After Orlenko left the locker room, I realized I hadn’t asked him what I should do next, and he hadn’t given me instructions as to where I should wait while Aleksandr showered. Since I wasn’t part of the media, I was extremely aware of being the intruder standing in a room of half-naked men. A shower shouldn’t take very long, so I dug my e-reader out of my messenger bag and sat down on the stool that Aleksandr had just vacated.
“Ewww.” I jumped up and skimmed my palm against my damp backside. Hadn’t even thought about any runaway sweat that might’ve dripped from Aleksandr’s lean, hard body onto the stool.
Stop. Just stop thinking about the shiny, wet flesh covering his impeccably carved frame.
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Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.
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IMMORTAL MATCHMAKERS, INC.
Immortal Matchmakers #1
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Released Aug 24th, 2015
BECAUSE…dysfunctional immortals need love, too.
Once the most powerful immortal assassin ever to exist, this demigod now spends his days pining for the girl who got away: Helena. Doesn’t help that he’s also Helena’s full-time nanny slash bodyguard. But now that the apocalypse is over and her husband, the vampire general, has returned home for good, it’s time to move on.
But can Andrus let go of the woman he secretly loves?
Cimil, Goddess of the Underworld and owner of Immortal Matchmakers, Inc., knows the solution is finding another gal. The right gal. But getting a woman to date this callous, unrefined, coldhearted warrior will prove to be the biggest challenge of her existence. Good thing they’re in L.A.
When aspiring actress Sadie Townsend finds herself one week away from being thrown out on the street, the call from her agent is like a gift from heaven. But when she learns the job is teaching the world’s biggest barbarian how to act like a gentleman, she wonders if she shouldn’t have asked for more money. He’s vulgar, uncaring, and rougher around the edges than a serrated bread knife. He’s also sexy, fierce, and undeniably tormented.
Will Sadie help him overcome his past, or will she find her heart hopelessly trapped by a man determined to self-destruct?
He stood up. “I think I’ll go for a swim. Care to join me?”
“A swim. It’s been centuries since I’ve been in the ocean.”
“Centuries, huh? Well, I’m sorry, but no. We need to work, Andrus. I have less than a week to get you ready, or I don’t get paid.”
“You should’ve negotiated for a better deal.” He kicked off his boots and stripped off his shirt.
Holy mother of God.
As her eyes scaled up his abs, the deep grooves of his washboard stomach flexing with fiercely seductive power, she found herself mesmerized. The light olive skin of his bare arms and chest and…Oh my God. This guy is built like an evil sexy tank. And whether she liked it or not, her female libido reacted—nipple tingles, core flutters, the whole nine yards. Or ten inches, in his case.
Andrus caught her blatantly drooling and then winked. “You’re welcome.” He dipped his head of thick, messy dark hair, turned, and slowly made his way toward the water.
Sadie watched along with every other woman within eyeshot. They all stopped whatever they were doing—volleyball, applying suntan oil, kissing their boyfriends, or avoiding trees while they were rollerblading—Watch out! Oh, that had to hurt. Even the men stopped to fume in Andrus’s general direction, seething with a territorial-type jealousy as he practically floated over the sand, his naturally tanned muscles flexing and pumping in a hypnotic rhythm as he strolled toward the waves.
He looked like a fucking god. Tall, lean, menacing ropes of—
He jumped head first into a wave, startling Sadie from her little sexually charged, mental detour.
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling Romance author, host of the radio talk show, Man Candy, on Radioslot.com.
When San Francisco native Mimi Jean went on an adventure as an exchange student to Mexico City, she never imagined the journey would lead to writing Romance. But one MBA, one sexy husband, and two rowdy kids later, Mimi would trade in corporate life for vampires, deities, and snarky humor.
She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most.
She also enjoys interacting with her fans (especially if they’re batshit crazy). You can always find her chatting away on Facebook, Twitter, or saying many naughty words on her show MAN CANDY on Radioslot.com !
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SCOTSMAN OF MY DREAMS
MacIain Series #3
Releasing Aug 25th, 2015
In USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s second novel in her breathtaking series, an unconventional woman and a former scoundrel embark on a daring mission of desire.
Once the ton’s most notorious rake, Dalton MacIain has returned from his expedition to America during the Civil War-wounded and a changed man. Instead of attending soirees, he now spends his time as a recluse. But Dalton’s peace is disturbed when Minerva Todd barges into his London townhouse, insisting he help search for her missing brother Neville. Though Dalton would love to spend more time with the bewitching beauty, he has no interest in finding Neville-for he blames him for his injury.
Minerva has never met a more infuriating man than the Earl of Rathsmere yet she is intrigued by the torrid rumors she has heard about him…and the fierce attraction pulling her toward him.
Dalton does not count on Minerva’s persistence-or the desire she awakens in him, compelling him to discover her brother’s fate. But when danger surrounds them, Dalton fears he will lose the tantalizing, thoroughly unpredictable woman he has come to love.
She didn’t know what part of the letter made her angrier, the fact that he had gone off to see if he was brave, or his thought that women should simply agree to anything a man suggested.
Sitting at her desk, she calmly folded the letter and held it against her chest.
She would not cry. Tears did nothing but make her eyes and nose red and congest her breathing. They didn’t solve the situation. They didn’t make her feel less guilty.
He had never mentioned America to her. What did he know about their war? Did he simply want to go into battle to see if he could survive it?
Dear God, had he survived it?
That was the one question no one could answer.
She replaced the letter in the drawer of her desk and sat quietly, thinking of her next move. If she wrote the earl again, he would probably ignore her, as he’d already done five times. If she returned to his house tomorrow, encountered his secretary again and marshaled her arguments better, was there any guarantee Mr. Howington would listen?
She had only been jesting when she was talking to Mrs. Beauchamp, but perhaps she should engage in a little subterfuge. Every house needed servants, and the earl’s large home must require quite a number of them in order to run smoothly.
The plan being born in her imagination died a swift death. Mr. Howington had seen her. Perhaps she could attempt to engage the housekeeper’s help. Or bribe one of the servants to turn the other way when she gained entrance to the house.
She had to find a way in to see the Earl of Rathsmere. She had to find out what happened to Neville.
How could she live another day without knowing?
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Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.
This September the first in Anna Schmidt’s Where the Trail Ends series, Last Chance Cowboys: The Drifter, is being released! To celebrate, Anna’s here to play a quick game of “Would You Rather?” with us!
Would you rather have the power of invisibility or flight? Invisibility. It would be very cool to be able to observe and record while unobserved.
The rain started just after midnight. Maria was awakened by the plop of large raindrops on the canvas of the tent. She lay very still, willing each plop to bring more and more until there was a true downpour. When it happened, she grinned, then laughed out loud and shook Trey. “Wake up,” she said. “It’s finally raining.”
From outside the tent, she heard first grumbles and then shouts of pure joy as the men came awake and realized that they and their belongings were soaked. Trey sat up and rubbed his eyes with his knuckles. Then, as he became aware of the sounds of the rain and the men’s shouts, he grinned. “Can I go?” he asked.
“We both will,” Maria said, tossing him his boots before pulling on hers. She lifted the flap and followed Trey outside. In seconds, they were both drenched, and she had to laugh when she saw Happy and Bunker and Slim dancing around what had been the campfire. Even Roger was smiling, and when he saw her, he came to her at once and bowed. “May I have this dance, Miss Maria?”
Deciding it was time to put aside her irritation with Roger and his jealousy, she took hold of his hand as they joined the cowboys circling the fire pit. She looked for Chet and saw him standing off to the side, his face turned up to the sky and the balm of the falling rain.
“Come on, Trey,” she called and broke the circle to grasp her brother’s hand. Trey pulled Chet into the circle as well.
“And promenade,” Bunker shouted and began weaving his way along the circle, nodding to each man he passed until he reached Maria. “And swing your partner,” he bellowed as he practically lifted Maria off her feet and swung her around. She basked in the swirl of faces spinning past and laughed. “Put me down, Seymour,” she ordered, but she wasn’t serious. The truth was that she could have stayed that way all night—her face pelted with rain, the air already beginning to cool, and the promise of new growth on the range something she could practically taste.
Bunker set her on her feet and instructed the others to bow to their partners as he was bowing to her, his grizzly beard sopping wet. As she promenaded with Bunker down the line, she felt a lightness and joy that she had not known in months. The rain and the cadence the men kept to substitute for music made her feel as if just maybe everything would be all right after all. These men were like family, and together they would find their way.
“Change partners,” Bunker shouted and spun her away and straight into the arms of Chet Hunter.
All at once, the world went still.
He held her as if she were something fragile and precious, and yet she could feel the warmth of his hand spanning her waist and see the silhouette of his rock-solid muscles beneath the soaked fabric of his shirt. He locked his gaze on her face—and as he guided her through the dance, she found that she could not look away. No, it was more like she did not want to look away.
Then a flash of lightning lit the night sky, spooking the horses, and as suddenly as the celebration had begun, it was over. The men ran to calm the horses, leaving her standing next to the dead campfire. But before he left her, Chet leaned in close and said, “Best find cover, Miss Maria. Looks like this might be some storm.” He hooked an errant curl behind her ear. “Go,” he said, and his voice was husky—intimate.
She did not move, not even when he glanced back at her. She thought she saw the hint of a smile cross his lips, but then he was lost in the blackness of the night. As she hurried back to the tent she shared with Trey, she tried to remind herself that the moment they had just shared was nothing more than a mutual celebration. Would he be any different when he saw her? Of course not. Chet Hunter was a good and kind man—who worked for her, who had made it clear that in time he would be moving on.
She was the one who was going to feel awkward when she saw him next. She was the one acting like a love struck girl experiencing her first real crush. She was the one who could not seem to think about anything except how his arm had felt when he danced with her and how those lips had quirked into that half smile…and how very much she wondered what it might be like to kiss the handsome drifter.
Title: Last Chance Cowboys: The Drifter
Author: Anna Schmidt
Series: Where the Trail Ends, #1
Pubdate: September 1st, 2015
Caught between a greedy corporation and a desperate love of the land, Maria Porterfield barely has time to mourn her father’s death. If her family is to survive, it’ll be up to her to take charge—but she can’t do it alone. When a mysterious drifter rides into town, the handsome cowboy seems like an answer to her prayers. But Chet isn’t interested in settling down, no matter how tempting the offer…
Chet made his way West looking for a fresh start—the last thing he wants is to get involved in someone else’s fight. But something about Maria awakens a powerful need to protect the fierce beauty at all costs. He never thought he’d find love, but as danger presses in, he may find there’s more beyond the next horizon than just another long and dusty trail.
Award-winning author Anna Schmidt delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for her ability to seamlessly integrate actual events with her fictional characters to produce strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin.
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Tasty Book Tours is thrilled to Present
the Cover for the Upcoming Brightwater Romance…
BEST WORST MISTAKE
Releasing Oct 20th, 2015
The third sexy and emotional novel in debut Avon author Lia Riley’s Brightwater series set in the mountains of Northern California
Sometimes the worst mistakes turn out to be the best…
Smoke jumper Wilder Kane once reveled in the rush from putting out dangerous wildfires. But after a tragic accident, he’s cut himself off from the world, refusing to leave his isolated cabin. When a headstrong beauty bursts in, Wilder finds himself craving the fire she ignites in him, but letting anyone near his darkness would be a mistake.
After her Hollywood life went up in smoke, Quinn Higsby decided to leave Tinseltown behind and returned to Brightwater to care for her ailing father. Spending her days in a small bookstore, her peaceful existence is up-ended by a fascinating but damaged man. Quinn is determined to not to be scared off by Wilder, not once she’s experienced the heat of his passions.
But when an arsonist targets the community and Wilder is accused, he must confront the ghosts of his past. Will his desire for Quinn flameout or will he be able to tame the wildness inside and rekindle a hope for their future?
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Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult and Contemporary Adult romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about future books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.
Check out the other books in the Brightwater Series
I was going to post this a few days ago, but didn't have time and then Bethany House came out with their gross statement and I decided to save this post for today, so we can end the week on a high note!
When I contacted Bethany House and RWA, I did not contact RT* or Library Journal, even though the book was very favorably reviewed in both places (it was a Top Pick for RT and it got a coveted star from LJ). Not because I didn't want to, but unlike Bethany House and RWA, I have bridges to burn at RT and LJ. (So, full disclosure, I review both for RT and for LJ's sister publication, School Library Journal.) I reached out to people I know and trust at both organizations to seek advice on how best to handle the situation (Should I email the editor-in-chief? The reviews editor? My editor and have her pass it on? etc.)
I got a lot of support and advice, and sat down to craft my emails. Within an hour of contacting Library Journal I had a response that the person I contacted takes the matter seriously, but key people to the conversation are out of the office, so they need to wait. Totally valid and I look forward to seeing what happens.
While I was still crafting my email to RT, my former editor forwarded me an email that had been sent out to their reviewers who cover Inspirational Romance. It is not an official response from RT, but does show they take the issue seriously and is an example of what you SHOULD do in this situation. With permission, I'm posting it here:
Hi inspirational reviewers,
I wanted to reach out to you because of a 2014 inspirational romance that's been getting a lot of attention. You might've heard, but For Such a Time by Kate Breslin was nominated for two RITA awards and received rave reviews from Library Journal — and from us.
For Such a Time's critical acclaim has been a source of great pain for many in the romance community. For those of you who don't know, the central plot involves a blonde, blue-eyed Jewish woman who falls in love with a Nazi commandant who is in charge of a concentration camp. The heroine's appearance allows her to conceal her ancestry and grow close to the SS officer.
This is problematic on many levels. That the heroine's non-"Jewish" appearance saves her is deeply troubling: it essentially — and somewhat insidiously — valorizes not looking "Jewish" without examining the anti-Semitism inherent in that assessment.
But the most painful: For Such a Time casts a Nazi officer — who's presumably overseen the systematic murder of a number of Jews — as a romantic hero. Even viewing this in the most generous light, granting such a character redemption and a happily-ever-after is — at best — hugely insensitive. This book is set against the monstrous historical backdrop of so many lives being brutally extinguished. We're talking about a time when Jews were fleeing their homes in terror, families were separated, children were murdered and buried in mass graves. Let that sink in for a second.
One of the most moving and wrenching moments of my life was when I went to the Josefov, the historically Jewish district in Prague. In the Pinkasova synagogue, there's an exhibit dedicated to children's drawings from Terezin. Terezin was a camp in the Czech Republic where Jews were held before being sent to their deaths at Auschwitz and Treblinka. The children there, mostly orphans, were given art lessons — they drew their homes, they drew what they imagined Israel to be like, they drew what they saw in their dreams. As you might expect, none of those children ever made it home.
When an author chooses to set a story during World War II, right in the thick of one of the most soul-crushing examples of genocide in human history, she takes on a huge responsibility. As does the publisher who sells and distributes her book. As do the people who read and review it. The reason I'm addressing this with you all is that I believe there is a certain lacuna in the publishing industry, particularly in the inspirational/Christian market. I don't say this pejoratively, but merely as a statement of fact: the Christian fiction market is narrow and insular. Because it is written almost exclusively by and for Christians, it's born out of an inherently limited perspective — one that isn't as finely attuned to the struggles of non-Christians as it could or should be.
It raises the question: What can we, as staff of this magazine, do? What can we offer? Empathy. Sensitivity. A conscious effort to broaden our own perspectives.
We gave For Such a Time a Top Pick review, which can't be undone. I'm not here to censor or wrist-slap your ratings and reviews. But I am asking you to strive for a greater awareness when you read and review, especially where it concerns Christian handling of non-Christian religions, history and identity.
To that end, when you have time, here are two posts about For Such a Time and RWA's decision to honor it, from Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches and from our own reviewer, Jennifer Rothschild, both of whom are Jewish:
It would mean a lot to me if you would read both.
Thanks for your time.
See everyone? That's how you do it! You look at the issue head on and confront it. You don't dismiss the people hurt, you listen to them, and you take steps to do better next time.
Easier said than done, but it makes such a difference.
Such a difference.
It's amazing how a little bit of real compassion and respect can do.
*For those following this story who aren't part of Romancelandia, RT is a big romance magazine (it used to be called Romantic Times
) We're not talking about Russian State Media.Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.
By: Sharon Ledwith,
Welcome to the Release Day Extravaganza for
Unintended by Justine Alley Dowsett & Murandy Damodred
Four people. Four very different lives. Four tales interwoven.
Meet Kenzie enShareed, the High Clan Chief’s daughter who is sent south to fulfill a treaty by marriage only to marry the wrong man; KadreanAuthier, the Crown Prince who must come to terms with his new bride, even if he doesn’t much like the idea; GarronD’Arbonne, a noble Lord who has been commanded to marry a cool and aloof princess he doesn’t love; and Vivianne Chappelle, a young and ambitious woman who is in love with her abusive father’s manservant and must find a way to avoid having her entire future decided for her.
Fate and wills collide in this Shakespearian-style romantic comedy about good intentions and their unintentional consequences.
Author Name: Justine Alley Dowsett and MurandyDamodred
Genre(s): Fantasy Romance, Romantic Comedy
Tags: Fantasy, romance, comedy, Shakespearian-style, romantic comedy.
Length: Approx. 440 pages
Release Date: August 17, 2015
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Mirror World Publishing ~
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The rolling hills and grasslands of Ismera were strange to her in the beginning. Now, after nearly a month of riding through them, they had begun to seem commonplace. What the High Clan Chief’s daughter was not prepared for, however, were the high turrets of the palace she was headed towards and the sprawling city of Ismer that surrounded it. Even more surprising than all that was the fanfare that greeted her when at last she reached the city’s high-walled gate. A handsome man atop a white horse rode boldly out to greet her, without so much as a weapon drawn or a friend to watch his back. They are much more trusting here of strangers than they are back at home, she noted. Unless, it’s only that they don’t consider me a stranger. Mackenzie enShareed of Haldoram straightened her back, instinctively preparing herself to make a good impression. She felt her breath catch in her throat as he came closer and she realized that the man before her, with his sunny hair, tanned skin and bright blue eyes could be none other than the man she’d ridden all the way here to marry. She felt her usually flawlessly tanned skin flush an uncomfortable shade of red as she watched him dismount and walk the rest of the way to her side, a wide grin spreading across his face at the sight of her. I didn’t expect him to be so handsome. Kenzie found that as much as she might want to, she couldn’t deny the pounding of her heart or the fluttering in her stomach. I’m very fortunate to be attracted to him so easily. If he took notice of her discomfort he didn’t show it, bowing over her hand and kissing it lightly. “Princess Mackenzie, let me be the first to welcome you to the City of Ismer.” Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Kenzie reached for the marriage bracelet she’d woven herself for this very occasion. Unhooking it carefully from her belt, she caught his hand before he could take it away and swiftly wrapped the small, white-flowered wreath about his wrist, tying it with a practiced motion. She could see in her husband-to-be’s eyes that he was confused, but she didn’t have time to explain it to him now. That would come later, after they were entwined together in their marriage bed. Right now, only the ritual mattered. I have to do this now, she affirmed silently. Once I enter this city of theirs and am completely surrounded by Ismeran culture and politics it will be too late to marry him in my own way, in front of my people and by our customs. It’s the only way I will feel comfortable with his arrangement. I can marry him in the Ismeran way afterwards. The barest nod over her shoulder was enough to bring Seraphina over. Her mentor and friend had accompanied her this far and now she played her part of the wedding ceremony by bringing forth the wreath that Prince Kadrean would place upon her head, sealing their arrangement and making them man and wife. Aging Seraphina bowed before the Prince, despite the aching old bones she always complained of, holding out the wreath before her in offering. “Take it,” Seraphina urged him, her English much less accented than Kenzie knew her own to be. “You must place it upon her head and say the words.” Looking as confused as ever, the Prince took the woven white flowers and did as instructed. “I be bhuragusthu de agamsa,” Kenzie spoke in her native tongue, making sure to properly enunciate each syllable so he could follow along. “I be burr…” he began, trying his hardest to stumble through the words that were foreign to him, “a Gus who de Gamsa.” That’s good enough, I suppose… Kenzie frowned, regarding him. Though I thought that being the heir to these lands, he would have some knowledge of Gaelic. “You may call me Kenzie,” she told him, dismissing her negative thoughts with a smile, before leaning in to kiss him, as was customary. Seraphina and the other clanspeople who’d made the journey with her began to cheer, but their cheers were cut short when her new husband pulled back from her in surprise. “Whoa! I don’t know what’s expected between two strangers in the North, but here in the South it’s customary to save that kind of greeting for your husband.” “Yes…” he agreed, searching her eyes as if to gauge how much of the language she understood, “so I have a fiancée and you have a Prince who’s waiting very anxiously to meet you up at the Palace.” Kenzie suddenly felt ill and more than a little dizzy. “You are not Prince Kadrean…?” The golden-haired stranger she’d just married wore a look of concern mixed with confusion. “Then who are you?” “Uh…” He cleared his throat, made a little uncomfortable by the stares of the clanspeople. “Lord GarronD’Arbonne…at your service, Your Highness.” An uncomfortable silence fell over them and the clansfolk, but Kenzie couldn’t find it in her to break it or fill it with anything meaningful. Her entire focus was on keeping herself from hyperventilating. I just married this GarronD’Arbonne… Not the Prince; not my intended. Kenzie was in full panic at the gravity of the error she had just committed. How can I fix this?! The marriage bond is forever, never able to be undone… A man can remarry, under certain circumstances, but can a woman? Would they even allow such a thing? My father will be so disappointed in me. He wanted this treaty between our lands to work. I’ve only just arrived and I’ve already ruined it. What am I going to do?! “Well,” Garron cleared his throat again, “we should be going. I’m sure Prince Kadrean is eager to meet you.” Gesturing forward, her husband held out his arm for her. No, I mustn’t think of him that way, she admonished herself. He is my husband, but he’s right, I’m supposed to marry Prince Kadrean. There is a treaty; our marriage is law. It must happen…
Meet the Authors:
MurandyDamodred (left) & Justine Alley Dowsett (right):
With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, MurandyDamodred (left) enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid roleplayer and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she’d rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is an expert in sales and management living in Windsor, Ontario.
From obtaining a BA in Drama at the University of Windsor to becoming an entrepreneur in video game production and later, publishing, Justine Alley Dowsett’s unswerving ambition has always led her to pursue her dreams. Today she lives in Windsor, Ontario and is still writing and publishing fiction novels. When not focusing on growing her business, she enjoys role-playing with friends and developing new ideas to write about.
Blog: The Children's Book Review
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Fans of Rachel Hartman’s breath-taking imagination and startling humane characters, dragons or otherwise, will marvel and mourn as Seraphina’s journey—at least on the page—comes to an end.
Get ready for Boiling Point! The next installment in Tessa Bailey’s thrilling Crossing the Line series. We hope you love the cover as much as we do!
Release date: January 26, 2016
About Boiling Point:
Falling for a con man is the most dangerous game of all… Con artist Austin Shaw’s been in disguise so long he’s not sure where his fake identities end and he begins. Now that he’s been strong-armed into working for a specialized undercover unit working with the Chicago police—criminals with unique “skills”—the last thing he needs is to risk his iron control. Especially when it comes to a certain stunningly sexy hacker who tempts him with every look of disdain. Polly Banks will never, ever trust a con man. On the trail of a ruthless crook who destroyed the only family she’s ever known, Polly is unnerved by the shadow who follows her every move. The one who makes her pulse pound and breath short with lust. Austin. He’s infuriating, enigmatic, and pure sex appeal, and she’s determined to resist him. But an untrustworthy man of disguise can become anyone he wants…including a man that Polly must trust if she’s to escape their dangerous game alive.
About Tessa Bailey:
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband of seven years and three-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.Website | Twitter | Facebook
This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford!
Title: A Radical Arrangement
Author: Jane Ashford
Pubdate: August 4th, 2015
A classic Regency romance from beloved author Jane Ashford!
Brash and Handsome
Sir Justin Keighley is all wrong for a proper young lady like Margaret Mayfield. Everyone knows he is shocking in his opinions, arrogant in his manner, and completely without respect for the common decencies of civilized society. Margaret absolutely will not marry him—no matter what her parents say.
Beautiful and Shy
Margaret was everything Sir Justin detested in a woman—timid, sheltered, and obedient to a fault. It’s not until she runs away from him that he finds he must give chase. Margaret is discovering she can be bold and rebellious—intrepid enough to do what she must, and more exciting than Justin ever imagined possible. She’s the last woman he would have expected to lead them both into uncharted territory…
Jane Ashford, a retired teacher and editor, is now a beloved author of historical and contemporary romances. She has been published in various parts of the world, including Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Spain, and of course the U.S. Jane is also a two-time RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award nominee. Born in Ohio, Jane now divides her time between Boston and Los Angeles.
Sir Justin Keighley stood in the doorway, looking them over with a slight, satirical curve of his lips. He wore, like the other gentlemen, conventional evening dress, but this superficial similarity was their only common ground. Ralph Mayfìeld, Philip Manningham, the squire, and John Twitchel were none of them unattractive men or negligible personalities. Each, in his own sphere, had a certain dignity and authority, and all had the confidence that respect engendered. Yet somehow, the moment he entered the room and before he spoke a word, Justin Keighley eclipsed them. It was not charm. Indeed, the newcomer did not look at all pleasant or ingratiating. And it was not mere social position. Keighley held an ancient baronetcy and a substantial fortune, but any of twenty men his hosts were accustomed to meeting ranked above him. Ralph Mayfield could not have said why he felt subdued as he came forward to greet his final guest.
The squire’s wife might have enlightened him. As she had told a friend at a Bath assembly two years ago, “Justin Keighley is a vastly attractive man, my dear. And not just to women. All the young men ape him, my son among them. I don’t know just how it is, but he has a great influence without appearing to seek it in the least. Indeed, sometimes I think he dislikes the idea. But it goes on. It’s something in his manner. No doubt you’ve noticed it yourself. He makes you look at him.” Mrs. Camden had been embarrassed by this speech, but it was quite true. And Keighley’s attraction was the more mysterious because he was not conventionally handsome. Though tall and well made, with broad shoulders and a good leg, his features were rough—a jutting nose and heavy black brows that nearly obscured expressive hazel eyes. And he took no care with his dress, a rarity in an elegant age. His coats were made so that he could shrug himself into them without help; his collars did not even approach his jaw; and he had once been observed in White’s with a distinct thumb mark on his Hessian boots, giving one of the dandy set what he described as “a shuddering palpitation.”
But these sartorial eccentricities were outweighed by Sir Justin’s political influence and sagacity. He was an intimate of the Prince Regent and Lord Holland, and important in the Whig Party. These facts did not explain his fascination for a great number of people, chiefly women, who hadn’t the slightest interest in politics, but they amply justified the Mayfìelds’ attention and suppressed antipathy.
“Good evening,” Keighley said to Mr. Mayfield in a deep, resonant voice. “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”
“Not at all, not at all. Come in. You know everyone, I think.”
Sir Justin bowed his head with a sardonic smile. He always met precisely the same people at his yearly dinner with the Mayfields, presumably those they were certain he could not “corrupt” with his aberrant opinions, and he always felt the same infuriated boredom. For the fiftieth time he wondered why he came. There was no hope of amusement or chance of advantage here. The Mayfields and their friends were just the sort of smug, resolutely conventional people he despised. They held to the views their fathers had bequeathed them and attacked all others. If one tried to make them change even a fraction, they shook their heads and muttered of treason.
He looked around the room. The only addition this year was the Mayfìelds’ daughter. He had forgotten her name, but he remembered that she had come out last season. She looked as one would have expected: a pallid, simpering creature. Keighley shrugged. Politics forced him to endure fools occasionally. The Prince would want to know the climate of opinion here in Devon. He supposed he could get through this evening as he had previous ones, through a combination of stoicism and bitter inner laughter.
Margaret watched him with awed apprehension as he settled beside Mrs. Camden and began to chat with her about London. She had never actually spoken to Sir Justin; her mother had seen to that. But she had heard him talked of so many times that she felt she knew what he would say in response to a wide variety of remarks. It would always be shocking. She gazed at him in an effort to understand how any man could be so utterly depraved in thought and action, almost expecting his rugged face to contort in a grimace of malevolence and his chiseled lips to emit some horrifying revelation.
Suddenly Sir Justin looked up and met her eyes from across the room. He seemed at first startled to find her staring, then his mocking smile appeared again, and he raised one black brow, holding her gaze. Embarrassed, Margaret tried to look away, but something in his hazel eyes prevented it. A spark glinted there, and she felt a kind of tremor along her nerves. It was utterly unfamiliar and unsettling, like a violent thrill of feeling. How could a stranger affect her so? This must be fear, she thought; I am afraid of him. She began to tremble, but still she could not turn her head away. He seemed to understand her reaction and, amused, to prolong the contact on purpose.
Finally Keighley laughed and bent to answer some question of Mrs. Camden’s. Margaret jerked back in her chair and clasped her shaking hands so tightly that the knuckles whitened. He was a dreadful man. She would not speak to him, and if she ever saw him again, she would run away.
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HER LUCKY COWBOY
Montana Men #3
Releasing Aug 25th
Champion rodeo rider Dane Bowden is eight seconds from winning under the Vegas lights, one last hurrah before reluctantly returning to his family’s Montana ranch. But his bull has other plans. When Dane wakes up, he’s sure he’s died and gone to heaven . . . because the doctor who comes to his aid is the same girl who saved his life and disappeared years ago.
Bell would do anything for Dane. He’s the fantasy that always kept her going. A child genius hidden away by her family, Bell was the secret no one talked about, the girl no one wanted. Despite finding success as a young surgeon, she’s still the awkward girl who’s never had a boyfriend. So why does Dane, a notorious playboy and sizzling-hot cowboy, insist on taking her on a real date?
Bell is the only woman in Dane’s heart. When a rodeo rivalry turns deadly, it’s his turn to save Bell’s life—because he sure as hell won’t lose his guardian angel again.
A hand settled on his shoulder and shook him. He groggily moaned and tried to open his eyes. The bright sun blinded him until his father leaned over and blocked the light as he stared down at Dane.
“Are you okay, son? Is anything broken?”
“My head hurts. Ankle, too, but nothing is broken but my pride. I fell off my damn horse.”
“Okay, now. I’ll get you home. Can you get up?”
“I think so.” Dane pressed his hands down at his sides and rose to sitting. The wet piece of fabric fell from his head and landed on his bare belly, along with the blue feather that fluttered into his lap. “Where is she?”
“Dane, no one is here.”
“She helped me. She’s got to be around here somewhere.”
“There’s no one for miles.”
“How did you find me?”
“Your horse came home without you. I know you like to ride along the river, so I followed your trail.” His dad cocked his head, his eyes taking on a thoughtful gleam. “I did think I heard you whistle for me.”
“I passed out.”
“Must have been the wind in the trees.”
Dane didn’t think so. He pinched the end of the feather between his thumb and index finger and stared at it. He scanned the riverbank and out toward the hills. He didn’t see her anywhere. He didn’t understand the way his chest went tight and the sadness that overtook him. Nothing but his regret that he didn’t get to thank her or say goodbye. He never got her name.
His dad held out his hand. Dane took it. His father pulled him up, and Dane stood on his good leg. He tested out his twisted ankle. The slight pressure sent a bolt of pain up his leg.
“How’s your vision?”
“You did a good job using your shirt to bind that ankle and staunch the bleeding on your head.”
“I didn’t. She did.”
His father eyed him, shaking his head side to side. “Dane—”
“I’m telling you, Dad, there was a girl. She helped me.”
“Okay, son. I believe you, but I didn’t see anyone out here with you. I don’t know where she could have gone. We’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Which was the reason Dane liked it out here so much. Still, how did she get out here, and where did she go?
He lifted himself up into the saddle and grabbed the reins on the horse his father brought back for him to ride. He kept his eyes trained, searching the entire area the whole way back home, but he saw nothing, no one.
Dane went back to the spot beside the river more than a dozen times, looking for his dark-haired, blue-eyed angel. He never found her, but he’d never forget her either.
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Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
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