Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on August 28, 2017

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson

When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious?

Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it.

Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett’s previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.

 

Excerpt

The corners of the man’s eyes crinkled in a mild show of amusement. “Lady Harriett, I presume?” Rather than look at her with appreciation as most men did, he appeared amused.

At her nod, he tucked his hands behind his back, remaining a few steps above her. “I am Lieutenant Christopher Jamison, an old friend of Jonathan’s.”

“I was expecting you days ago,” she answered. “Lord Jonathan charged me with the unhappy task of informing you he and his new bride are currently away on their wedding trip. He is sorry he cannot be here to meet with you and has asked that I relay his apologies.”

“May I inquire as to how long they will be away?” he asked.

No, you may not, she wanted to say. Her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him, but she forced her gaze to remain steady. “They expected to be gone a fortnight, sir.”

“And they have been gone how long, exactly?”

She felt an unaccountable hesitancy to tell him. “A week.”

“Ah.” He sounded disappointed but seemed to take the news in stride, glancing at Charlie as though wondering whether he ought to retrieve his horse or not. Harriett prayed that he would.

When his gaze strayed back to her, he took the unwelcome, and ungentlemanly, liberty of perusing her figure. When his eyes met hers again, his lips twitched into a slight smile. “Forgive me, my lady, but you appear to have had a run-in with a mud puddle and lost.”

How kind of him to point that out. Harriett kept her hands at her side rather than attempt to brush the dirt from her face and pelisse yet again. The damage was done, and no amount of brushing or shaking would remove the muck. What she needed was a hot bath and a change of clothes.

“Actually, sir, I was merely an innocent bystander.”

“Indeed?”

She picked up her skirts and ascended the steps, stopping on the stair above him so that she was eye level with him. “Are you always such a reckless rider, sir? Do you not pay heed to your surroundings?”

“Of course I do.”

“If you had, you would have seen me standing at the side of the road and, I would hope, thought to slow your animal down so as to not splash mud all over my pelisse.”

Her chilly set down did not have the desired effect. He did not appear the least bit repentant. Rather, he looked ready to burst into laughter. “And your face, apparently.” He leaned forward and squinted. “If I’m not mistaken, there is a splash or two of mud on your bonnet as well.”

Harriett glared at him. “How observant you are, Lieutenant Jamison. One can only wonder why you didn’t put that skill to good use earlier. If you had, perhaps my pelisse, face, and bonnet would still be clean.”

“I am always observant, my lady,” he said. “But might I suggest that if you would like to be noticed at the side of the road, you should wear a color that does not blend so perfectly with your surroundings. That particular shade of green looks quite lovely on you, but only someone with the eyes of an eagle would have spotted you in front of a landscape of evergreens.”

Harriett opened her mouth to respond, but no words were forthcoming. The man did not even attempt to behave like a gentleman. How could he be so . . . so . . .

“Have you no apology to offer, sir?” she finally spluttered.

“Oh, did I not apologize? Forgive me.”

“For what? Forgetting to apologize or for not doing so in the first place?”


 

RachaelAbout the Author

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website

 

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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Posted in 3 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on August 24, 2017

Title: HELLO, MY LOVE
Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Pages: 317
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Synopsis

In this modern-day tale inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, bright, beautiful law student Elise Halverson looks forward to a promising career. Falling in love is low in her priorities.

Well-known playboy Greg Thorpe is engaged to be married when he meets Elise. He finds her so unlike the women he used to date and he’s deeply intrigued. Distrusting the image she has of him, Elise avoids him.

But Elise’s parents invite Greg to their frequent dinner parties. There, Greg and Elise butt heads. She’s surprised to find that, behind his rich playboy persona, he’s intelligent and engaging.

The night before his wedding, they give in to their mutual attraction. Although Elise expects nothing more from that night, Greg is in for trouble. His jilted fiancée strikes back, intent on revenge.

Two years later Greg and Elise get a second chance but they find that the way to their happy-ever-after is not so easy.

At the core of this women’s fiction is a literary and realistic romance spiced with a twist of mystery. Hello My Love is Book 1 in the series Between Two Worlds, a family saga about three strong women.

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Excerpt

“Going to your parents’ dinner tonight?” Elise could not help smiling at the text message.

She texted back: “Yes. See you.”

Greg had been sending her text messages for some time. Often, they were greetings, in the morning, at night, on school holidays; or good luck wishes on exams, debates, and mock trials. Sometimes, he asked her opinion or a question about a legal matter or some fact of interest to either of them. She answered most of those messages although he told her she did not need to, if they were the usual greetings.

Before they met, Elise had known Greg—from numerous news reports—as the young, progressive owner of a growing internet-based business, and one of the country’s twenty-five most eligible bachelors. The consensus in the media, especially among women reporters: tall, dark, and handsome. But Greg also had a reputation as a playboy, whose many romances were fodder for gossip columns. While Elise hesitated judging looks and personality, sight unseen, she was certain of one thing. She distrusted the likes of men such as Greg.

But that was a year ago.

Since he began consulting with her father, Dr. Halverson, an economics professor, Greg had been to many dinners at her parents’ home. There, Elise got to know him better.

Now, when curious acquaintances learned she knew Greg, they invariably asked, and Elise hardly ever varied her answer: “Yes, to news reports. Greg Thorpe is tall—taller than my father who’s more than six feet. Dark—tanned from jogging, bushy hair the color of French Roast woven with golden strands. And beautiful—clean-cut, cleft chin, smiling greyish blue eyes, and, yeah, lean. But, I think, muscular. I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him without his clothes on.”

It always amused her that her incantation never failed to elicit sighs from young women.

Elise was about to slip her iPhone into her shirt pocket when it rang. Greg—she expected that. He often answered her text messages within minutes of her sending them, usually by texting. Once in a while, he called instead.

“Hello, Elise. How’s the light of my life this afternoon?” Greg said, in his teasing voice.

“Greg, hi. That’s quick. Aren’t you busy?”

“Not for you. And I’m glad you picked up. I was afraid you’d turn off your phone again.”

“I can’t turn it on in class, when I’m studying, or when I’m at work, and that’s almost my whole day.”

“Are you staying over at your parents after dinner?”

“I don’t plan such things. Depends. How late it is when dinner ends, whether I have some easy way to get back to my apartment, how guilty I feel about not having seen my parents for a while, etc., etc.”

“I see. It’s Friday so I thought you‘re staying the night with them. Can I give you a ride home?”

Elise protested. “But I live across the bay. That’s sixty more miles of driving for you, both ways.”

“Less than an hour in my fast powerful car.”

She smiled. Only when she opened up to him a few months after they first met did she realize that Greg had a wry, often self-mocking, sense of humor.

She teased him back. “But don’t you need your beauty sleep? Aren’t you getting married in two days? I’m surprised you’re even coming to my parents’ dinner party. I always thought weddings were exhausting. Don’t you need to rest up for yours?”

“Think of this as my last fling.”

“Isn’t that when your buddies get you all soused and cavorting with some pretty young things? You definitely need stamina for that.”

He groaned. “I’m afraid you have this unflattering image of me. But, believe it or not, that prospect doesn’t excite me. I feel too old for all that.”

“Thirty-two’s not old. To me, old is decrepit. You’re not quite there yet.”

“I’m glad you think so. Twenty-year olds think thirty is old”

“I turned twenty-three a few weeks ago,” she said, her smile replaced with pursed lips.

“That still makes you a young thing in my book. What if I cavort with you?”

Elise scowled. She couldn’t think of a quick retort, which she knew Greg had come to expect from her. It was not that what he said irritated her. And she didn’t actually dislike it. But she felt a vague sense of unease in her chest.

“I’m kidding. I know you’re not the cavorting type. But we’re buddies, right? Well, more like sparring partners, maybe. Don’t buddies kid around?”

That’s it, Elise thought. I’m not the pretty, young cavorting type. At least, I didn’t think he thought so. It didn’t annoy her, but it did bother her in some way. She did not answer.

He added in a softer voice, “Am I wrong?”

She picked up an edge to his voice and she hesitated through the ensuing silence; for her, an uneasy silence relieved only by his audible breathing. He was going to wait until she said something.

“I guess we are…friends, or whatever you wanna call it. That makes everything all right, then; kidding included. So, yes, you can take me home tonight. What’s sixty miles between buddies? No guilt, on my part, that you’re going out of your way. I gotta run.” She hung up and did not wait for his reply.

Review

This book is a romance that takes place over several years and shows how relationships can have their ups and downs no matter the circumstances.

Elise and Greg are multifaceted characters. Elise is a law student but is well educated/smart and cares about what happens to people. Greg has a playboy reputation but is intrigued by Elise and connects with her on a level that he has never connected with his fiancee. I think this is because their relationship was built on conversations and really getting to know one another, where Greg proposed because his mother said it was time to get married.

The story flowed fairly well, at least until we got to Elise’s pregnancy and then it would jump several months. Then when it was about time for her to have her baby it jumps forward a year but you have no idea because there is no indication that it is a year later. In fact, you have no clue what happened when she had the baby or if it was a boy or a girl. There is a little bit of a mystery near the end and it takes some time for the police to figure it out. But it did make it intriguing while wondering who was involved.

Overall a good story and we give it 3 paws up.

About the Author

Evy Journey, 2015 SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist (since she was nine years old), and a flâneuse (feminine form of flâneur). Her pretensions to being a flâneuse means she wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. She’s visited Paris, even lived there a few times as a transient; that is, she stayed from two to six months.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales.

In a previous life, armed with a Ph.D. and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded  the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.

Evy’s latest book is the contemporary women’s fiction, Hello, My Love.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Young Adult on August 24, 2017


Perfectly You by Robin Daniels

Ivy Nixon is the student body Vice President at Franklin High School. Each year, the school holds a date auction to raise funds for the senior class graduation party, and this year, Ivy’s in charge. Planning the event is a huge task and Ivy is determined to prove she can get the job done right. Unfortunately, she’s still one participant short and her deadline is looming.

Andy Walker, her cute but socially reclusive art class table mate, is her last resort. He may not be popular, but he’s funny, talented, and full of surprises. With a makeover and some major social marketing, Ivy is sure he could fetch a decent price at the auction.

Andy reluctantly agrees to help, but the more time Ivy spends with him, the more her feelings shift from professional to romantic in nature. To top it off, she’s done her marketing so well, that other girls are starting to notice Andy too. Come auction time, will Ivy be able to let him go to the highest bidder? Or will she find a way to keep him for herself…

Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels set at the same high school. It contains minor language, innuendo, and crude humor, some steamy kissing, a party scene where underage drinking is taking place, and a brief but tasteful conversation about sex. The author has attempted to write characters who make good choices in questionable situations, in effort to keep the content appropriate for teens. This book contains no sex, written or implied, and no explicit language. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

EXCERPT #1

I nodded my head. “I know, you’re right. But I still have a problem in that I need another volunteer for the auction, regardless of Rob being on my case about it.”

Andy laid his charcoal on the table. “Ok, so let’s solve your problem. There are about a dozen guys in here. Surely one of them would be an acceptable and willing volunteer?”

I surveyed the room and gave Andy the play-by-play of my thoughts. “Let’s see now. Curtis is so tall and gangly that his pants always look like they’re waiting for a flood. Scott’s a good artist, but in our limited interactions, I’ve drawn the conclusion that he has more bong residue in his head than brains. While cute, I’m pretty sure both Todd and Tim are gay, so the pool of seniors willing to bid on them would be exceptionally small.

“And then, of course, there’s Mason. Good old Mason, who just last week, I saw pick his nose and wipe the booger on the underside of his table.” I scrunched up my nose in disgust. “Eeeew, no. Just…no.” I finished scanning the male occupants and was more discouraged than when I started. I gave Andy my best pouty face.

He laughed heartily, something I rarely heard from him. “I agree, Mason does not make the cut.”

 

 

 

About the Author

Robin Daniels is a wife, mother of five and avid consumer of books. She loves reading SO much that she was actually grounded from it as a twelve year old. No Joking! Her mom caught her reading when she was supposed to be cleaning, which was a common occurrence. At that point mom took the books and instructed her to go watch TV or play outside like a normal kid.

Robin is a sucker for home design shows and magazines, watches way too much Netflix and has a very codependent relationship with with a certain diet soda who’s brand shall not be named. (Though anyone with a similar problem could probably guess which one.)

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amazon or paypal$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in excerpt, paranormal, suspense on August 18, 2017

Curse Breaker

By J.T.Bishop

 

Publisher: J. T. Bishop; 1 edition

Series: Red-Line

Paperback: 402 pages

October 6, 2016, $14.95

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Synopsis

She’ll risk her life to break his curse, but revealing the truth could be far more dangerous.

In high school, a friend’s mother blames Grayson Steele for the tragic death of her daughter. Now, years later, Grayson is wealthy and successful, but on the brink of suicide. Because the women he loves are dying. And he can’t stop it.

Knowing about Grayson’s circumstances, Gillian Fletcher derives a plan. Catch the killer who’s making Grayson Steele’s life a living hell. But there’s only one way to do it. She has to be the bait.

As Grayson and Gillian’s plan takes shape, they must not only expose a killer, but also their feelings for each other. The further they go, the more secrets they will reveal. Secrets that will illuminate not just a murderer, but shocking truths that neither may be prepared to face.

Truths that will change their future forever.

Curse Breaker is an Indie Brag Medallion winner and the fourth book in J. T. Bishop’s award-winning Red-Line paranormal suspense series. It can be read before or after her Red-Line trilogy. If you love murder mysteries, page turners, and fast-paced stories, then you’ll love this compelling book by award-winning author J. T. Bishop.

Excerpt

“Then what do you want?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know my name? Know I live nearby? Know I grew up not far from here?” He crossed his arms. “What do you want?”

She didn’t answer for a second. “I’m a reporter.”

He chuckled. The men on the beach lifted the tarp, but they blocked his view. “Looks like you’ve got quite the story on your hands. First on the scene.”

“I’m not that kind of reporter.”

“You’re not?”

“No. I work for Lifestyle magazine.”

Lifestyle, huh? What lifestyle are you interested in?”

“Yours.”

He smirked. “Let me guess. You want to interview me?”

“I do.”

“Why?”

“Why not? Everyone wants to get an interview with you. You’re a millionaire playboy who’s become a recluse. The Howard Hughes of our time. You’re a huge scoop.”

“No thanks.”

“Why not? Don’t you want the world to know the truth?”

“What truth?”

“That you’re not as messed up as they say you are. That you’re not a drug user or psychotic. That you’re not building sandcastles in your bedroom in your free time. Or tying up seagulls and eating them for lunch.”

He grimaced. “Is that what they’re saying about me?”

“Depends on the magazine.”

He shook his head. “I’m obviously not keeping up on current trends.”

“So tell them that you don’t do any of those things.”

He tilted his head. “And how do you know I don’t?”

She didn’t say anything, but her eyes moved back to the beach. The men were moving the body into a zippered bag. They tried to keep the bystanders from watching by holding up a blanket, but a strong gust of wind blew and the blanket moved and he got a quick but clear view of the woman. A chill shot through him when he realized he recognized her. He knew the victim.

“Oh my God.”

“What?” she asked.

He felt the blood leave his face, and he stared at the sand.

“You okay?”

He looked for his dog. “Max?” He saw Max chasing a seagull.

“Mr. Steele?”

Max ran up to him and shook out the water on his coat. “Let’s go, Max.”

“Please, Mr. Steele. Would you consider it?”

He didn’t answer her. His wooden legs didn’t want to move, but he forced them over the sand, the face of the victim echoing in his mind. He blinked and tried to think back. When had he seen her last? Calculating the time in his head, he grimaced when he remembered. Three days. It had been three days since he’d slept with her. He felt the urge to lose his pizza, but he held it back. Picking up his pace, he walked fast through the sand and ignored the reporter behind him.

“Mr. Steele? Are you okay? Can I follow up with you later?”

Leaving the scene, he said nothing.

About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, TX, J. T. Bishop began writing in 2012. Inspired by a video that theorized the meaning of the end of the Mayan calendar, J. T. began the Red-Line trilogy. The video surmised that the earth was the central hub of activity for extraterrestrials thousands of years ago. J.T. didn’t know whether that was true or not, but it did spawn an idea. What if those extraterrestrials were still here? Two years and a lot of work later, the first three Red-Line books were complete, but she’s not done. The Red-Line saga develops as she continues to write new books.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, paranormal, Science Fiction, Spotlight on August 18, 2017

Synopsis

…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future… -Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.
She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.
Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.

What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

Excerpt

It was an unsettling feeling to say the least. One second she was lying in the hospital bed surrounded by frantic medical professionals, and then suddenly she wasn’t. In fact, Rose was not at all sure what she experienced.

Rose had understandably developed an interest in near-death experiences over the past year or so. She had watched a ton of documentaries on the subject before she got too weak to work the TV remote. Her mother had encouraged it, along with far too many hours of what Rose scornfully referred to as “Jesus TV”. Gypsie Johnson had hoped this would reassure Rose, help her cope with what was happening to her, but it did not.

Usually, the shows just made her angry that she had to worry about such things at all. Still, she was well versed in the usual particulars of transitioning to the afterlife – the out of body experience, the long tunnel, the bright light, the dearly departed relatives to greet you in Heaven… That was not at all what she experienced now.

Is this it? She thought in confusion. Am I dead?

She waited. Then she waited some more for something to occur that felt… she wasn’t sure… death-like? Nothing really appeared to happen, but Rose could not be positive, not at all certain what ‘dead’ was supposed to feel like.

“How long are you going to lie there?” a bemused female voice asked. “You’ve arrived, you know… Wouldn’t you like get up and look around? I’ve been waiting for you.”

Slowly, Rose cracked open her eyes. She saw earth and grass beneath her tightly clenched fingers. Hesitantly she lifted her head and caught her breath at what she beheld. Rose stood and slowly turned a wide circle in amazement.

A flaxen field of tall grass stretched away from her in every direction to disappear into the distant horizon. Birds chirped, insects buzzed, and she felt warm sunlight, golden on her face. The smell of fragrant flowers and greenery, heavy in the honeyed air, assailed her nostrils and permeated her deepest self to saturate her very essence with an abstruse sense of felicity and well-being. Then she caught sight of a figure, standing just a few feet away.

She was a very beautiful woman. Her dark-brown, luminous eyes were large, almond shaped, and sparkling. They glinted with amusement. Her hair was long, black, and silky, flowing nearly all the way to the red, wooden sandals on her tiny feet. It gracefully framed her pretty face. She was dressed in a gorgeous, bright pink kimono liberally embroidered with a swirling floral pattern of gold.

“Welcome,” the woman greeted amiably with a low bow as she twirled a red, paper parasol slung casually over her left shoulder. Her genial voice floated across the bucolic plain. There was a quality about it that sparkled as brightly as the effulgent sun. “You are among the first to arrive.”

Rose simply stared.  A gentle breeze tousled her long brown hair, and she casually wiped a strand from her eyes. Then she froze. Her hair… She gave the errant strand a tug then gaped at the smiling woman in astonishment.

“Where am I?” she breathed. “Is this Heaven?”

The kimono wrapped woman laughed.

“Well,” she began. “Perhaps it could be. I like it, certainly. I hope that you will too! I’m glad that you’ve chosen my kingdom. You’re actually my first.”

“Kingdom? Chose? I don’t…” Rose stuttered. Then she shook her head and took a deep breath before asking, “Who are you? Are you a… a queen or a… a… an angel or something?” Her voice softened to a murmur. “You’re beautiful…”

The woman giggled girlishly, and her cheeks flushed pleasantly pink. The parasol flashed out of existence.

“Thank you,” she murmured, fanning herself with a pink, silk folding fan that suddenly materialized in her right hand. “I do try. In any case, to answer your second question first, you may call me Hana. If I have to choose, I think I prefer to think of myself as a princess, but some of the others choose differently. And your name is… Rose?” A broad smile spread across Hana’s face.

Rose nodded wordlessly.

“Rose!” Hana repeated with a musical giggle. Her eyes glittered, and her grin pleasantly dimpled her porcelain cheeks. She clapped her dainty hands together in delight. “Rose and Hana! What an apt pair! Well, I am quite delighted to meet you, Rose. I’m glad you are my Veda. I hope you will be happy here.”

There was too much of the woman’s speech that Rose did not understand – far too many questions to be asked. They seemed to flood her brain to bursting so that she could not fully articulate any of them. At last she picked the one that seemed simplest.

“Please, Princess” Rose entreated. “Where is here exactly?”

“Oh!” Princess Hana exclaimed. “I apologize! This place is called Aaru, and you now find yourself in my kingdom of Tenkoku. Aaru is a new place… Another place… Maybe, I could say… the next place?”

Her brow furrowed as she noted Rose’s confused expression.

“I’m sorry,” Hana apologized. “I don’t really know how else to express it. If I told you simply that Aaru is a good place, could you accept that?”

Rose nodded uncertainly.

About the Author

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance on August 16, 2017

Title: SEAL Wolf Undercover

Author: Terry Spear

Series: SEAL Wolf, #5

Pub Date: August 1, 2017

Synopsis

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…

Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke—until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring—and potentially treacherous—Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

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Excerpt

Formerly an army intelligence officer and now a PI, Jillian Matthews had agreed to go out with her brother Miles’s friend as a favor, but man did the guy have octopus arms. Oh sure, he was fun, but way more interested than she was. The guy several tables over, now he got her attention. If she didn’t know any better, she’d say he was all wolf, though some human males showed the same wolfish interest in a woman, even if she was with someone else. She’d never think about dumping a guy on a date when he was being nice, especially when it was to pay her brother back for his help in solving one of her cases. But she’d made sure she said it was only one date, unless she changed her mind.

Everything about the club was a blast—the music, drinks, dancers, and atmosphere—yet the man at the other table truly stole her attention tonight.

“Did you want to return here tomorrow night?” Miles asked.

She smiled at her brother. She’d love to if the other guy was going to be here.  He had dark hair, chiseled features, tanned biceps. He was muscular but not overdone, and had a darkly, intriguing smile that made her melt.

“Sure,” she said, secretly wishing she could see tall, dark, and intriguing. Maybe tomorrow he would ask her to dance or she’d ask him. The guy’s own date looked bored and Jillian hadn’t seen him dance until women began asking him. As soon as a blond did, it was like a signal to other single women that he was interested and available. If Jillian had been without a date, even she would have asked him to dance. She’d help him move that gorgeous body right up close and personal. Her own date wasn’t interested in dancing with anyone else, so she curbed the inclination. She could envision hanging onto the guy too, if he still piqued her interest and not allow any other woman to take a turn with him.

“Hey, you ready to go?” Miles asked, breaking into her fantasy. “If I’m going to help you on that next case, I need some sleep.”

His date was a human woman, and Jillian knew her brother too well. Sleep wasn’t what he had in mind at all.

“Yeah, agreed.”

“I can take you back to your hotel,” her date said, as if he were looking for some mattress action too.

“Oh, thanks so much, but no, that’s fine. Miles is right. We have to get up before the crack of dawn.”

She and Miles rose from the table, Jillian’s date not making a move to leave. “See you tomorrow night then,” he said.

Not if she could help it. She gathered her sweater and bag, and though she didn’t want to seem too obvious that she was interested in the other guy, she glanced back at him. He inclined his head a little to her and her whole body flushed with heat.

He was so hot. Yeah, he was the date she wanted tomorrow night, whether he had   a date with him or not.

Then suddenly a scream caught Jillian’s attention. One of the corner chains holding a dancer’s platform had broken loose, and the dancer on it screamed again. Thank God the dancer had reacted quickly enough to grab one of the remaining four chains holding it up before she fell. Dangling twenty feet above the patrons, she clung precariously to the end of the chain, looking up as if she was thinking of trying to climb up it. Before Jillian could do anything, the wolfish guy she had been admiring had climbed the ladder to the platform. He leapt to one of the chains still holding the platform, and shimmied across the top of it to reach the chain the dancer was holding onto.

The music was still in heavy jungle beat mode, most patrons unaware of the potential tragedy unfolding before them. Jillian rushed to tell a server to get help and to turn off the music so the guy rescuing the woman could concentrate.

“Hell, that’s part of the show,” the server said, smiling at her. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“The guy trying to rescue her is part of it too?”

The server glanced up at him. “No. Once in a blue moon we get some hero type that has to show off how macho he is. He must not be from around here either.”

“He could injure himself! Kill himself even!”

“Safety nets spring up and will catch them if they fall. We’ve only had one case where we’ve had to use them, and everyone, including the would-be hero, loved it.”

Then the man managed to climb down the chain to the woman and had her crawl up his body. As agile as she was, she probably could have made it up the chain by herself if the heroic guy hadn’t tried to rescue her. The dancer wrapped her legs around his waist, her arms around his neck as he made the treacherous climb up.

Even so, Jillian was practically holding her breath. The visitor wasn’t part of the show, and any misstep on his part could mean the two of them could fall. Maybe he knew this was part of the show. Maybe the waiter didn’t realize it.

The music was still playing, but a lot more of the patrons had stopped to watch, probably because only once in a blue moon someone came to the dancer’s rescue.

At the top edge of the platform, the guy made his way across the wooden edge until he reached the next corner chain. He paused there for the longest time. The music was still playing, the only lights the ones highlighting the dancers on their platforms. The other dancers no longer moved, riveted by their fellow dancer and the heroic guy. If he jumped to the ladder and missed, that would be the end of the show, and the dancer and the good Samaritan would fall. What if the net didn’t appear in time?

Jillian wanted to do something, anything to help him. All she could do was lamely watch and pray he was successful.

 

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Terry Speer has written over 35 paranormal romances featuring werewolf and jaguar shapeshifters. In 2008, Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. She lives in Spring, Texas.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Western on August 15, 2017

Title: Knight on the Texas Plains

Author: Linda Broday

Series: Texas Heroes, #1

Pub Date: August 1, 2017

Synopsis

He’ll do whatever it takes

To keep them safe

Duel McClain has lost everything he’s ever loved: his wife, his son, his sense of self. But when a strange twist of fate—and a poker game he’ll never forget—leaves an innocent little girl in his care, Duel vows to defend his new family to his very last breath. If only he knew a single thing about taking care of babies…

Just as Duel swears his life can’t get any more complicated, a beautiful woman stumbles into the light of his campfire, desperate for help. Jessie Foltry is hungry, tired, and running for her life. She agrees to help Duel care for the child in exchange for his protection, even as she fights to guard her broken heart. But Duel will do whatever it takes to make Jessie see that the Texas plains have more than one kind of knight, and perhaps their salvation is closer than either of them could have dreamed…

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Excerpt

Duel McClain lifted the whiskey glass and let the fiery elixir slide down his throat. The burning path brought an odd sort of relief, momentarily dulling the permanent ache in his belly. The dealer slapped three cards in front of him. Duel took his time picking them up. A baby, whimpering at the men’s feet, unraveled the tightly knit threads of his composure. How could he concentrate with that?

A glance at the first card revealed an ace of spades. He stuck it between the eight of hearts and the two of clubs in his hand. Then he turned over an eight of diamonds. A pair might take the hefty pot in the middle of the table—that is, if he cared enough to try. Shielding his last card from the curious eyes of his opponents, he lifted it slowly. An ace of clubs.

His blood turned to ice.

Aces and eights—the deadman’s hand.

A resigned calm welled up. If lady luck rode with Duel tonight, the only space he’d take up would be on Boot Hill.

Something brushed the leg of his trousers. An animal must have sneaked under the swinging batwing doors and beneath the table. The baby’s sniffling grew louder. Tiny hands gripped his leg getting his attention. What in blue blazes? He leaned down. The baby had crawled to him and now tugged, trying to pull itself upright. Thin and dirty, the child stared up at him and he fought against the protective urge that rose at the sight of tears glistening in the kid’s big brown eyes.

“Up the bet, mister, or fold.”

The dealer broke his trance. Duel pitched two bits onto the pile. He just wanted to get this over with and leave. One by one each opponent around the table tossed down their cards in defeat until just two remained in the game—him and the stranger. The baby gurgled and played with the fringe running the length of Duel’s leg.

He shifted in his seat, feeling as if a gang of horse thieves had staked him out in a red-ant bed. If he had a lick of sense he’d fold and get the hell out. Deadman’s hand be damned.

A smug expression drifted across the face of the babe’s father when Duel closed up his cards, intending to lay them down.

Revulsion made Duel ache to smash the stranger’s jaw. Instead, he reached into his pocket for six bits—all that he possessed. He hesitated for only a split second, glancing down at the filthy child who deserved more out of life than the sorry-assed father it had gotten. Then he shifted his gaze, savoring the look of surprise on his opponent’s face when he placed his bet.

The sour-faced weasel had been ready to reach for the pot, sure he’d won. His face colored. He was reduced to turning each of his pockets inside out for more coins. None came to light.

“Whatcha gonna do, Will? Either come up with more or Duel here wins.” The dealer’s impatience grew.

“Hold your horses.” The man named Will leaned down. “Gal, where’d you go? Git your useless hide over here to your pa. Don’t know why I didn’t drown you when you was born.”

So, the child was a girl. Duel reached down and drew her up.

The weasel snatched the girl by one fragile arm. “Tryin’ to steal my daughter?”

Ignoring the question and the loud wails that came from the child, Duel leaned forward to scoop up his winnings.

“Not so fast, mister.” Will sat the baby in the middle of the table. “I’m puttin’ up this here brat. She’s worth six bits, I reckon. You win an’ you got yourself a young’un.”

“I won’t gamble with a man’s flesh and blood,” Duel said.

The dealer frowned. “The bet’s proper, I say. Let’s get on with it. Show your cards, Will.”

Tears ran down the baby girl’s face leaving white trails amid the filth. For a split second, Duel wished he held more than the lousy two pair, wished he could alter the hands of fate. But he’d never been able to change it before. What made him think he could now? He’d spent a lifetime making choices, and most had turned out wrong.

“Quit your sniveling, you brat,” Will snapped at the child as he flipped his cards face up. Two pair also. Kings and deuces.

Quiet calm washed over Duel. He gave the group a wintry smile and revealed his hand.

“Aces n’ eights. Beats your pair, Will. Done in by the Deadman’s hand.” The dealer straightened his silk vest and poured himself a generous drink.

Duel stuffed the coins from the pot into his pockets. What on God’s earth did a man like him need with a babe? The girl had stuck a thumb in her mouth and sucked noisily on it between whimpers. He’d sooner grow wings and fly than take on the responsibility for another human being. The best thing would be to saunter out the door.

“Ain’t you forgettin’ something, mister?” Will’s nasty snarl whipped the stale air like a thin, razor-sharp piece of leather.

Much as he sympathized with the babe’s lot, he couldn’t accept her. “Take her home to her maw. Don’t have any need for a kid.”

Will grabbed his daughter’s sparse hair and pulled her small face next to his own. Ignoring her sharp cries, he yelled, “Ain’t got no maw. See there, Marley Rose. Ain’t no one wants you. You’re about as worthless as one of them Confederate greenbacks. Ain’t never goin’ to be any good for nothin’. Any o’ you cowpokes wanna buy a snot-nosed brat? Sell her cheap.”

Duel found himself reaching for the scared, helpless babe. “Changed my mind. Believe I’ll take what I won.” Tiny hands clung tightly to the neck of his collarless shirt as he strode for the door before he could backtrack.

 

About the Author

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up! A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She now resides in the panhandle of Texas on the Llano Estacado.

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Posted in excerpt, mystery, Spotlight, suspense on August 13, 2017

Synopsis

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support.

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dads hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous.

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

Praise

“A sleuthing lawyer returns to the streets of New York in this mystery of drugs, murder, and financial skullduggery… the husband-wife team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks has again produced a fast-paced, engaging story… overall, this is a satisfying read. An enjoyable romp involving a shady attorney and the mob that should make readers look forward to the next Jane Larson caper.” – Kirkus

“Weave a Murderous Web is an enthralling murder mystery. It gets your heart pounding with action and passion, while simultaneously entangling your mind with its ambiguity…. Engaging. Witty. Fast paced. As the plot progresses, the intensity heightens, catapulting you into a surprising twist, then plummets you into a sudden, yet satisfying end.” – 5 Stars, Cheryl E. Rodriguez, Readers’ Favorite

“Jane Larson is the kind of character that will be loved by many readers… The plot is well thought out and masterfully executed, laced with numerous surprises to keep readers turning the pages. This is one of those books that should occupy an enviable place in your shelf if you are into fast-paced thrillers and compelling investigative stories.” – 5 Stars, Ruffina Oserio, Readers’ Favorite

Excerpt

From Chapter One

I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy.

Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death.

“I gotta go, Lee,” I said.

While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp.

I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor.

“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.”

“David was born serious, Lee,” I said.

“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.”

“I’m sorry, Lee.”

“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.”

“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—”

A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?”

Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue?

“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.”

The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone. “You’re maddening, Jane.”

“No, I’m busy,” I replied.

Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.”

“Goodbye, Lee.”

She disconnected.

Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough.

A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment.

 

About the Authors

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years.  Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The series includes Weave A Murderous Web, Praise Her, Praise Diana, and Mind Me, Milady.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on August 9, 2017

Synopsis

The rules are simple:

Never speak to outsiders.

Never yearn for something more.

And never, ever seek the pleasure of a stolen kiss…or a whispered promise that with him, she can finally be free.

Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there’s no way out…until her darkly handsome, brooding neighbor defies the rules and takes her into the safety of his arms.

He should frighten her, but everything inside Abby thrills at Luc Stanek’s rough manners and shockingly gentle touch. He excites her, ignites her, leaves her shaken and wanting more. But evil men follow in her footsteps, and it may take more than one fierce beauty to defend her loving beast.

Blank Canvas series:

Under Her Skin (Book 1)

By Her Touch (Book 2)

In His Hands (Book 3)

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Excerpt

“You don’t smile,” she said.

He stopped pruning so abruptly that Abby almost ran right into him.

“No?”

Shaking her head, she looked at his face and mirrored his frown before saying a purse-lipped, “Non,” in imitation of his accent.

And there, miracle of miracles, the man did it. His lips curved up. Or almost. One side of his mouth lifted—the side with the scar—and, oh goodness, it was a dimple. What kind of trick was it that this big, burly man had to suffer through the indignity of a dimple?

And much, much worse was her having to suffer through that smile.

She wanted to touch it, the divot in his cheek. Or those lips, or that thick, rough-looking neck, which was more cleanly shaven than the first time she’d come here.

Did he do that for me? she wondered as she turned away, reaching for…anything to stop herself. Branches.

Those would do. Pull, throw, wait—red face averted—and move on.

They’d finished the row without speaking and moved on to the next by the time Abby could breathe normally again. Surprise, surprise, he was the one to finally break the silence.

“Besides no cap, what else do you wish for?”

She didn’t hesitate before saying, “A place of my own.”

“Yes?”

“Nothing big, just a…a room. Where I could listen to music, maybe?”

“You can’t do that there?”

“Oh, we sing all right. Best part of the Church is the singing.”

“What do you sing?”

“Hymns.”

“I don’t know any.”

Without thinking it through, she sang a verse from one of her favorites. “All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful: the Lord God made them all.”

When she met his eye, Luc was…not quite smiling, but close. His eyes were warm, his expression…admiring, maybe? Abby blushed with the realization of what she’d just done.

He said one word: “Pretty.” But something about the way he said it, his eyes eating up her face, made her cheeks burn hotter and breath come faster. To hide it, she turned quickly back to work.

Changing the topic, she cleared her throat and asked, “So, how much is a place to rent?”

“What?”

“A room to live in. How much money do I need for that?”

He shrugged. “Depends. Big cities, it’s a lot, I think. Around here? I don’t know. Maybe a few hundred a month?”

“Good Lord, that is a lot.”

“Life is expensive.” He shrugged and cut, the movement lifting shoulders massive enough to carry the weight of the world.

“Right. So…you have to pay for food, right? And what else you gotta pay for?”

“Electricity. Um, water and gas, things like that.”

“Gas for the car?”

“For your car and for your stove or heat.”

“Oh. So…I’d need a lot. To start a life.”

“A good amount, yes. You need to pay a guarantee as well, I think, if it’s like France. And references for the landlord.” He glanced at her. “This makes you unhappy?”

“Guess I thought… I thought I could work for you for a couple weeks and have enough to start a life.”

“It’s hard, Abby.” His eyes on her were steady and full of a new softness that she wasn’t entirely comfortable with, like he’d taken off a layer of her skin to speak to her insides.

“Blue jeans, too,” she said, forcing a touch of flippancy to her tone.

“What?”

“Jeans. I’d like to wear jeans with snaps and a zipper, like a normal person.”

“Like a slim?” The word came out with two Es in the middle: sleem. She shook her head, not understanding.

“Um, skinny jeans?” he clarified.

“Goodness, no!” She laughed. “I’d need time to adjust to just trousers first, but…” Letting her gaze rest on the valley before them, she thought of the hundreds—no, thousands—of women who walked around every day wearing practical clothing instead of these stiff cotton skirts and modest drawers she had to fight her way out of. “I’d like to look normal when I go into town, to feel free. Just a T-shirt and jeans. Those sneaker shoes to

walk in. Maybe some—”

She stopped, hating how her current thought embarrassed her. It wasn’t the wish so much as the fantasy surrounding it.

“Some?”

“Boots. Cowboy boots, you know? The kind you stomp around in.” Except stomping wasn’t what she envisioned when she said it. In her mind’s eye, she pictured herself in jeans by all rights tighter than she should want to wear them; a cute shirt—maybe something sparkly, but not too fancy, since part of her just wanted a plain T-shirt; and those boots with their small heel and slightly pointed toe. And all of this dancing on the arm of a man. This man, truth be told. It was this man in her fantasy, which sent a new wash of heat prickling against

the cold air, from her chest to her forehead and well into her hairline.

“I can’t imagine you stomping.”

“No? I’d be good at it.”

Their eyes met as he said, “I don’t doubt it.” The words, silly and inconsequential as they were, sent blood rushing right down her body to where it didn’t belong. Somehow that blood weighed her down, made her lids heavy, and sent her mouth to drooping in a way she was sure he could see.

And then she knew he could, because his eyes strayed there, lingering before one thick, rough-hewn hand followed.

A single knuckle swiped her bottom lip in a gesture not so much affectionate as…curious? Compulsive?

Like a baby who couldn’t help but touch a ball or stuff it in his mouth. To taste. To feel. To know.

It was over too soon, that swipe. And yet, somehow, it lasted forever. Suspended here on the mountain, in their thick cloud of burning vine and sparks, the cold melted away by more than just the fire.

After that long hitch in time, Abby inhaled and let the air out in hiccups—the shaky kind you couldn’t help making after a good, hard sob. But rather than the release of a big cry, his knuckle to her lip screwed everything up tight, made her insides overflow with whatever this was.

She was sure she’d pop. She had to.

Because Lord only knew what she’d do if this pressure didn’t release sometime soon.

About the Author

Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense on August 8, 2017

“A sexy, fun, cat-and-mouse chase that hooked me from page one!” —JENNIFER PROBSTNew York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author of The Marriage Bargain

Synopsis

She’s a famous jewel thief.

He’s FBI.

What’s that saying? Keep your friends close…and your husband closer.

Being a retired jewel thief certainly has its perks.

  1. Oh, wait.
  2. No it doesn’t.

Without the thrill of the chase, life’s been pretty dull. Penelope gardens, drives her gorgeous husband up the wall, and watches as her old world slowly slips away. But what’s that old saying? When one thief closes the door…a copycat jimmies open a window.

And now all fingers at the FBI are pointed at her.

Set up to take the fall for thefts worth millions, Penelope have no choice but to strap on her heels and help her FBI agent husband track the thief. Grant might not think he needs a partner, but this is one case only a true professional can solve. Besides, she’s got to know who’s been taking her bad name in vain.

Let’s just hope curiosity doesn’t kill the cat burglar.

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Excerpt

“I’m sorry,” Grant says. “I don’t mean to be so overbearing, but you have to remember that as much as I love you, you’re not a favorite with everyone at the Bureau.”

“Give me time,” I say. “I’m only one woman. It might take me a few years, but I’ll get there.”

His lips twitch. “Penelope…”

“And it’s not as if he said or did anything bad,” I add, eager to leverage that oh-so-promising break in his exterior. “We mostly talked about you. He seemed nice.”

“That man is not nice. I don’t want you to have anything to do with him or with this case from here on out. Promise me.”

“I’ll do no such thing,” I scoff. “I’m not a child you can order around.”

“Promise me,” he repeats, firmer this time. He also takes an anticipatory step forward, though I’m not sure whether it’s to kiss me or throttle me. “If there’s any self-preservation in that crooked heart of yours, you’ll swear not to have anything to do with Christopher Leon or the Peep-Toe Prowler.”

As if I could promise that now.

“Why? What are you hiding from me?”

“I’m not hiding anything,” he says too quickly, his normally implacable exterior slipping. “Could you please be conciliatory for once in your life and do as I ask?”

I think about it. I really do—for a whole two seconds and everything—but there’s more to this situation than he’s letting on. A man doesn’t grow distant and moody from his loving wife for no reason. He doesn’t throw around sex shoes unless he’s trying to create a distraction. And most importantly, he doesn’t lay down mysterious ultimatums without secretly wanting her to do everything in her power to determine the cause.

That one’s plain common sense.

“I can promise to try not to get in the way,” I hedge. Trying not to do something always makes for a good promise, since there’s no real rubric for measurement. I tried not to steal things for years. I just wasn’t any good at it. “But you can’t ask me to pretend this whole conversation never happened—that these past few months haven’t happened.”

“This has nothing to do with you.”

“Yeah, but I’m emotionally invested in the Peep-Toe Prowler now. I want to catch her as much as you do.”

It’s only through sheer force of will that Grant suppresses his smile in time. “Penelope, so help me…”

“Helping you is what I intend to do.” I stand on my tiptoes to graze his jaw, rough in all the right ways. “I can, you know. I might be able to access information that’s closed to you. Thieves talk.”

“You aren’t a thief anymore, remember?” He makes a vague gesture around the room. “The walls have ears.”

“And you did want me to get a hobby…”

“Swimming is a hobby. Interfering in a federal investigation is obstruction.”

“It’s not obstruction if I help you solve the case,” I point out. “Besides, didn’t you just say you wouldn’t arrest your own wife?”

His reluctant and groan-filled laugh is all the confirmation I need to know I’ve won this round. A nice side effect of having an important and busy husband is that he can’t always spend as much time arguing as he’d like. He has a job to get back to.

Unlike me. I, unfortunately, have nothing to do and no one to do it with. I’m not one of the good guys, but I can no longer be one of the bad ones, either. I’m just a housewife with nothing but time on her hands and mischief on her mind.

“To be perfectly honest, my love,” he says with a mock sigh, “the idea of putting you behind bars grows more appealing every day.”

About the Author

Tamara Morgan is a contemporary romance author of humorous, heartfelt stories with flawed heroes and heroines designed to get your hackles up and make your heart melt. Her long-lived affinity for romance novels survived a B.A. degree in English Literature, after which time she discovered it was much more fun to create stories than analyze the life out of them.j

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