Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on April 16, 2017

When the Grits Hit the Fan (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (March 28, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1617739293
E-Book ASIN: B01GBAIXGK

Synopsis

Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?

Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . .

Praise

Once again I was glad to escape to the rolling hills of southern Indiana, and the joys of running the Pans ‘N Pancakes country store and restaurant. I have loved this series from the start, but this book was especially great!  ~Classy Cheapskate

If you’re looking for a well thought out mystery with suspense and characters you can’t help but root for, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day. I think it is one you’ll be sure to enjoy.  ~A Cozy Experience

WHEN THE GRITS HIT THE FAN was a mystery full of more twists and turns than a funnel cake.  ~ Lisa Ks Book Reviews

About the Author

edith maxwellAgatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife series, the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors.

Website * Wicked Cozy Authors * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon * Pinterest

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check out the other blogs on this tour

April 3 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW

April 3 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

April 4 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

April 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

April 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 5 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

April 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 6 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

April 7 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

April 9 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

April 10 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 11 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

April 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

April 14 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

April 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, mystery on April 15, 2017

Called to Justice (A Quaker Midwife Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (April 8, 2017)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738750323
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0YRW

Synopsis

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll is enjoying the 1888 Independence Day evening fireworks with her beau when a teenaged Quaker mill girl is found shot dead. After a former slave and fellow Quaker is accused of the murder, Rose delves into the crime, convinced of the man’s innocence. An ill-mannered mill manager, an Irish immigrant, and the victim’s young boyfriend come under suspicion even as Rose’s future with her handsome doctor suitor becomes unsure. Rose continues to deliver babies and listen to secrets, finally figuring out one criminal – only to be threatened by the murderer, with three lives at stake. Can she rescue herself, a baby, and her elderly midwifery teacher in time?

Guest Post

Re-creating Everyday Life

My Quaker Midwife Mysteries take place in a bustling New England mill and carriage factory town in the late 1880s – which happens to be the town I live in. The family my midwife Rose Carroll lives with resides in my house, or the way my house was when it was brand-new and built for workers who toiled in the textile mill a block down the hill. By now it has had two additions to the back, but the heart of the home remains.

We bought this house five years ago, and my boyfriend has renovated the entire structure, right down to the studs. We now have new plumbing, new wiring, insulation, smooth walls and ceilings, but we kept the original wide pine floors and the window and door trim. We’ve tried to keep the additions reminiscent of the period when the house was built, so the kitchen has old-timey looking subway tiles for backsplash, as does the bathroom.

We opened up the kitchen to the sitting room, and I love to perch on the couch and gaze into the kitchen, imagining Rose and her teenage niece Faith cooking and cleaning for the family. But what would it have looked like back then? This is a modest three-bedroom house, not a big fancy Victorian with maid’s quarters and a deluxe dining room.

I have visited several museum homes of the period. One was Orchard House, where the Alcott family lived. It’s only an hour from my home. I also stayed at living history farmhouse in Maine where the public is invited for 24-hour live-in experiences, from the wood cookstove to the chamberpot under the bed! And I often peruse Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book and Marketing Guide, where she speaks extensively of what a hygenic kitchen needs.

Rose’s kitchen would have had a wide soapstone sink and running water from a pump. The wide wooden table would have been used for food preparation as well as eating meals, and the cabinet space would have been limited. They might have had gas lighting on the walls, but not yet a gas stove. Certain places in town were starting to be electrified, but definitely not Rose’s home. Refrigeration would have been an icebox. The door to the outside was fitted with a screen door beyond, a new invention that did wonders for keeping the bugs out but letting a breeze circulate in a hot July when Called to Justice takes place.

The family did hire out the washing, and by Book Three in the series (Turning the Tide, 2018) Rose has convinced her widower brother-in-law to hire a kitchen girl, too. Rose has a busy midwifery practice, and Faith works full time in the Hamilton Mills, and Rose argued that it wasn’t fair to either of them to have to do all the housework, too.

I also often think of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which I read several times over as a child. Those stories take place primarily on the prairie and the frontier, certainly, but many of the everyday household tasks would have been the same.

Readers: Do you have any fabulous late Victorian research sources? Knowledge of everyday life from back then? Please share!

About the Author

edith maxwellAgatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife series, the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors.

Website * Wicked Cozy Authors * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon * Pinterest

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check out the other blogs on this tour

April 5 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

April 5 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

April 6 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 6 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

April 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW

April 8 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

April 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

April 10 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

April 11 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

April 12 – Book Babble – REVIEW

April 12 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

April 13 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

April 13 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

April 14 – Leigh Anderson Romance – REVIEW

April 14 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

April 15 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

April 16 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense on April 14, 2017

Synopsis

The hero we’ve all been waiting for…

Ethan “Ozzie” Sykes

Former Navy SEAL

Underground operator for Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop

In a black-on-black international mission that went seriously sideways, Ozzie was badly injured—now he’s stuck at BKI headquarters in Chicago, champing at the bit to get out into the field again. To his disgust, he’s tasked with distracting Chicago Tribune ace reporter Samantha Tate, who’s been trying to dig up the dirt on BKI for years. Turns out Samantha’s beauty, intelligence and sense of humor are a seriously big distraction, and Ozzie’s losing his desire to keep her at bay.

Ozzie’s tired of hiding, and Samantha may be the best—and worst—person to share his secrets with…

Amazon * B&N * iBooks 

Excerpt

Ozzie’s pounding heart jumped into his throat when the Basilisks’ sergeant at arms slid from his chair at the high-top and bolted after her, reaching into the back of his waistband for the weapon he’d stored there. Reaction time for men in Ozzie and Christian’s business was faster than the speed of thought, so a split second later, they were off their stools, weapons out, and barreling across the room.

Samantha!

Ozzie wasn’t sure if he screamed her name aloud, or if that was just his soul crying out in terror.

“Stop!” he yelled, blasting through the back door and sighting down the barrel of his Beretta 92 FS at the Basilisk’s beefy back. The biker had an eight-inch hunting knife fisted in his hand, and he was closing the distance to Samantha.

“I said stop!” Ozzie shouted again, plowing down the dark alley and darting around a big, blue dumpster that, from the overpowering smell of it, was in dire need of a visit from the trash man.

The pounding of his feet on the dirty asphalt sent daggers of pain slicing through his injured thigh. The agony traveled up his spine to stab into the base of his skull.

Neither the biker nor Samantha bothered to glance back, prompting him to make his intentions crystal-fucking-clear. “Drop that pigsticker, asshole! Or I’ll put a bullet in the back of your skull and then piss on your corpse!”

That did it. The biker skidded to a stop, slowly lifting his hands in the air. Ozzie blew out a relieved breath when Samantha made it to the mouth of the alley and escaped around the corner.

What the hell have you gotten yourself involved in this time, Samantha?

“Was the pissing-on-his-corpse bit really necessary?” Christian asked as they slowed their momentum to stalk toward the Basilisk.

“I don’t believe in pulling my punches.” Ozzie skirted around the biker so he could get a good look at the man’s face. And conversely, let the man get a good look at the business end of his Beretta to discourage the dickwad from attempting any funny business.

The light from the street lamps in the parking lot filtered into the mouth of the alley and lit the Basilisk’s hairy face. Ozzie could see the words forming in the guy’s beady black eyes before he hissed them aloud. “Who the f* are you?” His vocal cords sounded like they’d been marinated in years of bad bourbon.

“Friends of the lady,” Ozzie said. The sound of the biker’s heavy breathing filled the alley. His robust middle said he wasn’t a stranger to milk shakes and cheese fries, and it’d likely been years since he’d managed more than a brisk walk.

When the biker smiled, it revealed his front teeth, all of which were gold and speckled with flecks of chewing tobacco. To call the dude ugly would be an offense to the word. He was f*ing ugly. “Aw, I wasn’t gonna hurt her,” Fugly said, adding a wink that set Ozzie’s blood boiling.

His finger twitched against his trigger. The day they’d pinned his SEAL Budweiser to his chest was the day killing had become a part of his life. But taking out jihadists in the backwoods of Afghanistan was a far cry from punching a fat biker’s ticket in a Chicago alleyway. Through gritted teeth, Ozzie managed, “Drop the knife.”

“Now why would I do that?”

“Because if you don’t, you won’t be able to see or pee straight by the time we’re finished with you.”

“Big talk.”

Ozzie wiggled his Beretta from side to side. “Backed up by a big gun. Now drop the blade.”

“You won’t shoot me,” Fugly declared, his smile stretching to reveal back teeth yellowed not by gold but by poor dental hygiene. Just looking at them made Ozzie feel filthier than the floor of a taxicab.

“Look, rotten mouth.” His patience was stretched tight. “I’m trying real hard to be polite, but I have to tell you, it’s not something I excel at.”

“F* you.”

“Oh, now see?” Ozzie shook his head. “That just got you removed from my Christmas list. You’ve got two seconds to comply before I add you to my other list. It’s titled: Dickheads I’ve Shot in the Gut.”

The biker eyed him for a good two seconds. Then he uncurled his fingers from the hilt of the knife. The blade caught the light and glinted as it somersaulted through the air, hitting the asphalt at his feet hilt-first.

“There,” Fugly said. “Happy now?”

Getting there. “You hiding any other weapons?”

“Just my dick.” The dude spit a huge glob of tobacco juice on the ground next to Ozzie’s boot. It was a visual f* you.

“Comedian, huh?” Ozzie asked.

Now that Samantha was safe and the adrenaline was letting down, he realized he was sweating. June in Chicago usually went one of two ways. Either spring held on with a fierce grip, keeping temps mild. Or summer came on like a she-devil, setting the city on fire. This year was the former, but since there wasn’t a breath of wind in the alley, the coolness of the night barely penetrated the insulation of his biker jacket. What little air there was felt thick…expectant, like an electrical storm rolled in the distance.

A trickle of perspiration slid from his temple to his chin. He was using his free hand to wipe it away when a noise from the parking lot had his blood running cold and goose bumps crawling over the back of his neck. It was a squeal of alarm. And it came from Samantha.

“Watch him!” Ozzie shouted, turning and running for the mouth of the alley without a backward glance.

 

About the Author

Julie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Western on April 12, 2017

Title: Texas Homecoming

Series: Night Riders, #1

Author: Leigh Greenwood

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 9781492648796

Synopsis

She’s his last chance to find peace…

Cade, Captain of the Night Riders, is determined to lead his men home to Texas to recover from a long and brutal war. But when a fellow Rider betrays the team, Cade sets aside his hopes for peace and swears he will hunt down the traitor no matter what it takes…

He has a foolproof plan to use the feisty Pilar diViere to lure her traitorous brother out of hiding. And yet when he takes the dark-eyed beauty into his arms, Cade can’t help but remember the passionate past they shared. He would do anything for a chance to rekindle that flame…even spare her brother’s life.

The war has changed them all, and each of the Night Riders must decide what is more important: love or revenge?

Amazon * Books-A-Million * Barnes & Noble * Chapters * Indiebound

Excerpt

“Let’s go for a walk instead.”

“I don’t want to walk,” she said, angry he’d forced her to leave the fiesta. “I can do that any time.”

“We can walk along the river. The moonlight on the water makes it look like a river of silver.”

A walk sounded awfully dull compared to dancing, but she’d never seen a river in the moonlight. Young ladies of aristocratic lineage weren’t supposed to be interested in such things. Cade made it sound very pretty. “Okay, but if I don’t like it, I want to go back to the fiesta.”

The fruit drinks had undoubtedly contained more tequila than she suspected. She had never felt so uninhibited, so unfettered by tradition, so unrestrained by her grandmother’s strictures. It felt absolutely marvelous.

“Have you walked along rivers in the moonlight with a lot of girls?” she asked.

Cade chuckled softly. “You should ask Owen that question.”

“I’m not interested in Owen. I’m interested in you.” She didn’t mean it quite the way it sounded, but it was too much trouble to explain.

“No one seemed particularly interested,” Cade said.

Pilar couldn’t understand that. To her, Cade seemed like exactly the kind of man a woman would want to walk with in the moonlight. He was strong, handsome, and dependable, everything a young woman would look for in a man.

“I can’t believe the young women you knew were so silly.”

“Young ladies want excitement, clever words, flattery,” he said.

“They’d want something very different if they’d been driven out of their home and forced to cook for a living.” She hadn’t meant to mention that, but what he said seemed so frivolous, she couldn’t help herself.

“Some lost more than you. They just wanted to forget.”

She would never forget. “Let’s not talk about the war. Pretend I’m one of those silly women who pant after Owen. Tell me I’m pretty and you get lost in my eyes.”

Pilar felt herself flush with embarrassment. She didn’t know where those words had come from. She’d never even thought anything so foolish in her entire life.

“You’re not pretty,” Cade said.

That’s what she got for putting words into a man’s mouth.

“You’re beautiful. Any man would give his right arm to be able to drown himself in your eyes.”

Pilar didn’t know what more those Virginia beauties could want. Manuel had never said anything half so poetic.

“Your fiancé should be cut into small pieces and fed to the coyotes for leaving you unprotected. If I had been your fiancé, not even loyalty to my country could have been enough to make me leave you.”

Pilar was wise enough to know that no man ever valued his wife above his loyalty to his country; his money or his children perhaps, but never his wife. But the effect on her was the same as if it had been the truth. She’d never felt so important in her life, and she liked it.

“Would you really have stayed in Texas if I’d been your fiancée?”

“Maybe not, but I’d have made sure you were safe before I left.”

“Why?”

“A man protects what he values. Nothing is more valuable than the woman a man loves.”

Pilar had never expected to be loved by her husband, but when she was alone and faced with the future, she couldn’t help dreaming about it. Respect and all that stuff about lineage and money didn’t seem enough in a world that could turn cold and cruel at any moment.

“How would you show a woman you loved her?” Pilar asked.

“Like this.” Cade took her in his arms and kissed her.

Pilar knew that some part of her must have been wanting this, hoping for it, but a part of her was shocked to find herself in Cade’s embrace. That same part was even more shocked to discover how much she wanted it, welcomed it, moved forward to meet him. Nor did she back away from the kiss when it turned from a genteel brushing of lips to an unbridled expression of pent-up emotions.

She didn’t know what was responsible for the feeling that her life had suddenly turned in a new direction, had taken on a different meaning. She didn’t know how to account for the emptiness inside her, or the conviction that Cade was the only one who could fill it.

She only knew she’d been swept up in Cade’s powerful embrace, and it was the most wonderful feeling of her whole life.

She’d never imagined that anything could feel as wonderful as this kiss. His lips were full, his mouth soft. His tongue darted between her teeth before she knew what was happening. But even as her conscious mind started to reject the idea, her body’s response was the opposite—and enthusiastic. Her own tongue rose to duel with Cade’s, entwining sinuously around his, plunging deep into his mouth.

Gradually Pilar became aware that other parts of her body were reacting to Cade’s embrace. Her breasts—pressed hard against his chest—had become extremely sensitive, her nipples swollen. A feeling unlike anything she’d ever experienced uncoiled deep in her belly, then began to spread through her limbs, causing her muscles to go limp. Instinctively she clung still more tightly to Cade.

Without warning, Cade broke the kiss, took her by the shoulders, and thrust her away from him.

The shock was total.

“We have to go back to the hotel before I forget you’re a lady I’ve promised to protect,” Cade said.

Pilar’s brain refused to function. She couldn’t understand what Cole was saying. She could only understand that all comfort had suddenly been torn from her. “What would you do if I weren’t a lady, if we didn’t have to go back to the hotel?”

About the Author

Leigh Greenwood is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Seven Brides, Cowboys, and Night Riders series. The proud father of three grown children, Leigh resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never intended to be a writer, but he found it hard to ignore the people in his head, and the only way to get them out was to write.

Website

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, romance on April 11, 2017

SANDPIPER COVE

A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 3
by

IRENE HANNON

  Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: April 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to the enchanting seaside town of Hope Harbor, Oregon, in her novel Sandpiper Cove, releasing April 2017. Praised by Library Journal as a “master at character development,” Irene Hannon steps away from suspense writing once again to deliver another powerful, multifaceted romance that is sure to have readers coming back for more.

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * ChristianBook.com

PRAISE FOR THE HOPE HARBOR NOVELS

“Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites reader to come home to Hope Harbor.” Christian Retailing on Hope Harbor

“A place of emotional restoration that readers will yearn to visit.” Publishers Weekly on Hope Harbor

 “Summer romance doesn’t get much better than this.” —Examiner.com on Sea Rose Lane

Lone Star Life Guest Post

Irene Hannon, Sandpiper Cove

When I decided to write a book set on the spectacular Oregon coast, my husband joined me on a research trip that took me from the tip-top edge of the state all the way down to the California border. Since he knows me well, he also brought along sturdy hiking shoes.

And therein lies a story.

For me, the best way to get to know a place is on foot. So every trip I take—whether it’s for fun or work—involves some long, often arduous, day hikes.

My husband is a trouper, and while long hikes weren’t necessarily his forte when we got married, in general he gets into the trek-taking spirit on our trips.

But every once in a while, during one of our more…ahem…adventurous hikes, he’ll give me the How did you manage to talk me into this? look.

The most memorable such look happened during a hike in the French Pyrenees.

The problem with that hike was lack of appropriate footwear. He was in the country on business and didn’t have room in his luggage for his hiking shoes. So no major hikes were planned for that trip. But when we came across a distant but visible waterfall, I convinced him it would be an easy stroll. The path was even paved at the beginning, and not very steep.

Three hours later, the smooth path long left behind, we found ourselves on a glacial slope—but still not at the waterfall, which continued to tantalize from a distance.

As we contemplated our elusive target, my husband cocked his head and said, “What’s that smell?”

I sniffed the spicy aroma. Familiar…but I couldn’t place it.

He bent down and picked the leaf off a plant.

“It’s thyme.” He passed it to me.

Yeah, it was.

Wild mountain thyme, to be precise—officially classified as a high-altitude plant.

“I guess we climbed pretty high.” I eyed the glacier at the base of the waterfall.

He sat on a convenient rock.

Not a positive sign.

“Let’s not give up now. We’re almost there.” I beamed him an encouraging smile.

“I can’t go any further.” He fiddled with his shoe.

“Yes, you can.”

“No. I can’t.” He removed the shoe and held it up.

The sole was hanging off.

His not-meant-for-hiking shoe had succumbed to the sharp glacial rock.

“Uh oh.”

“Yeah.” He gave the shoe a disgusted look.

“Can you make it back down?”

“Do I have a choice?”

Somehow he managed—but the return trip wasn’t a barrel of laughs.

So on the research trip to Oregon, he came prepared for some serious trekking.

As it turns out, we did do quite a bit of tramping about. We slipped and slid down steep paths to countless vast and wild beaches. We ogled colorful starfish, sea urchins and anemones while scrambling over slippery, jagged rocks at Cape Perpetua. We picked our way along narrow paths and up steep cliffs to visit every lighthouse we passed. On the John Dellenback Dunes trail, we trudged through sand deep enough to rival the Sahara. And of course we took endless strolls on vast, remote—and often very windy—beaches.

By the end of the trip, I’d gathered plenty of material to help me create my charming, fictional seaside town of Hope Harbor—where hearts heal…and love blooms.

In fact, the inspiration for the setting of the hero’s home in Sandpiper Cove is a pristine, sheltered beach in Shore Acres State Park that we reached via a hike.

Now that the Hope Harbor series has been extended—Pelican Point will be out in spring 2018, with at least one more book to follow—I’m thinking it might be time to go back to Oregon and do a little more research…and hiking.

Hmm.

Maybe I better start broaching that idea to my husband now…and dig out his hiking shoes!

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. In 2014 she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s elite Hall of Fame, and in 2016 she received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

 

WEBSITE * FACEBOOK * TWITTER

————————————————————————————————————-

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize:

Print copies of full Hope Harbor series, Mr. Munch Oregon Treat Basket, & Ann Clark Oregan 3.25” Tin Plated Steel Cookie Cutter.

1st Runner-Up:

Full series + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

2nd Runner-Up:

Full Series + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

April 4-13, 2017

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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

4/4 Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
4/5 Review Reading By Moonlight
4/6 Scrapbook Page CGB Blog Tours
4/7 Review Forgotten Winds
4/8 Excerpt My Book Fix Blog
4/9 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
4/10 Review Missus Gonzo
4/11 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
4/12 Review The Page Unbound
4/13 Author Interview Chapter Break Book Blog

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on April 11, 2017

Give the Devil His Due (A Tarot Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Midnight Ink (April 8, 2017)
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738742243
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0Z9Y

Synopsis

Reformed con artist-turned-tarot reader Alanis McLachlan gets paid for predicting the future—too bad she didn’t see all the trouble in hers. First a figure from her past tries to drag her back into the life of crime she thought she’d left behind. Then a new suitor tries to sweep Alanis off her feet, forcing her on-again, off-again romance with hunky teacher Victor Castellanos to hit the skids. And then there’s the little matter of the client who gets an ominous reading from Alanis . . . and is promptly murdered. Danger is in the cards for Alanis, and she’ll need all her skill at reading people and reading tarot if she’s going to survive.

Guest Post

Novel Advice
By Steve Hockensmith

There are downsides to being a published author. One: the groupies. It’s almost impossible to sustain a healthy marriage when legions of lovestruck fans are throwing themselves at you every day. I try to keep their numbers down by avoiding the bestseller lists, but I still can’t walk past a bookstore without someone throwing their panties at me. Or, occasionally, their tighty whities. A never-ending supply of free underwear could be a perk, I suppose, but I’d be happier if people kept their pants on and contented themselves with autographs.

Another downside: Authors are supposed to be smart. Publish a book and all of a sudden we’re expected to know how it’s done — and, worse, to tell everyone about it. Is there a writer alive who hasn’t been forced to churn out a “How to – “ column about “their craft”? Even James Patterson still does it from time to time, and his “craft” consists of dictating titles to other writers while soaking in a diamond-studded bathtub. (“I’m thinking we’ll go with the ol’ adjective-noun for this one, Rogers. Fatal Bond, Lethal Intent, Perspicacious Equanimity, Whatever Whatever…you know the drill. Give me 75,000 words by Wednesday. And hand me the Mr. Bubble.”)

Even I’ve done it when I was hard-up enough for something to write about. The most popular post on my blog is “50 Dos and Don’ts for Wannabe Writers,” which is basically 500-ish words of tap dancing around the fact that I’m NOT all that smart when it comes to writing and publishing. Boil the whole thing down and it’s just me shouting “Oh, for god’s sake…if you wanna write just go do it already!”

But guess what, friends. I’m in the middle of a blog tour. I’m supposed to write 187 blog posts in three days (or something like that). So….

Hockensmith’s Four Little Rules for Big-Time Publishing Success

(1) Write stuff people want to read

Want to move units? Give the people what they want. They’re not reading for their health, you know. In fact, most of them aren’t reading at all. Who’s got time for book-books when there’s Facebook? The one in a million who will pick up a novel from time to time don’t want to read your tender coming of age tale or heartfelt romance or gimmicky tarot-themed mystery or whatever. If the Amazon rankings are to be believed, they want Loch Ness monster erotica and lots of it. So fire up an In Search Of…, get in touch with your wild side and start typing something that moves your unit.

(2) Read stuff people (especially you) want to write
James Patterson was an ad man before he started writing (or dictating titles, anyway). Lee Child was a TV producer. J.K. Rowling was unemployed. Gillian Flynn drove an ice cream truck. Jonathan Franzen was a Chippendales dancer. Very different backgrounds — yet all of these bestselling authors have two things in common. First, before they were writers, they were readers, preparing themselves for literary superstardom by discovering what they themselves love about books. Second, they’re all members of the Illuminati, the shadowy cabal that secretly controls the world. Which gives them a bit of an edge, competition-wise. Still…read, people! It’s good for you!

(3) Land a powerful agent, get a huge book deal and become a bestseller
Preferably in that order.

(4) Honor your commitments
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve agreed to write 187 blog posts in three days. Well, by cracky, you’d better do it, even if it means churning out a lot of ridiculous bunk. If you’re lucky, no one will notice….

 

About the Author

Steve Hockensmith’s first novel, Holmes on the Range, was a finalist for the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony and Dilys awards. He went on to write four sequels as well as a pair of bestselling follow-ups to the international publishing sensation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. More recently, he wrote (with collaborator “Science Bob” Pflugfelder) the middle-grade mysteries Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab and Nick and Tesla’s Robot Army Rampage.

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April 5 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

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April 6 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 7 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW

April 7 – Sleuth Cafe – GUEST POST

April 8 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

April 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

April 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

April 12 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

April 13 – Varietats – REVIEW

April 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

April 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

April 16 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, Spotlight on April 9, 2017

Title: Between a Wolf and a Hard Place

Author: Terry Spear

Series: Silver Town Wolf, #7

ISBN: 9781492645115

Pubdate: April 4, 2017

Genre: Paranormal

Synopsis

In Silver Town, the secrets run deep…

Alpha werewolf Brett Silver has an ulterior motive when he donates a prized family heirloom to the Silver Town hotel. Ellie MacTire owns the place with her sisters, and he’s out to get her attention.

Ellie is even more special than Brett knows. She’s a wolf-shifter with a unique ability to commune with the dead. Ellie has been ostracized, so she protects herself and those she loves by revealing nothing—not even when strange and dangerous things begin to happen in Silver Town. And especially not to the devastatingly handsome and generous wolf who’s determined to win her over…

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A SIGN YOU MIGHT BE A SHIFTER

If you suddenly don’t need a light to see in the late evening or early morning, when others can’t see a thing in the dark.

Excerpt

When Brett and CJ arrived at the inn, they got out to help guide the piano movers. Laurel met CJ outside, giving him a big hug and kiss. Brett sighed. He’d love it if he and Ellie got to that point in their relationship—and soon. They’d both been busy lately, she with the inn and he with reporting about Victorian Day festivities. So he hadn’t seen her as much as he would have liked.

As soon as they went inside, he saw Ellie showing the movers where she thought the piano should go, while Meghan insisted it should be more to the right of the stairs.

Then Ellie caught his eye and smiled, and he felt his whole outlook brighten. She was the darkest-haired redhead of the bunch, her long, curly hair auburn in color, and to him, sexier and more mysterious. He wanted to ask her out tonight. He could cook, though he’d do better grilling outside.

She turned her attention to the piano again, frowning. And Meghan was frowning too.

Poor movers. Brett thought the two ladies would have the men relocate the piano all over the lobby before settling on the perfect place for it. Instead, Ellie suddenly looked pale and said it was fine where it was. Meghan quickly nodded, looking just as ashen.

CJ and Eric readjusted the burgundy, brocade-covered bench in front of the piano, which made Brett remember he needed to box up all the sheet music and books and bring them over. He’d taken them out of the bench when he had its seat cushion reupholstered last year, and they were still sitting in a box in the spare bedroom.

Brett paid the movers and they cleared out.

“Got to get back to work,” Eric said, giving Brett a knowing look. “Late shift working as a park ranger tonight.”

“Yeah, I’ve got to get back to the business of sheriffing.” CJ smiled at Ellie. “Can you drop me off at the station, Eric?”

“Sure thing,” their eldest brother said.

Sarandon was admiring the piano, arms folded across his chest, when he realized his brothers were leaving and snapped out of his thoughts. “Yeah, I’ve got to get back to work too.”

Brett knew Sarandon didn’t have a guide job in the park tonight, so he was glad Sarandon was vacating the premises pronto, taking his brothers’ cues. Now if only Ellie’s sisters would leave the two of them alone.

Laurel took Meghan’s arm and hauled her toward the back door. “Let’s go fix supper, why don’t we?”

“For two, three, or four of us?” Meghan asked with a smile in her voice as they disappeared outside.

Brett didn’t hesitate before he moved toward Ellie, placed his hands on her shoulders, and leaned her gently against the piano, blocking her from escape if she thought to put on the brakes again. “Would you be up for dinner for two? You don’t have any guests for the next week,  unless something has changed.” He rubbed his thumbs against her shoulders, loving the feel of her, the sweet, fresh fragrance of her. She looked beautiful in her soft teal sweater, rust-and-teal-plaid skirt, and high-heeled boots, her dark-red hair in silky curls around her shoulders.

She was soft in his arms and appeared receptive when he leaned down to kiss her. It seemed like the perfect time. No one was around. The piano had been the perfect gift. Now it was time to kiss her like he’d wanted to since they’d first started dating. As soon as their mouths touched, she responded by wrapping her arms around his back, but then Eric felt her jump a little and pulled his mouth away, wondering if he was going too fast. If he’d done something wrong.

She quickly moved against him, pushing him away from the piano, her heartbeat racing, her breathing unsteady, the color that had infused her cheeks instantly draining from her skin.

“What’s wrong?” he asked as Ellie moved him even farther from the piano. He thought maybe she had gotten static-electric shock from touching it.

“Let’s go have dinner,” she said, her Irish accent more pronounced as it was whenever she was overly worried. The sisters had been born in the United States, but their parents had been born in Ireland, and they’d picked up their parents’ accent. He loved it. “Any place is fine.”

Yet she was visibly upset, and he wasn’t sure what the difficulty was.

“Thanks for the piano. It’s beautiful.” Ellie glanced back at it, but not in an admiring way. She was looking off to the right of it, a frown marring her temple , which he thought was odd.

“Why don’t I take you to the Silver Town Tavern? If you like steak, they have great cuts there.  And we can catch up on what’s been going on.”

“I hear you’re working on some interesting  stories.”

“Yeah. My favorite? The last time the Silver Town Inn was part of the Victorian Days celebration. The idea seemed appropriate since this will be the first time the inn is open for business during the festivities since then.”

“I can’t wait to read it.” Ellie glanced back at the vicinity of the piano one last time before she shut and locked the front door to the inn.

“We can help you move the piano again if you don’t think it’s in the right place,” Brett offered, getting the car door for her.

“Uh, no, I think it’s fine.” But she didn’t sound like she thought so.

He was afraid he’d pushed her too fast on the kiss, yet she’d seemed so willing. He didn’t know what he had done wrong, but he had every intention of proving how much being with her meant to him, no matter what the difficulty might be.

***

Ellie couldn’t believe that not only had Chrissy shown up, looking interested in the piano, but so had some other woman. She was older, with white hair and dark eyes, and had appeared when Brett leaned Ellie against the piano and gave her the beginning of a spine-tingling kiss. It was so reminiscent of the start of the dreams she was having about him that Ellie could have screamed when seeing the ghost shook her up and ruined the in-the-flesh fantasy with Brett.

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 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on April 8, 2017

Silence of the Jams (A Down South Café Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Berkley (April 4, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101990803
E-Book ASIN: B01IAUG44C

Synopsis

In the latest Southern cozy from the author of The Calamity Café, small-town chef Amy Flowers can’t take her freedom for granted when she’s served up as a murder suspect… 

It’s Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Café is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the café so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.

When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it’s a heart attack—until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now, it’s up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost.

Includes delicious Southern recipes!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Books-A-Million * Indiebound * Kobo

Review

This small town is intriguing and the townsfolk are people I would want as my neighbors! Well except the killers!

This second book is very delightful and of course I love that it is centered around a cafe…which means food! Thankfully the author gives us some recipes at the end and I will be trying out a few of them.

The mystery was well written and while I figured out the killer it wasn’t really from any clues, but just a gut instinct. This character just seemed to be up to something shady, and I was right!

There is also another character that turned out to be a surprise and one of the good ones. You wouldn’t think that from how this character is portrayed. I can’t say too much, don’t want to give away any secrets or plot twists.

I even like that the romance continues between Ryan and Amy. It seems rather sweet. And her cousin Jackie even has something going with a long time friend. I also like that the author throws in a drug addicted mother and the agony a family probably goes through dealing with that addiction.

Overall a delightful book and series, definitely check it out if you haven’t yet.  We give it 5 paws up

About the Author

Gayle&Cooper

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series. I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

 

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April 3 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

April 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 3 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

April 4 – Book Babble – REVIEW

April 4 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 5 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

April 6 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 6 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

April 6 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

April 7 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW

April 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

April 8 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

April 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 10 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

April 10 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

April 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

April 11 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

April 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

April 12 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

April 12 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 12 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

April 13 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – REVIEW

April 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

April 14 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

April 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

April 15 – deal sharing aunt – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 16 – Varietats – REVIEW

April 16 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

Posted in Children, Giveaway, Interview, women on April 7, 2017

ALMOST A MINYAN
by

LORI S. KLINE

ARTWORK BY SUSAN SIMON

  Genre: Picture Book / Jewish Traditions

Publisher: Sociosights Press
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Date of Publication: April 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 40

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Will she be the one to take Grandfather’s place?

According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan – until her beloved Zayde passes on.

Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children.

Purchase from Sociosights Press

PRAISE FOR ALMOST A MINYAN

“A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.” Kirkus Reviews

“A story of inclusion, belonging and equality. I loved the modern, egalitarian, and traditional values shared in this meaningful story. This is a wonderful modern story for our children and grandchildren!”  Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray, Congregation Shir Shalom, CT Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network

“A delightful read for girls and boys alike, this poetic family tale brings a wonderful sentimentality to daily Jewish prayers. Moreover, the beauty of the illustrations contributes additional warmth to this snapshot of Jewish life. A nice addition for all libraries and all ages.” Rabbi Jimmy Kessler, DHL, DD Congregation B’nai Israel, Galveston

 

What was your inspiration for writing Almost a Minyan?  Moving to Austin, where there was often difficult to gather the complete 10 Jewish adults to “make a minyan,”–from the large city of Pittsburgh, PA—where there are several morning minyans daily, gave me pause, as well as concern that we would lose our opportunity to transmit out traditions to our next generations.

What can you share with readers about minyans and Jewish traditions? I would say that, “community” is one of the basic pillars of the Jewish religion. Minyanim (plural of, “minyan”) require a gathering of 10 adult Jews in order to recite prayers. These prayers remind us and bind us to each other and as a community. Also, many of our traditions rely on gathering and engaging with each other. Our Tradition is replete with customs in which together we pray, celebrate, study, mourn and work together toward social justice.

What cultural value do you see in storytelling?

Stories serve as a natural means of transmitting traditions and values.  Nearly no one I know likes being told what to do, but in a story, one can glean…from the characters.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I have the luxury of writing when the inspiration hits me, and socking away a manuscript for months or even years before rousing it from slumber.  This gives me a chance to step back from the writing and its cadence and more objectively read it.  I imagine that my life experiences over time also affect the manner in which my stories evolve into their final form.

What book do you wish you could have written?

Anything by Dr. Seuss.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Lie on the beach in Hawaii, sipping a drink garnished with a paper umbrella, breathing in the ocean air and listening to the rhythm of the waves.

Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life?

“Yes, you can.”

Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at, “the shul.”  Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community.  In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book,  Josiah’s Dreams.

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Artist Susan Simon

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3/24 Illustration Preview CGB Blog Tours
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3/26 Author Interview My Book Fix Blog
3/27 Review Momma On The Rocks
3/28 Guest Post Texas Book Lover
3/29 Promo Missus Gonzo
3/30 Review Syd Savvy
3/31 Illustration Preview Reading By Moonlight
4/1 Review The Page Unbound
4/2 Author Interview Margie’s Must Reads
4/3 Review Books and Broomsticks
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4/6 Review Books in the Garden
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, suspense on April 7, 2017

Synopsis

First in a chilling new paranormal romantic suspense series from award-winning author Abbie Roads

He’s found her at last

Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man, his only saving grace the extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch murderers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his own horrific past—and only one woman could know what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare

Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful—and in terrible danger. The moment he sees Mercy, Cain knows he’s the one who can save her. He also knows he’s beyond redemption. But the lines between good and evil blur and the only thing clear to Cain and Mercy is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood—but is their bond strong enough to overcome the evil that stalks them?

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Excerpt

He stepped out of the shower, nabbed a towel and dried himself as he walked into the bedroom.

And nearly ran into her.

A towel—a mere piece of cloth—wrapped her body, the edge of it tucked in just above the swell of her left breast. Her skin shone pink from her bath and her hair hung in a tangled wet mess over her shoulders. She’d never looked quite so lovely.

When she didn’t say anything he forced his gaze to rise above the towel to her face. Her eyes were aimed downward, toward his—

“F*.” He’d been standing there just holding the towel in his hand, not even thinking to hide the log—that hadn’t gone away—jutting straight out from his body. He slapped the towel over his dick, nearly decapitating it.

“I was…” She swallowed and looked at him. “…looking for something to wear. I didn’t want to interrupt you.”

She wanted something to wear? His ears heard the words, but all his brain could focus on how easy it would be to get that towel off her. She didn’t need to wear anything.

“Cain?” Alarm sounded in her voice. Her eyes widened.

He took a step back, ass-smacked into the edge of the bathroom door.

“You’re bleeding.”

It wasn’t her words, but the concern in her voice that knocked him out of the stupor he’d been in. He glanced down at himself. A rivulet of blood ran down his chest from the gunshot wound high up on his shoulder.

She moved closer to him. He couldn’t move away. All he could do was press his ass harder into the wall.

With steady hands, she unhooked the secure edge of her towel, let it swing from one hand in front of her. He caught a glimpse of pink breast and pale thigh, before he clamped his eyes shut. But he’d seen enough. His dick went granite. The unrequited longing painful. He smothered a groan.

She pressed her towel low on his abdomen, so low her hand brushed his—the one covering himself with a towel. His dick leaped, strained for her touch.

She raised the material, stroking up his skin, higher and higher—until she gently pressed it to his wound. “You want me?” Her voice was thick and husky as if she were having a hard time talking.

He forgot how to speak, but his body remembered the universal sign for yes. He nodded. Or at least he tried to. Maybe he was having a stroke or something because suddenly he felt paralyzed. And confused.

“Open your eyes. Look at me.”

Disobedience didn’t exist. He opened his eyes. She looked at his hand trying to cover his erection, then met his gaze. “I can tell. I just thought I’d ask.” A sweet smile—shy as a spring sunrise, and stunning as summer sunset settled on her lips.

She peeked under the towel on his shoulder and he peeked at her body.

Glorious. Long slender muscles and bones. Her breasts weren’t large, instead they were perfect with peach colored nipples he longed to taste. The only imperfections—the fading green bruise on her ribs and the filigreed cross scarred into the flesh over her heart.

He pointed at the cross. Jesus. What was wrong with him? He’d forgotten how to use words.

She glanced down at herself and then settled her hand over the raised flesh as if to pledge her allegiance. “It’s to protect me. I know it sounds weird, but I felt that if I had this symbol carved into my body I’d be safe from the demons in the world.”

She grabbed his free hand and placed it over the scar. The coolness of the damaged flesh imprinted on his palm. She tugged at his other hand—the one covering himself with the towel. No way could he deny her. The material fell from his fingers and she guided his other hand up to the puckered ring around her throat—where his father had cut her neck—and settled it on that scar as well.

A jolt, almost a shudder ran through him at the dual connection. He melted in to her. Merged with her. Became a part of her. Somehow touching those places was more intimate than anything they could do sexually. She had given him her greatest gift. Her vulnerability and trust.

About the Author

Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark emotional novels, always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. Her novels have finaled in RWA contest, including the Golden Heart. She lives with her family in Marion, OH.

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