Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, paranormal, romance on September 15, 2017

Title: Her Dark Half

Author: Paige Tyler

Series: X-Ops, #7

Pub Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis

Trevor Maxwell

  • Coyote shifter with an attitude
  • Covert operator
  • Trusts no one, especially his devastatingly beautiful new partner

Alina Bosch

  • Former CIA, newest operative on the covert team
  • Hired to spy on her partner
  • Motto: “Never be deceived again.”

Coyote shifter Trevor Maxwell is teamed up with CIA agent Alina Bosch to catch a killer. But when the mission becomes much more dangerous than they expected, they’re going to have to ignore the attraction between them and learn how to trust one another to come out on the other side…

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Excerpt

“What’s the plan here?” she asked Trevor quietly as the restaurant’s patrons eyed them curiously. “Because I don’t see anyone warming up to us enough to invite us into the back room.”

“We’re Trevor and Alina Hoffman, a filthy rich, newly married couple from Silicon Valley,” Trevor said, glancing around as if taking in the ambience. “We’ve been on an extended honeymoon for the past few months and are currently heading for a trans-Atlantic cruise out of New York City. We decided to do some gambling and got tired of dealing with all the crap at the local casino.”

“You think they’ll buy that?” she asked as he led her across the room toward the door with the guards.

“You sell the fact that we’re a newly married couple, and I’ll make them believe I’m a rich guy with a gambling addiction.”

She could do that. Then she realized one big flaw in their cover story. “If we’re a newly married couple, shouldn’t I be wearing a ring?”

Trevor gave her a sidelong glance. “What makes you think you aren’t?”

She looked down at her hand in confusion and almost fell off her stacked heels as she saw the monstrously large diamond he’d somehow slipped onto her ring finger when she wasn’t looking. Oh crud, it was huge! And as beautiful as any she’d ever seen.

“When did you put this on? More importantly, is this thing real?” she whispered.

Thank goodness she had his arm to keep her steady. She was feeling faint at the idea of wearing a diamond that was probably worth more than her entire apartment.

“I put it on you when we were married on the first of June in Monaco,” he whispered back. “And of course it’s real. I would never put something fake on the love of my life.”

“Trevor, I’m serious,” she said.

He made a face. “Okay. I slipped it on your finger when I was helping you out of the SUV. And yes, it’s real, so don’t lose it. I had to sign my life away to get it out of the DCO safes.”

She gulped. “How much is it worth?”

“Nothing compared to you, sweetheart,” he said in a romantic tone as they stopped in front of the two guards.

The bouncers working this door were a little bit more professional than the ones outside.

“Can I help you?” one of the men asked in a deep, rough voice that made Alina wonder if he chewed gravel for fun.

“Someone told me a man might be able to find a friendly game of poker somewhere near here,” Trevor said casually. “I don’t suppose you two might be able to point my wife and me in the right direction for a game like that?”

The two men regarded him suspiciously.

“I think you’re talking about the Horseshoe Casino,” Gravel said. “It’s nearby, very clean and friendly.” Trevor chuckled. “The Horseshoe is very friendly. But the place doesn’t have the quite the atmosphere we’re looking for. It’s a little too…what’s the word?… sanitized for our liking.”

Gravel studied Trevor for a moment, then glanced at the bar, giving someone there a nod. Ten seconds later, a slim man in an expensive suit appeared at their side.

“My name is Teddy,” he said in a cautious yet friendly tone. “What can I do for you?”

“I’m Trevor Hoffman. This is my wife, Alina. We’re getting ready to head out on a cruise in a few days and decided to do some gambling while we’re in town. Someone told us this place runs a clean game, so I thought I’d spend some money here.”

Teddy surveyed them with a practiced eye, taking in the cut of Trevor’s suit and her expensive gown, not to mention the big honking ring she wore. He must have liked what he saw, because he nodded.

“If I could get some identification and a credit card from you, Mr. Hoffman, I can quickly check your credentials and set you up with a line of credit.”

Alina tensed as Trevor handed over the requested ID and credit card. They could be in trouble. The fake ID and credit card by themselves would have taken quite a bit of time and money to pull off. Coming up with an Internet background to support that would take even longer.

“What are they going to find when they run your name and that credit card number?” she whispered as he slipped his arm around her and casually urged her away from the two men guarding the door.

“Relax.” He flashed her a grin. “They’ll find us with all the relevant financial and societal tidbits one would expect to see when looking at the rich and bored.”

She glanced at Teddy. He typed something into a computer just out of sight behind the bar. A moment later, he lifted his head and frowned in their direction.

“Something’s wrong,” she whispered.

Even the two guards were eyeing them funny now. She was starting to wish she had a weapon. If things went bad, they were in trouble.

“Alina,” Trevor said softly as he tightened his arm around her waist and tugged her closer. “Now’s the time for you to sell the newlywed thing.”

She opened her mouth to ask him exactly how he suggested she do that when he pulled her even closer.

She wished she could have said it was years of CIA training that took over and made her kiss him. But that wouldn’t have been true. Instead, it was a totally different kind of instinct. The kind that made a woman want to kiss a hot guy.

About the Author

Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast.

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Posted in 5 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Historical, Review, romance on September 10, 2017

THESE HEALING HILLS

by

ANN GABHART

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 368

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Bestselling Author Transports Readers to the Appalachian Mountains for Adventure and Healing

Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With his future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities.

Praise for These Healing Hills

“Reading These Healing Hills is like wrapping up in a beloved quilt and stepping back in time. Ann H. Gabhart captures a fascinating slice of Appalachian history in this tale of a mountain midwife and a soldier, bringing it to life as only a native Kentuckian can. Poignant and romantic, witty and wise, with enduring spiritual truths, this is my favorite novel of hers to date.” —Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

“What a wonderful story! Filled with true-to-life characters (including some four-footed ones) and fascinating historical details, These Healing Hills is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of life in the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the Second World War. Ann Gabhart combines vivid descriptions, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of the human heart to create a story that will linger in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. This is a book to savor, not just once, but over and over. A true keeper.” —Amanda Cabot, bestselling author of A Stolen Heart

“Ann H. Gabhart delivers a rich tale set in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the close of World War II. Francine buries the painful loss of the man she loves beneath the difficult work of a frontier nurse-midwife. The mountain people touch a place deep in her heart, and she gladly sacrifices the life she always wanted in order to serve them. But can she ever be truly happy among the hills and hollows where modern medicine often gives way to ancient folk cures? These Healing Hills is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story that I highly recommend.” —Virginia Smith, bestselling author of The Amish Widower

“You are sure to enjoy this endearing story of love lost and found in the enchanting hills of Kentucky.” —Jan Watson, author of the Troublesome Creek series

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What a lovely story!  It is “Call the Midwife” but in the Appalachian mountains.

I learned so much from this book about the culture of the people that lived in the mountains in the mid 40’s, what the nurses went through to learn and be certified as a midwife and of course was swept away in the love story between Francine (Fran) and Ben.  Since the author is from this general area I’m sure it was easy for her to research details.  I was able to picture the mountains, the homes, the people and what life was like during that time frame – when people did not have a lot but were happy.  Goes to show that money does not make you happy.  I also learned a lot of new words like baby catching, sass patch (garden) and killed – but not as in dead, just wounded.  As I was reading the author’s notes at the end, I discovered that the Frontier Nurses and the Frontier Nursing University are indeed real and was started by Mary Breckenridge in 1925 as a way to help those get nursing care that might not otherwise receive the services.

There is a little tension between Fran and her first boyfriend, Seth.  It takes a certain type of person to do what Fran is doing and Seth is definitely not that kind of person…as they might have said back then, he is “city folk”.  Plus Fran is becoming accustomed to living in the mountains and has grown attached to many of the residents, especially Ben.  She is learning quite a bit from her patients – to have patience, to not dismiss herbal remedies and to take joy in life.

There is some joyful moments throughout the book and I think Woody, Ben’s younger brother, steals the show at various times.  He is quite the talker and happy all the time that it is hard to not like him or root for him in various situations.  There are also some dogs featured in the book.  I loved the descriptions of the dogs and their antics.

This was a very enjoyable story and I did not want it to end.  I want to know more about what happens to many of the characters like Woody, Jeralene and Becca & Carl.  Perhaps the author will grace us with a follow up book.

We give it 5 paws up and suggest you pick this up soon (or enter to win a copy below).

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The OutsiderThe BelieverThe SeekerThe Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel SisterSmall Town GirlLove Comes HomeWords Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky.

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Copy of These Healing Hills + The Kentucky Snack Basket (11 items including a Derby Pie Tart, Bourbon Pecan Brittle, Bourbon Chocolates, Spiced Pretzels, Modjeskas, Coffee, Snack Mix, Candy Bar, Caramel Corn, and a Horseshoe from Churchill Downs!)

First Runner-Up:

Copy of These Healing Hills + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Second Runner-Up:

Copy of These Healing Hills + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

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5-Sep Playlist Texan Girl Reads
6-Sep Review Syd Savvy
7-Sep Character Interview Books and Broomsticks
8-Sep Review The Page Unbound
9-Sep Guest Post Forgotten Winds
10-Sep Review StoreyBook Reviews
11-Sep Scrapbook Page Books in the Garden
12-Sep Excerpt Reading by Moonlight
13-Sep Review Missus Gonzo
14-Sep Author Interview The Librarian Talks

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Posted in 5 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on September 3, 2017

MAYBE I DO by Nicole McLaughlin

Published by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Publication Date: August 29, 2017

 

Synopsis

“Nicole McLaughlin is a wonderfully fresh voice in contemporary romance—sweet, sexy, and immensely satisfying.”—Lauren Layne, New York Times bestselling author

She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He’s married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together—and give true love a shot?

Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work—even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal—beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance. . .particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliché or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?

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Excerpt

“One, two, three, go!” Charlotte called. The bouquet shot into the air as the front bridesmaid soared into a jump that would make a basketball star envious. All the while Charlotte’s shutter rapidly took frame after frame. As the bridesmaid landed, stems in hand, someone else’s arm flung into her face, effectively startling her and sending the flowers to the floor. A third woman—somewhat older—surprised all the bystanders by quickly swiping it off the floor.

Charlotte laughed as she took a shot with the bride and the gloating bouquet winner, and then immediately got back into position as the DJ started up “Another One Bites the Dust” for the garter removal. She inwardly groaned. This guy needed some new material.

When the groom was done sticking his head under the bride’s skirt and making a spectacle of himself, he lined up, ready to send the little scrap of lace and elastic into the—somewhat small—mass of young men.

“You ever notice how the guys always look as if they’re participating under duress?” a deep familiar voice said close to Charlotte’s ear. Goose bumps rose on her neck and arms.

She grinned but didn’t lower the camera from her eye. The music and conversation in the room were loud enough that she knew they wouldn’t be heard. “Can’t say that I blame them.”

The words had come out without any thought and Charlotte really wished she could see Dean’s reaction to them, but the groom released the garter right at that moment. The male recipients were nowhere as enthusiastic as the ladies had been, but one guy did reach out and snag it, almost as a reflexive action.

Yep, the shocked look on his face said that’s exactly what it had been, and he glanced around like he wanted someone to throw it at.

Charlotte laughed and looked at Dean. “He looks like he’s wishing he’d sat this one out right about now.”

“Yes he does.” Dean crossed his arms and smirked as Charlotte stepped forward to set up the customary shot of the groom and the reluctant garter catcher.

She was happy to find that Dean was still waiting for her on the edge of the dance floor when she was finished.

“I’ve missed talking to you tonight,” she said.

One corner of his lips quirked up. “You have?” His tone was all teasing, but she could have sworn there was a hint of uncertainty. Surely he knew she was into him.

“Of course. I would assume it was because you were busy, but you had time to talk with black dress lady for a long time.”

“Charlotte,” he whispered, shaking his head. One of his go-to body movements when they spoke. He huffed out an embarrassed laugh. “What am I gonna do with you?”

“Well, you can start by not making me so jealous.”

His eyes flicked to hers, his lips parting. She could tell he wanted to respond, that her words had taken him by surprise. She continued to watch him as the music filled in the silence between them. It was hard to believe she’d let the teasing between them just go where it had, but she didn’t really regret it. She liked this man, and she’d done everything she could to tell him that except physically coming on to him. Was that what she needed to do? Finally, he appeared to mentally shake off her comment, his lips pursing as he inhaled a deep breath. Damn.

“How much longer are you here?” he asked.

She pulled out her phone and grimaced at the time. “Over an hour.”

He nodded. “Can you spare me a minute? I wanted to talk to you about something.”

Oh God. He was going to finally make a move. She could feel it. Her brazen comment about jealousy had worked.

Or maybe he was going to finally let her down easy. Shit.

She swallowed. “Of course. I’d love that.”

Following him toward the bar, Charlotte caught Lauren’s attention and sent her an I’ll-be-right-back look. Lauren nodded but Charlotte could see the curiosity written all over her friend’s face.

Dean stepped behind the bar, grabbed a pint glass, and proceeded to fill it with ice, lemon-lime soda, and then the tiniest splash of grenadine. Her favorite, and she couldn’t help melting inside that he always remembered. She couldn’t decide if it was a good sign or not. He slid it across the bar to her and then angled his head toward the little break room. Suddenly panicked, Charlotte dug in the bottom of her bag for a piece of gum and stuffed it into her mouth.

Dean stepped into the room and held the door open for Charlotte. She followed and then turned to face him, her heart pounding in her chest.

But instead of walking toward her, he headed for the sofa. “Have a seat.”

“Oh, okay.” She did just that, and when she sat down, he took the sofa across from her.

Ouch. Definitely not a good sign. Was he … mad at her? First she’d embarrassed him with the sexy photos, and then she’d just now crossed the line with the jealousy comment. Oh shit. He was totally going to confront her about it.

“So, first I should apologize for what I said out there. That was so completely inappropriate and I should have known better,” she blurted.

Dean froze, his eyes meeting hers. “What are you talking about?”

“When I said you should stop making me jealous. I was out of line and I—”

Dean began to chuckle. “Did you think that’s what I brought you in here to say?”

Charlotte exhaled, relief washing over her. “Yes. I did.”

He grinned. “Charlotte, I’m going to be the one to cross the line here when I say … my … inappropriate conversations with you are my favorite thing about working weddings here.”

“They are?” she asked with a smile.

“They are. In fact, I probably like them a little too much.”

Okay. That wasn’t great. So, while it was a relief he hadn’t brought her to this room to confront her, it also sucked he hadn’t brought her here to make out. “Then what did you need to talk to me about?”

He reached up and scratched at the back of his neck before leaning his elbows on his knees. “It’s actually something I need to ask you.”

A wedding party of butterflies came to life in her stomach. “Oh? Okay, shoot.”

“You might recall last weekend I mentioned my sister was engaged.”

Charlotte’s happiness deflated a bit. If all he needed was to hire her for photos, such a production hadn’t really been necessary. It was what she did for a living, for goodness’ sake. “Of course. So do you need a photographer?”

“Well, yes. But I need more than that.”

 

Review

This book hit so many emotions – joy and sorry and happiness.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. Charlotte is down to earth and knows what she wants…but also has some issues that hold her back such as an almost previous marriage and a miscarriage. Dean is a slightly older guy (41 I think) and I really liked that the author didn’t let age become a problem. Well it was a problem for Dean at first and considering some of his past I can see why. But it isn’t like he was 70!

I have to admit there were tears in my eyes a few times when Charlotte talks about the miscarriage and how it impacted her life. And of course Dean has a few issues too (won’t spill all of them!) but what he experienced with his mother growing up was hard. And then a situation with Dean’s sister Alexis. That was a very emotional time.

Now while Charlotte and Dean have known each other for 3 years and they have been crushing on one another for all that time…they do seem to do things a little backwards by jumping into bed before trying that dating thing. But at least the scenes are only somewhat graphic. There is a little bit of “behind closed doors” that I appreciated.

I can’t wait to see what characters will be featured in following books…lots of people that need to be hooked up with someone!

We give this 5 paws up.

About the Author

Nicole McLaughlin wrote her first full length book (6 pages) about the birth of her baby sister, when she was eight years old. She only finished it because her mother bribed her with a Rick Astley cassette tape. Sad, but true. Now her characters are what keep her writing and her subject matter has gotten a little bit deeper and a lot more romantic. She resides in a small town outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, she’s a wedding and portrait photographer, loves to cook, and watch historical dramas or documentaries. Nicole is the author of two series with St. Martin’s Press, the Man Enough series (All I Ask) and Whiskey and Weddings (Maybe I Do).

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Posted in 5 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on September 2, 2017

Synopsis

Greta is always the bridesmaid – and that’s fine with her. She has no desire to date after a bad relationship left her reeling. Her friends aren’t having that, though, and after yet another wedding, she finds herself being set up with the DJ. Deciding to save herself the trouble of an inevitable breakup, Greta orchestrates a series of fake dates designed to trick her friends into thinking she’s putting herself out there. But Jon has plans of his own, and she never counted on the sparks that fly between them. Can a girl who doesn’t believe in love find it in the least likely place of all?

Excerpt

Greta was fifteen when she made the first pact, hud- dled under the old gazebo with Amy and Summer. Old enough to be considering the future, and making plans accordingly. Young enough to never seriously consider the ramifications of sticking to them. Even if some passing stranger had warned her what a hassle she was setting herself up for, she would have ignored it. They were all secure in themselves, in their foresight—and certainly knew better than to trust anyone over thirty, anyway.

The Sweetheart Dance had not gone well for the three of them, and so they had retreated to the sanctu- ary behind Greta’s house. Summer had pulled a stolen wine cooler out of her sequin-encrusted bag and was passing warm, sticky sips around. Amy’s earlier sobs had quieted to hiccups, hardly audible over the cool February rain.

“We could egg Tommy’s house if you wanted,” Greta offered, but the drizzle and their lethargy over- ruled it.

“Don’t even say that guy’s name.” That from Summer, who was visibly pleased to find the attention was finally off of her lack of date for the evening’s event—again.

“How could he do this to me? We’re in love!” Amy wiped fresh tears with the hem of her pink dress. They comforted her as best they could, the rest of them hav- ing yet to suffer their first teenage heartbreak. Greta suspected that Amy was enjoying her newfound world- liness, just the tiniest bit. But dumped in front of the whole school? The sheer humiliation her friend had endured made Greta shudder.

“It wasn’t Tommy’s idea, you know that.” Greta took another swig of the sugary drink. It was their favorite flavor, margarita. Years later, when they tasted real margaritas for the first time, they made another pact— never to speak of their wine cooler days.

“He shouldn’t have gone along with it, even if it was entirely Lindsey’s plan. He doesn’t care about either one of you. He just thought he had a better chance of getting past second base with her. Tommy is a grade- A asshole.” Summer had grabbed the bottle then and handed it to Amy, having recalled that women in Victo- rian novels often required a bracing drink of ladylike booze after a shock. Amy took the bottle gratefully.

“It didn’t matter what he thought he was getting out of it. Asking Amy to Sweetheart and then showing up with Lindsey instead was a heartless move. He’s heartless,” Greta repeated, fairly pleased with her assessment.

“He isn’t heartless, though! You should see some of the notes he writes me.” Amy fumbled in her clutch for a tissue. And one of the notes. She kept her favor- ites with her at all times.

The girls assured her that they had seen all of the notes, repeatedly, and that they had long suspected he was copying down lines from his mother’s romance novels. She was not inclined to believe it. It seemed that she was already making her plans to win Tommy back, and punish Lindsey in the process.

“It’s better to have loved and lost, though, isn’t it?” Summer had retrieved a second wine cooler and was feeling rather poetic. “At least you’ve been kissed.”

“Oh, I haven’t lost him. We are going to get back together, after a long and groveling apology. On my sweet sixteen, he’ll give me a promise ring. After be- ing crowned king and queen of prom, I’ll give him my virginity in a bed of rose petals. He’ll propose during Christmas break of our senior year at Golden Gate and we’re getting married before we start law school. We are going to get married!” Amy’s face was all but glowing by the time she’d recounted the familiar plans. She hadn’t gotten around to telling Tommy about them yet, but she wouldn’t have to. He would just know what to do, she’d reassured her friends.

“Marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” Greta re- minded them. During the moment they were silent, considering, they could hear her father yelling from the house, even over the pitter-pat of raindrops.

“But if you marry the right one, the one you’re meant to be with, it’s like heaven.” Greta had long since stopped rolling her eyes at Summer’s old-fashioned view of the world. She’d learn soon enough, so to tell her so in advance would have been mean. Amy agreed with Summer, of course.

“How do you even know, though? Like, doesn’t everyone think they are marrying the right one? Other- wise why would you say yes?” Greta asked. They pondered, the truth of her words settling over them like the fog they had grown so accustomed to in the Bay.

It was Amy who had the answer. She had all the answers to everything, as she loved to remind them.

“The people who know you best. They know better than you do, most of the time.” She set down the dregs of her bottle and clasped their hands. The picture was suddenly clear. Just like her friends knew her best. Her friends, who had been gently encouraging a break-up for the past whole entire month. “I’m not going to marry Tommy, am I? Because even though I’m com- pletely love-struck, you guys know it’s a bad idea to get back together with him. You tell me this stuff, even though I don’t want to hear it.” Resilience was another one of her self-described best qualities. The deep love she had felt for Tommy just moments before was al- ready starting to fade into a distant memory.

Review

Funny, romantic and a little steamy!

I loved this book on many fronts – the 3 friends making a pact to pick each other’s dates; Mina who Greta is the nanny for; the bet that Jon makes with Angie & Matt (Angie is Greta’s sister); Greta realizing that maybe men aren’t all bad.

It doesn’t hurt that Jon and Greta are attracted to each other when they start dating – or fake-dating as Greta wants to call their situation. She is going along with this because of the pact but I liked how Jon is able to turn it around to his benefit. Greta chooses some interesting things to do on their dates, but Jon is ok with it all as he really likes her. Plus he is willing to give her the space she needs to realize that he is not like her father and won’t leave. That will take time.

And of course we can’t avoid the chemistry that sparks between Jon and Greta. There are some detailed scenes that turns the heat up in the book.

Mina does steal the show a few times in the book. I feel sorry for her having a father that pawns her off on the nanny (Greta) and doesn’t seem to want to spend time with her. However, we get a little peek into why that might be. Mina reminds him very much of his deceased wife and I can see how that might be hard to take at times.

We give this 5 paws up!

About the Author

Kayti McGee is a Kansas City native who now calls Colorado home. When she isn’t writing, she’s making up recipes to go with her favorite books. She is the author of Hands Off and Undercovers.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on September 1, 2017

Synopsis

Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it’s never the wrong time to find a love that’s oh-so-right. . .

Caleb White knows what he wants out of life—and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest’s gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .

The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren’t meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can’t resist, but she’s not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?

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Excerpt

So maybe that was the wrong thing to think about.

She steered the car through the familiar bends of the road from Salt Devil to Danny’s place, not needing to really pay much attention to what she was doing. She could make the drive with a bag over her head. Could probably drive all around Lansing that way and never miss a beat.

Unlike her heart, which was bumping just that little bit too quickly to let her fool herself into thinking she didn’t have a rapidly developing case of, to quote Ivy, “flaming panties,” when it came to Caleb White.

Well, her panties were just going to have to cool it a little longer.

She let her left hand drift out the open window, fingers spread to catch the night air rushing against her skin so one part of her body had a chance to feel cool. “My mom would tell you that’s a terrible habit,” Caleb said. His voice sounded lower in the darkness.

Rumblier.

Sexier.

Engine vibrations. That was it. Blame it on the roar of whatever supercharged monster engine Will had put into the Mustang. That was what was making his voice sound so good.

Note to self: Drive the Prius if you ever have to share a car with this man again.

“I know this road. There’s nothing I could possibly catch my hand on.” She turned her head slightly to look at him for a second. He’d lowered his window too, his elbow resting on the window frame, his fingers gripped around the top. “And hello, pot, kettle, black. You do not have all limbs inside the vehicle, Mr. White.”

“My hand isn’t sticking out,” he said.

“And what would your mom say about that response?” “She’d tell me not to be a smart-ass.”

“I think I like your mom. What does she do?” “She’s a doctor. I think she’d like you too.”

Faith shook her head. Nope to him getting any kind of wrong idea. “I’m not really the kind of girl mothers approve of.”

“Why not?”

“Rock star dad. Tattoos. Not interested in settling down.”

“You have tattoos?” he said, sounding intrigued. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“That’s because so far you haven’t seen any parts of me where they’re noticeable.”

“I see.” He sounded even more intrigued. “But they’re somewhere a mom might see them?”

“I think it’s more the alcoholic-rock-star–womanizing- dad thing than the tattoos. My family’s reputation precedes me. They think I’m going to have my wicked way with their precious boys and break their hearts.”

“Are you meeting these moms via time travel? That all sounds very nineteen fifties to me,” he said. “And just so you know, I am on board with wicked ways.”

She laughed at that. “In my experience, most men are.” “Maybe the men you meet are smarter than their moms.”

“Oh no.” She pulled her hand back in the window as the approached the turn-off to Danny’s drive. “The moms have my number. I’m not the marrying kind, as they used to say.”

“Really?” He sounded skeptical. “Trust me.”

“I take it this is you telling me that if I ever get to sample your wicked ways, I should beware?”

She tried to ignore the way the rumble underscoring “wicked ways” made her want to invent some very wicked ways on the spot. Dammit. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” She pulled into the drive, rolled the car to a stop outside the gate. “And, not to change the subject or anything, but we’re here.”

Caleb blinked. “So I see. Any point in me asking you in for a nightcap?”

As much as part of her wanted to say “hell yes,” she shook her head. “Not tonight.”

“Rain check on that too?” “We’ll see.”

Review

I have to say I liked Faith and Caleb. Both strong characters but with their own sets of baggage and insecurities. Faith doesn’t seem to trust many men (possible some bad relationships have tainted her) and Caleb was a workaholic while on the tennis circuit – which is to be expected since you can’t be out partying all the time and expect to play your best.

I liked how Faith ran Cloudfest – a music festival on their island off of California. It sounds like a lot of fun and considering her father was a famous musician, it isn’t too surprising. It does take quite some time to figure out why Faith isn’t a musician because it seems like she has the talent. Maybe she doesn’t want the spotlight as much as her brother seems to crave it.

Overall a fun read. I give this 3 1/2 stars. Enjoyable romance with a somewhat higher heat level than I was expecting (not that it is bad, just wasn’t expecting so much descriptive sex scenes).

About the Author

Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect. Find out more about Emma at www.emmadouglasbooks.com.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on August 31, 2017

Synopsis

Prince Diego Navarro is the “spare” to his brother’s “heir”. While Raoul performs his crown prince duties with the appropriate sense of nobility and poise, Diego’s garnered a bit of a reputation as a playboy – despite the good he does behind the scenes with his favorite charities.

But when tragedy strikes and his sister-in-law is killed in a car accident, Diego knows it’s time for the playboy to step up. If not for his brother, then for his niece and nephew, who now find themselves without a mother.

Which is where Rose Walters comes in.

Rose isn’t intimidated by money or glitz. The veteran nanny has worked for the rich and minimally famous, but a manor house is no comparison to a castle… or the handsome princes who live there. However, the worst thing she could possibly do is fall for the gorgeous playboy with a surprising heart of gold. He’s a prince; she’s the help. He lives in the tabloids; she loves her privacy. But when her two darling charges start to play matchmaker, Diego and Rose don’t stand a chance.

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is the first book in Donna Alward’s royal duology.

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Review

This was a light romance that touched my heart several times.

I read all sorts of books and every now and then I want to read something that lets me escape and I’m not trying to solve a murder (mysteries) or being roped in with a suspense novel. This book let me escape to a small country and gave me a peek into Royal life and that they are human just like you and me. Sadly Rose comes into the palace due to a tragedy – two children have lost their mother and nanny and Rose is hired to be the new nanny. She has a special connection with them and is able to help fill a void and also bring smiles and laughter back to the palace.

Interestingly enough, Diego is the one that hires Rose vs the children’s father. And of course upon first meeting her he falls head over heels in love, he just doesn’t recognize it at first.

Their relationship has ups and downs during that time but true love always wins.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book about the older brother but I have a feeling I know who he will end up with as a love interest!

We give it 4 paws up.

 

About the Author

A busy wife and mother of three (two daughters plus the family dog), Donna Alward believes hers is the best job in the world: a combination of stay-at-home mom and romance novelist. Donna loves being back on the East Coast of Canada after nearly twelve years in Alberta where her romance career began, writing about cowboys and the west. She is the author of Somebody Like You, Somebody’s Baby, and Someone to Love.

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Posted in 4 paws, Historical, Review, romance on August 28, 2017

Synopsis

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend’s sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn’t as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won’t confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

Review

Escaping to India from your life in Britain, may or may not be the right thing to do, because your life might just follow you there.

This is such an intriguing story.  It is a Proper Romance novel set in both England and India.  I will say that the authors descriptions of India with the colorful saris, the elephants and the market places created a vivid image in my mind.  It sounded like a place I wanted to visit.  Plus, as the title suggests, there are some gorgeous orchids mentioned in the book that created quite an impression on me.

There is romance and a little bit of a mystery all rolled up in this book.  There are moments when I laugh out loud at Sophia, and other times when I gasp wondering what will happen to her as she involves herself into who killed the man and how it affecting a certain little boy.  Then there is the unrequited love between Sophia and Anthony.  I think if he had not been asked to track down some missing documents he would have married Sophia in England.  However, duty called and he had to answer.  Now can he win her back?  Sophia does not make it easy for Anthony and in fact asks him to help her find a husband.  That will not be an easy task, and probably not one Anthony wants to help Sophia complete.  You will only find out the details by reading the book!

We give this 4 paws up.

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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.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 Giveaway, romance, Spotlight, Western on August 19, 2017

KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS

Texas Heroes Series

by

LINDA BRODAY

  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: August 1, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Duel McClain buries his wife and infant son, climbs in the saddle, and rides off. Locked in grief, he drifts from one Texas town to another as the months pass. He rides into a border town and gets in a card game in the saloon. On the last hand, the opponent across from him runs out of money. The man reaches down for a baby and plunks her in the center of the table. Whoever wins the pot, gets her too. After Duel wins with the Deadman’s Hand, he tries to give the baby back. But when the man tells him he’ll sell her, Duel keeps his prize.

On the way back to his home, he runs across a woman covered in blood. She only says her name is Jessie and the blood isn’t hers. The deep fear in her eyes touches Duel and he has to do something. He strikes a bargain—he’ll take her anywhere she wants to go in return for helping with the child.

Jessie sees honor, respect, and kindness in his eyes. And the moment she holds the baby in her arms, her heart melts. Once they reach Duel’s home, she confesses she killed her husband and tells him the law will come. Desperate to save her, he offers marriage and she accepts.

They settle in and love develops. But each day grows more tense. Lawmen are coming and they can’t stop them. Soon, she’ll face the hangman’s rope.

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Praise for Knight on the Texas Plains

“Broday (the Men of Legend series) has a knack for capturing the hesitations of both Duel and Jessie and unfurling a twisting plot without resorting to melodrama. Through carefully deployed flashbacks, she slowly exposes the horrors of Jessie’s marriage, culminating in a truly grisly image of depravity without overwhelming the tender love story. Fans of historical romances will be pleased.”  ~~ Publisher’s Weekly

“The instant a sweet baby girl, an abused woman, a stray dog, and a reluctant hero meet, readers are drawn into a tender and tough love story that touches many emotions and will have them believing in the healing power of love.”  ~~ Romantic Times 4 ½ Stars Top Pick!

“Broday’s latest is a tender romance to touch the heart.”  ~~ Bookpage

“This story is simply endearing, packed with powerful message of humanity and the true healing power of family and love!!” ~~ Addicted to Romance  

“Throughout the well-paced story, there was suspense, tears, fear, revulsion, and no shortage of laughter and joy. I didn’t want the story to end.” ~~ Teresa on Goodreads

Linda Broday, Historical Western Romance Author  I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

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8/18/17 Review Margie’s Must Reads
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