Posted in Futuristic, Spotlight, Western on November 17, 2017

SEA OF RUST

by

C. ROBERT CARGILL

  Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Robot Western

Publisher: Harper Voyager, an imprint of Harper Collins

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—but not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One resister is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

SEA OF RUST is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A powerfully imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a human-like AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

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Praise for Sea of Rust

Sea of Rust is a forty-megaton cruise missile of a novel – it’ll blow you away and lay waste to your heart. It is the most visceral, relentless, breathtaking work of SF in any medium since Mad Max: Fury Road.”  — #1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill 

“Cargill…effectively takes a grim look at a war-torn future where our nonhuman successors face complex moral dilemmas, exploring what it means to be alive and aware [….]This action-packed adventure raises thought-provoking and philosophical questions.”    — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Innovative worldbuilding, a tight plot, and cinematic action sequences make for an exciting ride through a blasted landscape full of dying robots.”  — Kirkus Reviews

C. Robert Cargill is the author of Dreams and Shadowsand Queen of the Dark Things. He has written for “Ain’t it Cool News” for nearly a decade under the pseudonym Massawyrm, served as a staff writer for Film.com and Hollywood.com, and appeared as the animated character Carlyle on spill.com. He is a co-writer of the horror films “Sinister” (2012) and “Sinister 2” (2015), and the new Benedict Cumberbatch superhero movie, “Dr. Strange” (2016). He lives with his wife in Austin, Texas.

 

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11/17/17 Promo StoreyBook Reviews
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11/21/17 Review Tangled in Text
11/22/17 Promo Chapter Break Book Blog
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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance, Western on November 15, 2017

TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW

Men of Legend, Book 3

by

LINDA BRODAY

  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: November 7, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Hunted by lawmen, those seeking the bounty, and other outlaws hoping to become famous for killing him, Luke Weston survives by little more than his wits. He expects the bullet that will end his life to come any day. He’s cheated death too often.

Over the last two years, Luke has been working to right his wrongs and claim his birthright. Only one thing stands in the way of atonement—the murder of a federal judge. Only he didn’t do that. Armed with nothing more than the alias Ned Sweeney, Luke searches for the man who framed him. He’s only an hour away from catching him when he spies a woman bound and gagged in the middle of the prairie.

She looks dead but her eyes fly open at the sound of his footsteps. Worse, he discovers she has amnesia. He can’t just leave her so he tamps down his frustration over missing Sweeney again and loads her into a nearby wagon that bears all the markings of his family’s ranch.

In the weeks of trying to help the woman he calls Rose learn her identity, Luke finds himself falling in love with her. She’s sweet and funny and makes him dream of impossible things. Then they meet a boy and learn her name is Josie.

As her lost memories tumble back, Luke faces his greatest fear. Can he make Josie his wife before he loses everything?

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Praise for To Marry a Texas Outlaw:

“A gunslinger who’s better than he thinks he is; a lovely amnesiac; a young, wannabe gunslinger; an abused boy; a scruffy dog; and a sadistic killer make the third book in Broday’s outstanding family saga an unforgettable journey through the Old West.” — Booklist Starred Review

“This is one author that knows how to tie you in knots keeping you on the edge and making your smile through it all. She gives you death and heartbreak as the west is known for with plot that pulls you in. I couldn’t put this down and had to know what was going to happen next.” — Cyn’s Reviews

“This densely plotted historical continues Broday’s tradition of well-realized, emotionally rich novels.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Broday’s gritty depiction of the Texas frontier will strike a chord in the hearts of fans who long for proud, rugged cowboys and strong-willed women.” — Romantic Times 4 Stars

“Whew! What a story! Good thing Linda Broday didn’t struggle to find words for her story the same way I’m attempting to find words to express just how much I love not only this book, but this entire series as a whole. To Marry a Texas Outlaw is a thrilling conclusion to a delightful and much-loved story of the Legend family that delivered so many emotions.”  Michelle, Goodreads Reviewer

“There is one guarantee, with a Linda Broday book, you’re going to experience a true heartwarming-Broday story with so much action that it’s impossible to put down. With her books you are always in for the ride of your life.” — Tonya Lucas, Goodreads Reviewer

Ending a Series

Guest Post by Linda Broday

With the To Marry a Texas Outlaw release comes sadness. This is Book #3 Men of Legend and it concludes the series. Everything is wrapped up and tied with a big red bow.

Luke finally reveals what turned him into an outlaw. He’s kept this secret over three books. The defining incident happened when he was fourteen years old and he paid a very high price for his actions. Also in this book, he finds his place in the family but does it come too late? I don’t want to reveal this powerful black moment.

He’s afraid to love again because each time he reaches for something it disappears. Josie is fully up to the task of helping him open his heart though. She’s so funny (probably the most humorous character I’ve ever written) and offsets his dark, seriousness perfectly.

But back to Men of Legend ending. I’m always very sad to say goodbye to characters who have become like family to me. I’ve lived with these men for over a year—eating, sleeping, keeping them in my every thought. I’ve loved them, laughed with them—and cried with them. A lot. We’ve had amazing experiences together and the Legends will always remain in my heart.

I have some happy news though. I’m not entirely saying goodbye to these hunky men. Luke, Sam, and Houston will appear in varying degrees in my brand new series – Texas Outlaw Heroes – that will begin next year.

In fact, Luke and Josie have started a mail order bride service for men and women who must remain under the radar. I think you’re going to like these stories. Book #1 of that is about Clay Colby who was Houston’s head drover in Heart of a Texas Cowboy. And you’ve already met Tally Shannon, one of the women living in Deliverance Canyon, that I introduced you to in To Love a Texas Ranger. She also plays a big role in this book of Luke’s—To Marry a Texas Outlaw.

First though, enjoy the story you’ve waited so long for. Luke and Josie are going to take you on a wild ride so hang on tight and keep your feet in the stirrups. If you fall off, you’re on your own. They’re too busy to come back and get you.

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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11/14/17 Character Interview The Page Unbound
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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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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Western on August 15, 2017

Title: Knight on the Texas Plains

Author: Linda Broday

Series: Texas Heroes, #1

Pub Date: August 1, 2017

Synopsis

He’ll do whatever it takes

To keep them safe

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

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

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Excerpt

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

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

His blood turned to ice.

Aces and eights—the deadman’s hand.

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

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

“Up the bet, mister, or fold.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the Author

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

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Western on August 1, 2017

Title: Tougher in Texas

Series: Texas Rodeo #2

Author: Kari Lynn Dell

Pub Date: August 1, 2017

ISBN: 9781492632009

Synopsis

He’s got five rules

And she’s aiming to break them all

Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can’t afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he’s got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol’ boy.

He gets Shawnee Pickett.

Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee’s not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn’t matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin—Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can’t promise him forever. Life’s got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she’s got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole’s not the type to give up when the going gets tough…

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My Favorite Fictional Cowboys – Serving Up the Eye Candy

You won’t find a lot of classically beautiful women or men in my books, and even when they are (I’m looking at you Delon, in Tangled in Texas) I shy away from putting a huge amount of emphasis on looks as the basis of attraction. Sure, we all get our heads turned by a pretty face, and my characters definitely notice the fit of a good pair of jeans, but lasting love comes from being irresistibly compelled by who a person is, down deep in their bones, and shared interests and values that are expressed in actions, not just sweet words.

However, I am not averse to an occasional heaping helping of eye candy, which is exactly what you get in the king of country music’s one and only shot at acting, the movie Pure Country. Yes, I know. There’s a reason directors weren’t beating George Strait’s door down afterward—as he’s happy to admit—and the plot is a wee bit thin in spots. But the music is outstanding and the roping scenes are absolutely true to life, including the fact that George is a roper so that was him on that really nice sorrel horse. Who cares if he can act? I’m happy to just settle in with my popcorn and pretend he’s aiming those Aw, shucks smiles at me.

And then there’s Maverick, either the 1950’s television series starring James Garner or the 90’s movie with Mel Gibson. Talk about some killer smiles, and both versions are a boatload of fun as card shark Bret Maverick finagles himself into and out of constant trouble. I know we’re not supposed to swoon over Mel Gibson anymore but I’m giving this one a pre-implosion exemption because it also stars my favorite Native American actor, Graham Greene, who steals every scene as the chief whose tribe survives by conning white men who want a taste of the older, wilder west, and Jody Foster as a charming, faithless, conniving woman who I want to be when I grow up.

And now an excerpt from Tougher in Texas, in which Shawnee inadvertently gives Cole a real eyeful.

***

Shawnee hauled the gray horse around to face her yet again and they both paused to take a few heaving breaths. Sweat dripped from her eyebrows, soaked the strands of hair that escaped the wad on top of her head, and ran down to make muddy tracks in the dust coating her neck and arms. She was puffing like a freight train from alternately chasing and dragging the colt.

Then something caught his eye and he tried to stampede.

Shawnee swore, dragged him to a stop, and shot a glare over her shoulder. Cole Jacobs stood, arms folded on the top rail of the gate, his canine minion planted beside his feet.

“What?” she snapped.

“It’s almost eight o’clock.”

“So?”

“We run tonight’s stock through the arena at eight.”

The gray whinnied and sidled toward where his buddy was dozing on the other side of the fence. Shawnee yanked him around to face her. “I’ll get out of your way as soon as Butthead here settles down and pays attention.”

“It’s almost eight o’clock,” Cole repeated, his voice sharpening with impatience.

“You can’t wait half an hour?” She scrubbed at her sweaty forehead with the back of one grungy hand. “It’s not like it’ll get that much hotter.”

His face took on the obstinate, ain’t-gonna-budge look that invariably goaded her into saying something rude so he’d get all stiff-necked and walk away. Yeah, she knew Cole had legitimate issues. Join the worldwide club.

“We always work the stock at eight,” he said.

“And what, they turn into four-legged pumpkins at the stroke of nine?”

He scowled so ferociously his brows pulled into a single dark line. “I have a schedule. I like to stick to it.”

“I’ll be sure I’m out of your way in the future.”

He just stood there, glaring at her. The dog glared, too.

Shawnee matched their heat and turned it up a few kilowatts. “I’m not leaving this arena until I’m done.”

The furrows around his mouth deepened. “We can’t work around you.”

“Then wait.” The gray tried to take advantage of her distraction. She jerked on the line to set him straight, then turned her glare back to Cole. “You of all people should know that when a horse picks a fight, you can’t quit until you win. Otherwise, you’re just teaching him to be an asshole. If you want to speed things up, take Butthead over there to the trailer where this mothered-up son of a bitch can’t see him.”

“I thought that one was Butthead.”

She blew out a loud, exasperated breath. “They’re all buttheads when I get them. As soon as they stop being buttheads I sell them, so there’s no sense wasting time with names.”

Cole frowned, probably debating whether to bodily remove her from the arena. No doubt he could, but she’d get in a few shots in the process. Finally he gave a single, curt nod and turned to untie the other horse and lead it away, Katie marching along beside him. Christ. Even his dog had a stick up her ass.

Shawnee glared after them for a couple of beats, then gave the gray her undivided attention. “It’s just you and me, fleabag, and you don’t even want to know how long I can keep this up.”

By the time Cole came back, she had sweated out another gallon of fluids, but she had the horse trotting passable circles. She stepped out and flicked the line. The gray paused, then swung around to circle the other way. Intensely aware that Cole was watching every move, she worked the horse back and forth, made him stop, face, back a few steps, then start again.

Showing off, just a little.

Satisfied, she stopped the gray, brought him around to face, then walked up to rub his dripping forelock. She could feel sweat running down the crack of her ass, soaking the seat of her jeans. “Next time, you’ll know better.”

The gray dropped his head and whuffled as if in agreement.

She turned toward the gate and found Cole staring at her as if he’d never seen the likes of it. His eyes remained glued to her as he stepped back and swung open the gate.

“Thank you for your patience,” she said sweetly, tossing him a mocking smile as she passed.

“Shawnee?”

“Yeah?”

“You should change shirts before you run into anybody else,” he said, then strolled into the arena, closing the gate behind him.

She glanced down. Her white T-shirt was soaked through with sweat, her nipples clearly visible through equally soggy white spandex. Damn bargain rack sports bra. She considered being embarrassed, then shrugged. Wasn’t like it was the first time someone had seen her in a wet T-shirt, and she wasn’t even dancing on a bar.

Then another thought struck and she huffed out a self-deprecating laugh. She’d been so sure Cole was in awe of her mad horse-training skills, and the whole time he was just staring at her tits.

She laughed again and started for her trailer, keeping the horse between her and a trio of committeemen chatting in the shade of the grandstand in the interests of public decency. Then again, they were good tits. They’d put a smile on more than one face. She should probably share the joy whenever possible, while she still had them. That shoe could drop at any time, especially now that she’d made it past thirty.

Cole, though—she shook her head. She’d figured him for the kind to toss her a towel and order her to cover up instead of hanging around to enjoy the view.

Huh. He might be human after all.

 

About the Author

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

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Three bundles of the first three Texas Rodeo books (Reckless in Texas, Tangled in Texas, Tougher in Texas)
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Spotlight, Western on July 15, 2017

Title: Last Chance Cowboys: The Outlaw

Author: Anna Schmidt

Series: Where the Trail Ends, #3

ISBN: 9781492613022

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Synopsis

“‘Someone like me?’ Is that how you see me, Amanda? As someone people should fear?”

“I don’t know what to think,” she said. “One minute you seem so dangerous, and the next you’re sweet and caring and…”

He took a step closer, his eyes sweeping her face. “And which do you want me to be?” His voice was low; it sent shivers down her spine.

“Both,” she whispered, and lifted her face for a kiss.

Amanda Porterfield longs to experience real adventure. So when she’s offered a position in bustling Tucson, she leaps at the chance despite unknown dangers—dangers like the mysterious Seth Grover.

As an undercover detective working to stop a gang of outlaws, Seth can’t afford the distractions a woman like Amanda inspires. Yet when the fiercely intelligent beauty is thrust into the middle of a heist gone wrong, Seth will fight for a future that may never be theirs…even if it means risking everything he holds dear.

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Excerpt

Amanda fought her attacker with all her might, ineffectually flailing away at him with both fists. Then, realizing her nails and teeth were better weapons, she raked his neck even as she bit down hard and got a mouth filled with the taste of her attacker’s leather glove for her trouble. She struggled to free herself from his solid, muscular body pinning hers to the ground by straddling her. She went completely still, hoping to surprise him, but he hauled her to her feet, leaving her hat in the dirt and her hair falling free of the pins she’d used to hide it under the crown of the Stetson.

She took some pride in the realization that she’d put up enough of a fight to leave the man breathless. On the other hand, he was practically “Amanda?” Seth Grover was breathing hard and staring down at her, one hand touching her breasts, which were heaving noticeably after the exertion of the fight.

“Explain yourself, Mr. Grover,” she demanded as she planted both hands flat on the solid wall of his chest and shoved him away. He let go, but the sound of fabric ripping told her he’d taken the top couple of buttons of the shirt with him. When she saw his eyes riveted on her exposed skin, she covered herself with crossed hands and felt heat race through her body. “Well?” she hissed, aware that they were standing outside and anyone might pass by or hear them.

“I thought…are you following me, Amanda?”

“Do not flatter yourself, Seth. Miss Jensen might keep tabs on you, but your comings and goings are of no interest to me whatsoever.” She dusted off the seat of her pants, then realized she’d once again exposed herself to him by letting go of her shirt front. “A gentleman would avert his eyes,” she said, “or at the very least offer a lady the cover of his coat.”

He chuckled. “Have to say I’m not much a gentleman, ma’am, but if you’re feeling a chill…” He shrugged out of his coat and draped it over her shoulders, allowing his hands to linger there until she stepped out of reach.

“Thank you.” She bent to retrieve her hat and slapped it against her thigh as she’d seen her father, brothers and the cowboys at the ranch do more times than she could count. The gesture made her feel tougher and taller at the same time. She shook her hair back from her face and planted on the hat, tugging at the brim until the fit was snug. “I’ll leave your coat outside your room. Good evening, Seth.”

“I’ll walk you back.” He fell into step beside her. “Shall we take the street or the alley?”

He was mocking her. She remained silent but picked up the pace.

“Oh, then we’re going to race back?” He matched her step for step, an easy feat given his long legs.

“Will you please…”

He took hold of her arm, forcing her to stop walking. “I am not leaving you alone, Amanda. You shouldn’t be out at this time of night.” His tone bordered on patronizing. He sounded like her brother Jess, and that irritated her.

“Why do you care?” she snapped and meant it to be a challenge, but found that she really wanted to him to tell her. “You hardly know me.”

He was still holding her upper arm. She could feel the heat of his fingers through the coat and realized that he’d removed the leather gloves. While she processed this thought, he led her to a small lane that passed between the pharmacy and the milliner’s shop. There he took hold of her other arm and pulled her closer.

She was sure he planned to kiss her. She was also sure that she had never wanted anything in her life quite as much as she wanted to find out what kissing Seth Grover might be like. Here at last was the true adventure she’d come to Tucson to find.

“Listen to me, Amanda. You’re looking for trouble, and I won’t always be around to make sure you don’t find it, so fair warning. You need to stop these midnight wanderings. You need to stop getting yourself dressed up to look like a boy. You need to…”

So, kissing her was clearly the last thing on his mind.

She wrenched herself free of his hold. Not that he fought to hold on. “I can take care of myself,” she muttered as she massaged her arms, wanting him to believe he had hurt her when in fact his touch had been firm but gentle.

“Really?”

“Really,” she snapped, and started to walk away.

He caught her hand, and then before she knew what was happening she was pressed up against the side of the building by the length of his body. He had his other hand over her mouth again—this time without his glove. His skin smelled like leather, though. She struggled and he tightened his hold on her. His face was so close she could feel his breath, hot against her cheeks.

“Wake up, Amanda. You are no longer residing on your family’s ranch where no doubt you had others looking out for you. You are alone here in Tucson, and you need to take care.”

Amanda had no idea what came over her. Maybe she just wanted him to stop telling her what she already knew. She cupped his face with her hands and kissed him.

 

About the Author

Award-winning author Anna Schmidt delights in creating stories where her characters must wrestle with the challenges of their times. Critics have consistently praised Schmidt for her ability to seamlessly integrate actual events with her fictional characters to produce strong tales of hope and love in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She resides in Wisconsin. 

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Posted in 4 paws, Adventure, Giveaway, Historical, Review, romance, Western on June 28, 2017

BADLANDS

Sawbones, Book 3

by

MELISSA LENHARDT

!!NEW RELEASE!!

 

  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance

Publisher: Redhook

Date of Publication: June 27, 2017

Number of Pages: 416

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt’s fast-paced historical series.

Laura’s worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.

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The end of a trilogy that comes full circle for Catherine/Laura/Helen (the woman with many names).

When I first started reading this series, the grittiness and violence took me by surprise. While we know that the late 1800’s in the west was not a tame period or place to be, I was a bit surprised by how detailed the books were in describing the raids on and by the indians, the whore houses and just people in general. I have heard that some compare this to Outlander. I’ve never read that book but would imagine is it the raw and rough scenes that cause the comparison.

This book/series holds nothing back and really entranced me as the reader, imagining what it would be like to live in those times and under those conditions. The type of medical care that wasn’t really available and the charlatans that sold “snake oil” as cures for whatever ailed you.

Catherine/Laura/Helen is definitely a strong female character, but almost too strong in my opinion. I know that she never expected to fall in love and get married, and I know that this time period women were not seen as equals but almost as servants to their husband. Other women were fiercely strong too including Rosemond who is trying to make an honest living out her life and erase her own past. Laura and Rosemond may think they are different from each other, but really are alike in many ways and figure this out in the 2nd and 3rd books. I had to admire the gumption of many of the women in this book for taking their future into their own hands and not being dictated by society.

There are so many facets to this story that I thought the author did a wonderful job of exploring and leaving us with a mixed bag of emotions throughout the series.

We give this book (and the series) 4 paws up!

about the author

melissa-lenhardtMelissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.

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6/27 Notable Quotable Momma on The Rocks
6/27 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
6/28 Review: Blood Oath CGB Blog Tours
6/28 Review: Badlands StoreyBook Reviews
6/29 Review: Blood Oath Reading by Moonlight
6/29 Review: Badlands Margie’s Must Reads
6/30 Review: Blood Oath The Librarian Talks
6/30 Review: Badlands The Page Unbound
7/1 Review: Blood Oath My Book Fix Blog
7/1 Review: Badlands Books and Broomsticks
7/2 Badlands Excerpt Books in the Garden
7/3 Bonus Review Blogging for the Love of Authors & Their Books
7/4 Bonus Review Hall Ways Blog
7/5 Badlands Excerpt Texas Book Lover
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Posted in Historical, romance, Spotlight, Western on May 25, 2017

BLOOD OATH

A Laura Elliston Novel, Book 2

by

MELISSA LENHARDT

NEW RELEASE 

 

  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance

Publisher: Redhook

Date of Publication: May 23, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this action-packed follow up to Sawbones.

Laura Elliston and William Kindle are on the run — from the Army and from every miscreant in the West eager to claim the $500 bounty for Laura’s capture as their own. But the danger isn’t just from those pursuing them. Laura and Kindle have demons of their own and a past that won’t stay dead. Exhausted, scared, scarred and surrounded by enemies, neither realize the greatest danger is yet to come.

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Watch Lone Star Book Blog Tours for the Badlands tour starting June 27th

with reviews of Blood Oath, Badlands, and Special Features with the inside scoop!

 

about the author

melissa-lenhardtMelissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.

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5/24 Reading By Moonlight
5/24 My Book Fix Blog
5/25 StoreyBook Reviews
5/25 Syd Savvy
5/26 Chapter Break Book Blog
5/26 Texas Book Lover
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5/27 Books and Broomsticks

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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?

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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.

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Posted in 4 paws, Middle Grade, Review, Western, Young Adult on January 20, 2017

Synopsis

When Annabelle Fortune, the fastest gunslinger in the wild west, inadvertently stops a stranger from attacking a train — and he wears a suit that enables him to fly! — the government believes she’s the only one to have witnessed the Locomotive Reaper and survived to tell the tale.

Promising to find out what he can about her missing father, the Director of the Secret Service persuades Annie to swear in. Too soon, her detested nickname re-stakes its claim.

Partnered with Beau Slokam, whose penchant for gambling leads them straight to the Doom Gang, Misfortune Annie guides the smooth-talking Southerner in a chase through the Rockies, with her Cheyenne friend, Wontoa, rounding out their unlikely trio.

When Annie again meets the Locomotive Reaper, his gadgetry proves far more advanced — and deadly — than even top scientists could have imagined.

A sequel is already underway! Visit Annie at MisfortuneAnnie.com for updates on release, as well as announcements regarding future books in the series!  You can also check out the Facebook page.

Praise

“At a time when women weren’t typically adventurers, especially at Annie’s age, it’s great fun to see a story about a girl who loves an adventure, is capable, and well-respected.  Annie is a great model for young girls.”

“Annie is whip smart and a dead shot. If you are looking for western action, train robbers, and a sharp shooter – look no further.”

“A fast-paced, action filled adventure in the Wild West with a wonderful heroine. Misfortune Annie’s bravery and determination leap off the page from the first scene.”

Review

This book was entertaining and a little different from what I normally read, but enjoyable all the same.

Annie is a gunslinger, and while I don’t know her age, I assume she is rather young (teenager or early 20’s at the oldest). Despite that, she is apparently known for having misfortunes on a regular basis, hence the nickname. She is persistent and when shooting at people tries not to kill them, but rather shoot guns out of their hands or just wound them. Sometimes that is to her detriment as they seem to continue coming after her. She is also a whiz with a rope and does some impressive roping throughout the book. Despite her scrapes and adventures, she is a character that is very likable.

Despite the era, she is educated and likes to read. That is a plus near the end of the book…but I can’t tell you why because it will spoil some of the anticipation while reading the book.

The book does leave you with a little of a cliffhanger that I assume will be addressed in a future book.

This book would be great for kids to read because of the action adventure, humor and historical setting.

We give this book 4 paws up!

About the Authors

Janet Fogg

Janet Fogg’s focus on writing began when she was CFO and Managing Principal of OZ Architecture, one of Colorado’s largest architectural firms. Fifteen writing awards later, she resigned from the firm to follow the yellow brick road. Ten months after that, she signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her historical romance Soliloquy a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner.

With husband Richard, Janet co-wrote Fogg in the Cockpit (Casemate), one of five books nominated in 2012 by the Air Force Historical Foundation for best World War II book reviewed in Air Power History.

Keeping her historical knowledge sharp, Janet manages the 359th Fighter Group’s Facebook page, sharing WWII stories and photos about the Fighter Group.  She is also a proud member and 2015/16 Vice President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She previously served as Published Author Liaison in 2010.

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Dave Jackson

Not your typical author, Dave Jackson started writing in his constant pursuit to become a renaissance man, but later fell in love with the art form. He performs stand-up and skits regularly, as Comedy remains one of his many passions and he writes and performs skits, as well as stand-up. Also a songwriter and guitarist, Dave has composed over 300 musical titles.

A country boy, Dave was raised in Oklahoma and taught 6th grade English for two years. He enjoys sharing the tale about when he climbed high into a towering black jack tree and grabbed a dead branch. Snap! He hurtled toward his death, but he held tight to the branch and it slowed his fall, saving his life.

In 2013, Dave enjoyed the release of Tattoo Rampage by Curiosity Quills Press. The novel follows Evangelina Marquez-James, a strong female heroine, who gets her first tattoo as a symbol of courage to carry on after her police officer husband dies in the line of duty.

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