2020 Christmas Countdown: My Christmas Fiancé – Love Comes Later Book 1 by Serenity Woods


My Christmas Fiancé
Love Comes Later Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Serenity Woods

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If you write an email to a friend about a fantasy involving your gorgeous boss, don’t send it to All Staff…

Meg

It’s not easy to reinvent yourself, but my thirteen-year-old son and I are ready for a new start. Old Maggie was a magnet for disaster, but New Meg is going to be elegant, sophisticated… and blonde. I’ve landed a dream job at the other end of New Zealand as PA to three rich directors who spoil me rotten, I’ve found a beautiful new apartment, and I feel reborn.

Then I write an email to a friend describing in vivid detail what I want to do to the sexiest of the directors—involving melted chocolate and/or whipped cream—and mistakenly send it to All Staff. It turns out that New Meg is pretty much just Old Maggie with different packaging. Some things never change.

Stratton

I’ve wanted Meg since she first walked into my office with her soft lips and sexy curves, but she wears another man’s ring, so I’ve steered well clear… until now. My mind’s been occupied anyway since I broke up with my ex, Natalie. She’s desperate to have me back and won’t take no for an answer—so I’ve come up with a brilliant plan, to hire a fake fiancée for Christmas to prove to her that we’re done.

After sending her hot-as-hell email, Meg confesses the truth about her past, and it gives me an idea. She can pretend to be my fiancé, and I can protect her from the guy she’s running from. Sounds like the perfect plan, right? Her teenage son’s no problem because we get on great. Sharing her room? That’s more of a challenge, but I’ve always had excellent self-control.

Yeah, I know. I keep forgetting about the melted chocolate. What an idiot.

Stratton thinks he has the perfect solution to the problems with his ex. He’s getting married, at least that’s how he announces it to his sister Teddi, his best friend Rich and his PA Meg at their morning meeting. This leads to an interesting discussion of his ex Natalie and how she’s harassing him. He get’s Meg to set up appointments with prospective ‘fiancés’ only instead of a modeling agency she calls an escort service. The results are hilarious.

As Meg is preparing to leave for the day she sends an email to her best friend, only it goes to the entire company.

This is a favorite scene.

I start packing up my things, glance at my computer screen, and smile when I see an email from Alyssa. She’s a new friend I’ve made since moving to Auckland. We met at the local swimming pool and got on well, as we have a lot in common, including that we’re both single mums with teenage boys.

In her email she chats about her family and her day job at the kindergarten. The email subject shows we have been back and forth about twenty times and the message is as long as my arm, so I start with a fresh one and begin telling her about my day. Not about the call girls—I decide to leave that part out—but I tell her a bit about work, just general chit chat.

Then, because he’s on my mind, I tell her about Stratton.

I’m just crazy about him, I type. He so gorgeous he makes my mouth water. I’ll have to introduce you soon. He has thick dark hair touched with gray and the most amazing eyes—one blue, one green. A stunning smile. He’s six foot three and a big guy, but he’s very unassuming and self-deprecating. You’d like him a lot. It’s not easy working for him every day. I find myself sitting in meetings and instead of typing minutes I daydream about covering him in melted chocolate—or whipped cream, it varies—and then licking it all off. It passes the time.

I finish it with a smiley face, sign it Meg, click the arrow where it says ‘To’ and choose her name, then hit send. Briefly, I wonder whether the IT team ever monitors my emails, but it’s too late now, it’s gone, so I suppress a sudden feeling of unease and rise to get my bag, ready to go home for the day.

A ping tells me I’ve received another email, though, and I sink back down to check it. I stare for a moment as I realize it’s the one I’ve just sent. What? Why would it come back to me? Has it bounced? Has Alyssa closed her email account or something?

I look at who I’ve sent it to, and my jaw drops. Cold filters through me. Disbelievingly, I quickly start up a new email and click the down arrow that shows me the list of people I send to regularly. Oh no. I thought I’d clicked on Alyssa’s name. But I haven’t. I’ve clicked on All Staff.

My head spins, and I feel faint with horror. I’ve just told everyone in the building about my secret fantasies. Everyone who works here will have gotten that email. And that’s bad, but it’s not the worst of it.

Rich will get it, and so will Teddi.

And it’s currently pinging up in Stratton’s inbox, too.

Panic washes over me. What have I done? I’ve ruined everything with one hit of a tiny button. What an idiot. What a fucking stupid idiot I am.

I can’t stay here—I’ve got to get out before everyone reads it. At least it’s Friday—I can take the weekend to work out how the hell I’m going to deal with this.

I grab my handbag and run out of my office. Head down, I stride through the large workroom housing the secretarial pool, heads turning as I pass. Nigel from accounts stops me to talk about an invoice and drones on and on, and in the end I tell him I have to leave and just walk away. I ignore the elevators and take the stairs, running down them, my high heels tapping. I’m not sure if I’ve breathed in yet, and my head’s still spinning. I have to be careful not to fall and break my neck—and yet a little part of my brain muses that such an accident might be a relief.

Exiting into the foyer, I run across it. My face is hot and my eyes are stinging with tears. What have I done? Holy fuck. I’m going to be a laughing stock, and as for Stratton… He thinks I’m married. I don’t know whether he’s going to be flattered, amused, or angry. Maybe he’ll think it’s hilarious. Oh my God, I’ll never be able to look him in the eye again.

I can’t bear it. I want to die.

I’m halfway across the foyer when I hear him call my name. “Meg!”

God, no! Anyone but him! I don’t stop and continue running.

“Meg, for Christ’s sake. Stop her, Andy!”

Obediently, the security guard closes the glass door and refuses to let go as I reach it. I hit him with my handbag, almost sobbing in panic. “Let me out!”

“Meg, it’s okay.” Stratton catches up with me and tugs my arm. I wrench it away and stumble back. I can’t bear to look at him. “It’s okay,” he says again, bending to try and catch my eye. “Come on, it’s not the end of the world.”

“Don’t.” My face must be scarlet, because it’s burning as if I’ve been out in the hot sun all day. “Just… don’t.”

“Hey.” He obviously realizes I’m genuinely distraught, takes my arm again, and leads me across to the side of the foyer. Luckily, there’s only Andy to witness the scene, and he averts his gaze as he takes up his place by the doors again, although I know he’s listening.

“Let me go.” I dash away a tear that’s run down my face.

“Meg, sweetheart, come on. It was a mistake. You clicked on the wrong name, didn’t you? It happens.” I cover my face with my hands. “I can’t believe I did it. I’m so embarrassed.”

He gives a soft laugh, moving closer to me and resting his hands on my upper arms. He rubs them gently, trying to offer comfort. “It’s all right. Did you think I didn’t know how you felt?”

I still refuse to look at him. I want to curl in a corner and sob. “I can’t believe I sent it to All Staff. Everyone will know. I can’t stay here. I can’t come back.”

“Meg, come on. Let’s get it in proportion. There’s no way I’m losing the best PA I’ve ever had just because she has a thing about chocolate sauce.”

Oh. My. God. My face could melt lead it’s burning so badly.

“Oops,” he said. “Too soon?”

“Please, just kill me now.”

He laughs and wraps his arms around me. “Sweetheart, we’re grownups, and we like each other. You’re gorgeous—you don’t think I wonder what you look like naked ten times a day?”

“Oh, Stratton, please, don’t. You’re just making it worse.”

“I’m saying that it’s normal when you fancy someone. It doesn’t mean anything. And it’s hardly a huge shock to me.”

I press my hands against his shirt and bury my face in it. “I thought you might be angry.”

“Jesus, why? You made my day.” He kisses my hair.

“Because I’m… m-married.”

He slides a hand beneath my chin and lifts my face so he can look into my eyes. For a moment I think he’s going to kiss me, but instead his green and blue eyes search mine, as if he’s in an attic rummaging around in a trunk. “Are you?” he says.

A breeze washes across my legs, but I’m only half aware that the front door has opened. It’s when I hear my name called—my real name—that I realize someone’s come in.

“Maggie?”

I turn my head, and for the second time in the space of about five minutes my heart stops. I inhale sharply, feel my eyes widen, my jaw drop, and I push away from Stratton and stumble back.
Woods, Serenity. My Christmas Fiancé (Love Comes Later Book 1). Kindle Locations (801-868). Kindle Edition.

From having to face Stratton to her ex showing up thinking all would just be forgiven leads Meg to agree to be Stratton’s fake fiancé. With concern for her and her son’s safety, Stratton suggests they stay the weekend at his home. This is just the beginning of a very interesting relationship, that simmers before it sizzles.

I look forward to reading Rich and Teddi’s stories, one is New Year’s the other is Valentines.

5 Contented Purrs for Serenity!

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Serenity Woods

USA Today Bestselling Author Serenity Woods lives in the sub-tropical Northland of New Zealand with her wonderful husband and gorgeous teenage son. She writes hot and sultry contemporary romances with a happy ever after, and she would much rather immerse herself in reading or writing romance than do the dusting and ironing, which is why it’s not a great idea to pop round if you have any allergies.


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Blog Tour! Silent Night, Deadly Night – Suspense Series Book 6 by Kaylea Cross


Silent Night, Deadly Night
Suspense Series Book 6
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Kaylea Cross

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Winter Blog Blurb

It’s Christmas in Charleston.

Luke and Emily Hutchinson are hosting the entire crew at their home in Charleston’s historic district for an early Christmas celebration. It’s the first time they’ve all been together since Em was captured and Luke almost died taking down his nemesis in Beirut a year ago, and everyone is looking forward to sharing some Christmas magic together. Except one of them has unknowingly brought a deadly threat to their doorstep.

But evil doesn’t take holidays.

When a shocking threat suddenly shatters the calm, Luke and his team must risk everything to save two of their own. And when the rescue attempt goes wrong, the consequences are more costly than they ever could have imagined.

NOTE:
This book is a follow-up to the Suspense Series and is not meant to be read as a standalone.

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Winter Blog Review

I confess I’m behind on this series but I couldn’t pass on this book. I love when all the characters in a series come together to celebrate the holidays. Although this one has more than just a couple twists and turns and surprises too.

As the book opens Luke and Em are leaving her doctor’s office, we are going to be challenged to keep all this in the back of our minds like they are trying to do. Em is very much looking forward to everyone being together this year and is putting together the perfect festivities.

First to arrive are their son Rayne and his wife Christa. Of course Rayne senses something is wrong but is wise enough to keep it to himself.

We meet up with Sam and Ben as they are preparing to head to the airport. An envelope arrives that once the content is decrypted will add an unsavory twist to this story.

Dec’s mission has a frustrating end but he will be able to join his wife Bryn at Luke and Em’s in Charlotte and he’s looking forward to it.

Ben’s twin brother Rhys and wife Neveah would be joining them as well and Luke is thankful since Nev is a doctor and would look out for Em.

Sam and Ben almost immediately set up shop in Luke’s study also reading him in to what’s going on. It’s not until Dec arrives that they actually figure most of it out including who’s involved. Then all hell breaks loose. See the excerpt below, it’s a favorite scene.

I loved this book, I laughed and cried and enjoyed the heat between these couples even as I nibbled on my nails. I’m going back to do a re-read of this series, I forgot how much I loved it.

5 Contented Purrs for Kaylea!

Christa’s heart shot into her throat when a man materialized out of nowhere and grabbed Sam.

She opened her mouth to scream, instinctively turning to reach for Bryn, but someone grabbed her from behind, jerking her to a halt. A muscled arm locked around her waist, and a hard hand covered her mouth.

Instinct took over.

She sank her teeth into the hand over her mouth and whirled, momentarily breaking the man’s grip. “Get away from me!” She lashed out with her foot, managed to catch him in the knee, making him stumble.

She’d been assaulted and kidnapped before. Never again.

She twisted around, terror forking through her. Bryn and Sam were both being dragged toward the road. Behind her, she could hear the man she’d kicked coming after her.

Christa turned and ran down the sidewalk, yelling for help.

An SUV sped up to the curb in front of her, its headlights off, and plunged to a halt. She spun to the left, veering away from it. She could hear the running footsteps behind her, her pursuer coming closer.

Her skin prickled. “Help!” she screamed, and glanced over her shoulder.

The guy holding Sam was already dragging her toward the vehicle, and Bryn was struggling valiantly against her attacker.

A hand shot toward her. Christa wrenched away and spun hard, then sprinted for the hedge lining the sidewalk. But the guy chasing her was right behind her. Too close.

She hurdled the hedge, her heart slamming in her chest as she raced back toward the visitor’s center. Nev and Emily. Were they okay? She had to attract attention and get help.

A strong hand caught the back of her jacket. She let out a scream and shrugged out of it, almost tripping before she regained her balance and kept running.

The man chasing her cursed, his closeness sending a rush of terror down her spine. No! He was right on top of her. She’d never be able to outrun him, and the visitor’s center entrance was still too far away.

Her gaze landed on a hefty branch lying on the ground under a tree. She ducked to snag it as she ran, but her legs felt wobbly, the fear sapping her muscles and slowing her down.

The man behind her was right there, an arm’s length away. Any second, he would grab her. She had to fight him off. She was Sam and Bryn’s only chance to get help.

Gripping the end of the branch in both hands like a bat, she stopped suddenly and whirled to face her attacker, swinging it with every ounce of her strength.

The dry wood slammed across the side of the man’s head, and shattered. He grunted, grabbing at his head as he fell sideways into the bushes.

Skin crawling, Christa dropped the branch and ran, but he was already up and after her again. The sidewalk ahead was empty.

“Help! Someone help me!” she screamed, hoping someone would hear her.
From The Website of Kaylea Cross

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Kaylea Cross

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.

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2020 Christmas Countdown: A Taste from A Very Alien Christmas Anthology! Alien Abduction for Beginners – Christmas Assignment by Skye MacKinnon


A Very Alien Christmas

Featuring

Harpie Alexa
Margo Bond Collins
Skye MacKinnon
Aurora Cassini
Nova Alexa
J.A. Cummings
E.J. Powell
Tricia Schneider

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It’s beginning to look a lot like … aliens for Christmas!

Get ready to set your holiday thrusters to hot! If you love alien romances, you’ll adore this brand-new collection of steamy alien novellas and short stories by New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors.

Available for a limited time only, so get your copy now!


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Alien Abduction For Beginners
Christmas Assignment
The Intergalactic Guide to Humans Book 1.5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

Sisters A-Vay and A-Ven are close to finishing their course in Alien Abduction at the prestigious Intergalactic University. To stay top of their class, they need to perform the best abduction Earth has never seen.

After weeks of monitoring the planet’s communications, they’ve set their eyes on Earth’s most famous man, a guy with a white beard and red coat. He may be old but he’s ho-ho-hot and his bells still jingle!

Now if only the sisters knew what to do about the reindeer in the cargo bay…

NOTE:
A steamy standalone story set in the Starlight Universe. If you want a hilarious book involving insatiable alien twin sisters and a Santa with a very large candy cane, scroll up and read this book today. Beware, you may be abducted at any moment, so don’t waste time.

A-Vay and A-Ven want a really good score on their final exam. They have chosen the subject for abduction very carefully. He’s not your typical human either.

I started laughing on the first page of this book when I realized who they were abducting…

This is a favorite scene and one that I can post without the sizzling and funny heat that ensues.

My skin flashes bright green as I stare at the man on the screen.

“It’s him!” my sister cheers, her colouring changing just as rapidly as my own. “Finally.”

We’ve been looking for him for over a week, but now our scanners have finally found him. Our future mate.  

I take him in, all six feet of humanness. I don’t want to be called speciesist, but humans are one of the sexiest aliens out there. Karangi may come close, although I think their reputation for beauty is exaggerated. This male, however, is truly stunning. His long red coat highlights his white hair and beard. His coal-black eyes are hidden beneath bushy grey eyebrows that almost seem like tiny lifeforms clinging to his face. His nose is strong with wide nostrils begging to be touched. He’ll be a pleasure to kunik with.  

He’s surprisingly tall for a human, although he’d barely reach my chin. And soon he will. I’ll have him pressed against my chest…

“A-Vay, focus,” my sister snaps. “Set a new course. Let’s get to his location before he moves again. This male is slipperier than a walmop.”

She’s right about that. Our sensors are top range, yet whenever we thought we’d spotted him, he was gone by the time we had a fix on his whereabouts. He moves fast, faster than their primitive human vehicles should allow. His vehicle is made from a native material they call wood, but we’ve not been able to find any details on why this wood would be superior to more advanced technologies.  

My six fingers dance over the keyboard, changing our spaceship’s trajectory. A-Ven prefers to use voice control, but I’m old-fashioned. I like to touch things.  

I wonder what our human will feel like beneath my finger pads. I’m sure he’ll be soft. Squishy. I’ll be able to…

“Focus,” A-Ven hisses, clearly knowing that I’m dreaming again. She knows me better than any other being in the universe. We shared the same egg and sometimes, it feels like we share the same mind, too.  

I push away all thoughts of how our future mate’s beard might feel when it brushes against my face and concentrate on our ship’s controls. Our target male is far away from civilisation now, making it easy to intercept him. We don’t want to break the rules by showing ourselves to the locals, but I’m also desperate to finally catch him. He won’t slip through our fingers this time.  

“Stealth mode engaged,” I mutter as we enter the atmosphere. “I’ll park us a short way from his dwelling, then we can walk the remaining bit. I don’t want to alert him to our presence.”

“Good thinking, sis. Let’s be stealthy like our ship.”  

A-Ven turns to the fabricator and scrolls through a list of local garments. We’ve been scanning Peritus long enough to find out what native females like to wear. It seems to vary a lot between regions, so I take a quick look at the weather conditions at our destination.

“Make it something loose and airy,” I tell my sister. “It’s almost four hundred glyptons there. That’s positively scorching.”

“Let’s not stay there for too long or my skin will melt. I hate hot climates. Why couldn’t he have chosen somewhere colder to live?”

“Trust me, we’re lucky he’s in that part of the planet. There are much hotter areas. We’d need survival suits to even leave our ship.”

A-Ven shudders. “And that’s why I prefer to be in a spaceship with good air-con. How long till landing?”

“Almost there. Better sit down, the ground here is covered in frozen liquid. I’m not sure how our landing gear will cope with that.”

My sister takes the seat next to mine – we had the ship modified to have two captain’s chairs – and straps in. I know she trusts me to give us the smoothest landing possible, but we’ve both got enough experience with travelling to strange planets to know that physics can work differently than we’re used to. Before we decided to become approved abductors, we were traders. After years of travelling the galaxy, we got a little bored though without having anyone around. We tried giving hitchhikers a lift, but they rarely wanted to stay for long and always fussed around with their towels. Then we abducted our first male, only to find out it was an infertile female. We dropped her off at the nearest space station, where A-Ven saw the advert for the Intergalactic University.  

Thirty lectures and four assignments later, only one abduction stands between us and a degree in Alien Abduction. And because both of us are high-achievers, we went for the most powerful male on the entire planet. We scanned their news and one male kept popping up around the world. His name varies depending on the local language, but his outer appearance doesn’t change much. I can’t wait to see what he hides under his long, red coat! I hope he’s as packed there as his strange vehicle always is. He transports a lot of bags from one place to another, but we’ve not quite figured out why he does it himself. He’s so powerful and well-known, why doesn’t he have servants? Even the poorest male back on Ank wouldn’t be seen doing hard manual labour like that. At least it should have given him excellent muscle mass. I do like males who can pin me down…

“A-Vay!”

“Sorry, sis. Landing in three… two… one…”
Skye MacKinnon. Alien Abduction for Beginners – Christmas Assignment: The Intergalactic Guide to Humans – Christmas special (Kindle Locations 39-80). Peryton Press.

Santa is more than just human he’s special, and well, he has reindeer and his sleigh. They use his sleigh to get him to the ship and let me tell you the ‘probing’ is both hot and hysterical.

Of course his reindeer wouldn’t be left behind no matter what the sisters thought.

This is a hysterical read with sizzling heat that will melt any ice in the vicinity.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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2020 Christmas Countdown: More Than A Christmas Cowboy – A Sweet Holiday Novella by Rhonda Lee Carver


More Than A Christmas Cowboy
A Sweet Holiday Novella
By
Rhonda Lee Carver

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She needs a holidate. He has a soft spot for feisty redheads. They’re a perfect match…until he kisses her under the mistletoe…

Rona Collins has wanted Stone for too long, but the time has never been right to tell him how she feels. When her sister plans a Christmas wedding at a private resort, Rona feels the time has finally come to plan her secret reveal. She’s single. He’s single. What could get in the way?

Then he shows up with a beautiful woman clinging to his arm, and Rona must find herself a holidate fast.

Kai Grey needs a break from the family ranch so a few days at a resort to watch his best buddy get married sounds like an opportunity for some peace and quiet. From minute one, his plans are turned upside down. Not only must he share his cabin, but his new roommate lassos him into pretending to be her Christmas date.

From the second he agreed to help her, he knew he’d live to regret it. Too bad she wants his best friend…or does she?

Kisses under the mistletoe and snuggling up to soft curves are definitely some perks to being a holidate, until a drunken fool and a dead fish ruin the Christmas cheer.

Rona’s sister Marti is getting married and she chose a very beautiful and romantic setting for it. This would be Rona’s chance to tell Stone how she feels about him, he’d broken up with his latest fling so he’s free again. However, Rona didn’t expect that her car wouldn’t make it all the way to her cabin. She wasn’t exactly dressed for a hike through the snow with her suitcase.

Kai is the groom’s irritating best friend. He’s really the last person Rona wanted to run into, but she knew he’d be here for Taylor.

This is a favorite scene.

The lane curved up another incline and she followed the snow-covered roadway, her boots slipping and sliding but she kept her balance. The curls that she thought were contained in the updo were starting to make a bid for freedom and bounce around her cheeks. She could also feel sweat beading up under her arms and between her breasts. The satin blouse would start to wrinkle.

The rattling of an engine caught her attention. A Jeep turned the curve and she anticipated that she could catch a ride the rest of the way, but all hope vanished when she saw the driver. Holy smokes. Of course, he’d have to be here for the week also.

She quickened her pace, hoping he wouldn’t stop.

No such luck.

He slowed and she looked back, cringing.

Kai Grey, Taylor’s obnoxious best friend, smiled from ear to ear behind the dirty windshield. The wipers swished back and forth, mimicking the sudden whooshing in her body. She didn’t like him. Not one bit.

She stared ahead, hoping he continued on his way, but she should have known better. He rolled down the side window.

“Need a lift, Red?” Kai was equally as handsome as Stone with sandy hair that he usually hid under a white Stetson and eyes the color of a top-shelf whiskey surrounded by absurdly long lashes for a man. Over six feet of broad shoulders, wide chest, and thick muscles he’d earned from working on his family’s horse ranch, he certainly did look good. Unfortunately, his attitude rubbed her the wrong way. He seemed to enjoy targeting her with his lame jokes and using the nickname he’d bestowed upon her when she met him. Red.

“I’m fine walking.” She didn’t even look at him as she attempted to stride confidently ahead.

“You’re going to ruin those fancy boots,” he said in a slow, drawn-out accent.

Keep your eyes ahead. Keep your eyes ahead.

She couldn’t resist.

Glancing over, her breath caught. His hat was now missing, exposing a mass of tousled hair that was a bit longer since she saw him last. His lopsided grin was present and his broad, clefted chin was cleanly shaven. His arm leaned halfway out of the open window and the rolled-up sleeve of his white T-shirt showed off most of the intricate tattoo of a cross wrapped in barbed wire on his flexed bicep. She heard him say once he got the ink while he was serving in the Marines.

“It’s too late. They’re probably already ruined,” she finally answered.

“Come on. It’s just a ride, not a marriage proposal. Your nose and cheeks are as red as your hair. By the way, is your hair redder?”

Lifting her chin and shoulders, she frowned. “Here we go with the insults. My name is Rona, not Red. Do you think it’s possible that you could manage not to make wisecracks about my appearance every time you see me?”

“How about that ride?”

“Not on your life.”

An easy grin turned up his full lips, engaging deep dimples. His irises reflected the snow making them brighter than usual. “Suit yourself.” He gave her a casual wave and a wink before he sped off. The Jeep’s tires kicked up slush, splattering her face. Grr.

The heat building inside helped her to momentarily forget the freezing temperature. Why did he infuriate her so much? Why did she allow him to affect her? Why had she allowed the schoolyard bullies to bother her when they made fun of her wild curly hair, her early-puberty-curves, and too-large glasses? By the time she reached high school she’d embraced her unique looks and all those kids who made fun of her wanted to be her friend.

Kai didn’t make her feel like those kids had. He made her feel…what exactly?

Angry.

Irritated.

Like she was on fire.

Huffing, she scrambled up the hill, her feet now wet in the leaky boots, pushing the infuriating cowboy out of her mind. This vacation would be pleasurable.

Finally she came to the tin-roofed cabin set back in the woods. Lighted garland wrapped around the railing of the porch and a large wreath hung on the red door. A swinging sign posted next to the shoveled sidewalk had the name “Kismet”.

This was her cabin. Relief spread through her, until she saw the Jeep parked in the driveway.

What is Kai doing at my cabin?
Rhonda Carver. More-Than-a-Christmas-Cowboy-with-TOC (Kindle Locations 146-179). Kindle Edition.

Sharing a cabin with Kai? So not happening, or was it. They really couldn’t impose on the couple about to get married. They had to reach a compromise.

When Stone shows up with a date Rona immediately takes action to get Kai to be her date. She didn’t want anyone to know how much she had hoped to be with Stone.

This book is so much fun as Kai and Rona figure why they irritate each other. A perfect Holiday read!

5 Contented Purrs for Rhonda Lee!

Rhonda lee Carver Rhonda Lee Carver

Rhonda Lee Carver is a published book writer with a collection of print and eBooks under her wing. She is also a freelance editor. Her first book was published with Wild Rose Press in 2010.

She writes everything from contemporary to steamy to paranormal to suspense…you name it, she’s written it. Her specialty is writing men who love to get their hands dirty—hardworking, blue collar, heroes in everyday life.

When Rhonda isn’t crafting edge-of-your-seat, sizzling novels, you’ll find her with her children and husband watching soccer, watching a breathtaking movie, traveling to exotic places (with Bora Bora on her bucket list), doing (or trying) yoga, saving cats and dogs, and finding new ways to keep life interesting.

Rhonda thrives on making her readers happy. She believes life can be a challenge, but reading is a place where fantasy comes to life. Her motto: “Everyone deserves romance—one page at a time.“

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Rowan – The K9 Files Book 10 By Dale Mayer


Rowan
The K9 Files Book 10
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Rowan hopes that the deep emptiness inside him might possibly heal—if he just finds the retired K9 Hershey, named after an old trainer buddy. Nothing can hold Rowan back from locating his old K9 friend. What he didn’t expect was his old friend had found a new friend, with puppies of her own.

Brandi had just lost her grandmother, her home, and her best four-legged friend, Lacey, in a horrible forest fire that swept through town. Everyone said to not give up on Lacey, as dogs often disappeared only to reappear later. That one thought calls her to spend every spare moment she has at the site, calling for Lacey. When she realizes someone else has the same idea, she’s happy to join forces.

When things get ugly, she’s glad to have someone at her side because she hadn’t seen what ugly could really look like … until now.

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The dog Rowan is going to California to locate has special meaning to him, he was on the mission where Hershey’s handler was killed. If he had known Hershey was retired and up for adoption he would have taken him in a heartbeat. The problem now is the family had been living where one of the wildfires destroyed everything. They’ve had to leave the state and if Hershey is found they don’t want him.

Brandi was in Europe when the rampant wildfire took over her neighborhood. She lost everything, her grandmother died in it and there’s nothing left of their home. She’s been coming back to the area every day since she got back but can’t find her pregnant retriever Lacey.

When she first meets Rowan she’s skeptical but decides to give him a chance when he’s back for a second day. They split off so they could cover more area. It’s Brandi who hears the growl and Rowan joins her. Putting out some food Brandi has, they are surprised by two puppies. He’s not sure if Hershey’s the one guarding them and he’s also worried because his voice is different and he’s not sure if his scent is the same.

Rowan being prepared, manages to get some pictures of the puppies and the other dogs, discovering in the process the mother dog is injured and there’s another puppy not doing well. They need to get them help and soon. But as they’re deciding how to go about it, a shot rings out, and Rowan has Brandi hide while he chases, unsuccessfully, after the shooter. Knowing they have no choice but to get the dogs out now, Rowan concentrates on Hershey.

This is a favorite scene.

As he took a third bite, he broke off a third piece for Hershey and threw it out to him but, this time, not quite as far. If Hershey wanted this piece, he’d have to come out of the shelter a little bit. And Rowan turned his head away and had another bite. As he broke off another one, he turned to look up and found himself staring straight at Hershey’s eyes.

He took a slow, deep breath and said, “Hello there, buddy.” His heart lit with joy. “I’m so sorry my voice is different now, but you know one thing? Hopefully my scent isn’t. My body’s been through a lot of doctors and hospitals and all that good stuff,” he said, “but it’s still me on the inside. That hasn’t changed.”

Afraid to talk too much to the dog just yet, much less reach out, Rowan continued giving Hershey time and little bits of the protein bar. At one point, he looked up, and the dog stared at him in confusion. “Hey, Hershey,” he said, as he reached up a hand.

The dog leaned forward and sniffed his fingers. He reared back and then leaned forward again. Rowan knew Hershey was confused; the scent was close but not quite right and from a long time ago. Rowan leaned forward again, and this time he put up the other hand, the one that hadn’t had surgery. Hershey sniffed and then whined.

Rowan smiled. “Hey, boy. I am so glad I found you.” And just like that, a switch flipped, and Hershey launched himself at Rowan. Hershey’s tail wagging, he jumped, circled him, jumped again, this time completely tackling Rowan to the ground. Rowan lay here on his back, laughing, letting the dog greet him.

“It’s been a long time, boy.” He gently cuddled the great big goof, walked his hands across Hershey, gently loving him, caring and rejoicing in Hershey’s greeting, knowing that this bond had never been broken. That was the thing about animals. They remembered. It took Hershey a bit to get around Rowan’s different smells and his different voice, but, after that, it was a done deal.

Finally Hershey laid down, half on top and half beside Rowan, and dropped his head on his chest. Rowan just held Hershey for a long moment. “It’s been a tough couple years, hasn’t it, buddy? I heard you got to retire and yet look at what happened to your retirement, but then something similar happened to me too.” He reached up and gently scratched the dog.

He heard Brandi’s voice off to the side, who said, “The two pups are coming out toward you.”

He reached up a hand gently, coming in contact with soft fur. The pup backed away a little bit and then came back again. Hershey barked, and pretty quickly both pups surrounded him. Rowan chuckled at the furballs. He said to Brandi, “You can try coming up, if you want.”

“Is it safe?” she asked in a dry tone. He shrugged. “No clue, but Hershey recognized me, and he trusts us enough that he got the pups here now.”

While Hershey was busy, he managed to get a rope and hooked it around the dog’s neck. Hershey didn’t appear to be bothered in any way. As part of his training, he was used to being on a leash. Used to having commands and somebody in authority over him. So this was a good thing.

With a big smile Rowan sat up gently, moving slowly, so that the pups wouldn’t get too scared, and gently he wrapped a rope around the first one, making it snug enough so that he couldn’t pull his head out of it, letting the rope trail behind him, getting him used to it. The pup seemed to treat it more like a toy than anything, rolling around, grabbing the rope, chewing it. When Rowan had the opportunity, he slipped a rope around the second one too.

“These three all have ropes now,” he said. “Do you want to come see if you can contact Lacey from here?”

“I guess that’s my best bet, isn’t it?” She walked up slowly and crouched. Hershey turned to look at her and growled.

Rowan reached up immediately and said, “Friend, Hershey. She’s a friend.”

Hershey’s ears came forward, and he looked down at Rowan. He smiled gently and rubbed Hershey’s forehead. “I know it’s been a long time, hasn’t it? But she’s a good person. It’s okay. We’re here to help Lacey, not hurt her.”

Brandi came closer and greeted the pups, who didn’t seem to think that she was anything other than part of the landscape. They rolled around, grabbing their ropes and tugging.

“They’re so special,” she whispered.

“Pups,” he said with a chuckle, still sitting on the ground. “Now we have ropes on these three, so it depends whether you can get up close and talk to Lacey as to how we handle her.”

She looked at Hershey. “Have you got him under control though?”

Rowan recognized the nervousness in her tone. “He’ll be fine,” he said. “I’ve got him now. He’s on a rope. He’s always been very well leash trained. Just don’t make any sudden moves, and go on up and talk to Lacey.” He watched as Brandi shifted closer toward the den that the dogs had created together, talking to Lacey gently. When he heard a whine on the inside of the hollow, Rowan smiled and said, “Give it a shot. I believe another pup is also in there.”

“If the pup is alive,” she murmured.

“We can only deal with what we have to work with,” he said. “So let’s hope everybody is alive.” He watched as she slowly crept a little bit closer and closer. Hershey watched, his ears forward, obviously disturbed at the turn of events but not enough to do anything about it. “Good boy,” Rowan whispered. “Good boy.” Hershey looked down and nuzzled his nose against Rowan, blowing deeply against his neck. Rowan wrapped his arms around his scruff and burrowed his face against his neck. He hoped that she had as much luck with Lacey as he was pretty sure that Lacey was badly hurt.

When he heard a strangled voice calling out to him, he turned to see her saying, “Rowan,” and she held up a third pup. “It’s alive but in rough shape.”

“Can you see why?”

“No,” she said. “It was just lying here.”

He shifted ever-so-slowly so that he could reach up a hand, and she gently placed the pup in his arms. And he tucked it against his chest, while Hershey nuzzled it. “Is this your adopted daughter?”

Rowan checked over the pup, but nothing was obviously wrong. Yet she was malnourished and suffering. “It’s a good chance Lacey has no milk,” he said, “and this one is too weak to eat otherwise.” He turned to look for Brandi, but she was inside the brush again. He didn’t hear any growling, so he hoped for a good outcome because, going into a hollow with an injured dog was never a smart idea. But just like he had a bond with Hershey, he could only hope Brandi had the same bond with Lacey. He called out, “Is she okay?”

“No,” she said, her voice thick with tears. “Her back end is damaged.”

“Like from a car accident or the fire?”

“I don’t know what I’m looking at,” she said, “but I think it’s an ugly injury and likely a broken leg.”

At that, he swore and said, “That would explain Hershey’s reaction.”

She lifted the brush and looked at him. “Why is that?”

“Because he knows exactly what those look like,” he said.

She stared down at her beloved dog, and the pain in her dog’s eyes just tore at her. But her tail moved in greeting and hope. With the brush matted down, she could see that this was where the sick pup and, of course, Lacey had bled all around. It didn’t look like she’d gotten up in a couple days. “We have to get her to a vet,” she said.
Dale Mayer. Rowan (Kindle Locations 581-645). Valley Publishing Ltd.

Getting Lacey and the pups to the cars was a bit of an adventure at least for Brandi. Then comes the hard questions about being shot at. As things get even more interesting and suspenseful, Rowan calls on Badger and the guys for help figuring things out. A relationship begins between Brandi and Rowan and there’s hope that maybe they can stay together. You know for the sake of the dogs (grin).

I love these stories so much. This one especially tore at my heart, knowing the devastation of the fires in California.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

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Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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Now You See Her… – Psychic Visions Book 8 by Dale Mayer


Now You See Her…
Psychic Visions Book 8
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Energy is the life-force of inherent good…
and the vigor of unnatural evil.
Which is stronger?

When she was young, Tia was forced into a prison, studied and tortured, because of her special talent. The chance for escape led her to run as far away as she could…but she quickly discovered there is nowhere she can hide that they can’t find her. Stefan Kronos, a psychic who’s formed a community of those like her, is the only person she believes can help her. When she begs him to help her, she awakens from a coma six weeks later. Her problems have only just begun, chief among them that she’s still being hunted.

Now you see her…

Dean is moonlighting as a guard at the hospital Tia finds herself in upon rousing from unconsciousness. Between a rock and a hard place, Dean has met Tia, a woman he can’t forget…and equally can’t believe the insane things she’s telling him – until there’s absolutely no other choice. What’s at stake becomes only too clear when Tia’s problems become Dean’s, entwining them so neither knows where one stops and the other starts. If she runs again, how can he find someone of her unbelievable talents?

Now you don’t…

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Tia has been hiding for years, she can’t let him find her. She has a unique talent, she blends into the energy around her, making her invisible. She’s tired of hiding and turns to Stefan for help. However the person looking for her attacks her, and Stefan gets her to the hospital. What she doesn’t realize at first is that she is safe and among friends, she feels the need to run.

Dean is on guard duty, watching over Tia for Stefan. It’s been weeks since the incident that left her comatose. He checked on her, turned around and she was gone. Fortunately Stefan was in the hospital at the time and joins him, explaining Tia’s ability. Dean’s more than a little grateful that at least Stefan understood what was going on. He certainly didn’t. As he goes off duty, he’s going to check on Tia’s friend Simone. Tia’s worried about her since she helped set up the meeting with Stefan. What he didn’t expect was Tia to slip away and join him. First to an address that wasn’t correct, but was actually Tia’s family dwelling, then to the correct place.

This is a favorite scene.

Tia raced through Simone’s house, following on Dean’s heels. This didn’t make any sense. She made it to the bedroom as he stepped into the bathroom. Her heart stuttered to a stop when she heard him say, “Shit.”

She glanced around the light disarray in the bedroom. Simone was meticulously clean. She’d never have let her bedroom look like this. And…her suitcase was gone.

She brightened. Good. Simone had managed to clear out.

Dean came out of the bathroom, his phone against his ear.

“Stefan. She’s gone. There’s a dead man here.”

What?

Tia snuck around him and raced to the bathroom to see the folded body of a man. “Oh God,” she whispered. “It’s Brennan.”

And heard a sound behind her.

She spun around.

Dean glared at her.

As in he glared at her.

As in he could see her.

Shit.

She caught her breath and waited, her eyes darting to the entrance where he spread his legs in a square stance, effectively filling the doorway. He wasn’t going to let her out. Did he know she was there or was he only guessing? He’d had wonderful hearing in the hospital. And she’d just spoken out loud.

But he didn’t know for sure.

She slowed her breathing down.

“You might as well show yourself. I’m not letting you out of here.”

The nerve of him. What did he know? This was her friend’s house he was searching. Did he have any answers – no. He couldn’t stay here all day. She’d just wait him out.

“Stefan, your little tricky friend is here too.” Dean grinned. “At least I think it’s her. I can hear her, not see her. She’s in the bathroom with the dead man.”

There was silence while she considered her options. She felt like a school kid caught out on a prank.

“No, I’ve called in the police. The place will need to be gone over. So far I’m not sure where Simone is, but it looks like she left in a hurry. The question now is did she kill this man before leaving?”

“No, she wouldn’t,” Tia muttered. “They’d been together for years.”

“Ah, she speaks,” mocked Dean.

“Did you hear that Stefan? Tia says the man was Simone’s partner.”

Dean listened for a few more minutes. “You can make that decision. I’m not. She’s here and she’s your problem. Finding a dead man shoots my chance to get some sleep tonight. I’ll call you tomorrow if we find anything.”

He closed his phone and tucked it into his pocket. “Why waste energy trying to hide? I know you’re here. You obviously came in my truck so stop being a child and show yourself.”

“I’m not a child.” She dropped her energy guard and showed herself. “It’s been a long time since I was a child – if I ever was.”

And something in her voice must have gotten through to him for he stared at her hard for a moment then gave a clipped nod. “Then stop disappearing and running away.”

“I’m being hunted,” she said sarcastically. “Maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you, but I’d kinda like to stay alive, thanks.”

“I got that. But if you’re going to hide from those trying to help you, how far do you think you’re going to get?”

She hated the truth of his words, but trust wasn’t something she did easily. “What do you think happened here?” She motioned to the bathroom, deliberately not mentioning the body at her feet. She had no trouble recognizing Brennan. Simone had talked about him for years, even sending Tia photos, but Tia hadn’t actually met the man as he hadn’t been home last night – deliberate choice on their part. The less people who knew she was here the better.

Not that her attempt to keep him out of this mess had done anything for him.

“She either was attacked by him or someone else came in and killed him but she got away. Or she killed him then left.”

But Tia was already shaking her head. “She wouldn’t have killed him. They had arguments like any relationship, but she’d never kill anyone. She was a nurse. She lived to help people.”

“Let’s say I believe you for the moment, what do you think happened here?”

“I think I made a mistake and somehow someone followed me to her place and went after her. She might have had a warning considering she packed a few things. Simone is very street smart.” She’d have disappeared by now. Chances were good Tia wouldn’t ever see her friend again. As long as Simone was free and clear, Tia would be happy for her.

Her heart tripped over the thought of Simone not being free. Could she have been taken? She was a beautiful woman and she was Tia’s friend. She didn’t know if the asshole would do anything to Simone or if he’d keep her as part of his living collection. If so, maybe then Tia could get to her and save her before it got too bad. As long as she was still alive, she could heal. But Tia had to find her and save her. If she hadn’t been taken then there was no finding her. She had street smarts. She’ll find you – if she cares to.

She walked out of the bathroom and collapsed down on the side of Simone’s bed. “I suppose the cops will be all over the place now.”

“In a few minutes, yes.”

“And you have to stay here?”

“Not for the whole mess of things about to happen, but I will have to for at least an hour or so.”

She nodded. It was just setting in. Simone had lost Brennan and she had lost Simone. She stared dry-eyed at her present life and didn’t like the look of it. The future was even more depressing. Shit.

“You can go into my truck and wait. Don’t let them see you. Oh wait, damn it. What about your fingertips. Do you leave prints?”

She nodded absently. “I do but I haven’t touched anything.” She straightened. “Oh, but I did earlier.”

He nodded, his tone serious as he said, “We might need to take your prints to compare to the ones here.”

A broken laugh escaped her. “No, you won’t need to. You’ll run the prints and mine will come up.”

“Come up for what?” He walked to stand in front of her, effectively caging her in case she tried to bolt.

Only she had no plans to bolt. She was just realizing what kind of trouble she was in. Stefan might not be able to save her this time.

“Just how much trouble are you in?”

“Prison type of trouble,” she said shortly. “Maybe.”

“What did you do?”

“I escaped a place where I was supposed to stay. Only I was a prisoner. When I had an opportunity, I ran and never looked back,” she said softly. “With my prints all over the place, they might think I did it.”

“Did what?”

“Killed the doctor,” she whispered. “But I didn’t kill anyone. I’m not even sure he’s dead. If he is, then I think whoever did kill him is after me…and if he’s not dead…then he’s the one chasing me.”
Mayer, Dale. Psychic Visions: Books 7-9. Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (4931-4989). Kindle Edition.

This is the beginning of a very interesting relationship, Dean can hear and sense her when she’s invisible. This makes for some amusing conversations. There’s also the fact that someone is hunting for her but the main suspect is supposedly dead.

Dean finds himself unable to stay away from her, even as some very strange things happen to her. Dr. Maddy and Stefan are concerned because her energy appears to be shorting out, causing only parts of her to disappear, very disconcerting.

There’s plenty of things going on to keep you turning the pages as Dean, Stephan and Dr. Maddy try to figure out what’s going on. Both with Tia’s energy and who is looking for her.

I was truly surprised at the conclusion of this one, I never saw it coming.

Suspense, intrigue, romance and so much more.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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author-links-fall-cornucopia

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2020 Christmas Countdown: My Christmas Quarantine – A Reverse Harem Novella by Mika Lane


My Christmas Quarantine
A Reverse Harem Novella
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Mika Lane

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Dear Santa:
It’s okay that I have to spend Christmas by myself. Alone. In my apartment. Quarantined.
No gifts. No cheer. No feast.
But really.
It’s fine.
And I’ll continue to ignore my hot next door neighbors.

Three guys who make my knees weak.
Even though they invited me over for a holiday feast.
I mean, we’re supposed to be in quarantine, right?
Or not.
Don’t I deserve a present or two or three? I think I do.
Merry f*cking Christmas
Love,
Me

Nina was packed up and ready to fly home for Christmas when during a conversation with her mother she’s told she can’t come. Her father was supposed to tell her weeks ago, but forgot. Now she’s sure she’ll be spending it alone. That is until she really meets her neighbors across the hall. First one of them helps her bring her tree upstairs, then she almost gets hit in the head with the football they’re throwing around the hallway maskless of course. Since it is the holidays she decides to make them some masks so she’d feel better running into them. She makes her favorite cookies, a sort of revenge thing since her mom was making them when she let her know she couldn’t come home for Christmas. What she didn’t realize was how many cookies the recipe made. Not wanting to have them go to waste she packs some up to give to the guys. This results in an invitation to a hallway dinner.

This is a favorite scene.

It was the only table in sight, so yeah.

He picked it up with about the same level of effort Henry had picked up my Christmas tree, which is to say hardly any, and positioned it in the hallway just outside my door. He returned to the kitchen and grabbed a chair. At the other hand of the hall, he’d put their table out along with three chairs.

“Okay. All set. Henry is still cooking, so I’ll let you know when we’re closer.”

“What service. Thank you,” I said.

He took a fake bow. “We aim to please, madam.”

He left, and of course I watched him through the peephole like I always did. That’s when I saw Leo come out of the apartment and set the table. Holy shit. They actually set their table.

I figured I should do the same. I gathered a plate, silverware, and napkin, and pulled my door open to find they’d done it for me.

No shit. They’d actually set a place for me at my own table, and lit a freaking votive candle.

Guys have votive candles?

An unwelcome lump in my throat expanded at the sweetness of their gesture, and for a moment I considered that while I might not be having the kind of Wisconsin holiday I was accustomed to, maybe something different wasn’t going to be all that horrible.

And the guys didn’t seem to have girlfriends.

Not that that mattered. Not at all.

I brought the gingerbread plate over to their table and set it down just as their door flew open. Leo was holding four wine glasses and a bottle he’d uncorked.

I walked back to my side of the hall, unsure how it all was supposed to work.

“Here you go, Nina,” he said, handing me a full glass while standing as far away as possible.

Glad to see at least one of them was careful.

He walked back to his side of the hall, and lifted his mask just enough to taste his wine. His method looked like a good way to go. I did the same.

And the wine was a rich red that was neither too sweet nor too spicy.

“Oh my god, I love this,” I said, taking another swallow.

I had to pace myself or I’d drink too much.

“Isn’t it amazing? It’s my best seller. Comes from a small winery in Napa.” He held his glass toward me. “Cheers.”

Just a few hours ago I wouldn’t have thought there was anything to be cheery about. But things seemed like they might be looking up.

Wes came out of the apartment and poured himself a glass. “What do you think of our setup, Nina? I think it’s looking pretty damn good.” He looked around, pleased.

“I… I’m blown away, I have to admit. Thank you.”

He gestured toward me with his glass. “Have a seat. Henry will be serving us soon.”

“But wait. Must top off wine, first.” Leo grabbed the bottle and sprinted over toward me, standing back as far as he could but still getting the wine in my glass.

His goofiness was fucking cute.

They took seats at their table, so I took mine. It felt funny to be facing each other from opposite ends of the hall but it was actually, sort of, working. The hallway, a little on the shabby side and never very well lit, was lovely in the low light and flickering candles. The threadbare carpet morphed into something charming, and the ornate trim where the walls met the ceilings, covered with years of glopped on paint, actually looked high end. Even a bit decadent.

“Funny how quiet the building is, huh?” Wes said. “Guess most people have gone somewhere. I haven’t seen a single person in days. Apart from you, Nina.”

I leaned toward them and lowered my voice. Well, as low as I could and still have them hear me across the hall and with my mask on. “Mrs. Strubel is still around,” I said, pointing to her door.

“If we see her, we’ll invite her too,” Leo said, raising his glass again.

Just then, Henry emerged with a huge platter. Steam was pouring off it and my stomach growled rudely.

“What is it? It smells so good,” I said.

Henry took a sip of wine and then looked at us all just as if he were the chef in a real restaurant. He started with a little bow. “Tonight we are serving oven roasted lamb T-bone with rosemary, thyme, and garlic confit. On the side we have chanterelle mushrooms, smashed sunchokes, and wild spinach. And of course, au jus for the lamb.”

Holy shit. What had I stumbled into?

“Henry, you are a rock star,” Leo roared. “Damn, this looks good. I recommend everyone have a chef for a roommate.”

“Or in Nina’s case, a neighbor,” Henry added. “Nina, bring me your plate, would you?”

I walked toward the guys, trying my best not to run, that’s how good everything looked. “I can’t believe this. Just incredible.”

Henry, still wearing his mask, took my plate, piled it high, and returned it to me. Then he served the guys and himself.

“Hey, I think we’re sitting far enough from each other to take our masks off now. What do you think, Nina?” Wes asked.

For a moment, I didn’t care what I was in danger of catching. I was starving and hadn’t had a meal like this in… probably ever. I whipped off my mask.

“There she goes,” Leo whooped, and stuffed his own mask in his pocket, followed by Henry and Wes.

Bon appetit, everyone,” Henry said, raising his glass.

“Compliments to the chef,” I called.

“Hear, hear.”

I delicately pushed my knife into the lamb for my first bite while also discreetly checking out the guys without their masks.

’Course I’d seen them unmasked before, but because they’d annoyed the hell out of me, I’d pretty much ignored them in my passive-aggressive way of showing I thought they were jerks.

Except for when I spied on them through my peep hole.

“So, guys,” Wes started. “Did you know… that Nina works for a sex toy company?”

Henry coughed, and Leo slapped him on the back.
Lane, Mika. My Christmas Quarantine: A Reverse Harem Holiday Romance. Kindle Locations (493-548). Headlands Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Things get just a bit uncomfortable after they start discussing her job and she makes a quick getaway. Yet somehow Nina can’t seem to avoid them.

This is a fun Christmas romp, with a slow build to a some serious sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Mika!

Mika Lane

Writing has been a passion of mine since, well, forever (my first book was “The Day I Ate the Milkyway,” a true fourth-grade masterpiece), but steamy romance is now what gives purpose to my days and nights.

I live in magical Northern California with my own handsome alpha dude, sometimes known as Mr. Mika Lane, and an evil cat named Bill.

A lover of shiny things, I’ve been known to try to new recipes on unsuspecting friends, find hiding places so I can read undisturbed, and spend my last dollar on a plane ticket somewhere. I also drink cheap champagne and have way too many shoes.

I’ll always promise you a hot, sexy romp with kick-ass but imperfect heroines, and some version of a modern-day happily ever after.

I LOVE to hear from readers when I’m not dreaming up naughty tales to share. Join my Insider Group below, So we can get to know each other better.

Eyes to the Soul – Psychic Visions Book 7 By Dale Mayer


Eyes to the Soul
Psychic Visions Book 7
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Even when a person can see something, it doesn’t necessarily mean he should look…

Celina Wilton is technically blind, but, given the alternative of being dead instead, she’s learned how to adapt to a condition she finds far from ideal.

Leader of a community of psychics, Stefan Kronos is often asked by the police to help out on special cases where his unique abilities assist with investigations. When he’s called upon to consult on a case, Celina falls squarely on his radar. For a long time, he’s wanted to get to know Celina better, and the only reason he’s gotten as far as he has around her walls is by proceeding in unusual ways. He’s had to cautiously watch his every step…and now, in order to protect her, he has to watch hers as well.

But, to unravel the threads tangling their lives with a vicious killer, Celina will need to trust Stefan enough to let him inside her barriers.

This stalker is like none other Stefan has encountered. Before long, he realizes he’s not the only one with eyes into Celina’s soul…

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At the end of ‘Rare Find’ I was happy dancing over this next book. Finally it’s Stefan’s story. He’s with Dr. Maddy and Drew, Tabitha and Ronin and Shay at the symphony when Tabitha lets out a delighted gasp. Stefan had his eyes closed enjoying the music but opens them to see what’s happening. Colors danced with the music in the ethers. It’s Dr. Maddy who points out they are coming from the harpist. Stefan follows the colors to the source, he knows her, she is his beloved, the other half of his soul.

Now it’s one thing to get to know someone and fall in love, but Celina doesn’t know Stefan as he is now. He’s kept his distance, first because he’s older, then later waiting for the right opportunity.

Celina has a problem, there’s someone in her head, asking her for something she can’t do. A repetitive ‘Let Me See’ is only part of the torture he is putting her through. As Celina and a few friends from the symphony are celebrating the new season, he decides to offer her proof of what he could do and that begins a very interesting cycle of events.

Celina’s always seen ghosts but this one that has attached to her is decidedly malicious in intent. Unlike Mimi who is more of a friend and confidant. Celina is also blind, her surgeon is puzzled because there doesn’t appear to be an medical reason for it.

We get to see a lot of Samantha in this book, she’s having visions that are very disturbing. Brandt is trying to make sense of them and needs Stefan’s help. It’s through this connection that Stefan gets to meet Celina, although it’s in regard to a disturbing message written in blood on her bathroom mirror.

This is a favorite scene.

The doorbell rang once, and then a second time. Celina’s stomach sank. Great, here was round two. “That’s the cops. A different group,” she muttered, pushing her chair back to stand up.

“Ugh,” Jillian said.

Celina called back, “I know you can’t stay for long. If you want to take off now while they are here, you could always come over later.”

“Will do.”

Celina opened the door and frowned. Heat and power radiated toward her. “Hello?”

“Hello,” said a calm, masculine voice. “I’m Detective Brandt Sutherland and I have Stefan Kronos, a consultant working with the department, with me.” He hesitated. “May we come in? We won’t be long, but we’d like to see the crime scene.”

She stepped back and away from the entrance. By rights she shouldn’t even be here, but it wasn’t like she had any place to go. She motioned in the direction of the bathroom. “Help yourself.”

“Thank you.” Two men walked past her. The second one caught her attention as he moved past her. She lifted her head and sniffed gently. She recognized that aftershave…and there was just something else about him…she recognized him…or maybe it was his name.

Celina waited at the door but the consultant didn’t say anything. She wracked her brain as to why his name rang a bell in her memory.

Jillian stepped closer and whispered in Celina’s ear, “Oh my God, they are both hunks.”

Celina’s lips twisted. “Really? Well, their looks don’t do anything for me.”

“Maybe not, but wow.” Then her voice changed. “I feel like I should know the first guy but can’t place him.”

“Hmm. I thought I recognized the consultant’s name, but I don’t know from where.”

“Think about it, and be good while I’m gone.”

“Like I have a choice,” Celina muttered as she closed the door behind her friend. She really needed to give up her self-pity and get on with her life.

“Like hell,” she said to no one in particular, then realized how odd she must look standing in the hallway talking to herself. She made her way back to the kitchen where she sat down with her tea and waited. She lifted her cup ever so slightly when she felt it – almost a ghostly poke.

It was a weird, snaky, sneaky feeling. She frowned and lifted her face in the direction of the doorway.

“Did you want to talk to me?” That deep milk chocolate voice that promised a million midnight dreams spoke, his tone curling her toes and making her drop her cup. She knew that voice. Oh dear God, she did. “You,” she whispered. “What are you doing here?”

“Do you know me?” the consultant asked. “From where?” The smile in his voice sent shivers down her back.

It was stupid, but she felt she’d touched this man before and had been touched by him. Finally, forced by a compulsion she couldn’t understand, she whispered the truth under her breath, “From my dreams. I’ve seen you in my dreams.”
Mayer, Dale. Psychic Visions: Books 7-9 . Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (975-999). Kindle Edition.

Stefan is a bit puzzled, but takes it all in stride knowing that everything will eventually come together and make sense. In a bit of a twist, Celina’s surgeon calls Dr. Maddy in for a consult on her eyes. This turns out to be even more interesting.

I love the peeks we get at the bad guy’s thoughts as this story unfolds it kept me trying to guess who it is and why. Thanks to Dr. Maddy, Stefan is finally able to get close to Celina. Although Lissa, the teenage ghost who’s attached herself to Stefan isn’t happy with her.

I loved this complicated tale with so many different things going on that are all related and just a touch of sizzle. I’m so glad I was able to get this in another bundle so I can just start on the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

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Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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Rare Find – Psychic Visions Book 6 by Dale Mayer


Rare Find
Psychic Visions Book 6
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Injured people in need of aid call out to friends and family or even strangers for help. Who can animals turn to who would not only hear them but understand their cry for help? Such a creature would truly be a rare find.

Determined to bury her aching heart in service of her animals at Exotic Landscape, Tabitha is caught unaware when she’s yanked out of her cozy little retreat by the appeal of someone needing rescue. Responding to that call gets her more trouble than she bargained for.

Understanding secrets isn’t difficult for someone with quite a few of his own, but Detective Ronin Chandler learns that the mysteries of the universe can take on a whole new level of meaning. With the woman he loves in jeopardy, Ronin struggles to comprehend what’s happening, what Tabitha needs, and how to even help her…before he loses her, maybe forever.

Danger escalates at every turn. Determining who to trust – and who not to – becomes as much of a challenge as figuring out who wants them dead.

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We met Tabitha in ‘Knock Knock…’ her animal refuge is one of Shay’s Foundation’s benefactors. Ronin is our local detective with his own abilities. There is a lot of attraction between him and Tabitha, as we saw in that book.

Now with the death of Tabitha’s grandfather Ronin is even more protective of her. She’s also been having headaches since returning from hiding in the ether and having a slow recovery that required hospitalization. I’ve loved the way animals come to play in these books, they are a way to find peace in their crazy world. In Tabitha’s world the animals are both pets and shelter. I wasn’t surprised to see her with a massive dog, a three-legged Bull Mastiff named Tripod. Her other pet however, gave me pause, Tango is a very affectionate white tiger. Raised from a cub Tango and Tabitha share a special bond one I’m sure is aided by her gifts.

Ronin is in for a big surprise though, he’s never been in her home, they’re taking things slow. He does have a problem with cats though, he’s going to have to get over it if he wants to continue his relationship with Tabitha. He’s at still at work when Stefan calls him to get to Tabitha, that she’s been attacked psychically. It took a bit of doing but Ronin makes friends with Tripod and gets Tabitha the help she needs. However, it’s Stefan who get her back to herself and home since medically there isn’t anything wrong with her.

Ronin was there waiting with dinner, but when Tango roars Tabitha knows she has to introduce Ronin.

This is a favorite scene.

“Jesus. What the hell is that?” Ronin half jumped out of his chair and leaned forward to look out the window.

“Ha. It’s my cat. That’s Tango.”

He shot her a disbelieving look, catching the amused glitter in her light-green eyes. “There is no way a cat makes that kind of sound.”

Tango roared again. This time though there was something off. Tabitha went to the living room and pushed some kind of button. Ronin followed more slowly and watched as the whole wall retracted.

What the hell kind of wall was that? And damn if she didn’t have some kind of fine mesh cage behind that wall. Thank God. He was half afraid she was one of those crazy people who got so super cozy with their wild pets that they ignored common sense.

Then she pulled the wire mesh completely back.

Oh shit.

And didn’t the biggest damn white tiger, with a head the size of Mount Rushmore, saunter toward her.

“Watch out,” he cried as the tiger jumped. Instantly his throat clogged and his chest tightened. Christ, he could hardly breathe. He swallowed. And then swallowed again. He couldn’t help the instinctive clenching of his fists. Inside, insidious emotions shifted through him. Panic. Pain. Sadness. So much worse than the last time he’d been in the house.

He took a shaky breath. This was not happening.

He was halfway to her when he realized the tiger had stopped with complete control and was on his back legs, Tabitha crushed in his embrace.

Jesus.

Ronin prided himself on being a brave soul, but he was not going that close. And he didn’t care how tame the damn thing was. A wild animal was a wild animal.

Unless it’s not a wild animal.

Stefan. And did one ever get used to this guy in his head?

Ronin snapped out mentally, If you’re trying to convince me that this thing is safe to be around, forget it. I have too much respect for human life to believe you.

And in many cases you could be right. In this case however, you’d be wrong.

And why is that? Has she got some kind of special powers or something? Right about now he wished she did. He’d believe that as much as anything.

No, but they do have a special connection.

See, that’s where you are wrong. All pet lovers say that about their little pooches. And he couldn’t help the disgust from rolling through his voice. He was a cop, damn it. And he’d seen more than his fair share of animals both domesticated and wild. Sometimes the domestic ones were the more dangerous.

Stefan laughed.
You’ll have to see for yourself. And take a deep breath. You will survive this.

“Promise?” Ronin muttered.

With a last laugh, Ronin’s mind emptied. Damn, that was weird.

“Ronin, come and meet Tango.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Damn it, he wasn’t a wuss. He took a couple of steps forward and stopped. And struggled to breathe. He so didn’t want to pass out. Not here. Not with her. Not with that carnivore looking on. “I’ll stick to dogs.”

“Tripod is here, too.”

He groaned silently and took another step into the living room.

Tango dropped to the floor and stared at Ronin, a howl starting deep in the back of his throat. The hairs raised on the back of his neck.

The look in those damn eyes…

Ronin took a deep breath and tried to stop the shakiness that was starting to vibrate his insides, making his stomach acids turn to cheese.

“Why is he howling?”

“I’m not sure. He doesn’t normally do that.” She reached down to place a hand on Tango’s head. The howl changed. It wasn’t the same tenor as the first time, but it was hardly welcoming.

Then all of a sudden, the howl cut off.

Thank you. Ronin much preferred the silence. Except now a dull roaring sound was in his head. Almost a buzz. He shook his head, trying to clear it.

Tabitha sighed heavily. “Come over here and meet Tango. He’ll calm down once he meets you. And maybe you will too.” She tilted her head and studied him. “And make sure that gun is safely away. Tripod hates them.”

“I’ve already made peace with the dog.” He didn’t move.

“And you’ll make peace with Tango, too. It’s much better to meet him on equal ground. If you take one step backwards, he’s got you.”

“Damn.” Ronin stepped forward. He could feel the heat, the intensity of that deep blue feline gaze following his every movement. Like a cat watching a mouse.

Ronin had always felt sympathy for the mouse.

For a cat, the animal was damn beautiful. The markings on its head, the eyes, the shocking white fur were something he’d never expected to see up close. And never inside a house. Not sure he wanted to hear the answer, he asked, “Do you let him out of that cage much?”

“All the time. The house is his, too.”

Double damn.

When he was a couple of feet away, Ronin stopped, his gaze on the cat.

“Now what?”

She grinned. “Say hi.”

He shot her a fulminating look. “Just like that.”

“Well, to him of course.”

His gaze zipped back to the waiting tiger. Did she mean it the way Stefan had said to talk to Tango? ’Cause there was no way in hell he’d be dropping to his knees and closing his eyes in front of a tiger. Talk about being a sacrificial offering. Then as if to accentuate the fact that the tiger was waiting for the appropriate response, it sat down and waited.

Taking a deep breath and feeling like an idiot, Ronin said, “Hi, Tango. Nice to meet you.”

No response. Then again, what had he expected? He shook his head then winced at the heavy buzz in his ear. Under his breath, he swore again.

“That ringing inside your head… It’s because he’s talking to you and you’re not listening.”

He stared at her in disbelief. “How did you know my head is ringing?”

She snorted. “Because I can sense it. Normally I only listen to my animals but now… some things have changed and I can sense more with people too. And behind your lovely front of ‘I don’t like cats’…I see fear.”

Heat washed up his cheeks. Damn. So what if there was fear? Hell, there was a tiger in the room. Anyone with an ounce of working brain matter would understand. Besides, it’s not as if he was afraid of cats… He knew there was fear there, he just didn’t understand what exactly frightened him.

And the last thing he wanted was her laughing at him.

With a final glance at the still gaze of the tiger locked on him, Ronin decided enough was enough for this time. He’d done well but he didn’t want to push it. He turned and headed back to the kitchen, putting a little distance between him and Tango. “While you’re having your fun, I’ll go finish eating. Unless you’re planning on feeding dinner to the two of them.”

Turning his back on that damn feline was the hardest thing he’d done in a long time. And he was proud that he’d managed to do it in a calm, nonchalant manner.

Then he found the two empty plates on the table and the guilty party still licking the tomato sauce off his face.

Tripod.
Mayer, Dale. Psychic Visions: Books 4-6. Kindle Locations (10180-10234). Valley Publishing. Kindle Edition.

It’s bad enough for Ronin to get through that but to realize Tango frequently sleeps with her is quite another. He stays the night with her, and when she wakes feeling hunted he’s right there. After that he’s in her bed, not going to do anything but sleep but her restlessness leads to conversation about him and cats and then to other things.

It’s not long after that feeling of being hunted comes back, Tabitha decides to try something and ends up being yanked out of her body to somewhere else. It takes a while but she finally realizes she is inside a large cat. She doesn’t know where and that’s a problem. She has to find her way back in order to save both of them.

Ronin also figures out his issue with cats, and yes I cried.

This book pulls out all the stops and is extremely emotional. With nail-biting suspense and an unusual twist on the psychic abilities.

I am already starting the next bundle of three.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

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Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).

She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!

To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.

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Succubus Blessed – Shackled Souls Trilogy Book 3 by Heather Long


Succubus Blessed
Shackled Souls Trilogy Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Long

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The following blurb might
contain spoilers for Succubus Unchained.
Be warned before you scroll down.

There might be something to this new life of mine.

Being mated to Maddox and bonded to Alfred isn’t so bad. Rogue is stealing his way into my heart and Fin already had part of it. If I were to be totally honest, I think they’ve all taken pieces of my soul.

Choosing them was the scariest thing I’d ever done, until now.

Someone has stolen my dragon and my druid. They’re locked in the last place I’d ever want to see again.
But I’ll do it. I’ll walk right into the belly of the beast, confront the warden and anyone else who gets in my way.
Yeah, sounds a lot braver than I am. But they wouldn’t leave me there and I won’t leave them.

Even if Rogue and Alfred forbade me from going.

Pfft.

What’s the worst that could happen?

NOTE: This is a paranormal prison reverse harem and will feature aggressively snarky characters, a bit of twisted humor and a lot of passion. So come join an amazing group of authors in Nightmare Penitentiary, a place you’ll never want to escape from. The author suggests you should always read the forward in her books. This is the third in a trilogy.

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Fiona has accepted that she is theirs and they are hers but…Don’t lock her up. She wasn’t going to let that prison have her Mage, Fin or her Dragon, Maddox. They didn’t leave her there, she won’t leave them. We jump right into plenty of action, then some sizzle. As they are leaving the prison they are confronted by Cyrus. As Maddox with Fin’s help hides her, they are joined by Alfred and Rogue. I found myself giggling at Fiona’s antics while Alfred and Cyrus converse, but then let a battle begin.

When Fin transports them all back to the Keep, all Fiona wants is a bath and sleep. That’s not all but I do try to keep it clean here.

They obviously have something to discuss with her and they are probably correct in assuming she’s not going to like it.

This is a favorite scene.

“Finish bathing, Hellion, then we’ll take this somewhere more comfortable.” Alfred’s tone suggested there would be a real fight if Maddox or Fin argued with him. Rogue had no such objections. The bathing room was good for her, but between the hot pools and the fire, it was uncomfortable for him after a time.

More surprising than Maddox and Fin accepting Alfred’s unspoken threat was the fact that Fiona didn’t argue. She shifted to move for the soap and the shampoo, and he was forced to leave her hair alone. Instead, he examined his brothers as Fin rose from the water. The marks left on his arms and back had faded significantly, but even the pale pink of them suggested how bad they’d been.

For his part, Maddox looked tired, but he also bristled like his dragon was dangerously close to the surface. To be fair, he and his dragon were more often one in the same, the dragon in the human’s skin and the human in the dragon’s scales. But this was different.

Mating had changed him.

Changed all of them.

There was a peace to Alfred, a resoluteness that had never been there before. His reaction to her disappearance had been profoundly and dangerously quiet. They’d gone after her, and when they hadn’t tracked her immediately, Alfred had simply cleared coven after coven of vampires— all those loyal to the ones allying against them.

Rogue had no objections. They’d gotten out of hand in recent centuries. It was more than time to cull back the worst of the worst. This hadn’t been about culling. It had been about eliminating threats. The other members of the Seven had added a fresh bounty to Fiona’s head. While vampires older than her might still find her a tough target, enough of them could overwhelm and that was not an option.

When she finished washing up and all traces of blood and soot were gone from her skin, Rogue swept a gaze over her as she rose from the water. He wasn’t the only one looking for signs of injury. There was a hint of bruising along one arm and on her hip. No scrapes or broken skin. More, there was no hint of shadow taint on her to mar the shimmer. Even in the warm-lit gloom of the bathing room, she shimmered faintly.

Glowing.

Yes, he’d seen her outside the prison— the pure light she’d radiated and the shadow wings stretching out from her back. Even her deep red hair had taken on a more vibrant sheen, and when she’d looked away for the briefest of moments, her eyes had been purely luminescent, jewels given life.

Not that she hadn’t always been beautiful, because she had. Beautiful. Stubborn. Irritating. She dug in deep, refusing to be dislodged with her hotheaded impetuousness. Now?

Now she was exquisite in a way Rogue couldn’t even begin to define. Fin and Maddox both dressed in the clothes that had been left for them. It was Maddox who held out a robe and wrapped her in it before he scooped her up. She’d rolled her eyes and slapped his chest because she was fine, but he’d only nipped her ear and murmured something that had her laughing before he carried her up with the rest following.

They’d gone to the library, where fires awaited them, along with hot tea and more food. Fiona had only rolled her eyes as Maddox settled in a chair with her in his lap, and the rest dragged seats over to join them. Rogue plucked her away from Maddox when he was distracted and he scowled, but Fiona only wrapped her arms around Rogue and he curled her closer.

When he’d helped her escape, to spread her then metaphorical wings, he’d known where she was. Yes, he’d told her he wouldn’t be able to track her, but he’d known exactly where she would go, just as Fin had. He’d been able to keep his distance and check on her— discreetly— even as Alfred and Maddox had raged at him.

This time?

No, this time, he’d had a taste of the cool gray overwhelming his world once again in her absence. He would not willingly return to that half-state. One he hadn’t even realized he’d been living in for so long.

“So,” Fiona said once Fin pressed a mug of tea into her hands and she snuggled back against Rogue. “What did you want to discuss?”

Maddox opened his mouth, but it was Fin who spoke. “The prophecy.”

“Blegh,” she said, her whole face screwing up. “I hate prophecies. I hate anything magic related.”

“You don’t hate me,” Fin teased.

“For the moment,” she snapped back, but the playfulness in her voice pulled a smile from all of them, even Alfred.

Smoothing a hand over Fiona’s abdomen, he drew a light circle against the fabric of her robe. “Little sváss, we need you to listen for a few moments and to hear us on this. While I agree, prophecies can be muddled and, as often as not, vague and open to interpretation, this one very much impacts you.”

She twisted and met his gaze, searching his face for something. The little frown pulled her brows together. “How much does it affect the rest of you?”

“Anything that affects you will have to go through us,” he told her simply, directly, and she let out that little sigh of impatience before making a face.

“Fine. I will listen and do my best to not interrupt. But I refuse to not roll my eyes if I think it’s stupid.”

“Why don’t you like magic?” They’d never asked, and if they wanted her to believe in this prophecy even in as much as to help them with it, then they should know.

Slumping back against him, she made a pained sound, then laughed. “I don’t like magic because witches are the most interfering creatures you’ve ever met. They have a spell for literally everything. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have some very good witch friends. But magic and I? We haven’t always gotten along. You know how they say a hybrid can’t exist?”

She paused and glanced around at all of them, but it was Alfred who merely nodded and said, “They also say I don’t exist, Hellion.”

“Yeah, but they are kind of half-right about you,” she pointed out. “You don’t involve yourself in the world. You stay here, hidden away. You let them come to you so if they don’t, then by that logic, you aren’t a part of their world and thus you don’t exist.”

His mouth opened and then closed as he appeared to consider her words. A laugh worked its way through Rogue, and he wrapped a hand around her nape and turned her again. She met his kiss easily and lightly. Eyes lighting up, literally, Fiona leaned into him and then the tingle of her kiss spread through his whole body, and he wrapped her up tighter.

“And she’s glowing again,” Fin murmured in a low voice. Alfred leaned forward, and even Maddox studied her intently. As aware of them as he was though, Rogue let himself feel her. Something about her wildness had always called to him, from the moment he’d taken her from the prison and brought her to the keep.

The very primal part of her nature summoned his own to the surface— a part of him he’d long believed cut off. It was why he shifted again, something he hadn’t indulged in over countless centuries. She’d done more than just push him, she’d brought him back to life.

Energy hummed off of her, but it was beyond soothing and he found himself wanting to cradle her, shield her light from any breeze that would extinguish it.

“I never expected this,” Alfred said, running a hand over his mouth as he studied her.

That pulled her attention away from Rogue, and he exhaled a long breath. He could have cheerfully forgotten the rest and drowned in the brilliance of her.

“Spill it, boys. You’re starting to freak me out.”

They weren’t. Not yet. But she tried to tease it out of them. Still, when she slid her hand over Rogue’s, he threaded their fingers together.

“There’s a prophecy,” Fin said. “Borne from a vision I had of you… a long time ago. Now, while I agree with you— prophecies tend to be vague and open to interpretation— this didn’t come from just any seer. It came from me.”

That pulled her full interest, and Rogue could practically feel her leaning forward, even if she didn’t shift a muscle. “Dun. Dun. Dun. Dun!”

Her intonation of the musical notes shattered the tension, and Alfred chuckled. The soft laughter carried through the whole library, and Rogue grinned. Maddox and Fin stared at them both like they’d sprouted second heads before they began chuckling, too.

“This isn’t supposed to be funny, Beautiful.” Fin’s argument didn’t hold much weight.

She shrugged. “You’re an incorrigible flirt and you tease me constantly, and then you tell me in this super serious dark and sober voice that this ‘prophecy’ is something uber special because you saw it?”

With a sniff, he nodded. “Exactly.” Then he grinned and another bubble of laughter escaped Rogue. When was the last fucking time he’d been happy?

He didn’t have to see her face to almost feel the way she rolled her eyes. “Fine, I’ll give this all the seriousness it deserves. What’s the prophecy?”

Fin exhaled, then glanced at each of them before he focused on her. “When the female hybrid is born, the world will change.”

She waited a beat. “It will change?”

He nodded.

“That’s it? The world will change?”

“Hellion,” Alfred began, even as Maddox said, “Kitten—”

But a sound tugged Rogue’s attention. A sound and a ping on the wards.

It was the only warning he had before the first volley slammed into the building, but Rogue had already tumbled her out of the chair and over, shielding her as the explosion of light and sound rocked them.
Heather Long. Succubus Blessed: Shackled Souls 3 (Kindle Locations 923-999).

An attack on the Keep has Rogue fleeing with her through tunnels she didn’t know existed. This leads to an encounter with yet another of the Seven, much to the chagrin of the others. They really do need to get themselves together and stop hiding things from her. Fiona isn’t one to sit back and do nothing. She’s also not going to be caged up ever again.

The Keep, a Castle, and the Island are all sites of altercations. Maddox takes off with Fiona, wanting to protect her from all that’s happening. Of course neither Fiona or the guys are going to let him get away with that.

This book reveals many new things Fiona can do, and there’s a few surprises as well. Plenty of snark, action, some giggles, and sizzle heat kept me turning the pages.

While I’m sorry to say good-bye to these characters this book was truly the perfect ending to this trilogy.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Heather Long Heather Long

USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.

From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.

When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.


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