Countdown to Christmas: Christmas With The Black Sheep by Natalie-Nicole Bates


Christmas With The Black Sheep
A Christmas Novella
By
Natalie-Nicole Bates

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

It’s Christmas time, and Eriah Jameson has returned home to restart his family’s business. Due to his wild child past, no one is friendly or welcoming to Barrow Haven’s black sheep.

Aylin Myers lost her job when Eriah’s father took ill. She knows Eriah needs her help getting his business up and running again, but she doesn’t trust him. If he fails, she knows it will dishonor his father’s memory. And Aylin knows that at Christmas, it’s the right thing to help your fellow man—no matter how wretched he might be.

As Aylin gets to know Eriah, she sees a side of him Barrow Haven never saw. That perhaps the black sheep has changed for the better. Still, can she be sure this side of Eriah is real, and not just a facade he’s perfected over time to get his own way?

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Eriah is the black sheep of his family. Always in trouble as a kid when he returns to his hometown it’s no wonder folks don’t want to talk to him let alone help him. He wants to reopen the family business that when his father died, died with him. The question is can the people of the town forgive him his past.

Aylin has a blossoming new business, making candles and scents both unique and personal. When he approaches her for help, she gives it with a stipulation. having had a run in with his girlfriend.

This is a favorite scene at the café after her run in with his girlfriend.

“Anyway, I hope to reopen the funeral home. I have my funeral director’s license now.”

What a surprise. Conversations with his late father seemed to imply Eriah rejected the idea of being involved with the family business, and had no interests outside of partying, and running through his trust fund.

“Well, good luck with it. A lot of people were sad to see it close when your father took ill.”

“I understand it put you out of work.”

She shrugged. “It put a few people out of work. I survived.”

“I’d like to offer you your job back.” She let out a chuckle, and broke her star cookie in two. She held out a half to him. It was Christmas after all, a time to love your fellow man, no matter how wretched.

“No thank you. I’m doing pretty well with my own little business.”

He took the cookie from her, his fingers grazing hers. “Please, Aylin, I need your help,” he said.

Her dark brows drew together? “My help? Why on earth would you need my help?”

“Because no one will help me!”

Heads turned in their direction, and Aylin wanted to crawl under the table.

He held up a hand, and visibly sighed. “I’m sorry. I called all of my father’s former employees. Everyone hung up immediately. One woman, Penny, was the only one who would speak to me.”

Penny had been the secretary at the funeral home. She was lucky to get a job at a beauty salon scheduling appointments after the home closed. “Everyone loved your father, Eriah. It was hard on us when he took ill, and the home eventually closed. I suppose everyone is still a little sad. Besides that, I believe everyone has found work of some type by now.” She ticked off a few feeble excuses. She didn’t say what she wanted to say, what he most likely dreaded to hear—no one liked him, or wanted to work for him.

“You’re being kind, Aylin. I appreciate that. I know no one likes me. I know I caused a lot of havoc in Barrow Haven. I just want to prove I’m not the same person I was when I left.”

So he did recognize the town’s dislike for him or maybe after all this time, just ambivalence. Her suspicion of him dropped a notch. Although she wasn’t quite sure if he was telling the truth, she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. She looked directly at him. “What is it you want from me?”

“Penny tells me you were more than just a cleaner whose wet floor I trotted over. She said you were like a Jack- of-all-trades without a license.”

She tilted her head, and smiled at the memories. “That is true. I did a whole lot more than the state would have approved. It was all under your father’s supervision, though.”

“That’s why I need you. Listen, I know it’s Christmas, and you have your own life, and your own business, but if you could just help me. You know where everything is, and how to get things done. I haven’t lived in Barrow Haven for so long, I’m not sure where to even begin.”

She pushed her dark hair from her shoulder. “Oh, Eriah, I don’t know.” She wouldn’t allow herself to be guilted into helping him. Yet she knew it was his father’s wish that Eriah return some day, and take over the business. After all, he was fourth generation. Her resistance slipped another notch.
“Well, I’m pretty much set with my Christmas orders. I only need to deliver them before Christmas. I could help you for a while, I suppose. Don’t you have plans for the holiday?”

“Don’t you?” he countered.

“No, not really. I’ll be helping out at the church’s kitchen Christmas Eve, and in the afternoon Christmas Day, serving the homeless and less fortunate people. That’s it.”

“You don’t have a family?” he asked.

She really didn’t want to talk about this with him. She wrapped her hands around the coffee mug. “Not a soul.”

“Same with me. My mother has her second family in Hawaii. I’ll be spending my Christmas Day cleaning the funeral home, and taking inventory of what is there, and my night watching talk shows in the upstairs apartment.”

That surprised her. How could a guy with so many friends in his teens, suddenly have no one?

She looked again at his handsome face. It was full of hope. “I’ll tell you what. You promise to spend an hour or two serving dinner with me in the church’s basement on Christmas Day, I’ll help you get your business up and running. Besides, a little volunteer work will do you good, and it might just help you earn back a little good will and respect from the town.”

A wide smile crossed his face, the first smile she ever saw on him. He extended his hand across the table and grasped hers. “You have a deal, Aylin.”
Bates, Natalie-Nicole. Christmas with the Black Sheep (Kindle Locations 226-276). Books to Go Now. Kindle Edition.

A quick read with enough angst and drama to keep you turning the pages, and also to but a smile on your face.

I would have liked a bit more of the relationship before the skip to the next year but overall a fun read.

4 Contented Purrs for Natalie-Nicole!

Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

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Countdown To Christmas: Hope For Christmas – Cowboy Way Book 1 By Becky McGraw


Hope For Christmas
The Cowboy Way Christmas Novella – Book 1
By
Becky McGraw

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Cowboys are a different breed…
They work hard, play hard and love harder.
It’s all about the ride, until the right woman
makes them fall.

Cord Dixon, Mr. Laramie in the world of western clothing modeling, loses his job because he refuses to sleep with his female boss. Christmas is coming, and his bills are due, so he takes the only job he can find. A mall Santa.

Socialite wedding photographer, Hope Carlisle’s life disintegrates when she ruins the wedding of the year. In one fell swoop, she loses her best friend, her business partner and her fiancé. Unemployed and needing a job fast, Hope takes a job as an elf photographer at the local mall. She is not looking forward to her new job, until she meets her sexy Santa.

Individually, Hope and Cord’s lives seem to be a hopeless mess. But with the magic of Christmas in the air, they work together to reclaim their lives and find love in the process.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

Let’s take a trip to a ranch in Texas. I love how Becky puts us right into the feel of ranch life. As you read you can smell the hay and other things. But mostly the sweet, fresh country air.

Cole and Hope have last ditch jobs at the Mall, as Santa and his photographer elf. However her first day becomes their last when a screaming child’s antics pushes Cole beyond his limits
.

Cole fires his agent, who is faithful to the client and blackballed Cole’s modeling career. With no career he decides to tuck tail and return home where he belongs.

Hope lost everything, her best friend, her fiancé, her inheritance and her family when her camera malfunctioned at a socialite’s wedding. The Mall elf job was to pay her rent, now she’s lost that too. Then she comes up with an idea that would save her career, boost her friend Tina’s company and launch Cole’s career again if he chooses.

With the ranch falling apart, his dad sick and his brother distant from his son, Cole’s return is like a slap in the face. Hope’s initial idea falls to the wayside, but she offers up another way to make everything right for her, Cole and his family.

This is a favorite scene as they work on cleaning the bunkhouse.

Standing on her tiptoes, Hope scrubbed at a cloudy spot on the window at the front of the bunkhouse while she admired the beautiful colors painting the sky as the sun faded behind the trees. A fly picked that opportune moment to buzz around her head. It landed on her forehead, and without thinking, Hope slapped at it with her soapy, gloved hand. Soap slid over her eyebrows and right into her eyes.

She gasped and squeezed them tight, flailing her hands and trying to figure out what to do. She couldn’t rub them, she only had on a tank top so there wasn’t enough material to wipe with, and she couldn’t see to go to the bathroom and wash them out.

“Help!” she shouted as she blindly tugged at the gloves while trying to get them off, but they were suctioned to her hands. She rubbed her face against her shoulder, hoping to hit the thin strap of the tank top.

“Hey—are you okay?” Cord shouted from the kitchen then she heard his boot heels tapping on the wooden plank floor she had just mopped a few minutes ago.

“Your boots are dirty!” she wailed, wiping at her eyes with the hem of her dirty tank top. “You’re gonna mess up the floor!”

“Oh, sorry!” His steps stopped. Hope heard him grunt and figured he must be pulling them off. One clattered on the floor then the other. She fanned her eyes with her gloved fingers then gave up to rub them with her fists. “Oh, man this burns.”

Cord stopped beside her to pull her arm away from her face. Hope couldn’t pry her eyes open. “What the hell did you do?” he demanded gruffly.

“I tried to swat a stupid fly and soap got in my eyes.”

“One second,” he said as he stepped back from her. The next second he was back. His warm fingers closed over her chin, and he gently dabbed at her eyes with a cool cloth, then wiped her face. Cord grabbed her hand to pull her across the floor toward the kitchen. “I think we’re gonna need more water. You probably have makeup in there too.”

Cord stopped at the sink and she heard running water. He swiped an even wetter rag over her eyes. Droplets of cold water streamed down her face and onto her chest. Her nipples hardened and Hope gasped. Cord’s hands stilled for a second then he started wiping again.

When the stinging in her eyes finally stopped, she grabbed his forearm to stop him and opened her eyes. Not two inches from her nose was his firmly muscled bare chest. Cord had evidently been using his shirt to wipe her face. Every tight ripple in his abdomen was on prime display. All the way down to the low slung waistband of his faded jeans. Her eyes followed the dark, thin happy trail bisecting his stomach until it ended there.

Water droplets scattered across the smooth skin of his chest, and Hope fought the urge to lean forward and lick them off. Her head even gravitated that way until she caught herself. Cord’s eyes darted to the front of her wet tank top then back to her eyes. He put his hand on the side of her face and his eyes met hers. “Burning stop?” he asked, his voice more gravelly than usual.

“Yes, thanks for saving me,” she said with a smile.

His thumb brushed over her lower lip, and the burning started elsewhere. His eyes followed his thumb as it made a second pass over her lip. Hope’s knees went weak and she put her hand on his shoulder. Cord put his hand over hers and pulled it off. Heat baked her face as she stepped back from him.

“Gloves,” he explained with a chuckle, his blue eyes shining. “I don’t want to get soap in my eyes too.” Cord took her hand and removed one glove then the other, and threw them in the sink before he gently put her hand back on his shoulder.

Their eyes met, and Hope held her breath. As his head lowered toward hers, his breath brushed her mouth before his lips met hers. The kiss was soft, sweet, and too fast for her to fully enjoy. A soft breath escaped Hope as he pulled back.
McGraw, Becky. Hope For Christmas (A Cowboy Way Novella) (Kindle Locations 729-763). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

From here things heat up in more ways than one, with family drama, and helpers from the rodeo, and Cole’s nephew Jeremy caught in the middle of things he doesn’t understand.

The only thing these two don’t see coming is the love that sneaks up on them.

A story of family and hardship and the love that binds them together whether they like it or not.

The Cowboy Way is one of my favorite series and this is the first book of the series Guaranteed to hook you!

5 Contented Purrs for Becky!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

74004-becky1 Becky McGraw

A Jill of many trades, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Becky McGraw has been an optician, a beautician, a legal secretary, a real estate broker, web designer, graphic artist, and romance writer. She knows just enough to make her dangerous, and her humor-laced contemporary cowboy, military and romantic suspense novels varied and interesting.

Becky resides in Florida with her husband of thirty-plus years and her dog Abby.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America Published Authors Network, Novelists, Inc. and The Sisters In Crime.

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Countdown To Christmas! Noel’s Puppy Power – Black Swan Book 1.5 By KaLyn Cooper


Noel’s Puppy Power
Black Swan Book 1.5
By
KaLyn Cooper

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Puppies can destroy your house and teach you to love at the same time.

Tanner Hill is better at communicating with dogs than women. That might be why he hasn’t had a second date in over two years. He’s also been extremely busy with his kennel which has become a premier training facility, specializing in supplying dogs to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But there is this psychologist he can’t get out of his head, or his heart.

Dr. Bailey Conrad would never allow the loss of half her right leg to an IED in Iraq to stop her. Every day at the VA hospital she sees psychiatric patients who have lost so much more to the war effort. It’s her goal in life to help as many vets as possible to find their ‘new normal’, because she knows firsthand, it’s the internal scars that can be the most difficult to heal.

Noel’s Puppy Power is a standalone novella in the Black Swan series that focuses on active duty women and the men who dare to love a woman warrior. If you like the military romance books by Susan Stoker and Elle James, you’ll enjoy this sweet Christmas story.

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I really loved the opening of this story. A perfect introduction to our main characters. Tanner you may remember from Unrelenting Love since he trained both Damnit and his owners. He trains service dogs for veterans and Apollo and Chrys are his mating pair. Apollo has provided him with several male service dogs and it looks like this latest birthing will be more of the same.

We meet Bailey while Chrys is giving birth. She’s on her way to meet up with her military friends, but stops by with information for Tanner on the latest Vets approved for his dogs. She is thrilled to be involved in the birthing process of these new pups. Of course Case, Tanner’s friend and vet has to show up just as things were about to get interesting.

However, his arrival leads into one of my favorite scenes as Chrys gives birth to her sixth pup.

Chrys was tired. She’d been at this for hours.“You can do this,” Bailey reassured the puffing dog.As though believing the words, Chrys sucked in a deep breath. When she moaned, Bailey looked to Case for help, but he was smiling, staring at the lifted tail.

“Good girl, just a little more.” Case applied pressure to the pelvic area. “One more.”

In the dog’s next breath, Tanner exclaimed, “Yes. She did it.”

Chrys exhaled and laid her head down.

“Tanner, throw me that towel.” Case nodded to the cloth next to him. “Let’s help her out a little. I’m not sure she has it in her right now to tend to this little one.” Together the two men dealt with the mess of the newborn puppy.

Yip.

The high-pitched tiny noise shocked Bailey. Her gaze flew to the men and the tiny squirming bundle in their huge hands. Deep laughs filed the lobby.

“Well, aren’t you a feisty one?” Case said to the pup. It had an angry look on its tiny face, that couldn’t be any bigger than a quarter. It yapped again, this time louder. Bailey and the two men laughed. Her heart warmed at the delightful sound of the adorable new, tiny animal.

“Well, let’s see what we have here.” Case rolled the new life over and rubbed the towel on its belly. “Well, I’ll be.”

“Wow. It’s a girl.” Tanner rubbed the hair on Apollo’s head. “Congratulations on your first daughter.”

A thrill welled inside Bailey. She’d been there. Watching and comforting the mother had been a huge delight, but to be there for a first, filled her to overflowing joy.

Tanner’s smile was ear to ear. “You must be good luck, Bailey. Why don’t you do the honors and name her?”

Bailey’s mind went instantly blank. She couldn’t think of a name. Sure, she had lots of girlfriends, but it didn’t seem fair to use one of those. The others would need dogs named after them, too, and at the lack of female pups around there, it would take a lifetime. Tanner often waited to name the puppies. He liked their personality to dictate the name.

“Oh, I don’t know if I could.”

“Sure you can,” Case encouraged. “I can see the gears grinding in that pretty head of yours.”

Bailey’s phone started to play the “The First Noel”. It was her military friends checking to be sure she was still coming. The words ran through the back of her mind, silently singing along to the tune she’d heard three times already that day. She smiled. “Noel. She’s the first Noel.”

“Works for me.” Case thrust the towel and Noel toward her.

“Say hello to her, doc. I’ve got to check Chrys.”

Bailey took the precious little life into her cupped hands. She ran her thumb over the back that seemed to be in constant motion. “Welcome to the world, Noel.” She showed the mother her newest arrival and allowed her to lick, just as Tanner had instructed earlier. Then, she placed the smallest of the litter in the middle, hoping her brothers would keep her warm.
KaLyn Cooper. Noel’s Puppy Power (Kindle Locations 220-245).

Love is born in those few minutes and not just between Bailey and Noel. Tanner definitely has more than a professional interest in Bailey. Proving it as he escorts Bailey to her car by asking , or was he telling her she is his date for Case’s New Year’s Party.

With Bailey training for the Paralympic Team and Tanner going back to school they have difficulty coming together. Once they do, it is both an emotional and sensual explosion. Fan’s self, and there is no sex in this book!

We also see many puppy antics that will make you giggle just like I did.

KaLyn makes you feel everything her characters are going through and this book is emotional with highs and lows. There is a lot of information hidden in it about PTSD and Veteran Suicide. Rough topics that need to be brought out in any forum we can get them in. This book inspires a big Thank You to all our Serving and Veteran Military for their service and sacrifices.

5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!

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Want to Know More About the Men of Guardian Security?

Former military SpecOps,
these men now work for Guardian Security
(from the Black Swan Series)
protecting others but they can’t always protect their hearts.

 

Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

KaLyn Cooper   KaLyn Cooper
KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense.

Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination.

She, her husband, and Little Bear (Alaskan Malamute) live in Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or on the river.

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Silent Knight – Deep Six Security: Christmas by Becky McGraw


Silent Knight
Deep Six Security – Christmas
By
Becky McGraw

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

A Deep Six Security Christmas Story

Thomas Griffin never thought he’d be a homeless vet at forty-six years old. But when he was no longer useful to the government he’d spent his life serving, they turned their back on him when he needed them most, costing him everything he ever loved. After that, he really didn’t care. Living his life on the fringe was safe and he didn’t have to worry about anything except his next meal. That safety remains until a beautiful socialite decides to come slumming for Thanksgiving on the wrong side of town and gets herself into trouble.

Over her fifty-five years of life, Lou Ellen Wells had received many blessings. To pay them forward and honor the men in her life who served her country, both living and dead, she cooked Thanksgiving Dinner at the Dallas Veteran’s Services Center every year. It was located in a bad part of town, but she’d never had a problem, until this year when she’s brutally attacked and can’t get to her gun. A bedraggled man with piercing blue eyes jumps to her rescue and saves her with moves out of an action movie. She gives him her card and offers him help, but he tells her doesn’t need saving and takes off like his tail is on fire.

A couple of weeks later, Lou is surprised when the man calls her asking for help of a different kind. A teenage girl he cares about has gone missing in gang territory. He’s afraid she’ll get killed if he doesn’t find her soon. Lou calls in the team to help him, but her price for that help is finding out why her Silent Knight, who is obviously skilled and educated, chooses to be homeless. But will satisfying her curiosity about Thomas Griffin put her in the crosshairs of a terrorist group even more dangerous than MS-13?

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It’s rare to find a book where the heroine is an older woman. Lou Ellen isn’t young, nor is she a wimp. She is typical of today’s womaen, strong, self-reliant with the confidence and take no prisoners attitude that keeps all the Deep Six Security guys in line.

She is also an avid supporter of veterans, and seeing them homeless breaks her heart a bit. Volunteering at the Dallas Veteran’s Services Center is a way to help just a little.

Griff on the other hand has his own issues and reasons why he is homeless instead of on the grid. He’s not young, but he’s not old either.

This is one of my favorite scenes after Griff saves Lou Ellen from a sticky situation when she leaves the Center.

“Let’s find a table,” she said, ignoring him to take his arm and lead him to an open table near the end of the bar.

He pulled his arm away to slide a chair out and waited for her to sit. God, how long had it been since a man pulled out a chair for her? Too long, she thought, draping her coat over the chair beside her, before casting him a smile as she sat down. Griff took the chair to her left at the round table and huffed out a breath.

Lou Ellen reached out to put her hand on his forearm. “Let’s pretend we’re doing this before whatever happened to you, okay? Just relax and enjoy your meal.”

He looked at her out of the corner of his eyes. “How do you know there was a time before? Maybe I’ve always been a homeless, worthless bum.”

“Because I’m a good judge of character, and I’m not judging you based on what I see now. I’m judging based on the man who jumped into a situation that wasn’t his business to protect me. That man is a hero and worthy of respect.”

Griff laughed. “Jesus, woman, you’re making me blush.”

“But you sure didn’t hesitate to judge me, did you?” she asked, tilting her head as she pulled her hand back.

“What’s to judge?” His eyes dulled and his brows drew together, forming a crevice between them. “I see a beautiful, obviously wealthy, woman who’s showing mercy on a worthless bum. I’m still working out the why of it. Maybe I’m just another of your Junior League social projects. You’re wasting your time if that’s the case. I don’t want to be saved.”

Anger surged up to choke her as she folded her arms over her chest. “I haven’t offered to save you. I offered you a meal. Stop being an asshole and dig deep to find your forgotten manners, or I’ll leave you here to eat it alone.”

That muscle by his right eye ticked again and she imagined from the sway of his beard, he was grinding his teeth but Lou Ellen didn’t break eye contact.

“I apologize for being rude,” he said, looking away. “Thank you for the meal.”

Joe came around the end of the bar and set a mug of cider with a cinnamon stick in it in front of her, before placing a glass of iced tea in front of Griff. “Burger will be up in ten minutes,” he grumbled as he walked away.

“So, tell me about it,” Lou Ellen encouraged, as she stirred the cider with the cinnamon stick. She had a feeling getting anything out of this man would take patience, so she would go slow. “What was your life like before this? From your actions in the alley, I know you’re former military. Let’s start there.”

“I can’t tell you,” Griff replied, bringing his glass to his mouth for a long sip. He set it down, then looked at her. “If that’s the price of this meal, I’ll be going now.”

“There is no price for this meal.” It was her turn to frown at him. “Did you forget your social skills as well as your manners? This is called conversation.

“I guess I have forgotten. Five years is a long time,” he replied soberly.

“At least tell me where you’re from, what you did in the military and for which branch,” she said with a sigh.

“Georgia, Army and classified,” he replied shortly.

“So you were spec ops,” she surmised.

Cade Winters, soon to be Dr. Cade Winters, who formerly worked with Deep Six, had the highest classification there was in the Army, then he served in Delta Force before he joined the CIA. She highly suspected this man had a similar background. All of the men she worked with were former special operators.

His head whipped on his shoulders and his eyes narrowed as he looked at her. “How in the hell would you know that? Why would you think it?”

“The way you move, your attitude. I work with a team of former special operators,” she replied and his eyes widened.

“Yeah, I think you’re definitely off the meds, Queenie,” he said with a laugh. “Or maybe you need to have your doctor up them.”

“I’m not crazy— I’m the office manager for Deep Six Security. We can help you with whatever problem you have, if you let us, then maybe you could come to work for us. We need operators for our new east coast office.”

Joe arrived with the hamburger right then and set the plate down by Griff’s arm. He looked up at him. “I need a go box now. I have to go,” he growled. With a nod, the barkeep left and Lou Ellen put her hand on his forearm again, but he pushed it off.

“What in the hell is wrong with you? I offer to help you get off the streets and you want to run away? Maybe you are the one who needs meds,” she snapped.

“I told you I don’t want to be saved— I can’t be saved. Just mind your own business, lady, so I can stay alive.” He picked up his tea and downed it then glared at her. “Now, I’m going to walk you to your car and you are going to forget you ever met me. Got that?”

Forget she ever met him? That was as unlikely as her forgetting it would be Christmas in a month and that this man would likely be celebrating it in a tent under a bridge, because he was too damned stubborn to let someone give him a helping hand. The scared look on his face said there was a reason for that, and she was going to find out what it was. With or without his help.
Becky McGraw. Silent Knight: Deep Six Security Christmas (Kindle Locations 316-361). Becky McGraw.

In a gripping tale of breaking down walls, kidnapping, coersion and more, Griff and Lou Ellen find love and a bond with two children that will keep you turning the pages until the end.

You will need some tissues, there was more than one tear that fell. Also keep something cold to drink on hand, these two sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Becky!

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74004-becky1 Becky McGraw
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Becky McGraw writes happily-ever-afters with heat, heart and humor. A Jill of many trades, Becky knows just enough about a variety of subjects to make her contemporary cowboy and romantic suspense novels diverse and entertaining. She resides in Florida with her husband of thirty-plus years, is the mother of three and grandmother of one. Becky is a member of the RWA, Sisters in Crime and Novelists, Inc.

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Securing Arizona – A Special Forces Operation Alpha Novella by Heather Long


Securing Arizona
A Special Forces Operation Alpha Novella
By
Heather Long

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James “Mickey” MacBride retired from the teams with a solid record of mission accomplished. Now at odds and ends, he accepts the request of his retired Petty Officer grandfather. They want to gather the children of the USS Arizona, the descendants of the 355 survivors for a special event. No problem, how hard can finding one woman named Arizona Kensington be?

Ari King has been on the run for over a year. No matter where she goes, her stalker finds her. She’s changed her name, her hair color, and even gave the job she loved. When Mickey walks into the restaurant and asks for her by the name she surrendered, she takes his order then leaves via the back door, running for her life. Only she can’t shake him.

Securing Arizona was supposed to be a favor, but Mickey soon discovers it’s the mission of his life and the man after her will have to go through this SEAL to get her.

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Mickey is on a mission, one set for him by his retired Petty Officer grandfather. A special gathering of survivors and their descendants of the USS Arizona is approaching and there is one person he who hasn’t RSVP’d Arizona Kensington. Not one to question his grandfather, he sets out to find Arizona and get her to the gathering.

Arizona found something she shouldn’t have and before she could decide what to do with it things started happening. Suspicious things that sent her on the run, before more people could be hurt because of her.

This is a favorite scene after she makes the decision to put the end to running.

“I told you it was dangerous…and it was in the papers. But my name wasn’t because I ran. It was chaos that day, and everything in the city was pointed at the event, dealing with the injured.” She swallowed. “The dead.” People who were dead because of her. “I couldn’t take any more risks, I still had the report and I hadn’t made it passed wrestling with my ethics, then it didn’t matter because I wouldn’t stay there to let anyone else pay for my choices.”

“Babe…” The softness returned to his voice.

“I lived. I’m still alive, and I’m going to stick to those bastards.” It was the right thing to say, because the guys raised their coffee cups to her.

“All right Crash,” Flint said. “Let’s all talk about how we’re going to do this. We need every detail—leave nothing out. Not even the facts that might make Mickey boy here cry.”

Biting the inside of her lip was the only thing that kept her from smiling. For his part, Mickey squeezed her hand, and said, “Crash. I like it.”

“I’m not going to ask why you all have nicknames or why I’m getting one.” Don’t ask, don’t invite them to break some confidential status.

“You don’t have to ask, we all served on the teams. Flint and Cannon were ahead of me, and I was on their team during quals. They rotated out a couple of years ago.” Mickey nodded to her. “We’re adopting you. I’d say you’ve got the mental fortitude to get the job done—Crash.”

The smile she’d refused earlier returned in full force. “Is there a story behind how you got your name?”

Mickey shrugged. “I made the mistake of letting them know I considered my job the happiest place on Earth…in my defense it was Hell Week, and I hadn’t slept in four days, but I stand by it.”

She giggled, and it hit her all at once. Happiness, that elusive sensation, it was hers again, even with the task ahead of them.

“Playtime’s over. We’ve got a limited window and a scaled job. If these guys are setting up mass shootings, I want to take them down. Jacko’s already on his part.” Flint’s commanding attitude coupled with the way both Mickey and Cannon deferred to him gave her a deeper look at their command structure. They might have “retired,” but they were still SEALs.
Heather Long. Securing-Arizona (Kindle Locations 756-773). Kindle Edition.

In true Heather Long style this tale takes you on a fast paced adventure, filled with action, fun, and lust and there are tearful moments as well. I couldn’t put it down.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

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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