Countdown to Christmas: Marine Under The Mistletoe – Always a Marine Book 19 by Heather Long


Marine Under the Mistletoe
Always A Marine Book 19
By
Heather Long

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

He used to believe in magic…

Kaiden Nelson looked like every other Marine, only most of his guys didn’t grow up in a family of nudists, celebrating the wheel of the year and the lunar cycles. His buddies wouldn’t name him a witch, either. But after more than a decade at war, Kaiden isn’t sure he can—or even wants to lay claim to that calling anymore. He’s got too much blood on his hands and he’s tired…tired of war, tired of fighting. Some days…he’s tired of living. When he’s sent on leave for the holidays, he’s unsure if he can ever really go home again.

She’s a candle in the night…

Rowan Harper lives in two worlds, the mundane where she handles tech issues for a major corporation and the pagan where she celebrates the sabbats and esbats with her coven. Like so many in the region, she keeps her beliefs private. It makes life more bearable from others who would judge, and she likes nothing better than the great sabbat retreats the coven takes to the sprawling Lake House. It’s a time where she sheds the shackles of everyday life and embraces the divine.

The wheel turns…

When Kaiden turns up at the coven Yule, his Circle of family and friends are eager to welcome him. He feels unworthy of the open warmth and shies away to the darkness, but Rowan refuses to leave him in the shadows. Can the inexorable pull of one woman help him face down his demons as they hold vigil against the longest night of the year?

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

There is yet another holiday that occurs in December, that of the Winter Solstice also known as Yule. This book is set in that holiday.

Kaiden comes home for Yule for the first time in a long time. Serving as a Marine, he is now conflicted and not sure he belongs anymore. After all a cardinal rule is ‘an it harm none’.

Arriving at the Lake house for the holiday he is greeted by Rowan. She is beauty and grace personified.

In spite of his parents trying to match them up, Rowan and Kaiden stumble their way into a relationship. This is a favorite scene as they get to know one another.

“So why don’t you quit?” He rolled onto his side, no longer bothering to pretend he had more interest in the view overhead than the woman sprawled next to him. Her eyebrows climbed.

“Why don’t you?”

“Marines don’t quit.”

“They also don’t leave men behind,” she murmured.

“No, ma’am. They don’t.” The rocks on his chest compressed.

She didn’t turn away from him, holding his gaze long enough he could see the sadness and concern creep into her eyes. “So why did you leave yourself over there?”

Shock rippled up his spine, and his mind locked. “What?”

“You’re still there, Kaiden.” She rolled onto her side, mirroring his posture, and cupped his cheek with a cool palm. “Something bad happened to you—or maybe a lot of something bads. I don’t know. You can tell me to butt out. I won’t be offended.”

“Are you psychic?” He rejected the question even as he asked it, since it didn’t take a psychic to read his body language. The wariness he’d seen in the eyes of his friends and family—the seemingly unsurpassable gulf surrounding him lent more credence to her words than anything else.

“I’ve been accused of being psychotic before.” Light teasing sprinkled the statement, and she grinned.

Another rusty laugh broke loose. She began to withdraw, but he captured her wrist and kept her palm to his cheek. It was soft, softer than anything he’d felt in a long time. “I’m pretty messed up.”

“Okay.” Acceptance, no questions.

“You’re not asking me why.” He couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the concept.

“I think questions might harm you, and I don’t need you to tell me anything. But I will listen if you want to.” The salve of her kindness soothed the abrasions in his soul. “I’m going to hug you, okay?”

“Why?” Not that he minded.

She smiled and scooted closer, wrapping her arms around him. “So you’ll lie down and gaze at the sky and know you’re here, and not there. You’re not alone.”

The lean softness of her fit him perfectly and he settled onto his back, curving an arm around her to tuck her in closer. She nestled her head on his shoulder.

“Breathe,” she whispered, and he let out the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. “And just be.”

The scent of cherry blossoms teased him, and he had to wonder if it was her shampoo or a perfume. Grass cushioned him, the woods surrounded him, the sun warmed his face, and the muscles in his back relaxed. Rowan massaged her palm against his chest in slow, easy circles. Bit by bit, his arms shuddered with the release of tension.

“Are you really single?” he asked, one-hundred-percent sure what he wanted for her answer.

“Yes, I’m really single.” She chuckled and the vibration teased him. “I’m not dating anyone, either. But you need to concentrate on relaxing, not on me.”

The answer satisfied him—for now. “Don’t go away,” he told her.

“I won’t.” And she didn’t. He had no idea how long he lay there, but eventually his eyes closed. Breathing exercises, not so long-forgotten that he couldn’t manage them, helped to steady his heartbeat. Sleep stole over him, and he let it, aware of her head resting on his shoulder and the warmth of her cuddled to his side.
Long, Heather. Marine Under the Mistletoe (Always a Marine series Book 19) (Kindle Locations 389-417). Decadent Publishing Company, LLC. Kindle Edition.

A heartwarming tale, the story of Yule, and a treat that makes the holiday sweeter.

I laughed and sniffled as this conflicted man works his way to peace and love with the help of a sensitive, intuitive woman.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

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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Countdown to Christmas! The Billionaire’s First Christmas by Holly Rayner


The Billionaire’s First Christmas
A Winter’s Love Book 1
By
Holly Rayner

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Aaron Winters, the gorgeously handsome billionaire CEO and philanthropist has always hated Christmas; for him, the festive season holds too many tormenting memories…

Robyn Hurst is one of his many dutiful employees, but won’t let anything – or anyone – cancel Christmas for her.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, the traditional charity auctions take place; Robyn finds herself one of the unlucky ones, auctioned away for a date with the highest bidder. Just when she fears falling into the wrong hands, she’s relieved to find that a mysterious bidder has saved her. She’s even more surprised to discover that it’s none other than Aaron Winters himself!

Soon they find themselves in a most unexpected romance, as Aaron finds a woman truly in love with life, and Robyn finds her billionaire suitor to be more than just a wealthy curmudgeon; can Robyn bring him out of his shell, and teach Aaron the true joy of Christmas?

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

I have to say this book was a bit of a surprise, Aaron isn’t like most of the billionaires I’ve read. He’s not quite as assertive as one might expect. He dislikes Christmas, preferring to spend it on a tropical island alone. Other than the responsible CEO duty of the Christmas Party stays away from all things related to the holiday.

Robyn on the other hand is perky, a true believer in Christmas, and determined in her own way. Part of the holiday traditions at the office is to auction off of some of the management for Charity. Not like a dating thing, but to help with chores, or babysit, things like that.

Although he’s never participated before Aaron bids to win the beautiful Robyn and sets her on a series of tasks delivering holiday cheer in an elf costume.

I felt good right up until the point that Robyn said, “Okay, I think you’re ready.”
“Ready for what?” I asked, sheer terror gripping at my heart. Was she going to let go of me?“I’m going to let go of one of your hands and turn around and skate next to you, okay?”“Sure, I’ve made one round, I’m an expert now.”

“Sarcasm,” she said. “I love it.” I loved the way her face was flushed from the cold and her blue eyes sparkled out from underneath the pink knit hat she wore.

She let go of my left hand and I watched her feet glide backwards until she was facing forward and right next to me. She made it look so easy. I couldn’t really see myself, but I was sure I made it look ridiculous. I wondered if she was reading my mind somehow because right then she said, “Stop worrying about how you look and relax. Who cares what any of these people think? Chin up, chest out, head held high, and most importantly of all, smile. Have fun!” Easy for her to say, I thought, but I tried. I forced myself to stop looking down at my feet. I stopped looking at the others as they gracefully passed by too. I looked straight ahead and gripped Robyn’s hand like a lifeline. Before I knew it, we’d gone another lap around. On the next lap, Robyn began singing along with the Christmas song playing in the background. She knew every word and she had a beautiful voice. I was enjoying the serenade so much that I hardly even registered the next lap.

By the time we were on our fourth, or maybe our fifth she said, “Are you ready to solo?” My stomach did somersaults. It was something I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. I wasn’t ready, I was scared to death. Sometimes in business when I took a big gamble it was scary, but it was a good scary. This was bone-breaking scary. I couldn’t admit that out loud though. I had my reputation. Instead, I did what I thought would please her.

“Sure, let’s give it a shot,” I told her.

“That’s the attitude I’ve been looking for. I knew it was in there somewhere,” she said with a wink. Robyn smiled and squeezed my hand and then let it go. Although we were both wearing gloves, the first thing I realized was how much colder I felt as soon as I was missing her touch. The next thing I recognized was that I hadn’t realized how much she was actually supporting me. I started slipping and sliding and my hands automatically reached out for something to hold onto. I didn’t realize it at that moment, but it was like over-correcting in a car when you went into a skid. I grabbed hold of Robyn without considering the consequences. I heard her squeal as we both went down… hard. I landed on my backside and Robyn was lying across the top of me. I was glad at least that I didn’t crush her. As much as this position would have been something I’d love in another setting, I was completely humiliated as people slid by so effortlessly while I sat on my ass on the cold ice. They seemed to all be smiling too.

Robyn was squirming, trying to untangle us and it only seemed to tangle us up further. My left leg was twisted backwards at an odd angle and I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to stand back up. Robyn finally got her legs free and I realized I was still gripping her arm. I let that go and she was sitting on her backside facing me, and she was laughing. She was laughing so hard that she had tears in her eyes.

At last she was able to stop and with an escaped tear rolling down her cheek, she said, “See there, that wasn’t so bad now, was it?” Maybe not, but now I was on my ass on the ice and I had no idea how to stand up.

“I suppose the falling wasn’t so bad, but now how do I get back up?” I asked her.
“Watch,” she said. She got up on her knees and put one skate underneath her. Using her hands she pushed herself up in what seemed to be one effortless motion. She did make it look easy, although I wasn’t going to be fooled into believing it was going to be that easy for me, I felt a little better. “Now you try it,” she said.

I got up on my knees… so far so good. Then I put my hands down on the ice and put one skate underneath me and then… I fell forward, flat on my face.

“Oh my gosh! Aaron! I’m sorry! Are you okay?” Robyn was suddenly down on the ice next to me. I don’t know what happened then. It must have been breathing in her enthusiasm all morning, but the thought of what I had to look like, splayed out on the ice suddenly struck me as funny. I started laughing and I couldn’t stop. “Oh thank goodness, you’re okay!” Robyn said. I reached up and playfully pulled her down on top of me and once again we were both splayed out on the ice. She was laughing too now and it suddenly occurred to me that we were going to have to get back up and that made me want to laugh even more. It was like Robyn had infected me with her magic and I had to admit that it felt really good.
Rayner, Holly. The Billionaire’s First Christmas – Contemporary Romance (A Winters Love Book 1) (Kindle Locations 819-860). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

I found myself laughing with them throughout the many Christmasy things Robyn puts Aaron through.

Even as love blossoms, Aaron questions himself and his judgement.

I laughed and teared up a bit as this fun Christmas read progresses from Scrooge to a holiday of love.

I only had a problem with a prank Robyn played as I think anyone would have been far more angry than amused.

4 Contented Purrs for Holly!

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Holly Rayner is the bestselling romance author of ‘The Billionaire’s First Christmas, and is known for her engrossing romances with red hot, strong and assertive alpha males you’ll fall in love with and the strong and daring women who tempt them…If you’re a fan of gripping, sweet romance, follow Holly Rayner today!

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Countdown to Christmas: A Candle For A Marine by Heather Long


A Candle For A Marine
Always a Marine Book 18
By
Heather Long

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Tormented by the question of ‘what if…’

Home for Hanukkah, Sergeant Isaac Janko has never forgotten the baby his girlfriend gave up for adoption years ago. But he didn’t realize how angry he still was….

More than time separates them….

A chance meeting at Temple brings Zehava Elbaz face-to-face with the first and only man she’s ever loved. She sees a deep and hidden pain in him, one she blames herself for…

An invitation to Hanukkah brings them together….

The two must confront their pain and loss. They have only eight days to face their past, and win each other’s trust, but it is a time for healing, reconciliation and miracles….

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This December is not only for Christmas, last night at sundown, Hanukkah, The Festival Of Lights began. This is Issac’s story as he returns home to celebrate with his family for the first time in eight years. He knows he will have to face his ex Zehava at some point, it’s a small community. He’s not sure of his emotions where she is concerned but he’s sure the time has come to figure it all out.

Zehava blames herself for Issac’s anger. She was the one who gave their child away. Although she lives with the heartbreak of doing that, she also knows it was the best thing for the child.

Surrounded by the magic of the holiday season Zehava in her way opens the door to both their pain to hopefully lead to forgiveness.

This is a favorite scene as Zehava shares her promises to her son with Issac.

So man up, Marine, and listen.

The silence stretched out between them, and he forced patience while she studied him. Whatever she sought must have satisfied her because she held out her hand. “I want to share something I do every Hanukkah. Normally I do it alone, but you’re here and I want—I need to do it with you this year.”

Mild alarm rang through him and he ignored that as well, in favor of taking her hand. Her fingers threaded through his and the palm to palm clasp soothed him like a warm embrace. “Okay,” he said, the only word he could push out past the emotion clogging his throat. She tugged and he followed her into the community center, curiosity and dread an uncomfortable cocktail in his system.

Once inside, she hit the light switch and he shut the doors. Since the center should be closed, he went ahead and turned the lock. He didn’t need any unpleasant surprises walking in on them. Zehava gave his hand a squeeze then, releasing him, headed to the table with all of the menorahs. Wary, but curious, he followed.

“He was born in summer.” The words crashed down on him, and he was grateful her back was to him so he had time to absorb the blow and mitigate his reaction. “Our son, I mean,” she explained as though he might need the clarification.

His jaw hurt from clamping it shut, but he kept it closed. He couldn’t guarantee what would come out because the old anger roused like a bad case of heartburn to claw at his insides.

Squatting, Zehava pulled another menorah from beneath the table and set it on top. She ducked down again and took out two fresh candles. “I held him for a couple of hours after his birth.” The words were so soft he had to strain to hear them. “It took that long for the adopting family to arrive at the hospital. Mama stayed with me. She never said a word about the decision, in favor or against.”

Muscles cramping, he folded his arms and forced himself to stay exactly in place. The urge to storm out warred with the urge to hold her—both intent on tearing him apart. Maintaining his position was the best he could manage.

“I held him and I made him a promise. Well, a promise and a wish, actually.” Her voice trembled. “The first was I wished for him to have the best life he could have, with a wealth of opportunity, and a family who loved him. Both the parents who adopted him, and of course, the parents who gave him life.”

Hell opened up beneath Isaac and bellowed its fire through his soul. He stayed firm and didn’t give in to the need to slam his fist into the wall until it broke, or his knuckles did. He didn’t want to hear her damn story.

Yet, he desperately hung on every word.

“The second promise was I would light the menorah for him every year and remember him and pray for him. The first Hanukkah after his birth was very hard, but I kept my promise. I think I cried every night I lit the candles for him.” She twisted finally and looked at Isaac. “Would you light it with me this year?”

She held her breath after asking the question that had danced around in her mind all evening. Never had she felt so connected and yet utterly divided from the same person in the same moment. He stared at her, his expression inscrutable save for the muscle flexing in his jaw.

“Yes.”

The one word answer, single, rough, and raw, let her exhale and she fought a wave of dizzying relief. She held a candle out to him with trembling fingers.
Long, Heather. A Candle for a Marine (Always a Marine series Book 18) (Kindle Locations 611-640). Decadent Publishing Company, LLC. Kindle Edition.

In a way unique to her, Heather made me feel their pain, their sorrow, and their love not only for the child they gave up but for each other.

I loved seeing Zach again and was glad he was able to give Issac the kick he needed.

Have tissues handy for this one, you’ll need them as Issac and Zahava find their way.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

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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Countdown to Christmas: Release Day!! As You Were, Cowboy – Lone Star Leathernecks Book 2 by Heather Long



As You Were, Cowboy
Lone Star Leathernecks Book 2
By
Heather Long

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Mateo Lopez, honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on medical leave, is struggling to rebuild his life. The spinal cord injury that left him feeling like a broken man resulted in his inability to ride the horses he loves and works with on Round Top Ranch.

The new horse trainer at the ranch, however, has decided that this isn’t acceptable. Claire Windsor, a spirited, London-born spitfire of a woman, has come to begin a new program to turn the horses into therapy animals. She turns Mateo’s world upside-down, and try as he might to avoid her, she keeps inserting herself into his life. As their plans for the ranch clash, so too do their hearts…making all things fair in love and war.

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Clare is excited to start training therapy horses at Round Top Ranch. However the reception she receives at the barn is not what she anticipated.

Mateo had finished up what he could and was heading to his place to take his pain meds. Before he reached his truck he ran into the new arrival. As he realizes her purpose he is not pleased.

Tanner sort of soothes things over with Mateo, but essentially tells him to work with her. They need her expertise with training the horses to be therapy horses.

Now while there is some animosity between the two, there is also a truce.

A favorite scene is Mateo’s first cup of tea after a harrowing episode of pain while they were in town.

Trusting her had been the easier decision. Not when his trying to drive while in the midst of a spasm would end with them in a wreck. Rubbing the back of his neck, he leaned against the counter.

“Are you sure I can’t convince you to go upstairs and sleep? I may be overstepping, but I don’t think you should drive yet. Your pupils are still a little dilated. While we’re on the ranch, you could still run off the gravel road.”  No judgment showed in her expression, nor reflected in her tone. What struck him as so prim and proper before seemed to resonate with something deeper.

She was something else. “I’m not putting you out of your bed,” He protested.

“I’m not using it currently. I’ve been sitting here reading and enjoying my tea.” She’d freed her hair from the ponytail and it had fallen in a long gleaming mass. The temptation to stroke his fingers through the golden strands to see if they were as silky as they appeared pulsed through him.

It took a moment for her words to penetrate as he studied her little table set before glancing at her again. “Why are you still awake?,” he asked her. “It’s…” He looked at his watch. 3 a.m. It had been afternoon. “I slept twelve hours.”

“I know, you were in a lot of pain.” No matter how sympathetic and understanding her manner, he’d let her down—and then he’d become less than useless, a lump on her sofa. His apology died unspoken when she rubbed his arm. “If you’re going to be up, I can make you a sandwich. Jules stocked my fridge.”

“You don’t have to do that.” He withdrew, not because he didn’t like her touch, but because the sensation of her rubbing his arm was too pleasant. It provoked thoughts he shouldn’t be having, particularly when she was all soft and gorgeous. Thoughts he couldn’t act on.

Not anymore.

“Go sit down,” she ordered, and oddly enough, he obeyed it. At least her kitchen chairs were wider than the ones in the tea shop, and cushioned. Lowering himself slowly, he sat. The drugs had done their work. The radiating lashes of agony abated to an aching soreness. A glass of water appeared in front of him, then Claire went across the room to pour boiling water from the kettle on the stove into the teapot.

Fuck. Discipline kept him from cursing aloud. He’d slipped a couple of times since coming home. He’d been a lot freer with his language when deployed. Neither Maria nor Ramon tolerated the language so he’d rehabilitated.

Mostly.

“I’m heating up one of the shepherd’s pie that was in the fridge.” Claire’s voice soothed him, and gave his wandering mind something to latch onto. That was the problem with pills and why he didn’t want to take them. They screwed him up and he’d seen too many guys struggling with addiction to spend any time down the rabbit hole.

“Shepherd’s pie?” Another weak attempt at conversation, but if she were going to make an effort, he needed to try and repay her kindness.

“Apparently your mum wanted me to feel at home, so she prepared several familiar meals and left them in the freezer for me.” Claire smiled. “I didn’t realize how many until tonight. It’s such a lovely gesture.”

“Mama’s really good at taking care of folks, especially if we let her.” A long drink of the water helped wet his throat, but cottonmouth feeling hadn’t gone away fully. Claire refilled her teacup, then added some to a second cup he hadn’t noticed immediately.

“I will be certain to thank her tomorrow—later today. Do you prefer sugar and milk? I know there’s honey but I’m not sure about lemon.” She hadn’t taken a seat yet, but she set the teapot on the table and reclaimed the kettle and returned it to the warmer.

“However you do should be fine.” He wasn’t a tea drinker, so he had no idea how he’d like it.

Claire added two lumps of sugar to each cup, then a dash of milk. She stirred them both before nudging his closer to him. Reclaiming her spot on the window seat, she lifted her tea for a sip.

What the hell, couldn’t hurt to try it. The cup felt a hair too dainty in his large hands, but he managed to lift it without spilling a drop. His first sip tasted strange, but not bad. Claire watched him over the rim of her own cup as she took a sip.

“Not my first choice,” he said, then took another sip. The cinnamon left a faint burn against his tongue, but the orange afterward added to the experience.

“Tea makes everything better,” she assured him with beatific smile.

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“You don’t have to,” she chuckled, and crossed one leg over the other. “Do you feel better?”

Inexplicably, he did. “Yes.”

“Which proves my argument, tea makes everything better.”

Conceding the point, he nodded. Still a little fragmented, he focused on sipping the tea and on Claire herself. “Learn something new everyday.” With every drink, he found himself liking it more. “You didn’t tell me why you’re sitting in your kitchen at three in the morning.”

“You remember when you knocked on my door yesterday morning?”

It still felt like the same day, but he nodded. No way he’d forget how deliciously disheveled she’d been. “You were sleeping in and I woke you up.”

“Jet lag is not kind, and my body thinks I’m still on Stafford time. It’s late morning at home and I was used to being up by five each day, which is 10 p.m. here.”

“That’s the suck. I had the same problem after deployments—on both sides of the coin.”

“Any tips for overcoming it?”

He’d finished his cup and she lifted the teapot in offering. “Yes please,” he said and slid his cup over. After she refilled it, he added the sugar and milk. He’d paid attention to what she’d done earlier. “Sorry, wish I had better tips than ‘Stay up until you’re at the new time you want to sleep and crash then’. One good part about the Marines, if I needed to sleep, I trained myself to go right to sleep. Didn’t matter if I’d been on a plane all day or walking miles.”
Heather Long. Long-Heather AsYouWereCowboy ARC (Kindle Locations 1095-1142). CBS Corporation. Kindle Edition.

I absolutely loved the prim and proper Claire. She’s smart and feisty and more than capable of holding her own against Mateo.

Mateo has much to overcome and he fights almost every step of the way.

The relationship is a slow build-up that I found very satisfying.

The book held some nostalgia for me, and I loved the British insight to being in Texas. I laughed, yelled and cried too.

This mix of cowboy and former military is a definite win! I can’t wait to see what the next book will hold for us.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

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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Countdown to Christmas! ARC Review of Brazilian Surrender by Carmen Falcone


Brazilian Surrender
The Brazilians Book 4
By
Carmen Falcone

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Psychology student Camila Duarte is finally on her own, living in NYC and away from her overprotective brothers. Her serenity quakes when she receives terrorizing letters. When the threats ramp up, she hires the best problem solver in the business to protect her and look for the criminal.

After losing his wife and kid, Jaeger Bauer left the NYPD and has one simple rule: don’t get attached. A job is just a job. Working close to Camila, however, puts his remarkable self-control to the test. He wants to pursue her, even though they are complete opposites and want different things. As the stakes get higher, Jaeger needs to choose between protecting his client…or surrendering to desire and jeopardizing the entire mission.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

Although this isn’t a Christmas story, I have been waiting for this book, the final book of the Brazilians. Thank you to Carmen Falcone for the ARC, it’s always a privilege to read a book before release.

What’s a girl to do when she finds herself receiving threatening letters? Well in Camila’s case she could turn to her brothers but her whole reason for leaving Brazil was to prove she could be on her own. Besides the publicity that would arise from her going to them or the police could jeopardize her future career as a therapist.

When Jaeger’s Aunt Gesa calls and tells him he has to take Camilla on as a client, he knew he couldn’t say no without incurring the woman’s wrath.

Threatening letters were one thing, but then Camilla comes home from work and finds her dog dead.

This is a favorite scene when Jaeger takes her to his home for the extra security.

A tiny brown Chihuahua ran to him, yapping and wagging its tail. He carried the dog to another area of the apartment, with an apologetic expression. “I’m sorry.”

She blinked back more tears. Her heart raced at the memory of how happily Torto greeted her whenever she arrived at home, even if she’d been gone for a few minutes to get the mail. “It’s okay,” she lied, but her restrained voice betrayed her.

“This should have crossed my mind.” To the dog he said, “Sit down.”

She slid off her oversize bag, letting it fall on the floor, and then sat on one of the sofas. What a strange feeling. She’d lost both her parents, so she’d had firsthand experience on dealing with grief. Yet knowing about it did nothing to help her accept the loss of Torto.

“Some people say it’s just a dog, but he was my companion ever since I lived in Brazil. Having him here meant having a little piece of my family and homeland with me.”

“I…” He scratched his head. Would he offer his condolences again? He reached to his cabinet, grabbed a bottle of tequila and two shot glasses from another, and filled them up. “Here.” He walked to her, holding the glasses.

She accepted one, trying for her fingers to not brush his. She glanced at the clear liquid and realized that was the best he could offer her. Didn’t take a shrink to know Jaeger Bauer didn’t enjoy sentimental conversations, and maybe the alcohol would help numb the pain. Taking a deep breath, she lifted the glass to her lips and drank it all at once. A burning tightened her throat for a few seconds, and when she sat the glass on the coffee table her limbs loosened a notch.

“Better?” he asked, and she noticed he’d emptied his glass, too.

“Is that what you do not to feel?” she asked him, her brain barely catching up to the words escaping her mouth. He sat across from her.

“Not often. I train and work and deal with each day one at a time.”

“Whom did you lose?” she asked, composing herself on the sofa and crossing her legs. The way he talked about things had to mean he knew a thing or two about losing people.

He drummed his fingers on the glass. He shook his head. “Working for you will be easier if we don’t try to be friends.”

“Shouldn’t be a problem. Something tells me you’re not exactly an expert at making friends.”

He smiled. “You got that right.”

Why didn’t he smile more often? Okay, so it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky chuckle or anything. He curved his lips and slowly showed his straight white teeth, the grin sneaking up on him before he could dictate himself not to, she imagined.

“Okay, nonfriend…what’s up with the tiny dog? I’d picture you with a Rottweiler not with something that can fit in doll’s clothes.”

“He belonged to an old neighbor who passed away. I offered to walk the dog when she was sick, and after she died I thought she’d want me to keep it.”

“That’s sweet of you.”

“It’s not like I’m curing cancer. Pork Chop’s just a dog,” he said then, maybe realizing his words, sighed. “I’m sorry.”

She waved him off. “It’s okay. I understand what you mean. It’s still nice of you to care for him. And you can bring him to the living room. I promise I’ve run out of tears. Some warm interaction with another being would be good,” she said, then immediately regretted her moxie.

She avoided glancing at him and massaged her temples. Droga. What a crappy, crappy day. The night didn’t look much better either. She closed her eyes. Maybe she’d lied to him about the tears, she realized as a hot sting pricked her eyelids. No. She clamped her lips shut and tensed up her whole face, willing sadness away.

She felt something move around her, the weight in the sofa shift a bit. When she opened her eyes, she found him sitting next to her.

He put his hand on hers, and a sizzle traveled up her arm. “We’ll find who did this to your dog, Camila. I promise you.”
Carmen Falcone. Brazilian Surrender ARC (Kindle Locations 387-428). Kindle Edition.

With her brother’s wedding approaching, keeping her secure was going to be difficult. Especially since every minute spent with her is leading to something he’s not sure he’s ready for.

A fast paced, page turning read that will keep you guessing until the end. With plenty of steamy build-up to a sizzling relationship.

5 Contented Purrs for Carmen!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Carmen Falcone

Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beat doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband–living proof that opposites attract.

She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she’s not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.

She loves to procrastinate, so please indulge her and drop her a line. For more info, visit her website.

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Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Catch by Ginny Baird


The Christmas Catch
Holiday Brides Book 1
By
Ginny Baird

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Since the death of her military husband two years ago, single mom Christine White has struggled to get by. By throwing herself into her work as a Chicago copywriter, she’s managed to keep food on the table but has gradually lost sight of what really matters, like building a bond with her four-year-old son. When Christine’s best friend insists she spend Christmas in Vermont so she can get her life in order, Christine initially resists. Little does she know she’s in for a memorable holiday that will reignite her faith and reawaken her heart.

Bachelor professor John Steadman has given up on finding the right one. Spending time with his friends while keeping up with his job seems satisfying enough. Then one day close to Christmas, a beautiful woman from Chicago nearly runs him off the road during a snowstorm. What’s more, she’s got a kid in her car. It’s only natural that John and his trusty golden retriever want to help drag them out of a ditch and steer them toward their destination. What John doesn’t expect is that soon he’ll be hoping Christine and her son will be staying in Vermont – for more than just a little while.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

This was one of the first books that came up in my search for not only Christmas stories but new authors to me as well.

Christine’s boss and friend Ellen believes she’s burning out, and maybe she was. Ellen sends Christine and her son off to Vermont to housesit for her cousin while she heads to Cancun for the holidays.

What could have been a disastrous accident turns into a chance meeting.

John is on sabbatical while the college debates the position of a new assistant dean. When his truck is almost run off the road by an SUV he’s sure is driven by ‘city folk’. He and his dog Mason, help Christine get her car out of the snowbank she landed in and a ‘real life’ meet by accident occurs.

This is a favorite scene from one of the outings they indulge in.

John turned his attention on Tyler, waiting eagerly nearby.

“Ever been on a toboggan, young man?”

Tyler shook his head.

“Well then, you’re in for a treat. Hop on!” he instructed, positioning Tyler right behind Mason. Tyler promptly wrapped his arms around the dog, who leaned back to lick his face.
“Will he be all right?” Christine asked with concern.

“Sure. You’ll be right behind him, holding on.”

“And where will you be?”

“I’ll be hanging on to you.” John grinned and her heart melted.

Christine warned herself not to get carried away. It was just an outing in the country. But when John settled in behind her and snuggled her and little Tyler securely in his arms, she couldn’t help but blush in his embrace. He was so strong and capable. Though the steep slope ahead looked formidable, Christine had no qualms about her and Tyler heading down it with John. 

“Ready?” he asked, as Christine gripped Tyler.

“What about Mason?”

“That old daredevil?” John asked with a laugh. “He’ll be fine!”

Then they were off, gliding at lightning speed down the snowy white slope. 

“Whee!” Tyler shouted. “Whoohoo!”

Christine laughed with giddy delight, feeling like a child again herself.

“What do you think of Vermont?” John asked with a husky whisper.

The truth was that she loved it. Loved it even more than she could have imagined.

“It’s perfect,” she said with a happy sigh.

John hugged them a little tighter and settled his chin on her shoulder.

“I’m glad.”
Baird, Ginny. The Christmas Catch (Holiday Brides Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 595-610). Winter Wedding Press. Kindle Edition.

A quick fun read with lots of winter fun. Thoughts of steamy but none go past that stage. There are several more books in this series, and another series with Christmas too. I may just need to read a couple more of these.

5 Contented Purrs for Ginny!

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Coming Dec 11, 2017
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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Ginny Baird

Romance writer Ginny Baird has published novels in print and online and received screenplay options from Hollywood for her family and romantic comedy scripts. Whether writing lighthearted romantic comedy or spine-tingling romantic suspense, she delights in delivering heartwarming stories.

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a Top 10 Best Seller on Kindle, NOOK and iBooks, and a #1 Best Seller in several Romance and Women’s Fiction categories. When she’s not writing, Ginny enjoys cooking, biking and spending time with her family in Virginia. Ginny loves hearing from her readers! She invites you to visit her website and connect with her on social media.

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Countdown to Christmas: Caribou’s Gift: A Hero With Antlers And Attitude – Kodiak Point Book 4 By Eve Langlais


Caribou’s Gift: A Hero With Antlers and Attitude
Kodiak Point Book 4
By
Eve Langlais

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Darn it, a man had his pride and a caribou a certain majestic presence, all of which could wind up ruined if he abased himself to play a simple-minded reindeer in the town’s Christmas parade.

No way was he wearing tinsel in his antlers.

Like heck was he sporting a red nose and pulling a sleigh.

But he changes his mind when he meets the woman in charge of the event.

Single mom, Crystal, is doing her best to offer her daughter the best Christmas ever. It’s their first in Kodiak Point, and she’s not about to let some vain jerk ruin it.

If playing dirty is what it takes…then bring on the Christmas games.

As Crystal and Kyle butt heads, they discover more than goodwill this holiday season. They’re gifted with a second chance at love.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

Those of you who follow my blog know I love shifter romance. This series by Eve Langlais is one of my absolute favorites.

It’s Christmas in Kodiak Point and I started laughing on the first page! Kyle’s indignation at being asked by his Alpha to pretend to be a reindeer, more specifically Rudolph, was priceless. Another thing right from the beginning that had me cracking up, everything Kyle does he calls a mission.

Now Crystal on the other hand, is far more sensible and is more than a little annoyed at the self-centered Caribou. Unfortunately (or fortunately) her easily scared daughter Gigi takes a liking to Kyle.

This is a favorite scene when Kyle first wins over Gigi.

How could one pair of eyes look so sad? Ack. Kyle almost made the sign of the cross in front of her because surely she had some kind of magic at work because he almost said the most ridiculous thing. He almost told her not worry, that Rudolph would be there.

Never!

“Why don’t you climb out of that pile of hay and come with me? We’ll go find your parents. They’re probably worried.”

She shrank from him.

For some reason, this caused a painful pang in him. She was too young to show such fear. Yet he knew that look. He’d borne it when he was a kid and his father came home in one of his moods. “Oh, sweetie, don’t be scared. I won’t hurt you.”

“But you’re big.”

“Yes I am. And strong.” Hmm, maybe he shouldn’t have pointed that out.

She nodded. “You are, and scary,” she added.

“Me?” He grabbed at his chest in mock horror. “Is this your way of telling me I’m ugly?”

A small giggle escaped her. “No, silly. But handsome doesn’t mean nice. That’s what my mama says.”

“In some cases, probably, but not this time. Why, I’m the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.”

“Malcolm said he was nice too, but he wasn’t. He was mean to my mama, and me.”

Wouldn’t Kyle love to teach this Malcolm a lesson about treating a woman right? “Well, I’m not this Malcolm Malcolm guy, and I can tell you right now, I’m never mean to the ladies.” Even stubborn ones. “And I’ll tell you something else, if that Malcolm dude were to walk in here right now and try anything, I’d totally kick his ass.” Whoops on the language.

Thankfully she didn’t seem to notice. “You’re a knight?”

Almost did he snicker, but she seemed so serious. He held it in. “Knight in tattooed armor, sweetie. So don’t you worry that pretty little head of yours. No one will so much as fart in your direction while I’m around.”

She giggled. “Farts don’t hurt.”

“But they sure stink,” he said with a smile and a moue of distaste.

Apparently it took a bodily function jest for her to decide he was trustworthy. She emerged from her pile of hay, clutching a ragged stuffed animal in a chubby fist.

When he held out his hand, he expected her to clasp it. Instead, she tucked into his reach and lifted her arms.

Despite him not spending much time around children, Kyle recognized the universal gesture for ‘pick me up’. He did, the little girl’s weight feather-light even with her jacket and boots.

“Where to, sweetie?”

“Mama’s working on the parade for Santa.”

“Then let’s go find her.” Maybe he could also get some clues on this Malcolm fellow, who seemed to think it was cool to threaten women. Kyle wanted to speak with the guy—with his fists.

Mission #737: Find this Malcolm dude and teach him a lesson. A Christmas gift to the little angel in his arms.
Langlais, Eve. Caribou’s Gift: A Hero With Antlers and Attitude (Kodiak Point Book 4) (pp. 26-28).Kindle Edition.

Now winning over Gigi was easy compared to winning over her mother. Kyle has a lot of work to do in that area.

A fun read with lots of laughs, some sizzle and a knight with antlers you’re sure to love.

5 Contented Purrs for Eve!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

  Eve Langlais

Hello, my name is Eve and I am a Canadian author who loves to write hot romance, usually with hot shifters, cyborgs or aliens. I should warn you that I possess a twisted imagination and a sarcastic sense of humor something I like to let loose in my writing.

I love to write, and while I don’t always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because I love a happily ever after.

Thanks so much for coming by and checking me out. If you’d like to know more, read some excerpts or find out what’s coming next, then please visit me at any or all of the sites listed below.

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