Christmas Countdown! Snowbound in Starlight Bend – A Riding Hard Novella by Jennifer Ashley



Snowbound in Starlight Bend
Starlight Bend Book 1
A Riding Hard Novella (Book 3.5)
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Jennifer Ashley

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

Haley McKee is furious to find herself stuck in the tiny town of Starlight Bend so near Christmas. The only one who can help her is the handsome Maddox Campbell, a cowboy who’s not impressed with her fancy job title and money. In fact, no one has given Haley this much grief her entire life.

But there’s a lot more to Maddox than at first seems—he’s a hard-working man who gives much of his time and patience to help those who have little.

When a Starlight Bend tradition promises to bring Haley all she wants, will she make her Christmas wish with her head or her heart?

This novella was originally released in Holiday Heat: The Men of Starlight Bend. New in this edition: Expanded epilogue.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

I read this originally in Holiday Heat: The Men of Starlight Bend.

Haley has gotten herself caught in a snowstorm that cancelled her flight. So in a move typical for her, she buys a car and starts driving, determined to make it home for Christmas.

Unfortunately when she decides to take a detour through a small town she ends up in a snowbank and rescued by an honest to God cowboy.

Maddox is her rescuer along with his dog Lance. But his method of transportation surprises Haley.

This is a favorite scene.

Standing patiently just inside the tree line, reins looped around the big saddle on his back, was a horse. A tall, shaggy horse that turned around when he saw Maddox. He was a black-brown color all over except for a large white streak down his face that widened to take in his entire nose. He walked interestedly toward them, ears pricking, brown eyes taking in Maddox and Haley.

Haley wrenched her numb hand from Maddox’s. “That’s your transportation?”

“This is Sammy,” Maddox said. “My four-legged drive. Best way to get back and forth from town today. What did you think he was?”

“I don’t know—some kind of snowmobile?”

Maddox’s low laughter warmed the air. He didn’t laugh in understanding—he was enjoying himself at Haley’s expense.

He caught up the reins and turned Sammy so the saddle’s left stirrup was at Haley’s side. She backed a few steps.

“Why don’t you have him tied up?” she babbled. “Why doesn’t he run away?”

“Because he’s Sammy,” Maddox said as though he considered this a reasonable explanation. “He stays put when I tell him to.” He gave Haley a skeptical look. “You ever ridden a horse before?”

Haley wet her lips, which were chapped with the cold. “No.”

“You ever seen a horse before?”

“Of course I have,” Haley answered indignantly. “We have horses in Seattle. My school had a pony club.”

“A ,em>pony club?” Maddox all but snorted. “Like riding lessons for rich city kids?”

“Something like that, yes.”

“Were you in this pony club?” Maddox’s eyes were glinting again as though he’d burst into another round of laughter any second.

“Well, no, actually.”

“What club were you in? Let me guess. Debate? Computer?”

Haley swallowed. “Chess.”

Maddox let the laughter pour free. It made his blue eyes light up and the corners of them crinkle. “You know, sweetheart, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you before. Come on, I’ll give you a leg up.”

Haley moved to him in trepidation. Riding a massive horse wasn’t her idea of safety, but she was getting colder by the minute. If she didn’t find a warm place out of the snow and wind, she’d die of hyperthermia.

She bit back a surprised noise as Maddox grabbed her foot and shin and boosted her upward. Haley scrambled to catch the saddle, nearly going off the other side with the momentum. Maddox caught her with a strong hand and hauled her back, settling her on the seat.

Without waiting, he grasped the stirrup, put his own foot into it, and vaulted up behind her.

Warm, hard male landed at her back. Haley struggled to find her breath as Maddox reached around her and took up the reins, enclosing her in a heated space. Warmth radiated from him like a furnace.

“Ready, sugar?” he asked.

Haley gulped air. “Will you stop calling me sugar? I’m a CEO!”

“Yeah?” Maddox’s voice vibrated through her body. “Well I’m a CWDGAS.”

Haley blinked and looked back at him, his strong chest and curving mouth stealing her breath again. “What’s that?”

“Cowboy Who Doesn’t Give a Shit.” He let out a sharp whistle to the dog. “Come on, Lance. Sammy, take us home.”
Ashley, Jennifer. Holiday Heat: The Men of Starlight Bend.Kindle Locations (126-153). Bella Media Management. Kindle Edition.

Haley was more than a little surprised at his method of transportation, Sammy is a horse. She perseveres but not without a bit of protest.For some reason these two just like to bicker, fortunately his Aunt Jane was warm and welcoming. Unable to reach her father, she is able to text her best friend, who would notify her Dad. Otherwise her phone wouldn’t work at all.

A surprise winter storm party with many good neighbors that make her feel welcome add to Haley’s adventure.

The Sporting Goods store gift tree, a Santa Claus with unusual gifts in his bag and a strange geeky nerd named Andy all add to the charm and laughter of this book.

Interesting developments as Haley takes a star from the tree and Maddox finds he is more than a little interested in this city girl.

Fun, laughter and intrigue as they find the gifts requested for the children on the selected stars and the two of them become an item in spite of themselves.

5 Contented Purrs for Jennifer!

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

Jennifer Ashley

NY Times Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley writes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance, historical mysteries, and urban fantasy as Jennifer Ashley, Allyson James, and Ashley Gardner.

Jennifer’s novels have won RWA’s RITA and RT Reviewer’s Choice awards, have been translated into many different languages, and earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly.

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Not a Romance but a Story that needed to be told. If Just One Person by Laurie Olerich



If Just One Person
By
Laurie Olerich

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Content warning: This story contains a first person, brutally honest expression of depression and despair, as well as a graphic depiction of a suicide.

I could be you. I probably was you . . . before I became me.

It didn’t happen overnight. My downward spiral started years ago. Once upon a time, I was happy and young and pretty. I had my whole life ahead of me and a heart full of bouncing optimism that kept me smiling and cheerful. That was 20 years ago though. Things have changed. Now?

I’m furious at everything and everyone.

The anger’s building and I can’t turn it off.

It’s only a matter of time before I unleash it on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

So lately, I’m thinking more and more about cashing out before I get any more twisted and bitter. I really want my friends and family to remember me with some love in their hearts. If I open my mouth and say what I feel, they’ll never look at me the same way again.

My suicide will be hard for them to understand, though I’m not convinced it will bother them for too long.

And at this point in my depressing life, I don’t care.

I’m going through the motions. Trying to get through each day with my sanity and liver intact. Money’s tight so the liver’s got a good chance of staying healthy since I can’t afford scotch anymore. Sanity? Well, now. That’s another thing entirely.

So, this is me. Shari Jensen.

Shari Jensen could be your sister, your mother, or your best friend. She’s everyone and no one. She’s an ordinary woman suffering from depression. She’s middle-aged and divorced. She has a dysfunctional family and forgetful friends. She appears strong, but deep down inside, she’s screaming for help.

Her story is hard to read, but it’s a reminder that even apparently strong, successful women can feel lost and alone behind the mask they wear for the world. It’s a reminder that just one person can make the difference between life and death.

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This is a very hard book to read. It tells a lot of truths, and while not everyone can be helped, if you don’t try you will never know.

From feeling alone, to an emotional creation of a best-friend, this is a heartrending tale. The story is told from Shari and Linnea’s points of view and takes us on a journey through depression, anger, bitterness, and despair.

As depression can be rampant especially at this time of year, I ask you to pay attention, really listen and reach out. Sometimes all it takes is ONE PERSON!

Thank you Laurie for saying the things that are hard, here is my favorite quote and the resources for help:It takes just one person to make a difference.

Just one person to save a life.

Just one person to heal a wounded spirit.

Will you be that one person?

Resources:If you’re a veteran, or know one who’s considering suicide, please call the Veteran’s Crisis someone. You can also chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or send a text to 838255. Help is out there!

Please take that final step to reach it. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line.

Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.
Laurie Olerich. If Just One Person ARC with watermark Laurie (Kindle Locations 880-888). Kindle Edition.

5 Contented Purrs for Laurie!

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Laurie Olerich

Laurie Olerich is the author of the Primani and Demons After Dark series. Part romance, part paranormal, part adventure…Three things she can’t live without!

Laurie spent most of her life in the Northeastern United States and in Western Europe. She now lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her son and Dalmatian muse Rambo. In an attempt to re-live her wild and crazy younger years, she lives vicariously through her characters by setting their adventures in her favorite city, New York, and the mountain forests of New England as often as possible.

Before diving into a writing career, Laurie dedicated 20 years to her country by serving in the United States Air Force. Much of her time was spent around men with guns and cool toys…this explains her obsession with both.

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Release Day! Ride the Storm – Storm Warnings Series Book 4 by Geri Foster



Ride the Storm
Storm Warning Book 4
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Geri Foster

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EX-Navy SEAL, Jeff Crawley spent too much time in Iraq to think he might ever fit back into society. While receiving a Dear John out of country, Jeff decides staying away from women suits him just fine, too. He’s settled at his ranch after military life only for a tornado to uproot him. With everything destroyed, Jeff has no choice but to move himself and his herd closer to his brother in Rainwater, Texas.

At forty, Nancy Wigan has never had any kind of a relationship, and held no hopes of a knight in shining armor coming to rescue her. It didn’t help being call the Plain Jane of Rainwater, either. For years she worked the bank and cared for her ailing parents. Now left alone, she feels more forgotten than ever. Then one day Jeff Crawley blows into Rainwater, Texas like a nor’easter.

Will Jeff’s past catch up with him? Can he protect the woman he’s come to love? Will all be lost in an ultimate show-down?

Can two people who have nothing in common, both empty hearted, and alone, find love?

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Once again I am starting a series in the middle instead of the beginning. I am so grateful that these books are standalone.

Rainwater, Texas is a small town that has had it’s share of difficulties. In this book we get to know Nancy Wigan. She is the bank VP a position she earned after corruption was discovered in the upper echelon of the bank’s management. She’s also found herself elected to the City Council and is much admired for allowing group therapy sessions for Veterans to take place after hours at the bank.

Jeff on the other hand, is a veteran who has been having a hard time finding his groove in the civilian world. Working his ranch he doesn’t have much to do with any of the folks in town. Only his brother Russ and his nephew Austin get his attention. Well that’s not really true, He has definitely noticed Nancy, but he won’t let himself get involved with any woman. Not after the Dear John letter he got while he was deployed.

Unfortunately it’s Jeff’s service that is behind a stranger coming to town with revenge on his mind.

This is a favorite scene.

He watched as the doc left, leaving Nancy alone with a man he’d not noticed before.

Suddenly the hairs on the back of his neck came to attention, and he found himself getting out of his pickup and heading for the door of the bank.

On his way, he briefly greeted the men on their way out then headed inside and in Nancy’s direction. The stranger stood too close to her and his balled fists didn’t speak good things.

“Hey, Nancy,” he called out, more cheerfully than he felt. “I’m here to walk you home.” He barged between them like a two-year-old, but he didn’t care. Something didn’t seem right and he refused to throw Nancy to the wolves.

She appeared stunned to see him, but quickly recovered. By the flash of relief on her face, he grasped he’d done the right thing.

“Thank you, Jeff. It’s so nice of you to offer.” She turned to the new guy. “This is Alec Jones. He just joined the group.”

He turned and gave him the hardest stare he could muster. “What branch?”

“Branch?”

“Service. What branch of the military?”

“Army,” the man mumbled, averting his gaze.

Liar. You’ve never worn a uniform. “What unit? Where’d you serve?” “I’m not ready to talk.” Jones turned and stomped out of the bank, his hood up, eyes down.

He squinted after him, taking him in. He was so focused that, when Nancy reached out and touched his arm, it took a master-stroke of control not to instinctively jerk away. When his body reacted to her touch in a most unexpected way, he wished he had. A warm softness spread through him like a summer breeze after a harsh and cold spring, soothing him, body and soul.

How stupid could he be? A summer breeze? Those words had no place in his vocabulary, least of all in describing his feelings.

He shook his head, trying to dislodge the new sensation.

“He’s a weird one,” she said, her eyes trained on the back of Jones’ head. “I didn’t know he was coming. He showed up late, didn’t fill out the paperwork and, from what I could hear, didn’t say a word in therapy.”

“Then why’d he come?”

She shook her head, pressing her lips tight for a moment. “I don’t know.”

Shaking off her hold and turning to face her fully, he admonished, “You shouldn’t be in here alone. These guys have all been through some serious stuff. You don’t know what they’ll do. Hell, they don’t know what they’ll do. From now on make sure Dr. Molinsky sees you home.”

She stepped back, her smile upside down. “What are you doing here?”

Caught without an excuse, he had to quickly formulate a lie. “I was just driving by.”

The look in her eyes let him know she didn’t believe him, but she wasn’t going to call him on it either. He appreciated that more than he wanted to admit, and it left something aching inside him. Just another detail about Nancy that would dance through his mind that night. Oh well, it didn’t matter as long as she was safe.

With that thought, he abruptly turned and walked toward the door. Nodding his head in the direction of the exit, he commanded, “Let’s go.”

If he expected her to fight him on his tone he was in for a surprise. Nodding her head in easy agreement, she pointed to her office. “One second, I need to get my bag so I can lock up.”

As they stepped outside, she looked around acutely. “I think he’s gone. You don’t have to waste your time. I’ll get home safely.”

Should have known it wasn’t so easy. Smirking to himself at her tenacity, he wiped his face clear before turning back to her. “Damn right you will, cause I’m taking you.”
Geri Foster. Ride the Storm: Storm Warning Series, Book 4 (Kindle Locations 270-301).

After walking Nancy home and seeing the security or rather lack of in her home, Jeff is concerned.

These two will butt heads more than once over his high-handedness, but he really is only thinking of her safety.

It’s a convoluted, intense, and emotional journey as the motive behind the things happening come to light.

There are many characters from the previous books who make an appearance. I will definitely be going back and read those books.

I couldn’t put this book down, it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

5 Contented Purrs for Geri!

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Coming Soon!

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Geri Foster

For as long as she can remember, Geri Foster has been a lover of reading and the written word. By the seventh grade she had worn out two library cards and had read every book in her age area of the library. After raising a family and saying good-bye to the corporate world, she tried her hand at writing.

To her surprise, she won a couple of contests, hooked up with a really great critique group and her writing career was well on its way. She spent several years studying her craft and developing her voice.

Action, intrigue, danger and sultry romance drew her like a magnet. That’s why she had no choice but to launch her published career with action-romance suspense. While she reads every genre under the sun, she’s always been drawn to guns, bombs and fighting men. Secrecy and suspense move her to write edgy stories about daring and honorable heroes who manage against all odds to end up with their one true love.

To keep the serious side of life at bay, Geri likes to write sexy short stories for her fans. In the Women of Courage series, Geri explores the deeper, darker nuances of life and relationships in small-town mid-century America.

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New Release! Defending Chloe – Mountain Mercenaries Book 2 by Susan Stoker



Defending Chloe
Mountain Mercenaries
By
NY Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal
Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Love is the best defense in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s explosive Mountain Mercenaries novel.

Gorgeous women don’t just stumble onto Ronan Cross’s remote property. But this one—vulnerable, victimized, and needing the kind of help only Ronan can offer—tells a story that makes his blood boil almost as hot as his need to protect her.

Since her father’s death, Chloe Harris has become a prisoner. Her own brother, a flesh peddler and low-level player in the Denver Mafia, is forcing her to sell her body for an endgame Chloe never saw coming: control over a vast fortune. Her only way out is to run—straight into the arms of the one hard-bodied man she can trust.

Defending Chloe could rain punishment down on the Mountain Mercenaries. Her brother has Mob connections and the local police in his pocket. But Ronan still has an edge—the unshakable loyalty of his deadly teammates. As well as an unquenchable thirst for retribution…and Chloe.

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One of the things I like about Susan’s books is she gives just enough lead in to hook you for the next book in the series. In ‘Defending Allye’ we met Chloe when she showed up at Ro’s garage and asks to use his phone. Now we get the whole story.

Since her father’s death, things have gone downhill for Chloe and she’s living under her brother’s thumb now. A situation she is trying to get out of without getting herself killed.

Ro can’t stop thinking about the woman who showed up out of nowhere at his garage and asked to use the phone. He keeps seeing the large bruise on her back. He had given her his card, but he didn’t think she was going to call him. He put the team on finding information on her, which leads to the discovery her brother owns a strip bar. Then the planning begins.

This is a favorite scene when Ro sees her working there.

The amount of flesh on display did nothing for Ro. He enjoyed the female form as much as any heterosexual male, but he wasn’t there for pleasure. He dreaded finding Chloe, but at the same time hoped he’d see her tonight. The clothes she’d been wearing two weeks ago were the only reason he thought she might be there. He couldn’t imagine why else she’d been wearing the skimpy outfit she’d had on.

He eyed the waitress who was returning with their order. When she leaned over the table to set down the drinks, her tits threatened to pop out of the bikini top she was almost wearing.

When she was done, she put the tray under an arm and leaned on the table with her hands. The position was provocative and sexual and would’ve been extremely hot—if not for the stressed look on her face. “Are you boys new here?”

“Sure thing, beautiful,” Arrow replied for the group.

“Welcome to BJ’s. Where your pleasure is my pleasure,” she said in an almost bored tone. “Anything you need, all you have to do is ask. Feel free to walk around, and know that all the servers accept tips, just as the dancers do. We have private rooms in the back, where you can get to know any of the women better. If you’re interested, just talk to the object of your affection. She’ll let you know the price for what you want.”

She looked over her shoulder then, and Ro couldn’t help but follow her line of vision.

He stiffened when he saw Chloe following a man out of the guarded hallway.

She was looking at the ground and shuffling along behind the man as if embarrassed, rubbing her bare arms and frowning.

Ro shifted in his seat, ready to get up and rush over to her, but Gray put a hand on his arm, halting him.

The waitress looked back at them and straightened. “Your regular waitress should be here soon to see if you need anything else, but I’m available for hire in a back room if you’re so inclined.” And with that parting shot, she winked, then turned and headed straight for Chloe.

“What. The. Fuck?” Arrow bit out. “Did she just tell us that we could have any woman here for a price?”

“Sounded like it to me,” Gray said.

Ro didn’t respond, instead keeping his eye on Chloe. The waitress walked up to her and bent her head to have a short conversation. Chloe nodded and went to the bar to pick up a tray. When she turned her back, Ro glanced at what she was wearing. Compared to most of the servers, it was downright nunlike. But that made her all the more intriguing, and he saw several men ogling her arse as she turned to face the bar. She was still showing way too much skin for Ro’s taste . . . and her own, as well, it seemed. Her heels were a modest three or so inches, whereas the other women were wearing anywhere from four to six. With the added inches, Ro estimated she’d be just about the same height as he was. Chloe had on a short skirt that came to the middle of her thighs. She wore a corset top, which made her waist look small but her tits look way too large for her frame. They were sitting high on her chest and definitely on display. Her shoulders were hunched, as if she was trying to hide herself from the men leering at her, but it was no use. There was no hiding the abundance of flesh that had been pushed up on her chest.

She was way curvier than their previous server; her corset didn’t quite cover her belly, and a tiny pooch was on display as she made her way reluctantly to their table. Every step made the skirt she was wearing ride up her curvy thighs, until she was almost flashing them by the time she arrived.

She looked uncomfortable and miserable, and Ro wanted to throw his arms around her to shield her from the stares and lust of the men in the room and spirit her away.

Forcing himself to stay seated, he waited to see what she would say or do when she came up to their table. He was eager to see if she’d pretend to not know him, or if she’d acknowledge that they’d met before.

She walked up and stopped where their previous waitress had stood. But she held the tray in front of her, as if shielding herself from their gazes, and kept her eyes on the floor.

“Welcome to BJ’s. Where your pleasure is my pleasure,” she said in a shaky voice. “I hope you’re enjoying your drinks. Anything you need, all you have to do is ask.

There are private rooms in the back, and it would be my pleasure to show you the excellent hospitality BJ’s is known for . . . if that’s your desire.”

She waited, and Ro swore she was holding her breath. He was furious that she and the other waitress were basically whoring themselves out, but he didn’t act on that anger. Now wasn’t the time or the place.

“Chloe?” he asked quietly, wanting to reach for her, but not wanting to upset her any more than she was already.

At the sound of her name, her eyes came up for the first time and met his, flaring wide. He could barely see them in the dim atmosphere of the club, but he thought they were a dark brown. She obviously wasn’t wearing the purple contacts she’d had in when he’d first met her. She had heavy makeup on her face, and her straight black hair was swept back into a messy bun at the nape of her neck.

She opened her mouth to speak, but abruptly closed it.

“Don’t panic,” Ro told her quickly. “Me and my friends are here to see if you need help. If not, if you’re cool, then we are too. But if you don’t want to be here and need assistance, all you have to do is say the word, and I’ll make sure you’re safe.”

She continued to stare at him with eyes as big as saucers. He saw she was gripping the tray so hard her knuckles were turning white. She looked away from him to Gray and Arrow, then her eyes came back to him. “Why?” she asked.

“Because in my world, no one hurts a woman. She doesn’t have a fist-size bruise on her back, and she definitely doesn’t wander around Black Forest without a purse or a way to call for help, wearing clothes too small and heels too high.”

She flinched at that and took a deep breath. “I . . . I can’t . . . I don’t know . . .”

“Stop panicking,” Gray ordered, and her eyes swung to him. “First things first. Are you okay? Are you safe?”

Chloe licked her lips and looked to the side, but neither nodded nor shook her head.

“Okay, that answers that. Is it just your brother who’s watching you?” Gray asked.

They got a little head shake at that. “When do you get off work?” Arrow asked.

“Three.”

Ro looked at his watch. It was one thirty. She still had another hour and a half to go. “Do you have to go in the back room with anyone who asks?”

She nodded her head.

Ro leaned forward and ordered, “Look at me, love.”

She looked at him, and he was stunned at the hope and fear he saw in her eyes. It made him want to take her in his arms and lead her out of there without another word. But he knew they’d never make it to the door. Not if she was being watched by more than her brother. “You tell anyone who asks that I’ve already paid for your next session in a private room.”
Stoker, Susan. Defending Chloe (Mountain Mercenaries Book 2) (pp. 31-34). Montlake Romance. Kindle Edition.

Now Ro would rather have just walked out with her, but that wasn’t happening. The process of getting Chloe to safety becomes far more complicated.

I loved all the twists and turns in this book as the team uncovers the facts. Ro has a long way to go to establish trust with Chloe and that journey is as convoluted as the investigation.

The tease for the next book was awesome and I really can’t wait for it to come out.

Emotional, intense, romantic and action packed. Don’t miss this book!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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Christmas Countdown! Red Hot Christmas – Two Sizzling Reads – Two Fabulous Authors


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Red Hot Christmas

Two Sizzling Holiday Reads

By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Carmen Falcone
and
Michele deWinton

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This Christmas, get ready to be nice… and naughty.

Christmas Secrets
by

Michele deWinton

All Gabby Phillips wants is a Christmas without drama. Fat chance. Not when the new owner of her department store is tall, dark and dangerous, Nicolas Morganti, the man she ran out on. The same man her father stole half a million dollars from and the man her body still craves in the deepest hours of the night. Now she has to keep her cool, and her biggest secret – because if he finds out he has a son, he might just take the last scrap of Christmas spirit she’s got left.

Nicolas Morganti always gets what he wants. This Christmas that includes his competitor’s huge department store chain. But when he’s told money is missing and that Gabrielle Phillips works there, it doesn’t take him long to point the finger. Nobody’s ever run out on him before, and the way Gabby left was colder than a snow storm. Now it’s time to settle the score. Revenge can be gift wrapped, right?

When Nick Morganti acquires the Department store chain she works for Gabrielle Phillips is scared. Scared she’ll lose her job and scared she’ll lose her son. Still paying off her father’s debt and faced with increased payments she finds herself on the verge of homelessness without a babysitter.

Nick Morganti has vengeance on his mind. Gabrielle’s father stole from him and he was sure she was the mastermind behind it all when she disappeared from his life five years ago. Now she’s his employee and he discovers he still has feelings for her. Feelings that aren’t part of revenge.

This is a favorite scene after the department head meeting. A look a how confused Nick and Gabby are going to get.

“I know about Fraser. His wife obviously knows about you too and has made him beg off Friday drinks because of it. Poor bastard. What were you trying to get out of him? He doesn’t strike me as someone of influence.”

Her forehead, usually smooth and untroubled, creased like old parchment paper. “You’ve spoken to him?”

“Of course. You didn’t think I’d get to where I am without being able to sense when sexual tension is clouding an employee’s judgment.”

She stared at him. “When did you speak to him?”

“Just now. In the boardroom.”

Her face collapsed in on itself and she laughed. Laughed!

It was Nicolas’s turn to stare. And as he did she pulled at her bottom lip, her eyes glinting at him, inviting him? Promising….? Not letting himself think too hard, he covered her mouth with his. The shock registered in her eyes but as if he’d flicked a switch, suddenly Gabrielle was kissing him back, softening, her body pressed to his chest.

Damn she felt good. Better than good. Despite the huge differences in their height they’d always fit well together, her tiny frame cradled in his broad one. Pushing his hands into her hair, Nicolas wanted to pull her head back, to lay his teeth on her neck, to open her shirt and take what was rightfully his.

Stop it. Nicolas pulled his mouth away but didn’t release her. He didn’t usually do self-flagellation, certainly not over something as small as a kiss, but this hadn’t been part of the plan. Yet as Gabrielle stood looking up at him, he could hardly stop himself wanting to take her right there and then on her desk. Not now. Not ever again. Drawing on every ounce of control he owned, Nicolas calmed his mind and focused on what he was here to do, not on the formidable desire and forbidden tenderness Gabrielle still elicited from him. But you stopped. You’re in control.

“Was that to prove you’re more man than Fraser Kilpatrick? No one doubts you, don’t worry. You’ve got the girls here in a flutter. Although they obviously don’t know what you’re really like. I could make a complaint. That was pretty close to sexual harassment.”

He growled.

A smile returned to her lips. “Don’t worry, I know it’s not worth it. And anyway it’s almost sweet. You think I had an affair with Fraser Kilpatrick? I would never. That’s too much.”

Nicolas was surprised that he felt relieved. Then he realized she hadn’t denied being involved with someone else called Fraser. “Who else would I be talking about?”

Turning her face away from him he watched her shoulders still. When she turned back, her confusion, mirth, every expression he’d just witnessed was gone. “So I have a boyfriend called Fraser. So what? I’m not a cheat or a home wrecker.”

Nothing about being a fraudster. Well they both knew the truth of that; no point going into it again now. She pulled at her bottom lip and Nicolas couldn’t help his gaze going back to it. How did she do it? Get under his skin like that.
Falcone, Carmen; de Winton, Michele. Red Hot Christmas (Kindle Locations 446-471). . Kindle Edition.

From here it just gets better and better. Someone is pilfering money and pointing it to Gabby’s department. Now she has to prove she’s innocent all over again and the realization that she still loves the man can only hurt more.

A page turning delight as Nick finds out more about Gabby and her life since him. But there is one more secret. One that will make or break this relationship.

5 Contented Purrs for Michele!


Christmas Scandal
by

Carmen Falcone

After doing time for a crime she didn’t commit, paramedic nurse Sydney Bell avoids trouble at all costs. Yet, trouble comes knocking on her door when a dying patient begs her to deliver a mysterious message to hunky Argentine investor Alejandro Soto.

Alejandro needs to publish the one book that will help restore his image and aid his uncle’s political campaign. It’s full steam ahead until a feisty redheaded woman storms into his office and offers a clue to his biographer’s death. He’s skeptical about Sydney, and laughs it off but after she’s attacked, Alejandro realizes he has no choice but to protect her, whether she likes it or not. He can’t have another death on his conscience.

A crazy attraction threatens to make Sydney surrender to her Argentine savior, but will she be ready for the Christmas scandals that will rock them along the way?

When auto-biographer Frank Lewis is shot he whispers a cryptic message to the paramedic caring for him on route to the hospital. Sydney Bell’s life changes with those few words.

Alejandro Soto has no idea how much his privileged life is about to change when a feisty redhead barges past his assistant into his office. Having just learned of his auto-biographer’s death he wasn’t sure how much weight the woman’s words carried. That is until she gets an email from her job informing her of her partner’s death.

He knows he has to keep her safe at least until they find who killed Frank and possibly her partner. This is a favorite scene when Alejandro follows her concerned for her well-being.

“Sydney. You just left my office. Alejandro Soto,” said the voice on the other end, and her skin prickled as if it’d been stroked with a feather. After the way he pronounced her name, the man didn’t need to identify himself. That wasn’t an accent one heard every day, was it?His South American drawl was cultured, engaging, deep.

“I told you everything I know,” she said, then cleared her throat trying to sound more composed. “How did you find out where I live?” she asked, and a chill skated down her spine. This was not a good thing. The last thing she needed was a stalker— even if he had the sexiest lips she laid her eyes on. Even if in person he was ten times yummier than on her screen— and all the more dangerous. Damn it, Sydney. Hadn’t life taught her a lesson? Men like him would always have leverage over her. They could put her away, behind bars, for things she wasn’t guilty of.

“Remember you had to show your driver’s license and give them your contact information to get through security?”

Oh shit. Yeah. She had almost given them a fake address. Old habits died hard. But they asked to see her picture ID before issuing her a visitor’s badge, and she ended up being honest. “Okay, Sherlock. You got me.” She shuffled from foot to foot. “Why are you here?”

“You stormed out of my office. I was worried about you.” A sigh. “You just lost someone.”

“Thanks, but I’ll be okay. You don’t need to hand me tissues or anything,” she said, having a hard time picturing that ginormous man doing something so delicate. When he had grasped her in his office earlier, his large hands had caused an inside shiver. A man’s touch was not that familiar to her, and especially not that man’s. Imposing. Mysterious. And uncomfortably handsome.

“Sydney, let me come up. I want to make sure you’re okay. Then I’ll go.”

Like she was going to let a complete stranger into her apartment. She heard his long intake of breath from the other end of the line, and assumed he waited for her response. She bent over the kitchen sink, the wariness of the day taking a toll on her. Until this second, she had thought her heart was problem-free. Empty. Just the way it should be. Somehow, somewhere her friend had occupied a part of it— tiny enough to go unnoticed when she was alive, and big enough to increase the void now that she was gone.

Patty. Words got trapped in her throat.

A creak on the run-down laminate flooring made Sydney straighten her shoulders. Melted ice flowed through her veins.

There is someone here.
Falcone, Carmen; de Winton, Michele. Red Hot Christmas (Kindle Locations 2626-2650).Kindle Edition.

After hiring a private detective they two of them head to Argentina to Alejandro’s mother’s home for Christmas.

From this point on everything is fraught with secrets. Everything but the growing attraction between them. They divulge to each other just about everything and once they hit the bedroom, well sparks fly.

A page turner that will keep you guessing until the very end.

5 Contented Purrs for Carmen!


Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

Carmen Falcone 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.

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

michele-dewinton Michele de Winton

I’ve been known to be an all round arty type so it’s no wonder my first romance has a little sparkle of the stage tucked into its pages. Being a writer was not was I was supposed to be when I ‘grew up’ but then neither was being a dancer. Sometimes my performing past jumps into of the dress up box and requires attention. But most of the time I’m content to stay in my PJs. All day. And I also thinks that chocolate can solve pretty much everything.

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Christmas Countdown! The Navy SEAL’s Christmas Bride – Heroes of Chance Creek Book 4 By Cora Seton



The Navy SEAL’s Christmas Bride
Heroes of Chance Creek Book 4
By
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton

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Christmas 2015 Blog blurb

It’s Christmas time at Crescent Hall, but don’t expect expect peace, harmony and goodwill among men. When Mason Hall and his wife, Regan, invite their friends to stay for the holidays, sparks fly in an epic battle of the sexes, military style!

Navy SEAL Dan Hemmins goes head to head with soldier Sarah Metlin to prove once and for all that woman can’t possibly qualify for an elite branch of the military, but when Sarah proves she’s not just one of the most qualified warriors he’s ever met, she’s also one of the smartest and sexiest, too, he’ll do whatever it takes to get close to her, even if he has to challenge her to another contest…or three…or five!

The Navy SEAL’s Christmas Bride is a Heroes of Chance Creek novella, and has also been featured in the SEALs of Winter box set.

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Christmas 2015 Blog Review

This was definitely a fun book. The competitions between Dan and Sarah were hysterical in that they both seemed to have a need to prove something to the other.

Sarah has many issues with always having to prove herself. Being the only daughter in a military family she has broken the rules and joined up too. Much to their dismay and disapproval. She is stymied in her military career since she isn’t allowed to even try for special forces. (Although this rule has changed now.) She’s deciding whether to stay in or leave while on the Christmas leave.

As a Navy SEAL, Dan has always bantered with members of the other branches of the service, but he can’t quite get what’s going on with Sarah. He’s enjoying the competitions but he’s also feeling more. He wants more with Sarah.

This is a favorite scene when Sarah wins the shooting competition.

“I can’t believe how good a shot you are!” Regan said to Sarah as she and the rest of the women lined up on the porch to watch Dan’s naked laps around the Hall.

“I can’t believe you’re going to ogle another man when you’ve got this to look forward to tonight!” Mason called from the doorway where the rest of the men had gathered.

“I won’t look—much,” Regan said. “It’s your fault for inviting the streaker to stay with us.”

“It’s Sarah’s fault for winning that damned bet,” Austin said. “Ella, get inside!”

“I’m just here in solidarity with Sarah,” Ella said with a wink.

“You better not ogle him!”

“If Dan’s the only one naked, then he’s my only choice for ogling!”

“The hell you say.” Austin burst out of the house and unbuttoned his shirt as he clattered down the front steps.

“What are you doing?” Ella leaned over the railing.

“Running with Dan so you’ll keep your eyes where they’re meant to be—on me!”

Ella laughed. “If you run naked around the Hall, I will definitely ogle you, honey!”

“Well, hell,” Mason said. “I guess that means I better join them.” He raced down the steps, too, followed by Zane, John and Rafe.

“Run, baby, run!” Storm hollered at Zane.

Regan put two fingers in her mouth and let out a wolf whistle that brought everyone everyone to a halt. “Bet you didn’t even know I could do that,” she said to Mason.

“I didn’t. That’ll come handy when it’s time to move the cattle.”

Sarah laughed along with the others, but she couldn’t take her eyes off of Dan as he stripped off his shirt and got to work on his jeans. She’d known he’d be built under his winter gear, but the muscles carving his bare chest were breathtaking, as were the bulges that formed his biceps. No amount of training would give her biceps like that—not even with steroids, which she would never touch. She was an athlete—she could hold her head up high in any company—but she couldn’t compete with him that way.

And she didn’t want to at the moment. She just wanted to watch him. Avidly.

The other men were buff, too, of course, but she wasn’t going to stare at her friend’s husbands.

“Naked racing around the Hall. That’s a new holiday tradition,” Ella mused.

“A very short-lived, if fun, tradition.” Regan smoothed a hand over her pregnant belly. “I will not have my kids growing up with this kind of thing going on.” But her lips were twitching at the prospect in front of her and Sarah didn’t blame her. The men were down to their skivvies and damn, if this wasn’t a sight to see.

“Okay, boys! When I yell go, drop your drawers and run,” Mason called. “On your mark, get set, go!”

Sarah joined in the other women’s laughter as the men peeled off their shorts and took off. Regan leaned way over the railing as they quick turned the corner around the Hall. “Now that is a sight.”

“Yes, it is,” Sarah agreed. “Too bad they’re so damn fast.”

“I think Dan’s running a hell of a lot faster now than he did earlier on those snowshoes,” Ella said.

“If we were smart, we’d run through the Hall and catch them on the other side, too.” Regan gestured for the front door.

“Good idea!” Storm strode toward it, then yelped as a mad dash ensued, with some good-natured pushing and shoving along the way. The pack of women reached the back porch just in time to catch the men racing past again. Regan let out another wolf-whistle, eliciting more laughter. Sarah caught Dan’s eye as he went past and he saluted her.

“Back to the front,” Regan yelled and the women charged through the Hall again. This time they moved faster and got a full frontal view of the running men.

“All right! That’s what we like to see! Come to Mama!” Ella yelled.

Austin did a front handspring and the women cheered. The men disappeared around the side of the Hall again.

“To the back!”

Sarah charged to the back porch with the rest of them, laughing so hard she could barely keep up. As they raced back and forth and the men progressed to cartwheels, back flips and other tricks to elicit cheers, all her pain and worry about the future slid away. She didn’t know when she’d had such fun.
Seton, Cora. The Navy SEAL’s Christmas Bride (Heroes of Chance Creek Series Book 4). (Kindle Locations 608-640). One Acre Press. Kindle Edition.

Lots of fun, ribbing and revelations as these two come to terms with themselves and their attraction to each other.

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

Christmas 2015 Blog Other Books

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Christmas 2015 Blog About Author

Cora Seton

USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.

Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.


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A Love Never Forgotten – Never Forgotten Trilogy Book 1 by Kalyn Cooper



A Love Never Forgotten
Never Forgotten Trilogy Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
KaLyn Cooper

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

Dreams or nightmares. Truth or lies. He can’t tell them apart. Then he discovers the woman who has haunted his dreams is real. Is she his future? Or his past?

After an accident ten years before, Matthew St. Clare’s new face makes him look a decade younger than his fifty-two years. The worry lines from his job as the deputy director of the CIAs most covert teams has turned his hair white. He can’t afford becoming attached to anyone because it puts a target on their back, so he keeps his affairs casual. But his dreams are hot and steamy, filled with love and desperation, always with the same woman. Always ending in the same nightmare of darkness and fear. Matt thinks he’s going crazy…until he sees her.

Former Army Lieutenant Elizabeth Kamp just buried her second husband. He wasn’t much of a loss. Not like Special Forces Captain Mason Sinclair who had been taken from her in an explosion while together on a mission. She doesn’t need another man in her life, but when someone tries to kill her, she’ll accept help from a saint to protect her children. But can she protect her heart from him?

A Love Never Forgotten was originally published as ‘Never Forget’ in the Love Under Siege Anthology.

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I read this book as part of the Love Under Siege Anthology, it is a favorite.

Once again KaLyn has me biting my nails. Now I know the CIA does scary stuff, but man this is really terrifying.

Elizabeth lost her husband of less than a day ten years ago in an explosion overseas. Now she is burying her second one, a victim of an auto accident.

Matthew is Gabe’s second in command, he’s been having dreams of a silvery-eyed woman and a lot of circumstances that seem real but couldn’t be, could they?

He meets the woman haunting his dreams at her husband funeral. More than that he seems to recognize her former teammates, but still not really.

This is a favorite scene.

Her vision was blurred by tears when she looked at Gabriel. “I can’t thank—” She couldn’t finish the sentence. The man who arrived with Gabe now stood three feet behind him in the same spot her son had occupied for the past half hour. He’d taken off his aviator sunglasses and was wiping them with a lens cloth.

He looked up and met her gaze.

Elizabeth couldn’t breathe. Her lungs refused to work.

She blinked, and blinked, trying to sweep away the water so she could focus. She removed her sunglasses and dabbed her eyes, then looked straight into his.

His whole body jolted as though they had been connected by a live wire.

No. It couldn’t be.

Her gaze tracked to the gravestone. Mason A. Sinclair. She stared at the final date as if she needed confirmation of his death.

Slowly, she dared to look at the white-haired man with the face of an angel.

The edges of her vision narrowed until all she saw was his light brown eyes and the golden circle around the iris.

The world went black.

In her mind, she was falling into her own grave, meeting Mason in the next world, as every muscle in her body gave up.
Love Under Siege. KaLyn Cooper. Never Forget. (Kindle Locations 637-647). Kindle Edition.

As Matt insinuates himself into her life, he learns more things that worry him. Protecting her and her children is foremost on this list.

I can’t wait for the next book in this trilogy. I loved the mention of the Black Swans and Uncle Tom Callahan.

This is an intense, romantic, scary, and emotional book. I loved every minute of it.

5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

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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