Small Town Trouble – Familiar Legacy Book 5 By Laura Randall



Small Town Trouble
Familiar Legacy Book 5
By
Laura Benedict

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SUMMER SECRETS…KIDNAPPING AND MURDER.

Erin Walsh arrives home to tiny New Belford, Kentucky from college only to clash with her young stepmother, Shelby Rae. When Shelby Rae is kidnapped and a dear friend of the family is murdered, Erin discovers that both victims had secrets connected to the violent death of her mother seven years earlier. In a small town the pool of suspects is limited, but it also means the danger to Erin’s own life is deathly close.

Noah Daly, an old high school friend, is the son of the man everyone blames for the violent death of Erin’s mother. But he’s also the one person Erin feels she can trust to help her find Shelby Rae’s kidnapper and her friend’s murderer. Or is her sudden attraction to him blinding her to his true nature?

Enter Trouble, the wise and wily black cat detective. His paws have barely landed in the bluegrass when he realizes Erin is about to put herself in danger. Can he lead Erin to the truth before she becomes a victim herself?

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This is a multi-author series about Trouble a mystery solving kitty. I like reading new to me authors and I get a taste of their writing as they interpret Trouble.

Trouble’s mistress Tammy Lee is much sought after for anything to do with books and in this one she’s left Trouble with her friend Erin while she goes overseas.

Erin’s step-mother, Shelby Rae is a piece of work, as is very apparent right from the beginning. Young and full of herself she has no regard for anyone around her not even her husband.

However there is a lot going on in this book and Shelby Rae is only the beginning. Then there’s Trouble trying to spark a romance between her and Noah.

This is a favorite scene.

Noah looked up at the starry sky. “Man, I could fall asleep right here, listening to the water lap, and the owls talking.”

“Tell me about it.” Saul took a swig of beer. “Fiancée’s out of town. Another brew and I’d rack for sure.”

Noah put his head back, but something landed on his lap, and he sat straight up. The black cat—what was his name? Bubbles? No, Trouble—swished his tail along the underside of Noah’s chin.

Saul laughed. “Probably a barn cat or something. Just pitch it down.”

Noah knew Trouble wasn’t a barn cat. Barn cats didn’t jump in your lap and start rubbing against you like you were their new best friend. At least he didn’t have to worry about fleas. Trouble was sleek and well-groomed.

“Dude, what are you doing outside? The coyotes would hunt you down for fun.” Noah scratched Trouble behind the ears.

“Friend of yours?” Saul gave Noah a curious look.

“He’s probably not supposed to be out. I think Erin—” Noah stopped at the sound of Erin’s name, surprising himself. “The Walshes are cat sitting him or something.”

“Keep ’em outside with a bowl of food, is what my family always did. If they wanted to eat, they either caught mice or fought to keep the raccoons off the porch.”

Holding the placid cat in one arm, Noah walked down the bank toward the house. There were still plenty of lights on inside, but he couldn’t see anyone. How late was it, anyway? He would go home as soon as he put Trouble inside. But when he touched the door handle, the door suddenly opened and he was face to face with a startled Erin. Now she wore a loose V-neck sweater that almost covered the legs of her shorts. Her hair was pulled back, too, in a low ponytail. She looked good. He held out Trouble to her.

“He was out by the bonfire. I thought maybe he needed to come in since he’s not from around here. Coyotes and stuff?”

Erin took the cat but didn’t seem exactly engaged.

“Is something wrong?” Noah asked.

Erin shook her head. “I don’t think so. It’s just that Dad can’t find Shelby Rae, and he’s kind of freaking out. She does this all the time, goes out and grabs a drink in town with a girlfriend. But she’s not answering her phone and her car’s here.”

“I could help you look for her.”

The Jack Russell terrier Noah had seen earlier, once in Shelby Rae’s arms, scrabbled at Erin’s feet, desperate to get outside.

“Jocko, get back. Now!”

The dog kept trying, so she pushed him back gently with one foot until he finally got the message.

Erin smiled. “Sorry. Listen, you’re so nice. But that’s Shelby Rae. She looooooves to be unpredictable. She’ll turn up. Thanks for bringing Trouble back. Bye.”

Noah told her, “Good night.” Then she closed the door.

He watched her through the glass as she walked through the kitchen, and dropped the cat gently to the floor. The little dog hurried ahead of them both.

He’d wanted to ask, “When can I see you again?” Except the words hadn’t come.
Laura Benedict. Small Town Trouble (Kindle Locations 305-330). KaliOka Press. Kindle Edition.

There are many twists and turns in this book. A convoluted plot with many players that will keep you on your toes.

Lots of suspicions, not a lot of proof and plenty of twists and surprises.

Trouble didn’t get out as much as he did in the previous books but he is once again responsible for figuring it all out. I can’t wait to read more of this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Laura!

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Laura Benedict

Laura Benedict is the Edgar- and ITW Thriller Award- nominated author of eight novels of suspense, including the forthcoming The Stranger Inside (February 5, 2019). Small Town Trouble, her most recent book, is a cozy crime novel. Her Bliss House gothic trilogy includes The Abandoned Heart, Charlotte’s Story (Booklist starred review), and Bliss House. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and in numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, and St. Louis Noir. A native of Cincinnati, she lives in Southern Illinois with her family.

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Hexed and Vexed – Wards and Wands Book 1 by Rebecca Royce



Hexed and Vexed
Wards and Wands Book 1
By
Rebecca Royce

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The worst witch in school, Ava Blakely is the girl no one forgets—she’s a Blakely, she’s a potion maker, and her fiancé left her at the altar the year before. When Enforcers whisk her away from her sister’s wedding, she finds herself in the company of Lawson Abramowitz—the hottest, nicest witch she’s ever met. Weirder still—he seems interested in her.

So between running her shop, placating her socially minded mother, her match making best friend, and a magical world turned upside down, Ava will face all sorts of challenges. Can the worst witch ever actually be the savior the witching world needs?

Ava is a witch without powers, well she has a knack for mixing potions, but other than that, nothing. She has adjusted from being the ‘worst witch in school’ and then being left at the alter to owning a shop to sell her potions and creams.

Her sister Zoe has found the perfect match for herself and this book opens with her wedding and Ava moaning about the pink dress her sister has her wearing because she looks cute in pink.

With the party in full swing, enforcers storm the room and demand Ava come with them.

Two men flew into the room, their feet never touching the ground. They were spellcasting hard, and a collective gasp filled the room. That much power wasn’t used in polite society. People dabbled together; they didn’t show off.

But then again, the two men who had flown through the doors wouldn’t be at all interested in showing off to anyone. Ava had gone to school with both Lawson Abramowitz and Stefan Miller. They had left school early, taken by the government to work as Enforcers. Their job was to hunt bad witches. They worked in secret, their real lives a mystery, and people feared them wherever they went. To be accused by an Enforcer of breaking a witching law was to be, at worst, put to death or, at best, shunned. Some people might prefer the first.

Ava hadn’t seen either of them in two years. They’d both come into her shop for a potion. Stefan hadn’t acknowledged her at all while Lawson had paid, nodded, and disappeared back out the door. She’d never had a problem with either of them. They weren’t the taunting type.

Of course, the question remained: what were they doing coming through the door at her sister’s wedding? They’d not been invited…

“I need Ava Blakely, and I need her right now.”

Ava’s father, Emilio, shot forward. “What is the meaning of this? My daughter has done nothing to gain your attention. She can’t even do a spell.”

Gratitude for her father’s defense settled on her spine, warring against the need to cringe that once again it had been pointed out that Ava was downright defunct—in public.

Stefan swore. “Son of a moon drugged bug, we don’t have time for this.”

Lawson grabbed his arm. “Your daughter is not in trouble. Listen up, partygoers, Ava Blakely is not in any trouble. We need her to consult on a case. She has done nothing wrong. We’d not be here if it wasn’t an emergency.”

Ava sucked in her breath. They wanted her to do what? Melanie grabbed her arm. “Steady. They can’t make you go anywhere with them. They just said you’re not in trouble.”

“Why do you need her?” Mitchell moved forward, and Ava’s breath quickened. Was he going to help her? Did he care? “She can’t do anything. She was the worst witch in witching school.”

The room spun, and Ava thought for a second she might faint. In all their time together, Mitchell had never once called her the never-going-away nickname. In fact, he’d beaten someone else for saying it. Anger fueled her through the dizzy and forced her to straighten her spine. She would not be brought down by that man, not again.

If the Enforcers needed help, then they would get it from her. Although, she had no idea what she could do exactly.

She stormed through the crowd toward the men. At the very least, she had to get them out of her sister’s wedding reception.

“Ava,” Zoe called out, horrified, “don’t go with them.”

“I’ll be fine, Zo-Zo,” Ava called back. “They said I’m not in trouble. They need my help. People do all the time, you know.”

Stefan didn’t react, but Lawson raised his eyebrows slightly. “Thank you,” the latter finally said. “Come on. There’s no time to waste.”

It took Ava a minute to realize he meant for her to come with him. “I can’t float. No spellcasting. Worst witch in witching school.” Sometimes it helped to actually say it aloud. Ownership of the phrase gave her power over it. Or at least she pretended it did.

Stefan rolled his eyes. “School was over five years ago. These people…”

“Not here. Not now.” Lawson extended his hand to Ava. “Come on. I’ve got you.”

Ava stared at his outstretched offering and didn’t move. All gazes in the room were on her. The last thing she could handle was to be dropped straight on her rear. “I’m kind of a big girl.”

Lawson rolled his eyes. “You’re tiny. Although that pink thing makes you look ten times bigger. Did you lose a bet?”

“She looks adorable in pink,” Zoe sobbed from somewhere in the crowd.
Rebecca Royce. Hexed and Vexed (Kindle Locations 96-130). Kindle Edition.

Seems the enforcers know something not many people do. Ava can mix the potions to remove hexes and one of their own has been hexed. A serial hexer is on the loose and they really need to find this person.

There’s much more going on as well, really crazy weather, humans bringing a necklace they shouldn’t have and lots more add to the intrigue and suspense as Lawton and Ava fall for each other.

I laughed and sniffled, held my breath and gasped. A thoroughly enjoyable book, with just enough lead in to the next in the series.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!

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Rebecca Royce Rebecca Royce

As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.

I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend. I live in Austin Texas where I am determined to eat all the barbecue in town.

I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing. I’ve been told I’m a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers!!

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Wicked Healing – Healing Hands, Healing Hearts Book 2 by J.M. Madden



Wicked Healing
Healing Hands, Healing Hearts Book 2
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
J.M. Madden

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Erin Knox has never dealt with a dog as difficult as Wicked, an injured Military War dog, but then, she’s never had a dog with the kind of experience that he’s had. Since being blown up in an IED, the dog has traveled around the world and been separated from his long-time handler, who was also wounded in the blast. It’s going to take a lot of work to foster him. The dog is broken in more ways than one.

Luca Carmichael was told his best friend had died in the explosion in Afghanistan, so it’s a shock when he receives a letter from the woman fostering Wicked back to health. A desolate future suddenly takes on fresh hope and he waits impatiently for every email. As they both heal, he and Erica share more and more of themselves. Before long he’s waiting to hear from her, but not just for a report on Wicked. Would she be willing to take two wounded soldiers into her heart?

Erin won my heart from the first page of this book, and Wicked shortly thereafter. She didn’t have to find Wicked’s handler but she did and the results, well, tears.

Luca wasn’t doing well, mentally anyway. His guilt over losing his canine partner was overwhelming. When he read the first email from Erin, his world tipped and he found a new balance.

Erin and Luca maintain a correspondence with pictures and updates. They even planned a visit once Wicked was fitted with prosthetic.

This is a favorite scene as Erin Facetimes Luca as they leave the vet’s office.

Wicked was not wild about having people mess with his leg again, and he definitely didn’t like the thing mounted to his foot and Velcro-ed, but once he realized he could move around like he used to he forgot about it. Within two minutes he was walking like he’d always worn a prosthetic. Erin went up and down the hallway of the vet’s office, watching his mobility. One of the vet techs took a walking video and they looked at it on loop several times.

“I’m very happy with this,” Dr. Lang told her. “It’s a small prosthetic and I think he’ll be completely fine with it. If it was further up the hock the process would be a little more difficult, but I think he’s going to adapt like he should. You saw how easy it was to add the piece.”

Erin nodded. Literally it had taken two straps of Velcro and five seconds to put on. It was only two shaped bars of plastic, with a cushion pad on the bottom and a strip of rubber on the sole. If anything he might need heavier Velcro to attach to the leg if he was going to be doing a lot of jumping. But that was an issue for later down the road.

They walked out of the vet’s office side by side, and Wicked only had the most minor of bobbles. He jogged beside her as they went through the parking lot and even seemed excited to jump up into the back without using the old man ramp. Laughing, Erin drew her phone from her pocket and dialed Luca, then hit the FaceTime button. It rang and rang, and that was when she realized that maybe he didn’t want to see her, or for her to see him. She was just about to hang up when he answered.

Her first view of him was a shock. Damn. Luca Carmichael looked to be a handsome dark devil, with dark hair and eyes. His curly hair was a little mussed, like he’d been running his hands through it, but there was an alertness in his expression that so reminded her of Wicked. She grinned into the camera. “I thought you would like to see your dog in action.”

Turning the camera she scanned the view over his body and down to the prosthetic.

“Oh, Boss.”

Wicked jerked to alertness, focusing in on the phone, and she realized he hadn’t even heard his handler’s voice for weeks. “Luca,” she said, turning the phone back to herself, “I think he just recognized your voice.”

She turned the phone back to the dog. “Hey, Boss, look at you, buddy!” Luca called.

Wicked went nuts, whining and shoving his nose toward the phone, as if he was sniffing for Luca, and it actually brought tears to her eyes. It was obvious the dog recognized and missed his partner. He danced in the back of the car as Luca talked to him.

“Erin,” he said.

She turned the phone around, wiping her eyes. He seemed to be a little emotional too. “It seems like I’m always telling you thank you. He looks amazing.”

Wicked bumped her hand, as if telling her he wasn’t done. Turning, she sat on the back end of the SUV, with the dog directly behind her so that Luca could see them both. “It was too big of a deal not to celebrate. I’m sorry if I caught you at a bad time.”

Luca laughed, shaking his head. “Don’t worry about it. There is no bad time for you to call. It was so worth it.”

Erin related the conversation with the vet, along with her own observations. She wasn’t sure if Wicked could actually see Luca on the other end of the line, but he definitely recognized his voice. At one point the dog rested his head on her shoulder, as if in thanks for everything, and she teared up again. For a dog as reserved as Wicked, this was like a parade with confetti to Erin.
J.M. Madden. Wicked Healing (Kindle Locations 572-574). Kindle Edition.

This book triggers so many emotions, I was sniffling almost all the way through. Not in a bad way though.

Luca’s mother left much to be desired, she really had no right to do the things she did. The only thing she got right was hiring Healing Hands, Healing Hearts to care for Wicked. At least his father was supportive.

The journey for both the man and the dog was priceless and Erin’s role inspiring and romantic.

This is a wonderful, feel good book, with a simmer to sizzle romance but you’ll definitely need lots of tissues.

5 Contented Purrs for J.M.!

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Coming Soon!

J.M. Madden

J.M. Madden writes compelling romances between ‘combat modified’ military men and the women who love them. J.M. Madden loves any and all good love stories, most particularly her own. She has two beautiful children and a husband who always keeps her on her toes.

J.M. was a Deputy Sheriff in Ohio for nine years, until hubby moved the clan to Kentucky. When not chasing the family around, she’s at the computer, reading and writing, perfecting her craft. She occasionally takes breaks to feed her animal horde and is trying to control her office-supply addiction, but both tasks are uphill battles. Happily, she is writing full-time and always has several projects in the works.

She also dearly loves to hear from readers! So, drop her a line. She’ll respond.


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Kanen – SEALs of Honor Book 20 by Dale Mayer



Kanen
SEALs of Honor Book 20
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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His best friend’s wife is in trouble…

A panicked phone call sends Kanan flying across the ocean to find that she’s been held captive in her apartment, tortured for something her dead husband supposedly hid.

Only she knows nothing about it and her husband is, well, dead…

Dead men don’t talk – or do they? As they unravel the mystery Kanan has to delve into his friend’s life to see what he’d done that put his wife in jeopardy. And find her captor, before he decides to kill her.

Laysa doesn’t know what this man wants, but after seeing Kanan again after so long she knows what she wants. But is it a betrayal of her husband? Then why was her husband hiding things?

And why did her captor want them? Even worse, if he got them in his possession, what was he planning to do with them?

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I have been frantically buying this series, trying to catch up before this book came out. Unfortunately I am only half way through and this book is here.

Laysa has a really big problem she didn’t know she had. Her late husband had something somebody desperately wants.

Kanen was best friends with both Laysa and Blake since grade school. While Blake hadn’t been a SEAL he had been a Naval Officer, so that his wife was in trouble meant Kanen was going to do his best to get her out of it.

With Mason’s help, Kanen along with his teammates Taylor and Nelson, are able to leave their current training mission to go to Laysa’s aid.

Their first meeting doesn’t go quite as planned though, as the guys check out her apartment.

This is a favorite scene.

Standing before her apartment door, she used her key and entered. She found no sign of any security— a guard or a camera— or even crime-scene tape. Nothing here let her know if the police were done or if they would return. The place still looked as she’d last seen it, with the drawers dumped all over the place.

With her heart pounding, she took the first step back into her apartment, worried that maybe her captor could have come back around for her. It was a terrifying thought, but there was no reason for it.

Just her fear talking in her mind. At least that’s what she told herself.

She headed toward her bedroom and turned on the light. She quickly grabbed an overnight bag and a couple changes of clothes. She didn’t know how long she would be upstairs. Part of her wanted to stay among her own familiar surroundings and another part never wanted to return. All she needed was enough to get through the next day or two. She added a light sweater, and, as she zipped up her carry bag, she thought she heard something in the living room. She froze, rushed to the wall and turned off the light.

There she waited, her breath caught in her throat, just to hear the sound again. She tried to calm down and to convince herself that it was probably something outside. But, in her heart, she knew somebody was in her apartment. And then she couldn’t stop cursing herself for being such a fool.

Maybe her captor had been watching. Hell, maybe he had never left the building, and the police had somehow missed him.

Maybe he’d been waiting for somebody to return to the apartment, and, once he’d seen the light, he’d come in. Just the thought sent chills down her spine. She didn’t know what to do. Her arms shook, and her stomach churned. She didn’t dare get caught by that madman again. She didn’t know if she should go in the bathroom, locking the door behind her, and wait, or could she exit the apartment without being seen?

The trouble was, she’d already given herself away by turning on the light.

Her only option was to make a run for it. Counting down in her mind— three, two, one— she bolted for the front door, swinging the bag behind her. She made no attempt to be quiet. Then she heard a mumbled shout behind her.

But that brought added speed to her heels. She hit the front door, her fingers scrabbling to grab the knob and to turn it in time to get out. As she was about to cross the threshold, arms grabbed her. She could hear someone calling to her, but she was too panicked to register anything, to understand who it was. Once she was grabbed, her mouth opened, and a hand clasped over her lips. She was dragged back inside.

Strong arms held her firmly. But he didn’t move her toward the living room. He just held her tight. Somewhere through the dim panic in her mind, she thought she recognized his smell. She froze and then twisted her head and mumbled, “Kanen?”

He nodded, grinned and eased his grip.

She fully turned within his hold, threw her arms around his neck and clung to him. “Oh, my God! I thought it was him back again,” She reared back and slugged him in the chest. “Why would you terrify me like that?” Tears welled up. “Do you have any idea how scared I was?”

There was only silence afterward.

Then she flung herself into his arms, her arms tightly around his neck a second time, and whispered, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

He just held her close. Then she heard his deep voice, whispering against her ear, “It’s all right. I shocked you. I’m sorry.”

She sagged against him and knew it would be okay. She pulled back, the tears burning in the corners of her eyes. “I overreacted,” she whispered.

He smiled. “It’s my fault for scaring you.”

She grinned up at him. “And I’m delighted to see you and not that asshole.”

He stepped back slightly, studying her a little more intently. “I can see the asshole’s handiwork turning purple already on your chin. … What the hell are you doing here?”

Two men stepped out from the living room. She froze. They weren’t alone.

“They’re with me,” Kanen said quietly.

She sagged against him in relief. “Thank God for that.”

He introduced her to Taylor and Nelson.

She smiled, reached out a hand and shook both men’s hands, saying, “Thank you for coming to help.”

“Speaking of which,” Kanen said, closing the front door and leading her into the living room. “Tell us why you’re down here.”
Dale Mayer. Kanen (Kindle Locations 477-513). Valley Publishing.

Plenty of questions and not a lot of answers. The answers they do find don’t make a lot of sense either.

Layla’s not one to be left out so they end up doing a lot of behind the scenes investigating and the results are intriguing.

It also seems Blake was more than he appeared to be, and Layla is struck with blow after blow of revelations.

Kanen was beside her for comfort all the way, as they slowly work themselves into a relationship. One that surprises the two of them.

I love the way these guys fight the concept of ‘keepers’ only to fall for one themselves.

There’s lots of fun mixed with the suspense in this one and I loved the simmer to sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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Torn By Vengence – Love Thrives in Emma Springs Book 2 by Sally Brandle



Torn by Vengeance
Love Thrives in Emma Springs Book 2
By
Sally Brandle

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A Seattle lawyer must trust a hunky Montana doctor for help when a secret from her past threatens his town and her career.

Look over your shoulder, he’s watching…

Corrin Patten is solidly on a path to make partner in a prestigious Seattle law firm when an ominous threat from her past turns deadly. She can handle circumstances necessitating a temporary move to the backwater town of Emma Springs, but its charming physician is another matter, as she’s issued a permanent moratorium on men.

Dr. Kyle Werner revels in trust from patients he regularly treats in a community he’s never wished to leave. Yet Emma Springs lacks one thing, a woman to share his perfectly bucolic life. He’s read about pheromone attraction, but never experienced desire until meeting Corrin. They make an unbeatable team, but convincing her that his interest is sincere while they dissect layers of deceit requires the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Can they defeat the wealthy stalker bent on mistaken revenge against Corrin and destruction of the peaceful Montana setting?

If you thrive on tenacious heroines, sizzling attraction, and a shadowy villain with a grudge, you’ll love this prescription for thrills.

This book continues the saga started in The Hitman’s Mistake. Corrin is a lawyer working long hours to make her way to partner. Unbeknownst to her the past that haunts her is about to surface in a very unpleasant way.

Her friend Miranda’s testimony is eminent and Corrin decides to visit her in Emma Springs to give her moral support. What she doesn’t realize is that Grant and Miranda are on their way to Seattle. She is fortunate that Kyle Werner has to swap out vehicles at their home since the taxi she took from the airport left her there, in the middle of nowhere.

After a light meal, some getting to know you, a glimpse at predatory females, and a paunchy guy she keeps seeing. Kyle takes her to his father’s home.

This is a favorite scene.

The Jeep topped a hill. At the bottom sat a placid lake. A small inlet held cattails and a dead tree poked out of the water. A tiny house sat close to the shoreline with a large one further down.

Kyle pointed. “My folks gained their first essence of Emma Springs while living in that little cottage.” He slowed to almost a stop.

She craned her neck. Not a single barn in sight. Corrin smiled. “The lake’s charming. Straight out of a storybook featuring a tiny enchanted cottage on its shore.”

“Nice description. Sorry, no fairies in residence, or humans either.”

Enchanted cottage? She blinked. “No renters? What do people do for a living besides farm and guide hunters?”

“Sunrise Lake’s a summer draw to tourists, being one of the cleanest and warmest swimming lakes in Montana. Hot springs flow into the north side. My folks bought the cabin first, and once Dad’s legal practice took off, they also purchased the bigger home across the street. He has room for his practice in the lower level.”

Inviting lights glowed from the front windows of his dad’s two-story house. Stone pillars framed the wide front porch.

She’d grown up dreaming of being loved by sober, functioning parents in a stately home. “Aunt Iris lived next door to a similar Craftsman in Seattle. I used to imagine having a bedroom there all decorated in peach tones.”

Kyle’s eyes searched her face. “My folks welcomed newcomers to Emma Springs into their home.”

“And you carry on the tradition.”

“I try to. In recognition of attaining my medical license, my parents provided the down payment for my place.”

Contrasted to her family. “I got a graduation card from my parents.” She turned to the window, a hollowness forming in her chest. “You’re lucky to own a home.”

Kyle Werner, MD was printed on a sign out front of a white clapboard rambler sitting in the middle of a big lawn.

“Until I get loans paid off, the bank and I are co-owners. The townspeople were excited to have a doctor and helped remodel it to hold my office.”

“Couldn’t you have converted the tiny house next door?”

“Not really. Your enchanted cottage accommodated guests, barbecues, and birthday parties while Mom was alive. It holds too many memories for Dad to make any changes.”

“The cottage deserves an occupant who appreciates the charm.”

He gave her an appraising look. “It does.” He pushed the button on a remote and drove into a three-car cement walled garage. Interior lights flicked on and the door slid shut.

“Your dad’s not a mob lawyer is he?” Corrin blurted, surprised at the volume of her own voice inside the garage. “The steel door leading to the house should hold off marauding Vikings.” She slid off the seat and stood beside Kyle, watching him press his thumb into a sensor pad.

“Dad and I were both Boy Scouts. Be prepared.” He held up two fingers in the bunny ear pose.

“You probably surmised I wasn’t a Girl Scout.” She pointed to her shoes.

A green light blinked on the pad.

“Hadn’t crossed my mind.” Kyle twisted the door handle. “My dad collects valuable clocks and secured the house according to his comfort level.” Clunks reverberated as bolts retreated from their holes.

“Solid gold, diamond encrusted clocks?” Corrin asked.

“I wish.” He rolled his eyes. “Rare antiques. Dad came from a tough town and also wanted Mom to feel protected if he traveled overnight.”

Vines decorated the windows of the enclosed walkway from the garage to the house. The winding tendrils climbed heavy, wrought iron scrollwork, resembling the covered entrance to a Spanish fortress.

Kyle spoke into his cell. “Hey Dad, the mystery guest’s arrived.”

Corrin peered through the greenery to the road. Her eyes widened. The silver car slowed at their driveway, then sped off. “Kyle—”

A thick wooden door to the house swung open.

“Enough mystery. I want an introduction.” An older man stepped out. Lines creased the edges of his friendly blue eyes, the same shade of blue as Kyle’s.

Welcoming eyes. Precisely what she needed after seeing the damn car again.
Sally Brandle; Unknown. Torn By Vengeance (Kindle Locations 905-941). Soul Mate. Kindle Edition.

Actually having dinner with Kyle’s dad is put on hold as a child fallen into an old mine shaft.

Corrin makes a name for herself, and uncovers some disturbing things. Compounded with her unease after seeing a ring she never wanted to see again.

We see Miranda, Grant and Red ‘the mule’ in this one too.

Suspense and intrigue abound as Corrin has to make some decisions and begins what could be a long term relationship with Kyle.

I can’t wait to see where this series goes from here.

5 Contented Purrs for Sally!

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Sally Brandle

Dodging male offspring and her functionally adept engineer husband, Sally steals away to her office to free non-princess types residing in her brain. Her trusty Australian Shepherd rescue pup, Tallulah, gives her input as the adventures unfold.

Childhood in rural Michigan, family, friends, critters and travel stateside and abroad feed the speed of her fingers to the keys. When stalling occurs, she heads to Lance, her trusty steed stabled close to miles of wooded trails. Off they go for a head-clearing ride in fresh air, or a note session while the big gelding grazes.

Sally is a member of Romance Writers of America, Greater Seattle Romance Writers, Eastside Romance Writers and She Writes.

In 2014 she won the ECO Romantic Suspense category, and in 2015 finaled in Pages from The Heart, Hot Prospects and the Heart to Heart contests.
She invites you to sit back, get comfy and prepare to drop into her stories.


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Securing Sidney – SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 2 by Susan Stoker



Securing Sidney
SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 2
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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For Sidney Hale, rescuing dogs is more than a hobby. It’s a calling. A deep-seated need. An unstoppable compulsion. For reasons so unsettling, she shares them with no one…until she meets Decker. After coming to her rescue while Sidney battled to save a dog—literally—the gorgeous SEAL proves he can be trusted with her secrets, her safety…maybe even her heart.

Saving an abused pit bull from a suspected dog fighter brings Decker “Gumby” Kincade not only the dog he’s always wanted, but the first woman in ages to catch his interest. Sidney’s reason for rescuing Hannah, and animals like her, is shocking…but it makes Gumby want her even more. Her harrowing past has made her the strong, brave, compassionate woman she is today. She could be The One…if Gumby can help curb her habit of putting herself squarely in danger’s path.

But he may be too late. Hannah’s previous owner is enraged over her loss…and looking for revenge.

** Securing Sidney is the 2nd book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

** This story examines the stark reality of dogfighting and other animal abuse, and includes brief descriptions that may be unpleasant for some readers. .

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This is a very emotional and scary book as Susan delves into the world of dog-fighting. It’s not only the abuse the dogs are put through, but also the depravity of the people involved.

It opens after our heroine Sidney is involved in a fight over a severely abused dog. Gumby drives the dog to the vet and Sidney follows him. On that drive he not only decides to keep the dog, but also names her Hannah. Hannah’s reactions to him are absolutely priceless.

This is a favorite scene.

“We’ve got an injured dog here. We need to see a doctor immediately!”

The receptionist stood and gestured for them to follow her. Gumby was surprised when he felt Sidney’s hand land on the small of his back, and she practically glued herself to his side as they entered the small treatment room.

“A technician will be here momentarily to get your information and triage your pet.”

“Oh, but she’s—”

“Thank you,” Gumby said, interrupting Sidney.

When the lady had left, Sidney turned to him and frowned. “Why’d you cut me off?”

“The last thing I want is for them to think Hannah is a stray, or unwanted, because she’s not.”

Sidney opened her mouth to say something else, but a technician burst into the room before she could say a word.

“I heard we have an emergency. What’s— Oh my!”

Gumby very gently placed Hannah on the raised table in the room and kept his hand on her head. “Yeah. It’s bad.”

“What happened?” the vet tech breathed.

“She was taken out of my yard,” Gumby lied. “And we think the guy who took her was training her to be a bait dog or something for illegal dogfighting. He poured something caustic on her back, and it looks like she was dragged behind a car. Maybe he was trying to condition her and get her to run, but she couldn’t keep up.”

“Poor baby,” the tech crooned, leaning over to pet Hannah.

The hackles on the back of the dog’s neck rose and she growled low in her throat.

“Hannah,” Gumby said in a low, hard tone. The dog immediately stopped and whimpered instead. “Sorry about that,” he told the technician. “She’s usually very docile, but we don’t know what was done to her between when she was taken and when we got her back just now.”

“Of course,” the woman said. “It’ll take her some time to trust again.” She handed over a couple sheets of paper to Sidney. “I’ll need you to fill those out and the doctor should be in here in a few minutes.” She turned to Hannah. “Hang on, girl. We’ll have you fixed up in a jiffy.”

The second the woman left the room, Sidney turned to Gumby and whisper-yelled, “Why’d you tell them she was stolen out of your yard? That was stupid.”

Gumby ran his hand over Hannah’s head and didn’t miss the way the dog sighed in contentment and tried to crawl closer to him.

“What should I have said? That I just met the dog thirty minutes ago when you were in a fistfight with the asshole who had abused her? That you stole her from him? You think that would’ve gotten her treated any faster?” He went on before she could answer his rhetorical questions. “No. They would’ve wanted to know more details, and when we admitted that we know nothing about Hannah’s history, they might’ve been reluctant to treat her at all. This way, she’ll get the medical care she needs as soon as possible. Besides, I’m keeping her.”

Gumby had been thinking about getting a dog for a while now. Ever since he’d almost died in Bahrain on his last mission. He’d always regretted not having one, and Hannah seemed to have been dropped in his lap. It was a sign—and Gumby was a big believer in them.

“We should go through the coordinator at the local rescue group I work with. I was going to bring her there. They get medical attention for the dogs that need it, and they do extensive background checks on potential adopters,” Sidney told him.

“You do this a lot?” he asked.

“Do what?”

“Track down people you think are up to no good on social media? Then spy on them and, when they cross the line, take on men twice your size in order to rescue the animals they’re abusing?”

Without blinking, Sidney said, “Yes.”

It was Gumby’s turn to be surprised. “Seriously?”

She nodded. “The animals are innocent. They didn’t ask to be thrown into a pit to fight another dog. Or to be starved. Or to be chained up in a backyard for their entire lives. I’ll take on whoever I have to in order to save a helpless, innocent animal.”

“You ever gotten in trouble because of it?”

She grinned. “You mean do the low-life, abusive bastards turn me in? No. They’re all too busy trying to protect themselves and stay under the radar of the cops to file complaints against me.”

Gumby thought she looked a little too pleased with herself. But there was something in her eyes as she explained how she championed animals—guilt. And now he wanted to know why. Wanted to know her story.

His attention was diverted when the veterinarian entered the room. She was all business, and the next ten minutes were taken up with her examining poor Hannah and getting as much information as she could from Gumby…which wasn’t much. He told her to do a full blood panel on Hannah, as he wasn’t sure what had been done to her since she’d been taken. He wasn’t proud of his lies, but if they helped get Hannah the care she needed and deserved, so be it.

The vet agreed that it looked like some sort of acid had been poured onto her back and that she’d been dragged. The dog had no toenails left and the pads of her feet had been worn off. It was the vet’s opinion that her back looked worse than it probably was. She didn’t think the hair would grow back, but she thought the wound should heal up pretty well.

When they went to take Hannah to the back to treat her, however, the mild-mannered dog disappeared, and she began growling at the vet and her assistant.

Stepping back, the vet said, “Maybe you should come back with us. Just until we manage to get her sedated.”

“Sedated?” Gumby asked.

“Yeah. Cleaning these wounds is gonna hurt, and I’d rather not harm her any more than I have to.”

Gumby immediately nodded. “Right. Okay, we can come with you.”

“I think just you,” the vet said, giving her assistant a look Gumby couldn’t interpret. “Your…friend can stay and fill out the paperwork.”

“That okay, Sid?” Gumby asked, the nickname just coming out naturally.

Sidney nodded. “Of course.”

“You think she’ll let you pick her up again?” the vet asked.

“Only one way to see.” Gumby leaned down and whispered to Hannah, “What do ya say? These nice people are gonna get you all fixed up. Let’s not growl at them, okay?”

In response, Hannah lifted her head and licked Gumby’s face with a loud slurp.

Everyone chuckled.

“Guess that means she’s okay with it.” And with that, Gumby once again picked up the large dog and followed the vet into the back area of the animal hospital.
injured
Susan Stoker. Securing Sidney: SEAL of Protection: Legacy, Book 2 (Kindle Locations 67-121). Stoker Aces Production, LLC.

As Decker and Sidney get to know each other, there is more than one bomb shell dropping relating to her past. Her compulsion to save these poor animals is startling and heartbreaking.

Her neighbor Nora is a hoot, and Caite becomes her friend in an unusual way.

Hannah becomes attached not only to Decker but also Sidney as she heals from her horrific wounds.

We get to see Carolyn in this one as well as Rocco and the rest of this team.

I couldn’t put this book down, as I cried, laughed and held my breath. It was disturbing, scary, romantic, loving and sexy as all get out.

Susan once again proves that any topic can be turned into a book, and this one definitely brought out the horror of dog-fighting and the difficulties of taking it down.

I can’t wait to see what the next book in this series will bring.

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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Love Beyond Lies – The Outsiders Book 8 By Rebecca Royce



Love Beyond Lies
The Outsiders Book 8
By
Rebecca Royce

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With the fate of the universe on the line, the Outsiders have reached the final battles.

Colin loves Gia beyond reason–she is his soul mate–but he has never understood her. Misunderstandings have lasted for thousands of years. Can he show her that he is the man she needs him to be?

Gia has never cared what anyone thought about her, except for Colin. Lies have torn what should be their solid bond apart. Can she make him see what they have is eternal before everything that is good in the universe disappears?

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I love the complexity of this story. It’s not just about Sebastian, it’s also his parents and siblings that are a problem. Sebastian himself is a very selfish demon and thinks he can win it all by helping the outsiders. Well sort of anyway.

There are still problems with Alexa and Leonardo but that’s another book.

In this one Colin finally catches up to Gia. Only to find out that she has been avoiding him. It seems something happened in one of the previous lives that has followed her to the present. Colin also has some issues regarding his feelings that are totally messed up.

This is a favorite scene.

He was sick of the lies. Sick of the unsaid. Sick of the destruction he left in his wake everywhere. “I always mean to do the right thing.” She rocked back on her heels. “Of course you do.”

“And I love you. I’ve always loved you. I know…” He cleared his throat. There was a reason he’d gone millennia without speaking these words. “I know that you don’t love me. I know I started us out by forcing this on us and that we’re both living with the result of that. If we can manage to live through this, you can have a break from me on the other side.”

She shook her head. “What in the universe are you talking about?”

“Don’t make me say it again.” It was hard enough the first time.

“I don’t love you?” She took a step toward him. “Colin, for the sake of all things, what are you talking about?” By the time she got to the end of her sentence, she was shouting again.

He sighed. “We both know why we were paired as soul mates. It wasn’t because you had some grand feeling about me, or that you suddenly felt as though we were supposed to be together. I shoved you over. And not only that, but I…”

She blinked. “Are you talking about when you saved me from the evil intrusion in our earliest days as souls? Are you talking about then?”

He sunk to the ground. Sometimes things were just… hard. “Yep. Then. I can fight anything. I can battle even Sebastian in his non-corporeal form, it would seem. Only I can’t battle the truth. Things don’t go the same with us as everyone else, because we weren’t supposed to be together. Oh, we have some stuff in common for sure. We both wanted to battle evil when we volunteered for this. I’ll always be glad we did this. But let’s face it—”

Gia slapped him so hard across the cheek he jerked off-balance and landed on the floor, flat on his back. She stood over him and pointed her finger at him a second later. “How dare you? How dare you take everything we’ve been through together—the thousands and thousands and thousands of years together and reduce it to nothing? To a mistake? Are you out of your mind? Of course, you’re my soul mate. Of course you are. You belong to me. We don’t do things the way others do because we’ve always had a little bit of a different path. It is not because I have someone else I’m supposed to be with.”

She very rarely cried, yet right then big tears streamed down her face in a way he’d never seen before. His cheek stung, but he didn’t care. He’d felt worse. She’d never hit him before either. “Gia—”

“Colin…” She didn’t let him finish. “Have you been carrying this bullshit around in our relationship this entire time?”

“I…” He really had no idea what he should say to her in this moment. “Maybe you love me. Maybe you have grown to love me, but not the way that you would if we had been fated for each other. I’m not even sure I should be here. I think something went wrong in the process of making Christophe.”

She rubbed her eyes. “You are my soul mate, Colin, and I love you so completely that it is like you are stabbing me in the gut right now. All of this time I have tried so hard to figure out why you sometimes look at me the way that you do.”

He really had no idea what she meant. “What?”

“Like you’re sad. Like I’m causing you so much pain. I’ve tried to figure out over and over again why you don’t trust me.”

Now there she was wrong. “I do trust you.”

“You don’t because if you did you would know that I mean the things that I say to you. I knew you were my soul mate that day. I’d known it from the second you walked past me. That’s why I was standing there. You hadn’t said a word to me. I didn’t know what was happening. I kept following you around, waiting. I figured you would get around to it whenever you got over the shock of finding me and then there you were—saving my life. Why would I have said you were my soul mate if you weren’t?”

His heart pounded so hard he could hear it in his ears. “So you wouldn’t be sent away to stop existing?”

“I’ve got news for you, darling, no one was sending me anywhere. I’d like to see that crotchety old soul try to take on either one of us. And as for that ridiculous statement about Christophe, I don’t even know where to go with that. I love your brother but he is not some better version of you. You’re mine. How dare you not know it after all this time?
Rebecca Royce. Love Beyond Lies (Kindle Locations 737-768). Kindle Edition.

Colin and Gia have much to reconcile but so do all the others. This book is as enlightening as it is dark in the face of the beginning of the end.

I really can’t wait for the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!

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Coming Soon

Rebecca Royce Rebecca Royce

As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.

I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend. I live in Austin Texas where I am determined to eat all the barbecue in town.

I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing. I’ve been told I’m a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers!!

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