Desperate, Dangerous, Deadly – A Western Collection by Debra Parmley


 

Desperate, Dangerous and Deadly:
A Western Collection
contains three of Debra Parmley’s
western historical romances.
A Desperate Journey, Dangerous Ties, and Deadly Adversaries.

Desperate, Deadly, Dangerous
A Western Collection
By
Debra Parmley

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A Desperate Journey:
One Woman’s Desperate Journey to Find Her Son

Sally Wheeler learned the hard way that men aren’t always what they seem. Now she will stop at nothing to track down the bigamist husband who stole her son and abandoned her and their daughter on their failing Kansas farm. She’ll do anything to have her family back together, even if it means traveling down the Old Chisholm Trail to Texas with an old mule skinner and a handsome maverick who could change her mind about men.

Free after spending seven years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Robert Truman aims to balance the scales of justice on the man who sent him there-Luke Wheeler. His quest doesn’t include falling for the one woman who will lead him to his quarry, but Sally’s courage in the face of her fear touches his soul.

Through dangerous days and nights on the trail, neither Sally nor Rob can ignore their growing feelings for each other. Yet both are haunted by the poor judgment that, in the past, led them down the wrong road. Love-and trust-are luxuries neither of them can afford. But as the bullets start flying, love may be all that saves them-and Sally’s son.

Dangerous Ties:

Lillian Hayes’ fiance, Thomas Shelton, convinced the townsfolk to exchange their gold for his worthless bank notes. After he disappears with the gold, every eye turns to Lillian for answers. Even her cousin Carl insists she knows where the gold is. He is desperate to find it because he is deeply indebted to Kingston, small town criminal and owner of the local saloon. Carl will do anything to clear his debt; even torture Lillian for answers.

Nick Brace is driving a herd of horses to town when he stumbles across Lillian, branded, strung up over a mineshaft, and left to die. He saves her, tends to her wounds, and teaches her to shoot to protect herself. But the danger isn’t past. When Nick’s horse-trading deal with Kingston goes bad, Lillian races to be the one to save him this time.

Deadly Adversaries:

When Carolyn Truman’s father is killed in the dead of night, and their scheming neighbor Mr. Holland claims her father gambled away their ranch in a card game, Carolyn realizes Holland is planning to force her hand and will make her marry him in order to keep her home.

Texas Ranger Jake Brace is with Carolyn’s brother Matt when a letter from home arrives. Carolyn is begging Matt to come home and save her from becoming the real prize in a deadly game being played out back in east Texas. Jake offers to come along to help and is smitten when he sees Carolyn.

Before the two can explore their budding feelings for each other, Carolyn is kidnapped. Jake and Matt must find her, bring her home and bring an end to the evil doing being committed in their town. Little does Holland know that two determined and deadly Texas Rangers full of wrath are coming for him.


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Desperate Journey

I don’t read very many historical romances, but this one is old west and I couldn’t resist.

Sally’s husband Jake has taken their son and left for Texas. She is determined to get her son back and to accomplish that goal she seeks the aid of Ozzie Moss, the man who led her family to Kansas to begin with. She really doesn’t give him a choice and packs up her daughter Caroline and herself for the journey.

Rob Truman is searching for Jake to get revenge for having spent five years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s following Sally and Ozzie to reach his goal. At least that was the plan until Sally breaks the axel on the wagon.

With Ozzie scouting ahead, Rob comes to Sally’s aid, although he couldn’t do anything about the axel he was able to get her started with repacking things to take along.

The weather takes a turn for the worse and Caroline falls ill.

This is a favorite scene.

The tree he was leaning against felt cold and hard, and all his muscles ached from sleeping in that position. He looked down at Sally as she slept. Her head still rested on his shoulder. His elbow seemed to have lost all feeling.

Carolyn snuggled into her blankets with only her nose peeking out. Sally sighed in her sleep.

The gentler sex, the ones men were raised to protect.

In sleep Sally bore the same innocence as her child.

So this must be how it feels to have a family. Waking to this every morning. Feeling a responsibility to care for them.

The strange feeling in his throat made him swallow.

It was enough to choke a man. And all from watching them sleep. Appearances were deceiving.

He thought back to the night he’d asked May Belle to marry him. He’d wanted to spend the rest of his life caring for her. Not a mistake he would make again.

He needed to get up. He moved his arm and Sally relaxed, sinking deeper into his shoulder. He cleared his throat.

Sally slept on.

“Sally?”

She leaned into him, but still she didn’t wake. Uncomfortably warm and aroused, he shifted his leg to ease the pressure.

Moss was awake and must have noticed his discomfort. He shook Sally.

“Ye goin’ to sleep all day?”

He frowned at Rob. Rob stared back. A man couldn’t help his reaction, could he? It wasn’t as if he wanted to be attracted to her. His body wasn’t listening. And as for his heart, he would never allow it to be hurt the way May Belle had wounded him.

Sally stretched, and then opened her eyes to look into Rob’s. Overwhelmed by his nearness, she sat up with a gasp. Her heart pounded an erratic rhythm, and she was aware of warm arousal throughout her body. A tumble of confused thoughts and feelings assailed her.

She watched Rob in confusion. How wonderful it felt waking up next to him. Long ago she’d missed waking to the warmth of Luke’s body, before she learned what a harsh man he was.

Sally clenched her fists.

All those nights together, the things he’d done and they hadn’t even been married.
Debra Parmley. A Desperate Journey (Kindle Locations 1431-1451). Belo Dia Publishing.

Illness, Indians, high flowing rivers, all contribute to this harrowing journey, but the presence of Rob also lends comfort as she fights her growing attraction. This attraction is mutual since Rob knows she really isn’t married to Luke.

Plenty of tense situations, some action and some heat in this fast paced book you won’t be able to put down.

5 Contented Purrs for Debra!

Dangerous Ties

This book opens with Lillian in a precarious position. Her former fiancé had taken off with the Bank’s gold. He had persuaded the town’s folk that the gold was safer in the bank and notes were easier to keep track of.

Now the notes were worthless and the town thought she knew where the gold was. No thanks to her cousin who perpetuated the rumor.

This is a favorite scene.

She was alone with him and he appeared to be watching something or someone outside. The coiled tension in his body was clear, even in the darkness.

Just as Lillian was determining what to do, she heard Carl’s voice calling her.

What was Carl doing here? Was he alone?

Lillian closed her eyes, feeling sick as she heard what he said.

Carl was part of it.

Her cousin had betrayed her. He only wanted the gold.

He wasn’t here to rescue her and even if he was, his rescues came with too many strings. This severed the one string, which tied her to him.

Blood kin or not, I am done with you, Carl.

Which meant she was alone in the world. But she was alive and she would survive.

The stranger had started to turn.

Lillian closed her eyes, calmed her breathing, pretending to be asleep.

She heard him lay his rifle down nearby and tried to judge how far it was and how fast she could reach it.

If I could just reach that rifle I could take his horse and ride so far none of them will ever find me.

Even if she didn’t know how to ride, she’d learn fast.

She attempted to move, but her shoulders and arms were heavy and tired, with a slight tingling sensation. Like when her foot fell asleep sometimes when she would sit the wrong way on it. Then when she would try to stand her foot would feel numb and tingly.

Maybe I won’t be able to reach it, or if I reach it, even shoot it. But I have to try.

With that thought she lunged.

The stranger had placed his Navy Colt back in the holster, but he turned just as she reached for the rifle, her arms weak and shaking.

“Oh, no you don’t.” Quickly grasping both her wrists, he pushed her back down, one wrist on each side of her head.

She’d missed her chance.

Lillian struggled and wriggled beneath him, trying to get away, her eyes wide with fear.

He applied more pressure, forcing her to be still even as she winced from the rope burns on her wrists.

“Lie still.” His voice rang with command.

She had no choice. He held her still, not moving, looking directly into her wide eyes, their noses just inches apart.

She panted in fear as racing thoughts and emotions filled her mind.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said.

Lillian wanted to run as fast as her heart was racing. She knew what he wanted. Why else would she be half-naked?

If he knew about the gold, he’d want it too. Or maybe he did.

The impact of his firm but gentle grip and his forceful voice, his brown eyes steady and calm, stilled her. There was something in his eyes that told her he meant her no harm.

He was like a rock, unmovable.

He repeated the words. “I’m not going to hurt you.” His gaze riveted her.

That voice. She knew that voice. She hadn’t dreamed it. Angel. The name resonated in her memory.

One small part of her wanted to believe him. But she didn’t dare. Lillian was done trusting men.

A man would promise anything, if it got him what he wanted.

Her skepticism must have shown in her face, because he blew out a breath. “Hell, I don’t expect you to trust me.” He regarded her for a moment. “Not yet. Not after what you’ve been through.”

She tried to speak but could release no more than an un- intelligible rasp. She frowned with frustration. The attempted lunge had worn her out and she couldn’t stand feeling so weak and helpless when she still wanted to grab that rifle and run out the door. He wouldn’t trust her now that he knew what she had in mind.

They both eyed each other in silence, gauging the others reaction.

Finally he spoke. “You need water.”

She nodded.

“All right. I’m going to release you now. Lie still and don’t try anything stupid.”

He let her loose and she slowly pulled the blanket back around to cover herself while he kept his expressionless gaze on her upper body. Then she laid still.

He nodded his approval. “Be still now. I’m gonna get the canteen.”

She didn’t move or speak, but her wide eyes followed him as he went for his canteen.

He uncapped it and knelt beside her again.

“Here.” He slipped one hand behind her head to help her sit up, and brought the canteen to her parched lips. “Sip it slow. I don’t know how long you’ve been without water, but you’ll need to take it slow.”

He held the canteen and she took a sip.

Lillian drank slowly, watching the stranger.

His face was stern and almost expressionless, but for his eyes. His eyes held intensity like none she’d ever looked into before.

This man was unlike any man she’d ever met. Strong, yet gentle. Stern, yet kind. And dangerous. Perhaps more dangerous because his softer side could deceive her. Oh, but that was the woman she was before. She was not so easy to deceive now.

The way he’d handled his gun with such smooth movement suggested he knew how to use it.

She’d seen a shootout right in the middle of town two days after she’d arrived. And this stranger was smoother than either of those two men, even though all she’d seen was him holstering his pistol before she’d lunged and he was on top of her. Onto her so quick she’d had no chance.

Though weak as she was, she’d had no chance anyway.

She hated feeling weak and defenseless and at the mercy of a complete stranger.

His gaze upon her was steady and smoldering.

What did he want? Perhaps that was a foolish question. He wanted what every man wants. The question was how far would he go to get it?

Nick waited until she’d swallowed and then pulled the canteen away. “You can have more. But first, tell me your name.”

“Lillian Hayes.”

“Nicholas Brace. Call me Nick.”

“Lil.”

“All right, Lil. More water?”

She nodded her head yes, her tongue still too dry to talk.

He held the canteen to her lips and watched her as she drank from it. “You were in bad shape when I found you. The rope wouldn’t have held much longer.”

“Yes, I know.” She croaked out the words in a voice that didn’t sound like her voice and her throat was still dry and sore. “Thank you.”

“No need to thank me. You can however, tell me who strung you up over the mine and why.”

She took several swallows before answering. “Unless you’re from around here you won’t know who they are, even if I told you.”

“If?” He pushed her back down with a firm hand. “There is no if. I saved your life. The least you can do is tell me who was trying to kill you and why.”

“It’s a long story.”

“Well, Lillian. It’s not like we’ll be going anywhere in this storm tonight.”

Thunder crashed and lightning flashed outside, emphasizing his point.

“But I’d think it would be wise to tell me your story before whoever that was nosing around the mine shaft reaches the person he was racing off to see and they return to finish the job. Don’t you?”

She covered her face with her hands.

In the most compelling voice she’d ever heard, Nick said, “Tell me.”
Debra Parmley. Desperate, Dangerous and Deadly: A Western Collection (Kindle Locations 4830-4893). Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.

Now Nick has to deliver some horses and with a little luck maybe he can convince Lillian to come home with him.

Plenty of action once he realizes the buyer for his horses was the man who ordered the pain that was inflicted on Lillian.

A perfect romance, with an emotional and heartrending start.

5 Contented Purrs for Debra!

Deadly Adversaries

This book is kind of a sequel to both A Desperate Journey and Dangerous ties.

Matt and Caroline are Sally’s children and this book occurs as her husband Robert is murdered. A neighbor and the area’s wealthiest man Henning Holland has a promissory note giving him the ranch in payment of a gambling debt. He will let Sally keep the ranch only if Caroline marries him. Something she wants nothing to do with. She finds him really creepy.

Matt is a Texas Ranger, and his best friend and partner Jake is Lillian and Nick’s son. He is away when his step-father is killed and Caroline writes him at the Ranger station explaining all that has occurred.

They immediately take off to Matt’s home with him practically seething with anger. It takes them a while to get there and even Caroline doesn’t recognize her brother with the mustache and beard.

This is a favorite scene.

Matthew and Jake carried the long metal tub into the kitchen.

“Where do you want it?” Jake asked.

“Near the fireplace,” Carolyn said.

“Do you need more wood chopped?” Jake asked, eying the dwindling stack.

“Yes,” Carolyn looked at the stack and sighed. “I haven’t been able to keep up.”

“There’s a bin out back,” Matt said. “Check there first. Pa kept it filled.”

“It’s very low,” Carolyn said.

“I’ll check it,” Jake said as he moved toward the back door. They watched him go out.

“What are your thoughts on moving into town? Do you want to stay now that pa’s gone?”

“Mama won’t leave this place,” she said, and then she looked over at Jake who came in.

“Found enough wood for tonight,” Jake said. “I’ll chop more in the morning.”

She nodded and looked back at Matt. “So it doesn’t matter what my thoughts are.”

“Your thoughts always matter,” Jake said.

He didn’t know what they were discussing, but she needed to know that her thoughts mattered and it was okay to speak up. Some women needed to be encouraged in the way that his father encouraged his mother.

“Jake’s right.” Matt stoked the fire. “Your thoughts do matter.”

Carolyn started boiling water. “It’s gotten harder to live here. Ranching is hard work.”

“That it is,” Jake said. “My parents raise horses.”

“And yet you came to Texas to be a ranger, like Matt.” Carolyn smiled.

“Yes, ma’am.” Jake nodded.

“No need to ma’am me, I’m just Carolyn.”

“Carolyn, like Matt, I’m an older brother. But unlike Matt, both my siblings are boys.”

“So your father has plenty of help.”

“He does. But he also runs smaller herds. Doesn’t take on more than he can handle.”

“Why did you join the Texas rangers? I know why Matt joined.”

“I wanted to right wrongs and to see more of this great land.”

“And have you done that?”

“Yes, I have done both.” He nodded.

The men began to bring in water to fill the tub and talking ceased.

Taking a bath, like everything on the ranch, required work.

Carolyn carried in soap and drying cloths, a comb and scissors, implying they needed to trim their hair and beards. “Here you go,” she said, placing the things on the table.

“Thank you,” Jake said. “Bath is gonna feel real good.” He rubbed his hand over his beard. “Been a while.”

“Take all the time you need. I’ll be in the parlor reading.”

Then she left them to it and went into the parlor where she would wait. Dash padded along beside her. The last place he would want to be was in the kitchen during bath time.

She sat on the rocker in the parlor. Dash put his head on her lap.

“Hello boy.” She looked into his loving eyes. “Sure you don’t want to stay in the kitchen with the men while they have a bath?”

At the word bath, Dash pulled away and hung his head. He did not like to have a bath. Carolyn giggled and felt her spirits lifting for the first time in a long time.

“It’s okay, boy. No bath for you. Come on.” She patted her lap.

Dash put his head back on her lap and she scratched his ear, smiling.

Later, after the men had bathed, they came into the parlor smelling much better.

Jake had shaved his beard off and trimmed his mustache into a handle bar style.

Carolyn gawked as he walked into the room.

The man was downright handsome beneath all that hair.

His long handlebar mustache made her think of kisses. She wondered if it would tickle.

Matthew, on the other hand, had done none of this. Had not even trimmed his hair or beard. Carolyn was shocked. Did he have no more respect for mother than that? All he’d done was wash his beard and hair, which had dampened his shirt. She’s going to be disappointed in him.

Matt poured both men a glass of whiskey, and then poured Carolyn a glass of sherry, without asking her if she wanted one.

“Here,” he said. “You’re going to need this before we’re done talking.”

She reached for the glass, her thoughts on the conversation they needed to have.

He’s probably right. I need to tell him all about what happened to Pa and how Mr. Henning Holland is trying to take our ranch. I may need something stronger than sherry for this.

Jake’s eyes settled on Carolyn the moment he stepped out of the kitchen and into the hallway outside of the parlor. She looked beautiful sitting in the soft glow of the lamps, her hair lit from behind, making it even more golden, and her clear green eyes looking up at him.

Then she gave him a quick look up and then down, something flaring between them. A spark of attraction, a pull.

She’d gone from being alarmed at the sight of him when they’d first met, to being attracted to him. This was quite an improvement. A slow grin began at the sides of his mouth.

She blushed and glanced away. He liked the fact that he’d made her blush. She was even prettier when she blushed.

Jake watched brother and sister and knew what they’d discuss next would go down better with a drink to follow, if the subject could be gotten down.

Matt gestured to Carolyn to sit and then handed her a glass. “I read what you said in the letter, but I want you to start at the beginning and don’t leave anything out. What happened?”

She held the glass, but then put it down and rubbed her hands along her thighs, smoothing her skirt before speaking. Then she inhaled, taking a deep breath, and began. “Mr. Henning Holland claims pa lost the ranch to him in a card game, but you know how pa felt about gambling. I’ve never seen him play cards. Why, he probably didn’t even know how.” Carolyn’s brow furrowed. “No one in our family plays cards.”

“No.” Matt shook his head. “He knew how.” His gaze grew distant. “I know how.”

“You play cards?” Shock filled her face. “When did you start to play cards? How did you learn? Did pa teach you?”

“Wasn’t him.” Matt shook his head. “Mama’s first husband taught me.”

Carolyn’s eyes widened and she gasped. She held her breath, waiting to hear more.

“Breathe,” Jake commanded. Then he said, “Before you faint on us.”

She exhaled and then inhaled again. “When, Matt? I’ve never seen you play.”

“I’ve known how to play since I was seven. Picked it up fast, running with outlaws.”

“The bad men taught you. Before the bad things happened.” Carolyn nodded, reverting to the language of her childhood.

“No. Mother’s first husband did. Before the bad things.”

To Jake, it sounded as if they were speaking in childhood codes. And maybe they were. He wondered what ‘the bad things’ were and just how bad they were.

“Robert Truman knew how to play,” Matt said. “But he stopped playing after the bad things. Said he didn’t want to upset ma. Didn’t want her to think he was like her first husband.”

“How bad was he, Matt? Our father.”

“Bad enough.” Sally’s spoke from the doorway where she now stood, having finally left her room. She stood wearing her blue and white floral dressing gown, one hand holding onto the parlor wall, the other pressed flat, formed against her throat as if she couldn’t bear to speak of what she would say next. A habit formed before they were born. “Bad enough to hide behind our son when the bullets started flying.”

Carolyn gasped. “No. Our own father did that?”

“Yes.” Matt gazed into his sister’s horror stricken eyes. “He did. Be glad you can’t remember.”

She gazed back. “You’ve changed, Matt.”

“Yes, I have.” He nodded. “And you always were an innocent. Pa did his best to keep you that way.”

Jake watched her and knew what Matt said was true.
Debra Parmley. Desperate, Dangerous and Deadly: A Western Collection (Kindle Locations 6458-6506). Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated. Kindle Edition.

There was indeed some attraction between Jake and Caroline.

Then Caroline is kidnapped and the race is on to find her. This time Jake is almost as mad as Matt.

A powerful, emotional read with the start of a beautiful romance.

5 Contented Purrs for Debra!

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Debra Parmley

Fascinated by fairy tales and folktales ever since she was young, Debra Parmley has always ended her stories with a happy ever after. Every story she writes has an element of romance. She started out writing gritty western historical romance and damsel in distress stories. Her first book, A Desperate Journey, was traditionally published in 2008, after competing in the American Title II contest. A hybrid author, she went on to write for five publishers before branching out with her own Indie press, Belo Dia Publishing Inc. Belo Dia is Portuguese for Beautiful Day.

Debra writes historical romance, contemporary romance and romantic suspense. An Air Force veteran’s wife, she writes military heroes in the present and in the future. Debra’s work as a travel consultant gave her the opportunity to visit many countries. Her luggage often carried home folk tales from the countries visited.

Her three favorite things are dark chocolate, visiting the beach and ocean, and hearing from her readers. Each card, letter and email is a treasured gift, like finding a perfect shell upon the beach. For more information about Debra, please visit her website, links below.


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Trouble’s Wedding Caper – Familiar Legacy Book 8 by Jen Talty


Trouble’s Wedding Caper
Familiar Legacy Book 8
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty

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SEX, LIES, AND WEDDING BETRAYALS—

Annabel Wilder returns home to Jupiter, Florida seeking a fresh start after a brutal heartbreak. As a treasure hunter, she bids on a mysterious storage unit. Inside the unit, Annabel finds real treasure–wedding dresses, bridesmaid gowns, and jewelry.

But somebody else wants the unit and Annabel is in the way. Landing smack in the middle of the mess, Annabel is soon swept up in a dangerous investigation headed by the handsome Sheriff Ethan Ferris, and a strange black cat that seems determined to protect her. Now her heart and her life are both at risk.

Ethan Ferris hasn’t been able to get Annabel out of his mind. But a rocky romance has hardened his heart to love—and to Annabel. When his criminal investigation embroils them both in danger, Ethan is forced to face his past or lose the future.

Trouble, with detective skills second only to Sherlock Holmes, arrives in the nick of time. Can he help Ethan solve a rash of wedding burglaries before the culprit harms Annabel? Can the savvy black cat push the would-be lovers past their jaded hearts and into love?

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These books are so much fun!

In this one Tammy Lynn leaves Trouble in Jupiter while she cruises off to an island to verify some possible first editions.

Her friend Annabel is more than happy to take Trouble and even buys him a bed. Although Trouble prefers anything else to lie down on. He even helps her bid on a storage unit. As a treasure hunter this is a real plus for her since he was able to slink in and check it out first.

The unit is filled with wedding stuff. Lots of it and there are even some rings.

The last time Annabel saw Ethan was the night of her friend’s wedding. The same night she broke off her engagement and Ethan did a belly shot of tequila off her. That same night he found his fiancé in the arms of another man.

Now Ethan is with the Jupiter police, and they meet up for the first time since she moved back right after she starts going through the unit. But then again later after a break in at her apartment complex.

This is a favorite scene.

Annabel tucked her phone in her back pocket and bit back a smile when her eyes locked on Ethan. His broad shoulders filled the doorway of Holly’s apartment as he talked with one of the other policemen, Trouble at his feet.

“Oh, look.” Edna grabbed Annabel’s arm. “It’s that handsome cop. Poor guy. I know his mother, and she told me all about his ex-fiancé cheating on him. What is it with young people these days? Oh, wait. I know. I should introduce you. You’re single, right?”

“Officer Ethan Ferris, the most eligible bachelor in town,” Heather said with a wide smile. “I heard that you knew him in high school.” She looked directly at Annabel with an all-knowing smile.

“Oh, really,” Edna said with an arched brow and a twinkle in her eye.

Jupiter couldn’t be considered small town USA, but everyone certainly knew everyone else’s business, that was for damn sure.

“I did,” Annabel said. In the few weeks she’d lived in this community, her neighbors had all tried to set her up with any unattached man they could find. “He’s my best friend’s older brother.”

“He’s heading this way—what’s your cat doing?” Edna asked, her face scrunched in disapproval.

Trouble pawed at Ethan’s pant leg, then ran toward the side of the condo. He did this three times before Ethan paid any attention and knelt to greet the cat with a scratch on the head, but Trouble didn’t want the petting and continued running back and forth between Ethan and the side yard.

“What is it, Trouble?” Ethan asked.

“I think he wants to show you something.” Annabel crossed the parking lot, happy to put some space between her and her neighbors. Not that she didn’t enjoy their company, she did, but she knew where the conversation was headed, and she didn’t want to have to confess she’d be meeting the sexy officer later. If she did, they’d all wait up on the catwalk, waiting to see if she kissed her date goodnight.

“He saw something in the backyard,” Annabel said.

“How do you know?” Ethan looped his thumbs in his belt. His emerald eyes glistened like the sun’s reflection on the ocean waves. He had a few wrinkles around his eyes and she noticed a dash of gray at his temples, but otherwise, he looked exactly like he had his senior year in high school. She’d always thought him mature for his age back then. He had been levelheaded, barely ever getting in trouble. He’d been the clean-cut All-American boy next door who would give a stranger the shirt off his back.

“He was doing something like that before the alarm went off.”

Ethan rested his hand on the small of Annabel’s back.

“Lead the way, Trouble.”

“I’m surprised you’re following a cat around a crime scene.”

“He obviously wants to show me something,” Ethan said, his hand still pressed against her spine. “We have a K-9 patrol, and I think they’re incredibly smart. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of a cat crime solver, but hey, cats are pretty smart creatures, too.”

She glanced over her shoulder only to see Edna nose to nose with a couple of ladies from Building F, including Nedra Hilfax, her mother’s best friend, who waved frantically with an even bigger grin than normal.

Wonderful. Annabel figured Nedra had already texted her mother and suspected she’d have a text…

Her phone vibrated in her back pocket.

Right on cue.

The Florida grass crunched under her flip-flops. The tall branches from an American Sycamore tree waved its lush green leaves in the humid breeze. A crowd of people from Building B gathered around the pond at the main entrance to Ocean Way.

“I was thinking about tonight,” Ethan said.

“If you need to cancel, I understand.”

He shook his head. “No. I don’t need to, nor do I want to, but I thought we could go out on a boat ride and stop at the Waterford for dinner.”

“Please tell me you’re not referring to Stink Pot.”

Growing up, Ethan had always had a love for fishing and spent many weekends on the ocean, casting over a couple of lines. He hadn’t named his boat Stink Pot, but that’s what his sister had always called it because it always smelled like fish.

He laughed. “I have a new fishing boat that doesn’t stink, though I did name it Top Knits which is Stink Pot spelled backward.”

“You’re a crafty fella.”

“I have my moments. So, what do you say?”

He fanned his thumb across her back in an intimate gesture. In the beginning of her relationship with Devin, he’d done similar simple acts that showed more affection than the words themselves, but that had been short-lived. She missed the idea of someone to share her life with, but she sure as hell didn’t miss Devin.

Not anymore.

Time to really start her life over.

“Sounds like fun.
Jen Talty. Trouble’s Wedding Caper (Kindle Locations 702-741). KaliOka Press. Kindle Edition.

All of the clues revolve around cancelled weddings, and Annabel finally tells Ethan about the content of her storage unit.

Lots of twists and turns, I love the interactions with Trouble, Ethan and Annabel. I certainly didn’t see solution coming.

Jen has totally embraced Trouble and his antics making this another great read.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.

I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.

I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.


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Hot SEAL, Vegas Nights – SEALs in Paradise Book 13 by Parker Kincade



Hot SEAL, Vegas Nights
SEALs in Paradise Book 13
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Parker Kincade

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What happens in Vegas …
will change his life forever.

Navy SEAL Aidan “Rocket” Stone wants to do three things during his leave: get his hands dirty with something other than gun powder; eat something that doesn’t come out of a pouch; and avoid any situation that involves him getting shot at.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

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When I saw Vegas I immediately went to the thought, Casinos, Gambling, Shows, and no sleep. For Aiden it’s home, not the glitter and glamor. He has a tradition he follows, every time he makes it home. He goes into his next door neighbor’s home, drops off a box of Boss’s favorite cigars, grabs a beer and goes home to sleep. It’s a way for Boss Parks to know he’s home and safe. This time though something is very different.

This is a favorite scene.

Zoe Parks kicked and fought against the blanket twisted around her legs. She screamed again—louder this time—when she realized she’d done little more than hogtie herself for the dangerous-looking stranger in her living room.

“Hey!” Her would-be attacker’s hands rose, showing her the palm-side of his fingerless gloves. He darted a glance over his shoulder. “Are you trying to give the old man a heart attack? Simmer down, will you? I’m not here to hurt you, for fuck’s sake.” Those large, long-fingered hands disappeared into the pockets of his black leather jacket. “Jesus. You could wake the damn dead with those vocal chords.”

Zoe froze. The man’s words cut through her panic and drove her straight into anger. The old man? If this was some kind of joke, Zoe wasn’t laughing.

She ignored the pain slicing through her chest. The wound was still too fresh, to raw to be poked at. “W-who are you?”

“I’m Aidan Stone. My parents live next door. Are you the live-in? The one who left that mess in the kitchen?”

“If you’re asking if I live here, the answer is yes.” The mess was none of his business. “Your turn, Aidan Stone.” She finally freed her legs and shoved the blanket to the floor, feeling more in control, but no less pissed off. “What the hell are you doing in my house?”

“Your house?”

His incredulous tone did nothing to dampen her temper. “Yes. My house.”

Aidan took a step toward her. If he was who he said he was, she knew his parents. But she didn’t know him. Instinct made her scramble back as a low growly noise filled the room.

“I said I’m not going to hurt you.”

She brought her knees up, prepared to launch herself over the back of the couch so she could run, if necessary.

“I’ve heard that before.” The last man who’d uttered those words to her broke his promise. And her nose. She wouldn’t be caught unaware again. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t believe you.”

A muscle in his jaw twitched, as if he was clenching his teeth. “Where’s Boss?”

“What gives you the right to barge into my house and demand answers about any damn thing? I don’t know anyone named Boss. How did you get in here anyway?”

She spied her cell phone on the coffee table. Zoe weighed her odds. From the look of him, Aidan had more than half a foot and fifty pounds of solid muscle on her. She probably wouldn’t have time to dial 9-1-1 even if she managed to get to her phone before he got to her.

He must’ve guessed at her thoughts, because he reached for the phone. He surprised her by tossing it in her direction. Zoe caught the phone and cradled it against her chest.

“I have a key. Call the police if it’ll make you feel better. All I want is an answer, and then I’ll go.” His dark eyes narrowed. “Dwight Parks,” he said slowly, as if he wasn’t sure she understood English. “The man who owns the couch you’re sitting on, as well as everything else in the house you say belongs to you. Where is he?”

Zoe was stunned silent. He had a key. To her grandfather’s house.

Are you trying to give the old man a heart attack?</em?

Her stomach turned sour.

He doesn’t know.

Zoe looked at Aidan, really looked at him for the first time. His white T-shirt stood out in stark contrast to the black leather jacket, black jeans, and black motorcycle boots he wore. His hair was black, too. Cut short, accentuating a widow’s peak. He had a heavy brow ridge, a nose that looked like it had been broken a time or two, and rich, whiskey colored eyes framed with thick lashes women would kill for.

He looked sturdy, like a guy who could withstand a hit or two, physical or emotional. She hoped that was true, because the one she was about to launch was a doozy.

“He’s not here,” she managed, knowing those were the wrong words, but unable to choke out the ones he needed to hear.

Aidan’s brow went up as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Where is he?”

He was trying to be nonchalant, but the tension was obvious in his stance. He was bracing himself for whatever was coming.

For some reason, that single act of arrogant strength grounded her. Helped her form the right words. The words she had come to hate.

“He died.”

Zoe’s heart ached as the color drained from Aidan’s face. His chest expanded under his T-shirt, causing the material to mold against what appeared to be a solid wall of muscles. There was no reading his blank expression, but she felt the pain radiating from him as if it were her own. And maybe it was. She’d had so little time with her grandad, and now he was gone.

“When?”

“Six weeks ago.” She didn’t know why, but she added, “I’m sorry.” He gave her a sharp nod, his gaze focused on something behind her. “Since you have a key, I’m guessing you and my grandfather were close?”

That earned her a hard stare. “Your grandfather?”

“Yes. I’m not the housekeeper. I’m Zoe Parks.”

His gaze left her face and traveled over her body in a slow perusal. “You’re Boss’s little Zoe?”

She nodded, tears filling her eyes.
Hot SEAL, Vegas Nights (Kindle Locations 170-212). Parker Kincade. Kindle Edition.

Scaring the granddaughter of the man he thought of as another grandfather was not a very good beginning, but he does make it up to her. Although he is really angry with his parents for not telling him his friend and mentor had passed.

Zoe and Aiden do have a great time together, and there’s some drama and action involving her ex. Oh did I mention these two almost melted my kindle? They are perfect together!

I loved this story and I can’t wait to read more from the fabulous authors in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Parker!

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Parker Kincade

USA Today Bestselling Author, Parker Kincade, writes edge-of-your-seat-sexy romantic suspense, hot and steamy sports romance, and contemporary western romance. Her first novel, One Night Stand, won the 2013 Reader’s Crown Award for Best First Book, the category of Best Erotic Romance in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Golden Claddagh contest, and was named finalist in the Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink Stroke of Midnight contest.

Parker lives in the Southern United States. She loves to read, play golf, spend time with her family and friends, snuggle with her beloved boxer, ice cream from the ice cream truck, and watching old musicals.


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Walker – Lighthouse Security Investigations Book 3 By Maryann Jordan



Walker
Lighthouse Security Investigations Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Maryann Jordan

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Lighthouse Security Investigations

The Lighthouse SI Keepers were men and women from the SEALs, Rangers, Special Forces, Deltas, and AF Special Ops. All having been trained in CIA Special Ops, the Keepers were the best of the best and ready to take on any mission.

Julie Baxter, chaperone to three teenage girls to the Mayan ruins in Mexico was having the vacation of a lifetime. Everything was perfect until an earthquake shattered their world. Now, stuck with no way to get out, they needed a rescuer. Good thing one of the girl’s father was a Senator who knew just who to call.

James Walker, a former SEAL & CIA Special Ops and now a Keeper for Lighthouse Security, was known for quick analysis of missions gone awry. He and another Keeper flew to Mexico for the simple pick-up of the four stranded women.

One thing after another goes wrong and he finds himself hiding in a Mayan temple with the beautiful Julie after his fellow Keeper is able to get the teens home safely.

On the run, they discover love among the ruins in the tropical paradise but when danger follows her back to the States, can he keep her safe once again? And, will they have a chance at a happily ever after?

Scenes and language are similar to what you would find in an R-rated movie. 18+ readers only.

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James Walker was a Navy SEAL, he joined Lighthouse Security Investigations after being medically discharged. He possesses a unique ability to know when something’s going to happen. At least that’s how it seems when he is startled awake for no apparent reason.

Julie Baxter is the chaperone for three young women from Florida, Tiffany, a Senator’s daughter, and her friends Andrea and Jackie. They are touring the Mayan ruins in Mexico with a very knowledgeable and amiable guide, Hernando.

I really loved the descriptions of these ruins, they have been on my must see list for a very long time. I felt like I was climbing the pyramids with them. It was a delightful time until the earthquake hit and threw everything into chaos.

Tiffany’s father calls in LSI, Drew and Walker are set to go. Unfortunately the helicopter they procure isn’t big enough for everyone. It’s decided that Walker would stay behind with Julie.

This is a favorite scene.

Stay where he puts me? Who does he think I am? A dog? Julie seethed all the way down the steps of the temple, and when she reached the bottom, she plopped down on the hard stone. Practicality set in, and she had no idea where they would go or how they would get there. While the area surrounding the temples Chichén Itzá had been cleared of the jungle, it was still all around.

Suddenly very tired, she leaned forward, propping her elbows on her knees and her hands on her cheeks. She could not hear his footsteps but felt the electricity in the air as Walker came nearer.

He sat down next to her, his hard thigh pressing against hers. That slight gesture should have offended her, but instead, the warmth exuding from his body felt comforting. Sighing, she lifted her head and twisted to look at him. “So, what do we do?”

His lips curved slightly, and he shook his head.

“What?” she asked, her voice sharper than she intended. His grin widened, and his blue eyes held her captive. Swallowing audibly, she sucked in her lips, wondering what fatigue was doing to her.

“You just surprise me,” he said. “That’s all.”

Her head tilted in question, but instead of explaining more, he continued, “So… next? I’m going to slip over to the resort and obtain transportation.”

Blinking, her mouth dropped open. “We’re going back to where the looters are? We’re going to get transportation? How on earth are we going to do that?” Her voice rose with each word, and she shifted slightly away so that she could twist her body to face him, instantly missing the contact of their legs pressed together.

“I didn’t say we.”

“What?”

Speaking slowly, he repeated, “I didn’t say we. I said I was going to go to the resort and obtain transportation.”

“You? As in you by yourself?”

Chuckling, he replied, “That’s generally what I means.”

Narrowing her eyes, she asked, “Are you trying to piss me off?”

“No, ma’am. I’m telling you what my plan is. You’ll stay here, out of sight, and I’ll get to the resort, find something suitable, and bring it here for you. We’ll then take back roads and get the fuck outta here.”

Looking down at her clasped hands, she tried to still her racing thoughts. The idea of staying at the ruins by herself held no appeal, but uncertainty at how he did his job put her at a disadvantage.

“Hey,” he said, giving her a slight shoulder bump. “You’ll be fine here. Go back up to the top, stay hidden, and I’ll be back before you know it.”

Barely whispering, she asked, “What do I do if you don’t come back?”

He placed his hand on her shoulder, giving it a little squeeze, and the tingle she had felt earlier returned. When Drew had placed his hand on her shoulder, she had felt nothing. Refusing to think on that, she looked up into his face again.

His icy blue eyes were now warm, and she sucked in a deep breath.

“I promise I’ll be back, quicker than you’ll realize. But you’ve also got Drew’s number if you need to reach him.”

She let out a breath and stood. “Okay. I have no choice but to trust you.”

“And do you?” he asked, his gaze roving over her face.

She remained quiet for a moment before lifting her chin. “Yes. I do.” Shoulders hunched, she added, “I don’t really have a choice.”

“I can accept that, Julie,” he said. “You don’t know me. You don’t know the kind of job I do. You don’t know the kind of man I am. But you will.”

He held her gaze, and his penetrating eyes stared deep inside of her, soothing the jagged edges of her fears. Somehow, she felt as though this man would do anything, go to any lengths to keep her safe.

“Okay,” she whispered, not able to come up with another response. If his smile was any indication, it was the only response he needed.
Maryann Jordan. Walker – ARC copy – not for sale or distribution (Kindle Locations 1006-1037).

Staying ahead of cartel and looters isn’t easy and these two have some interesting nights as they travel through the jungle. With beautiful scenery and more ruins, the heat between them kicks up a notch or three.

More changes, more twists and even more excitement back home. I really can’t wait for the next book in this series. I really love all these characters.

5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!

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Maryann Jordan

As an Award Winning, Amazon International Bestselling and All-Star author, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble Best Selling Author, I have always been an avid reader. In 2013 I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers and finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.

My first novel, Emma’s Home became an Amazon Best Seller in 3 categories within the first month of publishing. Its success was followed by the rest of the Fairfield Series and then led into the Love’s Series. Soon, other spin-off series came along and 8 of my books have made Amazon top 100 Bestselling books.

Gabe, from the Alvarez Security Series won Silver Medal and 5 Star Review by the 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Honor Love was an award winning novel from the 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Serial Love was an award finalist novel from the 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Coming Home was awarded the 5 Star Review by the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Discover Love was awarded the 5 Star Review by the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards.

My books are filled with sweet romance and hot sex; mystery, suspense, real life characters and situations. My heroes are alphas, take charge men who love the strong, independent women they fall in love with.

I worked as a counselor in a high school and have been involved in education for the past 30 years. I have just retired and look forward to more time with family and writing!

I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 36 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters.

When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!

I love to hear from readers, so please email me!


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Hot SEAL: Australian Nights – SEALs in Paradise Book 14 by Becca Jameson



Hot SEAL: Australian Nights
SEALs in Paradise Book 14
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Becca Jameson

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Ten days… No strings attached…
The perfect vacation…

He’s a SEAL married to the team.
She’s his teammate’s little sister, all grown up.
He’s on the vacation of a lifetime.
She’s playing tour guide.
He’s everything she remembers and way more.
She’s no longer a gangly teenager.
He doesn’t ever want to get attached to a woman.
She doesn’t date military men.
How can they hook up and then walk away?
How can they not?
Everything about this no-strings-attached arrangement should be easy.
Except the part where they have to guard their hearts.

Hot SEAL, Australian Nights is part of the SEALs in Paradise series. Each book stands alone, and they can be read in any order.

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When planning a ten day vacation to Australia, Justus’ friend and fellow SEAL Tony has him contact his sister. Arianna is in Australia on a work/holiday visa.

Little does he know she has taken the entire time off to spend it with him, touring the sites and she just might have other things on her mind.

This is a favorite scene.

“You’re not kidding. This is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life,” he stated as they rode the ferry into Darling Harbour. Arianna took about a dozen pictures of them as they glided through the water.

She leaned into him again, lifting a finger. “That’s Pyrmont Bridge. We’ll walk across it and eat dinner on the other side of the harbour.”

As they exited the ferry, Justus took one of hundreds of deep breaths. He liked this woman. A lot. Too much. Why did the first woman to tempt him in years have to be Arianna Gallo?

After another selfie, she grabbed his hand innocently and tugged him toward the bridge.

He smiled at the back of her, unable to stop himself. After months of stressful serious work in Djibouti ending with an intense mission in Yemen, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d smiled so often, or even at all. Yes, he’d enjoyed a fun night with the rest of his team at McP’s in Coronado Island before traveling to Australia, but before that, he’d gone months without a break of any kind. His team had used that night to unwind a bit as a unit, reacclimate themselves with regular society before splitting up and going their separate ways.

Hell, even that night could hardly count as a break considering he’d spent it in the company of his team. Not a woman. And certainly no one nearly as appealing as Arianna.

Maybe the real reason he was so attracted to Arianna was because he hadn’t been with a woman for so long. Maybe it had nothing to do with her personally.

Right. Keep telling yourself that.

She released his hand to stop in the middle of the pedestrian bridge and against the green railing. Her face flushed, and he realized he was staring at her instead of the view.

He jerked his gaze toward the harbour and rested a hip on the railing next to her. If this were a date, it would rank as the best one he’d ever been on. She was so easy to be with. After taking in the view of various restaurants, shopping, and tourist attractions, he resumed looking at her profile.

“When did you change your hair?” he asked without thinking. He even lifted a hand to stroke down the length of it before he could stop himself. He found himself making every possible internal excuse to touch her.

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Probably senior year of high school or whenever I realized I was never going to get a date to any school dance with those out-of-control curls sticking out in every direction.”

He shifted his gaze from the smooth, grown-up version of her thick, dark hair to her face again as he let the soft lock fall through his fingers. He cleared his throat, knowing he needed to address the elephant nearly shoving them off the side of the bridge. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“What wasn’t supposed to happen?” she whispered.

“You. Me. The chemistry between us.”

She tucked her lips under her teeth.

“You’re attractive and fun and sweet and so many other things. My thoughts around you are not appropriate.”

She released her lips. “I could say the same about you.”

He feared she would say that. A mutual attraction was even worse. “There are nine hundred reasons why I shouldn’t touch you.”

She leaned in closer and flattened a hand on his chest, her hair blowing in the breeze while they stood in the center of this bridge in one of the most romantic places on earth. “You’ve already touched me.”

He smirked, setting his hand on top of hers and pressing her fingers into his pecs. Her skin was so soft. When he glanced down at their connection, it took his breath away. Her fingers darker than his, smaller, perfectly manicured pink nails, dainty. He wanted to lift those fingers to his lips and kiss the tip of every one.

Instead, he shifted his gaze back to meet hers. “We can’t get involved. Tony asked me to check up on you. I’m certain that was all he intended.”

She rolled her eyes. “Spare me a lecture about overprotective brothers. Tony isn’t here. I’m a grown adult. What I do with my time is none of his business.”

“Yeah, well. I would know, and there’s no way in hell I could face him when I return to base if I slept with his sister.”

She shrugged. “So, we won’t sleep.”

He groaned. “Arianna…”

“Why does it have to be such a big deal? How about if we just go with the flow and see what happens?”

“Because you’re not some woman I just met who’s interested in a fling.”

She shrugged. “Why the hell not?”

He narrowed his eyes. “Because I would never do that to you, even if Tony weren’t your brother. You’re not that kind of woman. I’m not a relationship guy. I have nothing to offer anyone. My entire focus for all but four weeks out of every year is on saving lives and staying alive myself. I’ve never wanted to be involved long-term with a woman. It’s a choice I made years ago. I see what it does to the rest of my team when they have to worry about someone other than themselves. It can put lives in danger.”

He lowered his voice, taking a deep breath. “I’m married to my job. I don’t have time for a woman.”

“Whoa.” She leaned back, tugging her hand free of his tight grip. “Who said anything about a relationship? If that’s what you’re worried about, you can ease your mind on that right now. I don’t date military men. Ever. For the same reasons you just listed. While you’ve watched what it does to your team, I’ve spent my life watching what it does to my relatives and friends, the ones left behind. The ones who worry and cry and stress over men they rarely see and have no idea where they’re even located. I’ve watched women give birth alone and raise kids alone and devote themselves to a very stressful life of single parenthood.” She shook her head rapidly. “I never want that, so don’t worry about me looking for anything long-term.”

Jesus. Her words shocked him. They also unnerved him. He couldn’t picture her having a fling and then walking away. He couldn’t even picture himself doing so, not with Arianna. Not with Tony’s sister.

“The point is we agree on this issue, so it’s not an issue.”

He smirked again. “Except it is, because Tony is still your brother.”

“So don’t tell him. He’s not my keeper, Justus. He doesn’t get to decide who I date or even who I sleep with. I’m sure he still thinks I’m some virginal girl who hasn’t been kissed.” She laughed.

Justus winced. He would also like to think that were true, even if it was unrealistic.

She groaned. “Come on, Justus. I’m twenty-three years old. You don’t really think I’m a virgin, do you?”

Now he cringed. “Can we perhaps not talk about your sex life with other men?” He gripped the railing with his left hand, trying to shake away images of Arianna in bed with another man. Another man who wasn’t himself.

She laughed again. “Sure. If it makes you feel better.”

“It does.” He rubbed his forehead, staring at her. Dammit. What a mess. The only reason he’d brought this subject up was because he needed to put his foot down and ensure she didn’t have any ideas. Apparently, she did have ideas and his plan had just backfired on him.
Becca Jameson. Hot SEAL, Australian Nights (Kindle Locations 322-379). Becca Jameson Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Let me just say here, this book is kindle melting hot. The attraction between these two is off the charts. Which I’m sure was aided by Arianna having a crush on him since she was a teen.

There’s a bit of suspense and some trouble but nothing a SEAL can’t handle. With mind-blowing descriptions of the sites they visited, I really felt like I was there. Australia is on my bucket list.

I can’t wait to read the rest of this multi-author series.

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

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Becca Jameson Becca Jameson

Becca Jameson currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and the various pets that wander through.

After editing for about five years she recently started writing. She is loving the journey, dabbling in various genres.

When not writing or editing she can usually be found taxiing kids to and from their activities, scrapbooking, and reading!

Late at night she can usually be found sequestered in her office creating fantasy with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate.


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Outlaw Wolves – Wolves of Willow Bend Book 13 By Heather Long



Outlaw Wolves
Wolves of Willow Bend Book 13
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Long

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She doesn’t seem to be anyone’s favorite wolf…

Luciana Esposito Barrows never imagined her dream of uniting the Lone Wolves and giving them a home could go so terribly awry. First, her brother rejected her, repudiating her from Seven Hills and leaving her without a powerful ally. Then the U.S. packs put her on notice, monitoring their movements, keeping them contained…then the Russians came. The last person in the world she expected to turn on her, was her own mate.

She was everything to him…

Rayne Barrows never thought of himself as much of a romantic. In his heart, he was a soldier and had always risen to the task where he was needed. Born in the heart of the Delta Crescent pack, he’d grown up alongside a future Alpha and willingly served her father as a faithful Hound. When the battles for ascension began, he couldn’t face those he loved in combat. He chose a solitary path instead. Journeying around the world, he found himself in Italy…and discovered a wolf he could love. Luciana Esposito captured his heart and he followed her—even when he didn’t believe in her cause. Now with a pack in tatters around them and their enemies closing in, Rayne faces his most brutal challenge.

To save the woman he loves and the pack they formed, he challenged her and took her position as alpha. Can their mate bond survive such a betrayal?

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I’ve waited a long time for this story, and it was totally worth the wait.

This book opens with a visit from Julian and Dallas, the goal to have Three Rivers operate as the other packs do, through trade. Rayne is skeptical at first but has to agree with the benefits.

Now Luciana has done some pretty dumb things but she did it for love. Unfortunately Rayne took the reins from her in Alpha Challenge. Took the pack from her in what she considers the ultimate betrayal.

What she doesn’t realize or even understand for that matter, is the fact that American packs are far different from the one she was raised in. So she keeps failing at least in her own eyes.

Rayne did what he had to do and has been giving her the space she says she needs. It is putting a strain on the pack and their mate bond. He loves her and now he has to win her back.

However the appearance of a Seven Hills Centurion, Rodrigo complicates matters.

This is a favorite scene.

More dry wall flaked away and his claws dug into the wall itself, leaving deep grooves. That would need to be repaired. “Fucking hell, Luciana. I want to talk to you—we need to talk.”

“No,” she said, and left it there. If he didn’t let her go soon, she would have to fight her way to freedom and as he’d already proven, she couldn’t beat him. Not when the last thing she’d wanted to do was harm him. The desire handicapped her severely.

Too bad he couldn’t say the same.

Though in truth, the desire to protect him waned in the face of his continued to push at her.

A portion of the frame tore away and then Rayne dropped his arm, effectively opening the cage. She strode past him and then descended the steps maintaining an air of absolute calm even if her agitated wolf wanted to either flee or fight. Her beast didn’t understand the strain she put them both through, or the conflicting emotions tearing them apart.

Her respite proved brief as he continued his pursuit down the stairs and into the kitchen. She’d planned to make coffee, but perhaps she’d just head out and let him trail her across their territory. Eventually, he had to get bored and leave her be, right?

Then in a fit of pique, she turned to the coffee maker. The previous evening’s stew sat on the stove, untouched. The rich meaty scent of it, despite having cooled, tempted her but her stomach rolled at the thought of eating anything.

She took her time, grinding the coffee beans. A triple shot of espresso would be delicious. Rayne settled against the counter, his arms folded as he regarded her. As long as she kept him out of her periphery, she could ignore him, but not the tremors his stare left eddying across her.

Unfortunately, he remained too near the espresso machine itself so she couldn’t miss the traces of earth, bacon, coffee, and grease from the diner and sawdust—likely from one of the construction projects—underscoring a particular note of juniper and berries.

Dani Reagan.

Resentment tangled with the barbed wire of jealousy, sinking deeper under her skin where the bloody marks wouldn’t be visible.

Giving a hard twist to the handle, she started the hot water flowing through the grounds to make her espresso. The dark, rich scent did little to blot out the scent of the female on his skin. Had he spent the night with her after sending Luciana home like some errant child? And if he wanted the little bitch, why couldn’t he simply let her go?

Why couldn’t she dismiss him?

Once she’d pulled the three shots, she lifted the cup and stepped away from him. She needed to drown out the nauseating ideas conjured by the wolf on him. She scented others, many others, but only Dani’s scent came through clear and distinct. Closing her eyes, Luciana took a deep drink of the espresso.

“You can pretend and ignore me all you want,” Rayne said, his tone softening from the earlier harsh rasp. “We can’t stay at this impasse. It’s not good for the pack. It’s not good for us. It’s not good for you.”

“The pack?” Her upper lip curled. “Really? I thought you wanted to be alpha for the good of the pack.” Wasn’t that his whole damn excuse for the challenge in the first place?

“And I wasn’t wrong.” He matched her tone for tone. “We were losing ground and if you continued to consort with those damn Russians, the other packs would have destroyed us…destroyed you.”

The snort escaped her before she could give it a second thought. “No they wouldn’t have. They were too busy chasing shadows and fighting for a reason to not destroy us. They had multiple opportunities and the only two alphas among them powerful enough to issue such an order were outvoted by the softer, younger ones.”

“Serafina is neither soft nor young and she was on the fence, she was gauging our success. If she caught even a whiff of what you were doing, she would have sided with Diesel and Cassius.”

There had never been any question about which alphas were the most dangerous to their cause. If Julian and his Enforcers had been a pack then, the danger to them would have increased.

“And it doesn’t matter, what I did had nothing to do with them and everything to do with protecting the pack, not that you would know.” She sucked in a breath, trying to stamp out the furious anger roiling through her. “Whatever…enough. I will not debate this with you. The Volchitsa are gone. You are alpha. The damn pack is secure, you have your wish.” She punctuated the sentence by slamming her empty cup down before she pivoted to stride to the door.

She made it two steps before Rayne grabbed her arm and dragged her backwards. Instinct warred with preservation, and she drove her elbow into his gut and her boot onto his bare foot. The distinctive sound of bones snapping preceded his fingers releasing their bite against her arm, and then she faced him and they both glared.

If she’d realized he wasn’t wearing shoes, she probably wouldn’t have stomped so hard. Probably.

Then again, he should learn to his privilege of touching her had been revoked.

Permanently.

“You have your position, you have your pack—but never forget, you do not have me or any rights where I am concerned.” It physically pained her to say the words, a sharp, jagged thrust to the gut.

His eyes flashed and his wolf glowed in his eyes. He narrowed the space between them until his heat rolled over her, but he laid not one finger upon her. “I have every right where you are concerned. You are still mine.”

“A hollow claim for an even emptier promise. You can put whatever name on it you wish, but I will never belong to you again.” No matter how much it ripped at her heart or left her wolf wounded to hear it. Still her other half roused to brush against the inside of her skin, incensed and ready to snap.

They both bit when wounded.

Pain flickered across Rayne’s face, too swiftly to be tracked and then a granite mask settled in place. “Be that as it may, you can dismiss whatever you want, but you are mine and you will allow no other near you. Nor will you leave, do you understand?”

The demand for obedience struck her, his dominance over hers. They were too evenly matched in some ways for her to acquiesce to his control. It crashed against her like a heavy wave upon rocks. She might be permanently stuck, but the water would not dislodge her.

“Whatever helps you sleep at night.” She’d heard the phrase often enough in the past months, and she’d never found a use for it until now. The barb struck, striking like flint against his stony exterior. His jaw flexed and the grinding of his teeth echoed in the harsh space separating them.

They stood there, bound in the vicious jaws of their mated trap. Neither looked away, and neither gave in. His wolf all but snarled at hers, and hers bristled, hackles raised. They hadn’t wanted to hurt him before.

He might not be so lucky a second time.

Finally, Rayne’s eyes bled back to green and he exhaled a long breath. “Do not leave our territory.” It was as good as a by your leave as far as she was concerned and she strode for the door. She needed air, any kind of air…and to clear her nose of the scent of the wolf clinging to him.

But she also needed to rid herself of his scent, all dark, musky and powerful. Alpha suited him, though she would be loathe to admit it aloud. It was the same power that attracted her in the first place. Power tempered by gentleness and warmth.

One foot out the door and his last words slammed into her. “Stay the fuck away from that Rodrigo bastard, Luciana. Trust me, I will know and I’m already planning to kill him. Keep going near him and I’ll make sure I skin him first.”

The words jolted her, and when she spun to retaliate, she found herself alone. He’d left the kitchen before she’d made her escape and he’d had the last word.

She had no damn interest in Rodrigo even as a possible tie to her former home. The wolf took too many liberties and she hadn’t forgotten his spying the night before.

Pain ripped through her middle, and she forced herself away from the house, away from Rayne and farther, away from the town. She bypassed the main street and headed out into the fields, blindly walking as fast as her legs would carry her and she refused to lose it there. No one would see her weakness, or her loss.

She made it a full mile before the first tear fell.

And a second before the sobs broke from her throat.
Heather Long. Outlaw Wolves (Kindle Locations 843-913). Heather Long. Kindle Edition.

A rather horrible twist of fate lands Luciana severely injured and near death. It’s Rayne and the pack that keep her alive until the healer can arrive.

The healer was a pleasant surprise, as was all the visitors that come to aid the pack that needs help in a unique way. You’ll love who shows up as much as I did.

All I can tell you folks, is have your tissues handy, and keep hydrated.

Plenty of tension, revelations, heart-breaking scenes, and the simmer to sizzle is worth every page. Yes, Luciana and Rayne win me over, eventually.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Heather Long Heather Long

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

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

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


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The Deluge – The Storm Book 3 by Ripley Proserpina and Rebecca Royce



The Deluge
The Storm Book 3
By
Ripley Proserpina & Rebecca Royce

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

A deluge is coming…

A year of searching has passed. A year of getting stronger. Harder. Angrier.

Whitney never thought she’d survive without her guys, but she did. They’re out there. She just has to claim them.

Now, it’s time to go to war.

Whitney is changed, she realized that in order to get her guys back she needed to be stronger. It’s a year later, she lives at Zero with Wendy and she’s leaner, more muscular and stronger than she’s ever been. An interesting side effect, her psychic abilities grew in strength as well.

She’s ready now and she’s going to get her guys back

This is a favorite scene.

“Whitney?” A knock sounded as Wendy entered the house, calling my name. I sighed. I’d tried to work on the idea of knocking before she spoke and entered but she wasn’t getting it. Either that or she was just being a bitch, which was entirely possible.

I’d moved the young woman into Zero with me and the few Uncontrolled who remained uncollected by my brother, Dex. John and Nick helped her and the others to escape their child-abusing husbands. They were strong, violent, and capable.

I’d discovered in the first two weeks of horror after my guys were taken that I was really not made for loneliness. Any company was better than none.

Besides, someone was going to have to take care of this place if I died. A bunch of women starting over seemed like the best possible option. After they’d pulled their gun off my chest, we’d worked this stuff out. Sort of. Wendy still didn’t knock.

Passive-aggressive might be her middle name.

I stopped my push-ups, pulling myself into a sitting position. Every day, I’d done two hundred sit-ups. But now it was time for me to leave. Time for me to do what I’d planned for the last year.

I was getting back the people who belonged to me, and Dex was going to wish he’d never been born—or reborn. He would rue the day he’d taken what was mine.

“Over here,” I called out to Wendy, and she rounded the corner.

“I should have known you’d be working out. Every free minute. You never take a break.”

I started my first sit up. “What would you have me do that I’m not doing?”

“Come to the show tonight.” I should have known she was going to say that.

I shook my head, heading into my fifth sit up. “I’m leaving tonight. It’s time.”

If not now, then never. I’d honed my body to the point that I almost didn’t recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. And what I’d discovered should probably have been obvious from the beginning. The stronger I got physically, the stronger my mind and psychic abilities got. Dante would have told me this if he’d been here to see it. I’d connected my five guys to me, but I’d not been fit to handle them. I was now. And even if I had to yank each of them free from Dex’s grasp one by one, that was what I would do.

I was ready.
Rebecca Royce; Rebecca Royce. Ripley Proserpina, The Deluge (Kindle Locations 57-75). Kindle Edition.

Unfortunately yanking a hoard of uncontrolled from Dex only alerted him to her presence. She only gets John in this first attempt.

Her new found strength allows her to heal without having to sleep and John will be invaluable in getting the others.

This is truly a wonderful end to this trilogy, there’s plenty of action, revenge and a love that survives everything thrown at it.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca & Ripley!

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Ripley Proserpina

Ripley Proserpina spends her days huddled near a fire in the frozen northern wilds of Vermont. She lives with her family, two magnificent cats, and one dog who aspires to cat-hood. She is the author of the Reverse Harem series, The Searchers, Midnight’s Crown, and the young adult/fantasy duet, Wishes and Curses.


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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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