Ivy – Corked and Tapped Book 7 by Becca Jameson


Corked and Tapped:
Because the best stories never start
with someone eating a salad.

Ivy
Corked and Tapped Book 7
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Becca Jameson

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“You must be Cleopatra.” Her heart picked up its pace as he leaned against the bar next to her. His smile was mesmerizing. She liked him already. But her track record with blind dates was horrifying, and he was far too nice a guy to win her over. Wasn’t he?

We met Ivy as she helped Rose get dressed for the Halloween party. She seems to exude confidence but secretly she doesn’t. She hasn’t had a second date in forever, most of the first dates end up staring at her breasts or worse so some of those don’t even make through half a date.

She has one more first date from the dating site she joined but first is this crazy Halloween party. Maggie from HR has paired off people from different departments to sort of team build. Ivy is dressed as a sexy Cleopatra and the person she will be looking for will be dressed as Julius Caesar.

When she meets up with Julius at the bar, after noticing Rose and her vampire kissing, they finally start to get to know one another. Starting with some of their funnier first dates.

This is a favorite scene.

Cooper laughed. “Between the two of us, we could write a book. We could call it Fifty Failed Firsts.

Ivy giggled. “Right? It’s not like I’m not trying, but when I tell Rose about my evenings, she says I’m picky.”

“Rose says you’re picky? Rose? The woman who doesn’t look anyone in the eye?”

“Yep. You have a point. But she’s just introverted. I’m not exactly an extrovert, myself, but I can look someone in the eye and make small talk. Maybe I come off as too opinionated or something.” She shrugged.

“You don’t seem too opinionated to me. In fact, if you were my online date for tonight, you would have already had me wondering about a second date.”

“Aw. That’s so… cheesy.”

He chuckled. “Yeah. Probably. But I don’t see why anyone would be turned off by you in the first few moments. You’re gorgeous, funny, and conversational. Three of the top checks on my list.”

For once she was taken aback. “Thank you,” she murmured. “That means a lot.”

“Granted, I doubt you usually meet your dates wearing that fucking sexy dress, so maybe they don’t readily realize how hot you are.” He smiled warmly, his gaze still on her eyes, not her boobs. But he had noticed her body.

She shifted her weight from one foot to the other at his bluntness. It took a second to get back on her game and respond. “You never know. Maybe this is how I normally dress.”

He laughed. “Touché.”

“Kidding. I never wear something this revealing on a first date. And let me just say, you would be the first person to warrant a second date from me.”

He lifted one side of his mouth. “How did I earn that?” His eyes twinkled. She loved the deep blue color.

“I haven’t once caught you staring at my boobs instead of my eyes,” she admitted. She had no idea why she was so comfortable with him.

“Ah, well, it’s not that I haven’t noticed. I’m not dead, and they are fantastic. But I make a point of never treating women disrespectfully.”

Lord. He was the real deal. Her heart beat faster. He’d somehow managed to compliment her without turning her into a sex object. It was enough to make her get all flushed. She needed to get the attention off herself. “So, tell me about you. Do you meet your dates wearing a toga?”

“Nope. Never. This is a first.” He took a sip of his wine. “Remember, I’m an accountant. I’m boring and nice.”
Becca Jameson. Ivy: Corked and Tapped, Book Seven (Kindle Locations 143-163). Becca Jameson Publishing.

I really like the way these two slowly get to know each other. Then there’s also the way Cooper manages to get some information on the Phantom that matches Maddie at Ivy’s request.

Finding Cooper is an artist at heart, gives a perfect opening to leave the party. I loved the way Ivy’s confidence grows with every minute these two are together.

So much fun, very romantic, and the perfect amount of sizzle in this wonderfully short read.

I can’t wait to read Maddie, especially now that I’ve been thoroughly teased about it in this book.

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

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Coming Soon!


Becca Jameson Becca Jameson

Becca Jameson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 70 books. She is most well-known for her Wolf Masters series and her Fight Club series. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two grown kids, and the various pets that wander through. She is loving this journey and has dabbled in a variety of genres, including paranormal, sports romance, military, and BDSM.

A total night owl, Becca writes late at night, sequestering herself in her office with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate, her fingers flying across the keyboard as her characters weave their own stories.

During the day–which never starts before ten in the morning!–she can be found jogging, floating in the pool, or reading in her favorite hammock chair!


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Pour Me A Drink – Tarnation, TX Book 3 by Rhonda Lee Carver


Pour Me A Drink
Tarnation TX Book 3
By
Rhonda Lee Carver

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His good intentions were lost in her soft curves…

His big mistake was volunteering to help Alaska Kellington and her son. Yet, how could he resist the sweet, innocent appearing woman who had a hidden freak flag that teased his inner bull?

Trouble had a name. Oh, did it ever and it was dressed in worn Wranglers and dusty boots. Arc Colt. Tall, dark, handsome, and confident. The cowboy rode in on his horse, upsetting every wall Alaska had ever erected to protect her and her son. Before she knew it, she was Colt-matized.

She’d been told to never look a gift horse in the mouth, but Alaska couldn’t trust anyone. Growing up in foster homes, tossed around like a Hacky Sack from one bad home to another, until she ran away to live on the streets, had taught her a valuable lesson. A gift never came without a price. When given money and a home in the small-town Tarnation, Texas, the opportunity to plant roots for her son is too tempting to resist. She’s willing to take the risk, even if the stipulation is that she must have the rundown B&B up and running within six months.

Both Arc and Alaska have secrets, some more threatening than others. When she’s arrested in the middle of the summer fest with townsfolk watching, things start to unravel, leaving her vulnerable and feeling like the scared, lost kid she thought she’d outgrown. Can love overcome a tragic past? In the end could every path they’ve walked have led them right where they belong, or did Buzz Colt have a surprising intuition?

I am loving these Tarnation, Texas books. The Colt brothers both biologic and step are definitely having issues with the stipulations set by their father Buzz’s will and trying to get along.

However, Buzz did something else in his will and now we get to meet Alaska and her son. For the record, not Buzz’s.

Alaska hasn’t had it easy and after getting a letter from Buzz’s lawyer Roe Robins she had some decisions to make. The letter stated she would have to travel to Tarnation for the details. After an altercation with her landlord Alaska and her son River make the journey.

As he did with his son’s Buzz put stipulations on his ‘gift’. The B&B that could become her home had to be up and running plus showing a profit in six months. Alaska wasn’t sure she could do it, but she would definitely think about it.

When her car dies on the road on the way to the property she meets Arc Colt. Although she had seen him in the diner she didn’t know who he was.

This is a favorite scene.

Working the Grinning Spurs together for six months was a cakewalk. But where the hell would each of them find a woman who wanted to marry them? Question was, how would Arc find a woman willing to tolerate him? Hell, no doubt he wasn’t the easiest to get along with. A man his age was set in his ways and those ways wouldn’t suit a wife. He’d never even lived with a woman he wasn’t related to.

He might as well just pick someone. Any woman.

Lifting his gaze to the blue sky, he stretched his arm outside the window and gave a thumb’s up to the sky. “God, I sure hope you have a sense of humor because I’m needing your help about now. Can you bring me a woman who can put up with my nonsense? A wife who can get me out of this mess.”

Laughing, he brought his attention back to the road and let out a growled curse as he slammed on his brakes to miss hitting the woman waving frantically. The tires slid, leaving a stretch of rubber, and he finally came to a complete stop several feet from the grassy ditch. Slamming the gear shift into park and shutting off the engine, he slid out, shaking his head in agitation. “What the hell?” Then his eyes found her. The same woman from the diner. The one who’d looked so lost sitting alone in the booth.

“Do you always drive like a maniac?”

Her long hair was pulled up into a messy topknot and her fists were fitted to her flared hips as she looked at him like she was about to read him his last rites. “You’re upset with me? Really? What woman stands in the road and waves at an oncoming vehicle?”

“The same woman who noticed that you slowed down and gave a thumb’s up,” she bit out.

Ah, shit! She heaved a sigh and her breasts gave a little bounce. His heart slammed against his ribs and his zipper felt tighter. What the hell? Had he become a walking dick? She wasn’t his type, not even close. She looked too innocent—too…what? The way the tiny, damp shirt almost became see-through certainly did make her interesting. “Hey. I—” Then he noticed the kid. A short, scrawny boy who had her blue eyes. Arc searched his brain. Did she have a kid back at the diner? Wouldn’t he remember? Not when certain parts of his body numbed his logic. His libido deflated. She was a mom…a.k.a “hands off”.

“Hi, mister,” the boy said.

“Hi, there.” Arc dipped his hat in greeting. “What seems to be the problem here?” Obviously, they had car trouble, judging by the heap sitting along the roadside.

“I think it’s the radiator. The car overheated and then steam rolled out from under the hood,” the woman said. He pegged her as a northerner by her accent.

“That happens frequently. The heat index rises and radiators and batteries go bad fast if they’re not new. Care if I take a look?” This wasn’t in his plan for the day, but he couldn’t leave a mom and her son stranded on the side of the road either.

“I-I hate to ask—”

“You didn’t.” He chuckled. “I volunteered. I can’t guarantee there’s anything I can do to fix it, but it won’t fix itself either.” Dragging off his hat, he tossed it through the open window and onto the front seat of his truck and strolled to the front of her vehicle. “Can you pop the hood for me?”

There was a good two second hesitation before she did as he requested then came around to join him at the front of the car, keeping a decent five foot of distance between them. Hell, he didn’t take offense. A woman could never be too careful, even in a place like Tarnation.

“Definitely the radiator.” He dropped down to the road and slid under the fender, the heat from the cement quickly warmed his skin through his shirt. When he popped back out, he swiped his hands down the thighs of his jeans. “You didn’t by chance hit something, did you?”

Her brows scrunched. “No…wait, yes. We ran over the remains of a tire on the highway before we got off on the exit to Tarnation. That’s been a while though.”

“That’s your problem, ma’am. The tire bent the radiator and it’s been slowly leaking fluid since. You’re lucky you made it as far as you did.”

“Bent radiator? Slow leak?” Her face paled. “That sounds like a lot of money to fix.” She looked back at the boy.

Arc had never been the most compassionate man around, but when it came to animals and children nothing reached him quicker. Although she didn’t come right out and say it, he surmised from her expression that she didn’t have a lot of funds available. By the age of the car and the amount of rust holding it together, she was probably making do with what she had. Looking from the woman to her son and back to her, he shrugged. “I can get you a tow. I know a close shop that’ll fix this in a jiffy for next to nothing.” From the time he could walk, he loved to tinker with cars and by fourteen he’d bought his first car with the money he raised doing odd jobs. It was a vintage Mustang that needed more work than it was worth, but he spent every available minute for two years, between chores at the ranch and football, making the car run, and, by the time he was finished, she was amazing. He couldn’t call himself a mechanic by a long shot, but if he could help this woman and her son it was the right thing to do. Otherwise, she’d be shelling out some cash and stranded.

She seemed to muddle over his offer and then her shoulders slumped slightly. “It doesn’t look like I have much of a choice. Thank you for your help.”

“You’re quite a way from the highway. I can take you back to Tarnation and you might be able to find a room at the Inn until the car’s fixed. Could be a few days to weeks.”

“Weeks?” She frowned. “The Inn won’t be necessary. We’re headed to a B&B—”

“The Grinning Spurs B&B?”

“Yes. You know where it is?”

His breath came out in a hiss and he rubbed the tension from his forehead. He should have known…

So, this was Alaska Kellington?

The woman who somehow found herself with a shit load of money and a house—a house owned by Buzz Colt—rather his sons now. The same woman he’d researched to find information on, but didn’t find a damn thing. Suddenly his steel wall erected. “Yeah, I know where it is. You’re less than a half mile away.”

“Then we’re exactly where we need to be.” She didn’t quite smile but he saw some relief in her expression. The boy saddled up close to her and she placed her arm around his shoulders protectively. “Close enough for us to walk.”

“In those shoes?” He doubted she’d make it fifty feet in the flimsy leather sandals.

“I had no clue I’d be stranded on the side of the road.” She looked almost embarrassed.

“Apparently so. I can take you both,” he offered. Although he didn’t trust her, he couldn’t leave her and her boy in this heat. There was that expression again, the one that spoke volumes that she didn’t trust him either. He wasn’t sure how that made him feel. “Before you say it, it’s no sweat off my brow. It’s right up the road and you can’t have your son out here. It’s hot enough to fry the hair on a pig’s a—rear.” He caught himself.

Did he see a glimpse of a smile before it got lost under a frown? “Okay. I have a few things. I’ll grab them and put them in the back of your truck.”

“Let me help.” He met her at the back of her car. She opened the trunk and inside she had two brown bags and two white trash bags that were tied at the top. “Is this all?” He had trouble containing his surprise. He expected to find suitcases galore, especially if she planned on moving into the B&B.

“This is it,” she answered a little shyly.

Grabbing both grocery bags, he let her take the trash bags. They placed them in the back and piled into the front seat of the truck, the woman—Alaska—took the passenger seat and the boy was in the middle. “Don’t worry about your car. I’ll make sure it’s towed.”

She nodded. The wind caught tendrils of her hair sending them sweeping her flawless cheeks. As they drove over bumps in the road her breasts bounced, and he tore his gaze to the safety zone of the window. Now that he knew who she was and that she had a son, this switched up things a bit. He needed to concentrate on his situation with Buzz’s will and not the fact that the woman sitting in his truck was the cutest and shyest he’d been around in a long time, if not ever. He’d never had a problem getting the interest of the opposite sex, and by now, most women would have been offering him smiles, maybe even a few flirty actions. Alaska, however, seemed to care less. He wasn’t sure if that intrigued him or made him even less trusting of her. Did she have any clue who he was? That he was one of Buzz Colt’s sons? He had many questions that begged to be answered.

“The B&B, huh? How long do you plan on staying?” With one trash bag he fathomed not long.

She brought her chin around, her eyes meeting his for two lengthy heartbeats before she lowered her gaze. “I’m not sure. Now it might depend on when my car is fixed.”

Hell, if that was the case he’d pay to have a mechanic fix it and send her on her way, but then why did a part of him resist that idea? Sure, she was cute, but he wasn’t interested. He was practically engaged, to someone he’d never met, literally. But maybe his inquisitiveness had the best of him. What had she and Buzz shared that would make the man want to help her? Arc would like to think Buzz did it out of the kindness of his heart, but it didn’t make sense. The old man wouldn’t have done anything unless it was to his advantage.
Rhonda Carver. Pourmeadrink finalwithtoc (Kindle Locations 559-632). Kindle Edition.

As the lawyer had said the B&B needed work and a thorough cleaning. Arc found himself volunteering to assist, at least with the roof.

There is definitely chemistry between these two and that attraction only grows. We learn of an interesting legend surrounding a cliff and a tree as well.

Just a touch of suspense, a lot of romance and sizzle make this a book I didn’t want to put down.

5 Contented Purrs for Rhonda!

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Rhonda lee Carver Rhonda Lee Carver

Rhonda Lee Carver is a published book writer with a collection of print and eBooks under her wing. She is also a freelance editor. Her first book was published with Wild Rose Press in 2010.

She writes everything from contemporary to steamy to paranormal to suspense…you name it, she’s written it. Her specialty is writing men who love to get their hands dirty—hardworking, blue collar, heroes in everyday life.

When Rhonda isn’t crafting edge-of-your-seat, sizzling novels, you’ll find her with her children and husband watching soccer, watching a breathtaking movie, traveling to exotic places (with Bora Bora on her bucket list), doing (or trying) yoga, saving cats and dogs, and finding new ways to keep life interesting.

Rhonda thrives on making her readers happy. She believes life can be a challenge, but reading is a place where fantasy comes to life. Her motto: “Everyone deserves romance—one page at a time.“


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Fire Across Texas – The Bellamy’s of Texas Book 2 By Susan Yawn Tanner


Fire Across Texas
The Bellamy’s of Texas Book 2
By
Susan Yawn Tanner

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Hannah Barnes, wife of the austere preacher Caleb Barnes, is as dutiful and eager to please as she can be, considering the big difference in their ages. Texas Ranger Jeb Welles, on his way to the New Mexico territory, stops at the Barnes place to tend to his horse. There, he finds Hannah alone on the remote Texas property with no family or neighbors nearby, seemingly in shock, with blood on her clothes and her dead husband’s body in the cabin. Something tells him she’s no murderer, but he can’t be sure. He also can’t leave the stunned widow alone out there. They bury the body and he offers to escort her to the nearest fort to seek help.

Unaware that three murderers could be hot on their trail, the pair set out together. Jeb has no idea how deeply this shy woman will work her way into his heart. Hannah’s mission to avenge her husband’s death turns into a passion neither of them could have foreseen. This courageous woman and rugged ex-lawman discover tenderness and love under the wide Texas sky.

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I have been reading a bit more historical romance lately, remembering that I really so enjoy taking a journey to the past. This book takes me on a journey to 1859 Texas, the state I now call home.

I never cease to marvel at the strength of the women of the old west. They don’t realize it themselves but it really is amazing what they endured.

Hannah was married off at the age of 15 to Reverend Caleb Barnes. Her father believed it to be a good match since he was also a preacher. However Hannah never seemed to be what Caleb expects from his wife.

After her husband reports three soldiers for trying to pin a murder they committed on the Comanche, the men approach Hannah with evil on their minds. Instead she falls injuring herself enough to cause the miscarriage of the child she was carrying. However they aren’t done, and return to kill Caleb about a month later.

Jeb Welles is the Texas Ranger who declared the three men guilty, but the man temporarily in charge waited until the Captain returned at which time the men were punished but not hung for their crime. It was time for Jeb to re-up with the Rangers but he decided not to, he’s going to join his friend Slade and his wife Katherine in New Mexico. The challenge of helping Slade clean up their town sounds perfect.

In a twist of fate Jeb’s horse has a loose shoe and he sees the preacher’s cabin. He assists Hannah with the burial of her husband and makes a marker for the grave. After fixing the horse’s shoe and eating the meal Hannah prepared for him he leaves. Then feels guilty he left her alone and heads back.

This is a favorite scene.

Jeb rode back up to the tiny cabin, thinking it looked smaller and meaner than it had before. There weren’t two straight boards to the whole structure, and what passed for a front porch looked as if it had sagged from the day it was built. Somehow he wasn’t surprised to see a small calico figure sitting on a narrow bench at the door, a rifle across her knee. The thought crossed his mind that she might just use that rifle on him. But as she recognized him, he saw the fear in her eyes fade to relief.

The realization that he had left a frightened woman alone fueled his anger. “Christ! What do you think you’re doing with that thing?”

Hannah blinked. Caleb had never taken the Lord’s name in vain. “I’m … I’m waiting for them to come back.”

Jeb’s frown deepened. “Who?”

“The men who killed Caleb,” she said simply.

Jeb felt like all kinds of a fool, and he didn’t like the feeling. Perversely, he blamed her for it. “Why the blazes didn’t you tell me he’d been murdered? That you might be in danger?”

“I didn’t know I should.” Hannah wondered why he was so furious with her.

That queer light gaze made it difficult for Jeb to think. “Didn’t know you should what?” he repeated.

“Tell you.” Maybe he wasn’t quite as bright as he’d first seemed. Caleb’s mind had jumped from subject to subject more quickly than hers, and there wasn’t any trail a conversation could take that he couldn’t follow.

“Well, of all the fool …” Jeb stepped down from his horse. “Do you know how to use that thing?” He glared pointedly at the rifle.

“It doesn’t matter.”

Straining for patience, Jeb pushed his hat back on his head. “What doesn’t matter?”

“Whether or not I can use the rifle,” Hannah said patiently. “It doesn’t matter.”

“It damned sure will if you point that thing at someone!”

“It isn’t loaded.” Hannah felt a kind of triumph at being right. She hadn’t been right too often with Caleb.

“Sonuvabitch! Give me that thing!”

Before she could move to comply, Jeb was on the porch with her, snatching it from her grasp. “Pack your clothes.”

“What?” Hannah felt as if her mind had failed her. Now she was the one who couldn’t follow the conversation.

“Get your things together,” Jeb said between gritted teeth. “You’re going with me.”

“But … where?” This place wasn’t much, but it was all she had. It was her home. There simply wasn’t anyplace else for her to go.

Jeb didn’t have an answer for that one, and the fact that he didn’t infuriated him even more. She’d already said she didn’t have any family. And if she did have, they probably wouldn’t have wanted the little idiot.

“Anyplace you say, ma’am. I’ll take you anyplace.” As long as he got rid of her as soon as possible. “You must have people somewhere who will take you in. Your husband’s family. Friends?”

“I … Caleb didn’t have any family that I know of. And I don’t have any friends.”

Jeb leaned forward until his nose nearly touched hers. Sweet Jesus, if the first woman he’d ever bedded had been like this one, he’d have become a monk! “Lady, I’m not surprised. Now pack your damned clothes!”

He was almost shouting by the time he finished speaking. To his satisfaction, the girl got to her feet. He didn’t even care that she was looking at him as if he’d lost his sanity—or never had any. Just so long as she didn’t ask him another question. Ever.

Hannah stepped into the cool interior of the cabin and wondered what she should do. Sitting alone on the porch after the stranger had ridden away had given her more time than she wanted to consider the future. She’d begun to realize that if she stayed here with only her own company, she would soon go crazy. Caleb had been gone a lot, it was true, but she had always known he would be back. And the times he was home were enough to remind her that being by herself wasn’t always bad. But alone forever? She didn’t know about that.

She thought about the man on the porch, about riding away with him from the only place she knew. He seemed safe enough. His hazel eyes were hard, but they weren’t mean. She had noticed that they tended to become more green than brown when he was irritated. She’d never had that much warning with Caleb. He couldn’t be a bad man, she reasoned with herself; he’d helped her to bury Caleb, after all. A lot of folks might have just ridden away. Not that she’d been around a lot of folks lately.

Turning in a circle, Hannah looked about the bare little cabin. There was sure nothing to keep her here. And, somehow, doing something always seemed preferable to doing nothing, a trait Caleb had done his best to change in her. If the stranger wanted her to go with him—well, then she would. And after that … Hannah shrugged a little helplessly. After that, she just didn’t know.

Jeb had just prepared himself for a long wait, leaning his back against a post that he wasn’t quite sure was trustworthy and stretching his legs out in front of him, when the girl stepped back out of the cabin. She carried one small cloth bag. He might have known she wouldn’t take long simply because he had thought she would.

“I’m ready.”
Tanner, Susan Yawn. Fire Across Texas: The Bellamys of Texas, Book 2 (pp. 56-60). Secret Staircase Books, an imprint of Columbine Publishing Group, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Although Jeb has his own thoughts of where she should go, she is determined to bring the men caused her miscarriage and killed her husband to justice.

Once they reach the procession the Captain informs Jeb that the men Nathan and Wilkins were gone and had killed Shaw, who was the third man.

Now the adventure truly begins as Jeb and Hannah begin a journey together. One that he thinks will end when he gets her settled in a town with a preacher.

I loved this journey, the ups and downs, the deceit and treachery, the growing attraction between Jeb and Hannah all make for a page turning read. I laughed, cried and held my breath as this tale unfolded.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Y. Tanner

Susan Yawn Tanner continues to blend her passion for horses with her passion for writing.

In Trouble in Summer Valley, she introduced readers to the rescue horses of Summer Valley Ranch where they prove their worth in the world of therapeutic riding. In Turning for Trouble, her own rodeo experience brings that rough and tumble world to life. Her third romantic mystery, Trouble in Action, showcases the risky world of stunt riding while giving a glimpse into historical reenactments. Published as Susan Y. Tanner and released by KaliOka Press, these books are part of the Familiar Legacy series written in concert with some very talented authors.

Two of her historical romances, Fire Across Texas and Winds Across Texas, have been rereleased by Secret Staircase Books, an imprint of Columbine Publishing. Soon to follow will be A Warm Southern Christmas, Highland Captive, Captive To A Dream, and Exiled Heart. All were previously published by Leisure Books. Her historical romances will all be rereleased as Susan Yawn Tanner.

Forged – Trial By Fire Book 1 by Cole Denton


Forged
Trial By Fire Book 1
By
Cole Denton

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

What happens when you wake up one day
to discover that you’ve been on
autopilot your entire life?

My life has always been more downs than ups. Good things rarely knocked on my door. But hard knocks never failed to kick my ass. Nothing good would ever happen to me.

Or so I thought.

In college I discovered women, and never looked back. But even though I was never alone, I was always lonely.

I didn’t know exactly what I needed.
Only that I needed something more.

Until I saw her. Then I knew. She was what I needed. We were perfect. Incendiary! We were going to be what happily ever afters were about!

Or so I thought.

Now I’m ten years older. A hundred years wiser. I have survived so many trials by fire, nothing could penetrate my scarred and jaded armor.

Or so I thought.

This is my story…

**Author’s note: Forged is a dark novel with intense scenes that may trigger some readers. Please read with caution.

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This is a dark novel with intense scenes. I do not recommend this book for everyone, as there are many things that could trigger some folks.

That said this is the beginning of Ryan Hudson’s journey, it takes us from 2002 – 2018. He has endured much and is still putting up with a lot as he enters college on a baseball scholarship. After he is pushed too far by his mother and brother Chad he decides to move on campus, but the dorms are full. The opportunity arises to share a house with two of his teammates.

This is a favorite scene.

Ryan, David’s cool with you taking the third room. The address is below. Come by tonight if you want to see the place. I’ll be home all evening.

“Yeah!” I said under my breath. I quickly got dressed and made my way to what might be a good place for me. I held the note in my hand as I climbed the steps to a recently renovated home. The lights were all on, and I could hear a bunch of people talking inside. I rang the bell and waited.

“Hey, man,” David bumped fists with me when he opened the door and stepped aside to invite me in.

I glanced around. This college pad was nicer than my home, for sure. Skyler stood from a chair and came over to the entryway where I waited.

“Ryan, come in. I’ll introduce you to my folks.”

I met both of his parents, and he introduced me as their third baseman and said I was going to take the third room. I was feeling more doubtful over that the longer I stood there. The place had to be really expensive, and I wasn’t sure I could afford it with my part-time job.

David offered to show me the third room so Skyler could stay and visit with his family. He had a nice one, so more power to him.

“Alright, here’s the room.” David walked into the room ahead of me. He slapped his hand down on a couple of boxes. “These are mine, but I’ll get them moved out by Monday.”

There was a desk and a nightstand. It was fucking perfect. I didn’t even care if he left the boxes.

“Right across the hall is the bathroom that you and I would share. Sky’s got the big bedroom with the attached bathroom.”

I glanced into the bathroom. It was a lot bigger than mine at home. This place was perfect.

“Do you know how much the room to rent is?” I asked David.

“Sky doesn’t charge me, and he said he wouldn’t charge you. But, we all pay for groceries, so you’ll have to help with that.”

I nodded quickly.

“That’s not a problem.”

I headed to the bus stop feeling lighter. I was getting the fuck out of my house. I rehearsed how I was going to tell my mom during the bus ride home. She wasn’t using me, or my body anymore. Neither was Chad.
Denton, Cole. Forged: The Trial by Fire Series. Kindle Locations (634-653). Kindle Edition.

Things start to get better with Ryan not going home, but until he makes a complete break by moving to Las Vegas do things truly begin to get better for him.

A job at the MGM, classes at UNLV, a real girlfriend for a while anyway, but the development of some true friendships is where Ryan starts the emotional healing. The approach is a bit unusual but it is something that works for Ryan and that’s what counts.

Lots of emotions filtered through me as I read this book, I was angry, appalled, and wondering how Ryan’s mother and Chad managed to slip away from any blame. I couldn’t stop reading wanting so much more for Ryan than he was handed.

Ryan’s journey is slow, but it is steady and there is the BDSM relationship of his friends and the beginning of an apprenticeship for him.

This is a trilogy, so I have purchased the next book to continue reading Ryan’s journey.

4 Contented Purrs for Cole!

Click the Cover for Buy Links

Cole Denton is an ocean lover who finds joy in almost all physical activities. He is especially passionate about baseball and surfing, indulging in them every chance he gets.

His other passion is writing. It began at a young age and followed him through to his time at a university in SoCal where he majored in screenwriting.

After moving to Sin City itself, Cole has put his knowledge and talent as a writer to work by pursuing a career as a dark fiction author. Cole is enjoying testing his kinky side, in pursuit of all things pleasurable.

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Don’t Close Your Eyes – Texas Justice Book 1 by Christie Craig


Don’t Close Your Eyes
Texas Justice Book 1
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Christie Craig

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What would you do
if everything you thought was true about your family
turned out to be a lie?

Annie Lakes has had the same recurring nightmare for years. Her heart pounding in her chest. A panicked voice, begging her to run faster. Her own bloodcurdling scream. But now Annie is starting to realize it’s more than just a bad dream. She’s starting to remember things about the night her cousin Jenny disappeared all those years ago. Things that make her believe her family was involved–and what they’re hiding is much worse than she ever imagined. But she can’t unravel this alone. She needs someone she can trust, someone like sexy Detective Mark Sutton ….

Mark has seen enough–too much–to assume that Annie’s story is a dead end. It turns out that her family is hiding some killer secrets. A long time ago, Annie was just an innocent little girl who saw something she shouldn’t. Now she’s a target, and Mark’s running out of time to protect the woman he’s starting to fall for. But how does Mark face off against a murderer who just may be someone Annie loves?

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Annie Lake has nightmares, they have her waking with a scream and pounding heart. The way it ends also leaves the impression there’s more to it. Her parents have told her it’s only a dream and the scar on her knee was from a fall off her bicycle, not a fall in the woods. When at her Uncle’s funeral she sees her cousin Fran and suddenly memories start flooding back. Now she needs to know the truth, and there’s only one person she can think of to help with that.

Detective Mark Sutton works cold cases with two others on the force. They have gained a reputation for closing these cases. Annie sees the handsome detective every day as he picks up his coffee and usually buys for another person on the line, calling it his good deed for the day.

Annie summons the courage to report her suspicions. However, she only recounts her dream and the reaction she had with her cousin Fran. She doesn’t mention the problems she’s had that relate to those dreams.

When Mark pretty much dismisses her as ‘crazy’ she decides it was a mistake and leaves.

This is a favorite scene.

She hugged her purse. “I didn’t remember…until now.”

He rolled the pen between his palms. “It just came to you. Just like that?”

“No. I went to an uncle’s funeral and…” Her words faded. “I guess I never really forgot. I’ve dreamed it, over and over again. Well, some of it. But when I was there, I remembered.”

He leaned forward. “You dreamed that this happened?”

She nodded.

Yup, crazy. And it’s Monday! “If you dreamed it, and then forgot it, how do you know it really happened?”

Her chin inched up, a tiny gesture that spoke of her guts.

“The shoes.” She pointed to the photo. “I dreamed I was wearing them. And the scar. I fell in the dream, and I have a scar.”

His grip on the pen tightened. “Normally, it takes more than a dream to report a murder.”

“I’m sorry,” she said breathlessly, her tone hinting at a touch of anger. “It was a mistake coming here.”

She stood.

Guilt tugged at his gut. “If it happened in Pearlsville, you should talk to someone there.”

“I thought you’d…” She inhaled as if to pull the words back in. As if she decided he wasn’t worth her words.

“You thought I would what?” He clicked the pen.

Instead of answering, she bolted out of his office with a hell of a lot more energy than she’d come in.

Frustrated, he finger-locked his hands behind his neck and closed his eyes. His mind flashed the image of the haunted look he’d seen on her face. And while he still didn’t know why she looked familiar, he knew that look. He’d seen that same expression in the mirror every morning when he woke up, or when he crawled out of bed and hadn’t slept, because the images robbed him of sleep and sanity.

Determined to focus on the Talbot case, a real case, he leaned forward. He saw her picture. Picking it up, he stared at the younger girl’s image, the sweet face. He thought of his half sister. Sweet, innocent, and dead. Her body tossed in a dumpster. “Well, shit!” He took off, hoping to catch Ms. Lakes. What he’d say to her when, or if, he caught her, was anyone’s guess.
Craig, Christie. Don’t Close Your Eyes (Texas Justice) . Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Locations (459-474). Kindle Edition.

Taking on this case becomes so much more when Mark starts a relationship with Annie.

Lot of twists and turns, dysfunctional family, threats and so much more make this a page turning read.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Christie!

Coming Soon!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Christie Craig

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig is an award-winning writer, photojournalist, motivational speaker, writing teacher, and author of thirty-four books.

An Alabama native, she is a NEW YORK TIMES Best-Selling author of more than 30 books and thousands of magazine articles. During her 25 year career, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone.

Also writing young adult books as C.C. Hunter, her complete New York Times bestselling young adult paranormal series, Shadow Falls and Shadow Falls: After Dark, are available now from St. Martin’s Griffin. Her new young adult series, The Mortician’s Daughter, is now available and her contemporary young adult debut, This Heart of Mine, will release from Wednesday Books in February 2018. She also has a new romantic suspense series coming from Forever Books in 2018.

She currently resides in Texas.

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Rose – Corked and Tapped Book 6 by Becca Jameson


Rose
Corked and Tapped Book 6
By
Becca Jameson

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“Please let me kiss you right this second. I’ll explain later.” Those were the first words he spoke to her, and then he made good on them and melted her heart. But she wasn’t the sort of girl who did one-night stands, and he would surely break her heart in the morning. On the flip side, nothing like this ever happened to her…

If you are reading these from the beginning you’ll remember that Jacoby Advertising has rented out the back room of Corked and Tapped for sort of a team building Halloween party. Employees have been assigned costumes pairing them off.

In this book we meet Rose, she’s to be a vampire and what a costume she has. Her appointed match will also be a vampire. When he approaches her is in the blurb for this book. It was more than just wow!

This is a favorite scene, which happens after that kiss.

“Jesus,” he murmured against her lips, his forehead touching hers. “I might not have actually lied to the girl from the mail room when I told her I had a girlfriend, because after that kiss, I’m thinking it was only a premature fib.”

She could do nothing but stare at him, blinking, as he took her hand and pressed it against his chest. His own fingers seemed to be trembling a bit.

“All I need is your name, and it will be official.”

She still couldn’t come up with verbs and nouns. Her name? She had no idea what it was.

He gave her a stunning smile, still leaving not a breath of space between them. “I’m Dylan. I work on the fifth floor in accounting.” His eyes. They were the only thing she hadn’t seen before, and now she fell into their brown depths.

Dylan. Awesome name. Hot guy. Kissed like a prince. Was she daydreaming and really she was still standing at that bar table waiting for him to arrive?

“You want me to start guessing?” he teased. “Barb? Stacey? Janet?”

She finally shook free of her stupor. “Rose.”

That winning smile that surely ruined women made her weak in the knees again. “I love that name.”

She tried to focus. “So, a woman from the mail room is here tonight, and you needed her to believe you had a girlfriend?”

“Exactly. I would have warned you ahead of time, but I didn’t know who you would be.”

“Of course.” Made sense. Her heart was pounding, though, and she wished she really were his girlfriend. She wished they weren’t pretending. She’d spent months pretending this man really was her boyfriend. “I assume she’s watching.”

“Don’t know. Don’t care.” His gaze never left hers, nor did his hold on her body, though she watched him swallow a few times as if he weren’t quite as confident as he appeared. “But just to be sure, do you mind if I keep holding you close?”

She nodded slowly. Words escaped her. For the last several months, she’d noticed this guy in the lobby, assuming he had a girlfriend. Apparently, she’d been mistaken. Surely he wouldn’t be holding her like this if he was involved with someone else.

It suddenly sank in that she didn’t know this man at all. He might do this to every woman he met. Maybe it was a pick-up line. It probably worked too if he always kissed like that. “What’s wrong with the girl from the mail room, by the way?”

“Nothing, except she’s about eighteen. I don’t know how else to dissuade her.”

“Oh. Yikes.”
Becca Jameson. Rose: Corked and Tapped, Book Six (Kindle Locations 112-133). Becca Jameson Publishing.

These two are awesome together. It just so happens that Dylan was also the one who swapped costumes with the boss so it really worked out well. Especially since the boss only had eyes for Clara. So the credit actually goes to Landon rather than HR’s Maddie.

I am truly loving these short reads, they have plenty of fun and heat. Perfect to read just before bed.

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

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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Queenmaker – Heart of the Nebula Book 1 by Heather Long and Rebecca Royce


Queenmaker
Heart of the Nebula Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Long
&
Award Winning Author
Rebecca Royce

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Everything changed when I crashed into a food truck.

It all started with a brutal hill. An incline that I was determined to crest. One, long, punishing climb with my thighs screaming as I pumped the pedals for all I was worth. That hill could have been a metaphor for my whole life. I was climbing out of the crater left by a broken heart, ready to seize control again. Making it up that hill was a good first step.

Then I hit the food truck.

Enter Reese Riley, blond, gorgeous, stunning sapphire eyes and the kind of smile to set my blood on fire. No way he was real. With charm to spare, he walked me home and then asked me out. Then he introduced me to his friends—Briggs, Goran, and Dalton. Stunning men, all of them. Funny, too. They flirted, they teased, and they indulged. They were incredible, each of them, and they fit into my life like they’d been born to be there. I didn’t know whether to celebrate or to run like hell.

Oh, and did I mention they were aliens?

Author’s Note: This is a reverse harem and the authors suggest you always read the forwards in their books. This is the first in a trilogy.

Queenmaker is part one of a trilogy, what that means is that this is a continuing journey that progresses through each book to the end.

In this book we meet Khloe, she’s still recuperating from a break-up in which her ex took everything of value from her. She’s riding her bicycle and thinking of all that injustice when she crashes into a food truck.

Reese is the first to aid her and as he walks with her to see her safely home, he also convinces her to join him and his friends for a drink.

To be on the safe side she calls her best friend Grace to join her. Grace isn’t with her very long though since she runs into her on again off again boyfriend Maurice.

The initial meeting with Briggs, Goran, and Dalton is fun and flirty and interrupted twice, once by a woman who is more than a little tipsy, and once by Grace.

This is a favorite scene.

If Briggs was taken, well— he was.

Except… “Are you all dating people?”

I shot Reese a look. If I was going to be some hookup while he traveled and went back to his fiancée, then I was going to leave right now. Women shouldn’t do that to other women.

Ever.

“Well, I’m on a date right now,” Reese told me without an ounce of hesitation.

“You just had a break-up,” Dalton said. “So I get being shy, but I’m not seeing anyone else. I’m a one and done kind of guy. None of us are Billy.”

Goran lifted his whisky, his expression unreadable. “I have never dated anyone.” Blunt and to the point. So that just left Briggs as the taken one. Disappointment curved through me, but I smothered it. A few months ago, I’d been the taken one, and while I’d been mourning the life I thought I’d had, the more distance I got from it— the more I realized I didn’t miss Billy at all.

Especially not right now.

Making a face, I met Briggs’ concerned gaze. “So I guess you’re the odd man out in this group of bachelors.”

“Or I just told that woman something to let her down easily,” Briggs countered, his eyebrows raised as if in a dare.

“So you’re not dating either?” That… that was great. I mean, that was kind of sad. They were all really good-looking guys and, granted, a little weird, but weird was definitely not bad. They were colorful and different, definitely intriguing.

Chuckling, Briggs lifted his glass of whisky, and the pressure against my leg increased. I really should have pulled my leg away, but there was just something nice about the contact. “At the moment? No.”

“Oh.” What else was I supposed to say to that? “Sorry?”

Dalton threw his head back and laughed. The humor rippled around the table, but only Reese joined him in chuckling. Goran and Briggs gave him flinty-eyed looks that didn’t fracture or cool until Dalton’s laughter gradually sobered. “Sorry,” he said. “She’s sorry you’re not dating anyone else.” Mirth danced in his eyes.

Studying him, I propped my chin on my free hand since Reese still had possession of my left one, and I didn’t think I was getting it back anytime soon. Not that I was all that eager. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re an ass?”

“Yes,” Dalton answered briskly, his smile undiminished. “You would not be the first. Definitely the loveliest, but not the first.”

At my snort, Reese squeezed my hand. “We frequently tell Dalton he’s an ass. Sadly, he does not seem to learn from the experience.”

“No,” Briggs said with a little more chill in his words than a tease warranted. “He doesn’t. We might need a new word.”

“Or a new method,” Goran suggested. “What do you think, Khloe? What would you do to correct such brutish behavior?”

What would I do? I didn’t see asses. Not even good-looking ones. Not anymore. Before I could answer though, Dalton and Goran’s attention flicked to behind me, and I shifted to find Grace slipping a hand onto my shoulder.

“Excuse me, gentlemen, I need my bestie for a second.” At her tug, I let go of Reese and slid my leg away from Briggs. All four stood as I did, and Grace let out a huff that sounded a lot like damn under her breath, before she hustled me away from the table. “Sorry, sweetie. Won’t take but a minute…” She glanced behind me rather conspicuously as she leaned to the side, then straightened and met my gaze. “Holy hell, Khloe. You hit the damn jackpot. There’s not a man there I wouldn’t tap.”

“Grace,” I hissed at her, and she gave me a smug grin then pressed her keys into my palm and closed my fingers around them.

“Don’t get huffy. You get first pick. Besides, I got all the man I need in Maurice. I hate to kiss and run, but— damn, you know how it is.”

“Oh, honey,” I said with a sigh, and she gave me a knowing smile. Grace knew, as well as I did, it wouldn’t last. They would fall down the lust-fueled rabbit hole together, and I’d be there on the other side when it was time to kiss the boo-boos and pour the pity wine.

“Hey, we only live once. You’ve got a hot date and his hot friends, go grab life by the balls and kiss the hell out of it. I intend to.” She pressed her lips to my cheek. “Keep the car so you can get home. I’ll call you later. I promise.”

Then she was gone. Maurice waited for her by the front door, and Grace all but melted into him as they stepped out into the night. A sigh escaped, and I held her keys to my chest. Grace really did just embrace life, even the parts that hurt.

Warmth surged against my back, and I didn’t have to turn to know it was Reese. He was just there, a comforting shield bracketing me. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, and even I didn’t believe me. Summoning up a smile, I turned around. Grace was right about one thing. I needed to grab some life by the balls. It was why I was here.
Heather Long; Rebecca Royce. Queenmaker: Heart of the Nebula Book 1 (Kindle Locations 653-692).

One of the most confusing things for Khloe is her attraction to all four of these men. They are able to persuade her that it is the way they would prefer it to be and she doesn’t have to choose between them.

I love all these characters, the slow, steady progression of each relationship, the warmth and caring, and yes, the love that is just a bit different depending on who you are talking about.

Many interesting revelations, along with wit, fun, kindle melting heat and some danger as Khloe learns about her men and who she really is.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this trilogy!

5 Contented Purrs for Heather and Rebecca!

Coming Soon!
Deal Breaker – Heart of the Nebula Book 2

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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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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Decked – The Invincibles Book 1 by Heather Slade


Decked
The Invincibles Book 1
By
Heather Slade

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Going back home changes everything…

He’s cocky, funny, and a little bit grouchy…

Freelance contractor for security and intelligence, Decker Ashford’s a rugged and tough ranch manager with a brain to match. But when a woman dies in his arms on a dark road, Deck’s hellbent on uncovering the mystery behind her death.

She hung up her cowboy boots for city-slick stilettos…

Determined to leave the ranch behind, Mila Knight sets off for life in Boston without a second glance at the hay-baling world she grew up in. But when her sister’s death brings her back to town, she’s determined to unearth her family’s hidden secrets.

Relying on each other may be harder than they realized…

As Mila and Deck search for answers, their chemistry ignites. However, the last thing Mila wants—or needs—is to get pulled back into small-town life. But when her sister’s killer sets eyes on Mila, Deck will do anything to save her. Can Mila trust her heart and stay when she’s determined to walk away?

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Decker Ashford is the manager of King-Alexander Ranch. If you’ve been reading the other series by Heather Slade you’ll recall this is Z and Quint’s ranch.Decker is returning from England, mulling over a possible partnership in a new security company venture when he discovers a woman in a ditch at the side of the road. When the woman dies in his arms he takes on investigating her death.

Mila is happy with her life in Boston, she has her teaching and her apartment while small was homey, then she finds her contract wasn’t being renewed for the fall semester. Adler, her landlord and friend takes her out so she’s not alone and just when she’s starting to feel better a phone call changes everything.

Adler makes the arrangements for her to travel to Texas to identify her sister’s body, not realizing things were about to change in his friendship with Mila.

It’s Decker who meets Mila at the airport, and he pretty much ignores Adler. But what really catches Adler’s attention is that Mila doesn’t flinch away from Decker’s touch.

This is a favorite scene.

I went outside but I didn’t see Adler. A few seconds later, he walked out from the other side of the building.

“Where were you?” I asked.

“Making a call.”

Why was he being so short with me? It was so unlike him.

“If you need to get back…”

“What about you? Is there any reason you need to stay here?”

I stared at him. Was he serious? I folded my arms.

“What?” He reached out to touch my arm, but pulled back.

“You didn’t even ask me about Sybil.”

“Right. Um. Sorry. Distracted. It was an important call. Are you doing okay?”

“Am I doing okay? Adler! I just walked into a morgue and saw my dead sister lying on a metal table under a sheet. No! I’m not doing okay!” I dissolved into tears, and when he tried to comfort me, I pulled away.

“I’m sorry, Mil. I don’t know what else to say.”

I looked at him and shook my head, but before I could say anything more, Decker came out of the building.

“There’s been a change of plans.” He walked over and put his hand on her shoulder. “Mila, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but the house in Bluebell Creek is a crime scene. There won’t be any access to it until the sheriff gives his okay.”

Adler made no secret of the fact he noticed that I didn’t flinch or pull away when Decker touched me. I couldn’t explain my reaction— or lack of reaction— myself. Decker Ashford, a man I barely knew, made me feel safe. Was it just his kindness? Was it that he took charge in a way that didn’t threaten me but, instead, made me feel protected? Or was it because all those years ago, he’d done the same thing?

“The sheriff asked me to bring this to you.” Decker held up a bag.

“What is it?” “Your sister’s effects.”

I looked into his eyes. “I don’t know what to do,” I whispered.

“Take your sister’s stuff, and we’ll go back to Boston. When the sheriff says it’s okay, we can come back.”

I looked over at Adler and then back at Decker. “How long do you think it will be?”

“It’s difficult to say.”

When I turned back to Ad, he was studying something on his phone. “There’s a flight in two hours,” he mumbled. “If you hurry, we can catch it.”

Decker took a step closer. “If you need a place to stay, there’s a guest house at the ranch.”

“The ranch?”

“King-Alexander. It isn’t too far from here.”

Adler was still preoccupied by his phone. Here was a man I hadn’t seen since I was a child, and barely knew then, being kinder to me than the man who had been one of my closest friends for the last four years.

“If you’re sure,” I said to Decker.

“I’m sure.”

“Give me a minute?”

He nodded and stepped away.

“I’m staying here. At least until they can determine my sister’s cause of death.”

Adler finally looked up from his phone. “I don’t see the point, Mil. Whether you’re here or at home, isn’t going to change anything. Let’s get back to Boston, and when there’s something more you’re needed for here, you can come back.”

“Something more I’m needed for? Adler—” God, I couldn’t even talk to him. Needed for? Her sister was dead. I had a funeral to plan, a burial, and then I had to figure out what to do with my grandfather’s house. Wasn’t any of this dawning on him? “I’m going to stay, but you should go home.”

His eyes opened wide as though something I’d said surprised him. Again. I was stunned by his insensitivity. Had he always been this way and I just never noticed? Or had I noticed and just overlooked it because it had always been easier just to accept that Adler was always around, always doing things for ne?

“I’m not leaving without you.”

“I’m sure you’d be welcome to stay at the ranch.”

Adler grabbed my arm. “No, Mila, I’m not staying at the ranch or anywhere else. I’m getting on the next plane to Boston, and so are you.”

“Let her go.” Decker stalked over to them and got in Adler’s face until he dropped my arm. I hadn’t noticed before how much taller than Adler he was. He had to be at least six feet five, maybe more.

“This is our ride,” Adler said when a car pulled up. He’d called a car service? Was that what he’d been doing? “Are you coming with me or not?”

“I’ve told you more than once that I’m staying here.”

Adler looked at me and then at Decker, who stood next to me with his arms folded.

“Last chance,” said the man I’d believed to be my friend. When I shook her head, he climbed into the back seat of the waiting vehicle and slammed the door.

I stood where I was until I saw the car round the corner.

“Ready?” Decker asked.

“I’m sorry about what you just witnessed. He isn’t usually like that.”

Whatever Decker said in response, I couldn’t hear, and I didn’t care. It was hotter than hell, I was exhausted, an emotional wreck, and my sister was dead. Adler Livingston, for all I cared, could go fuck himself.
Heather Slade. Decked (Kindle Locations 348-392). The Invincibles Book One.

I was really happy with Mila’s attitude towards Adler after seeing her sister’s body. He was insensitive and rude, which proved to me I was right to dislike him from the start.

On the other hand, Decker was kind and sympathetic and offered her a place to stay. The fact she lets him touch her is major, that she feels safe with him, even better.

There’s many questions about Mila’s family especially her father. But also about Adler and his parents. I’m not sure I like Deck’s partners in Invincible Security but we’ll see. Actually the only one who gets to me is Rile…yeah it’s gotta be why he got that name. They are necessary in figuring out what happened to Sybil.

Lots of twists and turns as the pieces start coming together, as well as a few scary moments. I also loved the way Deck and Mila’s relationship grows from simmer to sizzle.

I can’t wait to see who Heather pairs up in the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

Coming Soon!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Heather Slade

My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order.

I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.

I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.


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Sexy Dare – The Sexy Series Book 1 by Carly Phillips


Sexy Dare
The Sexy Series Book 1
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

One protective alpha male …
Plus one hot curvy blonde …
Equals an insta-love they can’t deny.

Billionaire nightclub owner Jason Dare doesn’t stand a chance. From the moment he lays eyes on the luscious blonde stuck on the side of the road and realizes she’s in danger, he goes from playboy to bodyguard.

Faith Lancaster’s sweet body won’t come to any harm on his watch. And watch Faith he does. He can’t take his eyes off her. Jason will stop at nothing to keep Faith safe. Even if it means moving her into his apartment and letting her into his once private life.

Hiding from her past, Faith has spent the last year building her candy business into a profitable company while keeping to herself and staying under the radar … until she meets the delicious Mr. Dare. Alpha and irresistible, he awakens desires she has long denied. It doesn’t take her long to succumb to his charms and fall hard for the man.

They both have their reasons for keeping things casual but when Faith’s past catches up with her, can Jason finally claim the woman meant to be his?

A Sexy Series / Dare Standalone

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When Faith Lancaster’s mother died, her brother Colton found out he was disinherited. To say he wasn’t happy about that is an understatement, and he is the reason that Faith left her small hometown.New York is a huge city and easy to get lost in, and with a new name Faith has felt safe and her candy business is starting to grow. She had an idea to spread the word about her shop, and that’s when things start to go awry. A flat tire prevents her from delivering baskets of her candy to local businesses.

Jason Dare is a partner in successful night club near Faith’s business. He is headed to a meeting with his cousin when he sees Faith kicking an old delivery van with a flat tire. Being the man he is he stops to help. In thanks Faith gives him one of the baskets, but refuses a dinner date.

Jason finds he can’t stop thinking about Faith and that slashed tire, so when his cousin’s wife calls him about the candy he left with Gabe it’s the perfect excuse to make contact. What he sees when he arrives at Faith’s shop sets off all of his protective instincts and he does what the Dare’s always do. He starts to fix everything and more starting with convincing Faith to move in with him for her own protection.

This is a favorite scene.

She already understood he was more complicated than his surface grin led her to believe. A sister who’d conquered childhood leukemia, a college friend who’d died under mysterious circumstances, a nightclub and a life she knew nothing about. She wanted to know everything and that was dangerous.

Still, she owed him, and though she didn’t think he truly felt that tit for tat was necessary, she did. If it was a date he wanted, then she’d go out with him. At this point, it could no longer hurt. Colton had already found her. He was probably watching her shop as all this activity occurred. Did it really matter if she went out with Jason after this? It was obvious the man was a part of her life, as her friend, at the very least.

He’d settled into a chair in the center of the shop, surveying the work going on around him. He’d already left once, returning with sandwiches and sodas for everyone. As the hours passed and he vacillated between returning messages on his phone and talking to the workmen he obviously knew, she grew more confused.

“Don’t you have somewhere else to be?” she asked him.

He raised an eyebrow as if to say, Really? “Nowhere more important. I want to make sure the work here is done correctly and this place looks exactly the way you want it.”

She appreciated his thoughtfulness, but he had to have better things to do than worry about her. “Okay, but I can handle that. I don’t want to take up more of your day than I already have. I can stick around until the guys are finished, lock up, and head home.”

He folded his strong arms over his chest, his olive-green Henley pulling tight over his muscles. “And do you think I’m going to leave you here alone after what you told me about your brother?”

She’d been pushing thoughts of Colton aside all day. “I have pepper spray on my keychain.” The words sounded ridiculous, even to her.

She was no match for her brother, and if he was strung out? He’d have a wiry strength she couldn’t handle. She knew that firsthand, memories of her hands trying to pull his wrists off her neck very clear in her mind.

“Okay, fine. I appreciate you making sure I get home safely.” She’d be a fool to fight Jason’s protective nature.

“You still don’t get it. But you will.” He shook his head, amusement warring with a more serious expression. “You’re coming home with me, sweetness. I’m not leaving you here or in that shitty walk-up with a crappy lock your brother could break with one good kick.”

“Hey! That’s my apartment you’re insulting!” And all she could afford.

“It’s only an insult if I’m wrong.” He studied her, as if daring her to argue.

“I can’t just move in with you!”

He sighed. “Fine. You need someone to vouch for me? We can call my partners. Or my sister. Or… Hey, Sam! Am I trustworthy?” Jason yelled out to the man who was just climbing down a ladder, her clean window staring back at her.

Sam strode up to them and looked from Jason to Faith and back again. “Best man I know. Take a look at this.” Reaching into his pocket, Sam pulled out his phone, then began scrolling through his pictures. “This is my girl.” He turned the phone so Faith could see a picture of a grinning little pixie with a bright smile and a pom-pom hat on her bald head, no hair hanging down beneath the folded brim.

“She’s beautiful,” Faith said, sliding her finger over her face.

“And if it wasn’t for this guy introducing us to his sister, I don’t think my wife and I would have made it through the roughest parts of her illness.” He shoved his phone back into his pocket.

Looking up at Jason from beneath her lashes, she caught a flush on his cheeks.

“It just so happens I could help you, man. But I’m glad Sienna could do her part. She loves fundraising and doing anything she can for kids who’ve been through what she has.”

Faith would like to help her one day, when there was no danger following her around, she thought sadly. For now, though, she had to fight through her own problems and not bring them into other people’s lives.

“Thanks, Sam.” Jason all but dismissed his friend, who waved and walked back to the other guy helping him.

“So? Still think I’m a serial killer?” Jason asked her.

“I never said–”

“Oh, by the way, my cousin ate one of your marshmallow pops and went crazy for them. She’d like you to contact her about doing the party favors for her son’s birthday party. So now I’m hooking you up with business. I really think you can trust me to keep you safe.” He grinned at his smug proclamation.

She wanted to smack him … and kiss him at the same time. He had her head spinning, and she knew that was his intention. To keep her off-balance and win her over at the same time. So she was too overwhelmed to say no to his proposition about her moving in with him.

But she had to be smart about things. “I’m not questioning your ability to keep me safe, I’m wondering why you’re taking me on as your responsibility?” Her tone along with her emotions sobered.

He grasped her hand and pulled her into the back kitchen area, where they could be alone. Backing her against the prep counter, his big body hovered over hers.

“From the second we met, there was a connection between us. I felt it and so did you. Then I ignored your tire and my gut screaming it was more than vandalism, and this happened. Now I know I should have paid attention.” He drew a deep breath.

So did she and his delicious cologne swept over her. She steeled herself against his appeal because what they were discussing now was deadly serious.

“There’s a lot about me I don’t talk about,” he went on. “I’m not saying never, I’m just saying for now. All you need to understand is that I’ve been in this situation before, being able to possibly prevent something bad from happening and ignoring my gut. I won’t do that again. So when I say you’re coming home with me? I mean it.”

This was the second time he’d mentioned the connection between them, and despite her wariness, she agreed that there was one. But if she went to his home, it had to be about necessity, not desire.

“Thank you.” She appreciated his honesty and felt he deserved hers in return. “I’ll come with you, but connection or not, we’re not sleeping together.”

An amused smirk pulled at that sexy mouth. “I was planning on giving you your own room.”

“Oh.” Now she felt stupid and her cheeks burned with embarrassment.

He brushed his hand down her cheek and her body trembled with awareness. “But if you get scared in the middle of the night, feel free to come sleep with me.”
Carly Phillips. Sexy Dare (Kindle Locations 536-589). Carly Phillips.

The attraction is obvious and the build up perfect. With them living in close proximity the tension just rises higher and higher.

The suspense will keep you wondering what will happen next. I couldn’t put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

Coming Soon!
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Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.

Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.


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Brett – Hometown Heroes Book 2 by Leigh Duncan


The Hometown Heroes Series:
A group of college friends
took part in a weekend cattle drive
on the banks of Lake Okeechobee.
Now, ten years later, they’re saving lives
and winning hearts throughout Florida.

Brett
Hometown Heroes Book 2
By
Award Winning Author
Leigh Duncan

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

The broad-shouldered Adonis standing on Stephanie Bryant’s front porch cannot fathom why the sassy beauty failed to evacuate along with the other residents of Cocoa Beach, but she has her reasons.

With a big promotion at stake, the approaching storm doesn’t figure into Stephanie’s plans any more than falling for the hunkiest cop in Florida.

But more than the landscape changes when a hurricane practically blows Florida’s newest resident into the arms of disillusioned cop Brett Lincoln. While the last thing he wants in his life is another self-centered woman, the keys to his emotional survival just might dangle from Stephanie’s perfectly sculpted nails.

Note: This classic Leigh Duncan original was first published in 2010. Given a fresh, new look for The Hometown Heroes Series, BRETT has been revised and contains brand new material.

Stephanie Bryant’s new position with Space Tech has her moving to Cocoa Beach, Florida. Now she’s aware there’s a hurricane on it’s way but according to the weather app on her phone, it’s not going to make landfall.

Truly clueless to the danger, she sets to unpacking while waiting for the installers to arrive for her phone, internet and cable. The problem is two fold. First as she moved in, her home was boarded up and the Real Estate Agent convinced her she is not in a hurricane zone and would make arrangements to have the boards taken down. Second the home is in a mandatory evacuation zone and the evacuation order had been issued.

Brett Lincoln is making a final round before the storm hits when he sees boxes in front of a house. They hadn’t been there before and there was a car in the driveway. Time for him to do his job and get the resident safely off the island.

“Cocoa Beach Police, ma’am. Are you having trouble?”

The deep, rapid-fire rumble yanked her gaze back into the blinding sun so fast the dreaded “ma’am” almost failed to register.

She squinted, trying to see his face but all she got for her trouble was another blast of light.

“Police?” Blinking, she shook her head. “I didn’t call the police.” Through watery eyes she saw his outline relax a bit, though the man standing on her front porch remained all shadows and glint.

“Sorry, ma’am. When you said ‘about time,’ I thought you might have car problems or something. Everything is under control, then? You’re on your way?”

Stephanie forced her lips into a determined smile and stuffed a growing irritation firmly behind it. Everything was all right, though it wouldn’t be if he “ma’am’d” her one more time.

“Yes, Officer, uh—I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Lincoln, ma’am. Officer Lincoln.”

Three ma’ams in a row—it was enough to make any self-respecting twenty-six-year-old cry. She was twenty-six and self-respecting, but she wasn’t going to cry, even if the eerie quiet of her new neighborhood had shredded her last nerve and left her as jumpy as two double lattes. Instead, she blinked rapidly to clear the pesky, sun-induced tears and, pulling herself erect, squared her shoulders.

“Pleased to meet you, Officer Lincoln. I’m Stephanie, Stephanie Bryant.” She tossed enough ice into her tone so Officer Lincoln would understand they were done with the “ma’am” business. When he tipped his hat, she knew she’d made her point. She spilled a little warmth back into her voice.

“I’m not sure why you’d suspect car trouble, but yes, everything is fine. It will be even finer when the installation guys show up. That’s who I was waiting for. I don’t suppose you have any pull with the telephone company, do you?”

“No, ma—uh. No, Miss Bryant. But they won’t be here today.”

That was close, but she’d give him one more chance. Muscular police officers who smelled like piney woods deserved that, even when they seemed determined to argue. Holding her smile firmly in place, she explained, “I know it’s almost five, but they promised. I’m sure they’ve just been delayed.”

“Delayed till next week, maybe.”

Officer Lincoln reached for his sunglasses. When his posture shifted just enough so the blinding sun disappeared behind his back, Stephanie wondered if the move was a deliberate attempt to make her heart stop. Peering up at a profile so chiseled it might have been carved by Michelangelo, she was pretty sure her breathing had. The man had an almost perfectly proportioned face with a straight nose and barely rounded chin that jutted forward exactly the right amount. Above a strong jawline with the late afternoon stubble of someone who shaved twice a day, tanned skin hugged impressive cheekbones. She followed them to his hairline. Despite its close cropping, the thick, dark hair wanted to curl where the heat and humidity dampened it. She felt an answering, unexpected warmth stir in her chest as, beneath wide slashes of black eyebrows, a pair of black-blue eyes studied her intently.

“Miss Bryant, why are you here?” he asked. “Haven’t you been listening to the weather reports?”

Abruptly, the urge to trail her fingers along his cheek’s sandpaper stubble disappeared. Stephanie remembered to breathe. She also remembered to cross her arms and take a step back while pondering the seriously flawed nature of the male species. This one might look like a Greek god, but he wasn’t listening to her any better than Adonis had listened to Aphrodite. She tried again.

“I just moved in, Officer. I don’t have television or cable service because I’m waiting for the installers to show up. And they’re late.”

“I understand that. But they won’t be here. You shouldn’t be here.”

Officer Lincoln glanced over his shoulder at the street. “Are those your packing boxes at the curb?”

“Why? Are you on box patrol?”

She had meant the question as a joke, but Officer Lincoln continued to stare down from his impressive height without even the trace of a smile.

“They can’t stay there. You’ll have to move them inside.”

Stephanie ground her teeth. She had tried to be polite. She had tried to be understanding. She had even tried humor, and look where that had gotten her. It was time to put her foot down.

“Officer Lincoln, I read the brochures. Tomorrow is recycling day. I don’t understand the problem.”

The man drew a folded handkerchief from his back pocket and took his time polishing the lenses of spotless sunglasses.

“Emergency Management has issued an evacuation order for all the barrier islands,” he said. His voice dropped impossibly lower. “That includes Cocoa Beach. You need to get out of here. In fact, you have less than two hours to cross the causeway before it closes, so I’d suggest you get moving.”

Stephanie bit her lip to keep from telling Officer Lincoln exactly where he was wrong. This morning the weatherman had said the storm would turn. She had it on good authority that hurricanes never came ashore in Cocoa Beach. Besides, even if Officer Lincoln was correct, the evacuation order was for the barrier islands, and she wasn’t on a—

Her heart thudded all the way to her feet as she remembered the maps the real estate agent had provided. Several long fingers of land hugged the Florida coast the way fringe dangled from her pink pashmina. Cocoa Beach sat on one of them. “Barrier island?” she mouthed. Images of hurricane-ravaged coastal towns flooded her thoughts. She reached for something to brace herself with, her hands finding and clutching the doorframe. Officer Lincoln’s lips kept moving, but a sound of rushing water and roaring wind filled her head. She couldn’t hear a word he said.

“No,” she whispered. This couldn’t be happening.

Brett stared in disbelief as the compact powder keg in front of him started to smoke. Within seconds there would be an explosion that might take hours to clean up. He didn’t have hours. Hurricane Arlene would be on top of them by then. Her one-hundred-and-fifty-mile-an-hour winds could push seven-foot waves clear across Cocoa Beach, and he did not want to get caught in the storm surge.

As protests spiraled upward and a pair of the bluest eyes he’d ever seen widened impossibly, Brett rapidly reviewed his options. Given enough time, he could talk her down. He had the negotiating skills. Problem was, neither of them had the time.

An unexpected shake might jar her to her senses, but that was almost guaranteed to land him in the middle of litigation. Having seen lawyers in action, he’d rather face hurricanes.

That left option number three, another plan sure to land him in trouble. Was she worth it? One quick appraising glance—and more experience than he liked to admit—told Brett all he needed to know.

Hair did not bounce and shimmer the way her glossy, black curls did unless their owner spent considerable time and money in expensive beauty salons. If his last girlfriend was any indication, a complexion so flawless and cheeks such a rosy pink required serious expenditures at the cosmetic counter. Brett took note of the woman’s narrow shoulders above lush round breasts. Her tiny waist flared into hips with barely enough meat on them for a man to grasp. He recognized the snug fit of layered Lands’ End T-shirts when he saw them, and those strategically frayed capris fit too well to be from Wal-Mart. Expensive clothes to wear on moving day.

He continued his downward assessment, traveling a short distance of thigh to the place where muscular calves tapered into elegant ankles. The woman had good bone structure, he’d give her that, but he knew maintaining such a perfectly proportioned figure meant hours on treadmills and Nautilus machines. The baby-doll-pink toenails in their unscuffed sandals made him grimace.

No doubt about it, she was one of the “me, me” girls. The kind that got his back up, the kind he’d sworn off after his last long-term relationship had self-destructed.

Her lips moved rapidly in a heart-shaped face so perfect it kicked his temperature up a notch. The woman was physically attractive, no sense denying it. But could he ignore her looks long enough to reach a simple conclusion? He could, and he would. If his words were wasted on her, he’d save his breath.

Grasping Miss Stephanie Bryant by the shoulders, he tumbled her forward while slipping his free hand around to his back. In one fluid move, he loosed a pair of handcuffs from his belt and snapped silver around a slim, white wrist.

The petite figure before him immediately immediately stilled and Brett looked down. He had sworn her eyes couldn’t get any wider. He was wrong about that.
Duncan, Leigh. Brett (The Hometown Heroes Series Book 2). Gardenia Street Publishing. Kindle Locations (210-280). Kindle Edition.

Not a very auspicious beginning to a relationship but one that had me commiserating with Brett, the woman really didn’t get it.

Helping a neighbor at the storm shelter, helping employees at her new office, and wondering if she’s made the right choices are all part and parcel of this book.

Plenty of problems, lots of solutions, decisions, laughs, romance and questions as this book progresses from the storm to every day life in Florida.

Glimpses of Brett’s other friends, on which this series is based, has me wanting the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Leigh!

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Author Leigh Duncan. (Photo by Chris Kridler)

Leigh Duncan is the award-winning author of more than two dozen novels, novellas and short stories. Her first full-length book, The Officer’s Girl, was released by Harlequin American Romance in 2010. Leigh went on to write seven more books for Harlequin, including the highly acclaimed Glades County Cowboys series, before she began writing the more complex, heart-warming and emotional stories that have resonated with her readers. An Amazon best-selling author and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, Leigh lives on Central Florida’s East Coast where she writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance with a dash of Southern sass.

Leigh loves to stay in touch with readers through social media. Links below.

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