Ride Hard – Roughstock Riders Book 1 by Tessa Layne


Ride Hard
Roughstock Riders Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Tessa Layne

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When disgraced bull rider Ty Sloane agreed to take a job as foreman at Falcon Ridge Ranch, he didn’t count on having to share his job or his cabin with twenty-one-year-old rising star barrel racer Maybelle Johnson. She tests his patience by day and drives him to distraction by night, but she’s off limits—too young and innocent for the likes of an ex-con like him.

As far as Maybelle is concerned, Ty Sloane can go jump in a lake. The cocky bull rider is a thorn in her side, both at the ranch and on the road. But he makes her feel things no man has ever made her feel, and as she learns about his past, she can’t help but develop a soft spot for him.

When trouble finds Maybelle on the rodeo circuit, Ty puts it all on the line for the sweet young woman who’s captured his heart, even though it may cost him his freedom.

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I love Prairie and the Flint Hills, the characters created by Tessa Layne are very real and bring out so many emotions.

This book opens with preparation for Lexi and Jarrod’s wedding, before the ceremony the ranch is business as usual. Teddy Grace has hired cousin Maybelle to be foreman on his ranch. He’d had a hard time trying to find someone dedicated and capable to fill the position, and Maybelle has all that and more.

Teddy had also asked Colton Kincaid for assistance finding someone, and signals just got crossed big time.

Ty Sloane is being released from prison after serving time for assault. Although he was protecting a woman at the time, she changed her story resulting in his incarceration. When he’s granted parole he’s very surprised to see Colton waiting for him. They are the source of the new position as foreman of Falcon Ridge Ranch and Ty is happy to accept. They also have a part-time position in mind for him with their Bull-Riding school.

Arriving at the ranch, Colt drops Ty off at the foreman’s cabin and heads off to find Teddy.

This is a favorite scene.

This had to be some kind of a joke. Back on the circuit they’d been generous with their pranks. And Colt was a master. Reaching for his phone, he shot off a text to Colt.

Are you punking me?

Dots appeared on his screen, then a message. No?

Is someone staying here? Ty texted back in a hurry.

Colton’s answer came quickly. Cabin’s been empty for ages. If there’s stuff you don’t want, put it outside, we can take care of it later.

“Huh.” Ty shook his head, glancing about the cabin again. Seemed awful prissy for him, but Colt had mentioned one of the Grace sisters had lived in the cabin previously. Nevertheless, the cabin was his now, and that pink shit was going. He glanced down at the pile of very feminine clothing at his feet. Whoever lived here before must have been in a hurry to leave. “No wonder.” He scooped up the filthy clothes and tossed them on the porch. “The color’s enough to give you indigestion.”

He beelined for the sofa and pulled off the blankets spread across the back, ignoring their plush softness and the fresh-as-spring scent. He was too used to industrial cleaners and the smell of bleach permeating everything. The curtains were less cooperative. Whoever had hung them had obviously decided they weren’t coming down, ever. But they were, and as he gave a strong yank, the hardware pulled loose from the wall. Ty let out a startled grunt as he lost his purchase, dropping to the floor with a curse and coming face to face with an enormous white, fluffy, and very angry cat, who yowled and hissed as it scrambled away.

Alarm bells sounded in Ty’s head. What in the hell was a cat doing in here? He stood, dusting himself off again, and shot off another text to Colt. Does the cat come with the cabin? He wasn’t a pet kind of guy, let alone a white, fluffy cat kind of guy. But beggars couldn’t be choosers either, so he’d make do.

“H-hello?” a distinctly feminine voice asked.

Ty froze.

“Hello?” the voice asked again, more firmly.

He turned toward the voice as a vision wrapped in a white towel stepped from what must be the bathroom, wielding a plunger like a baseball bat. His heart gave one enormous thud, then paused, suspended somewhere between shock and awe. She was a tiny thing, probably just over five feet in his estimation, with wide blue eyes the color of a mountain sky, a round face flushed pink, and a plump lower lip. Her towel covered full breasts — barely — and skimmed the top of long shapely legs. He half-wondered where she was hiding her wings, because surely no earthly being could be so perfect. Except for the scowl that pulled down her mouth, and the flash in her eye. And the plunger. It wasn’t much of a weapon, but he got the message loud and clear. He wasn’t welcome.

In spite of that, he couldn’t stop staring. An odd sensation rippled through him, so foreign, he barely recognized it for what it was. But when the energy balled low in his belly, a forgotten part of his brain snapped back to life. The sensation only intensified when the beauty in front of him spoke. “Who are you and what are you doing in my cabin?”

Her sweet southern lilt that was at once haughty and husky resonated in his bones. The old Ty would have turned on the charm, disarmed her with a grin, and sweet-talked the towel off in no time, in order to sample the garden of earthly delights and bring them both to the climax they both wanted. And it was clear she wanted. He didn’t miss the quick flash of desire in her eyes, or the way her gaze raked over his body. But he’d lost his taste for buckle bunnies. He was different now. Three years locked up and too much time to reflect changed a man. He was turning over a new leaf, making the most of his chance here at Falcon Ridge, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to blow it minutes into his first day. “I could ask the same of you,” he growled.

He’d touched a nerve. He could see it in the way she drew herself up and stared up her nose at him, as if she were some kind of a schoolmarm, instead of a sweet young thing, ripe for the picking. “I’m the foreman here, and it seems that you’ve dumped my clothes on the porch. Can you kindly put them back?”

She was the foreman? Something territorial sprang from inside him. He wasn’t going to give up his one chance to redeem himself to some young thing who sought to put him in his place. “Like hell you are,” he rumbled. “I’m the foreman here, and you’re trespassing in my cabin.”

“Trespassing?” she sputtered, taking a step closer and tightening her grip on the plunger. “Trespassing?” she asked again, voice quivering with indignation. “If anyone’s trespassing, it’s you. And it’s time for you to leave.”

He shook his head. “No can do, sweetheart.” He stepped forward, not enough to scare her, but just enough to make his point. “I’ll give you five minutes to get yourself dressed and skedaddle back to wherever you came from. Unless…” he paused, mouth twitching. “You prefer to vacate the premises in your… err… current attire.” His eyes swept over her, lingering at her curves. She was a beauty, no doubt about it. Young and lush, and he’d bet the ten bucks in his pocket — cotton candy sweet.

What in tarnation is going on here?

Ty whirled at the voice in time to see Teddy Grace burst through the door with Colton hot on his heels. Behind him, the plunger clattered to the floor. “That’s what I’d like to know,” he retorted. “Sir.”

“Uncle Teddy, he says he’s foreman,” she responded with a hint of a pout and a jerk of her head his direction.

Uncle Teddy? Lightning strike him dead for thinking even one of the x-rated thoughts that had ricocheted through his head. If she was Teddy’s niece, she was definitely off-limits.

Colton cleared his throat, eyes darting back and forth between them. “Seems like there’s been a bit of a miscommunication.”

Ty arched a brow. “Oh?”

“I’ll say there was,” interjected Teddy’s niece, stepping up next to him. Ty caught a whiff of vanilla, and something else delicious. It reminded him of summer, of long lazy days and warm sunshine. His chest gave a sharp squeeze.
Teddy shuffled his feet, looking like he swallowed a porcupine. “I ah… didn’t realize that Colt had found someone. I gave the job to Maybelle.”

Disappointment crashed through Ty, but he wasn’t about to let anyone notice. He needed to come up with a contingency plan, and fast. Maybe there was another ranch that would take him. Maybe he could be a line cook at one of the restaurants. Surely, there had to be something else for him? Dread pooled in his belly. What if there wasn’t? What if no one would take him? Heat rose up through his middle, then his spine and crawled over his scalp. He shot a look Colton’s way. Maybe he should have gone back to Steamboat Springs after all.

Colt cleared his throat. “We can work something out, don’tcha think?”

Teddy removed his hat and dragged a hand across the top of his head. “‘ Spose so. Lord knows I could use an extra set of hands.”

“Great!” Colt rubbed his hands together, a look of relief passing across his face. “It’s all settled then.”

“Not so fast,” Teddy said with a shake of his head. “Where’s Ty gonna sleep?”
Tessa Layne. Ride Hard: A Roughstock Riders Novel (Kindle Locations 241-298). Shady Layne Media.

Now working with Maybelle was one thing, but she’s also a barrel racer. There are rumors circulating about her trailer that have Ty’s hackles up.

Sharing the cabin with it’s two bedrooms starts to become a challenge as Ty and Maybelle find themselves heading into something other than just co-workers.

This is a fun read, with romance, new beginnings, some suspense and just the right amount of sizzle.

I can’t wait to see who Tessa writes about next in this new series set in the Flint Hills.

5 Contented Purrs for Tessa!

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The Sinclaires

The Hansens

The Graces

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

  Tessa Layne

Tessa Layne writes smokin’ hot contemporary cowboy and military romances filled with tenderhearted tough guys and sassy strong women who capture their hearts.She grew up in Colorado in the mountains at the edge of the Great Plains. There, she met her own smokin’ hot Cowboy and they had a whirlwind romance to rival any novel. She believes in Happily Ever Afters, loves fireflies, horses, and breathing clean country air. Her favorite thing to do is to sit on the porch swing with a glass of Rose, listening to her Cowboy pluck his guitar!

Feel free to drop her a line (links below) – She loves to hear from her readers!


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Taylor – SEALs of Honor Book 22 by Dale Mayer


Taylor
SEALs Of Honor Book 22
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

Murder is a deadly way to start a relationship …

Finally back in Coronado and his own apartment but still tired from traveling, Taylor helps a neighbor by closing her apartment door as she dashes back to work. But, as he does so, a smell he’s all too familiar with permeates the air. And he’s plunged into a multiple homicide with no meaning or end …

Midge doesn’t understand what’s happened to her life, … but now her home, her workplace, her neighbors are all in danger and are all suspect. … Taylor is the only piece of normalcy in her world-gone-crazy right now.

But even he can’t keep an eye on her all the time …

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Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire! Taylor has just returned from a mission, tired he neglects to close his door and crashes on his couch. Only to be roused by his neighbor who notices the open door.

Midge hasn’t even made it to her own apartment when she gets called back into work. She notices Taylor’s open door and calls out to him before continuing on her way. But Taylor’s door isn’t the only one not closed and what Taylor finds inside has him stopping her from leaving the complex.

This is a favorite scene.

Midge Holloway wouldn’t believe Taylor until she saw it for herself. They now stood in the hallway, outside Midge’s apartment. She stared at Taylor. Then her head started to shake, sending red curls everywhere. Her body followed. She wrapped her arms tight around her chest, but it was hard to hold back her shudders as shock set in. “I barely even knew the man,” she whispered. “What’s he doing in my apartment?”

“I don’t know,” Taylor said grimly. “But we have a very limited window to find out.”

She stared at him, her fuzzy mind confused as she struggled to understand what Taylor was talking about. She glanced up and down the hallway. “This is so wrong. I’ll be in so much fucking trouble.”

“That you are,” he said. “So, somehow, we have to clear you of this.” He stopped talking and looked at her intently. “Presuming you’re innocent.”

Her eyes widened, and she stared at him for a moment before her temper spiked. “I had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. How could you even think I would do something like that?”

“Hey, I hated to ask, but I needed a clear answer,” Taylor said, running a hand through his hair. “I’m short on sleep. It’s been a rough couple of days. Look. In the last eight years that I’ve been in the navy, I’ve seen way too much shit. Not just on a personal level but globally. No, the scene in your apartment is not a new coup taking over a small country and leaving behind only bloodshed, bones and broken dreams. But, on a small scale, it’s really the same damn thing. You’ve got somebody who wanted something, and they’re using people as a way to get it. So you need to tell me how well you knew Gary.”

Just then a door slammed down the hallway, and a guy turned to the stairway without even looking at them. They could hear his footsteps as he went downstairs. She looked at Taylor and whispered, “Did you recognize him?”

He shrugged. “No. I can’t say that I did. You?”

She frowned. “I don’t know,” she said. “I feel like I’m looking at everybody suspiciously. For that matter”— she turned to look at him—“ how do I know you didn’t kill him? Maybe when your door was open, you had just raced away from my place.”

He gave a bark of laughter. “If only I had the energy for all that. You can call Nelson and find out that I just got home like an hour ago.”

“How long do you think the guy has been dead?”

He watched her with respect. “Oh, good question. Because if he’s only been dead forty-five minutes, I could have killed him, but what would be my reason for letting you know a dead guy is in your room?”

She frowned, not sure exactly what his reasoning would be. “Maybe you’re not a nice guy, but you’re not quite the asshole who would want me to come home in the dark and see that either.”

He pursed his lips with a smirk and said, “Good theory but it’s a no on all counts.”

She raised both hands in frustration. “Fine. So what now?”

“We call in the police,” he said quietly. “And you don’t touch anything.”

“I’m not touching nothing,” she snapped. “Except my cell phone. I have to go to work. You know that, right?”

He shook his head. “Tell them an emergency came up.”

“Are you kidding? That’s why I got called in to begin with. Somebody else had an emergency.”

“Let me call the cops first. I’ll see if you can head off to work, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what the answer will be.”

She groaned and paced while he made the call. She heard broken bits of the conversation, but the gist was clear. She’d better stay here, or her ass was on the line.

It made sense, considering it was her apartment and all, but, at the same time, she didn’t want to get into more trouble at work either. Reluctant, but resigned, she picked up her phone and called her boss.

His voice ripped through the air. “Why aren’t you back here yet? I told you that we needed you.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” she said. “But something major is going on in my apartment building.”

“Unless you’re dead, dying or almost there,” he snapped, “you better get your ass over here or don’t bother coming tomorrow.”

She gasped in outrage, but Taylor snapped her phone from her hand.
Dale Mayer. Taylor (Kindle Locations 106-109). Valley Publishing.

With a dead body in his neighbor’s apartment things heat up quickly. Police, Mason, and couple of friends start investigating. Midge works in records and someone has hacked into that system. A very suspicious occurrence on top of a murder.

There are many twists in this book as the investigation into both crimes proceeds with Midge and Taylor right smack dab in the middle of it all.

They also start exploring why they’ve never dated which in itself is a fun conversation.

As with every book I’ve read in this series to date, I couldn’t put this book down!

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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Stupid Boys – Stupid Boys Book 1 by C.R. Jane & Rebecca Royce


Stupid Boys
Stupid Boys Book 1
By
International Bestselling Author
C.R. Jane
and
Award Winning Author
Rebecca Royce

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

I’m the nightmare they never see coming.

You, the one reading this right now. Yes. You. I’m going to warn you this one time. Don’t decide to like me.

I’m not a good girl.. I’m manipulative. I play games. I’ve done it countless times and I’ll do it again. I can promise you that.

With more funding behind me than you can imagine, I can become anyone.

I mess with men’s hearts. And when I am done, it is more than just their money I take, it’s their very sense of self.

The football star. The politician. The surgeon. The artist. They all gave over their love. I hate to tell you how easy it is to make them my own. A little smile. A batting of my big, beautiful eyes. The most powerful fall the hardest.

Did they take part of my soul with them? Try to get me to admit it. I dare you to try. I’ll never say the words you all want to hear from me. I’m never sorry.

Those stupid boys.

I warned you. Don’t. Like. Me.
You’ll regret it.

NOTE:
The authors strongly suggest you read the forward to this book before you go any further. This is the first book in a trilogy with strong, sometimes dislikable characters in a world where few people are as they seem and love comes at a cost not everyone is willing to pay.

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The first in a trilogy, this book takes us into the past with each of these ‘stupid’ boys as they confront Holland James, the woman who destroyed them in more ways than one.

First is the Quarterback, Steven Wolf. With an injured knee, surgery and now the grueling physical therapy Steven is fighting to get back into the game. Little does he know he’s a target for his therapist.

Second is the Politian, Graham Kempner. He is working to follow in his father’s footsteps to the Senate. His father is a womanizing jerk who seems to take pleasure in taking his son’s girlfriends to bed. Graham has some different ideas from his father, and needs to grow a backbone. This time though Graham isn’t letting his father have his way but it was almost too late. Again he doesn’t realize there’s something she’s after and it’s not his HEA.

Then we have the Surgeon, Charlie Dorfman. He’s lacking in bedside manor, but is totally enthralled by Holly. A wealthy man and not all from his profession he is delighted that she doesn’t seem interested in his bank account. Nope she wants something else entirely.

Finally there is the Artist, Jamie Rawlings. He’s been trying to be something he’s not, and Holly brings out the best in him. He’s better with sketching, than trying to paint to follow in his mother’s footsteps. But again that’s not what Holly is after.

Holly not only won each of their hearts she also took something from each of them. Although not without personal cost.

A riveting tale, of deceit, love and priorities. Plenty of heat in more ways than one as Holly does what she has to do.

I really can’t wait for the next book in this trilogy, it’s going to be very interesting.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca and CR!

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

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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I’m a wife, mother, business woman, and now bestselling author of the Fated Wings Series and the Timeless Affection Series…with many more planned. My stories have been floating around in my head for years, and it has been a relief to finally get them down on paper. I’m so excited to have you along for this journey.

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Dare to Desire – Dare to Love Book 2 By Carly Phillips


Dare to Desire
Dare to Love Book 2
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all — an all-star football career with the Tampa Breakers and his choice of willing women — until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. When he is offered a ground-breaking position with a rival team, he’s intrigued, but there’s a catch. He’ll be working alongside the same woman he hasn’t been able to get out of his head for too long.

Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows first hand what it means to have-not. She isn’t impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests. This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily.

But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. The playboy athlete must prove he’s got game in more places than on the field. He means to prove that he’s a changed man but no sooner does he begin to break through Madison’s defenses when a new opportunity comes knocking and threatens her new-found trust. Can he make Madison take a risk and dare to love?

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Alex Dare just took a hit that ended his football career, instead of embracing the support and love from family and his girlfriend Madison, he pushes everyone away. The way he pushed Madison ended the relationship painfully.

Now he’s offered a job with the Thunder. He needs to do something and this could be right up his alley. Even though a bit uncomfortable since it’s a rival team, and who he’ll be working with, interesting.

This is a favorite scene.

He walked in to find the office as imposing as the man himself. Alex and Ian couldn’t be more different in personality—Ian stiff and uptight, Alex easygoing and relaxed.

“Thanks for coming,” Ian said, extending his hand.

Alex shook it hard. Man to manthought wryly and settled into a chair, making himself comfortable. Sitting across from Ian, Alex acknowledged how far their relationship had progressed. They were in the same room and having a conversation. It was huge.

“Before we go into the conference room, I wanted to fill you in on the proposition I have for you.”

“I’m listening.”

Ian inclined his head. “You must realize that your injury brought to light the deficit in the league as far as preparing our players for life after the game.”

Alex stiffened, as he always did when talk of his career-ending concussion arose.

Ian ignored his reaction and went on. “The fact is, you could have continued to play, taken the risk, and down the road, you’d have been dealing with severe head trauma and mental deficits. You were smart enough to step back. Not a lot of guys are.”

Alex raised an eyebrow. “You’re complimenting me?”

Ian rolled his eyes. “But now that you’re retired at the age of twenty-six, what do you plan to do with your life?” He held up a hand before Alex could answer. “Hang on. That question is part of why I asked you here. It’s also a question the league should want all players to consider before they’re injured and forced out of the game.”

“Where are you going with this?” Alex asked, warning himself not to get defensive.

Ian cleared his throat. “I plan to institute a training program that teaches the players to think about the future, do smart things with their money, and take informational classes that will prepare them for later on.”

Interested, Alex merely studied the other man and waited.

“Did you know seventy-eight percent of retired athletes are broke within two to five years?” Ian asked. Without waiting for an answer, he continued. “Statistics show fifty percent of ex-pro football player marriages end in divorce because couples aren’t ready for the pressures of life after the game. So I want spouses involved in preparation and education.”

“You’ve really thought about this,” Alex said, impressed despite himself and his lingering resentment of Ian.

Ian inclined his head. “It’s in motion. I have a social worker on board, and I want you running things along with her.”

Alex reared back in surprise. “Why me?”

He and Ian weren’t close. Ian came from their father’s legitimate family. Alex and his siblings were the man’s illegitimate secrets. But secrets didn’t stay buried, and the explosion, when it had come, had rocked both families deeply. Alex and Ian had remained on opposing sides for ten years.

Until Riley.

Ian cleared his throat. “Why not you? Or should I say, who other than you? You will have the unique ability to convince the players this is important. You definitely have media presence when this goes public. And let’s face it, you have nothing else lined up at the moment.”

“And there’s the asshole I know.”

Ian grinned. He fucking grinned, as if he already had Alex exactly where he wanted him.

“Come meet the woman in charge before you make any decisions.”

Alex nodded. Why not? He was impressed with the program and interested.

As he followed Ian to the conference room, passing the hall of champions, life-sized photos of past and present Thunder all-stars, Alex still wondered why Ian had chosen him. But he couldn’t deny the importance or brilliance of the program. There were so many ways guys’ lives did a one-eighty after retirement, forced or otherwise, that training and preparation would only help.

“Riley’s really behind the idea,” Ian said as they approached the closed wooden door.

“Way to try and sway me, man.”

Ian shrugged. “I do what I have to in order to get my way.” He paused and looked Alex in the eye. “So about the woman who will be working alongside you—”

“I haven’t agreed.”

“About her,” Ian went on as if Alex hadn’t spoken. “I’m trusting you to be professional.”

Alex narrowed his gaze, his internal radar on high alert.

“And to not be a jerk.”

“Hey!”

Without replying, Ian opened the door. They stepped into the room, and Alex laid eyes on the one woman he hadn’t been expecting to see. The same woman who’d haunted his dreams and sidetracked him from many of his nightmares.

Madison faced him head on. Her shoulders drawn back, golden-blonde hair pulled away from her face, she didn’t back down from his stare. She wore a pair of black slacks that hugged her curves and a white silky-looking top that clung to her generous breasts. And those unusually blue eyes frosted over at the sight of him.

“Alex, I believe you know Madison Evans.”

Blindsided—and his half brother knew it—Alex strode up to her.
Phillips, Carly. Dare to Desire (Dare to Love Book 2) (pp. 18-22). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.

So much to deal with especially since neither Alex or Madison have truly gotten over their relationship.

There are many twists and turns as this story unfolds. There are conflicts, tears, laughter and plenty of sizzle to keep you turning the pages.

I’m starting my re-read of the next book now.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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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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Scratch – Catnip Assassins Book 2 By Skye MacKinnon


Scratch
Catnip Assassins Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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blurb-fall-cornucopia

Men are just like cats.
They don’t do what they’re told
and constantly want cuddles.

Kat misses her solitary assassin life. Instead of doing one cold-hearted kill after another, she has to deal with two and a half men all vying for her attention. But with a new crisis emerging, she needs to keep her cool and focus on what really counts.

Kittens are being taken, including Ryker’s son. Is there a killer on the loose or is someone trying to get Kat’s attention?

The second book in this purrfectly exciting urban fantasy series.

WARNING:
This book contains scenes that animal lovers may find a little upsetting.

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With new additions to the team in the form of Ryker a cat with shifter blood, the leader of the cats; Lennox, an assassin, long time friend and a part-time addition since he has another boss; and Gryphon, an assassin who appears to be human but is more, things quiet down a bit, well sort of.

This book opens with someone donating seven kittens, these little fluff balls are immediately taken over by Ben. He seems to really enjoy pampering all the cats.

Ryker bursts onto the scene, needing her help to find his son, Pumpkin and five other kittens.

This is a favorite scene.

There were no scents at all. No traces. It’s like they appeared out of thin air, took the kittens and disappeared again.”

“That’s impossible, there must be some sort of evidence. Nobody can simply vanish without a trace.”

“Don’t you think I haven’t checked?” Ryker snaps. “You’re welcome to look and see for yourself. That’s why I came here. You’re an assassin, you know how to move unseen. Maybe you can spot something I haven’t.” His voice broke. “Please. It’s my son.”

I get up to all fours, ignoring how my legs are a little shaky. I won’t be able to shift back for some time, not without ending up being incapacitated. I extend my senses to check on Benjamin’s kittens. If someone is kidnapping baby cats, they could be in danger too, but no, they’re all in the room he’s turned into his personal cat paradise.

“Let me tell the others before we go,” I say, slowly walking towards the window. I feel like I’ve run a marathon, then got drunk, then ran another marathon while wearing stilts.

“Are you alright?” he asks and I put some more effort into the way I walk. I don’t want him to think me weak.

“Too many shifts in the past twenty-four hours,” I explain. “I’ll have to stay like this for a while.”

“Then how are you going to talk to your humans?”

I snicker, almost hearing the unspoken ‘pets’ at the end of his sentence. Most cats don’t understand why I bother with humans. They don’t understand that half of me is human, too, and that two-legged people can come in handy occasionally.

Beth and Benjamin are some excellent examples of useful humans.

“I have my ways,” I reply and jump out of the open window, climbing onto the overhanging roof. My muscles complain loudly, but I ignore the pain. It will get better the more I move – hopefully.

Running over the roof and to the other side of the house, I jump down onto the wall surrounding our backyard, and then land on the ground. I think a few of my bones are close to shattering. I’ve been wanting to find a way to change the ladder leading down from my loft so that I can use it in my panther form, but there have always been other priorities.

Luckily, the back door has been left open – I’ll have to chastise the others for that later – and we sneak in. I can smell Beth in the living room. She doesn’t look up from her book when we enter. 100 Deadly Poisons and How to Make Them. Nice. I will have to borrow that later. Sounds like the perfect bedtime read.

I bump against her knee and growl a little, making it very clear that I need her attention. She glowers at me.

“I’m busy.”

“Get up and get the board.” To her, that must sound like a series of loud, intimidating growls.

“I love it when you speak cat to me,” she chuckles, but she does heave herself off the sofa and grabs our whiteboard from the cupboard. She lays it on the carpet in front of me and I lift a paw, letting her attach a velcro strap to it. It looks ridiculous, but we’ve discovered that’s the only way I can use a pen while shifted.

Bethany clips a large marker pen to my velcro brace and I start scribbling away. Even I have trouble reading the result, but luckily Beth is used to my paw-writing.

LENNOX

“You want me to get Lennox?” she asks. “Why don’t you just do it yourself?”

I growl and nod towards Ryker, who’s watching us with growing impatience.

“Okay, okay, I’ll get him. Where shall I send him?”

I turn to Ryker. “Where’s the den?”

“Do you really trust the dog? I’ve never told an outsider about our location.”

I sigh. “Lennox is the best tracker I know. If anyone can find the kittens, it’s him.”

It’s painful to admit that Lennox is better at tracking than me. At least I’m better at killing, much better. Only Gryphon gets close to my level of skill.

“It’s in the abandoned chocolate factory. Their solar-powered heating still works, so it’s the perfect hideout in the winter.”

CHOC FAC

“Chocolate face? Faeces?” Bethany grins as if she’s proud of that joke.

“Chocolate… factory? But that’s one been closed for years.”

Ryker groans. “Is she always that slow?”

“She must be tired,” I reply, feeling like I need to apologise for Bethany for some reason. I guess she’s part of my team, and I need my team to look good. We have a reputation to lose.

“Shall I come too?” Beth asks.

I draw a tick on the board. The more investigators, the better. She won’t be able to help with tracking, but she might be able to come in handy with other things. I want to solve this as fast as possible. I’ve come to like little Pumpkin, and the thought of him and other kittens being in danger tears at my heartstrings.
MacKinnon, Skye. Scratch (Catnip Assassins Book 2). Peryton Press. Kindle Locations (622-657). Kindle Edition.

There are many revelations in this book and more than a few surprises as the team looks for the kittens.

I love this series, the interactions between the MEOW team and the cats is so much fun, and in this book there are many tears as well. An interesting development with Kat and Lennox’s relationship too.

I am going to re-read Purrr now so I will be caught up before the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Coming Soon!

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Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Dare to Love – Dare To Love Book 1 By Carly Phillips


Dare To Love
Dare To Love Book 1
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

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She arouses his dominant and protective instincts
And he will do anything to possess her …
And does.

When billionaire Ian Dare gets one glimpse of the sensual and irresistible Riley Taylor, he knows that he must have her. But any future he might have with Riley means he’ll have to confront his past — a past he’d rather forget. And that’s something this NFL team owner won’t dare to do — not even for love.

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To say the Dare siblings have a strained relationship is indeed an understatement. Robert Dare has two separate families, one with his wife, the other with his mistress. Circumstances led to him revealing the existence of his second family and as this book opens he is now married to said mistress. Ian is the oldest and is the owner of the Miami Thunder Football Team. As such he is very involved in the charity work the team supports. It’s at one such event with his mother and his siblings that he first sees Riley, unfortunately she’s on his half-brother Alex’s arm.

There’s a lot to the story of this family, there is plenty of animosity especially between the brothers of the two separate families of Robert Dare.

Riley is Alex’s best friend, he’s always been there for her and she considers him family, but he’s definitely in the friend zone. Riley has some problems, the company she works for was sold and the new owners are bringing in their own people. In a Hail-Mary attempt to save her job she pulls the possibility of an in with the Miami Thunder as a new client.

Why she thought this could possibly work when she only met Ian once? Even she doesn’t have an answer for that. The time allotted for her to pull this off is short and unfortunately during NFL draft week.

At first Ian is curious about the message from Riley, the kiss they shared still haunting him. He decides not to return the call because Alex had told him to back off.

The first person Riley turns to is of course Alex and he in turn confronts Ian, letting him know he’s screwed up. This happens in front of their father and Ian makes a deal with the ‘devil’ to get her contact information.

This is a favorite scene.

By the time she arrived home, she was exhausted. It didn’t help that during the drive home, she’d mentally mapped out her future options, which mostly consisted of sending resumes to the big sports and distribution chains, some out of state. The thought of having to start over, prove her worth, and work her way back up the corporate ladder once more made her sick.

She loved Miami and didn’t want to leave her stepmother or Alex and her other friends. There were other smaller local companies she planned to scope out, so all wasn’t lost yet. And until all was lost, she wouldn’t mention it to Alex. He’d only get upset and insist on helping. Obviously, people would bend over backward to help the superstar, and his best friend by extension, but Riley really wanted to try to find a job on her own first.

She let herself into her building, walked up one flight to her apartment, and was startled to find someone waiting outside her door. Even in the dimly lit hall, she recognized Ian Dare’s tall frame, dark hair, and handsome features. Excitement bubbled up inside her, followed by wariness.

“Finally,” he said, leading her to believe he’d been standing there awhile.

She fought against her rapidly beating heart. “What are you doing here?”

He pushed off the wall and strode toward her. “Do you realize I walked into the building without being buzzed in? I just followed behind a couple who were too busy groping each other to pay attention to who was entering behind them.”

He didn’t have to further sum up his point. Riley already knew the argument well from Alex and her stepmom. “It’s perfectly safe. I carry mace, and I’m careful. And you still haven’t answered my question.”

Ian ran a hand through his hair, taking the time to tamp down on the anger that had been brewing inside him as he waited for her in this tiny hall that, despite her claim, was far from safe.

Not for a woman with her full breasts and curvy hips. Not for a woman with that mass of untamed hair and wild beauty, dressed in a short denim skirt with a ruffled edge and black sleeveless top that bared a hint of her stomach.

He fought for control over his libido and the desire to take her in every way imaginable. “I realize I didn’t return your call, but I’m here now.”

She met his gaze, brave and unwavering. “Go home. Whatever I needed from you, it’s too late now.”

His eyes narrowed. “That’s what Alex said, but he refused to elaborate. He said it was your business, so I came to the source. I was busy this week. I had meetings for the draft, and I couldn’t call you back.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Bull. I’m guessing there are a whole host of reasons why you didn’t get back to me. At the top of the list is that you hate Alex.”

“I don’t hate him.” He clenched his hands and released them again, searching for focus. “Riley, you left me a message. Just tell me why.”

“It’s too late.” She walked toward him as she spoke.

She passed him by, heading for her door, key in hand. “I already lost my job,” she said as she slipped inside her apartment.

The door slammed closed behind her, leaving him basking in her scent.

“Son of a bitch.” He knocked hard.

When she didn’t answer, he tried again.

And again.

Worst-case scenario, he’d settle into the hallway for the night and wait to catch her when she left again in the morning. Unwilling to do that, he banged on the door again.

In the middle of his knock, she swung the door open wide.

“Fine. Come in,” she said, her eyes narrowed and wary.

He stepped inside. Once enclosed in her small apartment, her luscious scent wrapped around him once more. His cock took a definite hit as desire filled him along with that burning need only she inspired. Knowing those feelings wouldn’t be welcome, he took in her space. Bright colors on the walls, eclectic pieces of furniture, and a warm feel. She knew how to take a tiny area and make it feel like a true home.

“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked.

“No. I just want to know what happened.”

She expelled a deep breath, causing her breasts to rise and fall beneath the flimsy material. He glanced down, trying not to ogle her cleavage because that made him want to test the weight of her breasts. And once he started touching her, he wouldn’t be able to stop. Instead, he noticed her toenails were painted a bright orange, one toe surrounded by a thin silver ring. Even her fucking feet were sexy.

“I worked for Blunt Sporting Goods,” she said, unaware of his train of thought. “I was head of their distribution and sales department. The company was sold; the new boss is an ass and began laying people off. I pulled a Hail Mary and told him I had an in with you, that I could get some of our products distributed to the team. He gave me until Friday to get back to him with something substantial. I called. You didn’t. End of story.” She strode over to the door and swung it open, obviously eager to get rid of him.

He stared in stunned surprise. “You told him that after meeting me for the first time on Saturday night?”

She raised her chin. “Yep.”

“After our kiss.”

Her cheeks turned a healthy pink. “Mmm-hmm.”

“After you walked away from me without a second glance.”

She blinked up at him. “I looked back,” she said softly.

He narrowed his gaze. “You’ve got nerve.”

“So I’ve been told.” She grinned.

He smiled back.

She obviously realized they were sharing a moment and turned off the megawatt grin. “So now you know. You can go now.” She tilted her chin toward the hallway.

Pride. She had it in spades and didn’t like him knowing she’d lost her job. He respected that. Too bad he wasn’t about to leave her now.

He shook his head, silently telling her he was staying. The guilt he’d felt when his brother told him he’d caused Riley problems was only magnified now that he knew how. Based on how angry Alex had been on her behalf, he cared about her deeply. He looked after her. And that was something else Ian could respect. Friendship with his half brother, Ian could work around.

But first, there was the issue of her job.

“I realize you don’t know me, but you’re going to. Because you brought me into your world by calling me, I caused a problem for you. Now I’m obligated to fix it.”

She leaned against the still-open door. “You can’t, because we both know you’re committed to whoever you already purchase from, and I shouldn’t have opened my big mouth.”

So she’d realized the way of things in the business. Although that ought to alleviate his guilt over her losing her job, it didn’t. “Maybe not, but if I’d returned your call, there are other people I could have referred you to who could have given your company business.”

“We’ll never know, now will we?”

“About that? No.” Pretending to be tough and unconcerned didn’t fool him for a second.

She lived in this building, in a not-great part of town, because it was all she could afford. With Ian’s background in owning investment property, he could figure out her approximate income and rent and knew, though she might have a small savings, she couldn’t afford to be unemployed for an extended period of time. So she’d panicked and called him, which meant he owed her.

But that wasn’t why he was still here. He wanted to help. She might not let his brother do it, but Ian damned well intended to.

“What are your plans now?” he asked.

She slowly shut the door, obviously realizing he had no intention of leaving. “I’ll send out resumes like any job-seeking person would,” she said, as if he were dense not to have figured her next step out for himself.

“Or you could come work for me.”

The color drained from her face. “You’re offering me a job. With the Thunder.”

He nodded.

“Doing . . . ?”

If she was questioning, she wasn’t saying no, and his heart rate sped up at the possibility of seeing her day in and day out. “That remains to be seen. I know we have some openings. We’ll see what fits best.”

She swallowed hard and remained silent, but the color had returned to her cheeks. “So I wouldn’t be working directly for you.”

Interesting—the thought of working with him flustered her. Good, because that meant she wasn’t immune, no matter how high a wall she’d erected between them.

“No, you won’t be working for me. I can’t have that.”

She wrinkled her nose, making him want to reach out and stroke her soft skin.

“Why not?” she asked.

He stepped closer, and when she didn’t back away, closer still, until mere inches separated them. “Because I intend to get to know you personally, Riley Taylor. So I can’t be mixing business with pleasure.”
Phillips, Carly. Dare to Love (pp. 32-38). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Even though Ian wasn’t her boss, the job with the Thunder presents a problem or two. Especially with Ian’s interest.

A fun tale with sibling rivalry, romance, and sizzling heat!

I have already started a re-read of the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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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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M.E.O.W. – Catnip Assassins Book 1 by Skye MacKinnon


M.E.O.W.
Catnip Assassins Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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Assassin. Private Investigator.
Cat shifter.

Kat is used to killing people, but for a blank cheque, she’s willing to do the opposite and help solve a murder – even though it sounds boring as hell. That is, until she finds some body parts in her fridge, makes friends with the neighbourhood cats and realises there may be an assassin better than her…

Suddenly, things have become purrfectly exciting.

Note:
An urban fantasy full of cats, secrets and murders. This is a slow-burn reverse harem where Kat will find her love interests over time. 

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Kat is a panther shifter. An assassin for the pack, her latest assignment is about to change everything. The intended victim gets the drop on her and then proposes a deal, one Kat can’t and doesn’t want to refuse.

Now with a home, a lucrative business, and employees, she is approached not for a hit, but to find a murderer.

We meet her employees, Beth a poison expert, Lily an assassin who uses feminine wiles to lure her prey, she also likes body parts… and Ben a very talented thief.

It’s the cats that are the interesting part of this team, Kat recruits them after one adorable little one coerces food out of her.

This is a favorite scene.

Meow. Meow.

I blink open my eyes only to stare into big yellow pupils lined with black. Whiskers stroke my cheeks.

I groan and close my eyes again. It feels way too early.

Meow.

“Shut up,” I mutter and hide my head beneath a pillow.

In response, the kitten begins to claw my shirt. Great. An alarm clock with claws. Worst invention ever.

“Piss off,” I growl, but the cat doesn’t budge. It’s probably hungry.

I breathe in deep. It’s a male. Usually, I don’t let males into my bed. I sleep with them in theirs and leave before sunrise. That’s the rule. No attachments. Luckily, this little male isn’t human.

Meooooow.

“Okay then,” I sigh dramatically and sit up, surprising the kitten. He tumbles and lands on my thighs, meowing indignantly.

I don’t apologise. It’s his fault for standing on my chest.

Yawning loudly, I pick him up and climb out of the hammock. Usually, I’d get dressed, but the kitten won’t stop asking for food. I’m far too easily manipulated.

I take him downstairs into the kitchen. The house is quiet, I seem to be the first one awake.

“Don’t look,” I warn him and open one of the cabinets, revealing my stash of cat food. It’s my guilty little secret. Even to me, it smells appetising, but I’ve got enough of a grip on my feral side to resist the temptation. I put some of the food in a bowl and hand it to the kitten. He starts eating greedily, leaving me with an amused smile on my face.

While he’s enjoying his breakfast, I make myself some beans on toast. It’s that kind of day. In a way, the beans almost look like wet cat food. Not sure if that makes them more or less enticing.

Meow.

He’s already finished his food and still sounds hungry. Cats. Greedy little bastards.

I grin and give him some more. I feel like giving him a name, but he probably already has one. To find out, I’d need to shift, but I’m not in the mood. I know cats can understand me when I’m human, but I only understand the intentions behind their meows, not actual words like names.

Maybe I’ll shift later, although by then, he’ll likely be gone. Unless what Lily said is true and I am training the local cats to come here for food. I can’t help it.

Suddenly, a thought strikes my mind and I almost meow myself. I think I’ve just had the most brilliant idea.

I crouch down so I’m closer to the little kitten. He ignores me, busy eating the last remaining crumbs. No idea how he’s managed to devour two bowls of cat food this fast. Even I would have taken longer than that.

“Hey little one,” I say quietly. “Shall we make a deal?”

His ears twitch, but he continues eating.

“How about I give you food every day, and in return, you run some errands for me? Go to places and check them out? Tell me if there are any humans around? Stuff like that?”

I can feel how he’s thinking about it, but he’s too distracted by his meal. I sigh and wait for him to finish.

He rubs his face with his front paws, and I think my heart is close to melting. He’s too cute for my cold assassin heart. Maybe I shouldn’t get involved with baby cats. They’re bound to change me into a bubbling mess.

“So, what do you say?” I ask again. “Want to spy for me?”

Even though I’m not shifted, I feel his assent and grin. I’ve won a spy that nobody will ever suspect. Granted, he won’t be able to tell me what the humans he sees are talking about, but he’ll be able to do some reconnaissance. Cats are everywhere, and most people don’t pay much attention to them. Very few people know that I can talk to them. This is going to be epic.

I pick up the kitten and carry him to the front door.

“Come again tomorrow, and I’ll give you both food and a mission.”

He looks at me with eyes so intelligent that I don’t have any doubts about the success of this new venture.

An image of other cats pops into my mind.

I smile. “Yes, you can bring your friends too, if they’re interested.”

He turns around and runs off, not giving me a second glance. Cats usually give me more attention than they give humans, but they still don’t like to appear needy or tamed. They always keep their word though. Cats may be devious at times, but they’re honest about it.
MacKinnon, Skye. Meow (Catnip Assassins Book 1) (pp. 25-28). Peryton Press. Kindle Edition.

As Kat investigates the murder of the sweets shop owner, things get more complicated. The clues lead to some very interesting occurrences, another confrontation with her benefactor and the addition of a couple more employees.

I really enjoyed this book, the cats, the characters and more than a few surprises make this a page turning read. I’ve already started my re-read of the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Coming Soon!

about-the-author-fall-cornucopia

Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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