Securing Avery – SEALs of Protection Legacy Book 5 By Susan Stoker


Securing Avery
SEALs of Protection Legacy Book 5
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Navy Nurse Avery Nelson never dreamed she’d be taken hostage during her deployment in Afghanistan. She’s assisting local women with healthcare, not fighting in a war. But digging her way out of her would-be grave turns out to be the battle of her life. She’s not the type to simply lay down and die, or sit around crying, waiting for someone to save her…though Avery can’t deny it’s a massive relief when the very SEAL she’s been flirting with for months comes to her rescue.

Cole “Rex” Kingston has saved his fair share of women over his time as a SEAL, but no mission has ever seemed as important as the one to find Avery Nelson. Digging the woman out of the rubble of a mountainside in Afghanistan hammers home to them both just how short life is, and they waste no time acting on their attraction, getting closer as Cole helps Avery deal with the aftermath of her ordeal.

But someone isn’t happy that Avery didn’t die in the mountains…and they’ll do anything to make sure she doesn’t live long enough to talk about what she might’ve heard and seen while deployed.

NOTE:
** Securing Avery is the 5th book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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These books always have strong women and damn Avery is so much more than that. From the very beginning she’s fighting to live, digging her way out stone by stone after being left to die. Her one regret, not encouraging Cole ‘Rex’ Kingston to ask her out, something she would do something about if she manages to get free of this mess.

Rex has been hanging at the hospital where Avery works as much as he can get away with. He finally was going to ask her out but she was being deployed. When his team is sent to rescue drivers and a woman taken when a convoy of weapons is hijacked he finds out the woman is Avery. Nothing will stop him from finding her and he knows his team will have his back.

When they do find her some very interesting things happen.

This is one of them and a favorite scene.

“If you can keep me from falling over, I’m ready to get out of here,” she stated.

Rex stepped closer and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Is this okay?” he asked, not wanting to contribute to any horrible memories she might have of what had been done to her while a captive.

She nodded and wrapped her own arm around him, keeping her head down and grabbing onto his shirt with surprising strength. “Yeah. Look, we’re the perfect height to win a three-legged race,” she quipped.

Rex snorted. It wasn’t quite a laugh, he couldn’t bring himself to laugh at a time like this, but he agreed with her assessment. They fit together perfectly. He walked them over to the hole where he’d entered the cave.

She was squinting and doing her best to look through the hole, toward the bright sunshine outside, but it was obvious it was causing her pain.

“Hang on,” he told her, then raised his head and yelled, “Phantom?”

“Right here,” his friend said.

“I need your sunglasses.” Without a word of question, a hand thrust a pair of sunglasses down the hole. Rex grabbed them and turned to Avery. “Here, these will help until your eyes can adjust.” Then he slipped them onto her face, brushing her hair behind her ears in the process.

He heard her sigh in relief. “Thank you, you have no idea how…” Her voice trailed off when she finally looked at his face.

“What?”

“Cole?” she whispered.

Rex did chuckle this time; he couldn’t help it. “Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard anyone call me that. How’d you know my name?”

She shrugged. “I may or may not have asked around,” she admitted freely.

“You can call me Rex,” he said, flattered beyond belief that she’d wanted to find out more about him. He knew she wouldn’t have learned anything but the basics. Because of his top-secret clearance and the secrecy surrounding the SEALs, anything said about him would’ve been general knowledge.

“Thanks, but I think I like Cole better. I can’t believe you’re here,” she said quietly. He couldn’t see her eyes behind the dark lenses of the sunglasses, but he could feel her gaze boring into him nonetheless.

“Wanna go out sometime?” she blurted.

Rex knew his mouth was hanging open, but he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.

“I mean…” She began to falter at his obvious astonishment. “I just…I made a promise to myself that if I got out of this hole in the mountain, I’d go after what I wanted.”

“And what you wanted was me?” Rex couldn’t help but ask.

He saw her cheeks pinken, and it was a welcome sight. She was way too pale for his peace of mind.

She shrugged. “Yeah.”

“You should know, I was kicking my own ass for chickening out and not asking you out for coffee before you were deployed,” Rex told her honestly.

They smiled at each other for a long, quiet moment before Avery swayed.

And just like that, Rex recalled where they were and what the hell they were doing.
Stoker, Susan. Securing Avery (SEAL of Protection: Legacy Book 5) (pp. 26-28). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

So many hold your breath moments, and Avery takes no crap from anyone. Rex and his team and a few of those Delta guys are awesome. The fact that Phantom remembers the thing he couldn’t and many more OMG moments, add to the suspense. There were times I had tears running down my face even as I laughed out loud.

I really wish I had the will power to not start reading these books when they hit my kindle, I couldn’t put this book aside and now I need a nap or three.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Catalyst – Dogs of War Book 4 By J.M. Madden


Catalyst
Dogs of War Book 4
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
J.M. Madden

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Raine Walters loves her nursing position at the Elton building. Though she hasn’t been on the job long, she’s seen and done some amazing things.

Because the men at the Elton building are not your average military men. They’re elite soldiers that have been tortured and experimented upon with an incredibly dangerous drug. The men are struggling to find balance as they work out their new abilities and recover their vitality.

Unfortunately, Haven, one of their most dangerous residents, leaves the facility behind to rescue a woman Raine isn’t even sure is real.

Noah Cross is settling into his new position at the Silverstone Collaborative as a patient liaison at the Elton building. No more bodyguard work for him. At least he thinks. When one of the patients escapes the recovery building Noah volunteers to go after him. Unfortunately, that means working with the beguiling young nurse he might have kissed recently.

Now they have to work together to find Haven and put out any imaginary fires he creates. But maybe they aren’t so imaginary, and maybe the woman they’re looking for is the catalyst of the entire Spartan program.

As this book opens, Haven is distraught and not responding to Raine as he usually does. She seeks out Noah, who also has a bond with Haven, hoping to make some sense of his ramblings.The two of them together manage to glean some information but most importantly get Haven to take a sedative and relax. Over the next couple of days Haven, while still anxious, begins eating more and regularly. While pleased Raine also worries he might make himself sick.

Raine wakes in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. Deciding to have a snack, she goes to the Hospitality room for some cookies and milk. There she finds Noah also enjoying a treat. As they discuss some of her worries the phone on the wall rings and Raine is informed Haven has gone missing.

This is a favorite scene.

When the phone on the wall rang, they both looked at it in surprise. “I didn’t realize that thing was even there.”

Raine snorted as she crossed the room to the phone. “Hello.”

“Raine? It’s Cassie. Haven is gone.”

For a moment she couldn’t absorb the words. “What do you mean gone? Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack. He’s not in his room, or on this floor. We’re canvassing the other floors, but I knew you’d want to know.”

“Okay. We’ll start up here and work our way down.”

She slammed the receiver into the cradle and turned to Noah, her heart in her throat. He was already moving toward her, gripping her arms. Obviously, he’d heard Cassie over the line.

“You take the North hallways. I’ll take the South. Go down the fire stairs at the end and I’ll meet you at the next floor. He’ll be fine, Raine.”

She nodded, numb. Then she ran for the door, right behind him.

They canvassed three floors before they met up with anyone else. No one had seen him. Noah and Raine went to the security office on the first floor. Jerome Paul was scanning a bank of security cameras. Every floor had them. Hell, every hallway had them. He glanced up when they entered the room, but didn’t say anything. Just continued to scan.

“Cassie said she saw him at about eleven,” Raine said. “She assumed he was going to bed.”

Jerome nodded, operating a mouse over a screen and clicking. “I know. I’ve been scanning every screen since that time, but I’m not seeing anything. Everyone that I’ve spotted had a reason for being where they were when they were.”

“Have you checked the main door?” Noah asked, arms crossed over his chest.

Jerome nodded. “Of course. And I’ve checked with the two guards manning the security post. Nothing unusual.”

Raine clenched her jaw and wrapped her arms around herself. Where had Haven gone?

“I’m going to step outside,” Noah murmured.

Raine glanced at him. Did he mean outside the office or outside the building? She followed along rather than watch Jerome surf the CCTV. The guards on duty were people she knew. They were both competent men and surely no one had slipped by them.

“Have you had anyone come through here tonight?”

Carson, the more senior of the guards, stepped forward. “Oh, yeah. No one unexpected, though. Nine people have left the building, but all of them were regular workers going off shift, most of them kitchen. Three others were nurses who had worked a split shift.”

Noah glanced around, hands on his hips. “Let me out.”

The guard returned behind the desk and pressed the lock release. The door buzzed and Raine followed Noah out into the frigid night. Almost immediately she wished she’d stayed inside, but it was too late now. She watched Noah cock his head to the side, obviously listening. He glanced at her.

“I hear a male’s voice talking to a cab, but I can’t tell if it’s Haven.”

Her heart sank in her chest and she looked around. This part of Arlington was quiet right now, but in the morning it would be positively bustling. If Noah didn’t hear him within the next couple of hours he probably never would.

“Where would he have gone?”

Noah shook his head again, looking as frustrated as she felt. “Go back inside. I’m going to circle the building and see if I see anything.”

Raine nodded, pushing back through the doors of the Elton Building. She waved her wrist at the scanner and the gate buzzed, letting her in. She realized then that they didn’t normally have to scan to get out, just in. The guards opened the doors for them when they left.

And realistically, she didn’t know what mechanism was in place in case a resident wanted to leave the facility. The men here weren’t technically prisoners, but she didn’t think they were free to go either. Most of the men were too ill to go anywhere, so it hadn’t been an issue, but Haven was physically almost a hundred percent. His mind wasn’t perfect but if he was aware enough to get himself outside the building was it their responsibility to stop him? Wouldn’t that make them jailers just like Damon Wilkes’ cronies?

“Can I look at your exit sheet?”

Raine knew the guards kept detailed records of entry and exit logs. It was easier since they’d implemented the watches, but she’d seen the men entering names manually as well. The second, younger guard, pulled up a screen on the computer. Raine spotted the mistake immediate. Snatching the phone from the cradle she called fourth floor.

Cassie answered immediately. “4C.”

“Cassie, is Paul still there?”

“Yes, he’s down the hall. Do you need him? Did you find Haven?”

Raine winced. “Not exactly.”

By the time Noah returned, the security guards had isolated the segment of tape where Paul, Raine’s nurse partner on her floor, had left. But it wasn’t Paul. After watching the segment replay several times she could see some irregularities in the recording. There was a fuzziness to Paul’s shape, and he didn’t move exactly right. Paul was a big, confident guy. This shape moved more carefully.

Haven.

“Did you know he could do that?” Noah demanded, pointing at the screen.

Raine shook her head. “No idea. I guess we should have expected it though. He manifests apparitions that look completely real to us. Could he have just dropped an apparition over top of himself?”

Noah shook his head, looking a little wild-eyed. “If he walked out of here cloaked, for lack of a better word, we may never be able to find him.”
J.M. Madden. Catalyst (Kindle Locations 1110-1156).

When they see how Haven left the premises, they wonder how they will be able to find him. The security tape revealed a part of Haven’s ability they were unaware of sort of a cloaking effect.

With Wulfe’s help they discover the woman Haven mentioned is Donna Frame and she was definitely with Senator Hall as he abruptly left DC.

All they have to do now is find Haven, find the right resources, get evidence, and take down the senator. Easy right?

What ensues is an edge of your seat tale with plenty of action, as Raine and Noah chase after Haven and find love along the way.

I don’t know exactly what’s next for J.M. but I have a feeling it has to do with the new team we just ran into.

5 Contented Purrs for J.M.

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J.M. Madden

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

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

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

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Count On Me – Baytown Boys Book 12 By Maryann Jordan


Count On Me
Baytown Boys Book 12
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Maryann Jordan

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Military duty called them away to war zones, but after tours overseas, the group of friends found their way back home as men, seeking the peaceful little seaside town. Now, the band of brothers, together once more, work to provide a place for less fortunate veterans to call home.

Scott Redding served his time in the Army and paid the price. Coming back to the Eastern Shore, he was determined to live his life and not be defined as an amputee. Meeting Beau Weston was supposed to be about helping the older man settle his affairs…not change his life.

Lizzie Weston raised goats and alpacas, rising early and going to bed late, determined to not let her grandfather’s farm be sold. Accepting help from Scott was not what she wanted. The handsome accountant had impressed her grandfather, but she was sure he lived a life of ease and would not understand the demands of farming.

As Scott and Lizzie worked to save Weston farm, animosity grew into understanding…and then to love. But someone is out to force Lizzie to sell and it is up to Scott to save the farm…and her.

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

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After Scott Redding finished his Master’s Degree he returned to Baytown and began working for Lia at the Accounting Firm that had once been his grandfather’s. Lia has since offered him a partnership which he took without hesitation. A new to him client visits about taxes and plans for the farm. Beau Weston is all about making sure his granddaughter can make all the changes she needs to keep the place running and profitable.

Scott was still looking for the perfect house, he was renting but hadn’t found a house that said ‘home’ to him. On a detour he sees the sign for Weston Farms and Beau working the fence line.

This is a favorite scene.

The hot sun was beaming down, causing heat waves to rise from the asphalt road as Scott drove home from work. He had moved from the rental condo in The Dunes into a small rental house north of town. He had finally told his real estate agent that he was going to rent until he could find the perfect house. His rental house was much better than the condo but still did not feel like home.

As he came to an intersection, his way was blocked as the electric company was cutting overhanging limbs from a tree. Tossing a wave toward the workers, he turned down another lane to travel a different way home. With the air conditioner blasting, keeping the interior of his SUV cool, he felt sorry for the men and women who were working outside. He had planned on taking an afternoon run but decided he could wait until tomorrow morning.

Turning a corner, he saw a wooden sign proclaiming Weston Farms. He and Beau had stayed in contact as he found numerous tax benefits that would help the overall financial status of the farm. Beau did not make each monthly meeting of the American Legion, but Scott had seen him several times, the older man always greeting him warmly.

As he continued the drive, he saw Beau standing near the fence by the edge of the road. He pulled to the gravel shoulder, waving as Beau squinted in the sunlight to see who had arrived. Recognizing him, Beau waved as well, pulling off his hat to wipe his brow with a handkerchief.

Climbing from the driver’s seat, Scott walked over to the edge of the fence, shaking Beau’s hand, observing him sweating profusely. “Beau, I know you’re used to working outside, but it’s ungodly hot right now. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“You sound like my Lizzie,” Beau chuckled. He took a big breath and said, “You’re right, though. It’s mighty hot for this time of year. I surely can’t work the way I did when I was a younger man.”

His gaze drifted behind Beau to where a large animal was ambling toward them. Eyes wide, he asked, “Is that a llama?”

“Alpaca,” Beau answered. “We’ve got three of them now.”

Uncertain what to say, he was also uncertain how Beau felt about the odd-looking animal. The alpaca wandered over and nudged Beau’s hat off his head. Beau huffed, re-settled his hat, and said, “Stop that, Caesar!”

Blinking, Scott was unable to hold back his laughter. “Caesar? His name is Caesar?”

Shaking his head, Beau chuckled as well. “This here is Caesar.” Pointing toward the distance where two other alpacas were standing under the shade of a tree, he added, “The one on the right is Cleopatra, and the other one is Mark Antony.” He lost the battle of holding in his own laughter, and said, “My Lizzie… she’s got an imagination.”

Looking to the left, Scott saw a separate grazing area where goats roamed freely, younger goats frolicking around the pasture. Off to the right, nestled in between several large trees, sat a white, two-story farmhouse, complete with a wide front porch and two brick chimneys on either side. Several trimmed box hedges were in front of the porch, flowers blooming between each one. The house gave off a vibe of comfort and days gone by. His breath caught in his throat as he stared at the simple structure, resplendent in its simplicity.

“Would you like to come in for some lemonade?” Beau asked. “Lizzie has gone into town to the grocery, but I’m sure she’s got either lemonade or sweet tea in the refrigerator.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to take Beau up on his offer but realized that by doing so he would pull Beau away from the work on the fence that he had been involved in before Scott drove along. To a farmer, time was money, and he certainly did not want to interfere with Beau’s business.

“That’s a nice offer, Beau, but I really need to get home. I’ll let you finish your work.”

Shaking his hand goodbye, Beau added, “I wanted to thank you for all your help with our taxes this past year. With the changes coming along that Lizzie and I would like to make, we’re still solvent, and I can keep from having to sell Luca more of my land.”

“Don’t mention it. I’ll see you soon.” Observing Beau wiping the sweat from his red face again, he added, “Don’t work too hard and take care of yourself.” With a wave goodbye and a final longing look at the farm, Scott climbed back into his car, blasted the air conditioner once more, and drove home. Pulling into the gravel drive of his small rental, he thought back to the Weston farmhouse, wondering if his real estate agent could find a house like that for him.
Maryann Jordan. Count On Me – ARC Copy: Baytown Boys (Kindle Locations 221-256).

Scott becomes acquainted with Beau’s granddaughter, Lizzy, after he dies. It was Beau’s wish that Scott help Lizzy accomplish her dreams for the farm, not only through the tax help, but also with a business plan.

Lizzy isn’t all that enthused about accepting his help, but their story is one of developing trust, friendship and a simmer to sizzle love. With unexpected twists, and plenty of interaction with the original Baytown Boys, the veterans that have made Baytown their home, and the strong successful women who love them.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!

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Coming Soon!

Maryann Jordan

I have always been an avid reader. My early memories were of my mother taking me to the library and allowing me to check out as many books as I could carry. My favorite books were checked out numerous times and read over and over. I would use my Barbie dolls to play out the scenes in books (such as Nancy Drew!).

I have written as a hobby for many years (probably since childhood). I have written devotionals, autobiographical writings about having a severely handicapped, medically fragile child, about my mother’s Alzheimer’s, and other subjects that interest me.

I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old historical romance books. In 2013, I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.

I worked as a counselor in a high school and was involved in education for the past 30 years, until retiring in 2015. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 35 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!


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Falling For The Billionaire’s Daughter – Sutton Billionaires Book 6 by Lori Ryan


Falling For The Billionaire’s Daughter
Sutton Billionaires Book 6
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Lori Ryan

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He can’t trust the people who should have his back…

Pressured by his boss to connect with his new team, the last thing Kaeden O’Shea needs is a woman in the way—one who clearly has something to hide. But his instincts have him on high alert and he can’t shake the idea that he needs to ride to her rescue.

Running, hiding, and planting misleading clues means Joy Wilson doesn’t dare let anyone get close. Not even the man who tempts her at every turn…because there’s too much at stake. Too much she has to protect.

Two missions collide, and all bets are off.

Steamy romance meets heart-stopping suspense in the Sutton Billionaires Series.

NOTE:
This is the sixth book in the series but it can be read as a standalone story with no cliffhangers. If you’d rather start at book one, grab The Billionaire Deal by Lori Ryan. This book was previously released as part of the Sutton Capital Series under the name According to Plan.

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Kaeden tends to micro-manage everything he doesn’t do himself. Now his boss hands him the planning of the company retreat and team-building. On the line is the promotion he wants and Jack needs to see him delegate to the team the hotel put together. Nothing had been planned except the first night dinner and now Kaeden is in charge of planning the rest. He has an on site liaison and two Hospitality interns to handle things but control is something Kaeden seems to need more than anything. What could possibly go wrong?

Joy is his liaison with the hotel and she gets a kick out of his micromanaging. Kaeden doesn’t handle any twists or changes well and a few things start to go awry. Fortunately for him the interns and Joy has things under control. In spite of her adding some twists to his scheduled events Joy manages to get under his skin.

This is a favorite scene with one of those little twists.

Joy watched the group unload outside Crepes a la Carte and was glad when none of them looked put out by the long line that was already halfway down the block. The place was actually a cart not a restaurant, though they did have a small store front option on the other side of the street. She’d already told some of them they might want to cut through the alley that led to the storefront to see if there was a shorter line there, but they all seemed happy to get into line at the cart.

She saw Mia who she’d met earlier that morning talking to a woman she hadn’t met yet but thought was named Sarah if she went by process of elimination and the list of people she’d been given by her boss.

She was beginning to learn which kids went with which parents but it wasn’t easy. They all seemed like they parented each other’s kids as easily as they did their own, making it all the more confusing.

Jack’s auburn-haired wife, Kelly, smiled at Kaeden. “Crepes were a great idea. You’re not bad at this trip planning thing.”

Joy stifled a laugh as Kaeden glanced her way before brushing off the compliment and telling Kelly it had been Joy’s suggestion.

Kelly beamed her way. “Any fan of crepes is a friend of mine.”

Jack, Andrew, and Chad came up to the group just then and Joy’s recollection of Jack being Kelly’s husband was confirmed when he kissed her temple.

“Kel, it looks like there’s a small park a couple of blocks down the street. We’re going to take the kids down there while you guys wait in line. If you don’t mind waiting?”

Kelly sent him a look that said he was crazy. “Do I mind getting to hang with my girlfriends in line while you take the kids off our hands?”

Jack laughed and squeezed her close for a minute, dropping another kiss to her cheek before he and the others began herding the kids toward the park.

Kaeden watched them go. “Don’t you need to get their orders?”

Now Kelly directed her look toward him. “The kids will take anything sweet and the men will take anything so long as it’s food. Besides, crepes. There’s no way to go wrong with them. At all.”

Joy had to try to cover her mouth with her hand in a half-assed casual way to suppress her laugh now. Kaeden just didn’t get crepes, but clearly the women in front of him did. There was the blonde Joy thought was Jill and another blonde she thought was Jennie, but it was entirely possible she was switching the two. She had only met them that morning.

“Tell me you’ve had crepes.” That was maybe-Jill talking, hands on her hips as she looked at Kaeden.

Maybe-Jennie joined in. “Crepes are ah-may-zing. Gooey and light and perfect. The reviews for this place say they’re incredible.” She put a hand on her stomach as they inched forward in the line. “My stomach is going to revolt if I don’t give it one soon.”

Samantha walked up to the group and nudged maybe-Jill. “Men never get the draw of a good crepe until they’ve had one. It’s just above their heads.”

Kaeden snorted and all the women swung their heads comically in his direction. Joy lost the ability to hold in her laughter. She couldn’t help it.

He pointed in her direction. “No I-told-you-sos. I get it. They like crepes.”

“Love,” the women said in unison.

Kelly said, “Like luuuuv love.”

The women ended up chatting together while they all moved up in line and Kaeden and Joy were left paired together while the line crept forward.

She tried to ignore the fact that to keep half the sidewalk clear for pedestrians he was standing close enough to her that their arms were almost brushing. Close enough to feel that heat of anticipation at the almost contact.

“You look like you’re not going to hold it in.”

Joy shook her head. “What? The I-told-you-so? It’s staying in me just fine.” She could only grin at him as he scowled at her and Joy realized how good it felt to laugh, to be playful. And how surprising it was that it was happening with this man.

She hadn’t had this kind of laughter in a while and she wouldn’t have it again for a long time. Not when she had to move on soon. There would be nothing but strain and unease and the insecurity of trying to find a new situation for at least a month or two. She remembered when she thought her job at a tech firm was stressful. It was nothing compared to living in a car or a seedy motel and wondering if you’d be safe through the night.

None of the places she’d holed up in the last two years had been like this and she doubted wherever she went to next would be either.

Kaeden cut into her bleak thoughts. “So what kind should I get?”

They were getting closer to the front of the line now and Joy looked at the sign with the list of options. “The monte cristo and the lemon souffle are my favorites. Strawberry shortcake is really good too, though. But the women were right. You can’t go wrong with any of them.”

Samantha shouted back an “amen” to Joy before stepping up to place her order.

Kaeden laughed but he nodded. “Alright, I’ll get those ones.”

“What do you mean, those ones? I was giving you choices not a list. You can’t eat three crepes.”

His brows went up. “I thought these things were gold. Why wouldn’t I eat three of them?”

“They’re big.”

“And?”

Twenty minutes later Joy was still shaking her head at him but now it was because she was watching him take the last bite of his third crepe.

“So you liked them?” she asked.

“I think the word you’re looking for is luuuuuuv,” he said drawing the word out like Kelly had.
Lori Ryan. Falling for the Billionaire’s Daughter (Kindle Locations 345-398). Kindle Edition.

As things heat up between Kaeden and Joy, he also realizes she has a secret, one that bothers her.

Gaining her trust enough to let him help her is not easy. When it finally happens things are about to get seriously dangerous for both Joy and her mother.

It’s as Kaeden gets Samantha involved he realizes that Jack, Logan and Chad really do have his back. Something he never let himself see before.

This book is full of laughter, fun, suspense, romance and sizzle with just a bit of action to spice things up.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Lori!

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Lori Ryan

Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance with steamy love scenes and characters you won’t want to leave in the pages when the story is over.Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and ​has fallen in love with writing.

​She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series; the Heroes of Evers, Texas; and the Triple Play Curse Novellas, a set of novellas with sexy baseball players at their core as part of Bella Andre’s Game For Love Kindle World. She has also published in Melanie Shawn’s Hope Falls Kindle World and in Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Kindle World.

She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, and two mostly well-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.


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Miles – The Mavericks Book 7 By Dale Mayer


What happens when the very men—trained to make the hard decisions—come up against the rules and regulations that hold them back from doing what needs to be done? They either stay and work within the constraints given to them or they walk away. Only now, for a select few, they have another option:

The Mavericks
A covert black ops team that steps up
and breaks all the rules …
but gets the job done.

Welcome to a new military romance series by USA Today best-selling author Dale Mayer. A series where you meet new friends and just might get to meet old ones too in this raw and compelling look at the men who keep us safe every day from the darkness where they operate—and live—in the shadows … until someone special helps them step into the light.

Miles
The Mavericks Book 7
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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When his call came,
the mission was the opposite of what he expected…

Returning to his hometown of London, UK, was a happy surprise, until he realized what—and who—was involved. Out of his comfort zone when dealing with women sold into sexual slavery or even “collected,” regardless Miles was determined to dig in deep, when he realized he knew the latest kidnapped victim. A woman who’d touched him years earlier. To think she might be suffering at the hands of a deranged serial kidnapper or, worse, could be sold in some human trafficking ring…

Vanessa, tied up and blindfolded, has no idea why she’d been kidnapped. She does her best to obey her captor, even as she plots her escape. Her hope is that she’s been reported missing and that the cops are looking for her. … They are, but so is someone else…

Keeping Vanessa safe at his side, Miles is taxed to the limit to unravel and to capture a serial killer who’s lain undetected for decades, disguised as a serial kidnapper…

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Miles is pleased to find his mission would take him to London. However, this mission is not quite what he expected and a bit out of his comfort zone. The missing woman was very familiar to him as well. While he’d never met her he’d been drawn to the images of her for years, falling just a bit in love with her.

Mile’s friend Nico is his partner on this case that both MI6 and Scotland Yard were interested in. It was Nico who has discovered a pattern that spans seventeen years of missing red haired women. Worse they think the man responsible may be military.

When we first see Vanessa she is bound and sensory deprived by a blindfold and something covering her ears. She knows she’s been drugged from the fogginess she feels. All she can remember is being on her way to a photo shoot that was within walking distance of her flat. What she does know is she has to figure out someway to escape her situation even if someone is looking for her.

Vanessa does manage to outsmart her kidnapper and her getaway wasn’t easy or without injury.

This is a favorite scene.

Miles’s phone rang as they raced toward their interview. He answered it and said, “Yeah, what’s up?”

“Disturbance at,” and he was given an intersection, which Miles immediately punched into the car’s GPS, and then Nico pulled the vehicle into a U-turn in the middle of the street with screeching tires all around them. The caller continued, “A woman just escaped, saying she’d been kidnapped. She’s hurt, but she got herself out. An ambulance is at the scene right now, and we think it’s her.”

“Her?”

“Vanessa,” the voice said. “You need to get there fast. A crowd has gathered, and it’s chaos.”

“We’re on the way,” Miles said. “Be there in five.”

“Faster than that,” Nico said.

Miles put down his phone and looked at Nico. “Well, remember what I said about how Vanessa needs to be aware and paying attention and to stand on her own two feet? It looks like she did this rescue job all on her own,” he said with a proud smile.

Nico nodded and returned his smile, then called the police station, canceling their two interviews and asking for a plainclothes detective to follow both interviewees until further notice and hung up.

As they reached the scene, the ambulance pulled away.

Nico asked Miles, “Do you want to follow her to the hospital or get details from the scene?”

“I want both,” he said. “Drop me off here, and you go after the ambulance.” Then he quickly approached a few people and asked them for details. The gist of it was, she’d climbed out a window, dropped onto a mattress on the ground and then got hit by a car but got back up again. As she was leaving, her captor came after her. Miles didn’t hear anything new or different as the cops took official statements. On that note, Miles headed toward the hospital on foot, taking another fifteen minutes to get there.

As he walked in through the front doors, he texted Nico and asked where he was.

The answer came back immediately.

Emergency.

Miles joined him there and asked, “Any idea how badly hurt she is?”

“Not so bad that she has to stay much longer than maybe overnight, yet not so good that she can be alone,” Nico said quietly. “The blow from the vehicle hit her pretty severely. She’s got abrasions and bruising all along her lower abdomen. She’s badly bruised her ribs but they aren’t broken. And her ankle? We don’t know if it’s broken or just sprained at this point in time.”

“From the jump out of the window?”

“It’s possible. Or from the car hitting her? I don’t think anybody really knows yet. She’s unconscious.”

“That’s not good,” Miles said. “Head injury?”

“They don’t know. None of the bystanders could say, and, when the emergency personnel arrived on scene, Vanessa came around, but she couldn’t say either. She passed out almost immediately as soon as they started working on her.”

“Which means it’s likely a concussion,” Miles said with a nod. “Can I see her?”

“She’s already in a private hospital room, probably awaiting tests or the results. They’re not letting anybody in right at the moment,” Nico said, pointing at her room.

Miles snorted at that and, when he stepped inside, found one nurse at Vanessa’s side.

“Only family is allowed here,” the nurse said.

He walked straight to Vanessa on the hospital bed and picked up her hand, then immediately held it against his cheek. “And fiancés,” he whispered. God, he hated to see the flaxen look to her skin. Her expression was not a calm stillness but instead an almost stirred sense of being in a panic mode underneath. He cupped her cheek and whispered, “It’s okay now. You’ll be just fine.” He leaned over and kissed her gently, brushing the hair off her freckles, knowing this was real, not some act.

Then he turned to the nurse, glared and barked, “How bad is it?”

She smiled at him. “Not so bad. She’ll survive. She took quite a blow.”

“She’s incredibly resilient,” he said, squeezing Vanessa’s fingers lightly. He glanced at her ankle and frowned. He could see the swelling already evident. “I don’t like to look of that,” he muttered. The alignment was good, but it was pretty well black and blue already.

“No, but considering some of her other injuries,” the nurse said, “the ankle will heal fast enough.”

“Do we have X-rays back yet?”

“No, not yet,” she said. “We just got her back from X-ray though, so at least she can rest undisturbed for now. We’re waiting on the results.”

He pulled up a chair and sat, then dropped his forehead to her arm and held his position while the nurse left. At that point, he lifted his head and stared at the beautiful woman on the bed, then whispered, “That was an incredibly brave and very risky thing you just did. And I’m so grateful you did it.” He knew she would be as well, if and when she ever woke up, but, at the moment, she was struggling. She was unconscious and showing no signs of coming back. Or, at least, he didn’t think so.

But then she opened her eyes, looked at him and asked, “Who the hell are you?”

He grinned at her and whispered, “For now I’m your fiancé.”

She shook her head, her eyes diamond hard. “I don’t have one,” she said. “And I’ve had enough of strange men determining who and what I am in life to them.”

He nodded and whispered, “Special Ops. Came here to rescue you, only to find out you had rescued yourself.”

Hearing that, her demeanor changed a bit. That or it could be the meds she was on too.

“No,” she said, struggling, her eyes closing on her. “He said he’d come after me. I’m not out of danger.” She gripped his hand hard. “Please don’t let him get me again.”

Then her eyes closed, and she was out cold once more.
Dale Mayer. Miles (Kindle Locations 678-725). Valley Publishing Ltd..

Miles meets Vanessa at the hospital, proclaiming himself to be her fiancé to be able to sit with her. When Vanessa regains consciousness Miles lets her know she is safe and he will keep her that way. It’s not until later, when she’s more coherent, that they realize she has seen her kidnapper and is still in danger.

This is a fast-paced, nail-biting tale full of intrigue, suspense and a simmer to sizzle romance.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

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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The Cowboy’s E-Mail Bride – Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 1 By Cora Seton


The Cowboy’s E-Mail Order Bride
The Cowboy’s of Chance Creek Book 1
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton

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Ethan Cruz should be mending fences on his Montana ranch, but instead he’s driving to the Chance Creek, Montana, airport – to pick up the bride he didn’t know he had. This latest salvo in his ongoing practical joke battle with his best friend, Rob Matheson, has gone too far, and Ethan plans to send his “bride” right back home, then get busy plotting his revenge. One look at Autumn Leeds changes his mind, however. Perhaps he needs a bride, after all. A breathtakingly beautiful city bride.

Autumn Leeds needs a story – fast – or she’s going to lose her lucrative contract with CityPretty Magazine, so when she sees the crazy video plea for a modern mail-order bride for a cowboy, it sounds like the story of the century. Making a video of her own, she casts herself as the perfect mail-order bride for a rancher, but when she finally reaches Montana, she’s surprised to find Ethan’s the perfect cowboy husband-to-be. Against her better judgment, her plan to keep her handsome groom at arm’s length disintegrates into a night of passion spent in his arms.

Ethan knows he can’t keep playing this game – he has to come clean with Autumn and tell her the truth; about the practical joke and about the state of his ranch. He’s about to lose it all because of the debts his mother racked up before his parents’ deaths. Now his sister, Claire, wants to sell the ranch and collect what little money they can. He’ll be out of a home and a job, and in no shape to support the bride he desperately wants to marry, after all.

Autumn’s in bigger trouble than ever. Not only has she fallen in love with the subject of her expose – she might be carrying his child. If she doesn’t write this article and secure her contract for another year, she’ll lose everything – her career, her apartment, and more importantly, her family’s approval. The only alternative is to stay and marry Ethan. But how can she trust a man she’s just met when she knows too well that men always let you down?

Can a love based on lies last?

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What was a practical joke has gone way out of control. A video of a drunk Ethan describing his perfect wife is put out on the web by his friends. They picked a woman and now she’s arrived. Ethan plans to have her right back out on the next flight, that is until he sees her.

Autumn with the help of her best friend put together the response to Ethan’s video. For her this is a last ditch effort to keep her job at CityPretty, the article that would come from this would be priceless. Then she starts to realize Ethan really is everything she’s ever wanted in a man. No matter what her mother and sister’s philosophy on the subject is.

The one thing Autumn didn’t expect was to start loving this place and the man who runs it.

A visit from Ethan’s sister puts some interesting facts on the line and new decisions to make.

This is a favorite scene.

Claire put her hands on her hips and leaned closer to him. “She said she’s your fiancee. Your fiancee! When were you going to tell me, Ethan? After the wedding? And you obviously didn’t tell her about your money problems. That’s not right! None of this is—where did you even meet her?”

Autumn felt her face burning and even Ethan looked flushed. “That’s none of your business. What are you here for, anyway?” He crossed his arms.

“This ranch is half mine. Did you forget that?” Claire shook her head at him and the severe edges of her bob brushed her chin. “It’s time to sell. Let’s get what we can from it and move on. I’ve mocked up a listing. Look it over and see if I got it all right.” She shoved the folder into his hands.

“And what about me, huh, Claire? It’s all right for me to be an employee all my life?” He kicked a watering can across the garden. “I’ve worked this ranch since I could walk.”

“You can do something else.”

“I don’t want to do something else.” Claire clenched her fists. “Then buy me out. This dream is over, Ethan. The ranch is done.”

“Claire!”

But she’d already stormed off across the yard. In a moment she was out of sight around the corner of the bunkhouse and they heard an engine start up.

Ethan turned slowly around. “I’m sorry. Claire’s right; I should have told you. I just didn’t expect…”

“How bad is it?” She didn’t know why she was asking. She’d be gone in a week or two, back to her old life and old job. She hoped, anyway. This man was nothing to her. So what if he lied? The cold burn of fire in her gut told her it mattered a lot, but she forced that thought away. All men were liars. She’d known that since she was nine and watched her mother—her fun-loving, wonderful, warm mother turn overnight into an icy automaton, too busy and too hurt to open her heart to anyone—even her own daughters. She remembered the pain of that first year after he’d left. Her attempts to make her mother happy again.

Her failures.

“Bad. My mother,” he waved the folder in dismissal. “I loved her, but she didn’t belong on a ranch. She wanted to travel, live the high life. My Dad let her spend all he had, and then let her spend a whole lot more he didn’t have.”

A familiar tension twisted in her stomach as she remembered taking on the task of managing her family’s budget. Always good with numbers, and a better cook than Lily, first she took over the grocery shopping and meal preparation, then the rest of the bills as Teresa finished med school and began work. Adding up numbers that didn’t add up over and over again. Trying to make too little money stretch too far. Finding fifty ways to prepare beans and rice. “And just exactly when did you plan to say something—on our wedding night?”

The fury in her words made him flinch and she barely understood her own anger. After all, she was lying to him as much as he’d been lying to her, so why did it hurt so bad to find out that her cowboy groom was as big a jerk as her father?

Because her father hadn’t just broken her mother’s heart when he left; he’d broken hers, too. How many nights had she lain awake as a girl wondering what she’d done to drive him away. Was it the way she looked? The way she cried sometimes when she got hurt? The way she got a bad grade in spelling? For nine years he’d been a mainstay in her life—at the breakfast table in the morning, reading the newspaper when he got home at night, tucking her into bed with a tousle of her hair and a kiss on the forehead. Telling her he loved her.

But he didn’t. One day he was there. The next he was gone. And her mother might as well have gone, too. Even Lily changed. Suddenly mad all the time, ordering her around, pinching her when she made mistakes. “The house has to be clean. Hurry up, the dishes need to be done before she gets home. Clean up your toys, you want Mom to leave, too?”

“You have every right to be mad. I didn’t…” He hesitated. Making up more lies? “Listen, Autumn—I had no idea this would work.” He waved a hand to include the two of them. “I thought you’d leave as soon as you got to know me and saw what life out here looks like. You’re a city girl—why would you want to marry me and live like this? Even without the debt, it’s not like we’re ever going to be rich. You could have any guy. Why would you stay here with me?

His question struck her squarely in the gut. Why would she stay with him? Was it possible this handsome, self-confident cowboy had doubts of his own?

Maybe he did, she conceded, his explanations finally catching up with her. Sounds like his childhood wasn’t all roses and sunshine, either.

Well, she wasn’t going to stay, was she? Except she wanted to with every fiber of her being. She knew that a life with Ethan meant hard work and the ups and downs of being dependent on your own two hands to make a living, but she also knew it would never be boring and that the challenges would most likely bring them together in a way city living never could. And Ethan…over the last few days he’d driven her all over the ranch, showing her the land he loved and the cattle herds he depended on to make his living. He talked about how he was considering raising buffalo, and he told her stories about growing up here and learning to ride. The funniest stories, however, were the ones that included Rob, Cab and Jamie. She couldn’t believe how much trouble they’d found over the years, or the way they tormented each other with practical jokes. It was amazing they’d never landed in jail—and even more amazing that Cab grew up to be a sheriff.

Ethan was so patient around the animals, and so dedicated to running the ranch right. After dinner each night he spent time in the tiny office off his bedroom updating the ranch’s accounts. She had a feeling he kept track of his money down to the penny. Now she knew why.

But it was the evenings she loved the most. After he’d done his books and she’d downloaded her photographs and written her notes, they’d meet again on the back porch to hold hands, talk and swing. They’d decided heavy petting was allowed, which often turned into a romp on top of the covers on Ethan’s bed. As much as they did their best to satisfy each other without actually making love, Autumn didn’t think she could ever be satisfied until she had him again—body and soul. She wanted to stay here with Ethan more than anything else in the world. She wanted to be his wife.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Ethan said gruffly when she hesitated too long. “You don’t. And Claire’s right—I probably have to sell. Might as well get it all over with. I’ll take you to the airport in the morning.”

With that he strode to the back door and let it shut behind him with a bang. Alone in the garden, Autumn looked at the neat rows of plants reaching for the sun. She surveyed the fields that ran to far off mountains.

She didn’t want to go.

The large house across the yard caught her attention and once again she thought it was a shame no one lived in it. It was a beautiful log home, with wide decks and a stunning view of the mountains. If she was on vacation she’d spend a mint to rent one of those rooms.

Autumn’s heart skipped a beat, recalling a bunch of brochures Becka brought home from a travel agent’s office back in New York when she was trying to learn all she could about her prospective cowboy husband. They were advertisements for guest ranches and together she and Becka had laughed about the rustic accommodations and tourists dressed up like cowboys in shiny new boots.

A guest ranch—that was the answer to Ethan’s problems.

And she could help.
Seton, Cora. Cowboys of Chance Creek Vol 0 – 2. One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (2690-2749). Kindle Edition.

Plenty of ups and downs, and more interesting facts about Lacey as this tale unfolds.

Filled with Love, Laughter, Tears, Solutions and so much more, I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

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Cora Seton

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

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


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The Soccer Star: A Sports Romance – A Keeper Series Book 2 by Melissa McClone


The Soccer Star
A Keeper Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone

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A bad boy soccer star,
a kind-hearted artist,
a game neither planned on playing…

After her divorce, Lucy Martin left her small hometown for the big city, never expecting to return. Now, she’s back, caring for her soccer-crazed nephew while his parents are deployed. She’ll do anything to make him happy—including reaching out to her former high school crush and current soccer superstar, Ryker James.

Nursing an injury, Ryker plans to lie low at his parents’ house until he heals. He can’t wait to rejoin his club and make amends for the trouble he caused. When the younger sister of a former teammate asks him for a favor—to coach her nephew’s soccer team—he should decline. But boredom and attraction compels him to help Lucy.

Coaching forces them together, and sparks fly…on and off the field. But Lucy’s wary of romance, and Ryker can’t afford a distraction. Before the final whistle blows, will they take a shot at love or forfeit the match?

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Lucy Martin had been through much in her young life but her divorce sent her fleeing her hometown. However, when her brother and sister-in-law are being deployed, she doesn’t hesitate to move back to take care of her nephew. As a graphic designer and artist she can work from anywhere, she just hopes she doesn’t run into her ex.

One of the things she has to do for her brother Aaron, is find a coach for Connor’s soccer team. Something he didn’t have the time to do. So far she’s come with nobody, they’re either already coaching or are too busy working to do it. She’s determined to do it herself if she can’t find anyone, but soccer is not something she knows a lot about.

When Connor comes home from school excited she isn’t quite expecting what he is about to reveal. Apparently, soccer star Ryker James is in town recovering from an injury. Lucy remembers Ryker from school, he was friends and teammates with Aaron and a frequent guest at their home. She’d had quite the crush on him back then too. Could she face him to ask?

Ryker has been told to lay low by his Agent, the cause of his injury has him in trouble with his team as does his playboy behavior. When Lucy shows up with cookies to ask a favor, not for herself but for her nephew, he declines but promises to find someone for her.

In the end he agrees to do it, but on the downlow as her assistant teaching her to coach as he helps with the boys.

This is a favorite scene.

“The Defeeters have arrived.”

Lucy looked toward the parking lot. “Aaron told me coaching this age is like herding cats. Except cats don’t talk back.”

Another burp sounded. More laughter followed.

“Or burp,” Ryker said.

As she nodded, boys surrounded them. He’d played in big matches in front of millions of people, but the expectant look in these kids’ eyes disconcerted him, making him feel as if he was stepping onto the pitch for the very first time.

“Hey, boys. I’m Ryker.” He focused on the eager faces staring up at him, not wanting to disappoint them or Lucy.

“I’m helping out for a few weeks. Ready to play some football?”

Nine— or was it ten?— heads, ranging in size and hair color, nodded enthusiastically. A couple yelled.

Great. Ryker grinned. This wouldn’t be difficult at all.

A short kid with long brown hair scrunched his nose. “This isn’t football.”

“Everywhere else in the world soccer is called football,” Ryker explained.

The kid didn’t look impressed. “It’s called soccer here.”

“We’ll talk more about that later.” Soccer in America was nothing like soccer in other parts of the world. No sport in the U.S. could compare with the passion for the sport called football elsewhere. “I want you to tell me your name and how long you’ve played.”

Each boy did. Justin. Jacob. Dalton. Tyler. Marco. The names ran into each other. Ryker wouldn’t remember them. No worries. Calling them dude, bud, and kid would work for today. “Any questions?”

“Can you teach us how to dive?” a boy with bleach-blond hair that hung over his eyes asked.

Some soccer players dived— throwing themselves on the field and pretending to be hurt— to draw a penalty during the match.

“No,” Ryker said firmly. “Never dive.”

“What if it’s the World Cup?” a kid with a crew cut asked.

“If you’re playing in the World Cup, you’ll know what to do.” Ryker clapped his hands together. “Let’s warm-up.”

The boys stood in place.

He knew the warm-up routine, and so did his Fuego teammates, but based on these kids’ puzzled looks, they hadn’t a clue what he meant. “Get in a single-file line behind the first cone on the left side.”

The boys shuffled into place, but the line wasn’t straight. As two kids jockeyed for the spot in front of Connor, they elbowed one another. A pair in the middle tried to trip each other. The boys in the back half didn’t seem to understand the meaning of a line and spread out.

This wasn’t working the way he’d planned. Ryker dragged his hand through his hair.

“Meow,” Lucy whispered.

“Where can I find a cat herder?” he asked.

Her coy smile sent his pulse racing. “Look in the mirror. Didn’t you know cat herder is synonymous with coach?”

He blew out a breath. “That’s what I was afraid you’d say.”
Melissa McClone. The Soccer Star (Kindle Locations 904-931). Cardinal Press, LLC.

Lucy and Ryker definitely have chemistry between them and Lucy finds herself setting some ground rules, including no kissing. This was a fine plan until his agent shows up as they were relaxing after dinner at his parents home. Even with Connor with them playing with the dog, Blake sees the attraction and assumes they are an item.

Unfortunately for Lucy and Ryker, the only way he can continue to coach is if they are a couple. He has to have a personal attachment to the team and that would be Lucy.

Plenty of romance with a time limit and Lucy tries hard not to fall in love with him. It seems to her Ryker has it easier when facing that limited time together.

I love the way this plays out, the unexpected events, and the growth of character that Ryker goes through is perfect.

I can’t wait to see what Melissa has in mind for the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!

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Melissa McClone

USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.

Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.

Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

His True Queen – Smoke and Mirrors Book 2 by Jodi Ellen Malpas


His True Queen
Smoke and Mirrors Book 2
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Jodi Ellen Malpas

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The breathtaking conclusion of The Smoke & Mirrors Duology.

A beautiful, defiant princess. A renowned, sinfully gorgeous Hollywood actor.

A love affair that is sure to rock the British Monarchy…and the world.

Their love affair began intensely and passionately. Princess Adeline and Josh Jameson knew any future together was impossible—her status as a princess and his standing as a Hollywood heartthrob dictated that. But the heights of pleasure they could take each other to were wildly unanticipated by them both. Josh’s absolute disregard for Adeline’s status quickly drew her into his hedonistic world. And her perfectly worn mask and false façade captivated Josh to the point of obsession. The boundaries became blurred. The physical became emotional. Their hearts became entwined.

But a cruel turn of events rips their worlds apart and Adeline is more bound than ever by the protocol and expectations her title commands. The army of royal advisors who guard the secrets and scandals of the Monarchy will go to unthinkable lengths to keep the smoke and mirrors in place…and Josh away from Adeline. She knows the power she possesses comes with agonizing sacrifices. Walking away from Josh devastates her…but it keeps him safe from the corrupt institution that has ruled her life.

Yet Josh refuses to lose the woman who has consumed him so completely, distorted his boundaries, and stripped him of all sensibility.

Will the power of the British Monarchy triumph? Or will their fierce love for each other change the course of history?

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After the death of the King and the Heir Apparent, many things come to light that are both shocking and intriguing. Prince Edward would not be King he was not the King’s son but the product of an affair. Yet one more thing to be hidden behind smoke and mirrors. After a blood test, the results prove that Adeline would be queen whether she wants it or not.

The devastation felt by both her and Josh carries through the funerals and the further still. He gets to confront her while she riding to alleviate the overwhelming stress.

This is a favorite scene.

“I’m in love with the Queen of England, England, Your Majesty. You need to help me find a way to be with her.”

His words could make me cry, and for a second my wobbly lip gets the better of me. I mustn’t cry. I mustn’t. “It’s impossible.”

“Who says?”

“Everyone.”

“Well, I don’t. Nothing has changed for me.”

“But everything has changed for me,” I say. “We’re a train wreck waiting to happen.”

“My train has already crashed, and it’s in fucking tatters since I left you at the palace. Nothing can feel any worse than that, Adeline.”

“Trust me, Josh.” I take his hands from my face. “It really can.”

He looks to the sky, his Adam’s apple rolling with each hard swallow he takes. He’s trying to calm himself down, trying desperately to see reason like me. It pains me to see him like this, as much as it pains me to feel as I do. “You didn’t even break up with me,” he whispers. “You watched them escort me away, and all I could do was watch it all play out on TV. You didn’t answer my calls, my messages.” Dropping his eyes to mine, he circles my neck with his palms and holds me firmly in place. “I wanted to be there for you. I was waiting for the bomb to drop, the news of your succession, and now it finally has. I can see it in your eyes, Adeline. No one else can, but I see it. You don’t really want this. Guilt and responsibility shouldn’t dictate your heart.”

“And what would you have me do? Throw my mother to the wolves? My brothers, my father, my entire family history? Just to feed my own selfish need?”

“No, to feed mine,” Josh replies shortly, and I flinch at his frankness. “I’m sorry,” he sighs. “I didn’t mean that. Just . . .” He growls under his breath. “Just don’t be hasty. Don’t write us off yet.”

I smile, finding his determination admirable, if a tiny bit frustrating. “You’ve already had your warning, Josh. Your hotel was trashed, and that was when I was a mere princess. They’ll ruin you.”

“They can shove their warnings up their asses.” Releasing me, he stands back, scuffing the mud with his boots. “There must be a loophole somewhere. A chink in the armor of the stupid laws you royal people have to abide by. I’ll find it.”

There is no loophole, and if there was, it would be sewn shut pretty speedily. “It’s impossible.”

“No. I won’t let you believe that.”

I don’t counter this time, because I know he won’t listen. Part of me is wishing he’s right, that there is a loophole, though I know there are none. We can’t be together. “Josh . . .”

Looking past me, he frowns. “What’s wrong with Stan?”

Oh goodness. I shoot over to my horse who looks somewhat lethargic. “I think he’s dehydrated. I brought him through here to get him a drink.”

“Let me see.” Josh takes his head and looks Stan over. “His eyes are dry.” Taking his reins, he clicks him down to the stream, and I thank heavens when my beloved horse slurps some water. “He’s real thirsty. You should get him looked over.”

“I will,” I promise, stroking down his neck, waiting patiently for him to finish up. God, he might drink the stream dry. “I should go before Damon starts to worry.”

The solemnness of Josh’s face matches my own downheartedness as I pull Stan back toward the bridle path. “Adeline?” he calls, and I look over my shoulder. He doesn’t say anything, and instead approaches me, giving me a soft kiss on the lips. “This won’t be the last kiss I give you,” he vows, and I inhale a little dreamily, ignoring the voice in my head that’s disagreeing with him. Because I desperately wish it isn’t our last kiss. “I’m leaving for South Africa tomorrow for a week. I’ll be back in London as soon as I can. I’ll call you, and you will answer.”

I nod, if mildly. “Goodbye.”

“For now,” he adds, stroking down the bridge of my nose before stepping back and letting me walk away. “I love you, Adeline.”

I swallow down the wretchedness those words evoke. Words like that shouldn’t make a woman feel so utterly hopeless. They should fill her with life. But I’m no ordinary woman.

Each step I take is forcefully measured to ensure my stability, and I touch my nose to feel the heat still lingering from his touch. Oh, how I wish I didn’t have to leave. That it wouldn’t involve headline news, MI5, and the government if Josh took me away to a faraway land and hid me there forever.

When I breach the trees, I force myself to locate my ever-depleting mask and have it firmly in place for when I meet Damon. “I heard you shouting,” he says dryly as I slip my foot into one of Stan’s stirrups and pull myself up.

Once I’m settled in the saddle, I look across to him. “And you didn’t come to find out why?”

Flicking away his cigarette, likely the second or third he’s had since I left him, he falls into the seat of the Land Rover. “It sounded like you were handling handling things just fine on your own, Your Majesty.”

“I was. It was just—”

“Or was the American handling you just fine?” His smirk is slap worthy, and my mouth falls open, my shock profound.

“I have no idea what you are talking about, Damon.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

“Drive on,” I order petulantly, only making his smile widen. “This minute.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He starts the engine and honks the horn, pointing across the field. I’m totally mortified when I see Josh cantering away in the distance.

My lips twist, my eyes closing. “I’ve only been Queen for a few hours, and I’ve already demonstrated how utterly weak I am. I’m a terrible Monarch.”

“Love doesn’t change because the world does, ma’am,” Damon says gently.

His statement, so profound and true, brings more wretched tears to my ever-crying eyes.
Malpas, Jodi Ellen. His True Queen (Smoke & Mirrors Duology Book 2) . Jodi Ellen Malpas. Kindle Locations (795-843). Kindle Edition.

Needless to say there is far more going on than meets the eye.

A dance at the White House leads to yet another encounter with Josh. The seemingly hopeless situation just gets more intense. With far more eyes watching and waiting.

Then there is the persistent suiter Haydon, who does manage to get a ring on her finger, totally under protest. Followed by a most embarrassing first appearance as an engaged couple.

As the series name implies, there are many smoke and mirror effects going on and the revelations are truly astonishing.

A nail-biting, suspenseful and sizzling conclusion to this duology.

5 Contented Purrs for Jodi!

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Jodi Ellen Malpas

“I write for myself. Not what I think people want to read.” ~ JEM

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her husband, her boys, and a beagle. She is a self-professed daydreamer and has a terrible weak spot for alpha males. After writing in secret for too long, Jodi exploded onto the scene in 2012 with her debut novel This Man, starring the prolific Jesse Ward.

Writing powerful love stories with fierce, memorable characters is her passion – a passion that has taken her on an amazing journey into the limelight of romantic fiction. Her work is now published in more than twenty-five languages across the world.

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Dare To Resist – Dare Nation Book 1 By Carly Phillips


Dare to Resist
Dare Nation Book 1
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

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He’s about to find a baby on his doorstep …
and his assistant in his bed.

Austin Prescott is a lot of things. Ex football player. Sports agent. And as of this morning? Father. Finding a baby on his doorstep should have been a joke but the pink sticky note and baby carrier she came in is deadly serious.

What’s an out of his depth bachelor to do? Call his tempting and beyond gorgeous executive assistant and beg her to move in.

Quinnlyn Stone agrees to help Austin until he can straighten out his messy life. It’s just another item on her very long To-Do list. It’s absolutely not because she’s attracted to her very single and extremely handsome boss.

Close quarters. A baby. Undeniable chemistry. What could possibly go wrong?

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Austin needs an executive assistant and fast. He is having major surgery soon and has to have someone capable he can trust to handle things while he is unable to.

Quinnlyn Stone almost didn’t get the interview, Austin was about done for the day. She did however impress him in more ways than one. First she didn’t attempt to come on to him, in fact she let him know in no uncertain terms her feelings regarding successful athletes and presented her qualifications professionally. All of which gets her hired on the spot.

Now Austin has definitely felt an attraction as does Quinn, but after a kiss while he was recuperating they are both very aware and avoiding acknowledging it.

When the unthinkable happens and Austin finds a baby on his doorstep, everything, and I do mean everything, goes haywire. Austin calls the one person he can count on and trust, Quinn.

That doesn’t go exactly as he planned but dang if she doesn’t get things organized quickly.

I’m not sure which amused me more, Austin shopping for baby necessities or the family meeting. I was laughing out loud at both.

This is a favorite scene, a bit longer than normal but required.

“You do know if Austin’s your daddy, you’re a very lucky girl. Once he gets the hang of things,” she said as she put the powder into the bottle.

The baby gurgled, and a few minutes later, bottle made, Quinn settled into the couch in the big family room and popped the nipple into the baby’s adorable puckering lips.

While Quinn fed Jenny, memories of her days doing the same thing for her family members came back to her, her younger cousins especially, and she remembered that there were times she really had enjoyed taking care of them. Like now when this sweet girl chugged her bottle as fast as she could, looking up at Quinn with wide eyes. Eyes that reminded her very much of her good-looking daddy’s.

She shook her head and let the baby finish, burped and changed her, and waited for Austin’s family to descend en masse.

A little while later, the doorbell rang, and still holding the baby because she’d been crying earlier, Quinn answered, catching sight of Bri on the other side.

Drawing a deep breath, she let the other woman in. “What’s the emerg … en … cy?” Bri’s voice trailed off as she zeroed in on the infant in Quinn’s arms. “What the fuck is that?” She shook her head, her gaze never leaving Jenny. “Never mind. Iknow it’s a baby but what’s it doing here?”

Bri stepped inside and Quinn closed the door. “I think that’s your brother’s story to tell, but isn’t she cute?” She turned the baby to face Bri, who looked at the infant, eyes huge.

“Is she—?”

“Nope,” Quinn cut off Bri’s question. “Not answering.” Explaining the situation was definitely Austin’s job.

Bri frowned, obviously not liking being in the dark. “Okay, then what are you doing here with the baby?”

Quinn sighed and readjusted Jenny against her. “Austin called me and that’s all I’m going to say. Come in. Is the rest of the family on their way?”

Bri nodded. “Mom should be here any minute. Damon’s in town so he’s coming,” she said of their youngest sibling, who played football for Ian’s team, the Miami Thunder. “Jaxon is between games so he’s coming, too.”

The baseball player brother, Quinn thought.

“And of course, Braden is halfway around the world with Doctors Without Borders,” Bri said of her twin. She sighed at that.

“You miss him, don’t you?” Quinn had heard the twins were close.

She nodded. “It’s hard when he’s not always available to talk.”

“I get it. I’m close with my siblings, too. Not that I have a twin. I’m sure that bond is different.”

Bri smiled. “It is.”

“Well, come on in. Coffee’s available. Your brother only has a single-cup brewer, but I’ll make you some.” Quinn turned and started for the kitchen, Bri right behind her.

“Thanks but I can make my own. You’re his business assistant not his housekeeper,” Bri said, shooting her a knowing look. One that said she was very at home in Austin’s house.

Quinn refused to think too hard about that and settled the now quiet baby into the carrier as the doorbell rang again. “I’ll go let them in. Can you keep an eye on the baby?” she asked Bri.

Austin’s sister nodded but she narrowed her gaze. “I don’t like not being in the loop.”

Quinn chuckled. “All will be revealed in due time,” she said and headed to let the other family members in.

* * *

Pulling in a calming breath, Austin let himself into his house, braced for whatever reaction his family had to his supposed baby. He felt bad that he hadn’t gotten back in time to do the explaining, but Quinn was more than capable of handling his family. He left the truck in the garage, planning to get his brothers’ help unloading the packages.

“Hello!” he called out.

“In the family room,” Damon yelled back.

“And you have some explaining to do.” That was Bri.

He groaned and walked into the room. As expected, his family began shouting questions at him the second they saw him.

His mother walked up to him. Not surprisingly, Jenny was in her arms. His mother loved babies. She constantly hounded her kids to get married and give her grandchildren, and Austin wondered if she’d gotten her wish.

Her concerned gaze rested on his. Always put together, her blondish-brown hair hanging to her shoulders, her makeup fresh, Christine Prescott was special. And she was an amazing mother. She’d done her best to protect her kids from their father, Jesse, when he was in one of his moods. Over the top with his expectations. If she had one flaw, it had been that she hadn’t left her husband, but she’d loved him and kept hoping her influence would fix things.

“Is she yours?” his mother asked, rubbing Jenny’s back as she spoke.

His siblings grew silent as they waited for his answer.

Austin swallowed hard, surprised Quinn hadn’t revealed what little they knew about the baby, and he met Quinn’s gaze, the unspoken question obvious.

She looked at him with sympathy in her eyes. “Not my story to tell.”

He blew out a breath and began to explain. “I found her on my doorstep last night with a note saying she’s mine.”

“Jesus, Austin, ever hear of wrapping it up?” Damon asked from his seat on the couch.

He shot his brother a dirty look. “I did. But you know as well as I do, shit happens.” He met his mother’s gaze. “That’s all I know right now. I called Ray Benson, my lawyer. He’s going to arrange for a paternity test. I’ll also turn the tapes from my house cameras over to a PI Ray uses, after I take a look and see if I recognize whoever left her.”

“Jenny,” his mother said. “Whoever left Jenny on your doorstep. She’s a baby with a name.” She continued to run her hand over the infant’s back, and Jenny had her head resting on his mother’s chest.

Even he wasn’t immune to the sight of the sweet little thing in his mom’s arms. But she was quiet for his mother. For Quinn. For him she shrieked like he was hurting her somehow.

“I know, Mom.”

“But you haven’t looked at her or asked to hold her since you walked in.”

He hated the disappointment in her voice and expression. For his whole life, he’d strived to make his parents proud, but especially his mother. He cringed at the way she was looking at him now.

But it wasn’t like he wasn’t doing things for the baby. “I just spent the last two hours loading up my credit card with things for her. For Jenny. I don’t know if she’s mine and I’m trying to adjust.”

“I don’t care if she’s yours or not. She needs love and affection. Attention, and it’s not Quinn’s responsibility.”

“I didn’t mind helping out, Mrs. Prescott,” Quinn said quietly.

With the sound of her voice came the reminder that she was witnessing what felt like his shame. That he’d probably been responsible for creating a baby he hadn’t known about. That his mother thought he was dropping the ball now.

“Call me Christine and I know you don’t mind. I just want my son to understand this baby is his responsibility … at least until we know whose baby she is. Although looking at these familiar blue eyes, I have a pretty good idea.”

Austin reeled at the fact that his mother was confirming what his gut already knew. He leaned against the nearest wall, totally floored. It was one thing to suspect Jenny was his child, another to have the closest person to him validate it.

“Mom, I need help,” Austin said in a low voice. “I need you.”

His mother patted his face. “Honey, this is where a man shows his true colors. I get that you need help, but I have a cruise for my high school reunion that I organized and I’m leaving in the morning. I can’t not show up. I’m the one in charge. I’m sorry. I’ll be here for you when I get back on Friday. I promise.”

Shit. He’d totally forgotten her trip. “It’s okay. I’ll figure something out.”

Bri rose to her feet. “I’ll stop by when I can but I have that trip to LA with Manuel Rodriguez. It’s his first major sponsor photo shoot and I promised I’d be there. What about a nanny?” she asked.

“I’ll look into hiring someone, but it’s going to take time to vet people. I can’t just trust anyone.” He knew he couldn’t ask his brothers. They both had team responsibilities, and if the idea of taking care of an infant scared him, he doubted his bachelor brothers with full-time careers were any more capable of handling the baby.

No more than Austin himself. He had a business to run, and though he could take time off if he needed to, the fact was, he didn’t know how to deal with Jenny on his own. He was at a total loss and didn’t know who to turn to or what to do.

“I’ll do it. I’ll move in and help,” Quinn said, striding over to his mother and sliding a protective hand over little Jenny’s head.

Everyone’s eyes whipped toward her in shock but none more than Austin’s.
Carly Phillips. Dare to Resist (Kindle Locations 791-864). CP Publishing.

With Quinn moving in to help temporarily, things start heating up between them.

Austin has some major obstacles to overcome as does Quinn.

I absolutely loved the progression of this story, from the history of Austin’s relationship to the Dares to Quinn’s feelings about motherhood.

This is definitely a must read series for me and I hope it will be for you as well.

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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The Cowboy Inherits A Bride – Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 0 by Cora Seton


The Cowboy Inherits A Bride
Cowboy’s of Chance Creek Book 0
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton

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When Sunshine Patterson loses her Chicago home, job and boyfriend in one day, she needs a backup plan, fast. Luckily her Aunt Cecily has provided her with the perfect combination living and restaurant space to start over. Even though the building is located in small town Chance Creek, Montana, Sunshine is certain it’s only a matter of time before she’s back to take the big city by storm. When she arrives in Chance Creek, however, she gets a surprise. Her restaurant space—and apartment—are occupied by a rival to her inheritance: the incredibly sexy, incredibly wrong for her, Cole Linden.

Cole’s been struggling to save his family’s holdings for far too long. The indoor rifle range he inherited from his father barely pays its rent, but it’s all that’s keeping his other concerns—two apartment houses—afloat. If he was smart, he’d walk away from all of it and start over, but if he does, several dozen of Chance Creek’s inhabitants will find themselves without a home. He thought Cecily meant to leave him the range building in her will. Instead she’s set him up in a four-month-long competition with her big-city niece to see who will win the place. A niece whose knockout looks are making it damn hard for him to concentrate on the job at hand.

Sunshine can’t believe she’ll have to open a vegan restaurant in a rifle-range waiting room, and she can’t believe she’ll have to share her apartment with Cole, either. Cole can’t believe his friends are falling over themselves to help Sunshine succeed—and get a date with her.

Now the competition is getting hot, but the sparks flying between them are even hotter. Can Cole and Sunshine find a way they both can win?

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Sunshine is looking forward to a new beginning after losing just about everything to her ex. The inheritance of a restaurant with an apartment from her Aunt Cecily is a godsend. That is until she finds out there are a few underlying provisions to be met.

Cole wasn’t happy with the provisions either, he had been led to believe that he would inherit this building from Cecily so he would be able to carry on like his father had.

To say the provisions were a bit over the top is an understatement, since not only do they have to share the business space, the small one bedroom apartment and show a profit for their respective businesses. Four months and no more than one night spent away or they lose everything to the other.

Their first night Sunshine has to admit she can’t move his stuff out of the bedroom and would have to stay on the couch. If that wasn’t enough her ex calls her to yell something about keys.

This is a favorite scene.

Cole stepped forward and took the phone from her hand. “Listen, asshole—Sunshine doesn’t want to talk to you. Call here again and I’ll track you down, tear you limb from limb and bury your body parts in nine separate states. Got it?” He cut the call and turned the phone’s sound off before handing it back to her.

“That was my ex-fiancé,” she said.

Cole snorted. “Why am I not surprised?”

After Cole disappeared back into his room, Sunshine slipped into the bathroom, changed into a short nighty, and climbed gratefully into her makeshift bed. This had been one of the worst days of her life and Greg’s obnoxious behavior was just the icing on the cake. Thank God Cole had been here to deal with him, because if she’d had to talk to him for one more minute she would have dissolved into a screaming mess. She shivered with distaste.

She settled on the couch and pulled a light sheet up around her shoulders, needing the comfort of covers even though the night was warm. She had once been so in love with Greg and he’d been in love with her. When had that changed?

When her savings had begun to run out. Greg assumed because her family was rich she had access to a never-ending supply of money, and she supposed in a way he was right. If she needed something and asked her parents for it, most likely they would help her out. What Greg didn’t understand, however, was that she’d been raised not to ask except in the case of the direst emergency. She was proud she’d managed to save enough money from her jobs in high school and college to have a sizeable bank account by the time she’d met Greg. She’d applied for a sous chef position at his newly opened restaurant and soon she’d proven her worth in every aspect of the business. When they began to date, and he confessed he was short on funds for some upgrades, she’d been pleased to become his partner. They’d run the restaurant together for over a year.

Of course, now she saw the truth. She was young, cute and rich, and he’d used all those attributes to his advantage. When she ceased being an asset, in the most monetary sense of the word, he’d discarded her.

Well, screw him. She didn’t need Greg or his stupid restaurant. She had everything she needed right here.

Doubt assailed her when she thought of the ramshackle, empty space that would soon house her café. Was she kidding herself? What if Greg was right? What if she screwed this up, too?

She threw back the covers and tip-toed into the kitchen. It was obvious she wouldn’t sleep tonight, so she might as well start making plans. She needed to open her café sooner rather than later—before her dwindling supply of cash ran out. She made herself a cup of tea and then sat at the scrubbed wooden table with a tablet of paper and a pen in front of her. As the minutes ticked by, however, she found herself doodling Cole’s name instead of a list of supplies she needed to buy.

Cole was handsome, not in a movie-star kind of way, but in a manly, I-know-what-I’m-doing kind of way. Big and strong and masculine; just the way she liked them. Greg had been cute enough, but Cole filled out his jeans and t-shirt in a way Greg never could. He was easy in his skin and she had the feeling he could change a tire, or fix a dishwasher—things Greg would have to hire someone else to do. She’d noticed Cole’s hands, earlier—large, strong, hands capable of doing all sorts of things.

Sunshine groaned. This was getting her nowhere except hot and bothered with no relief in sight. She tore off the top sheet of paper, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash, then crossed the room to the back door and let herself out onto the deck. There was little traffic at this late hour in the small town, but enough light shone from streetlights to illuminate the meadow that sloped away from her. She shivered a little in the cool air, suddenly lonelier than she could ever remember being. Greg was gone. Not the asshole who called a short time ago to yell at her, but the ideal Greg she’d created in her mind and fallen in love with. Would she ever believe in love again?

Could someone else ease the ache in her heart? And the ache between her legs?

Truth be told she missed sex almost as much as she missed the fantasy relationship she thought she had with Greg. He might be an asshole, but at least he’d touched her, held her and had enough basic chivalry to make sure she’d shared his pleasure in making love.

The six weeks since they’d broken up seemed to stretch into months. She knew she was pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way. She knew she’d have other boyfriends in the future. Knew it in her head, anyway.

Her bruised, broken, stomped-on heart said something different. After all, Kate and Greg, the two people who knew her the best, didn’t find her all that compelling. Maybe they were right. Maybe she was a drama queen. Maybe she was unlovable.

Maybe she’d be alone forever.

She didn’t hear the door open behind her, so when Cole touched her back, Sunshine jumped.

“It’s just me,” he said in a low, husky voice. “You okay?”

Sunshine bowed her head, tears pricking her eyes at this unlooked for kindness. Had Greg ever asked her if she was okay?

“I’m fine. It’s just…” To her horror, tears spilled down her cheeks and the pain in her throat grew to an enormous lump that threatened to choke her until she let out a great gasp of sadness.

Cole pulled her into his arms, one hand at the small of her back, the other cradling her head, and she leaned against him, sobbing all the tears she’d held in for so long. She wanted to push away, run inside, dive under her covers, and hide from him for the remainder of her days, but she couldn’t have moved for the world. As long as he held her she could push back the chasm of loneliness that threatened to pull her in for all eternity. Just for a minute she didn’t have to face the future alone.
Seton, Cora. Cowboys of Chance Creek Vol 0 – 2 . One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (531-577). Kindle Edition.

Now a vegan restaurant sharing the space with a firing range isn’t something you see in small town Montana. Sunshine has her work cut out for her and Cole isn’t going to make it easy on her.

I loved the way this relationship grows from animosity, to friendship, to love. That journey is filled with so much emotion on both sides, with others seeking to possibly date Sunshine.

This is so much more than a simmer to sizzle relationship and the resolution of Cecily’s will is such a surprise. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

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Cora Seton

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

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


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