Tyson’s Treasure – Heroes For Hire Book 11 By Dale Mayer


Tyson’s Treasure
Heroes for Hire Book 11
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Tyson lost his wife and child several years ago, and he knows it’s time to move on… So when his wife’s best friend barrels into his new life and he finds out she’s in trouble – as in serious stalker trouble – he steps up because he owes it to his late wife. Only he quickly finds out he wants to be at Kai’s side – any way he can.

Kai has wanted Tyson for so damn long, but from the first moment her best friend saw him first, the two were like a lock and key. When Kai sets her eyes on him for the first time in years while doing a demonstration for a new training program her company developed, she realizes her feelings haven’t changed.

But her life has changed, and she has a huge issue she doesn’t want anyone to know about. After all, she’s got a badass skill set… She can handle a stalker on her own… right?

Or maybe not. As the two delve deeper into the Kai’s troubles, they find out things are much more complicated than they seem – and much more deadly.

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At the recommendation and encouragement of Michael, Tyson has joined the ranks of Levi and Ices’ Legendary Security. He is one of the new guys along with his friend Jace.

It’s been two years since Tyson lost his wife and child and he feels finally ready to move forward with his life. Maybe even find love again. He was a bit puzzled when Kai appeared at the compound, not only challenging him but all the others on the mats. Kai had been a Martial Arts instructor in the Army but had moved to the private sector. When she she reveals the new ‘toys’ he understands and shares the excitement of the group.

Kai enjoys showing off the new things developed by her company, she leaves the compound anticipating a lunch meeting the next day. She also has a problem, a stalker and so far the police have no leads. Kai hoped she managed to mask her feelings when she got a text from the guy while wrapping things up. She didn’t want Levi and Ice to worry.

That’s all going to change though, the latest texts and emails from her stalker indicated he know where she lives and that she was at the compound. When Detective Mannford calls Levi to verify, it puts them on the case. Lunch is going to be very interesting.

A tracker on her vehicle and one in her phone explain a lot, but also opened up a lot of questions. Levi and Ice start with her contacts, but also realize more is going to be needed.

This is a favorite scene.

Kai reached for her phone and looked through her Contacts.

Levi said, “Don’t worry about those. Everybody on that list we’ll take a good look at.”

She raised her gaze and studied him. “Really?”

His voice was hard when he said, “Really.”

She shook her head and said, “Well, I don’t have anybody else to add to this then. The men here in my Contacts will all be business acquaintances or friends. If they aren’t listed here, I don’t have contact with them.”

“Then tell us who or what they are, what their relationship is to you.”

“That I can do.”

The waitress brought menus while they continued to work. Kai ordered the Caesar salad and didn’t hear the rest the conversation as she tried to make sense of the long list.

She stared at one name in particular.

Rob Goring. “I have no idea who this is.” She glanced from one to the other. “I know a lot of people are on this list, but this one doesn’t ring a bell. Neither does Ben Jones or Thomas Getty.”

“Well, put them down with an asterisk beside their names. We’ll start with them,” Levi said.

She stared at him in surprise. “Why?”

“He had your phone long enough to put a tracker in it. It would take about ten seconds to put his name or a half-dozen names into the Contact list.”

“Sure, but why bother?”

“To make it look like you were friends already, from a cop’s point of view or a boyfriend’s too. Or to make it look like you had a lot of men in your Contacts list. And, before you ask why again, just think of all the ugly reasons he’d do that. Including making it look like you deserve whatever is coming to you. There is logic in his actions. Just because we don’t know what it is, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

Her stomach got a sickly sense; her skin crawled at the back of her neck. She stared down at her phone and said, “I don’t think I can eat lunch now.”

“It’s more important than ever.”

She gazed at Tyson in anger. “I don’t like where you’re going with that.”

“You’ve got training. You know how bad things can get.”

Her breath gusted out along with some hard memories from her training and the years she’d spent in the military. His words were damn true. But leaving that world behind had been a whole lot easier than she had thought. She’d expected to feel strange and uncomfortable, but she’d thrown off that life with joy. The old Kai didn’t fit the new Kai. Trying to crawl back into that skin didn’t work easily.

“You’re also never to be alone anymore.”

“I don’t trust anybody, other than you guys. But I can’t impose on you for help.”

“Stop,” Ice said. “This isn’t a job. You’re our friend.”

“It’s not that easy. You guys will put a ton of man-hours into this in the end. Who’ll reimburse you for all that?” she asked. Inside she was horrified—and her heart warmed—at their offer of help.

“I’d tell you how we take on pro bono cases all the time,” Levi said, “but I know that would piss you off. On the other hand, I want you pissed off. I want you angry. I want you to look at this guy and see him for what he is. He’s a creep, trying to ruin your life. Yet, you need to stay calm. You need to be in control. And you need to make sure that fear never, ever is in the front-row seat again.”

Getting her head wrapped around this wasn’t easy. Suddenly her neighbor’s face popped up. “Steve Rossi. He has the apartment across from me. Henry…” She thought about it for a moment longer. “Henry Springer?” She frowned. “He was a supply clerk. He was always just kind of”—she looked over at Ice and shrugged—“creepy.”

“Good. Keep going.”

Accepting what she needed to do, she managed to add another half-dozen names to the list. When the waitress returned with their food, she put down her pen. “It seems stupid because these men have nothing to do with me now.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Levi said, accepting the plate from the waitress. “But somebody does.”

“I can set up surveillance,” Tyson offered.

“What kind of surveillance?” Kai asked.

“It would be nice to see the action outside on your street.”

“We checked with Detective Mannford about the city cameras, but they are only on the main traffic intersections and not on the residential side streets. Not only that, but the front of your apartment building is hidden by large trees so any city-street cameras would have a hard time capturing a clear picture. It’s an older building with standard security, not one with a high-end camera system in the hallways, elevators or stairwells, so a dead end there too,” Tyson said.

She stared at him. “You’re ready to set up something now?”

He nodded.

She took a bite of her salad. “We could set up a camera inside my vehicle. That might show if somebody is near it and gets inside. The chances are they’d have a key already made.”

“When you take it home, park it and leave it there.”

She raised an eyebrow. “I still have to get to work and have a lot of things to do around town.”

He nodded. “We brought in two vehicles. One has been loaded with sensors to pick up other electronics. So you can drive that for the next week or so, and we’ll see if somebody tries to penetrate the vehicle or track you again.”

“This is hardly fair,” she protested. “You guys are taking on way too much.” She looked around but only saw hard faces. She shrugged. “Okay, but keep track of what you spend,” she said. “I’ll see what I can pay back over time.”

“We’d rather take it out of our pocketbook than out of your hide,” Ice said.

Kai realized just how good a friend this group had ended up being. She glanced at Tyson to see his hard dark eyes locked on hers. When he gave a clipped nod, she realized he included himself in that group. And she smiled this time, a warm welcoming smile and said, “Thank you.”
Mayer, Dale. Tyson’s Treasure: A SEALs of Honor World Novel (Heroes for Hire Book 10) . Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (692-741). Kindle Edition.

Having Tyson with her twenty-four seven was going to be a challenge for her. She’s always had feelings for him, but she never acted on them because her best-friend and Tyson clicked so fast and so perfectly. She too had struggled with the loss of her friend.

An uneasy camaraderie leads to laughter and intimacy. A development that took them a bit by surprise but felt so right.

The stalker begins to escalate and then everything starts heating up, including her business partnership and not in a good way.

Lots of intrigue, suspense, surprises and the sizzling heat of Kai and Tyson’s relationship kept me turning the pages.

I am already starting 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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Protected by Bears – Claiming Her Bears Book 2 By Skye MacKinnon


Protected By Bears
Claiming Her Bears Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye Mac Kinnon

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Last night, we became one, the lines blurred between our minds for just a moment, but the echo of it is still vivid in my memories. I want to feel that again, and if I have to chain them all to my bed. That actually sounds like a pretty good idea.

The Fates like to play with our lives. They’re not malicious, just bored. But that also means that sometimes, we have to take our destiny in our own hands and defy the Fates.

I will do anything to save the bear shifters from extinction, even if that means going against the will of the most powerful beings in the universe.

Because the bears are no longer just friends. They’re family.

NOTE:
Protected by Bears is the second book in the Claiming Her Bears series, a post-apocalyptic reverse harem. Prepare for strong alpha males with a trace of vulnerability, an epic quest, Viking beards, very steamy scenes, Scottish landscapes, Celtic mythology and a post-apocalyptic setting.
Previously published as Polar Fates.

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Isla and her bear Alis are more aware of each other, the shifting is easier and her mates are as loving and protective as can be. They’ve settled quite nicely on this Island, into a home of their own. Isla has bonded with the Alpha Torben and she has also fallen for Húnn, Ràn, and Finn as they settle into their new relationship. Fellow shifters Arnold and Bertram (Bertie) have not only been gracious hosts, they also know how to get supplies from the trading ships that come periodically. An abandoned battery factory with lots of inventory are their currency and they are shrewd negotiators.

This book opens with one of those trade ships arriving. It’s not only the supplies they obtain, but a strange woman sets them on a quest for a portal on the island. Apparently the Fates messenger has a sense of humor.

This is a favorite scene.

There’s nobody to be seen when we reach the beach. The sun is setting to our right, turning the gently lapping waves a beautiful shade of orange. The trading ship is anchored far out and there’s no boat in sight. It doesn’t look like anyone will be coming from the ship, but maybe they’re late.

Torben looks like he’s anticipating a threat. He’s in a defensive stand, ready to shift any second. The other bears are similar, except for Húnn and myself. I trust Alis to come out and shift us if the need arises. She can shift faster than the guys, but it’s her doing the shifting, not me. All I do is open my mind to her and let her take over. It still goes against all my instincts, but it works. And if I expect her to let me have full control while we’re human, I better give her the steering wheel when we’re a polar bear.

I chuckle to myself. Yup, we’re a polar bear, occasionally. Life is strange.

“Yes, it is,” a melodious voice says behind us, making me jump. It’s the girl from earlier, as I predicted. She looks the same, except that her green eyes are glowing now. Like cat’s eyes that are hit by light. Creepy.

Torben takes a protective stance in front of me. Silly man, I know how to protect myself. I can feel Alis watching, close to the surface, ready to jump.

“Thanks for coming,” the girl says, looking at us curiously. That makes her even creepier. She looks at us as if we’re strange, unusual, even though she’s the one with the glowing eyes.

“Isla, would you mind calling off your bears?”

“They’re not mine to call off,” I reply coldly, but I notice that Torben’s claws retract at my words.

“Oh, I’m pretty sure they are,” she laughs brightly. “Just because only one of them is bound to you doesn’t mean the others don’t belong to you.”

“How do you know that?”

“Isla sweetie, I know a lot more than you think. And feel free to voice your suspicion to the others. They can’t hear your thoughts like I do.”

Stunned, I steel my mind, doing the same that I usually do when I try to keep out Alis.

“Not working,” the girl says cheerily and I glare at her.

“What suspicions?” Bertie asks quietly.

I sigh. “That she’s one of the Fates.”

“Before you all faint from shock – no, I’m not one of the Fates,” the girl giggles. “I’m only their lowly messenger. Servant, if you like. Lover, occasionally. Have you figured it out yet?”

Dumbfounded, we all stare at her. I was right, she’s not a normal girl. She’s definitely not the age she seems to be. And probably dangerous.

“Have we figured what out, exactly?” I challenge her and Torben shoots me a proud glance.

“Why you’re on Inchbrach. Why this island is special.”

“I’m sure you’re going to tell us.”

She sighs. “Yes, but only because I have better things to do than babysit a horde of bears. The Ladies want to see you and Inchbrach is the place you’ll get to do that. There’s a portal somewhere… but telling you where wouldn’t be any fun!”

She laughs brightly and runs off, leaving us without looking back.

I’m stunned.

“What just happened?” Húnn asks, just as confused as I am.

“Well, we either met a deluded young girl or a servant of the Fates. Take your pick,” Arnold says drily. “I never heard of them taking on servants. I always thought they work alone.”

“So you knew about them before this?” I ask, my mind spinning.

“They’re a legend, but so are werewolves and werebears. I tend to keep an open mind about it all, even if some of it doesn’t turn out to be true. There’s usually a grain of truth in every fairy tale.”

“He’s very wise like that,” Bertie says lovingly and puts an arm around his partner’s waist. My heart warms at the sight of those two lovers. One day, I want to be like them. Except that I’ll have four bears to cuddle, not just one.

“So what do we do now? She spoke of a portal, any idea what she could mean?” Torben asks our hosts.

“No clue. We’ve never noticed anything unusual while roaming the island. But then, we’ve not exactly been looking for portals. I didn’t know such a thing exists.”

Torben frowns. “From tomorrow, we’ll search the island. Arnold, Bertrand, do you have a map we can use to assign areas? And Isla, you should try and ask Alis if she knows anything about portals or even whether the Fates really have servants.”

“There’s a map but it’s not very accurate. It’s from before the Drowning, but we’ve marked the current coastline on it.” Bertie sadly shakes his head. “I can’t believe this used to be a village far away from the sea. I’d never have thought…”

“None of us did,” Arnold comforts his partner. “I think people would have looked after our planet much better had they known what the Drowning would do.”

They had a portal back in Arcadia, but not for the Fates, just for the Gods. Most of them dwelled on Earth but sometimes they disappeared through the portal and wouldn’t say where they went.

Alis is back and this time, her sadness doesn’t overwhelm me. I didn’t even notice that I’d let down my barriers. Maybe it was that girl with her strange mind-reading abilities.

“What did it look like?” I ask aloud before noticing that the men don’t know what I’m talking about. “Alis says she’s seen a portal before,” I explain.

A marble gate, two big columns with a shimmering ethereal fabric in between. Like silk, but magical. It was always guarded and us humans weren’t allowed to get close. But even from the distance it looked both beautiful and dangerous.

Why dangerous?

It felt strange, like it was trying to suck you in.

I can almost see her shudder. If it worries Alis, then it should warn us all to be careful.

Everything seems to be spiralling out of control. When did the world become so complicated? I’ve only just got used to bear shifters existing – and being one of them – and suddenly there’s Fates and Gods and portals. And girls with glowing eyes. This time it’s me who shudders. I’m glad creepy-girl is gone. Although she ran off and didn’t take a boat back to the trading ship, so is she still on the island? Or did she disappear through the portal?

“We should follow her tracks,” I suggest. “If she went through the portal, that will save us having to search for it.”

“That would almost be too easy,” Torben mumbles but he doesn’t challenge me. I know it’s not the best idea ever, but better than just randomly searching the island.

“Ràn, you’re our best tracker, go with Isla and see what you can find. The rest of us will be back at the house.”
Skye MacKinnon. Claiming Her Bears: The complete series (Kindle Locations 2466-2521). Peryton Press. Kindle Edition.

Once they find the portal, only Isla and two of her bears are brought through it. They quest the fates have in mind is emotional and dangerous. The outcome means the bear shifters would once again be able to have offspring.

A strange and mysterious tale, with plenty of danger and sizzling heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

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

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

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

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The Controversial Princess – Smoke and Mirrors Book 1 By Jodi Ellen Malpas


The Controversial Princess
Smoke and Mirrors Book 1
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Jodi Ellen Malpas

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Her father is The King of England.
She is The Controversial Princess.

Regarded as down to earth by the press and rebellious by The King, Princess Adeline refuses to bow to the royal expectations her title carries. She knows better than anyone that the united front of the royal family is nothing but smoke and mirrors – lies and secrets masked by power and privilege. She wants no part of it, and she will never surrender to The King’s demand to marry a man she does not love. But despite Adeline’s determination to retain her free will, she remains deeply unfulfilled, feeling caged and suffocated.

That is until she meets Josh Jameson. Drawn in by his confidence, Adeline is soon captivated by the scandalously sexy American actor. His ability to penetrate her defences overwhelms her – his touch is pure fire, and his allure overpowering. Nothing has ever made her feel so alive in a world where she’s otherwise slowly drowning. However, while Josh may be Hollywood royalty, he’s not actual royalty, and Adeline knows The King and his advisors will do everything in their power to keep them apart.

But Josh Jameson becomes the princess’s ultimate vice.
And although she bows to no one, she bows to him.

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Princess Adeline is celebrating her 30th birthday, the celebration, a garden party at the palace is nothing more than a chore for her. Spending time with her cousin Matilda, the Duchess of York is the only thing relieving the tedium. That is until she spots Josh Jameson, American Actor and Sex Symbol heading their way.

This is a favorite scene.

Someone I actually do recognize, though what he’s doing here is a mystery. “Is that Josh Jameson?” I ask Matilda, nodding discreetly through the crowds.

“You mean the actor? The hot American actor?” Her neck cranes to see, and then there is a small gasp from my cousin. “Oh, golly, yes. What is he doing here?”

“I have not the faintest idea,” I say quietly, taking a few small steps to the right to get a better view. I breathe in controlled, but exhale a little shakily. By gosh, he’s even more striking in the flesh. One is a little speechless. Twinkly blue eyes that harbor mischief and pure sex, permanently roughed-up brown hair, and scruff to match. He’s perfectly rugged and dangerously handsome. Josh Jameson. I sigh, smiling to myself, enjoying my new delightful view. He was recently voted the World’s Sexiest Man Alive and has an Oscar under his belt to boot. He is the perfect male specimen, every woman’s fantasy. A Hollywood poster boy. A bloody god. But to me, he is prohibited. The World’s Sexist Man Alive is off limits. Typical. I pout to myself as I continue to admire his fine form, silently damning my royal bones to hell and back. But then he looks in my direction and our eyes meet. I quickly turn away from him, a little taken aback by the blaze in his stare. What is he doing here?

“It’s the London premiere of his new movie soon,” Matilda muses, popping a canapé in her mouth. “I read it in a magazine.”

“But why is he here? At my birthday party?”

She ignores my question, her eyes widening somewhat. “Oh, gosh. Adeline, he’s coming over.”

“He is?” I feel my body straighten out, all the stressed muscles unkinking. “Why ever would he do that?” Josh Jameson’s face and body is splashed on millions of billboards and magazines across the world, his playboy reputation renowned, and now he is here? In the flesh? In a suit, looking all handsome and ruggedly distinguished? At my birthday garden party?

A slow, lazy smile stretches my red lips through my increasing fluster. Josh Jameson.

My, oh my.

“Your Highness.” The rough American accent takes my simmering blood and directs it to my epicenter. And I don’t mean my heart, though it is certainly thrumming. The thrill is electrifying. <em.Your Highness. Never before have those words turned me on. I always feel the inclination to shove them back down the throat of whoever has spoken them to me. Not today. I turn slowly and cock my head in question, suggesting he should prompt me on his name. Of course, I know exactly who he is, yet a deep desire in me does not want to let on that I am privy to his identity.

“Josh Jameson.” He smiles, all bright and dazzling, with a hint of cheek, but it is one hundred percent knowing. Who doesn’t know who this man is?

I don’t try to conceal my demure grin. “What a pleasure, Mr. Jameson. Please, there is no need for formalities. You may call me Adeline.” I’m lying. There is every need for formalities, as expressed in Matilda’s shocked look when I catch her eye. But the truth is, I want to hear him say my name. Softly. In that gorgeous, rough American drawl.

“Adeline,” he muses delicately, taking my charging blood to boiling point. I am far from disappointed. On the love of the King, holy bloody hell. “Happy birthday.”

I inhale deeply, allowing my eyes the pleasure of journeying his long, svelte body to his feet. His three-piece screams bespoke, and his shoes are without doubt handmade. But he looks effortlessly well turned out, the pale pink hanky poking out of his breast pocket not neatly folded, but more stuffed inside as if it could have been a last-minute addition to his attire. He does perfectly roughed-up so well, a mix of neat in his clothes and messy on his face. Goodness, he is edible.

A nudge in my elbow knocks me out of my silent admiring, and I turn to find Matilda staring at me with too many questions in her eyes. I quickly gather myself and shoot my gaze up, immediately finding Josh Jameson regarding me closely, no doubt relishing the scrutiny he’s under. Clearing my throat, I raise my glass to my cousin. “Mr. Jameson, this is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent.”

“Pleasure, Mr. Jameson,” Matilda purrs. “You may call me Matilda.” Her sarcasm has me peeking out the corner of my eye to her.

“The pleasure is all mine.” Josh smiles, another knowing smile. It is almost too much.

“So how did you come to be at my birthday celebrations?” I ask flippantly, trying not to express too much interest.

“My father met the King during his time in the military many years ago.”

“But you are American.”

“No shit,” he retorts quickly, reining in a cheeky smile. I’m both outraged and in awe. “You Brits and us Yanks are allies, ma’am.”

“I know that.” I roll my eyes dramatically, buzzing with something wild and electric. He cursed at me. It’s unheard of to use such vulgar language in the presence of a royal.

“My father is now a senator.” He points across to the King, who is talking to a rather round man in a black tux. “He was in town, and the King thought we might like to join him and his wonderful family today.”

“How lovely,” I muse. “So you are gatecrashing, for a lack of a better term?”

“Well”—he shrugs—“no man in his right mind would turn down the opportunity to meet the beautiful and illustrious Princess Adeline of England. And I must say, Your Highness, your pictures do you no justice.”

I force my eyes not to widen, gathering myself. “Touché.” My murmured reply is loaded with lust and suggestion. I toast the air, smiling around my pout. “I hope you are having a splendid time.”

“Oh, I am. And you?”

“Things are looking up.” I take a measured sip of my champagne, mesmerized by the sparkle in Josh’s blue eyes.

On a smile, he looks around the grounds. “I’ve often thought how alike we are.”

“Oh? How so?”

“You seem very passionate.”

“I do?”

“Yes.” His smile is now suggestive. “As am I.”

“Interesting.”

“And you seem to know what you want.”

“Indeed.”

“I like to have fun.”

“As do I, Mr. Jameson. As . . . do . . . I.”

“So we’re a match made in heaven.”

I laugh lightly, feeling Matilda’s despair as she endures this outrageous flirting match. I plan on winning. “In your dreams, Mr. Jameson.”

“Or maybe, Your Highness, in yours.”

Josh flashes another one of those dashing smiles, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but I am struggling to maintain my composure. So I do what is best and free myself from the suffocating intensity of Mr. Jameson’s presence before I make a fool of myself and start dribbling. “Excuse me.” Putting one foot in front of the other is far more difficult than it should be. “Delightful to meet you, Mr. Jameson.”
Malpas, Jodi Ellen. The Controversial Princess (The Smoke & Mirrors Duology Book 1) . Jodi Ellen Malpas. Kindle Locations (282-334). Kindle Edition.

Much happens at this garden party as Adeline sneaks off to a maze on the property to meet with Josh. Also the announcement of her brother John, the Heir Apparent, wife’s pregnacy, takes the shine off her party.

Plenty of subterfuge as the princess and the actor have several secret rendezvous. It’s also the nature of these encounters I have a bit of a problem with. I’m no stranger to kinks in a book, but there were elements here I felt should have had more of an explicit consent rather than an implied one.

This book was supposedly set in today’s world and that also made it a bit difficult for me. The English Monarchy and Aristocracy is well known and even with the landmark name changes and a totally different Monarchy I kept looking for the familiar.

I love the characters especially Damon and Bates, Adeline and Josh’s bodyguards respectively. What their charges put them through really is above and beyond.

Adeline is indeed strong and determined only to marry for love, and Josh is determined to be the winner in this battle of love v. tradition. The twists and turns in this book particularly at the end had me buying the second book in this duology.

4 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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Dakota’s Delight – Heroes for Hire Book 9 By Dale Mayer


Dakota’s Delight
Heroes for Hire Book 9
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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When a young woman darts into traffic and into Dakota’s path, life takes a dark turn for both of them.

Bailey, recovering from the loss of her husband, retreated from life. Going to work and coming home was the extent of her days and weeks. Until she walks into work early one morning, witnesses a murder and flees into traffic, nearly getting killed.

The near death experience awakens the spark of life inside of her. So does the man in the car. A different kind of a spark.

For her safety, Dakota persuades her to move into the compound with him and the rest of the Legendary family while they track down the killers.

Bailey is forced to accept Dakota’s help. But can she stay safe long enough for the police to track down the killer? Or is the man who almost ran her over going to steal her heart?

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Dakota is running errands for the compound when a women runs out in front of his truck. With rain coming down as it was he was lucky he didn’t hit her hard. The surprising thing is she ran away from him refusing help. Dakota if course is having none of that and follows her.

Bailey doesn’t want to tell him anything, but when he ends up taking her home she felt safer about not being overheard. What she tells him leads to him taking a closer look at her injuries and he discovers she had indeed been shot. Her stumbling most likely saved her life.

A hospital visit, a word with a detective Ice sends, and a couple more errands later has them arriving at the compound. Ice quickly gets her settled and everyone gets to work while she rests.

This is a favorite scene once Bailey wakes.

Bailey opened her eyes, feeling overheated, forcing her to push back the blankets. Only to cry out. Every movement hurt. As she rolled over, her back pain flared up again. The painkillers had helped, and she sure hoped the antibiotics would take care of any other problems. The last thing she wanted was an infection and a fever from the injury.

Of course, if she’d known she would get shot, she would’ve changed her outfit. On that slightly humorous note, she tried to sit up, using the headboard to keep her back rigid. Finally she made it, gasping with pain. She sat there and looked around the room, pleased to see it had the air of a home not a hotel. A bathroom was right in front of her. The only problem was getting to it.

Considering how weak she was, she used the headboard to pull herself upright, and then, using the wall for support, she slowly made her way across to the bathroom.

After using the facilities, she winced at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was a nightmare. She quickly tried to straighten it. She looked tired, but she couldn’t do much about that.

She wasn’t sure if she should stay here or go downstairs, not knowing the house rules. She didn’t mind staying in her room, but it was hardly polite.

Determined to not make anyone regret helping her out, she slowly reached for a bathrobe and placed it around her shoulders. She took a deep breath, waiting for the pain. At the very least, maybe she could say hi and then come back. She opened the door and stepped out into the hallway.

She didn’t have her purse or her cell phone, so she had no idea what time it was. She turned the corner and headed down a wider hallway. She marveled at the architecture reflected in this huge space—a whole lot of medieval castle elements. Seeing the elevator, she smiled. “I remember those.”

She stepped inside and read the numbers. She pushed the button for the ground floor and waited for it to take her downstairs. When the door opened again, she wasn’t sure where to go, but a lot of noise came from the right. She slowly made her way toward the commotion, taking another right, and ended up in a massive kitchen.

An older man prepped a single plate of food. He looked up; surprise crossed his face. Immediately he rushed over to her. “Are you sure you should be up?”

She reached out and grasped his hand. “I feel much better. I think it must be the painkillers,” she admitted.

He smiled, hooked her arm through his and said gently, “My name is Alfred. Come on. I’ll take you in to Dakota.”

He walked her slowly into the noisy dining room. She didn’t recognize anybody.

Alfred cleared his throat, and there was silence. Everyone turned to look her way. She retreated, but Alfred patted her hand. “Don’t you worry. You’ll fit right in, my dear. Everyone, this is Bailey. She’s awake and on her feet, even though she shouldn’t be.”

Dakota bounded up from the far side of the table and strode toward her. Relief washed through her at the sight of him. “There you are,” she cried.

He wrapped an arm carefully around her shoulders for support. “I thought you’d be asleep for hours yet.”

She smiled. “As much as I’d like to be back asleep, I’m awake. I wasn’t sure if I should stay in my room or come find you,” she confessed.

“You didn’t have to worry on that score. I’d planned to come check on you in a little bit.”

Ice stood, and her gaze traveled over Bailey, making a head-to-toe assessment of her condition.

Bailey smiled. “You have medical training by any chance?”

“Field variety but yes.”

Dakota slowly walked her around the dining table to an empty seat beside him.

“This has got to be the largest table I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“That’s because it’s four put together,” Levi said.

Bailey recognized a few of the faces now, but the others were all a blur from when Dakota had brought her here. “I’m sorry. I don’t remember most of you.”

Dakota pulled out the chair and helped her sit down. “How could you,” he joked. “They weren’t all here when you arrived.”

Seated, her back felt better. She smiled up at him with thanks and glanced around the table full of strange faces. “Thank you for the haven. My name is Bailey Hoskins,” she said more formally.

Dakota did the introductions, but the names came fast, and she knew she’d never remember them all. “It will take me a while to remember everyone,” she admitted.

“Don’t rush it,” a woman on the far side said. “By the time you figure it out, the rest of our team will be back, and you’ll be confused again. This is only half of us right now.”

Bailey knew her surprise showed on her face when the others chuckled. “Wow.” She turned to look at Dakota. “You said you worked for a security company?”

He nodded and pointed toward Ice and Levi. “It’s their company.”

Bailey looked over at the twosome and smiled. “So, it’s you I have to thank for the assistance.”

Ice said firmly, “No thanks required. It’s important you get back on your feet again.”

“Of course I really would like to know if you’re sure that the mayor was involved in the shooting,” Levi said, leaning forward. “He’s not my favorite person, so I won’t be too upset if he was.”

She winced. “It was him. I saw his face directly.”

Levi studied her for a long moment, then nodded. “Good enough for me.” He turned to Ice. “Another regime will fall.”

Ice chuckled. “This is just a miniregime.”

“I almost miss that. Toppling governments is a lot of work but fun.”

Bailey listened to the banter back and forth, but she wasn’t sure if they were joking or if they were serious. She figured it was a little bit of both.

Alfred arrived with a plate of food for Dakota. As soon as he set it down, he turned to Bailey. “May I get you a plate of the same?”

She glanced over at the roast beef and gravy and vegetables and could feel her mouth water. “Yes, please, if you have it to spare.”

Dakota chuckled. “If there’s one thing Alfred likes to do, it’s feed people. So it’s okay if he makes something fresh for you.”

She leaned over as Alfred walked away and whispered, “You’re lucky to have him.”

Dakota leaned back and said, “And we know it.”
Mayer, Dale. Heroes for Hire: Books 7-9 (pp. 465-469). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

Lots of action in this one as the compound once again gets infiltrated. Taking down the man responsible for all this is complicated.

The close confines has Bailey helping Alfred out in the kitchen and making friends with the other women who live there.

Her relationship with Dakota also starts heating up, I do love a great simmer to sizzle.

The next book in this series was actually part of the first Silver SEALs Series and I’ve already read and reviewed it so the next one up will be Tyson’s Treasure.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Cat’s Pajama’s – Broken Protocols Book 2 by Dale Mayer


Cat’s Pajama’s
Broken Protocols Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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The future–
where protocols must never be broken–
is a very dangerous place indeed…

To save herself and her new lover, Dani Summerland agrees to marry Levi Blackburn. If not for the fact that the two of them are pawns in a game with no rule book, this might be a good thing for both of them.

Levi can’t believe how lucky he is. But someone is after Dani, and, until he finds out who that is, there can be no honeymoon bliss.

Dani is targeted with not a clue what the stalker wants. The bodies begin piling up behind them. Luckily, they’re not alone in their fight for survival. Dani’s talking, super-intelligent cat, Charmin Marvin, intends to save the day and his mistress so he can get back to his own chosen bliss–a much-needed cat nap.

NOTE:
Formerly Book 2 of the Charmin Marvin series.

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Lani and Liev are now married, in spite of the fact it was a way to protect her, they do seem to be in love. Of course there is no time to even enjoy their wedded bliss as the Council once again demands Liev’s presence. This time asking for everyone living with him to attend as well.

Despite that ruling when they arrive the clerk says only Liev was required and he was surprised when he was informed of the marriage.

Liev and Milo with their lawyer Hahn go in to face the council leaving Lani in the waiting area. Then things get interesting really quick.

Lani is sitting quietly and observing the people around her when she is approached by a woman, Gina Stewart is one of Hahn’s law partners. Unfortunately she appears to also be jealous of Lani. She gets a bit snarky but then leaves, only to return and snatch Lani from her seat and transport her.

Liev and Milo were done with the Council and their lawyer was annoyed, as they enter the waiting area Liev doesn’t see Lani. It’s then Milo gets a message from Charming Marvin. Dang that cat is showing more and more capabilities.

This is a favorite scene.

Milo gasped, then choked. “Incoming message. From Charming Marvin?”

Liev turned so he could see Charming’s feline face over Milo’s shoulder. “Lani is in trouble. Tracking … now on.”

“What the hell?” His words, even voiced low, caught the attention of curious passersby. Damn. The place was crowded. Still, their curiosity was a good reminder that anything they did and said was likely being recorded.

“Yeah, he’s good.” Milo clicked a few more buttons. “Got her. She’s at Hahn’s office.”

“How the hell …” Liev raced to the ports.

“Gina took her there,” Milo called out, running behind him.

He stepped into the port and appeared at Gina’s office, Milo right behind him.

And there was Lani.

She stared at him in shock. When she realized he was here in person, she raced toward him. He caught her in his arms and hugged her tightly. “It’s okay,” he murmured. “I’m here.”

She couldn’t stop shaking or burrowing closer. Her arms locked around his waist and wouldn’t let go. He held her close and continued to whisper comforting things in her ear. She was stiff and unyielding—terrified. He could just imagine … and hugged her closer.

“As you can see, she’s fine,” Gina snapped. “Lord, all this fuss over nothing.”

Milo came to Lani’s rescue first. “Really? You remove someone from the Council offices without anyone’s permission, including that of the woman you kidnapped, and you say it’s nothing?”

At the word kidnapping, Gina gasped, and Lani burrowed deeper into Liev’s embrace. “I did no such thing.” Gina stormed closer, her perfect face twisting in fury. “Lani was attracting attention. What did you expect me to do?”

“In what way was she attracting attention?” Liev asked, trying to keep his own rage under control. Which was hard as Lani burrowed closer.

“She sat so damn still. So perfect. Like a statue.” Gina snorted, disgust threading her voice. “She didn’t move, no comp, no nothing. Just an oddness that stood out.” She shrugged. “Then her ID started to flash. It was too close to the Missing Person’s Alert. Like, really?” Gina rolled her eyes. “I had to stop her from making a spectacle of herself.”

“So because she wasn’t you, you figured she was odd.” Milo mimicked her voice so perfectly that Liev had to bite back a grin. “And her ID could flash for any number of reasons.”

“It wasn’t so much that it flashed, it was the look of shock, horror, and confusion on her face that was so ridiculous.” Gina glared at them. “She was fine when I first saw her. So I left her alone. Only after I returned did I realize she was causing such a commotion.”

Milo narrowed his eyes. “And you couldn’t leave it alone. Not because she was garnering attention, but because you weren’t. For some reason, Liev married her, not you. She had him. You didn’t. It was all about jealousy, wasn’t it?” Milo snapped forward from his sixteen-year-old mental self with a wisdom beyond his years. “Liev partied with you, and you wanted more. He didn’t. Next thing you know, he shows up with this natural girl and is married to her.”

Gina’s voice turned cutting. “Go back to bed, Milo. It’s a little late for you to be up, isn’t it?”

Lani lifted her head from Liev’s chest and, in low tones, asked, “Can we go home now?”

He hugged her gently. To the others, he said, “You two can stay and fight if you want. I’m taking her back. She’s been sick and needs rest.”

“She could get that fixed. Playing on your sympathies, you know.” Gina raised both hands in frustration. “Whatever.” And she strode out of the room again.

Milo glared at her receding back. “Bitch.”

Lani giggled. “Glad to hear that word is still used nowadays.”

“Especially nowadays,” Milo said with a smile. “Let’s go home.”

“Yes, please. By the way,” she said, “how did you know I was here? Gina left a message on Hahn’s comp, or whatever that thing is, but I didn’t see her call you two.”

“That’s because she didn’t,” Liev said, loosening his arms and turning her gently, nudging her from the room.

Milo bounced on his heels to his toes.

“You aren’t going to believe what did happen.”

She twisted slightly to look him in the face. Liev kept her walking forward. “Why? What happened?” She looked up at Liev. “Hahn called you?”

Milo shook his head, almost dancing with glee now.

Liev gave a low and deep rumble of a laugh. “Charming Marvin told us.”

She came to a dead stop and stared at him. “What? Really?”

They both nodded.

Her sense of humor kicked in, and she giggled.
Mayer, Dale. Broken Protocols: Books 1-4. Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (2041-2075).Kindle Edition.

This is not the end of these attempts either, but bodies start showing up as well.

I love Charming Marvin and I definitely understand Lani’s frustration that her cat can do more than her. The talking does help a bit but the rest is just…well strange.

Lani is doing her best to adjust but then things get weird with their unregistered medical pod.

I couldn’t put this book down, things start happening fast and furiously as suspects start turning up dead.

There’s plenty of action, hold your breath moments, and some sizzling heat as we learn more about what’s going on.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Broken Protocols: Books 1-4!

Or Individually!

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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Seduced by the Brooding Duke by Scarlett Osborne


Seduced by the Brooding Duke
By
Scarlett Osborne

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Laura Irving spends her days helping in the family farm, still mourning her brother’s sudden death.

Alexander Conner, Duke of Farnworth, is the epitome of what how a Duke should live an act. Cold and aloof on the outside but lonely on the inside, his boring life changes the day he hires Laura to be the new governess of his unruly sister.

When a dangerous man appears at the Irving household’s doorstep claiming unpaid debts, Laura is given a choice: see her family suffer… or kill the Duke of Farnworth.

This is a FREE BOOK Available
to Scarlett’s Readers through her Website

This book starts right off with a mystery, Laura Irving’s brother was murdered and the killer is still on the loose. Laura’s family owns a farm and her father has a habit of not only drinking but also gambling more than he can afford to. Laura and her mother do more for the farm than her father does.

Alexander Connor, the Duke of Farnworth, isn’t one to sit back and do nothing. He and his best friend, Bernard Tranter, the Marquess of Woodward, own a very successful brewery. Alexander has another problem, his precocious sister Emily. Emily tends to run off and do what ever she feels like any time she wants. A tendency Alex desperately wants to curtail especially with a murderer out there. Her latest escape from the household staff has Alexander grounding her until he can find a suitable governess.

A horrible twist of fate when a stranger threatens Laura’s family and tells her to seek revenge on her brother’s murderer the Duke. He also supplies her with all the documents needed to secure her the position of governess including a different last name.

This is a favorite scene.

“Your Grace, I have a Miss Laura Elkins here to see you,” the footman said.

“Who is she?” asked Alexander.

“She said she is here to speak with someone about the governess position. I am happy to take her to the house to speak with Mr. Grove,” said the man.

“I can speak with her,” said Alexander. Typically, he would allow Grove to handle the hiring of staff, but since this was directly going to affect Emily, he wanted to at least meet her.

The footman motioned toward the woman and she slowly walked forward, almost apprehensive in her actions.

“Good afternoon, Your Grace,” she said.

Whomever this woman was, she knew that Alexander was the Duke of Farnworth based on her greeting.

“Good afternoon,” he responded. Immediately he noticed her striking hazel eyes, which seemed to sparkle. Her long, dark hair fell around her face. “May I help you with something?”

“My apologies for calling without an appointment, Sir,” she said. He noticed that she had freckles across her face, which further enhanced the look of her eyes. “I am inquiring about the governess position that you have available.”

“Oh, of course,” replied Alexander. He was slightly puzzled, but then realized that this must be either someone who Bernard had found this afternoon, or perhaps she was the governess who Louisa had suggested. “Pardon my surprise,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to meet with a governess at this moment.”

“I can come at a later time, Sir,” the woman said.

“No, no, this is fine,” replied Alexander. “The sooner I find a governess for my sister, the better off the entire household will be.” He smiled at her, but she did not return the gesture.

“I take it Lord Woodworth sent you?” asked Alexander, studying the stoic expression on the woman’s face.

“Yes, Your Grace,” replied the woman. “Lord Woodworth sent me. He said you required a governess for your sister, Lady Emily.”

“Indeed, I do,” said Alexander, “If Lord Woodworth sent you this quickly, you must have some wonderful experience.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” said the woman. “I have my references here, too.” She reached into her reticule and pulled out papers. She took a quick glance at them, and then handed them over to Alexander.

He took the papers into his hand and looked down to read them. They were, indeed, papers that stated she was a governess and had all of the education necessary to teach his sister. There were several references, too. “Your name is Miss Elkins?” asked Alexander.

“Yes, Sir, I am Laura Elkins, the daughter of a merchant in London. I have come to the countryside looking for work, as my last charge recently came of age.”

Alexander was a bit surprised by this, as he would think that there were more jobs available in London for a governess, but again, he trusted Woodworth, and if he sent Laura for the job, that was good enough for Alexander. After all, she had references, she was young, and she certainly didn’t seem like she would allow Emily to get out of line. In fact, she seemed as if she was a very strict person. She had yet to smile, and he couldn’t help but notice that her eyes seemed to darken when he spoke to her.

“All seems to be in order, here,” said Alexander to Miss Elkins. “And if Lord Woodworth sent you, I am confident that you would make a wonderful addition to the staff.”

“Thank you, Your Grace” responded Miss Elkins. “I assure you that I am focused on my task and goals.”

She looked at him coldly, but Alexander didn’t mind. Emily needed a strong hand to tame her, and from what he had seen of Miss Elkins, it seemed like she would be a perfect fit.

“When are you available to start working?” Alexander asked the young woman.

“I am available to start whenever you require me, Your Grace,” she replied.

“If you could start tomorrow, it would be ideal,” said Alexander. “I’m sure Lord Woodworth told you that Lady Emily could be a bit… excitable… but she is a very intelligent girl, and I’m confident that the two of you will get on quite well.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” said the woman. “I’m confident that we will.”

She is very polite and looks so sweet and innocent, but she’s certainly a bit

Alexander couldn’t help but notice the curves of Miss Elkins’ hips beneath her coat, which was pulled tightly around her waist. His eyes followed the shape of her body, and the tight buttons on her coat also pushed her breasts up, which were sizable and shapely when compared to her small frame.

“Now I suppose that we must discuss your compensation, Miss Elkins,” said Alexander, now focusing on the shape of her lips, which were lush and beautiful. “The last governess we had was given room and board, along with a small salary. Is that agreeable to you?”

“Yes, Your Grace,” replied Miss Elkins, looking directly into his green eyes with her hazel ones. It was enough to make him shiver before catching his breath.
Her eyes are certainly fetching and sensual.

“Excellent,” he said. “Please come by the house tomorrow, and I will ask that you speak with my steward, Mr. Grove. He is in charge of staffing, and he can help you get acquainted with the staff and Emily.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” said the woman, just as coldly as she had before. Her coldness is attractive. I like a bit of a challenge.

“I will come by tomorrow and ask for Mr. Grove.”

“Splendid,” said Alexander. “I will inform Lady Emily of our arrangement, and I will also tell Mr. Grove that he can expect you to call upon him tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Your Grace,” the woman said. “I appreciate the offer of work, and I look forward to meeting Lady Emily.”

As she said those words, she turned quickly and began to walk away from Alexander. His eyes watched her shapely figure as she took each step, her hips swaying like a pendulum.

That is odd behavior to just walk away that quickly.

Alexander watched her walk down the road until she disappeared from view. He leaned against the side of the building and felt the warm afternoon sun on his skin. A sense of relief fell over him. Finally, he believed that he found a governess who could control his sister.
Scarlett Osborne. Seduced by the Brooding Duke (Kindle Locations 440-494). Scarlett Osborne. Kindle Edition.

This is the beginning of some very interesting events. Starting with some thefts in the brewery designed to hurt profits.

Interestingly there are several players in this tale and lots of twists and turns as the Duke finds himself more than a little attracted to his new governess.

I didn’t suspect the true culprit until almost the very end.

5 Contented Purrs for Scarlett!

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Born in the Sunshine State of Florida, but of both British and Nordic descent, Scarlett Osborne grew up reading historical romances from the land of her ancestors. Fascinated with the British society of the 1800s and armed with a wild imagination, she obtained a degree in Creative Writing and immediately started her career as a Regency romance author.

A daydreamer extraordinaire, Scarlett likes to jump in the shoes of her heroines, immersing herself in her own stories, living the adventures that she wished she had experienced as a child. An avid reader and fan of the outdoors, Scarlett spends her free time either reading or going on long horseback rides along with her two sons.

Get lost in a land of enchantment, where adventure and love await around every corner…Scarlett hopes that through her heroes, you too will get to live a whirlwind romance in the Regency era, when fairytales were real and all dreams possible!

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Kiss of Fate – Sinner’s Keepers Book 1 by Heather Long and Blake Blessing


Kiss of Fate
Sinner’s Keepers Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Long
&
Blake Blessing

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Idioms are what we idiots tell ourselves to make us feel better.

They’re all lies.
Truth sets you free. Ha.
Justice is blind. Hardly.
Life ends when you die. Wrong!

All’s fair in love and war. Fine. I’ll give you that one.
But you’d be wise to remember Fate isn’t fair, kind, or gentle.

How do I know?I almost died. I say almost because a moment before my last breath, Judgment found me. I don’t know what he saw in me but with one kiss, he changed me irrevocably.

My name is Dahlia. I am fate.
No, I am definitely not fair.

*Please note:
This is a reverse harem and the authors suggest you always read the forward in their books. Warning, this is a standalone tale with a fierce and feisty heroine, three heroes who are forces of nature, and a tale as old as time, humor, and a little bit of karmic justice thrown in.*

This book has some seriously awesome world building. As the book opens we meet some of the major players in this book beginning with Seth (Judgement) and Karmen (Karma). A scene is playing out here involving Seth’s brothers Tarus (Punishment) and Zhan (Justice). Tarus and Zhan have fallen, they don’t do their jobs anymore which in turn has stymied Seth. Without Justice how can Judgement pronounce verdicts and assign punishments. Sinner’s is the bar where the Keepers hang out and humans also come to drink and dance the night away.

Tonight things are going to take a very interesting twist as Dahlia and her boyfriend Alex argue in Sinners and in spite of an offer from a friend to follow, she leaves with him.

Even though they appeared very interested in Dahlia his two brothers turn away after she leaves. Seth decides it’s time for his brother’s to face their failures and follows Dahlia. Dahlia is a good person who is always helping people, even ones that she couldn’t really help. She doesn’t deserve what is happening to her but Seth is powerless to stop it without his brothers.

As Dahlia is dying he offers her a month of life if she agrees to help him with his brothers.

The deal made, rest and shopping later, an irritated Seth sends her to attract his brothers.

This is one of many favorite scenes.

“Another one, Bish?” Her dark bronze skin glimmered under the canned lights, her large gold hoop earrings swinging as she shook her head. “You know I love a little excess every now and then, but five drinks is a lot. Shewee.” She cackled and snatched the white dishcloth from her belt to wipe off the clean counter.

“Quetta, it’s not for me. I’d like to order a drink for my lady friend here.” He glanced sidelong at me, the grin he had been sporting morphing into a soft smile.

I coughed, choking on my own spit like an idiot who’d never been called a lady before. I had, damn it. But it was odd coming from this insanely tall, beautiful specimen of a man.

“A lady all right.” She laughed as she leaned against the slick black counter. “What will it be, hun?”

“Something dirty and dangerous,” Bish murmured and winked. I swore, my lady parts got so hot, they were calling for clouds of rain. “How about an Afternoon Delight?”

That did it. I was cheesy grinning. “Sounds good to me.”

“You got it.” Quetta walked off, her hips sashaying to the beat of the music. In the light of day, it seemed they preferred mellow music to the heavy bass at night.

“Now that we have a drink coming your way, tell me, what brings you in so early?” He shifted back around so his side pressed against the bar.

And the warm fuzzy feeling of being in his presence evaporated at the reminder of why I was there. And whose fault it was. Seth said his brothers had some responsibility. Funny, Alex was the asshole that threw me down the stairs.

“Let’s just say I’m no longer attached, and leave it there, deal?” I forced a smile and used my core to twist from side to side. Yes, I had resorted to nervous fidgeting.

His eyes darkened as he studied me, probably dying to call me on my bullshit, but he nodded. “Sure. I’ll just put it out there that I saw you last night, and I didn’t like the way he treated you. If you ever need a friend…” He let that linger in the air as if he wanted to say or more. “I’m that person.”

“Thank you.” I looked away, not happy at all with the turn in conversation. “How’s Gingersnap?”

He perked right up at the name of his adorable little cocker spaniel. Even taller than Seth, he had to have been around six-foot-seven inches, and his cocker spaniel was the size of his foot. It was fucking hilarious to see him play with her at the park, but it also melted my heart.

“Neurotic as always. She always tries to climb in my empty shoe and gets her head stuck. She’s not that little.” He chuckled like a proud papa.

Actually, she was that small, just her head made up at least a third of her weight.

“How’s Ranger?”

Damn it! He was getting really good at killing my good mood.

“He’s Alex’s, so unfortunately, you won’t see me at the dog park anymore.” For more than the obvious reasons.

The assignment popped in my head for the briefest of moments, and I flicked my gaze to the mirror behind the bar.

Fuck! They were gone. I swiveled around on the bar stool just to make sure but, yep, their table was empty. So not only did I get distracted, but now I’d lost my targets.

“What’s wrong?” Bish reached out a hand, barely touching my shoulder, as if he wasn’t sure we had reached that level yet.

“I thought I saw people I knew.” Wait a second. If Bish was a regular here, chances were that he knew my unfortunate targets. “Hey, you didn’t see who was at that table, did you?” I gestured where the naughty boys had sat.

He stiffened, and for a moment, the man wearing an <em?I < 3 Cocker Spaniels</em? shirt flickered in and out, like the man I saw was an overlay for someone dark and other. Turning only his head, he glanced at the table, but like I already knew, it was deserted.

His entire frame was carved from stone as he brought his attention back to me, staring into my eyes like he could glean the answers in my soul with just a look. “Dahlia.” His voice deepened to a pitch that sent goosebumps racing along my exposed skin. “What table were your… friends at?”

Bish was the nice guy, the funny dog lover, but right now, I was thinking I shouldn’t answer him.

“Bish!” The bar vibrated as someone fell against the wood behind me. Someone with a voice smooth like whiskey, and just rough enough around the edges to melt the goose bumps right off of my body.

Where Bish incited a friendly sort of playfulness inside me, the newcomer threatened to kill all my brain cells. I knew that, because it was damn hard not to stretch out on the bar and offer myself up for his pleasure. But there was something dark there too, something that said he could make it hurt so good.

All right. I wanted to walk into this bar with a different mindset, live the last month up right. Now I realized I might be out of my depth. Especially because this chick was afraid to turn around.

“Tarus. I’d say it was a pleasure, but…” Bish shrugged, not at all concerned with his rudeness. “Where did your sidekick go?”

“Oh, don’t worry. Zhan is on his way over.”

It was time. I was not going to turn into a chickenshit for my last several weeks on Earth. Using the bar as leverage, I spun around so I could see both Bish, and Tarus at the same time.

For the love of all that was holy.

This had to be one of Seth’s brothers. And I was in trouble.

Tall. What was with these freaking men? Did they take some kind of power juice? In the dim light of the bar, he had dark hair. Luscious, dark hair. The tousled length hid some of his eyes, but not so much I couldn’t see the languid pools of endless dark pleasure. Head tilted, Tarus focused on me. My panties soaked and my nipples were so tight, either the temperature dropped to sub-zero or I’d discovered a new superpower.

A glass slid across the bar, and Quetta chuckled. “I’d say I brought you your Afternoon Delight, sweetheart, but I’m pretty sure it already found you.”

Movement behind me and Tarus flicking his attention back to Bish were all that allowed me to turn again. I closed my hand on the glass and lifted it, but before I could get it to my lips, I had to look.

Yep, I was that girl. You know, the one in the movies who runs up the stairs in the horror films to get away from the slasher.

Wait. Bad analogy.

Fuck the stairs.

Still, I’m that girl who opens the door and looks, even when I know whatever I turn and see is going to shock the hell out of me. Yep.

So I looked.

Standing not even an inch away was naughty boy number two. “Zhan,” I managed in a much slicker voice than I could possibly possess. “I presume?”

Tall. Did I mention tall? Where Tarus had dark hair like dusky shadows, this guy? His hair was almost the color of midnight. I wanted to meet his gaze, but it was his hand that caught me. The hand that was just an inch away from me, as if he’d been reaching out to touch me when I turned.

Everything tingled.

I slammed back my drink, not tasting a drop.

In. So. Much. Trouble.

That was me.

Trouble.

Instead of answering me, Zhan jerked his gaze up as Bish slid an arm over my shoulder. “Sweetheart, why don’t you go get a table and I’ll come join you in a minute. I’d introduce you to this pair of idiots, but they don’t play well with others.”

I opened my mouth and two things happened.

One, Zhan caught my arm.

Two, Bish was suddenly no longer touching me.

Instead, he was on the other side of the room, slammed against the wall by Tarus.

“Yes,” Zhan said in a low, rumbling voice that teased over every single one of my senses and actually swung me around to face him again. “I’m Zhan.” He paid zero attention to whatever was going down with Tarus and Bish. Like, none. He stared at me, and then he brushed his fingers to my cheek. “And you’re here…”

Well, I got their attention.

Yay?
Heather Long; Blake Blessing. Kiss of Fate (Kindle Locations 563-629).

I have to say as these brothers fall for Dahlia, I spent some time wondering about each of the other characters we meet, trying to figure out who they actually are.

This book had my attention from the beginning and I love the way things play out. Plenty of problems to be overcome, some interesting battles, intriguing surprises and sizzling heat is an understatement.

While I read everything Heather Long publishes, I confess I haven’t read any of Blake Blessing’s books but I will definitely be doing so now.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather and Blake!

Heather Long Heather Long

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

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

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


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Blake Blessing is no longer new on the Indie scene, but she’s still ecstatic about this chapter in life. She is a mom, wife, art enthusiast, and author.

She attended ten different schools growing up, so books became her constant friend. Escaping into books of all different genres made life fun and exciting. Blake was also raised on music and still blasts it through the house and car at every opportunity.

She has a weird sense of humor and a penchant for chocolate milk. It only makes sense she would one day go on to write her own stories.

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Saul’s Sweetheart – Heroes for Hire Book 8 By Dale Mayer


Saul’s Sweetheart
Heroes for Hire Book 8
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Helping a friend in need is never a wrong move. And Saul knows the value of his friends. When he’s called to find Benji’s missing brother, Daniel – he’s on it.

Only Daniel might be involved in something a lot darker than avoiding his brother’s phone calls. At least according to Rebel who’s been haunting Daniel’s apartment, looking for her missing girlfriend.

When the bodies start showing up, Rebel is terrified her friend will be next…

And that’s not something she’s going to sit by and allow. No matter if Saul thinks she should. He needs to get out of her way or she’ll run right over him. The trouble is, it doesn’t take long for her to realize he’d like that – and so would she.

Now if only they could save their friends…before the entire mess blows up and takes them all out.

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Benji, a friend from their old unit needs help. His brother Daniel has gone missing and Levi is sending a team to find out what happened to him. Saul, Merk, Stone and Dakota are the team sent in. What they didn’t expect was someone else staking out his apartment.

Rebel’s been watching Daniel’s apartment looking for any clue she can find about her friend Tammy’s disappearance. She was leaving Daniel’s and going home promising to call Rebel when she got there. She never called.

Saul is the one to catch up with Rebel and when they all start talking things start coming out that lead the guys to believe something a lot bigger is going on.

Tammy and Daniel were both programmers at the same company as Rebel, although she was in marketing and not privy to what they worked on. She’s taken time off to try to find Tammy and the guys are taking all the clues she has to heart.

Bodies start showing up as they get a strange text following that lead and now Saul is staying by her side.

This is a favorite scene.

Saul hadn’t wanted to leave the crime scene. He could only hope the police shared the information they found. He planned to go back in the daylight and see if he could find any evidence that Tammy had been in that building.

Plus he also would check out where the homeless man was known to hang out. Just because he was in the building at the end of his life did not mean Tammy had been there too. She could’ve been anywhere along his route. He could’ve taken the locket off her dead body for that matter. Or he could’ve seen it on the ground someplace where she might’ve been involved in a struggle. There were endless possibilities.

He drove to Rebel’s apartment. He knew the area well. He had friends living not too far from here. When he drove up in front of a large brick apartment building, he nudged her. “Is this your place?”

Startled, she looked at him, a dazed look in her eyes. “How did you know where I lived?”

“I heard you tell the policeman.”

She had a right to be suspicious. He just didn’t want her suspicious of him. She contemplated his answer; then she reached up and rubbed her face. “I’m sorry. I’m just not myself right now.”

He parked the vehicle, got out and walked around to her side of the car. She still sat in the passenger seat, staring at the building. She needed time to work through this. He opened her door and helped her to her feet. “Come on. Let’s get you inside.”

The Jeep pulled up behind him. Saul and Rebel walked up to the entranceway, and she punched in a security code into the keypad on the wall. The door unlocked in front of them. He pulled it open and held it for her to walk through. The other three men waited in the Jeep, watching. He gave them a half wave, walked her inside and to the elevator. He studied her carefully. He wasn’t sure she should be alone right now. “You have anybody you can call? Any other friends or family who could stay with you?”

She shook her head. “Only Tammy. I would call Tammy.”

Damn. That just triggered another memory of Tammy. Not that Rebel was likely to stop thinking about her best friend under these circumstances.

On the third floor the elevator door opened. He gently grasped her arm above the elbow, nudging her into the hallway. With the keys from her vehicle in his hand, he checked for an apartment key. Sure enough, he tried the door, and the selected key worked. He opened the door and led her inside.

And she froze. “What happened?”

His gaze sharpened. He kicked the door shut and put Rebel between him and the door. He pulled out his weapon with one hand and his phone with other, saying, “Get up here.”

He put away his phone and left her backed against the front door to search her destroyed apartment. He could see most of it from this vantage point but not enough to ease his concerns. Still, he had to leave her to do a full sweep. Her kitchen table and the kitchen drawers were tossed to the ground. The living room couch cushions had been slashed open. He noted all this while running a timeline through his head. Had Tammy been kidnapped? Had she told them about Rebel? Or had whoever killed or kidnapped Tammy known that she and Rebel were best friends? Did Daniel tell the kidnappers that? Or did the kidnappers/murderers find Rebel lurking around Daniel’s apartment building too, just like Saul and his team did? That alone revealed Rebel had some deep connection to Daniel and/or Tammy. Were the women best friends enough that Rebel would hold something for Tammy?

He hadn’t even thought to question Rebel on that last aspect. But, with Tammy and Daniel both being in IT, espionage was not an unlikely leap. The fact that Daniel was suspected of hacking into his employer’s system and creating coding errors somehow played together. Saul didn’t understand how yet, but he would.

He made a quick sweep of the tiny one-bedroom apartment. By the time he made it back to Rebel—still leaning against the door, her face stricken—a knock at the door made Rebel jump. Saul checked the peephole and then let his friends in.

They stepped inside, took one look and Stone let out a low whistle. “Well, this is an interesting development.”

Something about his tone of voice and wording caught Rebel’s attention. She turned on him. “Interesting? This is interesting for you? This is destructive. This is horrific. This is my entire life here.”

Stone looked at her pointedly. “And yet, you’re alive. So they knew you weren’t here. They went through your property, went through all your possessions. What were they looking for?”

Saul watched her face go blank.

Then her jaw dropped. “You think they were looking for something?”

She shook her head in bewilderment. “Looking for what?” she cried out. “I don’t have anything. Hell, Tammy made way more money than I did. Why would they not destroy her place instead?” She stared at the men, her gaze going from one to the other and then back again. “Why me?”

Dakota stepped in. “That’s what we’ll find out. One of the first questions we need to know is did Tammy, at any time in the last few months, give you anything to safeguard for her?”

That was the very question Saul wanted answered; he stepped closer and peered at Rebel’s face, looking for any sign of subterfuge.

She stared at the men and shrugged her shoulders. “No, of course not. Why would she?”

“She could have found something damning at work, and she needed you to hold on to it, on the off chance something happened to her.”

She frowned, her focus remaining on the men. “She didn’t give me anything to hold or keep. I didn’t know of anything potentially dangerous in her world. She would’ve told me.”

“Did she feel the same way about you as you feel about her?” Saul asked quietly.

She turned her gaze to his. “Yes. We’ve been best friends since forever.”

“Maybe she wouldn’t tell you about this, seeing it would bring danger to your doorstep.”

He watched the wheels in her mind turn, and then a stricken look took over her face as she realized something. “That’s exactly what Tammy would do,” she whispered. “As I would for her.”

“And that’s why this is interesting,” Stone said. “Because this changes our avenues of thinking completely. Whoever came here was looking for something, for whatever reason, whether she told them or they assumed so because of your close association.”

“Or because Daniel told them,” she said bitterly. “He was always a troublemaker.”
Mayer, Dale. Heroes for Hire: Books 7-9 ((pp. 289-294). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

In spite of the conflict of Rebel not liking Daniel and her being more concerned about Tammy, Saul finds himself more than a little attracted.

I love the way the suspense and the romance build in this book, gradually getting hotter until everything bursts into flame.

I can’t wait to finish 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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Rescued By Bears – Claiming Her Bears Book 1 By Skye MacKinnon


Rescued By Bears
Claiming Her Bears Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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Can she tame her bear shifters
or will she be their dinner?

Alone, frozen, and far from home, Isla finds herself in the care of four frustratingly sexy bear shifters. They soon end up on a Scottish island, trying to survive the disasters of a failing world.

With new relationships unfolding, Isla has to make the decision between her humanity and the bears protecting her.

Will winter drive them apart
or can Isla claim her bears?

Rescued by Bears is a full-length reverse harem novel featuring one sassy heroine and four sexy bear shifters (including a polar bear!). Prepare for strong alpha males with a trace of vulnerability, an epic quest, Viking beards, very steamy scenes, Scottish landscapes, Celtic mythology and a post-apocalyptic setting.

NOTE:
Previously published as Polar Destiny.

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Isla’s Uncle has decided she should marry, the one he has chosen is the man who was married to her best friend. When Isla found her tied up and beaten she frees her. Julie was never seen or heard from again, a boat was missing and Isla had been punished for it.

Sort of resigned to her fate, her wedding coincides with the celebration of the Winter Solstice. With many revelers she wanders away then starts running across the vast expanse of frozen ocean. Eventually she collapses from the cold not expecting to wake.

Instead Isla wakes wrapped in warmth by a fire. Unwrapping herself she starts to explore her surroundings.

This is a favorite scene.

A screetch signals the opening of the front door.

“Hello?” a male voice calls. “Shit, where–”

A guy comes into the room. Oh my. He’s gorgeous. His blond hair falls down to the thick lashes circling his pale blue eyes, his jaw has just the right angles, and his beautiful, full lips are saying – “There you are! I was worried you may have gone outside. It’s cold out there, and you could have easily got lost. I almost got lost when we first got here, no paths, you see?”

I stare at him. Is he for real?

“Sorry, I’m not used to strangers, and I’m babbling. Sorry. I’ll stop now.” He pauses, then grins and bursts out: “How are you feeling?”

“I’m… eh… who are you?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m Finn. Finnean, really, but everybody calls me Finn.” He does a short bow, which makes me stare at him even more. “And who do I have the pleasure of talking to?”

“Isla, my name is Isla. Do you live here?”

He looks around himself as if he’s not quite sure about something. Then he nods. “Yes, me and my friends. They’re outside now, but should be back soon…” He still looks distracted.

“Was it you who found me on the beach?”

“What? No, that was Torben, the… my friend. He was out for a walk when he spotted you lying in the snow. You looked pretty blue. I mean blue. And pretty. Aargh. Sorry, I haven’t talked to a girl in a while.” He grins at me, sheepishly. He motions for me to follow him back into the living room. The fire is calling to me, and I sit down on the furs next to him. The light of the fire makes his hair look almost golden. He’s beautiful in a fine, angelic kind of way. An angel with quite a bit of muscle – stop it, Isla. He could be anyone. I mean, who lives on an island with just friends? How do they survive?

He clears his throat. Adorable. “So, what brought you to this island?”

“Well, I kind of had to leave my home, and the sea was frozen, so I just started to walk – and eventually ended up here. I didn’t really think it through. It was probably a mistake, but… I couldn’t stay there.”

“Why?” he asks softly, his eyes meeting mine.

“I was supposed to do something that I didn’t want to do.” I pause and laugh humourlessly. Ok, that sounded like I was a child who didn’t want to do her chores. “Actually, my uncle wanted me to marry a guy from our community. And I didn’t want that. That man… he scares me. I couldn’t stay.”

He’s still looking straight into my eyes, and somehow I’ve got the feeling that they’ve told him a lot more about what brought me here than my words.

“Why would your uncle make you? I guess you’re not close?”

“Close? No, not really. I don’t think he sees me as anything other than a young, unmarried woman who can be sold off. There are not many women living on our island, and even fewer ones young enough to have children. The island’s population is growing older, and we need younger workers who still have energy and can be moulded-” I stop, shocked at how I had repeated my uncle’s words. I’m usually so careful, locking away all I heard when he had men over for meetings. This guy and his blue eyes are getting to me. I evade his gaze and look out of the window behind him – into another set of eyes, big brown ones, surrounded by fur, lots of fur. I scream.

Finn whirls around, on his feet before I can even see him move. He’s leaning forward, looking ready to jump, when he sees what I’m seeing. A large dark bear running away from the house. I’ve never seen a real bear, but he looks exactly like they look like in photos. Big, shaggy, scary.

Finn let’s out a sharp laugh. “I see you’ve met one of our … neighbours.”

“Your… neighbours? Aren’t they dangerous?”

“Nah, not once you get to know them. They’re actually quite cuddly.”

He laughs, and I’m just about to shoot him an incredulous smile when I see a white bear burst out of the forest, chasing after the darker one.

“Is that a polar bear? Here? In Scotland?”

“Ehm, yes, I think so.” He gives me a shrug. “Must have swum here.”

I’m about to quiz him further when the door opens, slammed against the wall by a massive man. Huge. Giant. Enormous. I can’t seem to find a word for his massiveness. He’s all bulging muscle, almost ripping the black t-shirt he’s wearing. Wait, t-shirt? It’s freezing out there, and this guy is wearing – almost nothing. I shiver just looking at him.

“Are you cold?” Finn’s concerned voice comes from behind me. He must have been looking at me very closely to see the tiny shiver my body made.

“I’m fine. Ehm… who are you?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” the giant grumbles. He sounds like a mountain smiling at the morning dew.

“You’re a mysterious girl. You looked dead and frozen. Now you look… alive. Are you hungry?”

Only now I see the fish he’s holding in one of his oversized hands.

“Yes, I suppose I am. Thank you.”

He looks at me in confusion, then clears his throat. “You’re welcome. I guess.”

His shoes are leaving wet prints on the wooden floor as he moves into the kitchen.

“That’s Ràn,” Finn whispers. “You’ve met him on one of his chattier days.”

“Is he always walking around in t-shirts?”

Finn throws back his head and laughs. “Usually he’s wearing even less.”

“But it’s winter! Isn’t he cold?”

“He’s got a rather good metabolism,” he chuckles. “Now, where did we put the plates?”

point towards the kitchen. “There were some on the floor.”

“Ah yes, I don’t think anyone’s used them for a while. But nothing a quick wash shouldn’t improve.”

Men.
Skye MacKinnon. Claiming Her Bears: The complete series (Kindle Locations 209-257). Peryton Press. Kindle Edition.

After meeting the men who rescued her from certain death, she is given the attic room to sleep. Unfortunately for the men she hears their conversation and tries to flee injuring her ankle.

of course you know nothing is going to be easy and the number of OMG moments are many.

Lots of changes, surprises and sizzling romance in this first book of the series. I can’t wait to read the next one.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

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

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

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

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Ice Pick in the Ivy – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 9 by Dale Mayer


Icepick in the Ivy
Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 9
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Riches to rags. …
Chaos never calms. …
Time fades memories. …
Or at least most of them!

Who knew two small maker’s marks could lead to such chaos? Doreen has been enjoying a few well-earned days of peace and quiet after solving her last mystery. But all good things must come to an end. Like when Thaddeus, her independently minded African gray parrot, digs up two rectangular metal pieces from the path along the creek. Then Doreen is sent down another rabbit hole of the past: connecting the dots from a long-defunct tool repair company and a young girl who disappeared at the same time.

Corporal Mack Moreau doesn’t think these events are connected. He doesn’t believe the spate of recent deaths is suspiciously tied in either. Mack wants Doreen to focus on the materials and the cost analysis to replace her backyard deck and to leave the detecting to him. But how can she, when she knows so much more is going on than Mack believes?

Heart attacks, unfair wills, and a missing ice pick are all related. She just needs to understand how …

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Doreen is still recuperating from her last case as this book opens. But she’s already getting bored. As she begins to work on her garden she realizes Thaddeus isn’t around anywhere. He returns when she calls but he has something shiny that he doesn’t want to give up. This becomes a delightful interaction with Goliath and Thaddeus as she tries to get the object and Goliath wants to pounce.

When she finally gets the object away from him she pockets it and returns to her gardening but Thaddeus isn’t happy about that at all. He wants her to follow him. When she does, it’s not surprising that Mugs and Goliath follow. She admonished Thaddeus for going so far along the creek without her even as she finds another piece of metal that although smaller the same as the first one.

Not knowing what either meant she heads back home when Mugs jostles her on the bridge causing her to fall through the broken planks.

Now the scene that followed that was a favorite and I was laughing out loud, but that wasn’t my top favorite. You see, now Doreen is stuck not able to put weight on her ankle or it will take longer to heal. To say she’s not a good patient is putting it mildly. There are some perks to it all though. Nan and Mack have both been taking care of her and Mack is a hoot as always.

This is a favorite scene.

“Just a few more days. Then you can resume a normal life.” He gave her a slow smile. “You’ll be back to normal, ready to terrorize everyone, on Thursday. That’s not long to wait.”

Still he was right; a couple more days wasn’t too bad. Particularly as he’d been looking after her. Now that the pain had eased, she knew it wouldn’t be long before she could bear her full weight. She didn’t let him see, but she had managed to get to the bathroom more easily today. “Ha, you’re enjoying this. Hopefully you’re making good use of me being off work and catching up on yours,” she warned. “You know I’m just raring to go, right?”

“That’s good,” he said smoothly. “In the meantime, you’ve got a TV, books, and time to rest— like really rest right now. So take advantage of it,” he urged. “You’ve been attacked so many times in recent weeks, let your body catch up.”

She subsided on her bed. Her ankle felt better— especially when propped up on pillows— but, in some ways, Mack was right. She just didn’t want him to know that. “Fine. As instructed, I’ll give it until Thursday, but after that …”

He grinned. “After that you’ll be meddling in my affairs again. Got it.”

Ftppp.” She made a face as he turned and walked back into the kitchen. But he hadn’t said anything that Nan hadn’t repeated time and time again these last few days. And the doctor. Sigh. He’d told her not to go back to work for a full week and to stay off her leg completely, if she wanted it to heal properly. At the time she’d wondered if Mack had coerced the doctor into saying that, but her research for sprains online had showed a similar time frame.

She groaned. “I’m bored.”

“No, you’re not,” he called out from the kitchen. “You could find something to keep you occupied on your laptop with no problem.”

“But I don’t have a case to work on,” she complained.

He poked his head around the corner, gave her a fat smile, and said, “I know.”

“I could work on the Bob Small stuff,” she said in a considering tone. “It’s not like I can do much else, but I could start researching that case— or rather cases. As in many cases really. He was a serial killer, after all. Still at large.”

“Too bad you can’t get to that basket of clippings by yourself anytime soon, and no way will I pull it down for you,” he said in a bright cheerful voice. “That’s hardly resting if you’re sleuthing.”

Her irritation at being bedridden melted as soon as she heard him say sleuthing. It was almost a validation of what she did. And anything was better than meddling.

“Dinner is ready,” he called out. “Do you want to eat there or make your way to the kitchen?”

“Kitchen please.” She grabbed the crutches Nan had gotten her from somewhere, and, no, she’d not asked where, and made her way to the kitchen. Doreen stopped and sniffed the aroma and cried out, “Spaghetti!”

“Absolutely. Now sit down and get that leg up,” he ordered. “At least this way you’ll have enough leftovers until you’re cleared to walk again.”

She beamed and immediately obeyed. Anything for spaghetti. “I really appreciate the leftovers.”

He walked over, bearing a heaping plate of spaghetti and, oh joy, … meatballs as well. “Oh my,” she whispered softly, staring at the plate in rapture.

“You know how they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Now I don’t know that for sure about all men, but it’s definitely the way to your heart.”

She nodded but didn’t waste time talking. She forked up part of a meatball and some noodles dripping with sauce and took her first bite and closed her eyes.

There was an odd silence. She opened her eyes to find him staring at her. That was a new look on his face, but the look in his gaze was universal.

He dropped his focus to his own plate, breaking the moment.

But it would be a long time before she forgot the heat in his eyes.
Dale Mayer. Ice Pick in the Ivy (Kindle Locations 146-178). Valley Publishing.

As soon as Doreen is given the okay, she’s of course up and running. When she discovers an icepick near where Thaddeus found the metal labels things take several interesting turns.

Nan is ever helpful, and an interesting confrontation in the grocery with Mack at her side adds even more suspense to this tale.

I laughed, sighed, and gobbled up this story with each and every clue discovered.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, from the awesome lead in I don’t think Mack is going to be very happy about it.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

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Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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