Alaskan Christmas – Holiday Romances Book 2 by Jen Talty


Alaskan Christmas
Holiday Romances Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty

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He was the second date that should have lasted a lifetime.

Flynn Wagner didn’t have time for relationships. Her career as a headhunter in New York City was the only thing she truly cared about, outside of her parents. When her dying mother asks her to go on their much-anticipated trip to Alaska without her, Flynn can’t deny her mother’s request. Shortly after her mother’s passing, Flynn sets off to the frozen tundra and the Mistletoe Lodge. She’s prepared to hear endless stories about her mother. However, nothing can prepare her for coming face to face with the one man she couldn’t get out from under her skin.

Colton Granger left Alaska and joined the Army when he’d been eighteen years old. He swore he’d never return to his hometown. But when his father has a heart attack, Colton decides it’s time to return to the Mistletoe Lodge and help his mother keep the business running during the winter months while his father recovers. He never expected to open the doors to the lodge and find the woman who had changed his life forever standing there in high-heeled boots, a winter coat that didn’t keep a person warm, and a killer smile that would soon melt his heart.

NOTE:
Originally published as part of the “Christmas at Mistletoe Lodge: New Holiday Romances to Benefit St. Jude Hospital” boxed set.

I can see how hard it would be for Flynn to take this trip to Alaska without her mother. It was something they were going to do together. The Mistletoe Lodge is run by Flynn’s mother’s best-friend Renee and her husband, it’s also where her parents spent their honeymoon. The one thing she was grateful for was that their son Colton wouldn’t be there.

Colton was Delta Force and after his last tour his father had a heart attack. He’s left active service, returning home to run Mistletoe Lodge while he tries to convince his parent to move south. He knows there’s a VIP guest coming, his parents have conveniently not said who it is.

Since Colton and Flynn were kids their parents seem to thing they’d make a great couple. What they don’t know is Colton and Flynn had a week long fling in NY. The parted ways, her for her career, him for a tour overseas.

While I got a kick out of their first meeting at the hotel, the scene in the lodge after dinner is one of my favorites.

“Even if this goes through, I’ve got more deadlines I’ve got to meet. Is there something else we can do to boost your internet?”

“That’s about as good as it’s going to get.” Colton stood in front of the bar and poured himself another glass of wine. Nothing beat a full-bodied cab on a cold Alaskan night.

Except maybe a hot brunette with her long legs wrapped around his waist in his bed.

No. Fuck. Having her this close was going to drive him crazy.

Trying to make himself comfortable in the recliner, he snagged his tablet and brought up the local newspaper, skimming the headlines, determined to go through his evening routine as if the scent of lavender shampoo wasn’t filling the air in his cabin.

Hannah groaned and rolled to her side. At least he got to keep his dog nearby.

“I need this to go through tonight.” Setting the computer to the side, she stood and stretched. Her shirt tugged from her pants and showed off her milky skin. “It says it’s got fifteen percent left, so hopefully it goes through.”

“Why can’t you just email it as an attachment?” Acting as if he didn’t care, he scrolled to the next article. Not that he knew what the first one had been about. “Or we have a fax machine in the office at the hotel that works fine.”

“It has to be through the portal so my client can access the information and résumés.” She breezed past him and filled her glass, finishing off the bottle.

“That’s your third one.”

“What are you, the wine police?” she asked with a fair amount of snark.

He chuckled. “Just wouldn’t want you to be hungover tomorrow.”

He had a point, so she’d make sure to sip and drink lots of water. Her computer dinged.

“Shit,” she mumbled. “Just fucking great.”

“I take it your files didn’t upload.”

“Nope. And that means I have to refill out all the parameters, and that’s going to take me a half hour. I’ve told my boss a hundred times he needs to fix the site when this crap happens, but nooooo, does he listen to me? Of course not. He thinks that anyone who has a problem with the portal outside of the office is on them, and to quote him, they need to suck it up and deal.”

“Your boss sounds like my first staff sergeant. He expected us to take full responsibility for him and his mistakes. He actually said that was our duty. We decided it was our honor to make sure he got nailed for his incompetence.”

“I should have gotten these résumés and portfolio profiles loaded yesterday, and I didn’t.” Flynn leaned against the back of the sofa and folded her free arm across her middle. She stared out the window. The moonlight caught her dark hair, making it shimmer in its soft glow. “If I had followed proper protocol and completed this in the office, I wouldn’t have to do it remotely, and I wouldn’t be in this situation. So, the only incompetent staff sergeant here is me.”

Why did she have to make it impossible for him to dislike her? “Grab your computer and come on.”

“Where are we going?”

“My bedroom.”

She coughed, nearly spitting out her wine. “Like hell.”

“Relax. I have the internet hardwire coming in through there. It might work over the Wi-Fi connection.” He snagged her computer and headed up the stairs, trying to remember the last time he’d had a woman over.

Last October. Halloween to be exact. A short-lived affair with a woman who worked at one of the booking huts up the road. It had been perfect because she wouldn’t be returning. A nice clean break and until this moment, he hadn’t given her a second thought.

Yet Flynn had consumed his mind for years.

“I hope this works,” Flynn said.

“It should. The connection is always more powerful since it’s direct.”

“Shit,” she said under her breath. “My laptop doesn’t have an input for a hardwire.”

“Ah, she forgets what I did for a living.”

“I didn’t forget; I never really knew,” Flynn said. “Other than you worked in Intelligence for Delta Force.”

“Specifically, IT and communications.” He pushed open the master bedroom door. Hannah raced through the threshold and leapt onto the king-size bed, circling three times before she made herself comfortable on one of the pillows.

“Oh, my God.” Flynn set her wine glass on his mahogany chest and ran her fingertips across the wood. “This is amazing. Does it take up the entire top floor?”

He nodded. “My folks let me remodel when I moved back home. The plan is to do the downstairs and make this place the honeymoon suite.”

“Where would you live?”

“I’m hoping at the end of this summer season, they move to California, and I’ll move into the main house.” He led the way into his office, setting her computer on his desk and hooking it up to the internet wire and his big monitor. “Otherwise, I’m moving into a room at the hotel.” His mother would prefer him to live in the house with them, but she had a tendency to mother the hell out of him.

And he didn’t dare bring a woman home for a one-night stand under those conditions. Not that he did that often, but still, he liked to keep his options open.

“You’re going to run this place? Permanently?” Flynn stared at him with unblinking eyes. “You left Delta Force, a career you said you loved, to return to a place you said you’d never live again, because of your father’s heart attack? That’s noble but shocking that you’d do it long term.”

“You’re surprised that I’m an honorable man?”

She reached out and palmed his cheek. “I can see you taking an extended leave of absence to help nurse your father back to health and to maybe talk them into selling this place. But running it? You told me that while you loved growing up here, you didn’t ever want to live here again.”

“Nearly dying at the hands of the enemy in a hostile territory tends to change a man’s perspective.” Curling his fingers around her dainty wrist, he searched her eyes for anything that told him a kiss would not be welcome. He licked his lips in anticipation of tasting her sweet strawberry flavor. Everything about her sent his senses into overdrive. Three years ago, he found it nearly impossible to keep his hands to himself.

Tonight would no different. Only this time, he would show some self-restraint, self-restraint, starting right now. He pressed his lips against the palm of her hand. “Why don’t you sit down and get your work done. I’m going to go take a shower.” He snagged his glass of wine and turned on his heels. He would not make the first move. Hell, if she made a move, he’d protest. He might not fend off her advances for very long, but he’d at least make it a legit attempt.
Jen Talty. Alaskan Christmas: A Mistletoe Lodge Novella (Kindle Locations 453-508).

It was lots of fun watching Flynn battle with her emotions where it comes to Colton. From hot to cold to jealously and back again on the excursion with the sled dogs.

Of course her job gets in the way, and this time there doesn’t seem to be a way out for her. Plenty of ups and downs, some twists and turns, some sizzle and lots of romance as these to figure out what they really want.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Books 1-3 Plus a Bonus Story!

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Coming Soon!

Jen Talty

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

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

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


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From the Deeps – Seven Wardens Book 1 by Skye MacKinnon & Laura Greenwood


From the Deeps
Seven Wardens Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Authors
Skye MacKinnon
&
Laura Greenwood

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Who knows what ascends from the Deeps…

Macey is really quite ordinary, if you ignore that she’s a kelpie princess living on land. Still, her life is boring until she gets kidnapped by a man who doesn’t quite know why he kidnapped her. Try and figure that one out.

Thankfully, he and his two companions are prepared to help her find out why she can’t return to Earth from their house in the Mists. Now the only problem is that Macey keeps getting distracted by the three mysterious and very sexy men…

A reverse harem romance drenched in Scottish mythology.

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This book will set the premise for the rest of the series. There are some seriously intense scenes in this book, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, this book isn’t for you.

The book opens with us meeting Macey, she’s a kelpie currently living on land among humans. Something all young kelpies are meant to do. Unfortunately or fortunately her father has bound her powers, although she can do a partial shift or if in water shift to her kelpie form. Her brothers Bruce and Jerry, the Crown Princes are fighting, again. After threatening to call their Aunt Nettie, she had gone to read. When the lights go out, things are about to radically change for everyone.

There’s a mist surrounding the house, her brothers are unconscious and something hits her in the head as she collapses in someone’s arms.

Suffice to say Macey doesn’t exactly expect to fall for who she believes are her captors. At first there are extenuating circumstances that have her lusting after all of them, Jared’s fault. He’s an incubus who has been starving himself. Then there’s Camden who ‘saved’ her and Flint who was a just a bit annoyed, then very interested in her.

This is a favorite scene after Macey and Jared get together.

When she entered the living room, still wearing nothing but Flint’s t-shirt and her underwear, the three men were waiting for her.

Camdan cleared his throat and pointedly looked down at the floor. “Why are you walking around naked?”

She shrugged. “I don’t have any clothes.”

Flint chuckled. “Girls. I’ll get you some later. Weren’t you wearing jeans yesterday?”

Now it was her turn to look at the carpet, hiding her blushing cheeks. “I ripped them by accident. My claws must have come out without me noticing.”

“Yes, Flint told us what happened between you two,” Cam sighed and she swallowed hard. She was tempted to run back to her room and hide from all the embarrassment. Forever. Instead, she looked up, giving them all dirty looks.

“Do you always gossip like pesky little selkies?” she hissed, ignoring the fact that her hair was turning green in anger.

“We don’t gossip,” Flint grumbled. “They needed to know.”

“Did they now,” she growled, but inside she was getting curious. He’d promised her she’d find out more about them today. Maybe she should stop being angry?

“Sit down, Macey,” Cam commanded. She hissed at him but did as he said. That didn’t mean that she had to stop glaring at them, though.

“How do I start…,” Flint murmured, more to himself than her.

“Easy,” Jared grinned, “you’re fire, she’s water, opposites attract each other.”

Cam groaned, hitting his friend in the ribs. “Do you ever think before you speak?”

“Rarely.”

“I’ve noticed. Now be quiet and let Flint explain it properly.”

Jared smirked but didn’t reply. Macey was staring at them open-mouthed. What the fuck was going on here?

Flint sighed again, obviously feeling uncomfortable. “What do you know about the Seven Elements?”

“Aren’t there just four?” she asked, taken aback by this strange question.

“That’s the human way of thinking. In truth, there are seven: fire, air, earth, water, ice, wind and lightning. We call them Seachd-Sìona in Gaelic.”

“Wait, aren’t air and wind the same?” she interrupted? “And water and ice?”

“Similar, but not the same,” Flint explained. “Their base essence is different. Which is why there are seven of us.”

He paused to let it sink in, but she was having none of it. “Seven what? Idiots?”

Cam chuckled. “Seven Wardens.”

“Please tell me you’ve heard of the legend?” Jared groaned dramatically. Macey shook her head, embarrassed at her lack of knowledge of the supernatural world. Her grandmother had told her stories, but most were about the peoples roaming the sea and waters, not… Wardens, whatever they were.

“May I remind you that you didn’t know it either when you joined us?” Cam reminded him sternly and Jared grimaced.

“That’s different. I didn’t grow up in your world.”

“Have you asked Macey how she grew up?”

Jared shrugged before admitting, “No, I haven’t.”

“Then don’t be so quick to judge.” Cam turned to Flint. “Brother, would you do us the honour?”

Flint smiled and got up, bowing dramatically.

Macey smiled. This was going to be interesting.

Clearing his throat, Flint began to chant in a deep, smooth voice.

“Fire and wind,
brothers in arms,
lost in the mist.
Earth will join,
Always hungry,
Only sated by meeting the fourth.
Water will run, circling Fire,
then Wind and Earth.
Lightning is trapped,
Ice will break the chains.
Finally, Air is waiting,
only to appear
when the end is near.”

Silence followed his recital, broken only by the flickering of the flame he suddenly conjured, hovering above his outstretched hand.

“I am fire.”

Cam got up and lazily moved his fingers through the air, creating a tiny tornado in the palm of his hand.

“I am wind.”

Jared stood up as well, opened his mouth – and laughed, bending over as his chuckles grew louder. “Sorry, but you’re a little too dramatic,” he wheezed in between laughs. “And I can’t show her earth without destroying the house.”

“You just destroyed my performance,” Flint complained, but a grin was slowly appearing on his face, making his eyes sparkle in the light of the fire he was still holding.

“Sorry,” Jared shrugged, still laughing. “Oh and by the way, you’re water, Macey.

“I got that, believe it or not,” she muttered. Maybe that wasn’t the comment she should have been addressing, after all, they had just told her she was a Warden, whatever one of those was.
Greenwood, Laura. Seven Wardens Omnibus: Books 1-4 (Seven Wardens Collections) (pp. 27-29). Peryton Press. Kindle Edition.

They need answers but the Staran has a mind of it’s own when they travel through it. We meet several interesting characters as the puzzle continues. They know they will need to find Ice to free Lightening and Macey keeps being attacked by a ‘Voice’ in her head. The Voice has Lightening, is leading Ice into a trap and it wants Macey. It seems to be collecting the Wardens and Macey needs her powers unlocked without returning to the loch to have her father do it.

Fast-paced with excitement, some laughs, kindle melting sizzle and so much more.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye and Laura!

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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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Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, trying to resist French Macaroons, and watching the Pitch Perfect trilogy for the hundredth time (at least!)

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Keane – The Mavericks Book 9 By Dale Mayer


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

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

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

Keane
The Mavericks Book 9
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Heading out on a last-ditch rescue mission to Puget Sound one day after two women go overboard in a sailing accident isn’t exactly what he’d expected …

But Keane is nothing if not adaptable. He can only hope the two women are alive and doing everything they can to stay that way. Hearing from the local coast guard that more may be involved than just a rescue mission, he and his partner load up and head out to search the waters around the smaller islands off the coast. They have the GPS of the missing women’s last-known location, but storms could have sent them anywhere …

Lost, alone—except for her best friend, who’s unconscious with a head wound—Sandrine wakes up in a small shelter to find they are locked in. When the door is finally opened, an armed stranger dressed in fatigues dumps a small amount of food and says they are on their own.

Finding the women was one thing, keeping them safe something else again. More is going on in this small island that any of them were expecting … or had planned for …

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Keane and Lennox are assigned to look for two women, on of whom is a generals daughter. They were reported as going overboard when a squall hit. The major problem is this isn’t the first time people have gone missing in that area and when they were found they were dead. Not from drowning but from a bullet.

It’s a race against the clock as the Keane and Lennox start searching the many small islands in the sound. They searched several of the smaller ones, and found a spot to land and make camp for the night on the biggest of the islands. They start searching again in they morning and that’s when things change up a bit.

This is a favorite scene.

Lennox said, “Let’s give it today, and, if we don’t have any luck, then maybe tomorrow consider the search dog issue.”

“Good enough.” Keane passed that message off to Nico and kept moving.

“I don’t see any footprints,” Lennox noted. “I don’t see much of anything up here.”

“But that heavy rain would have washed so much away.”

“Sadly, that’s very true. And the cliff edges are almost completely impassable,” Lennox nodded, looking around. “I don’t remember this island.”

Keane looked at his partner curiously. “Do you know this area?”

“Part of the family camping trips. But I don’t remember this island.”

“Lots of them are fairly impassable,” Keane said. They kept walking, searching, but found absolutely nothing. They heard only wind and saw the odd bird. As they stood on the edge of what they had deemed the third quadrant, he said, “It feels empty.”

“I know,” Lennox said, “but that doesn’t mean it is.” He lifted his hands, cupping them around his mouth, and screamed, “Hello.” A massive gust of wind seemed to carry his voice forever.

Just when they were about to turn to head in another direction, Keane thought he heard something. He reached out, grabbed Lennox’s shoulder. “Do that again.”

Lennox looked at him, clearly surprised, but he willingly cupped his hands around his mouth and called again. And this time what they heard a response a little clearer. “Is that a person?”

The two men stared at each other and then quickly raced toward the sound. It wasn’t easy to decipher, and neither was it easy to find. They found nothing on this level, so they worked their way toward a lower plateau area.

Keane saw a large grassy spot and was hoping for their sake that the women had made it that far. It took the guys a good hour to make it down to the spot, and, when they arrived, he had Lennox call out again. This time the response was clearer but had an edge to it.

As he came over the top of the grassy area and looked down, he spotted a hollow, where the ocean had carved out a deep, circular area, completely surrounded by sheer cliffs.

Down in the center a woman stood, and, as soon as she saw him, she screamed and waved her arms.

He called out, “We’ll come down.”

She nodded and called back, “We need help. My friend is injured.”

“Radio the coast guard,” Keane said to Lennox. “We should be able to get her out of here.”

“I’m wondering if I shouldn’t go back to the Zodiac,” Lennox said, studying the lay of the land, as Keane brought out his ropes and grappling hooks.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Keane said. “Leave me the first aid kit, and, if you want, head back, grab the Zodiac and come around to this bay. I’ll make my way down and take a closer look. Then we’ll decide if the water exit is best and easiest.”

With that decision made, he hooked up his ropes, and slowly, while Lennox stood at the top, Keane made his way down the sharp cliff face. When he was almost down, Lennox called out that he was leaving. Keane gave his partner a thumbs-up signal and watched as his friend disappeared from the top of the cliff. Down below, maybe thirty more feet, he could see the woman still standing there, waiting for him to land. “I’m coming,” he said.

“Good,” she said. “I was afraid we’d been deserted again.”

He heard the word again but would clarify that with her later. And it was hardly the time to ask. Some of the rocks were coming loose as he descended. He stared up where he’d come from, and he could see rocks crumbling down over his head. As several bounced off his helmet, he swore, then ducked against the cliff wall.

She cried out and quickly ran, backing away from the rocks.

What was going on up there above him? Unless Lennox’s movement caused rocks to shift, Keane wasn’t too happy about it either.

Keane clung to the cliff and waited until the rocks stopped moving. When it finally appeared to be safer, he let himself swing back out and quickly descended. As he got down within the last ten or fifteen feet, he felt his rope jerking. He looked up to see his rope cut loose. He fell the last few feet, rolling clear of the rocks. As soon as he could, he picked himself up and raced back against the cliff’s edge. He motioned for her to run toward him.

She stared at him in shock but quickly joined him underneath a little dip where the rocks could continue to fall without hitting them. But the rockslide stopped.

“Who the hell is on this island with you?” he asked in a harsh voice. His mind raced with possibilities.

She shook her head. “I don’t know. I don’t know,” she whispered. “A man dropped off a container with a fish and a couple biscuits, but he wouldn’t give us any blankets or towels, and he wouldn’t help us get off the island. He just left us.”

Keane stared at her, shocked at the turn of events, but no doubt she was telling the truth. She had her arms wrapped around her chest and held her shoulder, which even now oozed blood. He leaned over to check it.

“I got hit by some of the falling rocks,” she said and reached up to touch her head.

He checked out both injuries. “At least they’re superficial. What I need to know is whether we’re facing one man or a dozen.”

“I don’t know,” she said, her teeth starting to chatter.

He wrapped his arm around her and tucked her up close. “Look. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to scare you,” he said, “but my rope was cut.” He pointed at the rope that now lay like a coiled snake on the sand amid the rocks beside him.

Her hand clapped over her mouth as she stared at it; and she just burrowed in closer.

He waited for a long moment and then said, “I need you to get ahold of yourself.”

She nodded. “I know. I know,” she said. “It’s been two very long days.”

“Start at the beginning, and tell me what happened,” he said, as he studied the area around him. “Tell me what you’ve seen. Like, where did you see this man?”

“He— well, we were locked inside that little space up there,” she said, pointing. “A two-by-four closes the doors. When I called for help, I heard footsteps, and somebody came and took the bar off, opening those doors. He brought us food, but he didn’t give us any water, and then he left. He walked down to the opening there to the ocean.”

“Did you hear a boat? Did you hear him leave at all?”

She shook her head. “I did see stairs going to a flatter spot up there, but I don’t know where else he could have gone. And he hasn’t come back. I looked all around at the top of this plateau, but I didn’t find anything.”

“Do you need water?” he asked, unclipping a bottle from his belt.

“We collected rainwater,” she said, “but, yes, if you don’t mind.”

He quickly popped the top and gave it to her and watched as she drank thirstily. He waited until she was done and then sagged back in place.

“My friend is hurt,” she said. “She’s got a head injury, and she’s delirious. I don’t know what to do for her.”

“Not a whole lot we can do except get her to medical help,” he said, looking around. “I want to make it to where your friend is, but, if somebody is watching us, we don’t want him to know that we’re alive. Especially me.”

“You’re hoping he’ll think you died in the fall?”

He nodded. “Yes, but I don’t know how long it’ll take for him to come down and check on me.”

“Oh, God. I don’t know,” she said. “We can walk around this corner, but, at one point, it’s exposed. And, if he’s watching us, we can’t stop him from seeing you.”

“So we’ll stand here for a moment and make sure he’s gone,” he said. “He could be on his way down, and, if that’s the case, I’ll have to find a way to capture him before he tries to hurt us again.”

“If it wasn’t for the cut rope,” she said slowly, staring at him, “I wouldn’t think that he was trying to hurt us at all. He did bring us food.”

“I get that,” he said. “Can you tell me what happened? Like, who you are, and why you’re here? Let me start, I’m Keane Lytton and I’m here on behalf of the coast guard.”

She smiled. “My name is Sandrine Coulter,” she said, “and I was out sailing with my friends. My girlfriend, Brenda, is hurt. We were out in her boyfriend’s catamaran. We’ve gone sailing with them several times before but never this long or this far away.”

“And what happened? How did you end up in the water and wind up here?”

“Brenda fell overboard,” Sandrine explained, her voice gritty. “We caught up to her in the water, and I threw her a lifebuoy, but she seemed unable to grab it, so I jumped into the water after her.”

He raised his eyebrows and stared at her. She nodded. “I know, not exactly the smartest thing to do. But I couldn’t do any less.”
Dale Mayer. Keane (Kindle Locations 493-555). Valley Publishing Ltd..

While Keane makes his way down to the woman, Lennox heads back to camp to get their Zodiac. Unfortunately Keane rapidly discovers they aren’t alone here when his rope is cut followed by a rock slide.

At least the women are alive although Brenda has a head injury. There’s nothing to be done about that until they can transport her to medical help.

Lots of action in this one as Keane and an injured Lennox take on the men setting up some kind of communication boosters. They have to wait out the weather for the Coast Guard and it gets pretty dicey. This book doesn’t end with the rescue either, and the attraction between Keane and Sandrine intensifies as the investigation continues.

I couldn’t put this book down, plenty of suspense and intrigue with that simmer to sizzle romance I love.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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The Sheriff Catches a Bride – Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 5 By Cora Seton


The Sheriff Catches A Bride
Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 5
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton

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When county sheriff Cab Johnson gets a hunch, he’s learned to trust it, and his hunch tells him Rose Bellingham is in a peck of trouble. Bad enough he’s in love with her, bad enough she’s already engaged to Jason Thayer. He’s got to figure out what she’s hiding before he loses her for good.

Rose can’t stand one more person meddling in her business, even if that person is a handsome, eligible sheriff. She’s been controlled for far too long. But since her fiancé’s father is both her boss and landlord, she can’t dump Jason until she’s got somewhere to run. She’s found the perfect place: a patch of forest outside town. But with Cab watching her every move, she’s hard pressed to finish her hideaway so she can make her escape. Meanwhile, she’s not the only one with problems. Can she find a way to help her friends, too?

Just when Cab solves one mystery, more pop up. Where does Rose keep disappearing to? What’s wrong with Mia Start? Why is Hannah Chatham lying to her fiancé? At least he’s let Rose know he’s interested. And if he’s not mistaken, she’s interested, too.

Rose’s hideaway is perfect, until her friends invade it to escape their own troubles. Can she trust them to keep its whereabouts a secret? Does she want to hide from Cab anymore? Now that Jason’s out of the picture, is it safe to follow her heart?

When two unexpected visitors arrive with secrets of their own, Chance Creek must brace for its deadliest night ever. Can Cab figure out the connections between all the mysteries fast enough?

Or will Rose and her friends pay the ultimate price?

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There are two stories playing out in this book and they intertwine in a very unusual way. We get a glimpse of one of those stories throughout the book. Fila is escaping from her guards, they have brought her to America to marry one of their brethren. She wants nothing to do with it and has a plan.

The other starts with Cab, Rob, Ethan and Jamie supposedly running an errand. Instead Cab finds himself at Thayer’s Jewelry store.
Cab is a little more than in love with Rose, but she is taken and has been for six years.

Rose is engaged to Jason Thayer, who is off making his fortune in the oil fields. His father owns the jewelry store. Rose works there and rents the carriage house situated behind his father’s place. Now Cab is going into the store with his friends and once again Rob pulls a stunt. One that surprises and shocks both Rose and Cab.

This is a favorite scene.

As the county sheriff, he normally called the shots. Not when Rob, Ethan and Jamie were around.

“Come on,” Jamie said and pulled the door open. Cab reluctantly went inside. He’d never liked the jewelry store, probably because it made him feel like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Everywhere he looked stood glass cases filled with precious, delicate jewelry.

Definitely not his scene.

“Do whatever you need to do and let’s get out of here,” he growled. He wasn’t in the mood to see Rose, either. He didn’t want the reminder that she was engaged to Jason, whose father owned this store. Rose had worked here for a couple of years now. She’d been engaged to Jason for nearly six. What was the man waiting for?

Sometimes Cab wished Jason would get a move on and marry Rose already. That would put the final nail in Cab’s coffin and he could get his grieving over and done with. Rose would become Jason’s responsibility and maybe he could stop worrying about her. Other times, he hoped Rose and Jason’s engagement would stretch out until it finally snapped and she gave him back his ring. It was wrong to wish unhappiness on another man, but Cab did. Often.

“Over here,” Ethan called, gesturing for them to join him at one of the cases. Cab figured the sooner they finished this charade the sooner they could leave. He moved carefully to join the others as they bent over a display of engagement rings. Rose, who’d been near the cash register when they came in, crossed to join them, a smile on her pretty face. She was petite with glossy dark brown hair and startling blue eyes that often contained a spark of humor. Cab loved the way she was always smiling, even if sometimes that smile was wry. She was cheerful, sharp, imaginative and lively. Jason was a fool to leave her alone so long.

Cab kept his expression carefully friendly, as always, all too aware of the engagement ring that had been on Rose’s finger for as long as he could remember. He knew Jason had slipped the thin silver band on after he took her to their senior prom. Cab hadn’t noticed Rose much back then. He was a young buck in those days just establishing himself as a sheriff’s deputy. Directly after graduation, Jason moved to North Dakota. Rose stayed in Chance Creek and found herself a job. Cab had noticed her more and more over the years but had kept his distance until Rose became friends with Autumn and started to help out from time to time at the Cruz guest ranch. Thrown together more at social occasions, Cab had gotten to know her better, and as much as he told himself she was off limits—entirely off limits—he couldn’t help wishing she wasn’t.

“That one,” Jamie said, pointing to the most ostentatious ring in the bunch. Cab would hate to know the woman who wanted that monstrosity on her finger.

“Nah, too flashy,” Ethan said. “I think that one.” He pointed to a wisp of a gold band.

“That’s not an engagement ring; that’s hardly a ring at all,” Rob said. “This one.” He jabbed a finger at a circlet of yellowish diamonds that made Cab wince.

It was amazing any of them had wives, he thought, leaning over and examining the case for himself. His eyes immediately lit on a vintage art deco ring with flowing lines and several sparkling diamonds. It reminded him of Rose somehow; artistic, womanly, unique.

“Rose,” Jamie said. “Pull out that one, would you?” He pointed to the ring Cab was staring at.

Rose reached in and pulled out the tray. She angled it toward Cab and he picked up the ring, curious to see it without the intervening glass case. Just as he thought, it was a work of art.

“You can’t see it that way,” Rob said, grabbing it from his fingers. He snatched up Rose’s hand, drew her own ring off her finger and jammed the one Cab picked out in its place.

“Rob!” Rose snatched her hand away and held it up, shock on her face. She stared first at the ring, then at Cab, then back at the ring again. When her free hand grabbed for the counter, and her knees buckled, Cab reached over the case to steady her.

“Rose? You okay?” She looked like she was about to faint.

“Told you,” Rob said, grinning at Ethan.

“Son of a gun,” Ethan said, “You were right.”

“What are you talking about?” Cab was annoyed. “Get her some water, for crying out loud. Rose, do you need to sit down for a minute?” In a horrible flash he wondered if she was pregnant. She’d been Jason’s fiancée a long time. Maybe they hadn’t always been careful.

Rose stared at him wide-eyed. Growing worried, Cab tightened his grip on her arm and came around to her side of the case. “I think you need to sit,” he said again.

She shook her head and seemed to come back to herself. “I’m… fine.”

“Really?” Jamie said. “Because you look like you’ve seen your hus—”

Ethan whacked him on the arm.

Rose blushed furiously, peeled the ring off and thrust it back into the tray. Understanding dawned on Cab and he felt heat creep up his own neck at the trick his friends had played. They’d gotten him to choose a ring. They’d put that ring on Rose’s finger.

They’d waited for her reaction.

Everyone knew about Rose’s hunches—the ones she got when a couple chose their engagement ring. Somehow she could predict their future—if their marriage would be successful or not. If they were meant to be together. She’d given her approval to Ethan, Jamie and Rob when they’d bought their rings during the past few months, and since all of them remained happily married they believed her hunches were real.

So what did they think they were proving now?

He wanted to let go of Rose’s arm. Wanted to apologize for his friends and get the hell out of there, but he couldn’t seem to turn away.

“I didn’t feel anything,” she said angrily, breaking the uncomfortable silence. She yanked her arm away from Cab’s grip and set the tray of rings back in the case with shaking hands.

“You looked like you felt something,” Rob said with a grin. Rob made a business of teasing women, and he and Rose had been friends for some time. Usually Rose gave back as good as she got, but this time she didn’t come up with a stinging reply.

She glanced at Cab again instead, and Cab’s stomach tightened when he met her gaze. He saw something there—awareness, interest—fear?—that sent a shiver of recognition up his own spine.

Rob was right; she’d felt something when he put the ring on her finger. The ring Cab had picked out. The ring he wished he could give her.

Were he and Rose meant for each other? Did she feel the same kind of interest in him he felt in her?

Rose turned away abruptly, grabbed her engagement ring off the counter and shoved the thin circle back onto her finger. Cab’s stomach sank.

Of course she didn’t feel anything for him. She had made her choice and it wasn’t him.

“Let’s go,” he said gruffly. “See you around, Rose.” He knew he should say something else—apologize for Rob’s behavior at the very least—but he couldn’t form the words. He turned on his heel and headed for the front door, hoping against hope the rest of them would follow his lead for once.

They did and a moment later they spilled out onto the sidewalk. Cab waited until Rob took his keys out and headed for his truck before he grabbed him by the collar of his jacket and slammed him face down on its hood.
Seton, Cora. The Sheriff Catches a Bride (Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 5) (pp. 5-10). One Acre Press. Kindle Edition.

It’s Rose who has to do some major thinking now. She didn’t know about her ability to predict a happy couple when Jason put the gold circlet on her finger. She’d felt nothing then, but she certainly did when the ring Cab picked out went on her finger.

She should have broken off this long engagement a while ago, but the time never seemed right. She needed to find another job, a new apartment and start over. She would need a job, but then she could work on her art, without her parents, Jason or his father telling her it was a waste of time. Jason’s father Emory frequently stops by her place, sometimes even when she’s not there. He has OCD and will straighten up even though she’s told him not to, repeatedly. What she needs right now is a place to be alone. She plans out a tree house, and finds the perfect spot for it, away from Emory and everyone. She just has to keep it secret.

As all this unfolds we meet up with Hannah again and meet Mia who has a problem of her own, all while following Fila’s journey from Afghanistan.

Fast-paced, fun, scary, romantic, and even a bit terrifying at times. Don’t miss this book!

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

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Cora Seton

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

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


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The Husband: A Marriage of Convenience – A Keeper Book 4 by Melissa McClone


The Husband: A Marriage of Convenience
A Keeper Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone

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One couple, a pending divorce,
and a baby who needs a family…

No matter how hard Kate Malone strives to be perfect, everyone she’s ever loved leaves. She foolishly believed “I do” meant “forever.” Now, her wedding ring is in a jewelry box, and she’s alone once again. But when Kate and her soon-to-be ex-husband become the sole guardians of an infant, divorce is not an option with a new baby counting on them.

Jared Reed loves Kate more than anything—even if he did push her too far. Now he’s determined to keep his promises to his best friends and especially to his wife. A marriage of convenience sounds rather inconvenient, but Jared will do whatever it takes to get Kate back and provide their new little girl with parents who not only love her, but love each other, too.

Parenting brings them closer, but their undeniable attraction makes Kate want to keep her distance. Jared, however, won’t give up on having the family and marriage he wants. Can Jared prove to his wife that he’s the husband she’s always wanted before it’s too late?

NOTE:
This is a revised, expanded version of a book previously published as Marriage for Baby.

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When Kate and Jared meet at the lawyer’s office they are under the assumption that their friends Susan, Brady and their daughter Cassidy had all perish in a car accident. That however was a horrible misunderstanding. Their daughter Cassidy is alive albeit in the hospital recovering from her injuries. Their lawyer explains the situation and the guardianship set up by them. It is their wish that Kate and Jared raise their daughter. There are however stipulations to that guardianship. Kate and Jared must be married otherwise Jared gets full custody.

With their divorce about to be finalized, Kate is devastated that Susan could choose Jared over her should they divorce. Although when she reads the letter Susan left her she understands. Jared’s big family would become Cassidy’s she would always be loved and cared for no matter what. Kate is alone in the world just like Susan was until she married. Now she has to come up with a plan that will work for both herself and Jared so she can have that joint custody.

What she comes up with is a marriage of convenience, they will share the responsibility of Cassidy and things will be like they were before the divorce was filed. With one major exception, there will be no sex.

Once the papers are signed, the guardianship granted and Cassidy discharged from the hospital, they head to Susan and Brady’s home.
They need to go through everything and prepare the home to be sold.

This is a favorite scene as they set off on their journey.

It wasn’t right to take credit for doing what needed to be done. He might use the baby to get his wife back, but Cassidy’s needs were the top priority. “It’s the least I could do. The same as you.”

“We have a steep learning curve ahead of us. Checkups, illnesses, diaper rash. I don’t even want to imagine feeding her solids. What if she’s as picky as Brady?”

We. Not I.

The plan would work. The knots in Jared’s stomach loosened.

“Then we buy a side of beef and learn how to disguise vegetables as candy.” He tapped his thumb against the steering wheel. Soon Cassidy would have a mommy and daddy who lived together and loved each other, too.

“What?” Kate asked.

He shot her a sideward glance. “You sound like a mom.”

“Really?”

The hope in the one word surprised Jared. Kate always appeared so in control, so self-assured with everything, but her hopeful tone made her seem vulnerable and more… real. He liked that. “Yes, you sound like a mom.”

A satisfied expression settled on her face. “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

“I had no idea saying that works better than saying you look hot.” He laughed. “I must remember that.”

“Will that be your game plan when you need a night out with the boys?”

He smiled. “More like how to get out of the doghouse.”

She smiled back. “Flowers and chocolate are good for that, too.”

Yes. A point in his favor. Jared would pump his fist, but he was keeping both hands on the wheel. A glance at the rearview mirror showed flashing lights rapidly approaching. A siren grew louder. Jared slowed the car and changed lanes. An ambulance roared past, its siren blaring.

The baby cried.

“She must not like sirens,” he said.

“She might remember the sound and how she hurt after the accident.”

He hadn’t a clue what babies remembered. “That would make sense.”

“It could explain how she doesn’t like being woken up suddenly or with much noise.” Kate reached back. “It’s okay, Cassidy, we’re right here.”

The baby wailed.

Kate sighed. “I should have sat next to her.”

“Maybe she’ll settle down.”

“I can climb back there.”

The image of Brady’s mangled car flashed through Jared’s mind. He didn’t want Kate to unbuckle her seat belt. “We only have a few miles to go.”

The crying worsened. No matter what they said, nothing consoled Cassidy. Jared couldn’t concentrate on the road. “Did you read anything in the baby books that would help calm her down?”

“No. She might be tired, hungry, wet. I have no idea.” Kate twisted in her seat. “We’ll be home soon, Cassidy. Do you miss your room? All your toys?”

The baby’s cries squeezed Jared’s heart. “I’m getting off the freeway at the next exit.”

“We have to do something now.”

“The radio,” he offered.

“Noise might upset her more.” Frustration laced each of Kate’s words.

He understood. The wailing reverberated around him. “What do you suggest I do?”

When she didn’t answer, Jared turned on the radio. A classical song played. Mozart, if he wasn’t mistaken.

The baby screeched. So much for those songs for babies he’d downloaded.

Jared hit one of the radio’s preset buttons. A country music singer sang of lost loves and dented fenders. More crying. He pressed another button. A rock-and-roll tune filled the car with an electric guitar solo. Cassidy shrieked.

Tension ratcheted. Kate grimaced. “This isn’t working.”

The baby hiccupped between her sobs.

Jared wouldn’t give up. He hit the AM dial and searched the stations, stopping when he heard stock quotes.

“Why are you putting on this station?” Kate reached for the radio. “It’ll make her—”

Cassidy stopped crying as if someone had flicked an off switch.

“No way.” Kate’s arm hovered in front of the ON/ OFF button before she placed her hand on her seat. “How did you know financial news would work?”

“Brady listened to this.”

As a reporter spoke about an upcoming meeting to discuss interest rates, the baby squealed a happy noise this time.

“We’ll have to add the money station in Portland to our presets,” Kate said.

“It’s one of mine.”

“Then it might be one of mine. I rarely listen to the radio. I prefer to put on an audiobook.”

He wasn’t surprised. “Multitasker.”

“I try to maximize my productivity. That will be more important now with Cassidy.”

“You can do whatever you set your mind to.” He wanted to reassure Kate. Who was he kidding? He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss some sense into her gorgeous head. “We’ll both do whatever it takes.”

“You sound so sure.”

“I am.”

“Aren’t you worried about the future?” she asked.

“All we can do is our best.”
Melissa McClone. The Husband ARC (Kindle Locations 1108-1168). Cardinal Press, LLC.

Now being a parent isn’t easy, and because of their life style Kate is essentially a single mom during the week. Jared lives and works in Seattle when he’s not on the road, while Kate’s business is in Portland. Fortunately the rest of Jared’s family is also in Portland so she doesn’t have to worry about child care while she’s working. Unfortunately the perfect baby is long gone and after a week of no sleep Kate is ready for Jared to step in. Well sort of.

Something’s got to give or everything is going to fall apart. A weekend isn’t long enough to make up for a week of no help at night. They do make some discoveries though.

Kate’s first mother’s day is poignant and at Jared’s parents an eye opener. However it’s as Kate gives telecommuting a chance by moving up to Seattle that things really come to a head.

I found myself very angry at Jared’s family and Jared for that matter. The circumstances that broke up their marriage to begin with were archaic and chauvinistic. There are many things that come into play as this story unfolds, there is laughter, tears, love and compassion. However the biggest thing is when Jared’s eyes open to the truth of everything.

I can’t wait to see what Melissa comes up with next for this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!

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Melissa McClone

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

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

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

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

North’s Nikki – Heroes for Hire Book 16 by Dale Mayer


North’s Nikki
Heroes for Hire Book 16
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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In what circumstance wouldn’t a knight want to rescue a damsel in distress? A former SEAL working for Legendary Securities, North Dockter has found the very circumstance that challenges even his stalwart, chivalrous ways. Nikki Beckwith is a firecracker who butts heads with him at every turn, refusing to follow orders or listen to his experience unless doing so suits her.

When she discovers someone is smuggling drugs through her company’s warehouse and her life is threatened, Nikki flees to her aging grandfather’s home in England to lay low and regroup. He’s always been there for her, and, if ever she needed a bolthole to make changes in her life, it’s now. Maybe it’s time to return to the States…particularly after meeting North and realizing the attraction between them is more than she believed possible.

But Nikki soon realizes that no place is safe after her grandfather is attacked in his home. Even with her gorgeous guardian angel hovering close by, will she be too late to make all the changes she’s envisioned?

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The prologue of this book had me giggling a bit. Everyone seems to know that if Ice chooses your assignment you’ll find the right person for your happily ever after. Ice says she can’t promise North he’ll meet someone, and he agrees that it’s not something she can promise. We who read this series know better.

Ice informs him he’ll be heading to England in a couple of days. I seems their friend and supporter, Charles Beckwith’s granddaughter Nikki is in trouble. How much and what kind of trouble is unknown at the moment.

North is met at the airport by Anders who flew in from Germany where he had been working on another of Levi’s cases. Fortunately that one was still at the information gathering stage. Charles has sent a car for them and it’s obvious the driver has training, his eyes taking in everything.

Instead of taking them to Charles’ home, the driver makes a stop elsewhere. It seems MI6 has determined that they should be instructed on their behavior, and giving that task to Jonas Halpin. Although it was Badger and his crew that caused issues in England, it seems anyone acquainted with them was going to be talked to and warned against causing trouble. Something both Ander’s and North found interesting, was the fact that neither Charles or Levi gave Jonas any information. Jonas had spoken with both of them and still had no idea why the two of them were in England. I almost felt sorry for Jonas, almost.

Nikki Beckwith works for a small but profitable import/export company that is currently dissolving all contracts to close it’s doors. The owner has cancer that hasn’t responded to treatments. He has no heirs and couldn’t find a buyer. The event that sent Nikki running to her grandfather was being threatened by two men. All having to do with what both her and her bosses assistant believed was a clerical error. Unfortunately that order that appeared to be double what was expected, was exactly that.

North and Anders start the initial rundown on the business that shares the warehouse space, then decide they need to take a look at the order in question. Of course Nikki has no intention of staying behind.

This is a favorite scene as they approach the parking lot near the warehouse.

She was grateful for the darkness inside the vehicle to hide the rioting color heating up and washing over her face. She sighed. “That’s all right. I’m talking to myself.”

Anders chuckled in the back seat. “Glad you do it too. We’re well-known for it.”

Startled, she glanced at him in the rearview mirror. “Really?”

“I think everybody does it to a certain extent,” he said, “although I would really like to know the other half of the argument you were having with yourself.”

“That’s the thing about conversations with yourself. You don’t have to share them,” she said, effectively trying to buck him out of her head.

But Anders was persistent. “Well now, I’ll just have to make some wild guesses about it then.”

A little desperately she said, “Please don’t.” She watched as North lifted his hand in some kind of a movement, like a silent signal, which had Anders subsiding in the back seat. She wondered about the dynamics between the two of them. They obviously were good friends and knew each other very well. But had North suggested that Anders stop teasing her? If so, she owed North one. And, if he got them safely through tonight, she would owe him another big one too.

If he solved this nightmare she’d gotten herself into, the chances of repaying any of that were pretty slim. And how could she possibly leave her granddad for the US, given his health and temperament? Not that she saw him all that often even while living in the same proximity. Then the little devilish imp on her shoulder said, And how many times can you fly back and forth in a year? Probably more times than you came to visit him while you lived here.

And she was ashamed to admit there was some truth to that, but she and her granddad did talk all the time.

The imp responded with You could do that from the US too. Sometimes you have to follow your heart, and you’ve been wanting to go back for a long time now.

She had thought, at times, she’d go to New York, but she had overcome the luster of that landing spot for a while. She just didn’t have any better place to go. She thought maybe Kansas or even Maryland, although she didn’t know anybody in either spot. Her brother was in California and that appealed to just be close to him. There were just so many options available to her that she didn’t know where she would like to end up.

Beside her, North asked, “Where’s the parking lot?”

With a jolt she brought herself back to reality. She was driving toward the warehouse where she’d been threatened once already, in the dark with two men who had no problem with breaking in if she didn’t let them in. She pointed up ahead. “It’s right there.” She pulled in, drove to the far back and shut off the lights as she maneuvered into a parking spot.

“Are you sure we can’t get you to stay here?” North asked, still not moving from the vehicle.

She shook her head. “No, you need me.”

“Exactly why do we need you?” he asked.

“Because you won’t know which is our stuff and which is the other people’s stuff.”

“I’m sure it’ll be delineated somehow,” he said, “otherwise all the employees would be just as confused.”

She pulled the keys from the ignition, adding them to her purse. She turned a bit to better face North as they continued this conversation in the car. “We could have asked Stan. He’s our warehouse manager. But it’s Friday night, and he’s off for the weekend. Normally he checks the manifests, sends the paperwork my way, then arranges delivery to the customers.”

“So who checked off this excess shipment? And, if it was Stan, why wasn’t he alerted to it?”

“That’s a good question. I did ask him, but he had to take off right away. He told me that he’d get back to me. I never really got a chance to ask him again. But I presume because the Only the Best company always orders thirty cases, they assumed it was a second thirty this time. I just figured someone messed up somewhere.”

“Obviously somebody did,” North said. “The question is who and on which side.”

“I want to know what’s inside those boxes,” she said in a hard voice. “I want to confirm that whatever is being imported and exported is completely legal.”

“Do these come in trucks across the channel, or are they shipped over some other way?”

“Trucks. And we do a ton of paperwork to get it all to happen free and clear. This Brexit stuff will be a nightmare of paperwork for us. So, at the moment, it’s all still operating the same way. If England does eventually leave the EU, I’m sure the paperwork will be completely messed up for a while. But our company won’t be in business by then.” She stared at North. “How long will we wait here? This isn’t what we came for.”

He looked at her and smiled, his white teeth flashing in the darkness. In a gentle voice he said, “We’re waiting for Anders to get back and to tell us the coast is clear.”

Startled, she turned to look behind her into the back seat, but it was empty. She twisted to look at North again. “I didn’t even hear him leave.” North nodded. “Anders is like that. He’s very good at his job. And so am I.”

She sagged back into the driver’s seat, wondering when Anders could possibly have exited the vehicle without her knowing. “The interior light didn’t turn on.”

“No, it didn’t,” he said. “I disabled it while you were driving.”

She shot him another look. “I didn’t see you do that either,” she said quietly.

He held up a small machine in his hand. “With these new vehicles it’s more computer codes than anything overtly physical. I’ll fix it once we’re out of here. But, if we had opened the door, somebody would have noticed the light when we arrived.”

“We’re still blocks away,” she protested. “Otherwise what was the point of stopping here?”

“We were likely already being watched when we turned the corner back there, as it is a straight shot from there to the warehouse. So, as long as we’re just sitting here, people are likely to think we came here to hang out together.”

She gave a violent head shake. “No way we would use this as a necking point if you were a local. This is not a good area of town.”

“You mean, to cuddle?” He pivoted, snagged her in his arms and half dragged her until she was sitting in his lap. “That’s an excellent idea.”

She gasped and tried to wiggle away.

He whispered, “Don’t. We are being watched. You need to know that.” She didn’t need to know it would either be Anders or MI6.

She sagged against North, wrapped her arms around his chest and asked, “Are you sure?”

“Very sure,” he said. And he kissed her.
Mayer, Dale. North’s Nikki: A SEALs of Honor World Novel (Heroes for Hire Book 15) (pp. 49-53). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.>

What they find in the warehouse is more than just the crates. Three men were there also. It wasn’t hard to guess they were there to move the merchandise.

I really love the way North and Anders handle evidence and what information they pass to MI6 through Jonas. They need to know exactly how deep and dangerous this trouble is. So they keep a sample of what they find for themselves.

North and Nikki’s attraction takes off after their visit to the warehouse, leading her to think returning to the US is something she could do. I definitely got a kick out of the way Charles and Nikki both handle Jonas.

I find I love Charles’ home, there’s far more than meets the eye as the danger escalates to his home.

This is a page-turning read with action and suspense, lots of interesting décor, and that simmer to sizzle romance I love.

I also loved the lead in to the next book Ander’s Angel, that is next on my TBR pile.

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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Beyond the Loch – Seven Wardens Book 0.5 by Laura Greenwood & Skye MacKinnon


Beyond the Loch
Seven Wardens Book 0.5
By
USA Today Bestselling Authors
Skye MacKinnon
&
Laura Greenwood

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Adventure waits beyond the loch…

Before she became known as the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie was nothing more than a simple kelpie with big dreams.

When her chance for adventure comes, she grabs it with both hands, sending her to the depths of the ocean and mountain peaks. Though none of that compares to what awaits her heart when she meets a human who still believes in magic…

NOTE:
This story takes place before the Seven Wardens series but can be read as a standalone novella. There is no cliffhanger.

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Nessie is a Kelpie, she lives in a loch in northern Scotland. Young and inquisitive she wants to travel, to find answers to her painful shift from human to kelpie. With her parents blessing she leaves the loch to visit the Sea Kelpies. It is rumored that they have the answers she’s seeking.

At the beginning of her travels she meets Jonas, he is a ghost hunter of sorts. Wanting adventure she climbs Ben Nevis with him, for her it’s to see the sights for him he’s looking for the ghost from the tale she’s told him.

This is a favorite scene.

Reaching where it had gone, she noticed the small entrance to a cave. They’d have to duck, but it was clearly big enough for the two of them to get into.

“I guess we’re going in here,” she said.

“I thought you couldn’t see the ghost?” Jonas asked.

Nessie’s eyes widened. She hadn’t intended to let him know she’d been able to. “I couldn’t, but I did see a shimmer of light that you seemed to be following.”

The ghost’s chuckle filled the air around her. It seemed to know she was lying, though she had no idea how he possibly could. Especially when he wasn’t in the immediate vicinity.

Jonas nodded, clearly having believed her lie.

“Shall we?” he asked, waving towards the door.

“Might as well.” She didn’t wait for him to say anything else and ducked through the cave entrance.

After a couple of steps in complete darkness, the cave opened up and Nessie gasped at the view in front of her. Jewels twinkled in the walls in all colours, shapes, and sizes. Light bounced around, giving the cavern a mythical air.

“No one who sees this can say the supernatural isn’t real,” Jonas said when he reached her side.

She didn’t have the heart to tell him the effect was nothing to do with magic and everything to do with nature. Even if it wasn’t made that way, there was a magic in the way the place looked. Ethereal came to mind as a description.

“Welcome to the Cavern of Lights,” the ghost said, reappearing in his humanoid form, complete with kilt blowing in the non-existent wind.

“Thank you.” Jonas took a step forward. “Why have you brought us here, wise one?”

The ghost gave him an odd look before starting to laugh once more. “Wise one? Where did this one grow up?”

Nessie’s lips quirked up into a brief smile. It wasn’t Jonas’s fault he didn’t know how to address ghosts, even if that made it more amusing for her.

“My name is Gilbert. I’ll have none of this wise-one stuff.”

“Gilbert?” Jonas echoed.

“Aye. Is my name not a good one?” Menace flashed behind the ghost’s eyes. Nessie didn’t know how serious it was. She’d never met a ghost before, but from everything she’d heard, they could be rather temperamental creatures.

“It’s a very good name,” Jonas responded. “It just wasn’t what I expected.”

“You should always expect the unexpected, that way nothing ever comes as a surprise.”

“I’m not sure that’s true,” Nessie put in. “What if the expected happens? If you’re expecting the unexpected then the expected would surprise you. No?”

The ghost roared in laughter, filling the cavern with the sound as it bounced off the walls. “Now, now, I should have known better than to play word games with someone such as you. Aren’t you a long way from your loch?” He raised an eyebrow.

Nessie’s heart sank. She hoped he wouldn’t say any more, she wasn’t ready for Jonas to learn the truth about her and what she was. “Not as far as I could be.”

“I met your sort once before, while I was alive mind. She came from the sea. Beautiful, charming, but with the anger of the seas in her veins. Not one anyone should want to cross. I suspect you’re the same,” he told her.

“I’m from inland,” she countered.

“Means nought. Just because you have been something all your life, doesn’t mean that it’s what you’re meant to be. The sea is where you’ll find your answers.” His eyes pierced into her, giving weight to his words.

Nessie gulped. Maybe she should heed his words. She’d left the Loch for an adventure, after all, it wasn’t like she had a plan anyway.

“And what about me?” Jonas asked, having recovered from looking between them with a look of anger on his face. She was sure she’d have a lot of questions to answer after Gilbert had disappeared once more. At the moment, only Jonas’s eagerness to talk to the ghost before he disappeared was keeping her safe.

Gilbert studied him for a moment, a look of concentration marring his brow. “You are hard to read. I see two paths. One ends sooner than I think you’d like. The other takes you down a dangerous path that you’ll never return from.”

“If one of them ends soon, surely that’s the more dangerous path?” Nessie interrupted.

The ghost turned to her. “You think death is the most dangerous thing in the world?” He raised a ghostly eyebrow.

“It’s the most permanent,” she pointed out.

“Hardly.” He ran a hand down his body in explanation.

She had to admit he was right. He didn’t exactly support the hypothesis of death being the end. That was annoying.

“So death or danger are my options?” Jonas asked, not sounding as worried about it as Nessie would have liked considering they were talking about his future.

“Those are the paths I’m seeing, but all can still be changed. Human nature likes to change things even quicker than the unpredictable nature of the sea.”

“Should I be going to the coast too?” Jonas asked.

“Whatever gave you that idea?” Gilbert seemed genuinely taken aback by the question.

“You mentioned the sea for Nessie, and now again for me, I just thought…”

“I cannot tell either of you where you should go. All I can do is tell you what I see when I look at the two of you. Such are the restrictions of my kind.”
Greenwood, Laura. Beyond the Loch: A Seven Wardens Prequel . Peryton Press. Kindle Locations (460-499). Kindle Edition.

Once Jonas realizes she lied to him and was more than she said, he became angry causing Nessie to flee. She was off to complete her journey and learn how to shift with ease.

When she arrives at the Sea Kelpie’s domain under the sea, the welcome wasn’t what she expected. They are a bit angry, and when she meets up again with Jonas he isn’t exactly pleasant either.

Plenty of excitement, some interesting folklore, an unusual romance with sizzle, and the explanation of the Seven Wardens revealed as well as some very interesting facts about Nessie.

I am already starting the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye and Laura!

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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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Laura is a USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking ridiculous amounts of tea, trying to resist French Macaroons, and watching the Pitch Perfect trilogy for the hundredth time (at least!)

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Corkscrew Killer – New York State Troopers Book 9 by Jen Talty


The Corkscrew Killer
New York State Troopers Book 9
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty

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All Kendal Rose wants is to put the past where it belongs and have started fresh with the rest of the Wine Wednesday group. However, when her friends are murdered, one by one, and Kendal is the best suspect, that becomes impossible.

New York State Trooper, Ryder Vaughn has one shot to get his career back on the right track. At first glance, the Corkscrew case appears to be open and shut. Only, Ryder smells a setup and he can’t let another innocent person go to jail.

Will Ryder and Kendal be able to solve the corkscrew murders before Ryder is forced to slap on the handcuffs and send the woman he’s falling in love with to prison? Or will Kendal end up in a body bag?

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Sometimes the past is painful and when you finally feel you can let it go, it just comes back to haunt you.

After reaching out to her group of friends they agree to get together to really put everything behind them. Kendal is the first to arrive and orders the same thing they had every Wednesday night when they were students here. It’s murder that interrupts that reunion, the murder of the woman they were waiting for. It’s Kendal who can identify her, she recognizes the cowboy boots Sylvie Leticia was wearing when Kendal dropped her at the hotel.

To top it all off, when she returns inside to get her purse along side the detective in charge, there’s an corkscrew in it. Something she doesn’t carry with her, even the wine they ordered had a screw top not a cork.

Just to make things more interesting, the detective in charge is one Ryder Vaughn, is Kendal’s boss’s ex-husband. Now just to be clear, Kendal is a criminal defense lawyer, but she is surprised when Sarah Moffit her boss comes to defend her. The thing is she really didn’t do it and there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to her.

Ryder doesn’t think Kendal is guilty, but she is definitely being set up, unfortunately for him, it seems he is also being targeted to fall.

This is a favorite scene.

The kitchen light clicked off, and Ryder headed for his car. He stopped in the middle of the street and wasn’t sure if he was amused or mortified. “Guess I’m busted.”

Leave. Run. Do anything but engage with the person of interest.

Ryder stuffed his hands in his pockets and made his way back to Kendal’s house. “What gave me away?” Curiosity was going to get him fired.

“I saw the bushes move and your silver pendant caught the light from my neighbor’s house.”

“So, why call me out?”

“I thought you might be hungry?” Kendal asked, holding up a sandwich in one hand and her glass of wine in the other.

“Actually, I am, and I love mustard.” He put on his most charming smile. “Thanks.”

“What would Jared say if I called him and said you were peeking into my windows?”

“He knows I’m here,” Ryder admitted. “Thanks to my ex-wife, your boss, I’m on a very short leash.” He snagged the sandwich and took a huge bite. “Oh, my God, that’s good.” He took her hand and tugged her to the front stoop. “Let’s sit and talk like civilized people.”

“Are you generally uncivilized?”

He took another bite, enjoying the spicy mustard flavor as he plopped himself down on her front stoop. “I can honestly say I’m almost always a gentleman.”

“Really? I think Sarah would beg to differ.”

He laughed. “I can only imagine what she might have said about me.”

“Why are you here?” She took a sip of her wine.

“You’re a person of interest in an alleged murder. I’m doing my due diligence.” He stuffed the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and chewed slowly while he held up his finger. “Why are you feeding me?”

“Because I want information, so consider it a bribe.”

“What do you want to know?” he asked.

“Do you have any other suspects? What other angles are you checking into?”

“I can’t tell you any of that.”

She tapped her pretty little toes on the pavement.

“You’re barefoot,” he said.

“I don’t like shoes. Arrest me.” Her glare tore into his body like a rocket screaming toward the sky. “I take it you have questions for me?”

“I noticed Seth gave you a ride home. Are the two of you heating things up?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but no. Not even close. Tonight was the first time I’ve seen him in years.”

“How many years?” He’d keep asking questions until she told him to leave.

“Maybe six or seven.”

“Has he tried reaching out to you? Text messages? Emails?”

She shook her head. “I hadn’t planned on seeing him at all this weekend. I don’t think any of the other girls had planned on it either.”

“Why not? You were all very close at one time. I mean, he was your boyfriend at one time as well as Sylvie’s. Why leave him out?”

“Because he’s not part of the Wine Wednesday gang, and the history he brings to the group would make things awkward. Any other questions?”

“I’m surprised you’re still talking with me.” He rubbed his hands over his jeans and stood, tired of looking up at the dark-haired beauty with killer legs that went on forever. “I’m sure my ex-wife has filled your head with a lot of negative things about me.”

“I make my own judgments about people, but since we’re discussing this, I get the impression you think I’m guilty.”

He waved his finger in the air. “Nope. That is where you are wrong. Despite that I believe the murder weapon was found in your purse, my gut says you’re far from guilty.”

Kendal’s eyes grew wide.

“Surprised?”

“Honestly, I don’t believe you, especially since I found you poking around my house.”

He smiled. “I followed your friends to the hotel and then came here because I’m concerned for your safety.” He didn’t have a good handle on the case. The details hadn’t come together, allowing him to formulate the basis of his investigation, but every bone in his body screamed that Kendal was being set up.

“You’re not concerned for my friends?” she asked with scathing glare.

“We have someone driving by the hotel.”

Kendal laughed. “The only reason you’re here is to find a way to make sure I’m viewed as the killer.”

“Wow. Sarah must really be telling some tall tales.” He raked a hand through his hair, giving his scalp a good scratch.

Kendal blinked, her long lashes floating in the air like a butterfly. “I think it’s best you leave.”

“Thanks for the sandwich,” he said. “Maybe when this is all over, we can have a drink to go with it.”

“Are you seriously asking me out?”

“I know, crazy, but I’m that confident you’re not guilty.”

“And I’m confident you’re full of shit.”

“Because my ex-wife said so? You know, she used to talk about you when we were married. Never anything good, but that’s because she’s jealous of you, and now that I’ve met you, I totally understand why. You’re everything she’s not.”
Jen Talty. The Corkscrew Killer (Kindle Locations 516-560).

Things go sideways pretty quickly as her one of her other friends is killed and the other goes missing.

A romance that begins in spite of the fact it shouldn’t and the investigation that leads to Kendal and Ryan hiding out to do the research needed to figure all this out.

I love this series and I am way behind in it. I’ll have to work on catching up to this book soon.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

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

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

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


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Summer of Love – The Costas Sisters Book 2 by Carly Phillips


Summer of Love
The Costas Sisters Book 2
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

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Zoe Costas is a security specialist and a Costas through and through. Her eccentric, rather dubious family runs an Atlantic City spa that’s just this side of legit. So Zoe isn’t inclined to trust handsome, charming Ryan Baldwin when he shows up claiming to be related to Sam, the girl the Costas family is about to adopt. But Ryan is Sam’s uncle and one of the famously rich and snooty Boston Baldwins.

Ryan’s search for his sister has led him to news of her death, and to a niece he’s never met. But someone else has also tracked Sam down — someone who never wanted the child to be found. Ryan is determined to protect Sam and find out what really happened to his sister. And Zoe is just the woman to help him do it. Neither expects to lose their heart in the process.

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If you read the first book ‘Under the Boardwalk’ you’ll remember that the Costas family has expedited the process of becoming foster parents to take in Sam. In this book they are getting close to the point of adoption and there’s going to be a major twist.

It seems Sam has an uncle, one who just found out his late sister had a daughter. Ryan wants to meet her and have her become part of the family. He arrives with Sam’s 14th birthday party in full swing, and the family believes Ryan to be Sam’s new social worker. Ryan not knowing what else to do, goes along with it. However, while Zoe is giving him a tour of the house and finds herself attracted to the man, she gets a call.

This is a favorite scene.

Thankfully Social Services had agreed to the foster placement and the past few months had been uneventful. Now if she could just get her mother to stall Sam’s birthday present until Ryan Baldwin left, she’d feel much better.

“I’m sorry. No more pushing. I promise. So, how about a tour of the house?” she asked with forced cheer, recalling that had been one of the first things the other social worker had requested.

He seemed to relax and even crack a smile. “Has anyone ever told you you’re just like your mother?”

She cocked her head to one side. “If you mean because I’m pushy, tend to ramble, and usually get what I want, then yeah, people do think my mother and I are alike.”

“I was thinking that you’re both like a tornado of sorts.” The corners of his eyes crinkled. “But I have to admit; you two can be somewhat refreshing.”

“That’s one way of putting it, and coming from someone more… How shall I put this delicately? Coming from someone more stuffy than I am, I think I’ll even consider it a compliment.”

He laughed at that, two dimples suddenly becoming evident. With his guard down and his smile genuine and unstrained, Zoe was struck again by how handsome he truly was. It was strange that she’d notice him at all since a “suit” was the last kind of guy she’d normally be attracted to, but what the heck. The rush of adrenaline proved she wasn’t dead, as her mother accused her of being.

“I’d like to take that tour now,” he said, changing the subject back to business.

“Come.” Zoe grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the house.

She kept things light as she pointed out the spa and how it was completely separate from the house. Entrances on opposite sides of the property meant nobody could get in or out of the house from the spa. She showed him all the safety precautions they’d taken and couldn’t help but show her pride in the business her family had made a success in such a short time.

He asked questions, and she answered. He even laughed a time or two at her jokes. And all the while, she couldn’t shake the heat his touch generated or the sense that his big hand had imprinted itself on her smaller one. She hadn’t liked the other social worker’s unexpected visits, but she could get used to this guy hanging around.

They ended their tour in the kitchen, and Zoe hopped up to sit on the counter. “So what do you think?”

He nodded in what seemed reluctant approval. “It’s a different setup, but you’ve definitely made sure the family is separate and protected from spa guests. The cowbell was a unique touch.”

She rolled her eyes. It figured. Zoe had pointed out their high-tech protection, the video cameras and the alarm system and he’d focused on Elena’s personal method of ensuring nobody entered the private part of the house unnoticed— a cowbell hanging over the door, virtually impossible to move or disable. She’d used the same technique on Zoe and Ari when they were younger to make sure neither sneaked out of the house or came in too late.

Zoe shrugged. “What can I say? Mom and Dad have got their own ways. But they did their job as parents and did it well.”

He strode closer. So close she smelled his rich, musky scent and a warm, tingling feeling arose in her chest.

“Your family is certainly different,” he said.

“I take it you’re from a more conservative bunch?” She laughed and yanked on his tie playfully before remembering who he was. The social worker who would determine Sam’s fate.

She started to pull back but he touched her hand, stilling her movement, and his eyes locked on hers. The air around them grew heavy, pulsing with anticipatory awareness. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this drawn to a man on first meeting.

Zoe had a healthy sex life but not a love life. That description she reserved for soul mates, people like her parents, or Quinn and Ari. In fact, she reserved the description for many people, really, with the exception of herself. She didn’t know how people made a lifetime commitment and kept it. She hadn’t even been able to accomplish that with a job.

She understood these things about herself, and though she accepted them, she was taking steps to lead a more adult life. Her sister’s marriage had made her realize it was time to make changes. Zoe supposed it was a good thing that love had never happened for her. One less decision she’d had to make and stick with, she thought wryly.

And since she was approaching her thirtieth birthday in a matter of days, she had long since stopped expecting love at all. Besides, she enjoyed her freedom too much to give it all up for one man.

She glanced at the good-looking man before her and realized that her sex life had been status quo for so long even this overwhelming chemistry came as a surprise. As a woman who liked excitement, she welcomed the rush of adrenaline in her veins, and she had no trouble acting on their mutual attraction.

As long as she didn’t jeopardize Sam’s future in the process. Thankfully, the ringing of the telephone interrupted their prolonged silence, and she reached for the phone. “Hello.”

“Elena?” a voice asked.

“No, this is Zoe.”

She gave Ryan an apologetic look and held up one finger, asking him to wait a minute while she took the call.

“It’s Katherine Farr, Samantha’s social worker,” the voice on the other end of the phone said. “I just wanted to apologize that neither myself nor my colleague could make it to Sam’s party today.”

Zoe narrowed her gaze. “But…”

“I know you’re disappointed and so is Samantha, but it can’t be helped. My mother needs me for another few weeks, and my colleagues will be tied up with urgent cases. I hope you understand.”

“Sort of.” Zoe shot a covert glance at Ryan beneath her lashes.

“It’s a compliment and a testament to your family’s skills with Samantha. She’s come such a long way. I know she’s safe and in good hands, so I have no problem with the final evaluation being postponed for a few weeks until I’m back.”

“Okay.” She didn’t want to give anything away to her companion who stood with is back to her, staring at the photographs on the refrigerator.

“My colleagues will need to focus on the more problematic cases in order to cover my absence,” Katherine explained.

“I understand. And I hope things work out for your mother.”

“Thank you, dear. You’ll relay the message to your parents?”

“I certainly will.” Zoe hung up the phone and focused on the stranger in her kitchen.

A man who’d stirred something inside her that had been dormant for too long. A man who obviously had an agenda.

She walked up behind him and tugged on his arm.

“Is this you and Sam?” He gestured to the picture of Zoe, Ari and Sam with orange spray-on tans on their faces and arms, smiling for the camera.

“We were recreating an old childhood memory,” she said laughing before she caught herself. “Never mind that.”

He narrowed his gaze. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

You’re wrong, Ryan Baldwin, if that’s even your name. Since I just spoke to Sam’s social worker on the phone and I know she couldn’t get someone to replace her, I’d like to know just who the hell you are. And what the hell you’re doing snooping around my family and my house.”
Carly Phillips. Summer of Love (Kindle Locations 266-325). CP Publishing.

A fun yet intense tale, as Sam and Zoe get to know Ryan. His biggest fear is that his parents would make the same mistakes they did with his sister and drive Zoe away as well.

Plenty of surprises, fun, laughter, tears, drama and suspense. I hope Carly has something in mind for all those Costas cousins.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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Carly Phillips

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

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


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Troy – SEALs of Honor Book 24 By Dale Mayer


Troy
SEALs of Honor Book 24
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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When a friend of Tesla’s sends out an SOS on the lowdown on an oil rig in trouble, Troy has a good idea what he’s getting into. As far as he is concerned, the maximum danger, the potential for betrayal, and the chances of not coming home sounded like the right kind of job for him.

After all, he lived alone. So going into these situations with no family to worry about him made him the ideal candidate—until he meets someone at the oil rig who suddenly makes him see his future in a different life.

Berkley knew something dangerous was going on. No way this oil rig hadn’t been sabotaged. She’d requested to remain with the skeleton crew until her help arrived. And was surprised at the size of the team that showed up to assist her.

Who knew it would take all of them to get to the bottom of this mess and to keep them alive, as human nature and Mother Nature combined to take them all out.

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Mason’s SEALs frequently get interesting assignments but this one truly grabbed me as unique. An oil rig off the Alaskan coast is in trouble, suspected sabotage, and the programmer who sent the SOS is a friend of Tesla. Did I mention rough seas and a storm heading their way?

A six man team, two covert, Dane and France, two as crew, Axel and Troy with Mason and Nelson as representatives of corporate head out joined but an actual corporate rep. What they find on arrival is not at all expected.

Berkley needs to let the team know there are cameras watching their every move so she plans a way to corner them.

This is a favorite scene.

As they stood here, looking at the crossroads of the hallways, wondering which direction to go, Troy heard a sound to the left. He turned to see a tall, lean brunette with her hair stuck in a clip at the top of her head, motioning at him. He walked toward her quietly, Axel pushing him faster. She motioned inside a room and disappeared ahead of them. As soon as they stepped inside, she shut the door behind him.

“Berkley?”

She smiled up at Axel. “Hey, am I ever glad to see you.”

He reached out and gave her a gentle hug, which she seemed more than happy to accept.

Troy was struck by the moment, wondering, and then realized that it wasn’t anything. But because Berkley was a close friend of Tesla’s, she likely knew all of them. Except for him. “And I’m Troy,” he said quietly. “I think we’ve met, but it’s been a while.”

She smiled. “Well, we’ve been at the same parties,” she said, “but I don’t think we met.”

“I’m sorry then,” he said in surprise. “But, if it was at Mason’s, sometimes it can get to be quite a crush.”

“It was, indeed, at Mason’s,” she said, chuckling. “So listen. Things here are ugly.”

“Can you tell us what happened?” Axel said.

“First off, you have to understand that you were picked up on cameras,” she said. “That’s the only reason I know you are here. Jonesy has been monitoring the cameras on the rig and caught sight of you. He got pretty agitated and upset about it.”

“Why?”

“New crew,” she said. “Everybody is on edge. Nobody knows what the deal is, what happened, whether it was sabotage or not. Although they’re not talking either.”

“And yet you seem to think it was sabotage?”

“Definitely it was,” she said. She pulled something from her pocket and held it out to Axel.

He looked at it and frowned. “Part of a C-4 package,” he said, and his gaze hardened as he looked at her. “Where did you find it?”

“Heading to the number one drill that blew up,” she said. “It was tucked at the bottom of the ramp.”

“Nobody else saw it?”

“I don’t think so,” she said. “There was so much chaos, and everybody was racing back and forth. Only later, when I went to take a quiet look, did I see it jammed down on the corner.”

“But how did it get there?”

Berkley shrugged.

Troy studied the paper inside and out. “But any sign of C-4 on a rig like this, especially in one of those drill locations—”

“Exactly,” she said. “And maybe they do keep it around. I don’t know. But there was no need for it to be an open package at the site where we had an explosion.”

“Anything else?” Axel asked, tucking the piece into his pocket.

“I saw in my data,” she said, “that a hacker’s been going through some of the emails. I’m running scans right now to see what files he’s been after. So far it seems innocuous, which makes me very worried.”

“Wondering if it’s a cover for a Trojan or something more devious?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m not the only one working on electronics here. We have a programmer, Bruce, who’s been tracking the electronics controlling the pumps and doing analyses on those. And then we have Jonesy, who’s not necessarily a programmer, but he’s been doing a lot of the same work I was doing, prior to me arriving. So he’s kind of stuck himself to me as my friend, but I think he’s sticking close to see what I know.”

“In order to take your job? Or to see what you might find and whether or not he’s in trouble?”

“No real way to know,” she said. “There are six crewmen total, plus Daniel, the foreman, and Denny, who does the cooking, and I’m the ninth on the rig.”

“I’m surprised you were allowed to stay.”

“I’m the one who needed to stay,” she said. “I definitely found hacking throughout the system.”

“What could a hacker do on a rig like this?” Troy asked, puzzled.

“Cause the chaos he already did,” she said.

“And yet C-4 could easily have caused the chaos anyway.”

“Exactly,” she said. “So, no, I don’t have any answers. What I do know is that somebody has been into the computer files, and somebody blew up one of the drills on this rig.”

“Okay, do you have any suspects?” Axel asked.

“There’s one guy. I call him Idiot but not to his face. His name is Phil. He’s one of the guys here who gives me a lot of trouble,” she said.

“What kind of trouble?” Axel asked.

She took a deep breath. “He’s, … well, he’s the female-beating kind,” she said, “but he’s also one of those power-mad people, who thinks that nobody else can do a job but him. He feels that my job is useless, and, since I’ve been here and haven’t found anything regarding the explosion, I should just take myself off the rig.”

“Outside of personal feelings,” Troy interrupted, “does he have access to do any of the hacking stuff?”

“Anybody with a laptop could gain access,” she said mildly. She glared at him. “And it’s not personal. This guy is one freaky dude.”

“Big, mean, tough?”

“Slimy, skinny, sleazy. But something’s dead in his gaze.”

At that, Troy stopped and slowly nodded. “I’ve known guys like that,” he said quietly.

“I don’t want to know any more,” she said. “Honestly, the worst thought in my mind is that they’re all part of it somehow.”

Troy let out a slow whistle. “That would be a pretty major conspiracy theory.”

“Maybe,” she said, “and I get that it’s probably not fair to everybody here, but Chucky and Winslow are both oddballs. They’ve been working the rigs for fifty years, I swear to God. Probably only forty, I guess. But, listening to them, it’s been at least seventy.”

Axel cracked a grin at that. “And we all know guys like that too,” he said, “but what benefit does anybody get out of blowing up the rig?”

She took a deep breath. “The company was bringing in a new management control team. They would get rid of a lot of people here who were troublemakers.”

“What kind of troublemakers?”

She winced.

“Come on. Fess up. Let’s hear it all,” Troy said impatiently.

She glared at him. “You forget,” she said, “that I’m an outsider. I’m not one of the crew and a part of things.”

“And you’re female,” he said.

She gave a clipped nod. “Exactly. Three other women were on board, but they’re all gone now.”

“Why did they leave?”

Her glare upped in wattage. “Sexual harassment and— well— rape.” Her words landed into a heavy silence in the small room.
Dale Mayer. Troy (Kindle Locations 340-397). Valley Publishing.

So many things are going on, with the storm complicating things left and right. The discovery of bodies just adds to the suspense and intrigue surrounding the problems on the rig.

I couldn’t put this book down, I was drawn into the story right from the beginning. So many horrible revelations about life on this particular rig, and the things that come out implicate many.

In spite of this or perhaps because of it, Troy and Berkley flirt and he becomes her protector as things get crazier. A simmer to sizzle romance in all the chaos and deceit.

I truly can’t wait to see what sort of mission will grab hold of me in the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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