Diesel – The Mavericks Book 13 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.

Diesel
The Mavericks Book 13
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Traveling to China to retrieve a kidnapped scientist shows Diesel the depths of human depravity. Not that he needs more proof. He’s been doing this type of work for a decade. This is the first time though the person he was rescuing was this interesting.

Eva Langston had been kidnapped while walking across the street and then locked up in a lab half a world away. Joining two other scientists, both letting her know there was no escape, she refuses to give up hope. When the rescue does come, it wasn’t smooth or easy.

Still she was damn glad to be free. Until she realizes that freedom is a long way off, as, one by one, her science team is picked off, leaving her the last one to be dealt with.

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Once again the partner from the last mission doesn’t have the chance to get settled in before being sent on his own mission. Diesel is more than willing to take on this task although there isn’t too much information as yet. What’s known is that Eva Langston was taken from outside her home, and at the moment is believed to be on a Chinese destroyer. She’s an epidemiologist who’s made some very significant discoveries recently. Discoveries that could change many treatment options.

It’s not until Diesel and Jerricho reach mainland China that they actually get the information they need, unfortunately they have company when they get to Eva. A Russian scientist had also been taken and now there’s a team of Russians looking too. There are three scientists they escort out of the laboratory, one of whom is shot before they make it to their getaway car.

This is just one of my favorite scenes in this book.

Diesel placed a finger against her lips and said, “Don’t speak again. Not until I say so.” And he quickly moved forward, giving her no choice but to follow, since they were still tied together. He heard the Chinese words firing rapidly up ahead and heard Jerricho respond.

He looked at her and whispered, “Do you understand Chinese?”

She shook her head.

So far, Jerricho was being treated with respect, so he must have said something, but Diesel didn’t have a clue what. His gear would have given him away if nothing else. But just one male was up against Jerricho and the two scientists with him.

As Diesel watched and waited, the lone man lifted his rifle and held it against Jerricho.

Diesel immediately drew his weapon, and, before the guy could fire, Diesel popped him.

Jerricho looked at him and asked, “What took you so long?”

“I was trying to figure out what was going on,” he said. “Anybody else around here?”

“No, I took two more down.”

“Good. Let’s go,” he said. He looked at the other two scientists. “Move it now.”

Paul struggled to his feet, and Diesel frowned, studying his weakened condition.

“We’ll head to the second floor, where there’s a balcony,” he said. “We’ve arranged to get out that way.”

“Good,” Paul said. “How far is it?”

“Directly above us,” Diesel said, “so not very far.” With that, he led them all back around up to the stairs. They cleared the hallway, moved across to the small sitting room, where the small balcony was, and stepped outside.

No alarms went off. No lights went on. No gunfire was heard.

He quickly dropped down the ropes, looked at Jerricho, and asked, “Do you want to go down, and we’ll take the other two between us?”

He nodded. Jerricho slipped over the balcony with Paul on one side and slowly lowered himself and Paul down.

Eva said, “I can go down on my own.”

Diesel untied the rope from her and quickly wrapped it around Marge. Diesel nodded at Eva to go first. Eva slowly climbed down the rope, keeping it wrapped around one leg, down from knot to knot, until she reached the pavement. After that, he picked up Marge and told her, “Put your arms around my neck, and hang as tight as you can.”

She nodded and buried her face against his neck, and he slowly lowered himself down with the older woman. When they hit the ground, Jerricho came up and helped him to release the hooks up above. They didn’t want to leave anything to show their exit passage.

As soon as they were on the ground and clear, they tied up the ropes and Diesel threw them over his shoulder. Grabbing Eva’s hand, he pulled her off to the side and whispered, “Stay close.”

She nodded. “We are.”

“I know, but what about those two?” He nodded in the direction of Paul and Marge. Diesel didn’t say anything, but Paul still worried him.

As they moved forward, Paul stumbled once and then again. Jerricho bent down, helped the older man to his feet, and asked, “Are you okay?”

Paul shook his head. “I’ll make it. I’ll make it.” But a desperate note was in his voice.

“You didn’t expect to make it out of there, did you?” Diesel asked Paul.

Paul looked at him in surprise. “What do you mean?”

“Just something in your tone, something that’s not quite what I expected.”

Paul frowned at him. “How could I possibly have thought I’d be saved? I’ve been a captive for a year,” he said bitterly.

“I get it.” But Diesel kept an eye on him. He glanced at Jerricho, frowned, and shook his head.

It was enough that Jerricho knew Diesel was disturbed.

As they moved forward ever-so-quietly, Diesel stopped short of a corner. As they came around the corner, Jerricho swept low and Diesel swept high, and then Paul stepped out. Seeing a vehicle, he raced forward. Then came a single shot, as Paul’s head exploded, and he dropped to the pavement.

Jerricho immediately rolled behind another vehicle, and, all of a sudden, he stood, leaned over the trunk of the car, raised his rifle, and he fired off three shots. There was a groan and then silence, before a heavy thud was heard. Jerricho immediately raised his hand and motioned for his partner.

Diesel swept the two women forward into the back seat of the car, as Jerricho jumped into the driver’s side, and Diesel too landed in the front seat.

“Is this your car?” Eva asked from behind them.

“No,” Diesel said, with a grin. “Not sure whose getaway car it is at all.”

“So how do you know it’s safe?”

“We don’t,” he said cheerfully.

“Jesus,” she muttered.

“You want to stay there and discuss it?” Jerricho asked her in surprise.

“No,” she said. She looked at him and frowned. “Did you get him? The man who killed Paul?”

“I did.”

“Good,” Marge said passionately. “Paul didn’t deserve that.”

Diesel looked at Jerricho and shrugged.

“What do you mean by that?” Eva asked him.

“By what?”

“That look.”

“Something was going on with Paul that I didn’t understand,” Diesel said.

“Like what?”

Diesel sighed and said, “It crossed my mind that he might have been a spy. He might have been making his life a little easier by tattling on whatever conversations you guys were having in the lab.”

Eva just stared at him blankly.

Marge cried out, and then, in shock and anger, she said, “He wouldn’t do that.”

Diesel looked at Eva and asked, “Would he?”

She stared at him wordlessly, considering his question.

He nodded. “Think about how long he’s been here. Think about what his future looked like. Think about what the hope of actually being released would do for him.”

Eva nodded slowly. “Paul was very conflicted, and we never quite understood why.”

“You can’t surely believe him,” Marge said, motioning at Diesel.

“I don’t know what I believe,” Eva said, turning to look at the older woman. “You know Paul better than I do.”

“Of course I do,” she said passionately, “and he wasn’t the kind to do that.”

Eva nodded. “And again, in your case, would you have done something like that?”

The older woman looked at her in horror.

“Think about it. If you were promised to get out of here in a couple days or a couple weeks, would you have reported on our conversations?”

Marge stared at her, and her shoulders slumped. “I would have,” she admitted. “And honestly I would be very angry right now if that’s what Paul had had for a deal, and he hadn’t shared it.”

“He couldn’t have shared it,” Eva said.

“I hope he didn’t have that as a deal,” she said, “because then that freedom was taken away from him as well.”

“It’s pretty hard not to think about a deal like this,” Eva said to her.

“I really liked him,” Marge whispered.

“So did I, and I certainly wouldn’t judge him for trying to end this hell.”

“No,” Marge said, tears appearing in the corner of her eyes. “He was a good man. I refuse to believe anything different.”

“You don’t have to,” she said gently. “Even if he did whatever he needed to do to get out of here, we can’t hold that against him. You and I both know how terrible it was in there. And we haven’t been here as long as Paul was.”

Marge nodded slowly. “It was so awful.” And she started to cry softly, her tears painful in the silence.

Jerricho turned to check the rearview and side mirrors.

“Are we being followed?” Diesel asked.

“No,” he said, “nothing that I can see.”

“What a mess,” Eva said.

“Well, I wasn’t expecting the Russians,” Diesel said.

“We need to get the word out,” Jerricho said.

Diesel pulled out his phone and sent Shane a message. We are out plus 2. Gunfire in lab building. Probably Russians cleaning house. Need safe house. He turned to Jerricho. “What do you want to tell him?”

“That the Russian kidnapped scientist died a couple weeks ago.”

Diesel turned to Eva. “Do you know any of the details?”

She shook her head. “No, I don’t.” She looked at Marge, but she still sobbed in the corner.

“I’ve asked for a safe place for the night,” Diesel said, quickly reading the answering text.

“Good,” Jerricho said. “We need a place to rest, and I don’t know if the women need medical attention.”

Diesel looked at the other two. Eva shook her head, but then she nodded toward Marge. “Marge, are you okay physically?”

She looked up with tears washing her cheeks, still experiencing heavy sorrow. “I’m okay. If I can get out of here, I’ll be that much better, and I will recover,” she said a little more robustly.
Dale Mayer. Diesel (Kindle Locations 598-675). Valley Publishing Ltd..

Eva and Marge make it to their first stop in the getaway, but both men suspect Marge is very ill regardless of her protests of being fine.

It’s when a plane taking Marge for treatment is shot down that Diesel and Jerricho realize whoever had take them to begin with has a far reach and doesn’t want anyone to survive being released.

Eva is steady and strong, going with the flow of things but frightened as well. It seems no matter how stealthy they are they run into something that’s just not right. There’s also a little more than just a little attraction between Diesel and Eva. Jerricho sees it long before Diesel can admit it though.

I really love these books, the escape routes are not only dangerous they’re creative. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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Rescued by the Cowboy – WEST Protection Book 1 by Em Petrova


Rescued by the Cowboy
WEST Protection Book 1
By
Em Petrova

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Ross Wynton, leader of WEST Protection.
He’s got a head for the tactical and an instinct for danger.
Then in walks the one person who reminds him that he’s also a man.

After a big breakthrough with her gene editing project, Doctor Pippa Hamlin is neck-deep in danger and threats. On the run, she turns to the only person she knows who can protect her—the hot cowboy crush from her gawky teen years. While she still burns for the man, she hopes he’ll help her reach Seattle for a big conference without meeting more danger.

Discovering who is threatening Pippa becomes Ross’s number one priority. So does easing that fear he sees in her beautiful hazel eyes…and fighting to keep his hands off her tallies as a close second.

Ross fears he’s too distracted and missing something, while Pippa battles to keep her wits to fight for the medical discovery she believes in. Traveling with a sexy, alpha, muscled bodyguard who brings all the heat to places a nerdy doctor ignores is hard enough without wondering if Ross will save her—or break her.

West Protection is growing and as this book opens they are having their weekly meeting but not in a place conducive to going over any real agenda. Seriously who sets up a meeting in a strip joint. Ross wasn’t sure who had picked this place but he knew he couldn’t cover all that he wanted, apparently the guys just wanted to unwind, not discuss business. He was trying to at least talk about some of it when he’s interrupted by a phone call.

After finding the note threatening her life and suggesting something had happened to others who made discoveries, Pippa flees her lab. There’s only one place she thinks to go and quickly packs a bag and books her flight. She doesn’t even think to call the person she’s heading to until she’s boarding the plane. Clearly proving smart people sometimes have no common sense.

Ross didn’t hesitate to head to the airport. Knowing Pippa is being followed is enough to get him moving. They’d been friends for a long time and keeping her safe isn’t a question.

Now that she could let down her guard a little and put her safety in the hands of Ross Wynton, her adrenaline level dropped too.

She started to shiver, and by the time they hit the exit, her teeth chattered.

He shot her a look, two hard brackets appearing on either side of his tense lips. Wordlessly, he removed his coat, a thick canvas. When he settled it around her shoulders, she inhaled the scent of him and her stomach fluttered at his body heat trapped in the fibers.

As he steered her through the parking lot to a truck bearing the Wynton Ranch logo of a W inside a circle, her legs started to give out.

“Lean on me.” The rough grumble would have filled her adolescent heart with excitement at fifteen, but now it punched her with the realization that she was really here in Montana,
running for her life.

He unlocked the door and motioned her in. She managed to settle in the leather seat, aware that he locked her in with a flick of the key fob as he circled to the driver’s door. Why? In case somebody got to her while he walked around?

Her insides heaved, and she folded her hands on her laptop case to still them from shaking. Ross again unlocked the doors to glide into the seat with all the grace of the cowboy sliding into a saddle.

The door locks clicked once more and he started the engine. Her insides jittered. What if he thought her insane? She couldn’t blame him really. The number of times she questioned her sanity while in flight tallied in the double digits.

As he whipped out of the lot headed toward the parking pay station, he remained silent. At the gate, he held up an ID and the security officer waved them through without paying.

Pippa took all this in with her scientist’s mind. Observation was a major step in the process of an experiment, so she took note of the truck interior, the early morning Montana landscape of snow-covered mountains and heavy clouds banked on the horizon. She pulled in the scent of leather, an underlying hint of the ranch she remembered…and the spice of the man at the wheel.

That brought her to observing Ross. From the corner of her eye, she studied his same strong features and the white Stetson their family favored wearing like some kind of ranch family dress code. But his features appeared stronger. His jaw an angled slice of mountain rock brushed with a five o’clock shadow.

If he’d filled out in those areas, his body had doubled her expectations. His muscled chest stretched the black cotton T-shirt, and his biceps fought against the stitches around the sleeves. One had actually popped, and a short thread kept drawing her eye.

“All right. Talk to me, Pippa.” He cast her a look she couldn’t read.

Staring at her white knuckles against the black leather of her bag, she sucked in a stabilizing breath.

Without waiting for her to start speaking, he fired a question at her. “Why don’t you have any luggage?”

“I left it in the bathroom in Detroit. I lost my purse and jacket as well.”

He whipped his head to pierce her in his intense gaze. “Okay, start at the top, with when you decided to call me. What happened?”

She saw why his security company was climbing the ranks as one of the top in the US. He owned a situation—always did. When she fell off the horse into the thorn bush, he’d raced back to help her up, scolded his younger brother Josiah for laughing at her, and proceeded to pick thorns out of her arms.

“I’m not sure if you know but my work involves gene editing.”

“My father mentioned it.”

She nodded. “I work in a lab. Most of the time I’m alone, but I have some assistants working with me on various projects.”

“I’m listening.”

“So it was odd when things started coming up missing in my office.”

“Such as?” He ramped up the speed on the open highway that would lead to the Wynton Ranch.

“My favorite earrings my mother gave me. And a photo of me and my best friend.”

“Could you have misplaced them? Or they fell off your desk and got swept up by cleaning people?”

He didn’t believe her. Hell, she hardly believed her own suspicions.

Shaking her head, she continued, “I received death threats.”

He whipped his head around, his expression masked. “What kind of threats?”

“They’re notes.”

“Do you have them?”

“One, yes.” She started to reach into the zippered pocket of her bag.

“Don’t get it out. I don’t want you to touch it any more than you already have.”

“You believe there may be fingerprints on it?”

“I’ll have my guys run a check.”

“You can do that?”

He sliced a glance at her that reminded her this wasn’t the boy she once knew. Ross was a man of power and skill, and every word he spoke reflected that change.

Folding her fingers around the bag, she stared at the landscape and tried to pick up the pieces of her life. Her neck hurt from her attacker’s stronghold, and it was difficult to swallow.

“Do you have some water?” she rasped.

He removed one big hand from the steering wheel, leaned toward her and reached behind her seat. He withdrew a bottle, cold from the low temps.

She took it and sipped slowly, trying not to choke around the lump lodged in her throat that she knew from many classes in anatomy and health to be swelling.

“Better?” he asked after a minute.

She nodded. “I knew you’d carry water. I remember your family was always prepared for any circumstance.”

“Gotta be in this country. Now. Tell me how you got that bruise on your wrist.”

Startled, she looked down at the purple smudge blossoming across her wrist bone. Her stomach pitched at the memory of the fight in the restroom.

“I was attacked.”

“Jesus Christ. Where?”

“In the airport. It’s how I lost my belongings. I don’t even have my wallet or ID.”

“What the hell happened?”

Her stupid response to the question was to flush. “I had to…pee.”

He made a strangled noise in his throat, and she wondered if he really did still have more of that boy she’d known buried inside him than she first guessed. The one who chose horses over swoony, moony-eyed girls who believed him the boyfriend material of the century.

“Go on,” he muttered.

“When I opened the stall door, a man was standing there. He grabbed me around the neck.” She lifted a hand to trail her fingertips over her throat.

“How the hell did you get free?”

“Aikido.”

“Come again?”

“The Japanese martial art.”

“I know what it is. But you know it?”

“I spent some years in Asia studying it. It…came in handy today.” Her throat clogged off more at the knowledge of what might have befallen her if she hadn’t been able to defend herself. “I took the man down and ran for it. I jumped on the plane and came straight to you.”

He glanced in the rearview mirror for the third time in a mile, which set her on edge. A peek at the side mirror showed her they were alone on this stretch of road. He was just being cautious. Doing his job. Using skills she put her faith in.

“Ross, what do I do?”

He let go of the wheel again and rested his hand on the back of hers. Some desperate need to feel the touch of a friend struck, and she twisted her hand up to grip his. He didn’t let her go, and she clung to the warmth and strength emanating from him.

“We’ll figure it out. You’re safe now, Pippa.”

Hearing her name fall from his lips in that rough rumble—rougher in manhood—flipped something inside her. Maybe neither of them had changed. She still held a flicker of a flame for the cowboy.

Now more than a cowboy. He was an entrepreneur, and judging by those layers of muscle stacked on his body, he’d trained to fight.

“Tell me how you got the idea to start your company,” she said.

He looked at her with a crease between his long brows. “Another time, Pippa. Let’s get you to the ranch first.”

He said to the ranch. What she heard was: to the safety of the ranch. She glanced in the mirror again. Nobody followed, but she had some distance to go to shake the person who wanted her dead.
Em Petrova. RescuedbytheCowboy (Kindle Locations 180-255). Kindle Edition.

There’s a lot that happens with Pippa’s situation, and I did find myself questioning some of it. For a security company to be near the top of the pile they mistakes I caught were a bit amateurish. Although they did seem to recover from them.

Pippa needs to get to Seattle to deliver a speech on her latest findings and it’s decided Ross would accompany her, with others on the team meeting up with them later.

Quite a bit of action, more than a little suspense, however I figured out the who long before the person was suspected.

A quick and fun read with plenty of sizzle between Pippa and Ross.

4 Contented Purrs for Em!

Coming Soon!
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Em Petrova Em Petrova

Em Petrova was raised by hippies in the wilds of Pennsylvania but told her parents at the age of four she wanted to be a gypsy when she grew up. She has a soft spot for babies, puppies and 90s Grunge music and believes in Bigfoot and aliens. She started writing at the age of twelve and prides herself on making her characters larger than life and her sex scenes hotter than hot.

She burst into the world of publishing in 2010 after having five beautiful bambinos and figuring they were old enough to get their own snacks while she pounds away at the keys. In her not-so-spare time, she is fur-mommy to a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff and works as editor with USA Today and New York Times bestselling authors.


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A New Series!!! Finding Elodie – SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1 by Susan Stoker


Finding Elodie
SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1
By
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Renowned chef Elodie Winters’ dream job, private chef to a powerful family in New York, quickly becomes a nightmare when her employer turns out to be the head of a notorious mob family. Now on the run, she thinks she’s finally safe, having landed in the middle of the Arabian Sea, cook on the Asaka Express cargo ship. When the ship is taken by pirates, she can’t believe her bad luck…but it’s about to take a turn for the better.

Scott “Mustang” Webber is pulled from his current mission, along with the rest of his SEAL team, to prevent an act of piracy in the Middle East. They’re all surprised when the first person to radio for help is a woman. He soon senses “Rachel Walters” is hiding something, and offers his help. He’s both shocked and pleased when she actually comes looking for him in Hawaii months later. He’d felt a connection with her on that cargo ship…one he’s looking forward to exploring further.

Keeping Elodie safe in Hawaii turns out to be easy…until it isn’t. Long days in paradise have a way of making one complacent. Now Mustang is working against the clock and the elements themselves, as he faces his greatest mission ever—finding Elodie.

NOTE:
Finding Elodie is the 1st book in the SEAL Team Hawaii Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

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When Elodie Winters ran from her situation in New York she never expected to be in the situation she was now. She changed her name to Rachel Walters, became the chief cook on a large cargo ship and the last thing she expected was for it to be boarded by pirates. Sure it was a possibility but it had been many years since such a thing had happened. When the Captain made the announcement she headed to the galley with her emergency radio. Using the radio she got an answer from the USS Paul Hamilton.

Admiral Light answers her and the SEAL team from Hawaii is with him. They were already in the gulf when the distress call went out but they had no information other than they were being boarded and needed immediate assistance. Hearing from ‘Rachel’ was their first break. She gave them the little information she knew and the channel to the bridge that had been opened.

Mustang ‘Scott’ and his team Midas, Aleck, Pid, Jag, and Slate would be the first to board the ship. After securing the bridge they head floor by floor, until they find one of the pirates and ‘Rachel’.

This is a favorite scene.

When a radio suddenly crackled and one of his fellow pirates began speaking, Elodie nearly leaped out of her skin. She jolted badly and almost dropped the knife she was holding, which would’ve been a disaster.

The man on the other end of the radio sounded agitated, and Elodie wished she knew what he was saying. The man next door swore…at least, that’s what she thought he was doing.

Then he yelled, “If anyone is here, you come out now. I won’t kill!”

Elodie didn’t dare move a muscle.

“If you hide, you die!”

She still didn’t move. Elodie wondered briefly who the man suspected was down here before he suddenly shot off a volley of rounds from his rifle. She jerked and gasped. Luckily, the sound of the shots was slightly muted, since the pirate was shooting in the pantry behind a closed door.

“That was warning!” the man yelled again.

Nothing about him shooting his weapon made her want to come out of hiding.

Then he muttered something under his breath before speaking on his radio once more.

He was still speaking when the door to the officers’ mess opened.

If Elodie hadn’t turned her head at the exact right moment, she wouldn’t have seen the two sets of legs entering the room. A sliver of illumination from the pirate’s flashlight, flickering through the pantry window, momentarily highlighted the figures. The door shut without a sound, and she almost threw up with fear when she lost sight of the men.

Were these more pirates? If so, why weren’t they calling out to their friend? She was confused, but didn’t dare make a move, much less breathe. She couldn’t see what was happening, but she could faintly hear the fabric of their pants as the two figures walked past the table, and her hiding spot.

The pirate in the galley seemed to be arguing with someone on the radio now. He sounded upset and pissed off. Then he stopped talking—and the sound of something large being thrown against the wall made Elodie jump in surprise yet again.

Apparently, while the pirate was throwing his temper tantrum, whoever had entered the officers’ mess had opened the door to the pantry. The sound of gunshots made a small whimper escape her lips. The shots were much louder, since the weapon was fired in the same room where she was hiding. Now she could hear little but the ringing in her ears. Elodie strained to hear what was going on, and for several seconds heard nothing but her own heart racing.

“Tango down in the galley.”

With the ringing and her heartbeat, Elodie wasn’t sure she was hearing correctly.

That sounded like English. Non-accented English. And she was pretty sure her fellow Asaka Express employees wouldn’t use a word like “tango” to describe the pirates. She also didn’t think they’d be slinking around like these two men were.

She’d waited what seemed like forever for Scott and his team to arrive—and it sounded like they finally had.

It had been a couple hours since she’d been in contact with Scott, which she understood. He was busy planning a way to get onboard, and he couldn’t exactly take the time to reassure her every other minute. But each time he’d reached out, it had made her feel so much better. Less alone.

“We need to find Rachel,” one of the men said. She knew it was Scott because she recognized his voice.

“Maybe we should leave her where she is,” the other man said.

“No. She would’ve heard the shots and is probably freaking out,” Scott argued.

The last thing she wanted to do was get shot, so Elodie knew better than to pop up out of her hiding spot and surprise the men, but she definitely didn’t want to stay where she was either.

“I’m here,” she said softly, hoping she didn’t startle them badly enough that they’d turn around and start shooting.

But she should’ve known they were too professional to do something like that.

“Rachel?”

Elodie winced at hearing the name from his lips.

She wanted to tell him that wasn’t her name…but she couldn’t. She’d changed her name in the first place because Elodie was too unique. It wouldn’t be hard for Paul to find her if she’d kept it. But the drawback was that she sometimes forgot to respond when someone called her Rachel.

“It’s me,” she said.

“Where are you?” Scott asked.

“Lying on the chairs, under the table.”

She heard more than saw movement on the other side of the table.

“Damn, that’s smart,” the other man said. “You fit perfectly up there, and in this darkness, even if someone looked they probably wouldn’t see you.”

“How are you seeing me then?” Elodie blurted. She hadn’t been blinded with a beam from a flashlight.

“Night-vision goggles,” Scott said.

Elodie jerked because his voice sounded from right next to her.

“Easy. How can I help you get out from under there?” he asked.

“I got it,” she told him, amazed that she hadn’t heard him come over to the side of the table. She kept her voice down as she climbed off the chairs. “I had to improvise. I snuck out of the pantry in the other hall to use the bathroom and when I came out, that guy was in the galley. I literally had nowhere to hide other than under here.”

She crawled out from under the table and stood, using the table as a crutch. Her legs felt shaky from the adrenaline dump.

“Careful with that knife,” Scott told her.

Elodie hadn’t even remembered she was holding the thing. Now, she realized her fingers hurt from grasping it so tightly. She looked up, toward where she’d heard Scott’s voice, and was frustrated when she couldn’t see him. The flashlight the pirate had been holding was lying on the floor in the room next door, but it didn’t give her enough light to see either of the men.

“Are they all dead?” she asked, proud when her voice only shook a little. It was surreal that she was talking about killing people so nonchalantly, but she supposed she could be forgiven, given the circumstances.

“No,” Scott said, dashing her hopes that they could get in touch with the others onboard and have the electricity turned back on.

“This is the first pirate we’ve run across,” the other man said.

“Which one are you?” Elodie blurted. He chuckled. “I’m Midas.”

“Hi.”

Just then, the radio the pirate had been using cackled to life, and a man began speaking urgently in whatever language the pirates used.

“Shit,” Scott muttered.

Elodie felt a rush of air as he moved away from her.

“I don’t suppose you’re a language savant and can understand what they’re saying, are you?” Midas asked. She’d already told him and the other guys on the team that she couldn’t understand the pirates, but she appreciated that he was trying to lighten the mood. “Sorry, no,” she told him. “But right before you got here, he was talking to his friends and none of them sounded happy. He threw something big and it broke.”

“Yeah, I think it was a jar of spaghetti sauce,” Midas said, seemingly unconcerned.

She heard more sounds in the other room, but didn’t dare move from her spot next to the table. Then Scott was back. She wasn’t sure how she knew he was there, but she did.

Then he spoke, confirming his location. “Okay, we have to continue clearing the ship. You need to go up to the bridge—”

Elodie didn’t let him continue. “No!” she said frantically.

“Yes,” he countered.

“I’m staying with you,” she insisted.

“We’ve cleared the floors above this one. It’s safe for you to go back up to the bridge. Two other members of my team are up there, they’ll keep you safe.”

Elodie was shaking her head. She knew she was being completely irrational, but the thought of being alone even for the short trip to the bridge was terrifying. “You don’t know where the other pirates are. You said yourself that you’re clearing the ship. And I think they somehow know, if that conversation I overheard was any indication.”

The radio Scott had taken off the dead pirate came to life again. “Djama?” A few more words were said after that. It was obvious his friends were trying to get in contact with him. “They’re going to come looking for him,” Elodie said. “And if I go up to the bridge, I could run into them. And you don’t have time to escort me up there. They could be hurting or killing my friends. And if they find me, they’re not going to hesitate to kill me either. The safest place on this ship at the moment is with you guys, so that’s where I want to stay.”
Stoker, Susan. Finding Elodie (SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1) (Kindle Locations. 633-701). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Mustang felt an instant connection to ‘Rachel’ even though he’s sure that’s not her real name. So much so that before they leave the ship he gives her his phone number. Telling her to come to Hawaii and call him if she needs anything. Unfortunately she loses that number. But she does go to Honolulu in the hopes of finding him.

That they run into each other at all is quite the twist and as this tale continues the romance, fun, and the intrigue will keep you turning the pages.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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


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Broken Knights – Gifted Academy Book 4 By Michelle Hercules


Broken Knights
Gifted Academy Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Michelle Hercules

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The war between Idols and Norms has finally begun. The Neo Gods have shown their hand. They plan to vanquish every single Norm by using any means necessary, even using Fringes to do their dirty work.

My identity as the Unmaker has been revealed, which means I must go into hiding until we’re ready to strike back. But fighting the Neo Gods is not our only problem. Chaos, the primordial god, wants me dead, and facing him seems impossible. He doesn’t care who wins the war. He wants utter destruction.

Our only hope to defeat him, stop the Neo Gods, and save the world is to finally unveil the secret that connects me to Bryce, Rufio, Phoenix, and Morpheus. The key is in our past. We just have to stay alive long enough to discover it.

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At the end of the last book Daisy has to to do something unthinkable. In order to save Rosie and Tobias she has to unmake Rufio, this causes them both pain and now Daisy feels so much guilt. Just as things begin to take a turn for the worst, Bryce, Phoenix, Morpheous, Soren, Andromeda and Xavier burst on the scene. Although Rufio’s father got in one last blow and now Bryce has to heal his brother from what would be a fatal wound.

As this book opens, everyone is packing up at Paragon academy, they need to leave. A call from Andromeda has Daisy and Rose leaving without the guys to meet with her. Only to be surprised she’s turned on them. It’s Soren who arrives first to help and once Daisy slows time he manages to tranquilize Andromeda. His father Gunther and brother Stephen arrive shortly after Bryce, Rufio, Morpheous and Phoenix. Morpheous makes the decision to stay with the Silverstones while the interrogate Andromeda. Leaving the others and Jodie Fallon to return to Saturn’s Bay. That flight gets a bit hairy with the angry Island God throwing a bit of a fit at them.

Now back in Saturn’s Bay, Xavier wants all of them to head to a safe house and not Gifted Academy. Everyone agrees except for Bryce, Toby and his mother. They all know something is coming it’s just when and where.

Morpheous makes some startling discoveries about his heritage while in Hawk’s Bay, there’s also a female voice speaking in his mind. That becomes important later.

Bryce doesn’t follow his mother’s orders to go to class and when he wakes he finds the campus has been taken over by the Neo Gods. In an unexpected twist, it’s Drusilla’s once minion who helps the injured Bryce. She also becomes the means to get Bryce and Toby to the others while leaving Jodie to her own issues.

After a conversation with his mother Morpheous learns the identity of his father, not a Demigod but a primordial one Erebus and the Island God is none other than his grandfather Chaos. Morpheous catches up with the others at the safe house just as Chaos the island god starts attacking them. The crazy storm with hail and lightening has him learning more about his powers. They flee the safe house which has a few consequences one of which is an injured Xavier, and also a prisoner, but Erebus sends them all to Poppy’s Joint to be safe. Where Bryce, Toby and Renata join them. Renata is a surprise to all and it gets a bit interesting.

This is a favorite scene, a bit long but necessary.

I take his hand and lift him to a sitting position. But sneaky Bryce slings his free arm around my neck and brings my mouth to his. There’s no chance I’m going to pull away from the incendiary and heady feeling of being kissed by him. I surrender without putting up a fight and only break apart from him when Xavier clears his throat.

My cheeks are on fire, and for that reason, I keep my head down, refusing to make eye contact with anyone.

“Where should I set the pie?” Felicity asks. “It’s piping hot.”

“You can set it at this table. I don’t think we need to use it as a makeshift bed anymore.” Bryce hops off and then pulls up a chair. It’s clear he intends to eat the entire pie by himself.

“You baked that pie pretty fast,” Rufio points out.

“Well, I just had to warm it up. What’s going on with that girl outside? Why didn’t she come in?”

“What girl?” I ask.

“The girl in the red sports car,” Felicity replies.

I notice the exchanged glance between Bryce and Toby and the sudden tension in both of them. “Who is she?”

“Uh, you’re not going to like the answer.” Toby rubs the back of his neck.

“Why?” I’m leery in an instant.

“It’s Renata Pomme,” Bryce replies. “She helped us escape the Neo Gods.”

“What? You brought that snake here?” I yell.

“I didn’t bring her here on purpose. She was our driver,” Bryce replies with a fork in hand, ready to dig into the pie.

“Wait. Is she the one who broke your arm, Toby?” Rosie asks.

He drops his gaze to the floor. “Yeah.”

My sister’s face turns bright red, and her eyes sparkle with fury. I know that look very well. She turns on her heels and sprints toward the diner’s exit.

“Rosie, wait!” I run after her. As much as I’m livid that Renata is here, I don’t want my sister to get anywhere near that Idol. As furious as she is, she’s still a Norm. Not a match for Renata.

“Ah, shit. Mini Daisy is out for blood,” Phoenix pipes up, coming along too.

Once outside, Rosie is already banging on the driver window. “Get out, you stupid bitch!”

“Rosie. What are you doing? She’s an Idol,” I remind her.

The car door opens and Renata steps out. She doesn’t look like she’s about to break every bone in Rosie’s body though. She seems subdued. Remorseful. Whatever. She was part of Drusilla’s posse. She tried to kill me with Silver-voltage. I’m not going to pretend she’s okay just because she helped Bryce and Toby get out of campus. Too much bad blood to forget.

“I’m out. What do you want?” she asks Rosie.

“This.” Rosie pulls her arm back and swings a punch at Renata’s nose. Her head snaps back as she staggers against her car.

“Holy shit! Rosie is savage,” Phoenix exclaims.

He’s enjoying this a lot, but I’m actually mega worried that Renata will retaliate. Things can get ugly pretty quickly.

Renata straightens up, touching her nose. There’s no blood there, obviously. Rosie is only a Norm. I notice she’s now clutching her hand against her chest and fighting back tears. Fuck. I hope she didn’t break her hand. Bryce can’t heal anyone else anytime soon.

“I suppose I deserved this,” Renata says. “You must be Toby’s girlfriend.”

“You stay away from him,” she barks.

“I’m not the despicable person I was before.”

I come to Rosie’s side, glowering. “We don’t fucking care if you’ve had a revelation. Your job here is done. You can leave now.”

“Daisy, maybe we shouldn’t be so hasty in dismissing her,” Rufio butts in. “We need as much help from Idols as possible.”

I glance at him, ready to lash out. But through the red haze of rage, I catch the true meaning of his statement. He can’t offer his help, so he’s trying to compensate for it. First with the desire to use the Idol-killing bullets, and now accepting accepting Renata as an ally. My anger deflates as clarity shines through.

“How do we know she’s not a spy for your father?” I ask.

“She’s sincere,” Toby replies. “I can’t read her thoughts, but I could tell if she were lying.”

“We can decide this later,” Xavier chimes in. “The most important thing right now is to get off the streets.”

“Where are we going now? Agent Torrance knew where we were before. It’s possible you have a traitor in your midst,” Phoenix replies.

Xavier’s gaze turns darker, worried. It’s the first time I’ve seen him unsure of himself.

“What about the Knights? They brought us to a secret location in the woods after we took care of Mr. Westbrook,” Rufio says.

No sooner does he bring them up than a black SUV pulls into the parking lot. Every fiber in my body becomes tense. More fucking cops.

How did they find us? Xavier puts a hand on my shoulder. “Relax, honey. I called Gunther a few minutes ago. Those are his associates. They’re here for Delta.”

Two men wearing a military-style dark uniform and mean attitudes to match their ensemble step out of their vehicle and head our way. I’m blasted immediately by the potency of their powers. They’re definitely not trying to hide anything.

“Xavier. You’re looking rough,” the tallest of them says.

“Getting shot in the guts will do that to a man.”

“Where’s the prisoner?” the second Knight asks.

“He’s inside. We put him in the storage room,” Felicity answers.

Both men switch their attention to my friend. One keeps his expression impartial, but the tall one has the trace of a smirk on his lips. “We?”

Felicity’s eyes bug out first and then narrow. “Well, I was the one who suggested sticking him in there.”

“I hope you did more than lock him in a room, Xavier,” the first Knight says.

“Fuck off, Rick. Who do you take me for, an amateur?” Xavier heads back to the diner but stops at the door to look over his shoulder. “Are you coming or not?”

Rick and his friend get moving. Since we already dealt with the reason for us being outside, we should follow them and get back inside too. We’ve been out in the open for too long.

“What should I do?” Renata asks.

“Leave,” Rosie replies angrily.

“Rosie, come on,” Toby says. “If I can forgive Renata, why can’t you?”

“Dude, just shut up,” Phoenix tells him. “You’re digging your grave here.”

“Clearly Toby has already made up his mind,” Morpheus says. “So, it’s up to you, Daisy. You were the other one who suffered at her hands. You decide.”

I don’t need to glance at Rosie to know what she wants me to do. If circumstances were different, I’d tell Renata to get lost. But we aren’t in a position to refuse help.

“You can stay, but I’ll be watching you like a hawk. Give me one reason to believe you’re double-crossing us, I’ll unmake you.”

Her eyes grow twice their size. I feel horrible for threatening to unmake her in front of Rufio, but I do need to put the fear of God in her heart. If she betrays us, it could cost our lives.

“I’m not going to betray you. I swear.”

Rosie pushes Renata out of her way and stomps back to the diner. I fear I might have set back the progress I made with her. First I didn’t kill Delta, and now I’m letting Renata into our fold.

Morpheus places a hand on my lower back. “She’ll come around.”

“I hope so. I can’t allow my personal baggage to affect my decisions. I think that’s what Chaos is counting on. He wants me to lose control and go on a rampage.”

“There’s something I need to tell yo—”

The diner door opens again, and out come the two Knight agents dragging Delta between them. He’s still handcuffed with a bag over his head.

Rick looks in my direction. “Why are you still outside? There’s a bounty on your head, you know.”

“Come on, Daisy,” Morpheus says.

Renata is the last one to follow us inside the diner. Rosie and Toby were having an argument on the opposite side of the room, but their bickering stops when the reason for their fight comes in.

“You’d better stay away from my sister for a while,” I tell her.

Renata rubs her nose. “She has a good hook for a Norm.”

We find Xavier, Felicity, and Bryce deep in conversation when we join them. It ceases when we approach the table.

“What’s our next move?” Rufio asks.

Judging by Xavier’s face, we might not have one yet.

“Gunther doesn’t want us anywhere near the Knights’ headquarters.”

“Why the hell not?” Phoenix asks.

“Because of the pledge we made to Chaos on the island,” Bryce replies.

“That was ages ago, and we more than proved we’re not working for that son of a bitch,” Rufio replies angrily.

“It’s not a matter of trust, son. It seems Chaos is using the tattoos you have on your backs to track you.”

“That means nowhere is safe,” I say.

“No, there’s one place, but it’s a little unorthodox.” He pauses, leaning his forearms on the table and linking his fingers together.

“Are you going to spill, or do we need to tip you over?” Phoenix raises an eyebrow.

“There’s an underground group, older than the Knights, that has been preparing for this war for centuries. They’re called the Church of the Bold and the Fearless.”

“What did you say?” The blood from Rufio’s face seem to vanish.

Xavier narrows his gaze. “You’ve heard of them before.”

“Long live the Rinnegati,” Bryce mutters. “That’s not a church. It’s the Norm resistance.”
Hercules, Michelle. Broken Knights: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance (Gifted Academy Book 4). Kindle Locations. (1835-1922). Infinite Sky Publishing. Kindle Edition.

All this is just the beginning, there are many unanswered questions. Daisy and the others find out more of the Prophesy, but it seems everything is as clear as mud. Only meant to be revealed a tiny bit at a time. Morpheous has to do something he’s not sure about and fortunately some new folks show up to help them sort things out.

Lots of action, so many surprises along with sneaking away for sexy times with her guys. The real question is if this is the end of the story or just more of a beginning.

I really want to know more about Stephan and Andromeda. Fortunately it seems the next book will feed that need.

5 Contented Purrs for Michelle!

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Michelle Hercules

USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born. Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter.

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Hateful Heroes – Gifted Academy Book 3 by Michelle Hercules


Hateful Heroes
Gifted Academy Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Michelle Hercules

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The impossible has happened. I became the thing that I’ve hated my entire life. Thanks to Bryce’s gift, I’m now an Idol. But I no longer want to see them all destroyed. Thanks to Bryce, Rufio, Morpheus, and Phoenix, the four powerful Idols I’ve fallen in love with, I realize I can’t blame an entire race for the evil doings of a minority.

Being an Idol doesn’t make my existence easier, though. On the contrary, thanks to the rare gift I’ve developed, I’m now wanted dead or alive. Some want to use me as weapon; others want me gone forever.

We’re living in dangerous times, and the only Idols I can trust are my boyfriends. But we need allies because war is coming and we can’t fight in it alone.

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At the end of the last book Daisy discovers she’s not a Norm at all. This appears to have something to do with the healing Bryce has done on her and her heritage. She’s freed Phoenix from his father, and now there are all sorts of implications. Some with the Knights, some with the Neo Gods, and even more things to be discovered. Her heritage is frightening to her, it seems the power that Bryce’s healing has unlocked, is the power to unmake idols.

One of the first crazy things that happens at school is Drusilla going nuts, and Bryce and Rufio trying to stop her. Somehow Drusilla’s powers have become such that she was able to use her compulsion on Rufio. This ends in her demise. Now the problem is how to save Rufio from a death sentence. While Bryce and their mother do what they can the eyewitness accounts are still a threat. The penalty Rufio and Bryce will both pay is the beginning of their initiation into the Neo Gods.

Then we have Toby who’s panicking because he now has powers, the necklace he used to pretend he was a fringe is gone and he’s afraid of what Rosie will think.

It gets a lot worse for poor Rosie as she realizes her sister is now and Idol and totally freaks out.

We have interaction with Mr. X aka Xavier, Daisy’s uncle. He was with Mr. Silverstone when Phoenix’s father was taken care of and he’s trying to help Daisy come to terms with everything. Well sort of.

Now she’s broken Morpheus’ bracelets so he has to control his powers on his own. A very interesting development which he confesses not only to Daisy but also Bryce, Rufio and Phoenix.

Bryce takes a chance with Daisy and the morning after that very hot encounter is when Morpheus confesses his biological father.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

“Come on. We do need to talk. You haven’t told us where your father took you and Rufio yesterday.”

The amusement vanishes from Bryce’s eyes. He sits up as well, throwing his legs to the side of the bed and giving his back to me. “You heard what your uncle said. I can’t tell you.”

I nibble on my lower lip. Xavier was adamant that Bryce and Rufio keep the information to themselves. He seemed to know exactly where they had been, but if that’s true, why the secrecy?

“Since when do you trust my uncle?” I ask.

Bryce looks over his shoulder. “I don’t trust him, but considering our options, he’s the one I feel is least likely to betray us.”

I break eye contact, letting my shoulders sag forward. “I’d like to say you can trust him, but I can’t. But I think he does care about me, and that’s saying something.”

Bryce places a hand on my shoulder, squeezing it lightly. “At least he’s family.”

I snort. “Yeah, family. There’s something you need to know about Xavier.”

“What is it?”

I turn, looking Bryce straight in the eye. “He’s a Morph.” His eyes widen a little. “Really? I’ve never met a Morph before.”

“Wow. Like never?”

“No. Morphs are super rare nowadays.”

“Why is that?”

“They were perceived as extremely dangerous individuals. Think about it, Daisy. They have the ability to change their appearance. So a little over a hundred years ago, they were hunted down like animals.”

I feel the blood drain from my face. That information was missing from Dad’s diary. He must have known Xavier was a Morph, right? Maybe that’s why Dad didn’t go into detail about them for fear the wrong people would find out about Xavier’s ability.

“I didn’t know that,” I finally reply.

“Thanks for telling me. And don’t worry, we’ll keep this information between us.”

A loud knock on the door is followed by Rufio’s voice, “Daisy, are you up?”

I look down at the sheets covering my naked body and sigh. “Yeah, I’m up. Hold on.”

“I can get the door while you change,” Bryce says.

“Thanks. I’m going to hop in the shower.” I bolt to the bathroom, locking the door behind me. It’s not until I’m under the hot water that I remember I didn’t bring any clothes with me. Great. I’ll have to face Rufio, Phoenix, and Morpheus wearing only a towel.

What’s the big deal, Daisy? Most of them have seen you naked already.

Shut up, slut.

When I return to my room, the guys are each standing in a different corner, and the atmosphere is a little heavy.

“What’s going on?”

No one answers with words, only discontent grumbles. Bryce stares at the others and shakes his head. “They’re a little upset that I spent the night with you.”

“We’re not upset about that,” Rufio retorts.

“You could have fooled me.” Bryce shrugs.

While Rufio is busy glaring at his brother, I try to find the answer in Phoenix’s and Morpheus’s gazes, but Phoenix purposefully looks at the floor, shutting me out. When I glance at Morpheus, I feel guilty, and I don’t know why.

“Rufio and Phoenix are mad because we woke them up with the noise.”

My face bursts into flames. “Oh my God. You heard us?”

“You weren’t even trying to keep it quiet,” Rufio replies, exasperated, and points at Bryce. “Next time you decide to have a midnight rendezvous, you’d better tell me so I can come too.”

“What?” I squeak, clutching my towel tighter.

Phoenix finally raises his eyes to mine. “Oh look. Daisy is blushing.”

There’s no warmth in his comment, and his gaze is as hard as stone.

“I take it that you learned to control your powers,” Morpheus says.

“Yeah, I did.”

“Cool. Let’s test it out.” Rufio strides in my direction, and I become tense in an instant. Maybe it’s because once again, the guys just caught me post-sex. Or it could be that I’m involved with all four and don’t yet know how to handle it.

“What are you going to do?” I ask.

His eyes drop to my lips, and my stomach coils tightly. Is he going to kiss me in front of the others? He takes my hand instead and places it on the center of his chest. Automatically, my power flares up. Damn it. I thought I’d learned to control it.

Rufio twists his face into a grimace and grunts.

“No!” I yank my hand back.

He bends over, wheezing. “Fuck. That was intense.”

“I don’t understand. I was able to stop stripping Bryce’s powers yesterday. Why did it not work with you?

Bryce is staring hard at his brother, and I can almost see the gears whirring in his head.

“It’s possible it has to do with your power scale,” Phoenix supplies. “You’re packing juice, Daisy. You’re probably a level seventeen.”

“Which means what?”

Bryce rubs his face. “It means that maybe you didn’t stop taking. Maybe I blocked you.”

Disappointment washes over me. I really thought I was starting to get a grip on this strange gift I didn’t ask for.

“We’ll keep practicing,” Bryce adds.

“She won’t progress if she practices with you,” Morpheus interjects. “You’ll keep blocking her, and she’ll never learn to master her powers herself.”

“You don’t know that. I can stop blocking her,” Bryce rebuffs, frowning.

Morpheus shakes his head. “No, you can’t. Survival instinct will override your wishes.”

“Well, I guess you’ll have to keep practicing with the rest of us,” Phoenix says.

“No, I can’t. The chance that I’ll unmake you before I learn to control my gift is too great.”

“There’s gotta be a way, Daisy. I can’t not touch you forever,” Phoenix replies, surprising me. I thought he was angry with me.

“I’ll help her,” Morpheus announces.

“She’ll suck you dry too,” Rufio retorts, making me wince. Once again, the image of a succubus comes to mind.

“I know!” Phoenix snaps his fingers. “We’ll round up all the nasty Idols in this school and use them as practice. If Daisy accidentally unmakes them, too bad.”

Bryce and Rufio stare at him like he’s lost his mind.

“I don’t think your solution is practical, even if it has merit,” Morpheus replies. “And no, Daisy won’t suck me dry like you fear.”

“Why is that?” Bryce raises an eyebrow.

Morpheus glances at me, and I see it then. He’s going to tell them the truth.

With a deep breath, he says, “I’m not a level fifteen as I was led to believe. You see, the bracelets I’ve worn since I was a boy not only kept my shadows contained but also dimmed my powers.” Morpheus closes his eyes, and a moment later, a surge of energy sprouts from his chest, spreading throughout his body. The shadows manifest, but Morpheus is in control of them.

“Holy shit!” Phoenix yells.

“You’re a level eighteen? How is that possible?” Rufio asks, staring at his friend like he’s never seen him before.

Bryce moves closer to Morpheus, stopping in front of him. “Mr. Malek isn’t your real father, is he?”

“No. My biological father was a demigod.”

“I’ll be damned.” Rufio walks to my window. “You were an eighteen all this time and didn’t know.”

“And we should keep it that way,” Bryce says. “It’s bad enough our mother and the Knights know about Daisy.”

“I can keep my powers on the down-low.” Morpheus shrugs.

“You’re not even wearing your bracelets anymore. When did that happen?” Phoenix asks.

Morpheus and I trade glances, but I answer in the end. “I broke his bracelets by accident.”

“How could you… oh, I see.” Phoenix stares at Morpheus intently.
Hercules, Michelle. Hateful Heroes: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance (Gifted Academy Book 3). Kindle Locations (1575-1639). Infinite Sky Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I keep waiting for things to get better, but these people have agendas so it seems chaos is the norm. The principal of the school Jodie Fallon who is also Bryce and Rufio’s mother has some really crazy plans for Daisy and Bryce. The first comes in the form of a trip to the Annual Interschool Academic Tournament at Paragon Academy in Hawk City. This is really just an excuse for the assignment she’s giving Daisy.

We meet an interesting character here, Andromeda is an Idol but she’s blind. That’s unusual in an Idol. We also run into Stephen and Soren Silverstone and get to see their Dad as well.

So many surprises, so much action and suspense plus another OMG ending.

Already reading the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Michelle!

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Michelle Hercules

USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born. Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter.

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To Love Someone – Baytown Boys Book 14 by Maryann Jordan


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

To Love Someone
Baytown Boys Book 14
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Maryann Jordan

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Not everyone has a hero’s welcome home.

Joseph landed in Baytown when he left the military and had nowhere else to go. Used to being a loner, he discovered the small coastal town offered friendship… but love? That wasn’t even on his radar.

Until meeting her. The infuriatingly independent veterinarian. Known to all as Sam, to him she would always be Samantha.

When danger lurks for her, Joseph privately vows to protect her. But who will protect his heart when all he wants is to love someone?

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Since he left the military, Joseph has wandered the US. Working different jobs in different areas trying to find a place that feels like home. Although he’s not sure what the definition of home might be. After a stint at the Norfolk VA hospital, he’s having a meal at a restaurant with a gorgeous view of the sunset over the bay. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel grabs his attention and he recalls the emails he’s gotten from Zac and Jason. Perhaps it’s time for a visit.

Samantha aka Sam, gets a shock at the beginning of this book as the owner of the Veterinary Clinic leaves giving her the business no strings attached. However that makes her the only small animal vet in the area. She’s just grateful for the staff she has and the imminent arrival of an intern.

When Sam’s truck breaks down while examining and collecting her friend Lizzie’s dead goats, it’s Joseph who’s driving the tow truck for Jason. It’s also the first time of many Joseph will put his foot in his mouth.

This is a favorite scene.

Scott tossed up his hand in greeting. “I see Jason has got you working in the garage today as well as the tattoo shop.”

“Yep.”

“We had a problem here this morning. I don’t know if Jason filled you in, but Dr. Collins, the veterinarian, needs to deal with two of Lizzie’s goats that were poisoned and killed.”

Her gaze was still pinned on the man’s face, noting his jaw tightened at Scott’s words. The large man simply nodded.

“I wasn’t sure if one of Jason’s mechanics could see if he could get Sam’s truck started now or if it was going to have to be towed. Since you’re here, I’m assuming all the mechanics are busy.”

The man simply nodded again, still holding Samantha’s attention as though he was a magnet and she was pure metal. She licked her dry lips and waited for him to look her way.

“Well, since it’s going to have to be towed into the shop, I’ll follow so that I can take Sam back to the vet’s practice to get another vehicle. We’ll still have to dispose of the goats.”

“Don’t worry about following,” the man said, his gaze shooting toward the pasture. “I can get the vet to the office and can also deal with the goats.” He walked straight past Samantha without looking down at her, instead turning around to Scott, and reached out his hand. “Keys?”

Surprised that he was asking Scott for her keys, Samantha stepped forward and pulled them out of her pocket, giving them a jingle as she held them out.

He jerked slightly as he looked down at her, seeming to notice her for the first time. His gaze raked up and down her before he asked, “Where’s the vet?”

Being short, she was used to people sometimes overlooking her. Being female, she was used to occasionally being dismissed. But the blast of his dismissal hit her exhausted emotions and all of his sexiness fled. If she could have incinerated him with her glare, she would have. He may have been a foot taller than her, but she pulled herself to her full height, arched an eyebrow, and held his gaze. “I am.”

The man didn’t even try to cover up his incredulity. “You’re Sam? The veterinarian?”

Planting her hands on her hips, Samantha cocked her head to the side. “Which stuns you more? That my name is Sam? Or that a female can be a veterinarian?”

The man held her gaze for a moment, then scowled and turned without answering, walking back to the tow truck.

He deftly maneuvered it so he would be able to hook up her truck.

Glancing toward Scott, Samantha snorted. “The man doesn’t say much, does he? And what little he does say, he manages to put his foot into his mouth.”

Scott’s lips twitched. “You can trust him, that’s all you need to know. I need to go check on Lizzie.”

She watched Scott return to the farmhouse and felt guilty. He had enough on his plate dealing with Lizzie and everything happening to Weston Farms and didn’t need to take on Samantha’s irritation.

She turned to let the truck driver know that he needed to back her truck up closer so they could get to the animals, but the sight in front of her caused her feet to stutter to a halt as her mouth dropped open.

The man had walked into the field and kneeled to pick up one of the heavy goats into his arms, cradling its lifeless body carefully, giving evidence that he understood the precious burden. He walked back and laid it gently into the back of Sam’s pickup truck before going back into the field, and with just as much care, bringing the second goat’s body.

Her breath was shallow, her focus entirely on watching his actions, strength mixed with gentleness.

Within a few minutes, he had hooked up her truck and walked past her, still not saying anything. He opened the passenger door of the tow truck, turned around, and looked at her. She blinked out of her reverie. Assuming his action was his way of saying it was time to go, she grabbed her satchel, walked to the door, and looked up. The truck was huge, and she was glad there was a running board. He stuck out his hand, and she placed her much smaller one in his, allowing him to give her a boost. With her ass planted onto the seat, she glanced at him. “Just so you know, my name is Samantha. But everyone calls me Sam.”

“Joseph.” Then he slammed the door shut before walking around to the driver’s side.

Her cheeks puffed out. Great. I get Mr. Fucking Personality to spend part of my morning with. Tired and wishing she’d had another cup of coffee, she turned and faced forward. The memory of watching him carry the goats so carefully stuck with her, and she sighed. At least he’s nice to animals. “So, was it my nickname or that I’m a woman that made you think I wasn’t the veterinarian?”

“You look like you’re barely eighteen.”

Swinging her head around, she glared. “You’re about eleven years off,” she muttered, trying to ignore the way his presence filled the cab of the truck. Giving up, she looked out the windshield and counted the miles until they could be out of each other’s company. Unfortunately, that took a while.

Joseph pulled into the driveway of another farm, and without telling Samantha what he was doing, climbed out and walked over to the fence and leaned a muscular arm on top of the post. He talked to the older man working in the field, obviously having more words in him than had been evident with her. The farmer nodded his head, handed Joseph a shovel, and the two men shook hands.

Walking back over to the truck, he climbed inside and stuck the shovel behind the seat. “We can bury the animals on the back of his property.”

Having no response to that and not being in control of her own vehicle at the moment, she remained quiet. They soon pulled to the side of the fence, and Joseph climbed out, grabbing the shovel. He walked to a far corner and began digging a hole in the soft dirt.

Feeling ridiculous sitting in the cab of the truck, she opened the door and climbed down. Walking over, she watched for a moment, trying not to be distracted by the flexing muscles and light sheen of sweat that covered his arms. Feeling heat inside that had nothing to do with the sun shining, she asked, “Do you have another shovel?”

“No.”

“Well, then let’s take turns digging.”

“No.”

“What is wrong with you? I’m just trying to help!”

He stopped and stood, his arm resting on the handle of the shovel, and even though his eyes were hidden behind his sunglasses, she felt the burn of his gaze move over her.

“Nothing’s wrong with me. You’re the doctor. I’m just doing some of the grunt work.”

She opened her mouth then snapped it shut, unable to think of her retort. It was obvious he was going to keep doing what he was going to do, so she turned and made her way back to her pickup truck. Unlatching the tailgate, she let it down. He had wrapped the two goats in an old tarp, and she gave a tug but knew it was futile. They were much too heavy.

A few minutes later, he followed but hesitated as they stared down at the deceased animals. “You should wait in the truck.”

A multitude of emotions as well as responses slammed into her all at once. I’m a veterinarian, not a delicate flower. This is not the first death of an animal I’ve ever seen. Don’t treat me as though I’m weak. I’ve been in the Army, I’ve seen death. But before she had a chance to open her mouth and let the floodgate of comments flow, he pushed his sunglasses up onto his head, and she saw his eyes. Green with flecks of amber. Eyes that held emotion. Eyes that held concern.

Deflated, she sighed and shook her head. “Thank you, no. With only one shovel there’s little I can do other than watch. But I can report to Lizzie that I saw this to the very end.”
Jordan, Maryann. To Love Someone (Baytown Boys Book 14). Kindle Locations(540-605). Kindle Edition.

There is definitely attraction on both sides but Joseph just can’t seem to help messing it up. Of course fate and her old truck keeps throwing them together as well.

There’s also the curiosity of missing vaccines from the clinic, and possible wolf or wolf dog sightings.

Lots of suspense and intrigue as Joseph realizes he just might have found ‘home’. He just needs to convince Sam he’s worth the chance.

5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!

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Maryann Jordan

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

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

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

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


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Her Sensual Protector – Night Storm Book 5 By Caitlyn O’Leary


Her Sensual Protector
Night Storm Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Caitlyn O’Leary

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The first time Navy SEAL, Leo Perez sees Daisy Squires, he is stopped in his tracks. There she was, slamming her fists on the table, making six men jump to attention in the Afghanistan embassy. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Somebody better find her kidnapped father, and fast.

At her wits end, Daisy realized she would have to rely on the special forces team to rescue her father, which killed her, shouldn’t she be doing something? Anything? To help facilitate her father’s safe return. But when Leo Perez told her to trust him, she started to believe. Maybe trust was finally an option for her.

Daisy and Leo soon find themselves immersed in a situation they never thought possible, as terrorist forces gain strength. Will their emerging love be strong enough to face the deadly forces determined to stop Daisy?

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This book opens with Daisy Squires confronting powers that be at the US Embassy in Afghanistan and demanding to know the status on negotiations to get her father out of captivity. They obviously haven’t done their homework and she lets them have it before walking out demanding a progress update the following day.

Chief Petty Officer Leo Perez was observing the exchange and loved the way Daisy pretty much handed them there arses. Leo left after her yet beat her to her hotel and there over tea and then lunch he asked his own questions.
He gets a lot of information from her, most notably that her father frequently pisses off everyone to do what he thinks is the right thing. What he has done in this case is truly a death sentence for him.

When he gives his report to the team they are amused at her gumption. Then later they are more than a little impressed when she slips her CIA tail.

This is a favorite scene.

She jumped when her phone rang. She looked at her watch, happy to see that Rayi was calling two hours earlier than she thought he would have. She looked at the number on the phone and frowned. It wasn’t an Afghan number, it was a US number, and it wasn’t any that she recognized. She thought about letting it go to voicemail, when she did the math and realized it was four a.m. on the East Coast in the States. It must be important.

She answered.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Daisy, this is Leo.”

She licked her bottom lip.

“Well, this is a surprise. I’d ask how you got my number, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to answer, right?”

He chuckled. It hit every single one of her nerve endings and she shivered. Didn’t she have other things that were more important to do than get turned on by some man she’d just met?

“I just wanted to touch base and see how life was treating you. Did you enjoy your shopping trip?”

This time she laughed. It was met by silence.

Good, maybe he’s turned on too!

Stop it, stay on task.

“How come I’m not surprised you heard about my trip to the mall? Tell me, just how many cars were following me? More than the two that I spotted?”

“Nope, just the two.”

How did he manage to sigh and laugh at the same time?

“I thought the CIA only wore windbreakers in the movies.”

“I wouldn’t know about that. I don’t own a windbreaker,” Leo said.

“Yeah, but you’re special forces. A SEAL, right?”

“I thought we covered that at lunch,” Leo said.

“We covered the fact that you’re really good at side-stepping questions. Just like you did now. Since you’re going to play that game again, I don’t see any reason to stay on this call, do you?” She knew she was being a bitch, but she didn’t have time for this shit. She needed to talk to Rayi and Alistair, then find out what the hell Jim was up to with Deyvid, because that could be scary as hell.

“Here I thought I was being cute.”

“Nope. It was getting old. Are you going to start being straight with me?”

“Daisy, I’ll be as straight as I can. Yeah, I’m a SEAL. Yeah, we’re looking into how we can help your father, but I can’t say much more than that.”

“Help my father or rescue my father?”

“What’s the difference?” Leo asked.

A brick that had been sitting on top of her chest lifted. The idea that Navy SEALs were planning a rescue had her breathing easier. It didn’t mean she wasn’t going to look at things from all angles though. Hope for the best and plan for the worst, that was her motto.

“Earlier you said it was bad. Are you going to act quickly?” she asked.

“That’s another thing I can’t answer. The when and how are need-to-know.”

“So if you can’t tell me anything, and I answered all of your questions at lunch, why the call now?” she asked him.

“Because you shook your tail this evening.”

Daisy barked out a laugh. “I think that’s a dance. ‘Shake Your Tailfeather’. Or did you mean something even more, shall we say, evocative?”

Leo snorted. “Don’t get me started, Ms. Squires, I would like to be all sorts of evocative about your tail.”

Daisy rolled her eyes; this was so inappropriate, but it felt good. “Look, Leo, let’s get down to it, what do you want?”

I did not say ‘get down to it.’ How long has it been since I’ve been laid, anyway? Holy hell! Two years! No wonder everything coming out of my mouth sounds like a cheesy porn movie.

“Daisy?”

“Hmmm?”

“What did you do when you got away from the CIA?”

“It doesn’t matter. I haven’t found anything out that will help yet. Now that I have your number, I’ll call you if things change.”

I have to get off this call now. God knows what will come out of my mouth next!

“Daisy, we need you to stand down. We’ve got this under control. The last thing we need is you getting into trouble too.”

“Leo, you know who I am. You know what I do. I’m careful. Thousands of women around the world depend on me. I’m talking about their very lives. I’m not going to screw this up. You can trust me.”

“Then tell me what you were doing today.”

“I told you, it came down to nothing.”

“So far. There’s a part two, right?”

Shit, how does he know that?

“There might be, but who in the hell knows. This is Afghanistan.”
He laughed again. Daisy shivered…again.

“Can I get you to promise to fill me in if you hear anything that might make a difference? And I’m serious, Daisy, I need you to stay out of trouble. I also need any information that you might have that could help this situation.”

“I don’t plan to do anything that will put me in harm’s way.”

“I’m holding you to that.”
O’Leary, Caitlyn. Her Sensual Protector: A Navy SEAL Romance (Night Storm Book 5).Kindle Locations. (783-827). Passionately Kind Publishing. Kindle Edition.

With new intel the guys go after Ethan Squires, but it doesn’t pan out. Things ramp up as their window of opportunity grows shorter.

Aside from the rescue, Leo also wants to see where things will go with Daisy. Unfortunately she dives into work and manages to avoid him. I really love the persistence.

Lots of action, suspense and intrigue and a simmer to sizzle relationship.

5 Contented Purrs for Caitlyn!

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Caitlyn O’Leary

Caitlyn O’Leary is an avid reader, and considers herself a fan first and an author second. She reads a wide variety of genres, but finds herself going back to happily-ever-afters. Getting a chance to write, after years in corporate America is a dream come true. She hopes that her stories provide the kind of entertainment and escape that she has found from some of her favorite authors.

Her Series Include:
THE FOUND
It’s a bit Paranormal, a bit Sci-Fi and 100% Action/Adventure. The characters have special abilities, that make them targets.

MIDNIGHT DELTA
This is focused on a group of Navy Seals. What makes them special is their bond to one another, and the women they come to love.

FATE HARBOR
This is the series that started her career, it is a Menage Series that takes place in Fate Harbor Washington. It focuses on a tight knit community who live and love and care for one another.

She loves to hear from her readers. caitlyn@caitlynoleary.com


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Ruthless Idols – Gifted Academy Book 2 by Michelle Hercules


Ruthless Idols
Gifted Academy Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Michelle Hercules

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I knew being the only Norm at Gifted Academy would be hard and dangerous, but I didn’t expect to be tossed out of a window. Also didn’t expect to be saved by one of the Magnificent Four.

Bryce brought me back from the brink of death, but he did more than heal my broken bones. He weakened my defenses and carved a place in my heart.

He’s not the only one vying for my attention. Rufio, Phoenix, and Morpheus have all changed their attitudes toward me, and recklessly, I want to know where it will lead.

But a complicated romance with four ruthless Idols should be the least of my worries. Powerful players are closing in, getting ready to either use or destroy me. I don’t know which one is worse.

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So here’s where we are, Daisy was almost drown by Drusilla’s cohort Cherise while held by Drusilla’s powers. This results in a broken arm for Toby and Daisy being thrown out the window by a teacher. She is saved by Bryce as he discovers his healing powers. This will have more interesting consequences.

Bryce’s abduction and subsequent release opens up more questions because of the devices used to keep him captive.

Then there’s the new information he discovers about Daisy’s parentage. Bryce and Daisy sleep together in spite of or because of the circumstances. This causes some interesting reactions from the other guys.

After a run Daisy finds their treehouse and Rufio, this leads to some sizzle as Daisy can’t seem to deny him. But then she passes out with fever. While watching over her Bryce finds her father’s diary and when she wakes he tells her she should leave immediately.

This is a favorite scene.

“Great, you’re all here. It saves me the time of repeating the same story,” Bryce grumbles.

“You look positively wretched, Bryce.” Morpheus frowns. 

“While I was in Daisy’s room, I decided to do some investigation and found this.” Bryce picks up a leather notebook from the coffee table.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“A diary from Daisy’s father.” Bryce stares meaningfully at Morpheus.

“I take it that whatever you discovered didn’t comfort you,” Morpheus says.

My brother shakes his head and offers him the diary. “Read the last entries.”

I intercept the object before Morpheus can and, with eager fingers, flip to the last pages. I scan the text fast, and by the time I finish, my stomach feels as tight as a coiled spring. Son of a bitch. Daisy’s father must have been one of the Norm rebels my father used to talk about at the dinner table. 

I lift my head to meet Bryce’s eyes. “You think Daisy was sent here to kill us?”

Phoenix lets out a snort. “Come on, guys. Daisy is a fucking Norm. How could she kill us?”

“Her father discovered a weapon that can kill Idols. If this knowledge is widespread among the Norm population, how long until we have a fucking war on our hands?” Bryce replies.

“Even if they have a weapon, we have the power. We can obliterate them with a snap of our fingers,” Phoenix retorts.

“God, Phoenix, you’re dense,” Bryce snaps. “I was kidnapped by the Knights, and they were able to void my powers for hours. Combine that with a weapon that can kill us and the fact that there are way more Norms than Idols….” Bryce stops to laugh ruefully. “We’re fucked.”

“Can I have the diary now?” Morpheus extends his hand to me.

“Does the diary say what kind of weapon?” Phoenix asks.

“No.” Bryce shakes his head.

My nostrils flare when the realization hits me. I go to my room and retrieve the dagger I got from Daisy yesterday. When I return to the living room, I catch the end of Morpheus’s reply.

“… your mother must have known about Daisy’s past.”

I can’t offer a response to that. Mom is too smart, and her interest in Daisy is obvious. She doesn’t do anything without a purpose.

“So what? She hates Idols,” Bryce replies.

Phoenix’s eyebrows arch. “Why would she hate her own kind?”

“Because she fell in love with a Norm, and our father killed the son of a bitch.”

Bryce’s reply feels like a punch to my chest. “You’re joking,” I say.

“I wish I was. I heard from Mom’s own mouth.” Bryce’s gaze drops to the dagger in my hand. “What’s that?”

“This, I believe, is an Idol-killing weapon. Daisy had it on her yesterday.”

Bryce takes the object from my hand with care. He inspects the handle and the peculiar blade, his eyebrows scrunched together. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

“Where’s Daisy?” Morpheus asks suddenly.

Bryce lifts his gaze to Morpheus. “I told her to pack her shit and leave.”

“You sent her out while she was burning up with fever?” Morpheus’s voice rises until he’s almost shouting. “Are you fucking crazy?”

Bryce’s expression turns into a scowl. “Why are you giving me a hard time? You’ve always said from the beginning she was bad news. And then you had that vision of yours.”

“What vision?” I ask.

Bryce whirls around and walks toward the window. “Never mind.”

“That’s what’s eating you. You’re afraid of what I saw,” Morpheus replies.

“For fuck’s sake. What did you see?” Phoenix asks, clearly exasperated. I share his sentiment.

“Daisy and Bryce standing side by side, bound by the infinity band.”

My eyes widen of their own accord while a deep-rooted pain takes hold of my heart. The infinity band is the ultimate promise an Idol can make to a lover.

“Come on now. You guys must know that vision is bogus. Daisy is a Norm. Only Idols can be bound with an infinity band,” Phoenix contests.

“My visions have never been wrong before,” Morpheus replies through clenched teeth. “Also, may I remind you that if Daisy wanted to kill either Bryce or Rufio, she had ample time to do so.”

Morpheus looks meaningfully at me and my brother. I hear exactly what he’s not saying. Bryce and I slept with her; she could have easily plunged the dagger into our hearts while we were distracted.

“When did this happen?” Phoenix asks.

“Maybe half an hour ago.” Bryce runs his hand through his hair. He seems torn.

Phoenix pulls his phone from his pocket and places a call.

“Who are you calling?” I ask.

He holds a finger in front of his mouth and then speaks. “Joseph? Phoenix here. Can you tell me if Daisy Woods left the campus grounds?” A pause, and then he continues. “Are you sure?” Another pause. “Okay, thanks, man.”

He turns to us. “So yeah, Daisy hasn’t left campus.” 

My eyes immediately veer toward the window and the pouring rain that’s coming down so quickly it’s created a gray film, making visibility hard.

“She must have got caught in the rain,” I say.

Morpheus takes his uniform jacket off and grabs a hoodie that was draped over a tall chair.

“What are you doing?” Phoenix stares at our friend.

“What does it look like? I’m going after Daisy.” He doesn’t wait for our reply before he strides out.

Phoenix curses and rubs his chin. “Morpheus, wait up.” He runs to catch up with him.

Fuck. I want to look for her as well, but my ingrained hatred for her kind keeps me rooted to the floor.

“You’re not going after her?” Bryce asks without looking at me.

“No. I’m surprised you’re not out there. You saved her from certain death, after all.”

He turns to me, crossing his arms over his chest. “I don’t know what to think anymore, Rufio. What if we made a mistake by saving her? What if she played us all?” Bryce chokes up at the end.

Son of a bitch. The impossible has happened. My brother, the coldest motherfucker I’ve ever known, has fallen in love.

“What’s scaring you the most, brother? The possibility that Daisy is a two-faced bitch or that you’re fated to bond for all eternity with her?”
Hercules, Michelle. Ruthless Idols: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance (Gifted Academy Book 2). Kindle Locations (1227-1280). Infinite Sky Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The circumstances surrounding their search become weird and they don’t find her, although I was sure Phoenix saw her. There’s a change in Daisy but nothing is really clear.

All the guys start getting closer to Daisy and an attack on her best friend Felicity leads to some very interesting revelations.

We also learn a lot more about Phoenix in this one and there’s also the friendship between Toby and Daisy’s sister Rosie.

Lots of action, suspense and surprises as Daisy navigates not only the Academy but also the relationships she’s formed with the guys.

I have already started reading the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Michelle!

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Michelle Hercules

USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born. Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter.

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A New Series! Undercurrent – Kill Devil Hills Book 1 by Kaylea Cross


Undercurrent
Kill Devil Hills Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Kaylea Cross

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She’s looking to reinvent herself.

After the worst two years of her life, Aspen Savich has just moved across the country to the Outer Banks, looking to start over and leave her painful past behind. But it follows her anyway, bringing consequences she never could have imagined. Someone is watching her. Targeting her—and they don’t care who gets in the way. She has no one to turn to except the sexy local mechanic who has found a way past all her defenses, never dreaming the kind of danger they’re up against.

He’s about to have his world turned upside down.

Tragedy made Coast Guard veteran Bowie Davenport withdraw from the world around him. He’s lived in Kill Devil Hills his whole life, focusing on work and family. Being alone is something he made peace with long ago—until the sexiest woman he’s ever seen pulls up to his garage in a little red Woody asking for help. There’s no way he can say no, even with his unwanted attraction to her. He tries to fight it, but soon he’s fallen completely under her spell. And when the unthinkable happens, he won’t hesitate to stand between her and the deranged enemy bent on taking her life.

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Aspen Savich sure knows how to make an impression, dressed in the era of her vintage car she visits Bowie Davenport’s garage. She’d been told he’s the best mechanic to fix her car.

For Bowie it’s just another day of running from his past and going to work, until his brother shows up. Chase has been working as a stuntman since he left the military and rarely finds his way home. This is a nice surprise for Bowie and he doesn’t waste time putting Chase to work as they catch up. At least until they here an old motor and she walks in.

This is a favorite scene.

He nodded and paused in the act of setting his wrench down on the workbench at the sound of an old motor outside, driving along the side of the garage. He and Chase looked at each other, both of them trying to figure out what it was, an old game they’d played since Chase was young.

Chase pursed his lips in thought. “Mini?”

Bowie shook his head. “Nah. Wrong pitch.”

A minute later, Barb appeared in the doorway in her shorts and tank top. She aimed a megawatt smile at Chase, twirling a lock of her long blond hair in her fingers before turning her attention to Bowie. “There’s a lady here to see you about her car.”

“Be right there.” He wiped his hands on a rag and followed her, Chase right behind him. No surprise. His little brother was notoriously nosy.

The instant Bowie walked around the corner and saw the woman in question, his feet stopped moving. Chase was so close behind him he had to veer to the side at the last second to avoid hitting him. “You forget how to walk or something?” he said to Bowie on a laugh.

Bowie didn’t answer, too busy staring at the newcomer. Because it was impossible not to.

She was a bit younger than him, maybe early thirties, dressed in a black, fifties-style halter dress with cherries on it, the fabric hugging incredibly lush curves before stopping just below her knees. Both rounded arms were covered in colorful tats from shoulder to elbow. Her shapely calves were bare, leading his eyes down to the sexy, lipstick-red heels on her feet.

With effort, Bowie dragged his gaze back up to her face. Her long, deep brown hair was pulled back from her face in a red cloth headband, except for a shock of white that fell over the right side of her forehead. Heavy black eyeliner defined her upper lids, emphasizing incredible pale green eyes that had him frozen where he stood. A small gold hoop glinted in the side of her nose, and her lips were slicked with glossy red lipstick.

When he didn’t say anything she raised her eyebrows at him in question. “Mr. Davenport?”

Her accent instantly told him she was from somewhere out west, if he wasn’t mistaken. And shit, he was staring like an idiot. “Yeah, that’s me. How can I help you?” he managed once he got his brain back in gear.

“My car needs some work. She’s old.”

“You came to the right place. I’m his younger brother, by the way. Chase,” his brother said, hurrying forward to extend his hand.

She shook it, gave him a polite smile and then dismissed him, focusing back on Bowie. It surprised him as much as it did Chase. His charismatic, Hollywood-handsome brother wasn’t used to being dismissed by the ladies. “I just got into town a few days ago. When I asked around, your name kept coming up as the best with old cars. I don’t have an appointment, but I thought I’d come by and see if—”

“What kind of car?” Bowie asked, more intrigued by her than the mystery car parked outside. He couldn’t remember the last time that had happened.

“’59 Morris.”

British car. Chase hadn’t been that far off after all. “Sure, I’ll take a look.”

She turned away and started for the door, the full skirt of the dress swaying with each step. Bowie followed, unable to tear his eyes from her hips and the tantalizing indent of her waist emphasized by the shiny red belt around it. Damn, those curves should be illegal.

He beat her to the door by a second and held it open for her. She was pretty tall. In her heels she was almost at eye level with him, and he was six-two.

“Thank you,” she murmured and stepped through, giving him a whiff of delicious, sweet-tart citrus on the way past.

He darted a glance back at his brother, who grinned at him, and fought a smile. Wasn’t every day a woman like that walked into his garage.

The noon heat hit him as soon as he stepped outside, and found the lady standing beside a fire engine-red Morris Minor Traveller. “A Woody,” he murmured, unable to hold back a smile. The quintessential surfer vehicle, its back half framed by iconic wood accents.

She nodded and gave him a pleased smile. “Yes, this is Priscilla.” She ran a hand over the curve of the hood, her glossy nails almost a perfect match for the paint color as her fingers caressed it. Bowie wouldn’t mind having her stroke him like that.

“Is something wrong with her?” he asked.

“Apart from being old? I’m not sure, I’ve only had her a couple days. She makes a strange sound when I accelerate. I wanted to get her checked out and fixed up, just to be on the safe side.” She ran her hand over the edge of the roof, the motion elegant and sensual at the same time. “She’s sentimental to me.”

“She’s a beauty.” Not nearly as gorgeous as her owner, but still. “Pop the hood for me.”

She opened the driver’s door and leaned over to pop the latch, giving him a view of the muscles in her bare calves in those sexy heels, the nip of her waist and the flare of her skirt giving him an instant visual of what she’d look like underneath it. Full, lush curves a man could explore for hours. Curves he could wrap his hands around and hold onto while he eased into her from behind.

The thought came unbidden, startling him. He hadn’t thought those kinds of things about someone he’d just met in forever.

Behind him, Chase cleared his throat. Bowie snapped to attention and walked around to the driver’s side door as the woman straightened. He slid into the caramel-colored seat, once again getting a whiff of her clean, tart scent. Yum. “Let’s start her up and see what the old girl tells us.”

He fired up the engine. The starter took a few seconds to catch. There was a definite lag, and when he gave it gas, the high-pitched squeal indicated a potential problem with the belts.

After giving a few other things a cursory check, he turned off the ignition and looked up at the woman. She stood next to Chase, completely ignoring his brother as she cupped her elbows, her full attention on Bowie.

He felt the impact of that pale green gaze all the way to his center. “I’d say she definitely needs a little TLC.”

“I know you’ve barely looked at her, but can you give me a ballpark estimate of cost, just so I have an idea of what I’m looking at?”

He named a price range. “I’ve got time to look at her early tomorrow afternoon, if that works.”

“That’s perfect.” With that she turned and headed straight back inside. Chase lunged over to grab the door for her. Bowie managed to beat him through it, entering right behind the woman, and came to stand at the desk with her while she booked the appointment.

“What’s your name?” Barb asked her with a bright smile.

“Aspen Savich.”

Aspen. A name as unique and sexy as she was.

Barb typed in her name and cell number, then looked at Bowie. “Do you figure you’ll have it ready by closing tomorrow night?”

“Barring any unforeseen problems or special parts I need to order in, yeah.” He turned back to Aspen, caught off guard by the strange tug deep in his gut when their gazes connected. He’d forgotten what that felt like. “But if I come across a problem I’ll call to check with you before doing anything. Right now, I’m just thinking a basic tune-up and checking the belts, nothing too bad.”

She nodded. “Sounds good. Thanks very much.” “No problem.” He held out his hand. “I’m Bowie, by the way.”

She gave him a mysterious smile, those pale green eyes holding a trace of amusement as she accepted his hand. “I know,” she murmured.

The moment their palms touched, he felt that tug deep inside him again. Her skin was soft and warm.

Withdrawing her hand, she glanced at the three of them. “Thanks a lot. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Those amazing eyes shifted to him again, and this time there was no mistaking the leap of attraction inside him. He didn’t like it. “Unless I hear from you sooner.”

With those flirtatious parting words, she slid a pair of oversized dark sunglasses on and walked out. Bowie stared at the closed door for a long moment, her scent still lingering faintly in the air. The sound of the Morris starting shook him out of his stupor and he spun around to head back to the shop.
Cross, Kaylea. Undercurrent (Kill Devil Hills Book 1). Kindle Locations (145-210). Kaylea Cross Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Now other than the beautiful woman that has Bowie feeling things he hasn’t for years, neither he nor Chase have spoken to their sister Harper in over a week. This is unusual for her and they’re both concerned.

Now Aspen has a project, a large home on the ocean side of the Outerbanks in the Kill Devil Hills. Part of the inheritance from her great uncle. She’s in the process of repairing and renovating so she can live here. At least she hopes so. So many things were still up in the air. Including a possible appeal since her uncle’s grandson seems to think it should all be his. I love the neighbor and the dog.

Bowie’s sister Harper decides to come for a visit, she’s got some things going on and really needs to be with her family for a bit.

There’s plenty of suspense in this one as Aspen becomes friends with all of them. She’s really afraid her past will destroy the budding friendships and the romantic and sizzling one forming with Bowie.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Kaylea!

Coming Soon!
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Kaylea Cross

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.

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Lullaby of Death – The Lost Siren Book 2 By Liza Street & Skye MacKinnon


Lullaby of Death
The Lost Siren Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Liza Street
&
Skye MacKinnon

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Shadow monsters, undead relatives, and a bodice that cuts into her boobs—in Avery’s opinion, the faerie realm isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Supposedly, it was Avery’s fate to journey to the Evermist. Here, she’s regarded as a symbol of hope and everyone has expectations of her, including her three guardians. While she hadn’t expected an amusement park full of little girls in princess dresses, Avery also hadn’t expected to be scared at every turn. But the Evermist is full of cruel monsters and terrifying shadows.

As Avery navigates her new role, her deepening relationship with her guardians, and a wardrobe full of beautiful-yet-uncomfortable dresses, she’ll have to make choices that will have repercussions worlds away.

With intrigues and betrayals at every corner, Avery will need to explore her magic and strength to fight the evil that has taken over the realm of her ancestors.

The second book in the Lost Siren series, Lullaby of Death is a steamy reverse harem adventure that will take you far from the familiar and into a magical yet dangerous land.

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When we left Avery she was alone by the portal in Evermist, this book starts right there and it’s been hours and still no sign of her guys. Just when she’s given up they are coming, she’s approached by a man she thinks at first is Charles. He’s a bit of a jerk and he’s to bring her to the Castle. His name is Malek and he’s Charles’ half brother. Avery doesn’t trust him after he tries to make her think he’s Charles, but she knows she can’t stay where she is with no shelter overnight.

The journey to the Castle was tense and all Avery wants is to be with her guys. The Queen isn’t so accommodating though, instead sending her to her room situated next door to Lysander’s. Also there were orders to keep her from Charles and mention of a woman Savannah. It’s Malek to informs her Savannah is Charles’ betrothed, but leaves out it was arranged when they were but children.

After a bit of a pity party, Avery decides to go find her men. She finds an ally in Bell, a niece of the Queen. Malek intercepts them before Avery could get Bell to take her where the guys might be. He finds suitable clothing for her to wear and takes her to where Charles, Tarin and Lysander are meeting with the Queen. Although the Queen is a bit peeved over it she dismissed all but Marek and Charles.

This is a favorite scene.

“I thought you were rotting in some dungeon!” I half-shouted, half-laughed. I shook with relief and the sudden absence of adrenaline. I wouldn’t have to break them out of the Queen’s prison cells. No more fighting today.

Tarin grabbed my wrists and held me in place, giving Lysander the perfect opportunity to snake his arms around my waist from behind. He pulled me against his hard chest and even harder cock. Wow, if my mere presence aroused him this much, what would happen once we retreated to my room?

“I missed you, little siren,” he whispered and gently dragged his fangs across the nape of my neck. A shudder ran down my back and I couldn’t help but lean into his touch. In this moment, I wanted nothing more than for him to bite me.

“Didn’t Charles’s brother tell you that we were in a meeting with the Queen?” Tarin asked, still holding my wrists. His eyes were burning with something that I couldn’t quite identify, but his voice was calm.

“He forgot to mention that,” I hissed, looking around for that bloody faerie, but he had quietly disappeared. Good, he’d escaped my wrath for now. I wouldn’t forget this, though. It may have been fun for him to play with my feelings, but it hadn’t been fun for me. He’d made me think that my guys were in trouble and that I was all alone. Bastard.

“I thought he looked a bit shifty.” Lysander licked my skin where his fangs had likely left some red scratches. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind at all. The happiness at seeing them again seemed to be messing with my mind.

Tarin lifted my left hand to his lips and pressed a tiny kiss on my knuckles, barely touching me, yet for him, it was as if he’d French kissed me with tongue and all. Was that passion in his eyes? Really? I decided Tarin and I would need some alone time soon to decipher our strange relationship.

“Are these your boyfriends?” a bright voice called from the other end of the corridor. I didn’t pay Bell any attention, but Tarin let go of my wrists and waved at her.

“Hey, little one.”

“I’m not little.”

“Yes, you are. You’d reach up to my navel, maybe? Definitely little. You’re the Queen’s niece, aren’t you?”

“How do you know who she is?” I asked. “Have you been here before?”

“Every pret knows the important people in the Evermist,” he explained as if that was obvious. “We grew up learning the names of royalty, politicians, leaders, and heirs. I may have never seen her, but she looks exactly like she does in the pictures. The blue hair kind of gives it away.”

“I’m important,” Bell confirmed chirpily. “I’m next in line to the throne.”

“Wait, isn’t that Charles?” I asked.

“It’s a matriarchy,” Tarin said. “I see we neglected your Evermist education.”

“It’s not like we had any time for that.” Lysander stopped licking my neck just long enough to say the words. It was strangely relaxing, even though I had to admit it was also a little gross. Was he preparing me for a bite?

“True. Fucking nerises got in the way.”

“Nerises?” Bell asked, her voice full of astonishment. “Real nerises?”

“Not anymore,” I chuckled darkly. “We killed them all.” Tarin snorted. “Technically we just swore an oath to the Queen not to tell anyone about that.”

“Well, she didn’t deign to tell me about that, so that doesn’t apply to me. Why didn’t she do this meeting for all four of us, anyway? And why didn’t we all land here together?”

“Let’s talk somewhere more private.” Tarin’s gaze flicked to Bell, who was still standing behind Lysander and me. “And I’m starving. Politics always make me hungry.”

“I’m thirsty,” Lysander whispered. My insides melted at the heat in his voice. I knew he wasn’t talking about water.

“Stop it, Ly. Get a grip,” Tarin admonished him. “I know it’s hard to focus, but we have things to discuss.”

“I can listen while I drink,” Lysander drawled, but with one last scorching kiss, he let go of me. My back instantly felt cold without his touch.

Reacquainting myself with the guys had instantly become number one on my list of priorities, far above figuring out my role in Evermist, what Marek was up to, how I’d get the Queen to see me as more than her puppet, and all the other issues that had arisen in the few hours since I’d arrived here. Wow, things were getting off to a busy start. Life in Evermist wasn’t going to be a holiday, that much was for sure. And I hadn’t even met another siren yet, let alone travelled to wherever the sirens lived.

Lysander took my hand and pulled me along, clearly desperate to get to a private place. Tarin followed us, as did Belle. She’d be disappointed once the guys closed the door in her face, but we really didn’t need a pre-teen watching us. She’d been helpful earlier and I’d make sure to keep her on my side, but right now, I had other things on my mind. Namely Lysander’s hard cock, his fangs, and—

“Wait!” Charles shouted from behind us.

I wriggled out of the vampire’s grasp and ran the way we’d come until I was in Charles’s strong arms. He hugged me tight, burrowing his face in my hair. I breathed in his ocean-side scent. Finally, I had all three of them with me again.

A aching hole in my chest, one I hadn’t even noticed until now, slowly closed, pushed shut by the happiness I felt at our reunion. Even though we’d only been together for such a short time, the three men had become part of me.

A wave of siren magic shot through my body and I felt my hair stand on end, as if I’d poked my finger into an electric socket. Pure power filled me, caressed me, begged to be used.

I had no need of it, though. This wasn’t a battle, there were no enemies to fight. The magic pressed against my skin, its begging turning into a demand.

Fuck.

“I might have a small problem,” I said, then clenched my teeth as I realised that talking distracted me from keeping a hold on all that power.

“I can feel it,” Charles said and stepped back, breaking our hug.

As soon as his touch disappeared, the pressure in me lessened a little, just enough to give me space to breathe.

“What’s going on?” Lysander was by my side in an instant. I hadn’t even seen him move.

“My magic… too much…”

Tarin appeared to my right, but he didn’t touch me. None of them did. I looked down at myself and gasped at the glow coming from my skin. I was glowing like a fucking lightbulb.

“I know what to do,” Tarin said. “Follow me.”

Charles reached for my hand, but as soon as we made contact, the pressure started building again.

I yanked my palm away from his. “What’s happening to me?”

“You’re going to be fine, lass,” Tarin said. “Trust me.”
Skye MacKinnon; Liza Street. Lullaby of Death: The Lost Siren Book 2 (Kindle Locations 417-468).

This is just the beginning of many unsatisfying meetings with the Queen. The introduction to Savannah was interesting to say the least, and there’s a bit of thievery and a rescue involved in that. Then there’s Malek who it seems Avery is attracted to in spite of their initial meeting. A prophesy told by Queen Moira is expanded on by Avery. Now things must be done, a quest of sorts, in order to save Evermist. In order to accomplish this she needs to get a handle on her powers so they travel to the Siren stronghold. Where we sort of meet her ancestors, and actually meet the folks holding everything together, for her.

From here things escalate quickly and viciously. Lots of action, surprises, and did I mention the sizzling heat, since Avery and her men can’t seem to keep their hands off each other unless they’re fighting…

I really can’t wait for the next book, there are many unanswered questions.

5 Contented Purrs for Liza and Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

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

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

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

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   Liza Street

Liza got her start in romance by sneak-reading her grandma’s paperbacks. Now she divides her time between freelance editing and writing books about shifters with fierce and savage hearts.

FREE BOOKS–Book 1 in Liza’s Sierra Pride series is free to anyone! Join Liza’s mailing list and get Book 2, Fierce Heartbreaker, FREE, as well as an exclusive Sierra Pride prequel story! Start by clicking here to sign up and receive Fierce Heartbreaker and the prequel story.

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