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

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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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Her Intense Protector – Night Storm Book 4 By Caitlyn O’Leary


Her Intense Protector
Night Storm Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Caitlyn O’Leary

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Ezio Stark never saw it coming.

For the longest time there had been only one woman who’d sparked his interest, but she was a continent away, so he immersed himself in his life as a Navy SEAL.

A year after breaking things off at the altar with her cheating fiancé, Samantha Brooks has moved across the country for a fresh start. She’ll concentrate on friends, not potential relationships, especially with good-looking Navy SEALs, no matter how much they’d already sparked her interest.

Now Samantha is miles from home, embroiled in a life-and-death situation to help a friend. Sure, she can find a way out on her own!

Ezio thought his toughest job was going to be overcoming Samantha’s relationship fears and capturing her heart, instead he finds out his most crucial mission is trying to save her life.

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I love books with animals and I fell for Ezio on the first page of this book. Volunteering at the shelter he’s found Tabitha a Shephard, Labrador, Husky mix, she will be trained as a therapy dog. She has the perfect temperament. In the meantime Tabitha is helping him with Duchess, an abused border collie mix who’s afraid of men. The dogs get along well together and Ezio has been making progress with her. He’s about done when he’s called by Leo, one of his Night Storm teammates informing him of free food at Kane’s. He’s only on loan to Night Storm from Omega Team but he will definitely join in the fun at Kane’s. The call he gets from Baron, Omega Team’s Lieutenant that made me chuckle. Baron’s concerned about the way the Night Storm team is finding lasting love, he also wants Ezio back.

The only woman Ezio had been attracted to in a long time didn’t live in the area, plus at the time she had recently broken up with her fiancé and he didn’t want to be the rebound guy.

As we meet Samantha she’s having dinner with her friends David and Toni, they have surprised her with a blind date. A golf buddy of David’s who turns out to be the date from hell. This of course leads to much apologizing from David and Toni.

The next night Sam had a fun evening with her best friend Eden. She got advise on a work issue, and ex issue and a heads up that Ezio might contact her. Ezio had found out she’s in town at Kane’s the night before. Eden was right and Ezio did contact her for a dinner date. Before that date happens her friend Toni springs a plan on her to get her brother back on the wagon again. One that Sam wasn’t sure of but couldn’t say no to.

I really loved how Ezio and Sam fell into an easy rapport after not seeing each other for so long.

This is a favorite scene.

That stopped him short. He hadn’t been asked that question before. Normally a woman wanted to pry about his missions and what they were like and find out how exciting they were. Basically, they just wanted to be seen with a Navy SEAL, not interested in the man himself. He had really felt like there was a chance that Samantha Brooks was different, and now his instincts were proving to be right.

Hallelujah.

“There’s always Netflix,” he laughed.

“That can never be underestimated, that’s for sure. What else?”

“Actually, I volunteer at an animal shelter. I love it there. I work with the dogs primarily, trying to determine if any of them could turn into therapy dogs. But any displaced animal grabs my heart.”

“We had a standard poodle growing up. To this day I miss her. She died just before I left for college.” He could see the sadness on her face.

“Does your apartment allow for them?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t checked. I sometimes have to travel, so it wouldn’t seem fair to get an animal when I don’t have a back-up to take care of one. I hate the idea of having to put them up at a doggy-daycare.”

“Makes sense. Besides discovering new artists, and working long hours, what do you do for downtime?”

“How do you know I work long hours?”

“Anyone who has a drafting table set up at their house, with as many drawings, paint chips, and fabrics samples, has to be working long hours.”

“Maybe I telecommute,” she teased.

“Samantha, do you telecommute?” he asked with a straight face.

She sighed. “No Ezio, I don’t telecommute. I work eight to ten hours at the office, then come home to work. Right now, I’m trying to prove myself to the principals at Lawton that I’m a worthwhile hire. They were kind of strong-armed into hiring me.”

“Seems to me they got the account because of you, and they should be damned happy about it.”

The waiter came by and took their plates and asked if they would like dessert.

“Samantha? I’m up for it if you are.”

“Definitely.”

Score one for the team, she didn’t want the date to end any more than I do.

The waiter gave them the dessert menu. Ezio waited until she chose a lemon tart, then he ordered the chocolate decadence cake so she could have a taste of that as well if she wanted. Then she ordered caffeinated coffee. He raised his eyebrow.

“Still have some work that needs doing.”

“We’re not getting back to your place until eleven,” he protested.

“No rest for the wicked,” she teased.

“Sounds like I did the right thing luring you away. Or maybe I did the wrong thing causing you to work too late,” he worried. Now that he looked at her, he could see she had lost some weight since he had last seen her.

“No, I don’t mind a little hard work.”

“How many hours a week have you been working?” he asked.

“Not too many compared to some of the people at the office,” she side-stepped his question.

“So how many hours do those people work?”

“Ezio, let’s not get into this. Don’t you work twenty-four-seven when you’re overseas doing whatever it is you do?” This time she raised her eyebrow. The waiter laid down their desserts and Samantha grinned because she knew that she had won this skirmish.

“Touché.” He smiled as he raised his decaf cup of coffee.

“You know I couldn’t decide between the chocolate cake and the lemon tart,” she admitted.

“Why don’t we cut it in half, then you can have the best of both worlds,” he suggested.

Her eyes lit up, and he definitely knew that he had made the right decision asking this woman out.
O’Leary, Caitlyn. Her Intense Protector: A Navy SEAL Romance (Night Storm Book 4). Kindle Locations (573-600). Passionately Kind Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Things go FUBAR pretty quickly with Toni’s plan and Sam is stuck in the middle of it all. Oh and just to make things worse her ex shows up.

Plenty of action, suspense, and surprises plus that sizzling romance between Ezio and Sam. 

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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Protecting Marlowe – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Search & Rescue Book 6 by Jen Talty


Protecting Marlowe
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Search & Rescue Book 6
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty

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Everything in Marlowe Chapmen’s life is falling into place. Her career as an actress is finally taking off, but there is one thing missing. Ever since Marlowe became an adult, she’s been searching for the man who had saved her life when she’d been ten years old and who had made all this possible by literally killing her past. As she travels from one Navy base to the next, looking for Slade, she hadn’t expected she’d fall in head over heels for another Navy man. Nor could she anticipate that her secret had already been exposed, setting off a chain of events that would not only put her life in danger, but could expose her true identity as the daughter of a Russian terrorist.

Bryce Carson has dedicated his adult life to the Navy and protecting the United States of America, an oath he doesn’t take lightly. When the famous Marlowe breezes into his life, he’s shocked she even gives him a second glance. She teaches him there’s more to life than chasing the adrenaline rush at work and playing video games to relax. But there is one thing Bryce can’t tolerate—or forgive—and that’s deception.

So, when he finds out Marlowe isn’t exactly who she says she is, Bryce has to decide can he forgive the betrayal, because under the circumstances, would he have done the same thing?

Bryce and Lincoln were having a drink after returning from deployment. Princess and Wolfie had returned home after greeting them and Lincoln was going home in a few minutes. That’s when Marlowe and her friend/PR agent Jamie walk in.

Bryce is a big fan of Marlowe and had been a fan for a while, more so since her parts in a couple of Marvel movies, and the trailer for her new movie looked just amazing. He needs a bit of a push from Lincoln to go say hello and Lincoln escorted him over while making it clear he was taken.

It didn’t take long for Jamie to pretty much push Marlowe on Bryce so she could go back to the hotel and call her boyfriend.

This is a favorite scene.

Marlowe dug into her purse and thankfully her hands didn’t shake as she handed her friend her rental keys. However, her insides rattled like an earthquake. It wasn’t like her to let Jamie push her into spending time with a random man, and Jamie had a tendency to try to fix her up left and right.

“Love you, girl.” Jamie gave her a quick hug and kiss, before making a beeline for the door.

His friend, Lincoln, was only a couple steps behind after slapping his buddy on the back.

“Did you really recognize me?” Shit. Why the fuck did she ask that stupid question? If Jamie had heard her, she would have kicked her and then went on to discuss how great she was in every role, including the stupid toilet paper commercial she’d done a few years ago.

“I’m really a fan.” Bryce sat across from her as he waved down the waitress. “Do you like red wine? There is a local cab that is fabulous and getting it by the bottle is reasonable.”

“Sounds perfect,” she said. “Would you mind if I ordered an appetizer? I’m starving.”

“Why don’t we get the special. I could eat more.” “I’m in.”

He placed the order with the waitress while she took the opportunity to study him a little more closely.

He had a small scar above his right eye that etched into his brow. He had another one under his chin and still another one on the side of his neck.

She wondered how many more he had covering his body.

“I take it you live out in LA or something,” he said.

“No. I call Upstate New York home.”

“I love the Adirondacks. When I was a kid, we used to go to Lake George in the summertime. It’s beautiful.”

“I moved there when I was eleven.” She nodded. “It’s hard to let go of the area, even though I’m almost never there lately.”

“Why are you vacationing here if you don’t get to spend much time at home? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“I like to travel and ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had this goal that I wanted to see as much of the country as possible.” She shrugged. “I like beach towns. Lakes. Mountains. Hell, I like it all and I want to see it all.”

The waitress returned with a bottle and two glasses. Marlowe leaned back, took in a deep breath, and waited patiently for the young lady to leave.

“To new friends.” Bryce lifted his glass.

“Cheers.” The rich, smooth flavor coated her throat and warmed her belly, taking the edge off her nerves. She had no idea why she let Jamie leave, other than being in a bar filled with SEALs made her feel like she was closer to the man who gave her a second chance at life. “I can guess you’re in the Navy.” She waved a hand over her hair.

He nodded.

“Thank you for your service.” He blinked. “My pleasure.”

“What do you do, exactly?”

“I’m a SEAL,” he said with a slightly flat tone as he sat up a little taller, as if he were uncomfortable stating his employment status.

“Oh. That’s cool. But dangerous.” She wished she could just come out and ask him if he knew Slade, but then she’d have to come up with a story on how she knew the man, and she’d yet to develop one that made sense.

Besides, Slade had told her that she had to forget about him. That she needed to pretend he never existed. What he’d done had been unprofessional and illegal and he could lose his job if it ever got out. She often wondered if he’d been overly dramatic in order to scare her from ever saying anything about what had happened.

He warned her that she had to remember that her old self had never existed and that the new identity he and his friends had given her was the only person she’d ever been. For weeks, Slade quizzed her on her past until even she’d begun to believe the lies.

“It can be.”

“You don’t like talking about your job, do you.” She didn’t pose that as a question.

“Sorry. It’s not that, it’s just there are a lot of aspects of my career I can’t discuss, and then there are those that just want to…” He laughed, shaking his head. “I bet you get the same thing. People wanting a piece of you because you’re famous.”

She waggled her finger. “I’m not famous yet. But you’re right. As much as it’s nice to be seen, like with you tonight, there are times it feels icky and people can be weird about it.”

“Especially men, I’m sure.”

“I knew this special forces guy once a long time ago,” she said, staring into her glass. “He was friends with my folks.” She wasn’t the best liar in the world, but she told herself all she was doing was acting. Playing a character and that she was good at it. “He grunted more than he talked half the time, but I remember once being out at a restaurant with him. I wasn’t more than eleven and women just flocked to him like hot fudge on a sundae.”

“It’s not so much that as much as it’s what happens after the relationship gets real.”

“What do you mean?”

“My job is hard and it requires me to be gone for long periods. Even worse, there are times when I think I’m going to be home for a long stretch and I get a phone call in the middle of the night telling me to pack my bags and I won’t know for how long. It takes a special kind of woman, or man for that matter, to deal with someone in my job.”

“I can respect that, but your buddy found someone.”

Bryce laughed. “Yeah. My ex-girlfriend.”

“Seriously?”

“Sort of. He’s married to a girl that was my high school sweetheart. We broke up years before they met and they are perfect for each other.” He took a long sip of his wine while one of the staff placed a large tray of food in front of them with a couple of plates. “I have a lot of friends who are married and it works well, and others who’ve gotten divorced. It’s not an easy life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love what I do and I get to see the world from a completely different perspective than most.”

She snagged an onion ring and plopped it into her mouth. Closing her eyes, she enjoyed the fried flavor. “Making movies looks so glamorous on the outside, but half of it is done on a set, inside, with people yelling at you, staring at you, and sometimes you end up doing the same scene fifty times in one day.”

“I can’t tell you how many times we sit around waiting for something to happen. I swear, that’s ninety percent of my job and the toughest part sometimes,” he said.

“I can imagine.”

He smiled as he nibbled on one of the sliders. He had an easygoing personality that she admired. It was as if they were old friends catching up. It wasn’t very often she made that kind of connection.

And so quickly.

“So, can I ask what your next big role is going to be?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted. “Since I’ve finished shooting Rushing Wind, I have to film two more of the Marvels because of my contracts, but in the meantime, I’m on the hunt. However, I think some are waiting to see the reviews of this latest film.”

“That’s exciting.”

She nodded.

“Are the Marvel movies expanding your character?”

“I have more lines and scenes, but not much more.” She pushed her plate to the side, tossing her napkin on top. “Anyway, Jamie and I are here to go over a couple of scripts that were sent to my agent and pick a couple to audition for, though I’m finally in a position where it’s less of an audition and more of me saying I’ll take the role if you still want me. But I have to make up my mind this week with a couple of them, one way or the other.”

“That’s really cool.”

“Thank you.”

He topped off their glasses and leaned back. “Do you have free time to do some sightseeing? I’d love to show you— and your friend— around.”

“If you haven’t noticed, she’ll do whatever it takes to pawn me off on you,” she said with a laugh.

Bryce leaned forward. His smoldering grayish-green eyes that reminded her of the Caribbean sparkled. “I wouldn’t mind that.”

“To be honest, neither would I.”
Jen Talty. Protecting Marlowe (Special Forces: Operation Alpha): search and rescue, Book 6 (Kindle Locations 203-270). Aces Press, LLC.

Now the reason Marlowe was visiting different towns where their are Navy bases is because a SEAL named Slade saved her life many years ago. She would love to see him again and thank him for all he did for her.

A couple of SEALs in the bar recognized her, but didn’t let on. Keanu, Bryce’s boss was there with Wolf. They were both part of the mission that led to them doing something just a bit underhanded to save Marlowe from a worse fate.

With Marlowe getting threating texts on top of a strange note before she came to Virginia, Bryce calls Keanu. Neither one of them thought this was anything other than the normal type stalker. That is until Wolf and Slade get involved.

Lots of twists and turns as Bryce and Marlowe begin a relationship. Plenty of suspense and a few surprises as the bad guy turns up the heat.

I just realized I haven’t read all of the books in this series in the Operation Alpha crossovers. I really need to catch up before Jen releases another one!!

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

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

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

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


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Summer Heatwave – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Seasoned SEALs Book 2 By KaLyn Cooper


Summer Heatwave
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Seasoned SEALs Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
KaLyn Cooper

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Sometimes life just throws two people together.

Commander Mike Gallagher was not looking for wife number three. In his mid-forties, he’d given up on love. But life kept him running into Special Agent in Charge Kameron “Kam” Hood of Homeland Security Investigations for Human Trafficking. She was one of the most prickly women he’d ever met and they had taken an instant dislike to each other.

Kam Hood was new to San Diego when she had lucked into a tip that led her team to make the biggest human trafficking bust on the West Coast. She was too busy establishing herself in her new job to think about men…except Mike Gallagher. She enjoyed throwing him around in her Brazilian jujitsu class and making him submit to her.

When Kam’s life is threatened, Mike steps in to keep her safe.

But can he keep his heart safe?

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With the success of the bust of the human trafficking ring involving some SEALs and many more, the tedious task of talking to the girls involved has begun.

When the Special Agent in Charge Kameron ‘Kam’ Hood calls Commander Mike Gallagher she doesn’t identify herself she just announces she needs Dylan Chaney immediately. This leads to an amusing spiel from the Commander followed by the introduction she should have led with but not the reason behind it.

One of the girls, refuses to speak to anyone but ‘her boyfriend’ Dylan. Accompanied by the Commander and also Captain Evan Hubbard, Dylan goes to Homeland Security’s Headquarters. Brought to the interrogation rooms by Kam, Dylan recognizes the girl as Tala, the girl he spoke with undercover, there was nothing untoward sexual or otherwise between them. He did promise he’d get her home though.

The information Dylan gets out of her also tells of another location where her friend is being held. Now they have to figure out where that one is. Tala won’t go home without her friend.

In another line of priorities, is a change in fighting techniques. SEALs need to be on top of every manner of fighting in order to remain at the top of the food chain. Things get interesting here as Commanders are sent to various martial arts studios to find one that will be advantageous for the SEALs to learn.

This is where Mike is going to get a surprise, he’s taking a Brazilian jujitsu class. The instructor is none other than Kameron Hood.

This is a favorite scene.

A few men with an obvious law enforcement swagger headed to the establishment. Like him, they were wearing shorts and T-shirts, so he quickly followed them in.

The reception area was extremely crowded as mothers pressed against windows on the right watching elementary-age children swing nunchucks. Some of the kids were very good. They had obviously been taking lessons for years. He would have loved to be involved in something like this at their age.

Unfortunately, his single mother could barely afford to feed him and his two brothers. He had to be happy with school sports. Recreational leagues were even out of their price range. When other kids were playing Little League baseball all summer, he was mowing neighborhood lawns while his brothers weeded landscaping to earn a few bucks.

After working in the sun all day, they would ride their bikes down to the lake and jump into the cool refreshing water. He’d learned to swim in that spring-fed lake. His mother saved enough money to put all three boys in the class taught annually by the Red Cross. She was adamant that they learned to swim well. How could she have known where that skill would take him?

Thanks, Mom. His eyes moved heavenward. She had tried so hard to give them a good base for their lives… before she was suddenly taken from them.

When his eyes dropped down, yells and thumps from the class on his right caught his attention. A dozen men who looked like they spent a great deal of time at a gym, sparred in headgear against the man in the middle of the circle, tapping in and out. The two wearing all black loose-fitting gi-style clothes, obviously the instructors, took on challenger after challenger. They were fast, never repeating the same combination of kicks. They could all easily be mixed martial arts competitors.

At the far end of the lobby, several women browsed through the small store while others sat on benches taking their shoes off and chatting.

He could no longer hear grunts and groans from the adult class as they went through several stretches in what Mike thought of as cool-down exercises. The kids, on the other hand, invaded the small lobby, quickly finding their parents who shuffled them out the door.

A man dressed in black with the school emblem embroidered on the right side of his chest emerged from the store. “The Brazilian jujitsu class will be taught in Gym A. Tonight, kickboxing will be in Gym B. Please enter the gym now so classes can get started on time.”

The large room reeked of sweaty men. That was nothing new for Mike. Navy SEALs were pushed to their physical limits every day. It was actually kind of comforting in its familiarity. But when several women entered, light fragrances intertwined with the dirty jock smell, disturbing his chill.

Mike took off his shoes and set them along the side wall with the others then sauntered his way in to find a spot in the middle of the floor. As he glanced at the two instructors, he realized how slight the one was, yet they had both been throwing around huge men easily weighing fifty to a hundred pounds more.

When the smaller of the two removed the headgear, Mike gasped.

Kam Hood slid off the rubber band holding her hair and massaged her scalp before she scraped her hair up into a high bun. She wiped the sweat from her face and neck with a black terrycloth towel before grabbing a light purple water bottle.

Mike almost laughed. It looked so feminine and incongruous with the kickass woman holding it. Wouldn’t that be great if she were staying for the Brazilian jujitsu class? He glanced to his side and saw there was room for her next to him.

When the tall man with broad shoulders and ponytail grabbed his gear and started to leave, Mike scanned the lobby for the instructor.

“Everybody, find a place on the floor where you have room to move. We’ll begin with warm-ups before we pair off and practice the basic moves and counter moves.” Kam stood at the front of the class facing the two dozen students, who were an interesting mix, from petite women to the large men he’d followed into the facility. From the tiny bit of conversation he caught, many were in law enforcement.

Mike knew the moment she saw him. Their gazes held a bit too long before she gave him what he thought was a small smile. It could also have been a devilish grin. He certainly didn’t know her well enough to tell.

Ten minutes later, though, he was positive.

“Comman—” she stopped mid-word and corrected herself. “Mr. Mike Gallagher, would you be my partner tonight?”

He couldn’t say no. Instead, he gave her one of his most panty-dropping smiles as he made his way to the front of the classroom. Although he was used to balls-to-the-wall hand-to-hand with his SEALs, he’d go easy on her.

For the next forty minutes, he was her test dummy. She had taken him down from a standing position to the ground so many times, in different ways, he’d forgotten the count. The fascinating part was, she always ended up on top. He wondered if that was her preferred sexual position, but since she was wired with a microphone, he didn’t dare ask. What he disliked most was that she had forced him to submit by tapping out every time.

When the class was over, Mike was sure he’d never spent so much time on his ass in the arms of a woman without getting laid.

As soon as the microphone was shut off, she asked, “What the hell you doing here?”

After the torture she’d just put him through, he decided to play with her. “Why, Kam, fancy meeting you here. How have you been?”

She glared at him.

He smiled. “How’s the investigation going?”

Her gaze swept the room as a few of the women approached her. “We’re not done with this conversation, Commander Mike Gallagher.” She glanced at the approaching women. “I want to know why you’re here.”

“Are you free after this class?” he whispered.

“Yes.” Then she looked shocked as though she hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

“Good. When you’re done here, there’s a nice little Italian restaurant around the corner. I’m starved and I’m sure you’ve burned enough calories to eat, too. I’ll wait for you over here.” Without letting her disagree, he walked away and took an inordinate amount of time putting on his shoes. After the last woman left, Mike waited for her at the only door.

“I don’t date my students,” she announced as she stepped into the lobby.

“Good thing I’m not one of your students, and this is not a date.” He grinned, enjoying the light banter. “Think of it as a business meeting with food involved.”

She stopped on the sidewalk a few feet from the door. “Did someone find out more information that you need to pass along to me?”

“No.” Then he thought better about that answer. “Not that I’ve been told. But when it comes to this case, we are all mushrooms.”

Kam’s laugh was light and feminine, catching him completely off-guard.

“I haven’t heard that saying in years.” She smiled as though lost in a memory. “My dad used to—” She flicked her hand as though to brush away the thought.

He heard her inhale deeply and groan. “Donatello’s smells delicious. The only reason I’m going with you is because I do need to eat. I also need to go grocery shopping because I don’t have hardly anything in my refrigerator.”

Mike didn’t care why she was going with him, just that she was. He’d been impressed with the class and even though he’d ended up on his ass all too often, the fact she could put him there was reason enough to talk to her.
KaLyn Cooper. Summer Heatwave (Special Forces: Operation Alpha): Seasoned SEAL Series, 2 (Kindle Locations 637-696). Aces Press, LLC.

An interesting friendship develops between Kam and Mike as not only the investigation heats up again but also she begins the the paperwork and an example of the new training.

I love that Rocco, Gumby, Ace, Bubba, Rex, and Phantom are the first so we’ll be seeing more of them and boy I laughed at Phantom, almost as hard as I did Mike.

Lots of suspense, intrigue, some action and let’s just say Mike and Kam are explosive together. I think my kindle’s still intact…

5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!

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KaLyn Cooper KaLyn Cooper

KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense.

Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination.

She, her husband, and Little Bear (Alaskan Malamute) live in Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or on the river.


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Eat Your Heart Out: : A Romance Charity Anthology – Benefitting The Hunger Project Featuring New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors


Eat Your Heart Out

Featuring

Her Cucumber Lover by Gwyn McNamee & Christy Anderson
Her Squishy Shifters Moonlit Falls by Mia Harlan
Her Boiling Angels by TB Mann
Her Apple Pie CEO by Linzi Basset
Her Carrot Harem by Jade Waltz
Her Steamy Alphas by Lacey Carter Andersen
Her Banana Bears by Skye MacKinnon
Her Cherry Picker by K. R. Max
His Cabbage Tosser by Rachel A. Smith
His Bulging Baguette by Jessalyn Jameson
Her Celery Stalker by Liza Street
Her Juicy Lady by Arizona Tape
Her Pointy Alien by Margo Bond Collins
Her Salad Twins by Edeline Wrigh
Feeding Them Won’t Make Them Grow by Lia Davis & L.A. Boruff
Her Oily Wolf by Lorri Moulton & Anna-Violetta Carsini
Her Tomato Mate by Laura Greenwood
My Pumpkin Grocer by M.C. Cerny
Her Melon Masters by Erin Bedford

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They tell you not to play with your food…

Eat Your Heart Out, brought to you by New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors, a food inspired romance anthology with all the proceeds being donated to The Hunger Project.

Roll up your sleeves, grab your forks and knives, and feast on this eclectic collection of 20 fun short story romances. From paranormal, to sci-fi, to contemporary, there’s something tasty for everyone!

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There are far too many books here to review individually, but let me just say, every single one deserves 5 Contented Purrs!

Some of these were sizzling and most of them had me laughing out loud. There were some very creative uses for food in these stories. Growing them, cooking them, entering them in contests and playing with them. There are some that are part of an author’s existing series, some are standalone, some start new series. All are fun, romantic and enjoyable. I recommend not drinking anything while reading, hydrate during a break. Trust me snorting your drink really hurts the sinuses, and choking isn’t fun either.

Pick up this anthology, you won’t be sorry and you’ll be supporting a great cause!

The Hunger Project is a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. Their mission is to end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.

Find out more at thp.org

All proceeds of this anthology go to The Hunger Project and we’re proud to support this important cause.

Eton’s Escape – Bullard’s Battle Book 3 By Dale Mayer


BB 3 Etons-Escape

Eton’s Escape
Bullard’s Battle Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Eton journeys to Switzerland, unimpressed at finding Garret there as his backup. Barely recovered but pissed and mobile, Garret refuses to be kept out of service any longer. Eton’s intel leads them to a small village, to a woman in distress, and to someone who likes cleaning up a trail a little too much.

Living a quiet life with her aging father, Sammy is surprised by an offer of help when she gets an unexpected flat tire. Strangers in this area are not common, and neither are they well received. Still this stranger’s a can-do person, and she instinctively turns to him when she soon needs additional help.

Only to find he’s partly why she’s in trouble—and he’s got bigger troubles of his own. Now they both had to get out of this nightmare and somewhere safe and sound, … before it’s too late.

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The next clues in the every frustrating search for answers lead to Switzerland. Eton follows directions to a relatively remote Chalet and on the way stops to aid a young woman changing a flat tire. All he had to do was tighten the lug nuts on the spare she already had on. Although the encounter was innocent he sends the info to Cain to check out.

Arriving at the Chalet, Eton is pissed to find Garrett. The man has barely been out of the coma and he’s back in the field. Garrett is having none of it though and reiterates he can do the job and rest at the same time. Stubborn males! They need to set up to capture the location of the phone they’re tracking so they climb behind the chalet to the top of the hill that separates them from the village where the last signal originated.

They have an unexpected visitor while up there, Sammy apparently likes to run cross country at night to relax. She’s a local and doesn’t seem concerned about the darkness. She does give a bit more information about her tire and her father, which was a bit strange, but she seems to sense Eton and Garrett are okay. Although she does get a bit wary by the end of their conversation.

When the phone comes on line Eton heads to the village to try to pinpoint the location, finding condos in construction and a couple of houses with dogs. A start but no real info comes the next day when Eton goes to the village and speaks with the butcher and then Joe a grandfather working to save for his grandson’s surgery and aftercare.

Eton would like to know more and decides to invite Sammy for coffee, not only for information but because he likes her.

This is a favorite scene.

Her father opened a bottle of wine, and she brought out dinner. He was seated at the table, and, just as she was about to join him, her phone rang. She looked at it and frowned.

“You going to answer that?” her father asked, as he picked up the great big serving spoon and served himself a hefty scoop.

She smiled at the amount. That was a lot of food for somebody who supposedly wasn’t hungry. “I will,” she said. “I just don’t know the number.”

He peered over and said, “Oh, Private Caller, huh? A secret admirer?”

“I doubt it,” she said, and, when she went to answer it, nobody was there. She shrugged and said, “Must have been a wrong number.”

“Oh, he’ll call back,” her father said, with a wink. She smiled, and, when the phone did ring again, she planned to ignore it, until she saw Annie’s name. She answered it and put it on Speakerphone. “Hello, Annie. I’m here with Dad, having dinner. How are you?”

“I’m okay,” she said, but her voice was shaky.

“Something else happen?”

“Well, I was followed home from town today,” she said. “At least I think so. I’m starting to feel paranoid.”

“Well, sometimes it’s for a good reason,” she said. “We don’t want you to make light of something that’s important.”

“That’s not helping me much,” she said.

“No, it probably isn’t, and I’m sorry. I’m not sure what to say,” she said. “What kind of a vehicle was it?”

“It was a truck, like my ex’s.”

“But did you recognize him?”

“No,” she said. “I didn’t. That’s the thing. It was just a big truck. Anybody could have had been driving it.”

“Well, lots of people do have them,” she said. “We can’t go looking for boogeymen where there aren’t any.”

“But what if there are, and I didn’t see it coming?” she cried out.

“Are you home now?”

“Yes, my vehicle was taken by the garage, and new tires put on. They sent a courtesy car to pick me up when it was ready.”

“That was nice,” she said. “And now you are home again with good tires, right?”

“Yes, all good, except for the cost,” she said. “That was not cheap. It pisses me off. I don’t have that kind of money.”

“Not many people do,” she said, “so there’s lots of things to consider.”

“I know. Anyway I just thought I’d let you know I was home.” With that, her friend hung up.

Frowning, she looked at her father and shrugged. “You heard as much as I did, but I don’t know what to make of it.”

“Sounds like that husband of hers is getting to be a headache.”

“Possibly,” she said, “but we don’t know that for sure.”

“The trouble with this scenario,” her father said, “is you won’t know anything until it’s too damn late.”

She winced at that and said, “Well, let’s hope not.”

When her phone rang again, she looked at it and said, “It’s a Private Caller again.”

“Well, answer it,” he urged.

She glared at him. “The first call was nobody.”

“Doesn’t mean this one is,” he said. “You have to break out of your shell sometimes.”

“I’ve broken out of my shell,” she protested. He just rolled his eyes at her. She glared at him but answered the phone anyway. “Hello?”

“Sammy?”

The man’s voice made her sit up straight. “Yes. Is this Eton?”

“It is,” he said. “I just wanted to invite you out for coffee.”

She stared at her father, who by now almost danced in place. “How did you get my number?” she asked.

“It’s pretty easy to get from a directory. Remember the business I’m in?”

“I don’t think I want to,” she said. “It’s a little creepy.”

“Well, I figured it would be a long cold day before you’d give your number to me,” he said, chuckling. “Remember? I’m harmless.”

“Said the spider to the fly,” she finished quickly.

At that, her father gasped in outrage and shook his head at her.

“Coffee could be nice,” she said cautiously, “but why do I feel like there’s an ulterior motive involved?” Again her father stared at her in shock. He reached over and spanked her lightly on her arm. “Fine,” she said.

“Coffee at a little café in town, how is that?”

“When?” she asked, staring down at her dinner.

“Half an hour? How does that work for you?”

She thought about it, but her father was busy nodding his head. He leaned forward into the phone and said, “Perfect. She’ll be there.”

She gasped and quickly hung up the phone. “Seriously, Dad? Did you just do that?”

“You know I did,” he said. “That poor guy could wait in the rain until he died from a chill before you’d have answered.”

“I was getting around to it,” she said defensively. “I try to think before I speak, you know?”

“Well, now you don’t have to,” he replied. She just rolled her eyes him. He motioned at her dinner. “You better eat up because you’re just going for coffee. You might get a dessert down there, if they’ve been baking and didn’t sell out.” He frowned at her, thinking about that. “I haven’t had anything from there in a long time.”

“I can bring you back something, if you want,” she said, with a gentle smile, because her father did love his sweets. “But remember. There is also still cake.”

“Tea and cake,” he said, his gaze immediately scanning the kitchen, as if looking for the cake.

“Dad, you’re not getting cake until after dinner.”

“Right,” he said, looking down at his dinner. He picked up his fork and started shoveling it in, at a rate that was impossible to keep up. “You don’t have to rush,” she protested.

“Yes, I do, because you’re leaving soon,” he said, “and I don’t like to eat without company.”

Sometimes, nothing he said made any sense, but she just sat down and started eating her own plateful. By the time she was done, she looked at her dad and said, “I need to leave soon. I’ll put on the teakettle and cut you a piece of cake before I go, okay?”

“Of course,” he said, sitting back with a happy sigh. “That was excellent, as usual.”

“It is a taste that is hard to let go of, once you get it in your mouth, isn’t it?”

“Absolutely,” he said.

She got up, put on the teakettle for him, rinsed out the teapot, and set it up with the tea bags, then walked over and put out the cake. She cut about a half-inch slice, and he said, “Now, if you’ll make them small, you might as well cut me two.”

She looked at him and said, “Or maybe I’m bringing you something.”

He frowned at her and said, “I can have both.”

Such a childlike quality was to his voice that she had to laugh. “You sure can,” she said. “Besides, you did eat your dinner.”

“I did,” he said, with a happy smile.

She brought over a single piece of cake and said, “There is more over there, if you want it. I’ll put it away when I get home tonight.”

He nodded and said, “Be nice to him.”

“Be nice to who?”

“The new boyfriend,” he said, with a nod of satisfaction.

“I’m going for coffee, Dad,” she said. “That’s it.”

“That’s how they all start,” he said. “Not to worry. If you’re good and be quiet,” he said, “you’ll probably get there.”

“Dad, if I have to be quiet, I’m not interested,” she snapped. But he turned that big grin her way, and she realized that, once again, he’d been joking. Because of his illness, sometimes she didn’t know when he was and when he wasn’t, and, on a touchy topic like this, it was easy to take offense. She smiled. “You are trouble, mister.”

“You love me anyway,” he said comfortably.

“That I do.” She raced back, gave him a big hug and a kiss, and said, “I won’t be long.”

“You can be as long as you like,” he said. “I can’t believe you’re dating.” And he started to raise his hands in a mock cheer. At that, she turned and raced from the house. This was the last thing she wanted to put up with. Her father meant well. She just wasn’t into relationships if there wasn’t a spark. And she also wasn’t into relationships if there was only a spark. There had to be a whole lot more for her to want to go down that pathway. Especially now.
Dale Mayer. Eton’s Escape (Kindle Locations 885-957). Valley Publishing.

I really liked the way Sammy’s father intervened to get her to accept the coffee date. He’s a character, and he’s also dying which makes me sad for Sammy.

While having coffee, Joe calls him and this leads to a whole new can of worms.

Lots of suspense, action, surprises and a romance that just seems to happen in that slow simmer to sizzle I love.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Dale Mayer

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

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

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

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Worth Fighting For – Warrior Fight Club Book 2.5/Big Sky Crossover by Laura Kaye


Worth Fighting For
Warrior Fight Club 2.5
Big Sky Crossover
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Laura Kaye

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Getting in deep has never felt this good…

Commercial diving instructor Tara Hunter nearly lost everything in an accident that saw her medically discharged from the navy. With the help of the Warrior Fight Club, she’s fought hard to overcome her fears and get back in the water where she’s always felt most at home. At work, she’s tough, serious, and doesn’t tolerate distractions. Which is why finding her gorgeous one-night stand on her new dive team is such a problem.

Former navy deep-sea diver Jesse Anderson just can’t seem to stop making mistakes—the latest being the hot-as-hell night he’d spent with his new partner. This job is his second chance, and Jesse knows he shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. But spending every day with Tara’s smart mouth and sexy curves makes her so damn hard to resist.

Joining a wounded warrior MMA training program seems like the perfect way to blow off steam—until Jesse finds that Tara belongs too. Now they’re getting in deep and taking each other down day and night, and even though it breaks all the rules, their inescapable attraction might just be the only thing truly worth fighting for.

The Kristen Proby Crossover Collection features a new novel by Kristen Proby and six by some of her favorite writers:

Kristen Proby – Soaring with Fallon
Sawyer Bennett – Wicked Force
K.L. Grayson – Crazy Imperfect Love
Laura Kaye – Worth Fighting For
Monica Murphy – Nothing Without You
Rachel Van Dyken – All Stars Fall
Samantha Young – Hold On

Find Them Here!

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Tara Hunter couldn’t sleep, her first day back on the job was tomorrow and although it was nothing new she was nervous. Deciding on a bit of a walk and food even though it was late she went to Murphy’s her favorite bar and grill. Nachos will solve everything.

Jesse also couldn’t sleep for him tomorrow is first day on a new job, and he needed to chill. Tara begins a conversation with him which was a bit out of character for her. Then as they shared appetizers a friendship begins, that after another walk around this time together becomes a lot more.

The following day is one of my favorite scenes.

She smirked as she grabbed a frosted donut. “You sure you want to harass the diver responsible for rescuing your cowboy ass when you get in trouble?”

“I like to live dangerously,” he said with a wink as he passed her a truce in the form of a perfectly made cup of coffee.

“You’re forgiven,” she said as she accepted it and took a sip.

Boone gathered some files and sat with his breakfast at the far end of the conference table. “We’re just waiting on Jefferson and Anderson and then we’ll get started.”

“I’m here,” George Jefferson said as he walked into the room wearing a big smile. “Now the party can start.” A round of singing—of the theme song from The Jeffersons, naturally—greeted the man who assisted Mike on all things systems but, more importantly, served as their medical tech.

George shook his head at the lot of them as he dumped his duffle, put his coat around the back of the chair, and waited for them to finish, which didn’t take long since they only seemed to know the first few lines of lyrics. “After all this time, you’d think you people would’ve learned the words to that damn song.” Laughter filled the room, and a new chorus of sarcastic barbs got flung back and forth, the kind that revealed what good friends they all really were.

This was the kind of community Tara had enjoyed in the navy, and it meant a lot to her to find it here, too. Everyone was still catching up when she took her seat, but then she popped back up to snag a second donut because, after not sleeping, sugar was pretty much life.

As the others found their own seats, Mama D’s voice echoed from out in the hall. “And here’s where the team meets. Boone and the others will show you around from here,” she said as she stepped into the doorway.

A tall man with dark hair shook her hand. “Thank you, ma’am.”

Ooh, those good manners aren’t going to last long around here, Tara thought as she sipped at her coffee, eager to meet their newest teammate—and glad to not be the newbie this time.

And then the man turned around.

Jesse?

Jesse!

Coffee got stuck in Tara’s throat, because of course it did, and then she couldn’t stop coughing.

Which was when Jesse’s gaze swung from George and Mike, whose hands he’d just been shaking, to her. He blanched.

“You okay there, T?” Flannery asked.

“Yeah,” she said around a choking gasp. “Wrong hole.”

“That’s what she said!” at least three of her asshole teammates guffawed, sending everyone into hysterics. Everyone except for her and Jesse.

Jesse. Jesse Anderson. Apparently the new working diver on her team.

Heat roared over Tara’s face, which of course brought more teasing her way, but it was better that everyone thought her embarrassment was over the stupid softball teasing opportunity she’d tossed them than because she’d screwed their new teammate eight hours ago.

The coughing fit finally passed, but still her heart raced and her face burned and those two freaking donuts turned sour and heavy in her belly. How could this be happening?

How could this be happening?

She watched in not a little horror as he made his way around the table, shaking the men’s hands and getting closer to having to say…something…to her. Was he going to make it clear they knew each other? Did she want him to?

Naturally, her nerdy engineer’s brain began drawing up pro and con lists. On the side of acknowledging their familiarity was that it would be super hella awkward to have to pretend they were strangers, and it would also kinda suck to deny the connection they’d shared, when she felt like it’d been so thoroughly based on honesty and openness. And of all the things they’d talked about, how the heck hadn’t they covered their jobs?

It was a full-on head-desk moment.

But on the side of hello, stranger, you must be new around these parts was her gut-deep embarrassment at having slept with a co-worker and the other men maybe figuring that out.

Next to her now, Jesse was shaking Flannery’s hand, which meant it was her turn to try to act like a normal human being. Whatever that meant in this situation, she didn’t have a single clue. Especially when Jesse was so freaking hot. Like, you’d think her body would be in too great a state of panic to notice that. But nooooo. Of course not. Instead, it was like her blood and her skin were attuned to the man, with her scalp remembering the feel of his hand and her clit remembering the suction of his mouth and her core remembering the satisfying fullness of his cock.

Oh, Jesus, Tara, don’t think about his cock.

And naturally that was the moment he moved to stand in front of her. Tara stood to return his handshake. Their gazes collided as their fingers touched, and she thought she saw in his dark eyes the roiling ball of conflicting emotions she felt herself.

“Hey,” he said. And with just that one word in that familiar deep voice, she felt the memory of his arms around her waist and his chin settle on her head, the way it had last night. “Jesse Anderson. Nice to meet you.”

The words kinda hit her like a gut punch. Which was ridiculous when she’d just been debating pretending like she didn’t know him either. “Uh, hey, Jesse,” she managed. “Tara Hunter. Welcome to the team.”
Kaye, Laura. Worth Fighting For: A Warrior Fight Club/Big Sky Novella (Kristen Proby Crossover Collection Book 4). Kindle Locations (711-748). Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated. Kindle Edition.

Working together was not as difficult as Tara thought it would be at least not at first. Trying to not be more was difficult.

I loved this story as they both overcome some hurdles on the way to their happily ever after.

5 Contented Purrs for Laura!

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Laura Kaye

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series.

Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal.

She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.


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Alien Abduction for Experts – The Intergalactic Guide to Humans Book 3 by Skye MacKinnon


Alien Abduction for Experts
The Intergalactic Guide to Humans Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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My teacher is trying to kill me…

My mates and I are on the run while trying to figure out why our professor wants me dead. Not exactly the punishment I expected for botching an assignment.

To get our happy end on a luxury resort planet, we may have to do the one thing I don’t want my mates to do: abduct another alien.

When the abductee becomes the abductor, something is seriously wrong with the universe.

The third and final part of Trish and her mates’ story, a steamy reverse harem romance.

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Professor Katila has finally lost her mind. In the first pages of this book her boyfriends Hex and Hix break up with her in public where she can’t make a scene. Furious she plots revenge involving our favorite abductors and abductee.

The Jade is fending off a vicious attack when the professor shows up on the screen. The only way not to die in this situation is to agree to whatever she wants them to do. That being another abduction, this time of an alien.

Instead of just quietly accepting their fate, they start doing research on the professor to see why she wants Hix and Hex abducted. When they try to report her to the university they response from Katila is swift and hurtful.

With no choice left they fix the damage done to the Jade and proceed to the home planets of their targets. Finding them was easier than expected and the abduction goes without a hitch. Once Hix and Hex regain consciousness they tell their story of the relationship and their plans should Katila retaliate as she has.

This is a favorite scene.

“There’s no way we’re going to return you to her,” Tricia said with determination. She stared at me, as if expecting me to protest, but I had already come to the same conclusion. Handing them over to that crazed female was as bad as abusing them ourselves.

“That’s very kind of you, human,” Hex said and shot her a warm look. “But we always knew this moment would come. We’ve been waiting for it. And we’ve not been sitting around idle while back on our home planet. We came up with a plan long ago. Now we just need your help to put it into action.”

“What plan?” I asked, reminding them that I was the one they had to convince.  

“What matters most to Kat – besides her offspring fantasy – is her work.   Without it, she’s nothing. No influence, no power, no purpose. So, we’re going to take it all away from her.”

“We already tried reporting her to the IGU authorities. In return, she destroyed our brain slugs, making us unable to communicate with our mate for a while,” I said, my heart sinking at how useless their plan was. I’d expected something more from these two clearly intelligent academics. They’d had time to come up with a really good plan and all they had was the idea to destroy Katila’s klatting reputation? Bah.

“We have evidence,” Hix grinned slyly. “We’ve got enough to get her in front of a tribunal. Maybe even a criminal trial, if we send this to the right people. She’s bent a lot of rules over the years. Ignored student welfare. Even endangered her students.”

“You could say that” Matar interrupted. “She klatting shot at us.”

Hex nodded, which looked a little weird considering that Hix’s head stayed in the same position. “We can add your recordings of that to our files. That will make it even more damning. The juiciest bit however is that we were her students when she first started having sexual relations with us. Of course, we were willing and over age, but the IGU strictly forbids relationships between staff and students. Add to that the fact that she handcuffed us to a bed, robbing us of our freedom, plus threatening to physically harm us… it’s not looking good for her. Especially because we filmed it all.”

Trish gasped. “You’ve got it on camera?”

The torso-brothers grinned. “We knew she was going to cross a line,” Hix explained. “So, we installed a hidden camera in our bedroom. To be honest, we’d assumed she’d try and do worse than just handcuff us. Still, it was a good decision. We recorded some of her craziest outbursts, ready to be sent to Professor Z, the IGU headmaster. Once he sees that, she’ll be without a job.”

I shook my head. “That doesn’t sound like a good plan to me at all. So what, she’ll be out of work. What will stop her from coming after us, after you? I bet she had a good salary and has saved enough to pay for some space pirates to attack the Jade.”

Hex wasn’t dismayed by my scepticism. “There’s a paragraph in the IGU contract which states that whoever will fall foul of the University’s rules and regulations forfeits any salary paid to them in the past, as well as assigned accommodation. Her bank account will be empty. She won’t have the means to take revenge. She’ll be powerless.”

“I say we kill her,” Matar muttered. I was tempted to agree with him, as tasteless as that option was. Neither of us were murderers, but we’d do whatever we had to in order to keep our mate safe. Trish was our priority.

Hix and Hex looked shocked at the idea. “We loved her, once,” Hix said, putting a lot of emphasis on the l-word. “She did horrible things, but we could never kill her. That’s not our way.”  

“No killing,” Trish confirmed.  

“No killing,” I repeated as the responsible, dutiful Captain I was. “But let’s not make it too easy on her. We need to thoroughly destroy her until she regrets all she’s done.”

“I want her to beg us to take her in,” Hix said darkly. “I want her to repent and apologise.”

Trish laughed. “I can’t see her apologising for anything. She’s not that kind of person.”

“You’re right,” Hex confirmed. “It will be a new learning experience for her. Apologising 101.”
Skye MacKinnon. Alien Abduction for Experts: The Intergalactic Guide to Humans #3 (Kindle Locations 686-720). Peryton Press.

I really loved meeting the head of the university as well as seeing all the events leading to the fall of the professor. Finally Trish and her mates get their revenge and their honeymoon.

This book is fun, action-filled, and kindle melting. I can’t wait to see what Skye has in store for us next.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

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

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

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

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Wicked Gods: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance – Gifted Academy Book 1 by Michelle Hercules


Wicked Gods: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance
Gifted Academy Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Michele Hercules

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Nowhere is safe when the gods are wicked.

Since the beginning of times, there have always been two sides: Norms and Idols.

But never have the scales been so unbalanced as they are today.

I’m a Norm, which means, I grew up in fear of the Idols and their godly powers.

And now, I’m going to be surrounded by them, day and night. I’ve been offered a place at the prestigious Gifted Academy, an opportunity very few Norms get.

To survive, I must become invisible. But my hope to get through the academy unscathed goes down the drain when the most powerful boys in school set their eyes on me.

They hate me simply because I’m a Norm. If they knew who I truly am, they’d tear me apart limb by limb. But I’m done cowering away from Idols. It’s time for the Norms to fight back, and it all starts with me.

NOTE:
This story contains dark themes that may be triggering to some readers.

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Once again a friend recommended a book that has me binge reading a series. This one is complete so a binge read is in order.

Daisy has been taking care of her sister Rose since they fled the night their parents were killed by Idols. She’s been working at Poppy’s Joint a diner in the Norm area of the city. She was looking forward to some good tips since her sister’s broken arm had put them behind in the rent. Instead of lots of tips from the busy crowd, she ends up with a table of teenaged Idols, rich boys intent on causing havoc.

An accidental pie in the face causes an uproar, customers and waitresses Daisy and her friend Felicity flee. Daisy can’t go home without the rent, so she stays with Felicity but she has a plan that includes sneaking out. She’s going to try to get a job at Unearthly Desires, a strip club. It’s the only way to come up with the money she needs.

What happens next is truly surprising as instead of actually finishing her time on stage she ends up pulled and offered a scholarship to the elite Gifted Academy. The school is exclusive and attended by high ranking Idols and Fringes.

With the added perk of an allowance Daisy joins the ranks, intending on keeping a low profile. She’s also assigned a guide Toby, introduced as a low level Fringe. Unfortunately Daisy seems to be a trouble magnet with her snark.

This is a favorite scene.

Toby stops suddenly and cocks his head. “Are you familiar with the classification of Fringes and Idols?”

I know them inside out, but very few Norms do. All they care to know is to stay away from Idols and mistrust Fringes. My knowledge comes from Dad’s diary, so I can’t tell Toby the truth.

“I know a little.”

“Right. So basically all Fringes and Idols have demigod blood running through their veins, but the lineage is stronger for Idols; therefore, they’re more powerful. The closer they are to their demigod forefathers, the stronger they are.”

“So, what’s the strongest level for Idols?” I ask.

Dad’s diary said the strongest level of power recorded was eighteen, but he wasn’t sure if the Idol was truly an Idol or actually a demigod. He said the most powerful Idols were usually in the fourteen range.

“The Idol history books say eighteen, but no one has ever seen an Idol that powerful. So I’d say for sure seventeen.”

“Really? I don’t think I’ve ever come across an Idol stronger than the fourteen range.” That’s what I peg Rufio and his friends to be, at least.

Toby drops his half-eaten sandwich on the food tray and gives me a droll stare. “What are you talking about? Of course you have.”

“Who?” My stomach clenches painfully. I can guess who he’s going to say.

“The Magnificent Four.”

“Huh?”

“Rufio, Morpheus, Phoenix, and Bryce. Man, I think I’ve been too focused on showing you the ins and outs of the school. What you need is a lecture on Idol hierarchy. Rufio, Morpheus, and Phoenix are all level fifteen and the kings of school.”

Crap on toast.

“What about Bryce?”

“Oh, he’s in a league of his own. He’s a fucking seventeen.”

My jaw drops to the floor. I can’t believe I went to complain about noise to such a powerful Idol. He could’ve obliterated me with a snap of his fingers. Lucky me that he didn’t. But still, I’m on the shit list of not only the most powerful Idols in school, but the most powerful Idols ever. Damn, why do I have to be such an overachiever?

Toby’s gaze travels past my shoulder. “Ah, fuck. Here comes Dreadzilla and her posse.”

“Who?” I turn.

A tall redhead is marching in our direction. She’s flanked by two other girls, including the one I almost came to blows with yesterday. Great.

“Her name is Drusilla Dharma. Nasty to the bone. She’s a level twelve Idol. The blonde to her left, the one you pissed off already, is Cherise Blake, a level nine Fringe. And the other chick is Renata Pomme, a level ten Idol. You can ignore her; she’s too stupid to be an issue.”

The three girls stop right in front of our table, all full of smirks and attitude.

“So, you’re the new bitch Norm.” Drusilla gives me a once-over. “I’m kind of disappointed. I thought you’d be more… menacing-looking.”

Queen bee cuts a chastising glance in Cherise’s direction. The girl flinches.

“Do you want anything?” I ask.

“Oh yeah, now that you mention it, I do want something.” She leans forward, bringing her mouth close to my ear. “I want you to pack your measly belongings and get your skank Norm ass out of my school.”

She straightens up with a big plastic smile on her face.

“Seriously?” I scoff. “You guys have nothing better to do than threaten me? How miserable are your lives?”

“Our lives are not miserable,” Renata replies indignantly.

With a huff and a glower, Drusilla turns to her friend. “What did I tell you, Renata? No talking unless I tell you to do so.”

The brunette shrinks in on herself, keeping her gaze downcast.

Who needs enemies when you have friends like Dreadzilla?

I glance at Toby, who’s visibly tense.

Long and sharp nails dig into my skin when Drusilla grabs me by the chin and forces me to look at her. “Leave Gifted Academy, or we’ll make your life hell.”

My blood reaches boiling temperature. I yank her hand off me and stand up. “Don’t fucking touch me.”

Drusilla’s green eyes widen, but the gesture only lasts a second before her gaze narrows to slits.

“Kneel,” she says, only her voice sounds different, almost as if several people are speaking through her.

My knees buckle under me. I fight the compulsion as hard as I can but end up stooping in front of the bitch anyway.

“Drusilla, cut it out.” Toby forgets his lunch and stands.

Shit. I don’t want him to get in trouble with these girls because of me.

“Shut up, Fringe, or you’re next,” Drusilla snaps.

“Let me go,” I say through clenched teeth.

She laughs and her minions follow suit. “I think not. I like seeing dirty whores where they belong.”

I’m shaking and sweating, but no matter how hard I try to break free from the Idol’s power, I can’t.

“What’s going on here?” a masculine voice asks from behind the mean girls.

They turn, allowing me to see who’s standing there in all his cruel beauty. Rufio. Fuck. The last thing I wanted was for him to witness my humiliation. Even so, my stomach begins to spiral out of control and a strange feeling hits my chest, taking my head for a spin. He’s hateful, so my reaction to seeing him is nothing but idiotic.

In my defense, now that he’s not leveling me with a murderous stare, I can really pay attention to his looks. His hair is dark with long bangs that are styled in a messy way. His cheekbones are high, and his lips are full—and very kissable. Damn it. Why does he have to be so attractive? His friends are all too good-looking as well. It must be their closeness to the gods. No wonder they’re called the Magnificent Four. It’s almost as if their godly beauty is an attempt to hide their ugly hearts.

Rufio’s tie is loose around his neck, and the top buttons of his shirt are undone, which just adds a devil-may-care vibe to his image. As if he needs extra sexy points.

“Oh, Rufio. I’m just putting the Norm in her place,” Drusilla replies. Her tone has grown sweeter to the point that it might give me a toothache.

“Let her go,” he replies, hard and cold. It leaves no room for argument.

The compulsion keeping me on my knees evaporates. I quickly jump back to my feet and wipe the dirt from my legs, but my tension has doubled. Rufio’s presence here is even more reason for concern.

Against my will, shakes rack my body as I wait for the Idol who wishes me dead to strike. I didn’t buy his kindness during math class for one second.

Drusilla sashays toward Rufio, stopping only when she’s in front of him, invading his personal space.

“I haven’t seen you around lately.” She places a manicured hand on his chest.

Rufio drops his gaze to Drusilla’s face. Then, with a tsking sound, he pushes her off him and walks around her toward me.

“Are you okay?” he asks as if he’s truly concerned. There’s nothing in his tone or expression that shows his duplicity. Even so, I’m wary. He may have an excellent poker face, but I know he can’t be trusted.

“Yes, I’m fine.” I turn to my tray. I was only able to eat half my lunch before Drusilla showed up, but I’m no longer hungry.

“Why are you asking if the Norm is okay? I don’t get it,” Drusilla’s friend asks, the one who Toby said wasn’t very bright. I’m beginning to agree with his assessment.

Instead of answering her, Rufio simply looks over his shoulder and focuses on the ring leader. “You are to leave Daisy alone.”

Drusilla’s eyebrows rise. “Uh, what?”

“You heard me. Now move along.”
Hercules, Michelle. Wicked Gods: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance (Gifted Academy Book 1). Kindle Locations (1327-1394). Infinite Sky Publishing. Kindle Edition.

The same boys who caused the trouble in Poppy’s Joint attend this school and in an awkward twist of fate, her room is next door to them.

Bryce seems to be more friendly than the others, and offers a compromise when she asks for music to be turned down, noise cancelling headphones for the win. The other guys seem to be intent on causing her all kinds of headaches and embarrassments.

Most of the Idols pretty much want her gone, but Drusilla and her crew, Renata and Cherise are really over the top with that.

There’s a lot going on with the guys as well as we get glimpses of their pasts. Of course Principal Fallon is Bryce and Rufio’s mother so that’s a real interesting situation.

There also appears to be several different factions of Idols. Those who want to take over, those who want a peaceful existance and the Knights who try to thwart the evil being done by the takeover guys.

I loved this book, with all the twists and turns on top of the guys starting to protect Daisy. There’s definitely the start of a relationship there, especially with Bryce.

There’s a cliffhanger, OMG ending which is why I’m very glad I can just jump into the next book.

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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