When a Duke Loves a Governess – Unlikely Duchesses Book 3 by Olivia Drake


When a Duke Loves a Governess
Unlikely Duchesses Book 3
By
Olivia Drake

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Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?

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There is gossip aplenty in the millinery shop where Tessa James works. Today’s is about the new Duke of Carlin. Apparently his daughter is a terror and has chased away several nannies, the most recent left just this morning and had lasted only four days. As Tessa is listening to the conversation she gets an idea. She’s been trying to locate her father, the only clue she has is a gold pendant engraved with a coat of arms. Her mother gave her the pendant as she was dying and she never removes it. If she could get the position of governess she would make more money and put her goal of owning her own shop closer to reality. She would also have a better chance of finding out who the coat of arms belongs to.

Her boss Madame Blanchet startles her out of her musings and she pricks her finger. Unknowingly getting a tiny spot of blood on the brim. When Madame spots it, she immediately says Tessa will forfeit her wages to pay for it. For Tessa that was the last straw and she quits.

We meet her friend Orrin who works for the newspaper as a typesetter, as he catches her packing up. She has a plan and she hopes everything falls into place. Being the governess to Lady Sophy is her goal.

Guy Whitby never expected to become the Duke of Carlin, his father was not the heir, his uncle was. There were a series of unfortunate occurrences that led to him holding this position. His Uncle Sebastian and his son Charles died when their yacht capsized in the Isle of Wight. Following that, his father came down with a deadly stomach ailment and now Guy’s grandfather died of a heart attack, leaving him all the responsibilities of the Dukedom. His Aunt Delia, Lady Victor her son Edgar and her companion Avis Knightly also reside in his home. Providing a stream of visitors he really doesn’t care about. He didn’t have the heart to tell her he has no intention of marrying again.

Guy’s daughter Sophy is in desperate need of discipline and he was having a great deal of difficulty administering it. The guilt of having left her for so long with her grandparents a burden he feels he needs to compensate for. When Tessa arrives he is desperate for someone to take her in hand. He doesn’t like that she is young but finally agrees to a trial week.

From the start Lady Sophy puts Tessa through her paces, with tantrums and trying behavior at bath time as well as throwing bedclothes to the floor at bedtime. An exhausted Tessa doesn’t get to find paper to forge a letter of reference falling asleep instead. She almost loses her position but manages to convince the duke she’s the best choice as she can give Sophy the transition she needs.

The first hint of attraction between Tessa and Guy comes after Sophy throws a rock through a conservatory window, that act of destruction also comes with a revelation into why Sophy appears to hate her father.

Some flirting as Tessa is caught eyeing him and he realizes just how beautiful she is. Now things are going to get interesting. Tessa encourages the duke to explain the origins of the plants and birds. Combining a sort of biology and geography lesson. We are introduced to Jiggs here as well, he’s the duke’s valet as well as a jack of all trades.

There’s just so much going on even in the background. We have some interesting characters there. Lady Victor is petrified something will happen to her son Edgar now that he’s the Duke’s heir. Her companion Avis Knightly becomes a friend to Tessa. It’s from Avis that Tessa learns a more of what Lady Victor calls the Carlin Curse and also that there are books on English Heraldry.

This is a cleverly written tale, with many twists and turns revolving around Guy and Tessa. There’s mystery, laughter, tears and so many surprises. I couldn’t put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Olivia!

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Olivia Drake

Shortly after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Olivia Drake sold her first novel two weeks after sending it to a publisher. She now lives in Texas in a cozy cottage with a feisty cat, a loving husband, and two wonderful daughters who still come back whenever they want a home-cooked meal.

Many of you already know Olivia as Barbara Dawson Smith, author of 24 historical romance novels. She is a New York Times bestseller and winner of numerous honors, including the Golden Heart Award and the coveted Rita Award for excellence in the historical romance genre.

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A Slice of Summer – Silver Falls Book 2 by Melissa McClone


A Slice of Summer
Silver Falls Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone

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Taryn Lawson needs more customers in her bakery to prove she’s capable of taking over the family business. The summer fair is the perfect opportunity to jump-start her vision with a specialized booth showcasing her creative desserts. Despite her fierce work ethic, she needs help to build her booth in time. Unfortunately, the only person available is the handsome attorney who played with her heart last Christmas.

Trial attorney Garrett Andrews regrets not contacting the pretty baker he dated during his last holiday vacation. But he had his reasons and is finally ready to make amends. When he returns to town for his sister’s wedding, Garrett gets his second chance when Taryn needs help building her booth.

Working together reignites the spark, but Taryn is aware the clock is ticking. Will they realize what they have is special before it’s too late, or will their second chance at love once again slip through their fingers?

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Taryn Lawson planned ahead for her summer fair booth. Everything just needed to be put together or so she thought. Only when she goes to get everything out, it’s all moldy, wet, warped all ruined. To top it off, someone she really doesn’t want to see shows up acting like he just left yesterday, instead of six months ago then ghosting her.

Garrett didn’t mean to ghost Taryn but circumstances kept him from contacting her. Then it just seemed awkward. he needs to get back into Taryn’s good graces at the very least, since they will both be at his sister’s wedding. After Taryn refuses to send out a cookie for him when his family comes for desert on the patio, Callie convinces him has to do something to smooth things over.

This is a favorite scene.

The office door opened.

Taryn didn’t look over her shoulder. “I’ll be out in a minute, Jayden.” “It’s not Jayden.” Garrett’s voice slithered along her spine. Chills followed. Her hands balled into fists.

What’s he doing here?

“Are you okay?” Concern sounded in his voice.

All she wanted was for him to leave. “I’m fine.”

Not a lie. She would be— eventually.

“Can we talk?” he asked.

“Now isn’t a good time.” She kept her voice steady, even though her insides twisted worse than a silicone fondant rope mold.

“There probably won’t be one.”

She would give him that, but that didn’t mean she had to speak with him.

Callie called Garrett the egotistical attorney, but the doggy daycare owner was proud of her second oldest brother. Taryn had never seen the cocky side of him but hearing him describe his work showed his stubborn streak. He fought relentlessly for his client’s innocence. If Garrett wanted to talk to her, he would keep returning until she agreed.

“If not for me,” he added. “For Callie.”

Guilt coated Taryn’s mouth like icky-tasting cold medicine. She hadn’t considered her friend, who was already stressed about the upcoming wedding. Callie didn’t need anyone else adding to that.

Taryn swiveled in her chair to face him. “Talk.”

“I owe you an apology.” His voice was gruff, and Garrett cleared his throat. “I said I’d call, but I received death threats.”

Six months after ghosting her, this was what he’d come up with. She scoffed. “Sure you did.”

His nostrils flared. “Why would I lie?”

She shrugged. “I’m guessing Callie asked you to talk to me. Death threats sound like a convenient, albeit out-there excuse, even for a lawyer from L.A.”

Garrett blew out a breath. He removed his cell phone from his pocket, tapped on the screen, and held the phone toward her.

A sharp, loud sound made her cringe. Two more quickly followed.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“Gunshots left on my voicemail the day I returned from Silver Falls. A creepy letter arrived at my office the next day. That evening, I came home to a message on my bathroom mirror written in blood. Someone slipped past the doorman and lobby security and broke into my condo.” His nostrils flared again. “Not an excuse.”

“I…” She didn’t know what to say. “This kind of stuff happens on TV.”

“And in real life. At least in mine.” He didn’t miss a beat. “I went dark. That was the only way to keep myself and those close to me safe until the police found who threatened me.”

That was the last thing Taryn expected to hear. “Thanks for thinking of my safety.”

“I should have told you what was going on.”

She would give him the benefit of the doubt. “You had other things on your mind. It must have been scary.”

“It was difficult.” His words came out slow as if he had to force each one. He hadn’t spoken like that in December. “I wouldn’t call threats an occupational hazard as a trial attorney, but this guy didn’t threaten only me. I didn’t want anyone… hurt because of me.”

“Especially your family.”

He nodded once.

“Is everything okay now?” she asked.

“The police arrested him. He was sloppy. Left so many trails of evidence it made the case a slam dunk. But once everything was resolved, so much time had passed. It would have been strange, awkward, to call you then. I’m sorry.”

His apology sounded sincere, and the situation must have been frightening. At least he was safe. His family, too. Though she might have erased the message with the gunshots, not carry it around like evidence or a badge of honor.

Still, holding a grudge made no sense. Other than at Callie and Brandt’s wedding, they wouldn’t see each other. “Apology accepted.”

“Thank you.” Garrett rubbed his neck. “I never meant to lead you on. I thought we agreed about not being interested in a relationship. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong idea about us.”

Oh, no. Taryn needed this to stop before it went any further. “I agreed with you and feel the same as I did then, but I didn’t appreciate being ghosted with what’s been going on in my life. I wasn’t in love with you or heartbroken. We had fun, but we barely knew each other. I was upset over being dismissed so easily.”

“Oh.” Garrett shifted his weight between his feet.

Her mouth was so dry it was as if she’d forgotten to add eggs to a cake mixture. “Anything else?”

His features relaxed. So did his posture. “No.”

“Enjoy dessert with your family.”

He opened his mouth before closing it.

“What?” she asked.

“Nothing.” He rocked back on his heels. “I’ll see you around.”

Not if Taryn could help it.
Melissa McClone. A Slice of Summer (Kindle Locations 596-639). The Tule Publishing Group, LLC.

Of course he messes that apology up after it’s accepted. At least they both knew where they stood now, or do they…

He learns about her problem with the booth while helping Margot chose desserts at the bakery for Callie’s rehearsal dinner. Since he does have some construction experience he has to offer to help.

The booth isn’t the only thing that’s going wrong for Taryn’s bakery and she’s afraid that her father would sell if she can’t turn a profit. The new bakery in Summit was not only undercutting her price wise but also somehow offering the same new items she’s been coming up with.

Lots of joy with the wedding coming, some suspense with the bakery and an unpleasant surprise with the booth.

The attraction between her and Garrett once again sparks but will it be enough this time around?

I love the way this story unfolds, and the slow simmer to the relationship.

I can’t wait to see what comes next for Silver Falls.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!

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Melissa McClone

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

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

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

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

Queen Crow – Queen Crow Book 3 by J. Bree


Queen Crow
Queen Crow Book 3
By
J. Bree

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It was never supposed to be like this.

My darkest secret has just been sent to the one person I was desperate to hide it from and now it’s too late to take it back. The damage has been done.

With Atticus’ life in the balance and three new members about to be sworn in to the Twelve, the stakes have never been higher. Having my family back should be the greatest blessing but instead, it’s just made things more complicated.

We’re building a new empire in the Bay, one that is stronger than any that came before it.

Loyalties are being tested and reputations forged on the streets of the country’s most notorious city.

But one thing is for sure.

We might not all make it through, but so begins my reign.

The prologue of this book is from Atticus’ point of view when Avery finds out he’s the Crow. A reminder that he was once ready to kill the Wolf.

Then we’re back right where we left of with Ash storming into the Crow’s mansion and heading directly for Aodhan. It’s Lips who puts a stop to that madness, but then Luca shows up and it’s on again. Mind you they don’t know about Atticus yet. The entrance of Noah was perfectly timed and from that first interaction I just knew this one is gonna be trouble.

Avery really needed Lips to be home that is very apparent in the aftermath of that evening when they are alone for a bit.

I really loved the way Jack’s funeral was handled, the right amount of sadness and of course the very real description of an Irish wake.

This is a favorite scene after they have mostly recovered from the wake and get down to business.

Finally, Lips speaks, “Okay. I have some solid ideas. Aves, do you want my help here or am I just subbing into your plans?”

Aodhan jerks around to give her a look as I giggle, my voice still wrecked from the moonshine and Irish wake. “No, Lips, I need your help. You already know what I have ready, if there’s anything you can add here then please do.”

She turns back to the wall and says, “I have some leads in mind. I have a few for that cunt Amanda and there’s some people we can leverage for the Crawford situation. Atticus always did focus on a very different brand of information than Illi and I do, but there’s some crossover I can take advantage of. Let’s go with the shit we can take care of without Illi for now, leave him with Odie and Johnny for as long as we can before we have him back on the streets.”

I agree wholeheartedly with that plan. Honestly, if I thought we could retire him altogether so he was at home with them forever, that would be the plan, but he was born here, the Bay is in his blood, and there’s no walking away from that.

Lips has tried enough that I know that for sure.

Aodhan rubs at the shadow of a beard on his face, he clearly rolled straight out of bed and came looking for us without a shower and shave, and says, “Just tell me what you need and I’ll do it. I’m sick of chasing our asses with this.”

Harley nods approvingly, his eyes on his little Mounty. “What are you seeing up there that we’re missing, babe? What does the Wolf see that the Butcher can’t?”

She shrugs and points at Amanda. “I see a daughter. Cartel don’t usually spare much time for grown daughters unless they’re selling them off. Women don’t matter, not unless they’re wives, mothers, or grandmothers. They have to contribute first, give some part of themselves away before they have a chance to have a voice. What has Amanda given away?”

I scoff. “She’s given herself away a million times over. She probably bartered with information to get out of a marriage.”

Lips shrugs. “Doesn’t matter. Her father is where we go for her. We get everything we can on him and then we go to him. Once she’s dealt with, we take out the Crawfords. Randy, then Holden. Fathers can be very fucking tricky if they lose their heirs.”

We share a look and I nod. That’s a reasonable enough plan. Aodhan looks between us and then shakes his head with a grin. “I have no doubt you’re going to get this sorted out, but you’re giving me nothing to go on here. Dig up some information and that’ll do it? Sounds too easy and easy never wins out.”

Lips grins back at him, then turns back to the wall. “Oh, I plan on killing a lot of people in this plan. As many as I can, really. I need to remind everyone what I can do if you threaten my family—it’s been too long.”

Harley scoffs at her. “It hasn’t been that long.”

I lean into Aodhan a little more, finding comfort in the firm planes of his chest. He also smells amazing, not at all like the moonshine or the smoke from the bonfire that had been lit at some point.

When we hear the others waking up and banging around up in the kitchen, we finally head back up so I can cook something greasy to soak up some of the hangovers. Lips grabs my hand and points out Lauren’s photo to me. “We start with her. We might need Illi for that one though, he’s more recognizable than I am. Or maybe we can borrow Harbin for the night.” I nod, happy to let her make some decisions for a day or two without much input. Whatever she has, I’m happy to give it a fair go.

Ash is savage but less grumpy than before, kissing Lips and dragging her over to sit in his lap at the breakfast bar. Aodhan helps me to pull out pots and pans, then ends up in an argument with Harley about muscle cars that I couldn’t care less about.

Morrison slumps into one of the other stools and groans dramatically, only looking alive when Lips runs a hand through his hair and murmurs gentle words at him like he’s terminal, not just hungover. It’s loud and messy and everything I’ve ever wanted for us all.

It doesn’t matter how packed my murder board downstairs is, it feels like home again. If Atticus were here too, I would be the happiest I’ve ever been.

When Noah arrives in the doorway wearing one of my robes, he snaps, “Is someone dead or are we standing around in here screaming for no fucking reason?”

Ash swings around to throw an icy glare at him. “That could be arranged.”

We still have a little ways to go before it’s a peaceful family environment, but when I shove a plate of bacon at Noah, he takes it with a mumbled ‘thanks’ and heads to the dining room without another word.
Bree, J. Queen Crow: Queen Crow #3. Kindle Locations (742-774). Kindle Edition.

There’s a lot that needs to be dealt with and no one is backing off.

The game continues to it’s conclusion and Lucy gives the Wolf a surprise gift, her reason for it is startling.

So many twists and turns as we wait for Avery to get everything she wants and needs.

Of course there’s one little problem that is mentioned at the end of the book and now I’m even more impatient for the next book with all these awesome characters.

5 Contented Purrs for J!

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J. Bree

J Bree is a dreamer, writer, mother, farmer, and cat-wrangler.

The order of priorities changes daily. She lives on a small farm in a tiny rural town in Australia that no one has ever heard of.

She spends her days dreaming about all of her book boyfriends, listening to her partner moan about how the wine grapes are growing, and being a snack bitch to her two kids.

If you want to hear more about all things Mounts Bay then join my readers group! There’s a lot of creative ways to dispose of a body in the Bay so come join the fun.

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Redheaded Redemption – Redheads Book 2 by Rebecca Royce


Redheaded Redemption
Redheads Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Rebecca Royce

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I’ve never been thrown out of anywhere in my entire life. Most people ask me to come inside and promote their businesses. Beg me, even. But when Max Broadley has me publicly ousted from his 5 star, hippest place in NYC eateries, I have to find out why. It’s not the kind of thing I’m just going to let go and move on from.

But it isn’t just that Max didn’t want me eating there, he legitimately hates me and what’s worse is it seems he has every right to feel that way. Even if I can’t remember the night where I ruined his life. What’s certain is that I’ll never forget him now. His dark hair, his grey eyes. The way he makes every other man I’ve ever met seem to disappear from my memory…

I have to make it right between us, somehow, and I won’t stop until I’ve managed to do so. Some day, Max will forgive me. Oh, and I’ll also somehow manage not to get killed by the cartel that wants to hurt my family, thanks to my father’s illegal business dealings, while I also rescue a child who’s been kidnapped on the other side of the world–although it’s way outside my wheelhouse.

No big deal. Somehow I’ll do all of those things. I suppose no one ever said that redemption would be easy.

NOTE:
This is the second book in a series but can be read as a stand alone. It has a Happily Ever After . There is no cliff-hanger. It is an Age-Gap Contemporary Romance, Enemies to Lovers story with a slight edge of Suspense.

This book opens as Hope’s heading to meet her best friend Kylie for dinner. She’s looking at photos Layla sent her of her nephew Noah. Both she and Bridget were there when he was born although she wasn’t sure how Layla’s husband Zeke felt about that whole thing. They are triplets and well they are a package deal in some respects.

Now Hyperion, the restaurant she’s headed to, is being touted not only for the food but also the Chef, Max Broadley. Kylie had made the reservations and they were seated promptly. Both she and Kylie are shocked when the maître d’ addresses Hope by name and requests that she leave. That request is reiterated by the chef himself.

Hope has no idea what she’d done but when she goes looking she’s more than a little dismayed.

Now she’s on a quest to make amends for the horrible thing she did, starting by getting his peaches out of customs and to the restaurant on time.

Max lost his first restaurant Hayley’s because of a video of Hope where she blames her state on it’s trashy food.

The second thing she does is convince a client to have her fundraiser as a luncheon at Hyperion. It’s while sorting this out that Hope and Max start to get to know each other.

That fundraiser is the precursor to something major and I’m not saying another word.

Full of action, romance, surprises and sizzling heat, don’t miss this awesome read.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!

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Rebecca Royce Rebecca Royce

As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.

I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend. I live in Austin Texas where I am determined to eat all the barbecue in town.

I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing. I’ve been told I’m a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers!!


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Lethal Echo – The Arsenal Book 8 by Cara Carnes


Lethal Echo
The Arsenal Book 8
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Cara Carnes

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She’s spent her life on the periphery of humanity.

Bree Geissenger lives by one mantra: You’re only as good as your latest creation. Tucked away in laboratories, always wanted for her brains, she’s been safe. Unseen. But the new life she has at The Arsenal has upended her carefully constructed world. Unable to cope with the threats against her friends, she fractured. Determined not to be the weakest link, she fled the safety of The Arsenal compound to heal. Regroup. Hunt.

Those she loves will no longer be prey. She’ll ferret out everyone who’s a threat to those she loves, no matter the cost. There’s no sacrifice too great in war. A smart soldier doesn’t work alone, though, which means she must work with the operative she wants more than anything.

He ran from a past he’s swore to never delve into.

Ramon Zapata escaped the underground, clandestine world his parents deemed his birthright. Military life honed him into the weapon he swore to never become and gave him the only true family he’s ever known. Life at The Arsenal was everything he’d wanted, including the brilliant, beautiful scientist who blew his world wide open. To save his new family and the woman he loves, he must reconcile his past and work with the black ops organization who spent years hunting him like an animal.

Failure isn’t an option.
Never quit.
Never surrender.

NOTE: While this book can be read as a standalone, there are numerous plot threads that continue from previous books. Reading in order will provide a better reading experience.

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This book opens where the last one ends, and quite frankly if you haven’t read this series I suggest you go start at the beginning. You’ll get so much more out of every book.

Bree has been away from the Arsenal for a couple of weeks, she’s working through her issues and guilt, but still doing sessions with Sinclair and talking to Jesse as well. Her brother Lars informs her the alarms she set up were going off. She’d her phone on silent and had a bunch of missed calls from Zoey. Zoey lets her know their friendlies, ‘The Triple Threat’ is coming to retrieve her.

I got a kick out of their reaction to getting stuck because of her new invention, and how they needed to override it.

Safety is everyone’s main concern and Bree agrees her family should come to the Arsenal at least temporarily. She’s more than a little surprised when her Gram didn’t protest at all.

I love Bree’s niece and nephew, Hillary and Luke, the addition of her stories about the superheroes just makes everything more amusing. Especially when all the teams just go along with it.

It isn’t long before alarms go off at the compound, since they now have protected airspace and a helicopter is incoming. The passenger on that plane isn’t really welcome but the Arsenal will hear him out.

This is a favorite scene.

“You have done more in your short life as an elite organization than Knightwind has in decades,” Gavin said. “You’ve become the bar we must all aspire to hit. The new leaders of Knightwind recognize that and are prepared to overhaul their approach for future missions, but that will require your assistance.”

“How so?” Vi asked.

“We lack the advanced tech you have,” Gavin said. “Ours is good, but nothing compared to HERA. If we ramp up our endeavors, we’d need your assistance with information.”

“You’re information powerhouses. You said that earlier,” Bree said.

“Yes, but it’s old school,” Mary said. “They likely have significant delays between data obtainment and disbursement. A few hours or days could translate to immediate mission failure.”

“The older the intel, the deader the team,” Nolan surmised.

“So you want us to agree to an alliance in exchange for a one-time assistance with our current issue,” Marshall said.

“We wouldn’t expect an agreement. Our assistance with your current problem is a gift,” Gavin said. “No strings attached.”

“Bullshit,” Bree said. There was always a string. “What are you really wanting for this? Forget the so-called alliance and all the pretty promises you’re throwing at the wall. It’s not going to stick. What. Are. You. After?” She punctuated every word of the question and willed her breathing to calm.

Ram ran his hand down her back. “Talk it out with us, Bree. You know them better than we do.”

“There’s always a string. A condition. My work was supposed to be a quick, one-month assignment, but they dragged it out, adding parameters that were supposedly integral to my original objective. A month turned into two. Then three. On and on.” She glanced at Addy. “I got a coded message to Addy four months into my so-called one-month contract and begged her to get me out.”

“I don’t know this prick, but whoever’s running Knightwind isn’t trustworthy,” Addy said. “Not based on what we saw when I was extracting Bree.”

“We have a new owner, someone who’s worked hard since then to put Knightwind back on the right path,” Gavin said. “It doesn’t excuse what happened back then, but I assure you we have changed.”

“None of that matters,” Jesse said. “Not now. Answer Bree’s question. What are you after in exchange for your help with our issue? What will those assets you have cost us?”

Gavin’s jaw twitched. “Nothing. If you don’t wish to assist with our request, it won’t be an issue.”

“But there is a request,” Bree said. She shook her head. “You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth and contradicting yourself.”

“When we came under new ownership, there was a significant civil war of sorts within our organization. Some high-up leaders who were about to be terminated betrayed Knightwind,” Gavin said. “Their inside intel gave what our enemy needed to take over a detainment facility we ran.”

Bree held her breath. No. Hell no. She shook her head and focused on the table. She didn’t want to think about that horrible place, the one she’d been forced to make impenetrable. God, this was not happening.

“You want our help to get it back,” Vi said. “Why would we be able to do that if you can’t?”

“We have focused on the informational side of the arena while you’ve already made yourselves known as being formidable in all aspects,” Gavin said. “Only one operative has ever broken into that facility and extracted someone. I have it on good authority she’s now an Arsenal employee.”

Mia. It had to be Mia. Right? Or Addy. No, they would have known if Addy broke into that vile place. She’d gotten Bree out of Knightwind after she’d left that facility.

As if reading her mind, Addy said, “I didn’t break into any detention facility.”

“No. You didn’t.” So it was Mia they were talking about. Damn.

The private paramilitary arena was small. Everyone knew everyone else. Bree had accepted that long ago, but all these horrible pathways converging left her wishing she’d stayed at Grams’ cabin.

“And all the impenetrable defenses of this facility were created by Bree,” Gavin said. “If anyone can break them, it’ll be The Arsenal and whatever tech she’s created for you.”

Damn. Damn. Damn. She hadn’t wanted anyone to know about the work she’d done for Knightwind. Addy hadn’t ever asked. Neither had Mary, Vi, or Rhea.

“No,” Addy said quickly. “She’s not working with you ever again. I’ll personally hunt every last one of you down before that happens.”

That’s why Bree loved Addy. She was the protective big sister. Okay, she was apparently younger than Bree, but still. Vi shut her laptop and glanced at Mary, who shook her head.

“This is your call, Bree,” Mary said.

“How do we know your assets are who we need?” Bree asked. Focusing on The Arsenal’s mission to find the financial backers behind Carlisle Industries kept her brain from spiraling. “We need proof you can help.”

“Fair enough.” Gavin pulled out a thumb drive and tossed it to Vi. “That should be a good start. You’ve been looking into the secretary of defense. We’ve been unable to figure out exactly what is happening with him, but we suspect he’s in trouble. That’s surveillance footage from the past week, taken within his home and office— both of which you’ve been unable to get coverage of so far. No one can.”

The large overhead screens along the walls came to life, as did the monitors on the table’s surface. Images of a bald man with Bob filled the screens.

“We’ve been unable to identify him, but this man has become a daily part of his routine. Our asset only sees the secretary of defense a couple times a day, but this individual is with him often, yet is not part of his official entourage.” Gavin motioned toward the screen. “We suspect your HERA system will find his identity even though we’ve failed to do so.”

“So a test within a gift,” Zoey muttered. She, Vi, and Mary all typed away on their laptops.

Bree heard the distinctive chime of an identity match through the room’s speakers, but no visual appeared. She smiled. They weren’t sharing that HERA had already found out who the asshole with Bob was.

“Will that suffice as proof?” Gavin asked.

“Perhaps,” Mary said. “It’s up to Bree.”

“If we agree to this, Edge and Quillery command your assets. They are solely within their operational governance while this operation takes place,” Bree said. “We will allow one Knight asset to work with our teams, but The Arsenal will have full control of the mission.”

“That’s preposterous,” Gavin argued.

“Take it or leave it,” Vi said.

“What else, Bree?”

Damn. They wanted more. Okay… She took a deep breath. “We have full access to your databases, both those online and those tucked away while we’re working together on this mission. In exchange, we will agree to run facial recognitions through HERA for you, but no more than six. That will include locating the targets, if we choose to do so. We’ll require the full mission debrief on why you’re seeking them, though, since we don’t trust your moral code.”

“If they even have one,” Addy muttered.

Mary grinned.

“In exchange for this mutual cooperation,” Bree said with another deep breath after, “we will review your mission file on Facility Six. Full disclosure on your objective and who you are specifically wanting to extract will be required. We make no promise to assist, but we will review the material you provide, and I will make recommendations on approach regardless of The Arsenal’s decision.”

“Add in recommendations from the operative who’s been successful, and I can make this work with my superiors,” Gavin said. “When did you become such a ballbuster?”

“When you chained me to a wall and told me my work wasn’t done until your bosses said it was,” Bree shot back.

“What the fuck?” Ram stood.

“Sit down,” Gage ordered. He glared across the table. “There’s a room across the hall. Make your call to the people with the balls to make a decision before we change our mind.”
Cara Carnes. Lethal Echo (Kindle Locations 673-738).

Now Bree’s taken on a lot of guilt that really isn’t hers and while she’s still getting herself together she still has bouts of feeling unworthy.

A shortfall of the group is revealed when attempting the plan to get eyes on Bob (the Secretary of Defense), Bree has new tech and she’s hesitant to share. She was very busy while everyone was working on the Russia thing. It’s Ram, Pierce and Doug who notice her tell and calls them out on it. Then Bree finally says something and immediately they recognize what they’d been doing and the apologies start flying. More important is they now have a solution they didn’t know they had.

This whole book is multiple levels, between family, friends, missions, new tech and the simmer to sizzle romance between Bree and Ram, I just couldn’t put it down.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Cara Carnes

Born in small-town Texas, Cara Carnes was a princess, a pirate, fashion model, actress, rock star and Jon Bon Jovi’s wife all before the age of 13. In reality, her fascination for enthralling worlds took seed somewhere amidst a somewhat dull day job and a wonderful life filled with family and friends. When she’s not cemented to her chair, Cara loves traveling, photography and reading.


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Trusting Taylor – Silverstone Book 2 by Susan Stoker


Trusting Taylor
Silverstone Book 2
By
NY Times, Wall Street Journal &
USA Today Bestselling Author

Susan Stoker

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Former military man turned government assassin Kellan “Eagle” Trowbridge isn’t looking for love. He’d rather keep his head down at his cover job as an employee of Silverstone Towing. That all changes, however, when he meets Taylor Cardin.

Beautiful, smart, and witty Taylor instantly falls for the mysterious tow truck driver, who comforts her both in the aftermath of the car crash she sees firsthand and when the police dismiss her as a credible witness because of her prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Eagle, on the other hand, can remember every person he’s ever met—and the two counterparts forge an immediate connection. But someone else is just as intrigued by Taylor’s unique condition as Eagle is…and his intentions are downright deadly.

Soon, Eagle and Taylor are too caught up in each other to see the danger that’s approaching. But as time runs out, they’ll discover their love isn’t the only thing fighting to survive.

Kellan ‘Eagle’ Trowbridge met Taylor Cardin under interesting circumstances. She’d witnessed an altercation in the grocery store parking lot and while she’d given what information she could, she wouldn’t be able to identify anyone later. She has a rare condition Prosopagnosia, she can’t remember faces, not even her own. Unlike the other witnesses she was off to the side waiting to be let go. Once they told her she could go all she wanted to do was get her shopping done fast. She hated it.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

Instead of telling her what was on his list, he showed her. With Archer away, the employees took turns cooking, and they’d made a list of things for him to buy so they could put together meals. It was a hot mess, with ingredients scribbled in no particular order on the notepad kept on the refrigerator. Most of the time when he shopped, he just started at the top and worked his way down, having to backtrack several times throughout the store to get stuff from an aisle he’d already been down. It was a pain in the ass, and part of the reason he hated the chore.

“What is this?” Taylor asked, squinting at his list.

“Everything I need to buy,” Eagle replied, telling her something she obviously already knew. “The employees at the station write down what they want, and I shop.”

“Holy crap, this is awful,” she told him. “No wonder you hate shopping.”

Eagle couldn’t help it—he laughed. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

“Okay, first things first, we need to put some order to this,” Taylor said, grabbing her cart and heading for an empty part of the produce section, out of the way of the other shoppers. She reached into her purse and rummaged around for a moment before pulling out a pen and a receipt.

“This isn’t ideal, but it’ll have to do,” she mumbled. Then she propped his list on top of her purse, which was sitting in the child seat of the cart, and bent over the receipt. She’d turned it over and was writing on the blank back side.

“Okay, you’ve got muffin mix down twice, but they didn’t say what kind, so I think you should get blueberry and cinnamon raisin. If they don’t like it, tough, they should’ve specified. Eggs are on here three times, so maybe if you get two dozen, that should be good enough for a week. And if it’s too much, they’ll keep until next time. Fresh fruit? What kind? Jeez, they need to be more specific. No wonder you hate this; no one tells you exactly what they want, so they’re setting you up to fail. Fine . . . how about apples, peaches, and grapes? If they want something else, they’ll have to be more specific next time. Ground hamburger, chicken breasts, and shrimp . . . that’s easy enough.”

Eagle observed Taylor as she completely took over his list. She was scribbling furiously on the back of the receipt, and he couldn’t help but smile as she continually mumbled under her breath while she wrote. It was as if the rest of the world ceased to exist. It was cute as fuck—but it also concerned him as well.

“Taylor?” a voice called out, making her jerk in surprise.

Eagle turned and saw a middle-aged woman coming toward them, smiling brightly.

“I thought that was you. How are you? It’s been forever since I’ve seen you!” the woman enthused.

Glancing at Taylor, Eagle saw that she hadn’t been lying about her condition . . . not that he’d thought she had. She had absolutely no idea who the woman standing near them was—the woman who was waiting to be acknowledged.

It truly dawned on him for the first time how frustrating and difficult not recognizing anyone might be.

Plastering a smile on his face, he stepped forward and held out a hand to the woman. “I’m Eagle, a friend of Taylor’s. I don’t think we’ve met?”

And just as he knew she would, the woman turned her attention to him. “Oh, hi. I’m Wanda Wright.”

“Nice to meet you. How do you know Taylor?” Eagle asked as he shook her hand.

“We used to live in the same apartment complex,” the chatty woman volunteered. “I moved out last year to another complex closer to my son’s. His wife left him and their two kids, and I wanted to be closer to help out.”

“How are Gail and Bobby doing?” Taylor asked softly from behind him.

Eagle dropped the woman’s hand and took a step back.

“Oh, they’re doing great!” Wanda gushed. “They’re flourishing in school and are growing like weeds.”

“And your son? He’s okay?” Taylor asked.

“He had a hard time of it for a while, but I think he’s finally realized the bitch he married did him a favor by leaving. The divorce went through, and he got full custody . . . not that she contested it at all. She was more concerned with her new twenty-year-old boyfriend to want to deal with kids. Her loss. And how’re things going with you?”

Eagle tuned out the conversation and concentrated on observing Taylor. As soon as Wanda had approached, she’d tensed, her fingers curling into her palms. But she looked relaxed now. The two women talked about some of Taylor’s neighbors and commiserated about the woes of apartment living.

“I’ve taken up enough of your time,” Wanda said after a while. “It was great to see you again. I was happy to move closer to my grandbabies, but I was sorry to say goodbye to you.”

“I’m glad things are working out for you,” Taylor told her.

Wanda smiled huge and said her goodbyes.

After Wanda had pushed her cart away, Taylor turned to Eagle.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” Eagle asked, playing dumb.

Taylor frowned. “You know what. I had no idea who that was, and you seamlessly stepped in and made her introduce herself.”

Eagle looked into her dark-brown eyes and said, “You don’t know me, and like you said, you have no reason to trust me. But you absolutely can. I’m going to prove it.”

She didn’t say anything, but didn’t drop her gaze either.
Stoker, Susan. Trusting Taylor (Silverstone). Kindle Locations (250-296). Montlake. Kindle Edition.

Now that they’ve bonded over the grocery store, Eagle is more than a little determined to have this awesome woman meet the rest of the crew. He’s certain she could use some friends that won’t judge her.

Then there’s that guy who’s watching Taylor for an entirely different and scary reason. We get glimpses of him throughout and dang this is nail-biting. All of that while Eagle and Taylor get closer and more into their relationship.

I truly love the way Susan takes on difficult, sometimes rare conditions with compassion and understanding. I know you won’t be able to put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Coming Soon!

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.


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Breaking Silence – Delta Force Strong Book 1 by Elle James


Breaking Silence
Delta Force Strong Book 1
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Elle James

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Rucker Sloan, thinks all he’s good for is a fighting, killing machine. Relationships are out of the question.

Until he meets a nurse who’d risk her life for someone she doesn’t know…

After her mother died of a broken heart, nurse Nora Michaels joined the Army to do something to help others and to escape her sad memories. Deployed to Afghanistan, she hopes she’s making a difference, especially when she treats a cranky wounded soldier who just might be more broken than she is.

When the local orphanage where she volunteers is overrun by Taliban, Nora and the little orphan girls are kidnapped and taken into the hills where they are to be auctioned off to sex traffickers.

They need a miracle to save them.

Rucker and his team receive intel on the location of the nurse and children taken from the orphanage. In an operation to save them, Rucker and Nora are separated from the others and must traverse enemy territory to find their way back to safety. Along the way, they learn to rely on and trust each other, discovering a passion they never expected to find in the harsh hills of a war torn country.

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Rucker Sloan was impressed with Nora Michaels from the moment they met in Afghanistan. He had no idea how long they’d be there but he wanted to get to know her better. Fraternization is frowned upon, but sharing coffee or a meal could be good to get to know one another.

When one of his teammates is injured saving his behind, Rucker stays with him at the hospital. All the tongues start to wag when Nora shows up early for her shift to be sure Rucker’s okay. Since Dash’s injuries turn out not to be so bad the team would be stay in place until their next mission.

One of the things Nora enjoys about her deployment is going to the nearby orphanage, they do health checks and give vaccines. This trip to the orphanage would be Nora’s last since she will be heading back home. Ryker surprises her and is her driver for the day. Only they never make it to the orphanage. They are taken at gun point to do something a bit unusual that becomes complicated.

Delivering a breech baby is difficult under any circumstances outside of a hospital, but Nora with Ryker’s help pulls it off. Much to their relief they would be allowed to return to base.

This is a favorite scene.

Rucker was in awe of all she’d done, and that she hadn’t fallen apart in the middle of it. He would never admit it, but he was a bit shaken by the experience. They’d just delivered a breech baby in a war-torn country.

The door opened, and the father entered, his eyes wide and worried. “All is well?”

Nora nodded, peeling off her gloves. “Congratulations, you have a son, and your wife seems to be doing fine.”

The frown creasing the man’s forehead cleared. He hurried to his wife’s side and peered down at the baby in her arms, a smile spreading across his face. “Allah is good.” He looked up at Rucker and Nora. “Daera manana. Thank you.”

Nora nodded.

“My apologies for taking you at gunpoint. I did not know how else to get you here.” He held out his hand. “I am Pazir. My wife is Gulpari. We are in your debt for keeping my family alive.”

“Why didn’t you ask the base for help?” Nora asked.

Pazir shook his head. “The Taliban sees all. If I visit the base, they will assume I am passing secrets to the American forces. They will punish me by punishing my family.”

Gulpari clutched her baby close. “We did not know what else to do.”

Pazir sighed. “I took you at gunpoint as a show of force; the Taliban will not question.”

“Are you a member of the Taliban?” Rucker asked.

The man looked away. “In their eyes, I am.”

“In yours?” Rucker asked.

“To keep my family alive, I do what I have to.” Rucker’s fists clenched. “Have you killed Americans?”

“No,” Pazir said. “I believe Allah is kind and good. But I must walk among the Taliban.”

Nora nodded. “I understand. I hope they don’t read into our visit today anything other than the opportunity to help your wife in labor.” She nodded toward Rucker. “Now, if you don’t mind, we need to get back to the base before dark. My people will be worried and will send out squads of soldiers to look for us.”

“Of course. I will take you back to the edge of the village, closest to the base.”

Rucker nodded. “And provide cover while we drive away from town?”

Pazir nodded. “I owe you for saving my wife and son’s lives. I will be forever in your debt.” He gave a slight bow. “You will follow me to your vehicle. My men and I will ride with you until we get close.”

“As long as they don’t plan on shooting us in the back of our heads,” Rucker said.

Pazir clasped his hands together and gave Rucker a slight bow. “You have my word. You and the nurse will be safe with us.”

“And you’ll give my driver his weapon back when we get there,” Nora said. It wasn’t a question, but a demand.

“To show my sincerity, he can have it back now.” Pazir pulled the handgun from a pocket buried in his loose clothing and handed it to Rucker.

Rucker ejected the magazine. It was still full. He shrugged into his uniform jacket, then his bulletproof vest and slid the handgun into the holster at his hip.

Nora slipped her jacket on over her bloodied T-shirt. “How did you know a nurse would be coming into town today?”

“We know,” Pazir said. “If you are certain my wife will be all right, you can come with me now.”

Nora looked toward the mother-in-law who had done a good job of cleaning up the mess of childbirth. The older woman gave her a sincere nod.

“She’ll be all right as long as you keep her clean and germ-free. The same goes for the baby. Wash hands with soap and water that has had the bacteria boiled out of it before handling the baby.”

Pazir spoke to his mother, and then nodded to Nora. “Follow me.”

He led them out to where the HUMMV was parked in the walled yard. Nora checked the items in the back. When she was satisfied, she nodded.

“We only took the gloves.” Pazir said something to the two men with the rifles.

One of them ran back into the house. A moment later, he returned with the box of surgical gloves and handed them to Pazir.

He, in turn, handed the box to Nora. “Again, I thank you for saving my wife and son. I am indebted to you. I will find a way to repay that honor.” He gave her a brief bow and waved a hand toward the HUMMV.

Rucker opened the door for her.

Nora climbed into the passenger seat.

After closing the door, Rucker hurried around to the driver’s seat. He didn’t completely trust the Afghans after they’d taken them at gunpoint.

The three men climbed into the back seat. This time their guns weren’t pointed at Rucker and Nora’s heads. The drive through the streets was a little less stressful, though Rucker knew the men could kill them if they wanted. The fact that Pazir considered himself part of the Taliban left Rucker uneasy. Even if he only belonged as an attempt to keep his family safe.

As he drove, Rucker studied the turns. Pazir took them a different route from the one that got them to his home in the first place. Rucker wasn’t sure he could find his way back to the walled home.

Pazir was smart. He didn’t want them retracing their route.

Soon, the Afghan had him stop. “We will leave you here. Follow the road ahead. It will take you to the main path leading back to the base. You will recognize it when you get there. Peace be with you.”

The three men left the vehicle and disappeared down a crowded street.

Rucker shifted into drive and moved slowly forward, not liking that they were without an escort preceding and following them. Hopefully, they were close enough to the base they could make a run for it, if they found themselves attacked. He inched through the throngs of people until they arrived at the main, wider road he remembered driving down earlier that day. He turned toward the base. “I suppose the vaccinations will have to be done another day,” he said.

Nora nodded. “It’s getting late in the day and I have the night shift. I need to get a few hours of sleep before I go on duty. Besides, I want to give the children the time and attention they deserve.”

Rucker nodded. “You really care about them, don’t you?”

She gave him a sad smile. “I do. I hate leaving them. I wish I could take all of them home with me.”

“You have a big heart. And what you did for that woman and her baby…” He shook his head. “Delivering a baby is hard enough, but delivering a breech baby…” He reached across and took her hand. “You were amazing.”

She stared down at where his hand held hers without pulling away. “Thank you for helping.”

“I only did what you told me. You were the star of that show.” He winked.

She laughed softly. “I have to admit, I was shaking inside. That could have gone horribly wrong, ending in the death of the baby and the mother.” She looked up at him. “That would’ve been bad. And if they’d died, I wasn’t sure Pazir would let us live to come back to the base.”

“You had a lot riding on the outcome.” He squeezed her hand gently. “It all turned out for the best. And I think you made a friend out of a member of the Taliban.”

Nora grimaced. “I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
James, Elle. Breaking Silence (Delta Force Strong Book 1). Kindle Locations (881-940). Twisted Page Inc. Kindle Edition.

In spite of what happened Nora is determined to go to the orphanage to visit with the children and give the vaccines. It was her chance to say good-bye. Unfortunately things go sideways again, and her helping Pazir just might be a saving grace.

Rucker isn’t able to accompany her and when the news reaches him he does what he has to do. There’s no way his team isn’t going to help him find her and get her to safety.

Nora and Rucker have much to consider especially since she’ll be heading back to the states. One thing for certain they want to stay in touch and see what happens.

Plenty of action, flirting and a touch of sizzle.

I’m behind on this series so I have some catching up to do.

5 Contented Purrs for Elle!

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Elle James

Award-winning author Elle James grew up as an air force military brat. She received her work ethic from her rock-solid father, her creative streak from her artistic mother and inspiration from her writing partner and sister, Delilah Devlin.

As a former member of the army reserves and a current member of the air force reserves, she’s traveled across the United States and to Germany, managed a full-time job, and raised three wonderful children. She and her husband have even tried their hands at ranching exotic birds (ostriches, emus and rheas) in the Texas hill country. Ask her, and she’ll tell you what it’s like to go toe-to-toe with an angry three-hundred-and-fifty-pound bird and live to tell about it!

Her adventures in the army and air force reserves, and the wild antics of her life on a small ranch in Texas give her fodder for mystery, suspense and humor in her writing. Elle writes gothic, paranormal mystery for the Harlequin Intrigue line and paranormal romantic comedy for Dorchester Publishing. A former manager of computer programming and project management professionals, Elle is happy she now has the opportunity to pursue her writing full time.

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Shadow in the Desert – Shadow SEALs Book 3 by Becca Jameson


Shadow in the Desert
Shadow SEALs Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Becca Jameson

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After a disastrous career-ending mission, he never expected to be sent back into the shadows.

For months Ajax has been languishing on his sister’s couch, drowning himself in beer and whiskey. It was the only way to bury the pain of losing his entire SEAL team during a mission he does not remember. Until he discovers everything he’s been told about that day was a lie. Now he’ll jump on the first flight to Ethiopia with Ryker—his best friend, teammate, and foster brother—to rescue the rest of their team.

Serena has a heart of gold and a desire to help people. She’s never physically met the woman she works for, but she knows every job she does saves lives and corrects injustices. Serena’s task is to dole out assignments, be the liaison. Participating in the missions themselves has never been required…until now. Her history has made her vital to the mission.

Serena isn’t prepared for the brooding man who looks like he’s going to take down the next person he sees with his eyes alone. Nor is she prepared for the way his intensity makes her feel things she never expected in this lifetime.

Ajax is not pleased that Serena will be accompanying them. She doesn’t belong in a war zone. But when the slight woman flattens Ajax on his back on day one, he has a change of heart. Maybe she’s not as soft as she appears. He needs her help, and she needs him. But will her presence endanger the entire mission?

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This book opens as Ajax is rushing to a meeting he’s a bit late for, he’s not sure why he’s there or who he’s meeting. What he does know is anything is better than wallowing on his sister’s couch. Little does he know he’s about to get the shock of his life.

In that conference room is his best-friend, teammate and foster brother Ryker. He thought Ryker died along with the rest of their team in a mission that went so FUBAR he was blamed for it and kicked out. Apparently Ryker was told the exact same thing and now they are both going to get some news that’s even more startling.

Serena is Charley’s assistant, helping with meetings and other data for the missions. This is just another one of those meetings, until it isn’t.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

“Listen to me,” Charley demanded. “I know everything that happened to you. More than either of you know. You were on a mission, you had the green light, you surrounded the target, and then you closed in. There was an explosion. The building blew to rubble. The two of you were knocked off your feet and thrown backward, landing hard in the street several yards from where you’d been standing. You were both knocked unconscious in the blast.”

“Why on earth was I told the entire team was dead and I was the lone survivor?” Ajax asked.

“Because someone higher up needed to cover their own ass.”

Ajax shoved away from the table and took a few steps back, leaning against the wall for support. He ran a hand through his hair, hair that was in desperate need of a cut. “How do you know all of this?”

“I have my ways.”

Ajax groaned.

“What happened to the rest of the team if they didn’t die in the explosion?” Ryker asked.

“No one was in that rubble. None of you had breached the building yet. You two were the only ones knocked unconscious. Everyone else was taken hostage in the ambush. Your backup team was moving in fast, so the rebels had no choice but to evacuate and leave your bodies behind. They probably weren’t certain if you were alive or dead, but in any case, they didn’t have the time to take two unconscious bodies.”

“Unbelievable,” Ajax murmured.

“I agree. Whoever fucked up this mission went to a lot of trouble to clean up after themselves.”

“If the backup team rescued us, why haven’t we heard from any of them?”

“They are still active in the mission, and they’ve been told neither of you survived. After loading you two into the helicopter, they never saw you again.”

Ryker cleared his throat. “This is insane. Both of us were told the rest of the team was dead. Who could be that cruel?”

Ajax agreed. It had been the most hellacious three months of his life. He’d spent it believing not only his entire team was dead, but that it included Ryker. A man he’d considered a brother since they met when Ajax was twelve.

Ajax had yet to go home to Indiana to face the foster parents who brought him into manhood because he couldn’t stand the idea of confronting the heaviness in his soul. On top of that, he was too embarrassed. He’d been told the reason that mission failed— the reason Ryker had died— was because he hadn’t followed protocol. He’d been fucking led to believe that he had disgraced his team and the SEALs. He had been discharged “other than honorably.” Returning to face his foster parents was the last thing he’d wanted to do.

“I don’t know the answer to that yet, but believe me, I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’m hiring you two to go back and get your team.”

Ajax flinched. “Hiring? What if we decline.”

“You won’t.”

Serena set the two folders she was carrying on the table, separated them, and eased them across the surface, one toward each man. A phoenix stared back at him as though the ancient Egyptian bird could see all the way to his damaged soul… daring him to look inside.

Ryker opened his first and after a moment, he whistled between his teeth. “That’s a lot of money.”

“Yes. You have a unique set of skills, not to mention motivation.”

Ajax opened his folder and lifted both brows. Ryker wasn’t kidding. He could do a lot with that kind of money. “You realize I’ve been discharged. I no longer work for the US Navy. Who the heck are we working for?”

“Me.”

“And you aren’t going to tell us who the hell you are?”

“No. It’s safer this way.”

“For us or for you?”

“Yes.”

Great.

Ryker groaned.

Ajax turned to look at him, lifting a brow. They were either in this together or not at all.

“Fuck,” Ryker muttered.

Ajax agreed. It wasn’t as though they could tell this woman they would not be willing to go in and rescue their own men. He turned back to face the phone. “What’s the plan?”

“Pull your shit together, lay off the cookies, and be prepared to travel in two weeks.”

“Who’s paying for all this?” Ajax asked.

“I am.”

“How will we know where to go or what to do?”

“Serena will be traveling with you. She’ll be told when and where to meet up with my contact when you arrive.”

“What?” all three yelled at once.

For Ajax, the thought of this soft woman in the pencil skirt traveling to fucking Ethiopia with him was preposterous. She obviously worked hard to be taken seriously. Standing tall. Keeping her expression tight and serious. All business. But his instinct told him she was more like a dandelion underneath the fake exterior.

That wasn’t the most shocking part of Charley’s announcement, however. The part that made Ajax lift both brows and glance at Serena was that she too was obviously blindsided by this news.

“Charley,” Serena began, “at no time did you mention me traveling with these gentlemen.” She was clearly just as uninterested as Ajax was. Traveling to Ethiopia was dangerous under normal circumstances. He would have his guard up the entire time. And that would be when he was in populated areas surrounded by civilians.

As soon as he left civilization to hunt down his squad, the last thing he’d need was to worry about this feather of a woman. No way. Not a chance. “That’s a dealbreaker,” he told Charley.

Serena flinched and shot him a narrowed look that could have melted a cast-iron pan. She may not have had any intentions of going either, but she sure didn’t like the decision coming from him.

“Nonnegotiable. Serena goes with you. I’ll overnight you the details in a few days. Plane tickets and all the information you’ll need to get started. When you arrive, you’ll stay in a hotel in Addis Ababa the first night. After that, you’ll meet up with my contact and be given further instructions.”

Ryker slapped his hands onto the table again, fingers wide, fingertips white from gripping the surface. “How do we know this isn’t a trap intended to get both of us killed so that whoever fucked up this mission can wipe their hands clean of possible loose ends?”

Serena leaned forward and pushed the top piece of paper in the open manila folder to one side, her fingers moving slowly to reveal the second page.

Ajax’s breath hitched and caught. “Motherfucker,” he breathed out. He yanked the entire stack of pages off the table and started flipping through them while Ryker did the same with his set of documents.

“Fuck,” Ryker muttered.

The first several pages were pictures of the rest of their squad. They were grainy and black and white, but there was no mistaking the images of their comrades. Recent images. Their brothers looked like shit. Three months of neglect.

Fuck.

Whoever this Charley woman was, she had them both by the balls. There wasn’t a chance in hell either of them would leave men behind for any reason. Even if Charley was fucking with them and intended to have the two of them killed the moment they stepped off the plane, it was a risk Ajax would have to take.

And he knew Ryker would too.

Plus, why send Serena with them if Charley intended to have them both killed? That part made no sense.

Apparently, Ajax was headed back to Ethiopia.
Becca Jameson. Shadow in the Desert: Shadow SEALs (Kindle Locations 146-207). Becca Jameson Publishing.

I got a kick out of Serena not recognizing the guys at the airport. They knew they looked different without long hair and beards but had to let her sweat a bit.

The reason behind Serena being with them becomes clear once they arrive. She’s fluent in the native languages. But the best is when she flattens Ajax proving she’s not a helpless woman.

Things get more and more complicated the more they learn and they meet up with yet another woman before they travel on. Xena is no nonsense and snarks at Ryker almost immediately. Apparently Ajax’s team has been split up and not evenly. It’s going to take precision and timing to synchronize rescuing them. They have to split up to reach their destinations at the right time and Ryker gets to go with Xena.

Serena’s background and the attraction between her and Ajax play a part and their relationship simmers before it sizzles.

I can’t wait to read the next book in this multi-author series, it’s Ryker and Xena’s story!

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

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Becca Jameson Becca Jameson

Becca Jameson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 100 books. She is most well-known for her Wolf Masters Series, her Fight Club series, and her Club Zodiac series. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and Goldendoodle. Two grown kids pop in every once in a while too! She is loving this journey and has dabbled in a variety of genres, including paranormal, sports romance, military, and BDSM.A total night owl, Becca writes late at night, sequestering herself in her office with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate, her fingers flying across the keyboard as her characters weave their own stories.

During the day–which never starts before ten in the morning!–she can be found jogging, running errands, or reading in her favorite hammock chair!

…where Alphas dominate…


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Fighting For Jen – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Counterstrike Book 5 by Cara Carnes


Fighting For Jen
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Counterstrike Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Cara Carnes

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She fights for those who can’t fight back…

Jennifer Davenport vowed to never back down from a fight. Raised in a violent home, she’d survived her share of nightmares and monsters lurking in the shadows. She’s made it her life mission to help all of Counterstrike’s clients start a new life. Her former Delta force brothers get them out, and she paves the way to a better future. Easy, right?

Yeah, no. She’s used to threats, but when they turn deadly, she finds herself turning to mysterious, sexy leader of the local MC. The Scythe MC’s President is everything she shouldn’t want yet can’t resist.

Banner “Razor” Nilon left military service wrongly branded as “dishonorably discharged.” Rather than walk away, he chose to fight within the shadows. The Scythe MC was formed for one purpose: redemption. The goal was simple: operate off the radar and prove he and his club brothers were all innocent.

But the club hit Counterstrike’s radar in a big way and the beautiful, brilliant attorney has shaken his entire world up. Walking away when she’s in trouble isn’t possible, especially when the little spitfire defends his club. Yeah, taking on her war to find whoever wants to kill her might not be the smartest plan, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if it means playing nicely with her protective, billionaire do-gooder big brothers and all their former military operatives. They may not always play by the rules, but Razor’s never met a rule he wouldn’t break.

Banner “Razor” Nilon is President of the Scythe MC, the members are all former military that had in one way or an other been forced out due to political circumstances beyond their control.

When we first meet Razor he’s with his VP Frenzy and his SoA Sandman meeting with Counterstrike’s Ethan, Milo and Jen at Cholo’s restaurant. While the Scythes have kept under the radar, they are also cleaning up the gangs in the area with new rules about what they can and cannot do. If they don’t like it they can leave or face the consequences.

Counterstrike wants to know why they are here and unfortunately even Tex can’t smooth over the tension. The is the first time we see Jen’s reaction to the bad boy biker.

We get to see Jen’s true colors when the Scythes save the day after many Counterstrike personnel have testified in the Guerillo case. The AG wants all the media coverage he can get totally unaware of the danger he’s putting the others in. Jen was truly impressive as she gets the Scythe’s out of handcuffs.

It’s later on as some of those waves have settled that Counterstrike finds itself in need of more operatives. Women having to wait too long for extraction putting them even more at risk. Jen decides to take things in her own hands and goes to meet with Razor alone on his turf.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

Too many people needed their help and wouldn’t get it. She clutched the two folders she’d put together as she made her way toward the back of the small club. If Cholo was right, the higher ups in the Scythes frequented this establishment.

This is so stupid.

Yep. Ethan and Milo would kick her ass if they found out she was here, but someone needed to help these two women. If Counterstrike didn’t have the time, then maybe the Scythes would.

Face it. You just wanted an excuse to see Razor again.

Ugh. She couldn’t deny that part of her brain. She’d become a bit obsessed with the sexy biker. He exuded the same lethal badass vibes as the Counterstrike operatives but, unlike them, he made her entire body heat with an awareness she hadn’t felt in ages. When he looked at her, she felt…

Exposed.

No, she felt like a woman, one stripped bare of her legal persona and overprotective big brother armor. Razor didn’t strike her as a man who’d shy away from going after what he wanted and, unless she’d read him entirely wrong the few times their paths had crossed, he wanted her.

Feminine laughter echoed from the darkened corner she approached. Dread curdled her bravery a few beats. This was a terrible idea. Turn around. Soft shafts of life fractured the darkness when she took another step forward. Long, red hair bobbed up and down as a large hand gripped the curly mass.

“Looking to join in or take her place?” The husky whisper against her ear jolted her half a step forward. Her arms scissored out to prevent a fall, but a firm grip steadied her at the waist. “Sorry, beauty. Couldn’t resist.” A husky sigh rushed warm heat against the shell of her ear. Tingles ignited across her skin. “Fuck, you smell good.”

“Razor.” Her back pressed against a hard chest. “Sorry. They told me you were in the back.”

“Someone’s got a sense of humor. They won’t ever give my location away, but they will send wayward little lambs to my VP or SoA.” Amusement filled his voice as his hand stroked along her hip. “You here looking for an adventure? I doubt your brothers would approve of you dirtying yourself by showing up here all alone.”

Jen gulped. Getting dirtied up sounded a bit fun, thrilling even. “You make that sound like a bad idea.”

“Oh, it isn’t.” He chuckled, bathing the heated skin along her ear with another bout of breath once more. “I’m sure it would be one hell of a ride.”

Images assailed her as the visual cue “ride” took on a life of its own. This wasn’t why she’d come here, but maybe it should’ve been. Face it, Jen. You wanted to see the dirty-minded biker again. Alone. “We need to talk.”

“Is that right?” He huffed and loosened his grip. “If that’s what you want.”

She wanted far more than talk but took a steadying breath and turned to face Razor. Scruff covered his masculine jaw, adding another layer of don’t-fuck-with-me to his already lethal vibe. Would the scratchy whiskers feel good against her skin?

“Keep looking at me like that and we’ll have a problem,” he warned. “There’s talk, and then there’s talk, beauty. You aren’t ready for the kind of conversation I want to have.”

Oh, she was. So ready.

“Come on, little lamb. Let’s go into my lair.” He took her hand. Warmth seeped into her skin as he guided her to an empty booth across from the one the man and the redhead occupied.

Razor steered her into the booth, facing her away from the couple. Amusement broadened his full lips into a grin when their gazes locked. “What can I get you? Whatever you want.”

Jen shivered at the implication and squeezed her thighs together. Focus. Razor reached over the narrow table and ran his hands through her hair, which had lost most of its curl during the day. Warmth spread through her, pooling between her legs as his fingertips glided from the tips of her hair and across to the button just above her cleavage.

Intensity resonated within his dark gaze as he flicked it open. She leaned forward into the feather soft contact as he traced along the exposed skin. Stroking up and down a couple times. His gaze wandered to the newly opened area. Although it was still a modest amount of skin, the fact her cleavage now showed just enough to be scandalous in a work environment quickened her pulse.

“That’s better.” He leaned back in the booth. “What can I do for you?”

So much. Jen shifted against the leather bench. “We have more cases than we can work right now. A few medium priority ones have fallen through the cracks.” She shoved the two folders toward him. “I think these are two the Scythes could handle, if you’re willing.”

She intentionally referenced the Scythes, needing the distance it offered. It’d be too simple to tumble into his sexy gaze and let the sexual attraction between them take over.

Amusement glinted across his handsome face a moment. He opened the first folder. Jaw clinched, he flicked through the papers. “Fuck.” Leaning forward, he slammed the folder shut, then went to the next. “Define handle. My idea of dealing with these fuckwits probably won’t match Counterstrike’s.”

Jen suspected it would. Ethan and Milo never messed around when it came to abusers. None of the operatives did, which was why she was always one of their first calls after they’d addressed an issue. It’d taken a few trips to the county jail to bail a few of them out to find the acceptable line. They couldn’t help people in need if they were in lockup, after all.

“As long as they make the first strike and do enough damage to be photographed afterward, I can explain away reasonable damage on an operative’s part,” she explained. “You are all highly trained. Bruising and some blood are well within the limits. Broken bones and anything requiring a trip to the emergency room before they’re hauled into jail, not so much.”

His mouth upturned into a half-grin. “I’m thinking you could explain away a lot.”

“I can and I have.” She motioned toward the files. “These two women are wanting assistance relocating. They both have family in the area, so this is more of an escort detail than a problematic extraction.”

“The jargon is cute coming from you.”

Cute? She wrestled with the word because it was the last thing she wanted to be when around Razor. Her gaze darted toward the couple still writhing within the shadows. “Travis and the other new operatives he took down to The Arsenal should be returning in a few days. I can see if they can handle these two requests.”

“We’ll handle them. That’ll free them up to take on the other cases you’ve likely set aside for them.” His lips thinned. “How long’s the waiting time between initial contact and action?”

Too long. Even a few hours was too many in Jen’s opinion. “It’s improving. Forty-eight hours if there’s only a minimal threat level. We’re working on securing more safe houses. Anyone in immediate danger is taken to one upon leaving our office. We don’t take risks with their lives.”

“Even though you’re covered over with cases. Tell me you don’t participate in these removals.”

“On occasion I do,” she said. “Never alone, though. I can handle myself.”

“I’m sure you can.” His gaze swept across her. “You shouldn’t have to, though.” He tapped the files and let out an ear-piercing whistle. A wince flashed across his face. “Sorry, should’ve warned you.”

He held the files up as the shadow in the booth across the way surfaced. Frenzy glanced down at her, then directed his attention to the folders.

“Get with Sandman. Organize two groups, one for each file. Roll out in an hour,” Razor ordered. “Make contact with them first.”

Frenzy nodded. He perused each folder’s contents a few moments. His lips thinned.

“Nothing broken. No need for emergency rooms. No physical contact unless they attack first.” Razor glanced up at Frenzy. “Assign a prospect to each final location for forty-eight hours afterward. Phone me once each woman is secured.”

“On it. Gladly.” Frenzy charged through the bar, motioning to tables of Scythes as he went.

“You’ve done this before,” Jen commented. “Or something similar.” The club members reacted too calmly, with precision. They filed out of the bar in an organized fashion, tossing money on the tabletops as they departed.

“We adapt quickly.” He set both hands palms down on the tabletop. “Do your brothers know you’re here?”

“No, but it was the right thing to do.”

“It was.” He leaned forward. “You have any more, let me know. Give me your phone.”

Jen’s hand shook slightly as she offered her phone. He smirked and held it up toward her so it would open with her facial scan. Then he made himself at home as he leaned back and tapped away. Awareness zinged through her as she watched him. His cell chimed. He put hers in her hand, then pulled his out and repeated the process. Hers chimed.

“Call me anytime, beauty.”

Jen nodded. “Thank you.” She stood, pausing long enough for her legs to not wobble. “Have a good night, Razor.”
Cara Carnes. Fighting For Jen (Special Force: Operation Alpha): Counterstrike, Book 5 (Kindle Locations 320-393). Aces Press, LLC.

Things really heat up when a client dies trying to give her husband another chance leaving her son under Counterstrike’s protection.

There’s something weird with the grandparents and the father is charged with murder and Jen becomes even more protective of the child. The Scythe’s are helping with protection and when we least expect it things start to go boom!

I love this series and the slow burn between Jen and Razor is fun to read. There’s plenty of action and we get some awesome surprises as the Arsenal gets involved.

I can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Cara Carnes

Born in small-town Texas, Cara Carnes was a princess, a pirate, fashion model, actress, rock star and Jon Bon Jovi’s wife all before the age of 13. In reality, her fascination for enthralling worlds took seed somewhere amidst a somewhat dull day job and a wonderful life filled with family and friends. When she’s not cemented to her chair, Cara loves traveling, photography and reading.


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Kano’s Keep – Bullard’s Battle Book 5 by Dale Mayer


Kano’s Keep
Bullard’s Battle Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Catherine. DeeDee. Paris. Kano had hoped to never deal with the three again. The woman he loved, her dragon of a mother, and a city to bring the best—and worst—memories to mind. A return trip leads to a conversation with DeeDee, which sheds more light on who is behind Bullard’s murder in that planned plane explosion.

After seeing Catherine again, Kano can’t stop thinking about her. That young woman matured into someone he couldn’t have imagined and now can’t forget. However, he’s afraid her powerful mother is setting him up to die—yet again.

Catherine hadn’t expected to see Kano again, but this time she’s not letting him walk away. And she’s prepared to face off against her snake of a mother to save him. Catherine must plumb the depths of her own soul and that of her family to save Kano—and herself.

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Bullard’s still missing and his team is determined to find him and eliminate those who are trying to do the same to them. All the clues are leading to DeeDee and her crew which doesn’t make sense but yet it does.

Kano has history here, DeeDee’s daughter Catherine is someone he loved a long time ago, but she wasn’t ready to know the truth of everything around her.

As we get our first look at Catherine her mother tells her Kano’s coming and the conversation somehow turns to DeeDee’s husbands and the fact they’re all dead. She really hoped Kano would stay away from her mother, but obviously that’s not going to happen. A text to Kano gets a response that has her going to the dinner they’re having with ‘the black widow’.

This is a favorite scene of that dinner.

Kano leaned toward DeeDee. “In that case, maybe you’ll do your best to help us find him then?”

At that, her mother’s gaze widened. “You think he’s alive?” She sat forward eagerly.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re just figuring out if he was kidnapped or if somebody else is hiding him, since people are still after him.”

“People like Bullard always have people after them,” DeeDee said. “That’s the way you judge them, by the enemies they have.”

“Says you,” Kano said easily. “Not everybody thinks that same way.”

“Then they’re fools,” she said. “I heard he had crashed,” she admitted abruptly. Just then the waiters arrived, and silence fell on the table. The food was served, including Catherine’s dish. She smiled her thanks, and, once the waitstaff disappeared, Kano looked back at her mother and asked, “What did you hear?”

“I heard that the plane had been blown up,” she said. “That’s not exactly something you can keep quiet.”

“Who did you hear it from?”

“One of my men,” she said.

“Gregg?”

“No. If Gregg had come to me, I could have helped him,” she snapped. “I would never have blamed him for Bullard’s crash.”

“And yet somebody who worked for you tried to persuade him to be a part of it.”

“When they couldn’t,” she said, with a shrug, “they tried to blame Gregg. Everybody needs a patsy.”

“And the people who work for you were behind this?”

“Nobody said they were behind it,” she said. “And they aren’t people who work for me. They were people who used to work for me.”

“So tell me about them.”

“Rod is an arrogant SOB, who thinks he’s too good to work for a woman,” she said immediately. “He has aligned himself with a bunch of people I rejected as not having sufficient qualities or the correct morals to work for the company,” she said, “but water will always find its own level, and he found his.”

“You think they’re behind it?”

She frowned. “I wouldn’t have thought so,” she said, “but it would be hard to decide that without more information.”

“Any idea where we can find their offices?”

“As far as I know, they’ve all hit the ground, running in the opposite direction. Whatever the hell you guys did in England these last couple days has split them all up.”

“Or made it look like they’re split up,” Kano said.

She frowned and nodded. “You never really can tell,” she said. “They’re rats, all of them.”

“Interesting,” he murmured.

She glared at him. “You might not like me,” she said, “but you did almost become my son-in-law.”

“Maybe,” he said, “and you’re right. I don’t particularly like you.”

She laughed out loud at that. “Good thing,” she snapped, “because I would have taken off your head at some point in time. You hurt my daughter. That’s inexcusable.”

It was all Catherine could do to keep her mouth shut on that point.

Her mother looked at her and said, “You never did understand, did you?”

“I still don’t apparently,” she said. “Why would you have anything to do with Kano and me?”

“Because you were too innocent,” she said. “Somebody had to look after you.”

“That’s how you raised me,” she said.

“I did, but I didn’t expect you to be quite so …” And she left it hanging.

“So naïve?”

“Yes, that’s true. Naïve is a good way to describe it.”

She frowned at her mother. “I’m not that bad,” Catherine said.

“Not now,” she said. “You’re finally showing a bit of spine. But you’re still a long way off. You’re like a kitten with these little claws.”

The insult was blatant. Catherine wasn’t sure what was behind it, but she took it with a bright smile. “I see you’re as direct as always,” she said.

“It’s not as if you’ve had lunch or dinner with me in the last year, have you?”

“No, I haven’t,” she said, “but I don’t live here permanently either.”

“Yet Kano crooks his finger, and here you are,” she said snidely.

“You don’t know anything about the relationship that I have with Kano,” Catherine said coolly. “Or why I may have come. The fact remains, you never invited me.”

“I didn’t know you were in town, did I?”

At that, Catherine burst out with honest laughter.

“That is definitely a lie,” she said. “Dear Mother, you always keep track of where I am every moment in the day.”

Her mother glared at her. “You’re my daughter. What do you expect me to do?”

“I’m not sure,” she said. “You’ve never been a typical mother, so typical mother things don’t apply.”

“Maybe I can learn,” her mother said.

Was that a note of desperation? Catherine decided she’d imagined it. “I don’t think so,” she said. “You are who you are.”

“Damn right I am,” she said, “and the sooner you accept that, the better off everybody will be.”

“Interesting,” she said. “I didn’t think what I believed impacted you in any way,” she said.

“It doesn’t.” And, with a sneer, she looked at the guys. “I’ll send you an address,” she said. “It’s the last one I have for that group. I was keeping tabs on them to see how much trouble they could get into. If they had anything to do with Bullard, I don’t know about it.”

“Good enough,” Kano said.

DeeDee had finished her dinner, and, without a word, she stood, waved her hand, and said, “The least you can do is pay for my dinner.” At that, she turned and walked out.

Fallon muttered, “We intended to in the first place.”

Her mother laughed and disappeared from sight.

“It’s just my mother’s way to have a parting shot, so it makes her look in control,” Catherine murmured, setting her fork on her almost empty plate.

Kano looked at her in surprise.

She smiled a little sheepishly and said, “Yes, I’ve grown up.”

“Good,” he said, with feeling.

“You don’t have to make it sound that bad.”

He flushed in surprise.

She pivoted in her seat to face him. “I was young. I was naïve— make that stupid. I know,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of years trying to regain control of my life.”

“Sounds like you have,” he said.

She shrugged. “There was room.”

“Sure,” he said, “but just because there’s room doesn’t mean people are ready to make the change they need to.”

“And not everybody,” she said, “is capable of seeing the change that has to be made.”

He tilted his head, focused on Catherine’s eyes, her expression. “Sounds like you have come a long way. I’m glad for you,” he said, with a nod.

“What about you?”

He stared at her, nonplussed.

She smiled. “You never did know what to do with direct talk, did you?”

“I can talk directly with the best of them, but, once it comes to relationship stuff, it gets a whole lot more confusing.”

At that, she burst out laughing. “Not really,” she said. “It’s actually very, very simple.”

“No. No, it isn’t,” he said, “because, right now, you’re talking in circles, and I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.”

“I’m not trying to say anything,” she said, “but it was important to me— for my growth and for my future— that I let you know that I’m no longer the same innocent child that I was.”

“And, for that, I’m happy,” he said sincerely.

She smiled, nodded, and said, “I’m happy with my growth too.” She placed her napkin beside her plate. Then she stood, and both men stood at her side. She turned to Fallon. “It was nice meeting you, Fallon.”

“Likewise,” he murmured, and she also felt a certain sincerity in his words. Feeling triumphant, she quickly made good on her exit.
Dale Mayer. Kano’s Keep (Kindle Locations 359-428). Valley Publishing.

The dinner is just the starting point, there are still many unanswered questions.

Catherine’s profession also adds some interesting twists in this tale as the guys help her out. There’s plenty of attraction between her and Kano, but there’s also the problem of her mother.

With action, suspense, more than a little intrigue and a love that never really died, we get closer to the truth of what’s happened with Bullard.

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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