Shadow in the Mountain – Shadow SEALs Book 4 by KaLyn Cooper

Shadow in the Mountain
Shadow SEALs Book 4
USA Today Bestselling Author
KaLyn Cooper


Another mission into the shadows was the last place he wanted to be. Last time it ended his career. This time promises death or salvation.

Ryker Tufano has spent the last several months drowning his survivor’s guilt—and unexpected ejection from the Navy—in alcohol and self-loathing. His entire SEAL team, and his memory, were lost on their last mission. A phone call from the mysterious Charlie changes everything. It was all a lie.

When he discovers that his foster brother and SEAL teammate, Ajax, is alive, they must head back to Ethiopia to rescue the rest of their team.

Xena Riggs is angry with her bosses in Washington DC. They were willing to let an entire SEAL team be erased for their mistake…her mistake. Offered redemption and retribution if she helps two of Charlie’s newest employees, she jumps at the chance.

As Ryker follows his guide into the mountains of Ethiopia, he’s not sure if she’s Xena Warrior Princess, GI Jane, a wet dream…or walking him into an ambush.

Xena is having trouble keeping her heart out of this mission. Lust doesn’t belong in these mountains. If Xena survives this assignment without being captured and killed by the enemy, there’s a good chance Ryker will kill her himself once he discovers the truth.

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This book opens with Ryker Tufano growing impatient waiting for Charley to show. Instead he gets the shock of his life when his brother and teammate Axel walks in. They both believed the other to be dead along with the rest of their teammates. Neither of them can remember the events of that last mission having woken up in the hospital.

Serena, Charley’s assistant leads the meeting with Charley on the phone. When they realize they are going after their teammates there is no question they are in.

We get our first glimpse of Xena Riggs as she is trying to ascertain the location of the captive SEALs, quite an interesting scene as we meet part of her team.

Once back in Ethiopia Ajax, Ryker and Serena meet up with Xena. Ryker wants answers gets a bit condescending and Xena lets him have it. I do love strong women and Xena definitely qualifies in more ways than one.

I almost choked when I realized Xena would be teaming up with Ryker and seriously started to worry for his health and well being as I chuckled. Unfortunately they still haven’t found all of the SEALs, though Xena has folks looking for them.

They have to detour first to attend an Embassy dinner with Xena’s mother. Ryker would learn a lot at that dinner. The most fun starts the next morning at Xena’s family compound ‘Eden’.

This is a favorite scene.

Xena was so excited to see her father home and safe. She didn’t care how terrible he smelled. He’d been in the far western regions of the country tracking down Nebil Yared, the second most powerful rebel, who supposedly had ambushed and captured the Navy SEALs and still had four in his possession.

Giving her dad one last squeeze, she stepped back. “You have good news?”

“Yeah,” he said distractedly as his gaze swept the table, landing on her breakfast. He winced as though rejecting the local food.

“Professor Riggs,” Zala said with a broad smile as she entered the dining room with arms filled with plates. “I’ll bring your usual breakfast out in a moment.”

As she began to set plates in front of Ryker, his eyes got wider and wider. Eight slices of French toast were stacked nearly a foot high on one plate. Eight pancakes covered another. Four eggs, cooked exactly the way he’d requested, sat atop eight slices of perfectly toasted bread. The last dish was covered an inch thick in bacon.

“Ma’am. This all looks wonderful, but I apologize. I didn’t mean for you to make all of this food for me.” Ryker looked devastated by his mistake.

Xena, Clint, and Van burst out laughing.

“You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you?” Ryker glared at her, making her laugh even harder.

All Xena could do was nod her head up and down.

Ryker looked to Zala. “Ma’am, thank you for going to all the trouble—”

“Stop right there, son, before you upset the best cook in Western Ethiopia.” Her father then spoke in Oromo, Zala’s native language. He thanked her for the excellent meal she had prepared and asked her to bring him only fruit and juice.

“Yes, professor. I’ll bring that right away.” Zala spun on her heel and strode from the room.

Getting herself under control, Xena finally explained. “Zala comes across as fluent in English but in truth, knows very few words. She understood all the breakfast items and made them for you.” She gestured to the plates of food.

“And since I saved your sorry ass, I’ll take that French toast. I’ve been thinking about Zala’s breakfast ever since yesterday morning.” Her father grabbed the plate and slid it to the other side of the table where he sat beside Clint. He picked up his son’s silverware and started cutting off pieces.

“Good thing Mom didn’t see you do that.” Van got up and poured himself another cup of coffee.

“Your mother would cringe at what I’ve eaten, and the way I’ve eaten, for the past week. Most of my meals were devoured at the tip of my Bowie knife. Nobody up in the damned mountains knows how to make decent injera.” He shoved a huge forkful into his mouth, then closed his eyes, moaning as he chewed.

When his eyes opened, his gaze immediately went to Xena. With a small tilt of his head toward Ryker, his eyebrows raised. “Please tell me you didn’t bring him home from the party last night.”

She knew exactly what her father meant, but as a grown woman, she loved to torment him. She pasted on a guilty smile. “Actually, I did.” She grabbed Ryker’s hand and interwove her fingers with his. “He’s such a great boyfriend, and Mom likes him. Since I was heading here to Eden, I brought him along.” She tried to affect a dreamy gaze at Ryker— while trying to hold in a laugh at the terror in her dad’s tired eyes.

Her father swallowed hard. He then set down his silverware and gathered himself. “You haven’t brought a boyfriend here since your ship was stationed in the Indian Ocean. This must be serious.” The older man wiped his hands on a napkin and stood, extending the right one across the table. “Adam Riggs. It’s a pleasure—”

Xena couldn’t hold it in any longer. She burst out laughing. “Daddy, this is Ryker Tufano. He’s not my boyfriend, although he played the part very well last night at the embassy party. He’s our new mission, from Charley.”

Ryker immediately stood and grabbed her father’s hand. “Sir, I assure you, nothing is going on between your daughter and me. I’m here to rescue the remaining members of my SEAL squad and that’s all.”

Disappointment ran through Xena. She had thought perhaps the kiss last night might be the start of something mutually beneficial. Then, when he’d appeared at her door in the middle of the night wearing nothing but low-slung sweats, she’d started to hope that Ryker might be interested in her body, at least. It had been a long time since she’d taken a man to her bed.

Her father sat back down at the table and dug into the French toast and bacon, consuming his breakfast almost as quickly as Ryker. Xena knew her father hated talking business during a meal, so she made small talk with her brothers.

Once her father pushed back from the table, that was her cue that he was done. “So, Daddy, you said you had good news.”

“I do.” Her father got up and poured himself another cup of coffee. “Over the past week, I’ve met with several rebel groups under the guise of selling them guns and ammo… for gold.” He smiled at her before he sipped. “Thank you for that insider information. I’m still not sure where they’re getting the gold, but I did get to see some of it. I’m quite sure if Neberu knew about it, anyone involved with the mining operation would be dead. As near as I can tell, it’s coming from an old mine north of Dembi.”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake, please don’t tell me they’re talking about the Queen of Sheba mine.” Clint downed the last of his coffee and got up for more.

“What’s the Queen of Sheba mine?” Ryker asked.

Xena knew the way her father answered questions, like the professor that he was. He couldn’t simply give her the name of the town or village. No. He had to first tell the entire story behind the answer.

Before her father could start a six-thousand-year history lesson, she quickly explained, “The oldest gold mine in existence is still producing near the Sudanese border. Oral history claims that it was the key source of gold for the ancient Egyptian Empire. Daddy has even found gold artifacts dating back six thousand years that chemically match the ore still being dug up over there. About ten years ago, a metallurgist matched the gold to that given by the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon of Israel three thousand years ago.”

“Wow,” was all Ryker said.

Detailed history lesson averted. Xena grinned with pride as she glanced toward each of her brothers. “Now, Daddy, I believe you were about to tell us where Ryker’s teammates are being held hostage.”

“Oh, yes. I followed leads all through the mountains for a fucking week. Thank God almost everybody knew the name Digger. Most were happy to tell me about the rebels, hoping that I would sell them better arms or begging me not to provide them with any guns and ammo. The government really doesn’t do anything for those people.”

Ryker often shifted in his seat, anxious for the location. She reached under the table to pat his thigh, just as he repositioned himself. Her hand slid dangerously close to his cock.

Their eyes met.

She hoped the look on her face said I’m sorry rather than I’m interested in what’s behind your zipper. To reinforce her unsaid message, she patted his leg closer to his knee.

“I spent last night in Metu Zuria where a farmer swore they’re in the foothills about ten miles south of Gore. They had been to Mettu University trying to recruit young men into the cause.” Her father had finally given them the location.

“That area is surrounded by small farms that have been hit pretty hard this last year by the drought,” Blade announced as he headed to the corner for coffee. “I could land a bird two clicks away and the rebels would never know it.” When he glanced at Xena, she snapped her hand away from Ryker’s leg. She didn’t need him making assumptions.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ryker’s glance bounce between her and Blade. What the hell was that about?

“You volunteering to fly in a team tonight?” Adam Riggs asked. Blade shrugged. “Sure. We should take Dell. He wants to play with his new drones. They can give us a heads up before we walk into a pile of shit.”

Her father looked at her. “Roll your team out at midnight. That puts you on location around two. Recon only.”

“I’ll take the Poseidon up and do a few flyovers as soon as it gets dark.” Van loved flying the newer Boeing P-8 reconnaissance plane with more gadgets and spy gear than analysts back at Langley would be able to analyze and comprehend within a year.

Although she really appreciated his offer, all she said was, “Thanks.” She didn’t want him to think it was that big of a deal because he would hold it over her head the next time he wanted something from her. Sibling rivalry was abundant in the Riggs family.
KaLyn Cooper. Shadow in the Mountain: Shadow SEALs Book #4 (Kindle Locations 1169-1238). Black Swan.

There’s a lot of tension as they get closer to the deadline for finding the SEALs and find they’ve been moved yet again. They Axel’s team and theirs have to strike at the same time or all would be lost.

Between Xena’s brothers, her team, and surprise visitors, there is plenty of suspense, action and the sizzling romance with Xena and Ryker I couldn’t put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!

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KaLyn Cooper KaLyn Cooper

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

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

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

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Broken Bonds – The Bonds That Tie Book 1 by J. Bree

Broken Bonds
The Bonds That Tie Book 1
J. Bree


After the death of my mother and her Bonded, I was relieved to find my own Bonds.

I was sure everything would be okay if I had them.

It wasn’t.

The fate of our people is in my hands and I know we’re better off if I’m alone.

After five years on the run, I’m caught and dragged back to face the men I ran away from.

I thought I was doing the right thing.

Now, I’m not so sure.

North, Nox, Gryphon, Atlas, and Gabe may never forgive me but one thing is for sure.

I won’t ever forgive myself.

In the prologue we learn of Oleander’s parent’s death and her subsequent power surge, we don’t know what that power is or the immediate aftermath.

We jump to the present and discover that Oleander has been running from her bonds and has been taken by a Tactical Response Team and brought to an interrogation room. There she’s implanted with a GPS tracker and given a file on her bonds. The five men she’s destined to spend her life with. An unusual thing about the file is that none of their gifts are listed. She’s buried her own gift deep inside as well as the ever present bond.

After being taken to clean up some, four of her bonds arrive. Gryphon, Gabriel and the brothers North and Nox. From the start I don’t like either of the brothers. North is a councilman and is responsible for the GPS tracker. He is the one who will set all the rules for her. Gryphon and Gabriel want to know why and are really pissed off, Nox is disgusted and thinks he’s owed something, and North, well he’s just an arse.

Next up is her enrollment at Draven University and her dorm assignment. The surprise and annoyance that she dropped out of high school, exhibited by North, actually made me giggle. The man is clueless as to the way things work outside of his world.

Her bond, Gabe is assigned to most of her classes and escorts her to breakfast daily. She’s been ostracized by the rest of the students for rejecting and running from her bonds. Plus the fact that North and Nox rule the campus, although Gabe has quite the following as well. She does make a friend though, Sage. Sage’s bond Riley prefers his other bonded Giovanna and makes sure everyone knows it.

Nox’s class is going to be bad as he lets it be known she’s worthless and he doesn’t expect her to pass. Then there’s Tactical Training, Gabe is in that class and Gryphon is an instructor but pretty much ignores her. Vivian is in charge and he begins her first day with things to evaluate where her fitness level is. To say Oli isn’t happy is an understatement. Less so when they do an obstacle course.

Then things get worse with Nox’s class where he makes sure everyone knows she’s worthless. However things do look up a bit that night.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

Sage invites me to go back to her dorm room to study, but when I check the location on my phone, it’s outside of the perimeter North gave me and there’s no way I want to deal with that asshole today. Not after his dick brother just shamed me in front of half the fucking freshman class.


I can’t think about it without feeling that special sort of rage that means my ability wants to come out to play and that can’t fucking happen. I do let myself think about it though, for like a second. Just to burn off the rage a little.

So instead, I head back to my own dorm room to… sit and fucking mope, really. In the light of day, the room looks even more bleak. Bare walls, empty cupboards, and the shittiest bed known to man. For real, I’ve slept in homeless shelters with better mattresses, and the blankets are a scratchy nightmare.

I also only have about eight dollars to my name, so buying new shit isn’t in the budget.

I unpack my bags and go through what little clothing I have left. There’s a little makeup and three pairs of shoes. Not great, shoes are kind of my life and the Tactical Team left behind a pair of leather ankle boots that were the greatest thrift shop find of my life. I refuse to admit how much that loss hurts me.

There may be tears.

Then I spend a few hours on my phone researching jobs that fit into the perimeter North gave me, but none of the hours work with his stupid curfew. Looks like earning money is out and I’m stuck in this shitty room the way it is.

Fuck my life.

Even on the run, I managed to find little pieces of art and trinkets to cute up my spaces. I had a car too. I’ll have to talk to North about it because it’s registered in my name and I don’t need to be racking up tickets for abandoning it.

Fuck, if only I could get my car back. The real problem here is the killer GPS chip. If I could get it out then I’ll be out of this place on the next bus…or, hell, I’ll hitchhike my way to the East coast. Or maybe Canada. I’d need a passport for that.


Eventually it gets dark outside and I get bored enough in my shitty little room to get ready for bed. The showers at the dorms are a special sort of hell thanks to all of the whispers and gossip, but it doesn’t take much brain function to realize that there are times of the day when this place is a ghost town and I use that to my advantage.

I’m drying off my hair in my room when my phone pings with a text.


Only Sage has my number and she’s at work right now. She’s already given me a basic rundown of what her week looks like so we can find time to study together. I steel myself for whichever one of my Bonds is starting a whole new campaign of hate against me, because I’m sure North gave them all my number, but when I check it, I find a message from my last Bond, the one who’s been missing so far.

I slump down on the bed as I read his text once, twice, eight times.


I think we should meet here first. The name is Atlas Bassinger, and I live on the other side of the country. I’m finishing out the semester and then coming to you, my college wouldn’t let me transfer mid-unit, otherwise I’d be there now. Hope you can understand that.

Oh God, I think he’s asking me for forgiveness for not dropping everything and coming to me. Me! I stare at my phone for a another second before replying, trying to find the words to tell him I’m the worst fucking option for him.

Have you spoken to the other guys? I’m sure they have plenty to say about why you don’t need to drop everything to come to me.

His reply is much faster.

I don’t give a fuck about their opinions on my Bond. I spoke to them when my bloodwork came back and they told me you ran. I’m not a dumbass like the rest of them, you ran because you had to. I know it. I’ll be there as soon as I can and if that isn’t fast enough for you, I’ll come now and start the semester over again.

My stomach drops. I drop the towel I was drying my hair with to the ground and focus entirely on my phone.

You can’t do that! I made you wait for long enough and, honestly, I’m still not too keen on sticking around.

I could cry, just fucking sob at my phone at this tiny scrap of kindness, but that might just break the dam inside me and at this point, I’m a freaking expert at compartmentalizing my own trauma. I hesitate when my phone pings again in my hand, then take a deep breath and look.

Introduce yourself, Bond. I don’t want to talk about anything but you and I. That’s what’s going to get me through the next two months.

I swallow. What’s a little honesty going to hurt? I can tell him enough that he doesn’t hate me but not enough to put either of us in danger. Also, the text messages help me to be a little more honest than I usually am, like the fact that he’s thousands of miles away means that nothing I say here really… matters I guess. All of it is future Oli’s problem and, fuck it, I really don’t want to think about her right now because with any luck, I’ll be gone before he makes it here. I’ve always been more of a live-in-the-moment person.

You have to be when you’re running for your life.

There’s nothing really to say about me. My name is Oleander Fallows, I’m nineteen, and I don’t want to be here. I was found by a TacTeam and the Council had them bring me back here. They’ve put GPS trackers in me now, so there’s no way for me to leave here. Yet.

The text had barely shown up as delivered when the phone rang. Oh God. I stare at it for a second and then, with a shaking hand, answer his call.

“Hey, what do you mean a GPS tracker?”

His voice is like warm honey, all liquid and soothing. I try to keep my own voice calm but it’s a trying situation to be in. Fuck, why did I say anything to him? What exactly was I expecting?

I clear my throat. “The Council held me down and implanted a GPS tracker under my skin while I struggled. Well, I would have struggled if the Gifted in the room hadn’t paralyzed me. It’s got some safeguard on it so I can’t just dig it out myself. Apparently, one of my other Bonds is a very important man and I’ve pissed him off enough to have my autonomy taken from me.”

There’s a beat of silence and then he says, “I’ll come now, fuck my college classes.”

My cheeks heat up. “It’s my own doing. I ran. They won’t ever let me forget that either. Fuck, I’d probably hate me too if I were them.”

He grunts and I hear him rummaging around in the background. I pray he’s not looking for, like, car keys or a laptop to buy plane tickets. “You had a reason though, right? You didn’t just leave for the fun of it.”

I scoff. “How exactly can you be so sure of that? I could be a total asshole here.”

He scoffs back at me and I imagine a wry grin on his face. I mean, I have no clue what he looks like, other than the tiny little photo on the file North had given me, but there’s something in his tone that tells me he’s full of smugness and flirting right now. “Don’t try to distract me, Bond. There’s no way you were leaving me behind, not on purpose.”

His calm and unwavering belief in me knocks me off of my feet and I slump on my bed. “That’s pretty arrogant of you to assume, I might just be a total fucking bitch. Fuck, it doesn’t matter anyway. I can’t talk about any of it, no matter how nice you are.”

He grunts down the line at me. “Okay, fuck this, I’m booking a flight right now.”

I squeeze my eyes shut. “You can’t, they’ll only hold that against me as well. Just… maybe we can just call and text sometimes? It would be nice to talk to someone who doesn’t… hate me, I guess.”

He chuckles down the phone and my knees go weak. “Yeah, I’d like to get to know my Bond. This way we can do it without all of the sex getting in the way, though I have to admit, I’m a lot happier knowing I’m not the only one missing out. I’d rather they all stay pissed at you so I can taste you first.”


Well, isn’t that just great?

Too bad exactly none of them can taste me.

Not ever.

Not without risking everything I ran away to keep safe.
Bree, J. Broken Bonds (The Bonds that Tie Book 1). Kindle Locations (513-576). Kindle Edition.

I fell in love with Atlas right from his first text and my opinion doesn’t change with regard to him.

Gabe on the other hand starts off as a jerk but worms his way into my heart, and Gryphon does something that has me wanting her to bond with him right away as does Atlas. North doesn’t nothing to redeem himself in my eyes and Nox should just find another bond as far as I’m concerned.

When we find out Oli’s power it shocks everyone, although we still don’t know details about her and the resistance. Yes it’s a cliff hanger but the next book isn’t that far off.

There’s fun, snark, action, laughter and tears and plenty of sexual tension.

I can’t wait for the next book, I have sooo many questions!!!

5 Contented Purrs for J!

Coming Soon!

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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Trusting Molly – Silverstone Book 3 By Susan Stoker

Trusting Molly
Silverstone Book 3
NY Times, Wall Street Journal &
USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


When Mark “Smoke” Chamberlin ventures into the Nigerian jungle with his team of government assassins, his mission is clear: get in, kill the target, and make it out alive. With his extensive military experience, Smoke has no problem heading into dangerous territory. When it comes to love, though, he’s always been a little wary. But then he meets the beautiful, intrepid Molly Smith.

Schoolteacher Molly has been trying to outrun a lifetime of bad luck, and now she finds herself kidnapped along with a hundred schoolgirls in the jungle. But when Smoke finds them, Molly thinks her luck might be turning around—until she returns to the US to find her beloved grandparents murdered.

Devastated by their deaths and mystified by the turn of events, Molly turns to Smoke for comfort. But as Molly and Smoke grow closer, a different threat emerges…one that will put their relationship to the test and their lives in grave danger.

Mark “Smoke” Chamberlin and his team finally found the camp of the Boko Haram group that kidnapped seventy two young girls from their school. The leader needs to be taken out and the girls rescued, hopefully they’d find the American Environmental Engineer with these girls. Molly Smith was visiting the school when the attack happened. As they worked out their plan they scanned the area but don’t see Molly. They are pretty sure she’d been killed and dumped in the jungle since she wasn’t a child, they’d really like to confirm that one way or another. No one was looking for her, her grandparents died in a fire not long ago and her company pulled everyone out of Nigeria after the attack. Waiting was difficult for the Silverstone crew, but they need to wait for the Nigerian Security Forces. There were too many terrorists for them to handle on top of their mission to kill Abubakar Shekau.

Molly had managed to cause trouble early in their captivity and was now in a hole dug into the jungle floor. She knew her time was running out, the water that had been at the bottom of the hole was dried up and further digging didn’t find more. She wouldn’t be able to survive without water. In a twist of fate it started to rain that evening, and Molly was grateful for it. She had no idea what was going to happen next.

Smoke was more than a little surprised to fall into a hole, and more so to discover Molly there. He has to leave her to help his team, but he promises to return and leaves his pack with her.

This is one of my favorite scenes.

“You said you found Molly?” Gramps asked.

“Yeah. I need to go back to her,” Smoke said. He turned and headed behind one of the large tents, straight toward the hole where she was being held. His teammates followed close behind. Smoke knew he should be paying attention to the jungle around him, as it was more than likely some of the terrorists had fled into the dense foliage, but his eyes were glued to the ground.

The hole wasn’t exactly hidden. Her captors hadn’t tried to camouflage it.

“Holy shit, are you fucking kidding me?” Bull asked as they neared Molly’s prison.

“Please tell me she’s not in there,” Eagle added.

“Assholes,” Gramps threw in for good measure.

Smoke didn’t blame his friends for their reactions. They’d seen many of the horrible things one human could do to another during their stint in the Army and as Silverstone. They definitely hated to see anyone, especially a woman, put into a hole and left to rot.

Lifting the strap of his rifle over his head and shoulders, Smoke got down on his hands and knees and crawled the remaining few feet to the hole. He didn’t want to risk any debris falling in on Molly.

He peered over the edge—and blinked in surprise. Molly had obviously been through his pack, as she was now wearing one of his extra T-shirts. She’d tied it in a knot at her waist, and he could also see the ends of the rope he’d told her to use as a belt dangling down her legs. She was sitting on his pack, and her head was resting on the dirt wall behind her. Her eyes were closed . . . and she looked as if she was sound asleep.

“Molly?” Smoke called out.

She jerked as if he’d bellowed her name right into her ear, losing her balance and falling off his pack and into the mud at the bottom of the hole.

“I’m here!” she called, then looked up. “Are you all right?”

Smoke frowned. She was asking him if he was okay? Admiration bloomed in his chest. “I’m good. You want to get out of there?”

“Yes!” she practically shouted as she stood up.

“There should be a makeshift ladder somewhere in camp. That’s how I got in here, and how the assholes who kidnapped me got me out whenever they wanted to make a point.”

Smoke didn’t like the sound of that, but he let it go for now. “No need for a ladder,” he told her. “Can you scoot over until your back is against the wall?”

She looked confused but immediately did as he asked. Smoke turned to look at his teammates. “I’m going down. I’ll give her a boost up, then I’ll need a hand.”

“Of course,” Gramps said, shrugging off his own pack and getting ready to assist.

“I’m coming down,” Smoke warned Molly.

“What? No, wait—”

But Smoke was already moving. He sat on the edge of the hole, then hopped back down into the pit.

“I don’t know whether to be impressed or pissed that you make that look so easy,” Molly complained.

Smoke grinned, then ran his gaze over her, assessing. She looked rough. There was no denying that. But then again, so did he. He hadn’t shaved in a month, and other than using a washcloth to clean himself, he hadn’t had a real bath in that same amount of time. He and his team had been scouring the jungle for any signs of Boko Haram and the kidnapped girls. While they’d had the option to stay in a few small villages, they’d decided to rough it instead, just in case they came across any Boko Haram sympathizers.

But he hadn’t been starved. Hadn’t literally slept in the dirt. He’d washed his clothes in a couple of the small streams they’d come across, and he’d had plenty of water, thanks to the filters and purification tablets he and the others carried.

Molly hadn’t had any of that. He had no idea how long she’d been kept in this hole, though it was obvious it had been more than a day or two. But amazingly, she stood in front of him right now, upright and unwavering.

If Smoke was being honest with himself, he was a little bit intimidated by her strength.

“You ready to get out of here?”

“Yes.” Her answer was short, but the emotion behind that one word was clear.

“Right. My friends will help you at the top, all you have to do is put your foot in my hands, and I’ll lift you. Easy peasy. You ready?”

Molly looked up and saw Bull, Eagle, and Gramps standing at the top, waiting to help her. Then she looked back at him.
“Am I allowed to ask what your name is?” she asked quietly.

“Shit. I haven’t even introduced myself to you. Wow, is that rude. I’m Mark Chamberlin. But everyone calls me Smoke.” He held out his hand.

“I’m Molly,” she said politely as she shook his hand. “It’s very nice to meet you.”

Smoke held on to her hand for a beat, then squeezed it gently before letting go. He interlaced his fingers together and leaned over. “Put your foot here,” he told her, gesturing to his hands with his head.

She put her hand on his shoulder to steady herself, then placed her tiny bare foot into his hands trustingly. Moving slowly so as to not startle her, Smoke stood as Molly walked her hands up the side of the hole, and the second she was within reach, his teammates took hold of her arms and pulled her up and out of her prison without fanfare.

Once she was out, Smoke picked up his pack and shrugged it on. Then he held up a hand, and Gramps grabbed hold. Within seconds, he, too, was standing beside the hole.

“Well, that was almost a little anticlimactic,” Molly said, running a hand uneasily over her hair.

“Trust us, anticlimactic is good,” Gramps said. “We prefer things to be unexciting, if possible. I’m Gramps.”

Molly looked up at him. “I think you’re taller than that hole I was in,” she noted as she shook his hand.

He smiled back at her but didn’t comment.

“I’m Eagle,” Eagle said, as he extended his hand.

Bull then introduced himself, and Molly smiled at them all. “And I’m Molly, but I’m guessing you all knew that.”

Everyone nodded. “We’re very glad to see you alive and well,” Eagle told her.

“Well . . . alive. I’m not sure about well,” Molly quipped.

“You’re sick?” Smoke asked, concern lacing his voice.

She shrugged. “I just meant that I’m a little worse for wear.”

Smoke knew he should’ve relaxed at her explanation, but he couldn’t seem to. Why he felt so bothered by her discomfort about the way she looked, he had no idea.
Stoker, Susan. Trusting Molly (Silverstone). Kindle Locations (429-487). Montlake. Kindle Edition.

The original plan was for Molly to go with the other girls, but that changes as soon as they see how the girls treat her. Blaming her for their kidnapping. The fact Molly considers herself bad luck is something the guys especially Smoke want to change her mind about.

They take their time getting back to their truck and on the way they tell Molly about her grandparents. They also learn about Molly’s ex who was her reason for taking the overseas assignment.

I love the Silverstone team. The relationship that develops with Smoke and Molly is a simmer to sizzle one as they work through all the issues to keep Molly safe.

I couldn’t put this book down!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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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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Adrift – Kill Devil Hills Book 3 By Kaylea Cross

Kill Devil Hills Book 3
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Kaylea Cross



As Hollywood’s newest darling, Becca Sandoza is vigilant about guarding the image and reputation she’s so carefully created. Her career has allowed her to escape her past, but her newfound fame turns out to be a sharp double-edged sword. The nightmare she’s been trying to escape for twenty years has resurfaced. The man responsible knows all her secrets, and his silence comes at a heavy price. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep the past buried and protect the person she cares about most. But when it seems like she’s trapped with no way out, Becca finally turns to the one man she can trust—the one man capable of making her body burn and her heart ache with a yearning she’s never felt before.


Chase Davenport took everything he learned as a Marine Corps combat veteran and is now a sought-after stuntman. Hollywood is every bit as competitive and unpredictable as he expected, but the biggest surprise so far is Becca Sandoza. She’s got a reputation as an ice queen with the media, but it’s clear to him that’s only a mask she puts on to protect herself. Behind the scenes she’s down to earth, kind, and just being around her brings out all his protective instincts. So when she comes to him for help with a dangerous situation, he steps up. She might be totally out of his league, but the more time they spend together, it quickly becomes clear there’s more between them than scorching chemistry. And when the threat suddenly escalates with no warning, Chase will do anything to save her—no matter the cost.

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From the beginning of this book we learn that Becca Sandoza has a major problem. She’s being blackmailed and sees no possible way out of it. Her blackmailer Rick knows secrets of her past and she’s not letting them out, ever. We also get a glimpse of the relationship she has with her mother at the beginning and the bond there is undeniable. She doesn’t have to be on set for the stunt chase but she couldn’t help herself. There’s just something about her co-star’s stunt man that attracts her and it’s not just his good looks.

Chase Davenport and his best friend Ryder are doing a really intense chase scene. It’s the cumulation of much planning and and practice. You can feel the intensity as they go through the scene with the stops and starts to get all the angles. Then with climax with Chase bursting into flames. I swear I was holding my breath.

With Becca’s co-star leaving to start a new project Chase has more scenes with her. One in particular reveals more to Chase than Becca realizes. Her past comes flying back to her as they do that final take. The emotions that flood her have her fleeing after the wrap, but she does seek Chase out later.

We meet Becca’s mother and I really loved the strength she imparts to Becca, the courage to go after what she wants. It was her mother who convinces her to go visit Chase, let him know how she feels.

This is a favorite scene after she arrives at Chase’s home and following dinner with his family.

It gave her pause and made her wonder. Was it better to have experienced that love and security and then lose it? Or was it best to never experience it at all?

She wasn’t sure which caused less damage to a child, but it underscored an important point. Chase and her had something else in common—childhood trauma and loss. “I don’t know who my dad is.”


That was it. No stunned silence, no shocked exclamation or a barrage of questions. Just calm acceptance.

The invisible knots that had been tightening in her stomach eased. She turned to face him, trying to remember all the reasons why she shouldn’t go straddle his lap and wrap herself around him right now. That hard, powerful body under her while she kissed that sexy mouth, poised, ready to take over.

A shiver sped through her. She crossed her arms over her chest and glanced out the window, trying to rein in that train of thought. “It’s gorgeous out. Can we go sit on the dock for a while?”


He led her outside into the warm, balmy evening air. The cicadas were already singing, the deep blue western horizon across the water was edged with a thin line of orange as they walked to the end of the dock and sat on the deck chairs waiting there.

The water slid past with barely a ripple disturbing the surface, reflecting the stars winking to life overhead. She’d often thought about Chase’s home over the past few months, wondering what it was like. It suited him perfectly.

She settled back with her water bottle, pulled in a deep breath and sighed, letting the peace flow over her. “This is heaven back here.”

He shot her a sideways glanced and grinned. “Okay. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s not like what you must be used to in LA.”

He’d be surprised about that. “I’m serious. It’s private, gorgeous, and you just…belong here. I don’t feel that way about LA anymore.”

“This is home,” he said simply. “I miss it when I’m gone for long stretches. Well, mostly I miss my family. But I love my job and the traveling I get to do because of it. What do you mean you don’t feel that way anymore? I thought you loved LA.”

It felt comfortable to be alone with him like this. No pressure, no ulterior motives. He wasn’t trying to get her into bed, or angling for a favor or introduction to someone. He simply allowed her to be.

He would never know how great a gift that was for her.

“I used to. But since I became ‘famous,’” she said, using air quotes, “it’s different. And someone tried to break into my place the other night.”

His expression darkened. “Were you home?”

“Yes. The alarm scared the intruder off, and one of my neighbors ran over to check on me. The police couldn’t ID the suspect, and the whole incident made me feel…violated in a way.”

“I’m glad you’re okay. Is that why you came out to see your mom?”


He nodded. “Are you getting a security upgrade?”

“Yes.” Not that she could afford it right now. Her agent was currently trying to find her a few smaller projects to work on before her next shoot, to generate some cash. “Anyway, can we talk about something else?”

He watched her for a moment, then relented and eased back in his chair. “Sure.”

They talked until the moon rose and the sky turned a deep, midnight blue, a cascade of stars winking down at them. So many compared to what the light and smog-polluted skies in LA allowed her to see.

They shared stories about the film industry. How she got started in TV. He laughed out loud when she told him a funny story about an audition gone wrong when she was first starting out, the sound so perfect that warmth pooled low in her belly.

He seemed so real. Was he just an illusion? Could he really be as genuine as he seemed?

It was hard for her to trust people. To let them in. She’d learned to protect herself that way a long time ago, and Hollywood had reinforced that lesson. She didn’t want to find out Chase had fooled her too.

She loved every second of this precious, stolen time with him and dreaded the thought of it coming to an end. But when she failed to smother a yawn convincingly, convincingly, he sat up. “Come on, time to turn in before you fall asleep on me.”

She got up just as he reached her chair. Instead of pulling her close or leaning in for a kiss, he walked past her into the house.

She followed, surprised by the surge of disappointment, and berated herself. He’d made it clear he wasn’t going to make a move and after what she’d done, she couldn’t blame him. And it wasn’t fair to go down that road with him again anyway.

She’d seen the way he was with his family, with Ryder. He was loyal, caring, and everything she knew about him said he was into commitment. She couldn’t give him anything resembling a normal relationship. Better to leave it alone, no matter how much she wished it could be different.

Upstairs he got her clean towels and showed her to the guest room. It warmed her insides how he took care of her. He hid it well, but the look in his eyes told her he still wanted her.

Not that he said or did anything about it. Even though they were alone. Even though she’d walked out on him that night, and even though he could have made things awkward between them because of it. In fact, he was doing everything possible to make it the opposite of awkward.

Another wave of longing hit her, so strong it made her chest hurt. She was sick of not being able to have a normal life. Of the world seeing her as some kind of sex object. Of people assuming she was a stuck-up bitch just because she valued and guarded her privacy.

She wanted a man to accept her for who she was. She wanted to be loved for who she truly was, and couldn’t bear to be hurt or betrayed and have her heart broken by someone she trusted. Especially not Chase. She couldn’t handle that.

The urge to go to him intensified. But no. She wouldn’t risk hurting or confusing him any more than she already had.

So she laid in the double bed and curled up on her side, fighting the sting of tears. Chase was the only man she’d ever trusted. And she couldn’t afford to lose the only real friend she had.
Cross, Kaylea. Adrift (Kill Devil Hills Book 3). Kindle Locations (1565-1618) Kaylea Cross Inc. . Kindle Edition.

Becca has much fear to overcome and Chase is relentless in pursuing the truth. Things get more than just a little hairy as Becca’s blackmailer, Rick gets more desperate.

I love this family, the Outerbanks and Kill Devil Hills. The sizzle between Becca and Chase is palpable but the trust has to come first.

I couldn’t put this book down, it’s the perfect wrap up to the trilogy.

5 Contented Purrs for Kaylea!

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Kaylea Cross

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

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Hot SEAL, Sweet & Spicy – SEALs In Paradise – Holiday Edition Book 7 By Cynthia D’Alba

Hot SEAL, Sweet & Spicy
SEALs In Paradise
Holiday Edition Book 7
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cynthia D’Alba


Ex-Navy SEAL Eli Miller is headed back to the family ranch after seventeen years of service. Starting over is tough, especially when he doesn’t know if he wants to be a cowboy again.

No one deserves a year like Addison Treadway has experienced. She’s faced an unfaithful husband, divorce, breast cancer, and major surgery. She needs time to regroup and heal. When her friend offers her a no-strings apartment on a horse ranch in Montana, it’s impossible to say no.

A year ago, Eli Miller and Addison Treadway had a one-night fling that left both of them with regret and unresolved conflicts. Neither expected to see the other again. Fate had other plans.

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Eli ‘Wolf’ Miller is leaving his team, retiring to go home to his family ranch. His parents are spending half the year in Florida and his brother can use the help. The journey home is uneventful and although it’s not that late when he arrives, it’s long past bedtime for ranchers whose days start at the crack of dawn. He knows where the key is to the apartment he’ll be staying in so decides to just settle in for the night. He just grabs a beer from the fridge when he gets the shock of his life. Addison Treadway in his apartment, the woman he was falling in love with at Zane and Wendy’s wedding. He walked away after a phone call from ‘her husband’.

Addison only knows Eli walked away from her without a word. She has no idea what happened and she had far more important things to deal with, heartbreak was at the bottom of that list as she went through surgery, chemo and more. Wendy is her surgeon and she’s recuperating at the ranch. It’s truly a good place to be with fresh air and quiet, now that’s all disappearing with Eli’s presence.

Eli confronts her, well sort of and gets yelled at by his mother, then thinks he hears Addison crying when he goes to collect his laundry. He can’t stand that he made her cry and knows he needs to make amends.

This is part of that conversation and a favorite scene.

Now, realizing all she’d been through since they’d last seen each other, he felt like an ass for jumping down her throat, which only added to how horrible he felt about walking out eight months ago.

It might have been nice if his brother had clued him in. Yeah, he put having a long talk with his brother and the rest of his closed-mouthed family high on his to-do list.

“Listen, I really have to apologize for walking out last November. What I did, walking out and ghosting you, is unforgivable. I know that. I’m ashamed of how I reacted. Ashamed, embarrassed, and furious with myself. I’ve thought about that weekend almost nonstop. I know the cancer made the past year incredibly difficult, and my being an ass then and this morning didn’t help. You have to know that’s not me.” He ran his hand down his face. “Let me try to make it up to you. What can I do? How can I help?”

“While I appreciate your apology, you hurt me deeply. You have to know that.”

His head drooped, and then he looked up at her. “I’m sorry. I really didn’t know about your ex. I don’t think we spent that much time talking.” His voice was so sincere, sincere, it was hard to hold on to the grudge she’d carried around.

She chuckled. “Nope. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other.”

He grinned. “You were the sexiest woman I’d ever laid my eyes on.” His eyes grew serious. “And I am so very sorry. How can I make up for my past bad actions?”

“Honestly, there’s nothing I need. I’m doing great. Wendy is an excellent surgeon, and my incisions are healing nicely.”

“Wait. Wendy? That’s why you’re here? Wendy did your surgery?”

“Well, Risa, her sister, is a big deal breast cancer doctor and researcher in Dallas. Did you know that?”

He shook his head. His brain whirled from all the new, and surprising, information he was trying to absorb. Cancer. Mastectomy. A bastard of an ex. Now, his sister-in-law did Addison’s surgery? He was surprised the top of his head didn’t fly off. His brother had a lot of explaining to do.

“I was lucky that Risa squeezed me into her schedule and served as my primary cancer physician, coordinating my chemotherapy with an oncologist as well as doing my mastectomy. I had a plastic surgeon lined up to do the reconstruction, but—you’re never going to believe this—his wife shot him for having an affair with his nurse.”

“You have got to be kidding.”

“I’m not. She didn’t kill him, and last I heard, they were trying to work out their differences, but trust me when I say, the last thing I needed was more drama in my life.”

He rolled his eyes with a snort. “Work out their differences? Yikes. Sorry, but if my wife shot me, that would be a bridge too far.”

She grinned. “Me, too. Anyway, Risa called Wendy and twisted her arm to do my breast reconstruction. I don’t know if Zane mentioned it, but Wendy was one of the most respected plastics reconstruction surgeons in Dallas.”

“I didn’t know that. I mean, sure, I knew she was a doctor, but Zane never mentioned what kind, and I didn’t ask.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I was in my own little world out there in California. I’m glad she was able to help you.”

“So, that’s how my year has been.”

“File it under memorable, but let’s not repeat?”


“So, I’ll ask again. What can I do to help you or make amends for adding to your personal drama?”

Her gaze was steady. “Honestly, treat me normal. As much as you pissed me off out there on the patio, that’s the first time anyone hasn’t treated me with kid gloves.” She smiled. “I miss being normal.”

He nodded, his expression solemn. “Normal, it is then. I hate I wasn’t there for you this past year as a friend, as support.” He shook his head. “Again, I am so sorry. I handled the whole situation horribly.”

“That’s Denis’s fault, not yours.” She squinted at him. “On the other hand, if you’d just talked to me…”

Holding up his hands in surrender, he said, “I know, I know. I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, but can we start over? Put that night behind us?”

“I think so. I know I’d like to.”

“Great.” He stood and turned to leave, but then looked at her again. “Want to walk over to my new place and see what has to be done to make it livable?”

She stood. “Only if I get to help buy furniture and spend your money.”

“This is going to cost me, isn’t it?”

“Maybe,” she replied with a laugh.
D’Alba, Cynthia; Authors, Paradise. Hot SEAL, Sweet and Spicy: A Navy SEAL-Cowboy-Second Chance Story. Kindle Locations (865-903). Riante, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Addison’s input along with his own assessment of his new home leads to lots of fun and renovations. There’s also the fun cooking adventures and some interesting developments with a Buffalo Chili Contest. Of course we haven’t heard the last from the ex either.

I love the way this relationship develops from the initial hot and heavy of the first meeting, to the now slow, get to know you, then the sizzle.

Thank you Cynthia for shedding light on the treatment and reconstruction surgery with breast cancer. It fit the story perfectly while giving information and hope.

5 Contented Purrs for Cynthia!

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Cynthia d'Alba Cynthia D’Alba

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia D’Alba started writing on a challenge from her husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.

She was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, she’s thrilled to be making her home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she’s not reading or writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans.

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Nabbed in the Nasturtiums – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 14 by Dale Mayer

Nabbed In The Nasturtiums
Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 14
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


Riches to rags …
Chaos might be slowing …
Only a new murder occurs …
Sending her off the trail again …

It’s been a tough few weeks since Robin and Mathew, Doreen’s ex-lawyer and her ex-husband, slid back into her life.

Okay, so maybe Robin isn’t here any longer to cause torment, but Mathew is. And he’s not planning to leave Doreen alone anytime soon, although thankfully he’s gone back home for a while. Trying to recuperate looks doubtful for Doreen, when a local gardener is kidnapped, while picking nasturtiums for dinner.

The case heats up when the missing man’s niece appears on Doreen’s doorstep, looking for help, including asking Doreen to accompany her to the police station.

Not at all sure what’s going on, but willing to help someone in need—particularly after having been a suspect herself—Doreen tags along, looking to do her good deed for the day.

But no good deed goes unpunished, and, when Mathew calls, Doreen gets more than she bargained for, including all the usual suspects: love, jealousy, and … greed. It takes everything from her feathered and furred critter team to keep her safe, as she digs to the bottom of yet another crazy case …

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I really love the way Mack is always checking up on Doreen. She’s been through so much lately and is yet again healing from an injury. Although she’s tired she’s also getting bored so when Mack brings groceries for dinner but then has to run she wants all the information on that kidnapping…or Nabbed in the Nasturtiums.

We get a little review of what’s happening with Robin’s murder and Doreen’s ex. You know of course he’s not going to stay away especially since their divorce agreement is now null and void. I got a real kick out of Nick meeting her while she’s out walking with the animals so she can give him some change to retain his council.

I think my favorite scene is when Mathew shows up and so do Nick and Mack.

She stared at her phone and groaned. “Now what am I supposed to do?” she muttered. She quickly sent Mack a text. Mathew will be here in twenty minutes.

Instead of responding, he called her. “You’re not allowed to see him.”

“What do you want me to do?” she cried out. “He already called me. He’s bringing the exact same document and expects me to sign it.”

“Nonsense,” he said. “I’m calling Nick.”

“What good will that do?” she wailed, but Mack was already gone. And, of course, nobody responded again. She groaned and put on more coffee, as if she needed more. But some things just called for coffee. It was either that or open up a bottle of wine and start guzzling. And that wasn’t a habit she wanted to get into, no matter how tempting it might be.

She kept walking back and forth between the front and back doors, staring all the while. Mugs was pacing along with her, and so was Goliath. Thaddeus, on the other hand, was perched on his roost in the living room and completely ignoring her, snoozing. She had both front and back doors locked because she had that sneaking sense that Mathew would enter without knocking, and that was the last thing she wanted.

On the other hand, he was the kind who would sneak in somehow, and she wouldn’t even see it coming. Then he’d act like it was totally normal. She had no idea how she was supposed to get out of this, and she didn’t think telling him that the lawyer said she couldn’t sign anything would be good enough to get rid of him. Would he go so far as to hurt her? That she didn’t know. And it’s not what she wanted to think about, but it was all too possible that he would do it now, if she put up any kind of argument.

Almost simultaneously she watched three vehicles fly up the cul-de-sac and park. Mack got here first, and he pulled into the driveway. Her ex and his little rental car pulled around and parked out front. Finally Nick parked curbside.

Hopping out, Mathew took one look at Mack and glared. “What are you doing here?”

“What are you doing here?” Mack asked, as if he didn’t know.

“I came to see my wife,” Mathew said stiffly.

“Look at that,” Mack said, a big grin on his face. “So did I.”

“Oh dear,” Doreen said to herself. “This won’t be good. On the other hand, with Mack obviously quite capable of handling Mathew, it could be great fun.” She stepped out onto the front porch and glared at the two of them. Mathew looked at her and said, “Really? A cop?”

She shrugged. “Really? Why not?” she said. “I mean, it’s not like you weren’t sleeping with my former divorce lawyer.”

“I didn’t know that she was a criminal,” he growled.

“Oh, please, that’s a lie,” she said. “Tell me another one.” She waved him away with her hand, as she watched Nick get out of the third vehicle.

“And who is this?” Mathew asked, as he turned to look at Nick.

“My new attorney,” she said. “I told you that I won’t sign anything without him reviewing the document first.”

Mathew stiffened. “I flew all the way up here,” he said, “so we could do this without the lawyers.”

“Well then, you should have spoken to me before you did that,” she said, trying for a commonsense easygoing attitude. But that had never worked before, so it was unlikely to work now.

He shook his head. “If you’ll be difficult,” he said, “I’m not leaving the document.”

“That’s fine,” Nick said. “We’ll write up a document for you to sign then.”

“What kind of document?” he asked stiffly, looking at Nick suspiciously.

Nick pulled a business card from his wallet, handed it over, and said, “If you don’t want to deal with your lawyer, that’s fine,” he said, “we can deal between the two of us.”

“For what?”

“The divorce settlement of course,” Nick said, his eyes opening wide. “I mean, that is what you’re here about, isn’t it?”

Her ex slowly nodded, but he was stiffening, and his body language showed that he wanted to be anywhere but here.

“That’s what he said,” she called out from the front step.

Mathew turned and looked at her and asked, “Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what?” she asked in innocence.

“The document is null and void, so we just sign another, that’s all.” He raised the brown envelope in his hand. “This is the one that you need to sign again,” he said. “It’s simple. You just sign it, and we’re all good to go.”

“If my lawyer at the time was a criminal, and she is the one who wrote that document,” she said, “why would I sign it again? Obviously we need a new one,” she said. “And, in order to get a new one, I had to get a new lawyer.”

“No,” he said, “you didn’t have to get a new lawyer. As a matter of fact, we don’t need to get a new lawyer.”

We? Is that you and your whole team of lawyers?” she asked. “So you’re protected. It’s just me who isn’t.”

“Of course you’re protected,” he said, with an eye roll and that genial look. “I’ve looked after you for all these years,” he said. “I won’t screw you around now.”

“And yet there was that other document,” Nick said. “You know? The one where Robin screwed Doreen over?”

“Yes, but,” Mathew said, raising a finger, “Doreen signed the paperwork, so I just assumed she had agreed to it.”

“Doreen agreed to it because her lawyer told her to sign it, saying it was the best agreement Robin could get Doreen, and that you didn’t owe her anything,” Nick said, rocking back on his heels, with a delightful tone of voice.

Doreen couldn’t even quite place the tenor of his voice, but just something about it fascinated her. She looked over at Mack to see him glaring at her. She opened her eyes wide, threw out her hands, and raised her voice. “What?”

Mack just shook his head, then took several steps forward toward her.

Mathew asked, “What’s the matter? Are they hurting you?”

“Of course they’re not hurting me,” she said, staring at Mathew in confusion. “Does it look like he’s hurting me?”

“You yelled at him.”

“I yell at him all the time,” she said, with a shoulder shrug. “It makes no difference.”
Dale Mayer. Nabbed in The Nasturtiums (Kindle Locations 421-473). Valley Publishing.

Now after the confrontation with Mathew, Mack takes Doreen, Mugs, Goliath and Thaddeus out to lunch. This is their first real date! I was so excited.

With a bit of encouragement from her Nan, Doreen gets involved with one of the disappearances attributed to Bob Small, it was one of Nan’s friend’s nieces. Annalise Bergman was on her way home from ballet and never arrived. Her Nan has some things coming from her friend’s family that may give additional clues so she’s waiting on that. Of course Doreen keeps trying to get more on the kidnapping, it’s sort of expected.

More cooking lessons, I love these so much, walks with the animals are always fun and sometimes dangerous. Did I mention Doreen gets involved with Mack’s case because of the man’s niece? No? Well that’s how it happens and let me tell you this whole book is a wild ride!

I really can’t wait for the next book in this series, they are fun, and intriguing with plenty of laughter and that beginning relationship that I am loving so very much.

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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Her Noble Protector – Night Storm 7 By Caitlyn O’Leary

Her Noble Protector
Night Storm Book 7
USA Today Bestselling Author
Caitlyn O’Leary


Her worst nightmare had come true—somehow she had been kidnapped and forced to kill her captor to get away.

Finally home in Arizona, Lisa Garcia was scared all the time. She jumped at every sound and shadow, too scared to even leave her home. How could someone who used to ride the rapids and trek the wilds of Alaska be reduced to this?

Navy SEAL Raiden Sato had forgotten more missions than he could remember. But this last one would stick in his mind forever. Lisa Garcia. How could he ever forget her? Tough, strong, compassionate, beautiful, the woman was a force of nature. But Raiden couldn’t help remembering how she’d been when they’d parted. She’d seemed broken. He needed to know how she was now.

When Raiden took leave to check on Lisa in Arizona, he was shocked at the woman he found. The kick-ass wilderness guide was gone, replaced by a woman still mired in trauma. She was positive that someone was out to get her. Determined to help her, Raiden was positive that he could heal her with time, patience, and perhaps even love.
But what happens when Lisa is right, and somebody really is out to get her?

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We met Lisa in ‘Her Faithful Protector’, she was the tour guide who along with Cami did their best to protect the students when they were kidnapped. At the end of that book, we saw Raiden stay with her until Paula, her boss and only friend come to get her.

Now she’s home in Arizona, alone and drowning in depression and nightmares. Paula’s daughter left her with her grandchildren and she couldn’t stay with Lisa.

In this book we see Raiden and his Lieutenant, Max enjoying a family meal with Raiden’s family. One that gets a bit crazy when his nephew Leif is discovered selling test answers. The aftermath of that is a call from Nic, apparently Cami has been trying to reach Lisa and can’t get through. Raiden knew he should have checked on her sooner, but he was sure she was okay with Paula. A call to Paula has Raiden asking for and getting leave to go to Lisa. Five weeks was too long without contact with anyone. What he finds when he gets there is heartbreaking to him. Her home is locked up tight, blinds drawn all windows closed, the AC was running, her vehicle in the garage, just no sign of Lisa.

Raiden comes up with a plan and sets up camp on her patio. This is a favorite scene as he gets her talking a bit.

It wasn’t her house. Her house was clean and it smelled good. Her house had the blinds open and… and… she liked it. She didn’t like it here. It was scary here, even though it was the only place that felt safe.

Her lip trembled at that thought; how could her home be scary and safe?

It’s not your house, it’s your head. Your head is scary.

More tears followed that thought.

She tried to remember a time when she wasn’t scared. When had she felt her absolute best? Tugging the blanket tighter around her, she looked at the painting on her wall. It was of the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. She’d been there. She’d hiked there. Wild and gorgeous, it had always spoken to her soul. Could she really live a life without seeing it again?

She kept staring at the picture, then thought of her job in Mexico, sure she would find some of her father’s family. She’d been wrecked when she found that all of her father’s relatives were dead and buried. It was like she had nothing. No real past, no future, nothing.

She jerked her head up when she realized she’d closed her eyes again. No sleeping. She couldn’t let herself dream. Dreams were bad. She touched her hair and felt that it was drying, so that was good, and she wasn’t shivering anymore. Bending down, she grabbed the Sprite and crackers so she could have some more.

“You’ve been quiet a long time in there. Do you feel like talking?”

Lisa jerked and Sprite spilled on her blanket. Raiden’s voice was still that smooth and gentle rumble, but this time it was laced with worry. And, he was right outside her sliding glass door. Maybe three feet away from her. She saw a small empty spot on her cluttered coffee table and put the soda bottle on it. She leaned over and pushed back one of the blinds, then yanked her hand back.

She’d seen his arm. He was standing right there! Her heart hammered in her chest. A million miles a minute. A man was right outside her house and she’d told him to leave and he hadn’t gone.

“Go away!” She heard herself. It was a cross between a shriek and a plea.

“Ah, Lisa, please don’t be scared. Paula sent me, remember?”

A picture of Paula flashed through her brain. Red hair, generous smile, eyes that saw into your soul. Paula was safe.

“Paula wouldn’t send you. She’d come herself.”

“She couldn’t, honey. Her daughter dumped off her three grandbabies. She’s got to take care of them. She wanted to be here so bad, but she couldn’t.”

Lisa pictured Paula’s daughter, a strung-out loser who had been going downhill since she turned twenty and popped out her first kid while addicted to meth. No matter how many times Paula got her into rehab, it never stuck. Maybe this time she’d get custody of her grandchildren for good.

“You can’t be here. I don’t want you here. I’m fine by myself.” Lisa began to shiver again, even though it was now warm in her house.

“Honey, you’re not fine.”

Lisa didn’t know how to respond to that. She looked around her house and knew he was right, but nobody could help her, so he needed to go away. Now.

“Please, Raiden, please go away. You’re scaring me.” That was the God’s honest truth.

It was as if she could feel his wounded energy coming through the patio door. “Do you really think I would hurt you? Really?”

Lisa nodded her head into her knees. She thought back to the big man she had met in Miami. Then her mind flashed back further to the man in Mexico. The man who had touched her so gently. The man who had talked to her in a soothing voice and told her it would be all right, that she was safe, and he would take care of her. That she was safe. That’s why she’d never screamed when she heard his voice outside her window, because she recognized Raiden from before, and he had kept his promises.

“No, Raiden, I don’t think you would hurt me. You helped me.”

“Thank God for that.”

“But having you here, having you talk to me. It’s too much. I can’t handle it.”

“Honey, I’ve never been in your shoes. All I can say is, if I could take your pain away, if I could’ve had it happen to me instead of you, I would change places in a fucking heartbeat, but I can’t.”

Lisa gasped in a deep breath of air. It sounded like he meant it. Like he really meant it.

“Lisa, I’ve been around a lot of people, both men, and women, who have gone through some devastating shit in their time. Some have come through to the other side, and some haven’t. Do you want to know what made the difference for every single person who made it through to the other side? They had people they could rely on, and they reached out.”

“But I still don’t understand why you’re here, Raiden. Why you? Why do you care about me?”

“I care because I care. I saw you in Mexico, I know how hard you fought to keep those kids safe. I know you were the one who kept her head and called in when the bus was first captured. Your bravery astounded me. Then I saw you in that hospital in Miami, I saw you hurting. No woman deserves to be hurt like you’ve been. It broke my heart, Lisa. I wanted to be there for you. You touched my heart. I’m here because I think you need me, and I don’t want you to be one of those people who doesn’t make it to the other side.”

She didn’t know how to respond. It was too much. Her eyes drifted back to the picture of the glacier.

“Did you hear me?” Raiden finally asked.

“I heard you. I need to go to sleep now,” she said quietly.

“Okay, honey.”
Caitlyn O’Leary. Her Noble Protector: Night Storm, Book Seven (Kindle Locations 488-533).

It’s a slow process but little by little Raiden encourages Lisa to accept his help, food and conversation are the first steps. Although she won’t let him into the house.

He enlists the help of Cami and a friend in intelligence, Harry Chapman to escort her back and forth from the hotel. The fact that someone may have tried to break in that has Raiden on edge. His gut tells him there is a lot more to that.

I have to say I teared up a lot reading this book, Raiden’s kind persistence makes all the difference as does Cami’s understanding and friendship. Of course things are going to go a bit FUBAR.

A gripping story with love, compassion, friendship and a slow simmer to sizzle romance.

5 Contented Purrs for Caitlyn!

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Caitlyn O’Leary

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

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

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

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

She loves to hear from her readers.

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