Shielding Ember – Delta Team 2 Book 7 by Susan Stoker

Shielding Ember
Delta Team 2 Book 7
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker



For as long as she can remember, Ember Maxwell’s life hasn’t been her own. A world-renowned influencer, she’s a brand unto herself, created by her parents—who also want Olympic glory for their only daughter. Years of grueling training have led to Seoul, Korea, and a spot on the modern pentathlon team. It’s a turning point for Ember in more ways than one. Chafing against her parents’ tight reins, she opts to stay in the Olympic Village, a decision that leads to a gravely harrowing event…and a man unlike any she’s ever met.

Craig “Doc” Wagner has actively avoided the spotlight since childhood, a trend that’s continued with his career as a Delta Force soldier. Falling for someone whose entire life is splashed on social media is possibly the worst idea ever, though his attraction to Ember won’t be denied. It’s not long before he discovers they have plenty in common where it really matters…but he lives in Texas, and her life is in California. So Doc will take every stolen moment they can get.

When Ember makes a few life-changing decisions, Doc is thrilled. The same can’t be said for some of her biggest fans, including one who sees Ember’s new direction as the ultimate betrayal…that should cost her the ultimate price.


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The team is excited to be here at the Olympic games. It’s a choice assignment and while they will be providing additional security, they will also have the chance to see some events. One they really have to get to is baseball. Oz’s wife is soon to give birth so he’s not with them, his nephew Logan is a huge fan of Shin Soo Choo and they promised an autograph. Unfortunately for them that team is staying in a hotel instead of the Olympic village.

Surprisingly one person they didn’t expect to stay in the village does show up. Ember Maxwell is a world renowned influencer and a modern pentathlon team member. Her parents are the driving force behind it all and she is trying to break away from it all. For all her notoriety she appears uncomfortable under the attention she is attracting just by walking into the cafeteria.

Doc notices and rescues her, seating her with his team but then he leaves. The guys introduced themselves and for the rest of the meal put her at ease by talking about themselves and including her in the conversation. She honestly answered about where she’s from and how she got into the modern pentathlon, something she usually avoided.

She was however confused by Doc’s leaving, and polite declines their invite to join them for dinner later.

This is a favorite scene after dinner as Doc takes a walk around the dorms checking all is secure.

She gave him a tiny smile, then asked, “So why’d you leave then?”

Doc considered lying to her. Telling her he wasn’t hungry, or that he’d had a phone call to make. But he couldn’t do it. Something about the sadness in her eyes spoke to him. Drew him in like a moth to a flame. He knew she could possibly pierce the armor he kept around him at all times, but he couldn’t resist her. “Because you make me uncomfortable.”

Her brows furrowed. “I do?”


“I’m sorry.”

Doc shrugged. “Don’t be. It’s really me, not you.”

She gave him another small smile. “That sounds like a line,” she informed him.

“It’s not. You make me…feel things I don’t want to. I’m uncomfortable with the attention you garner. I’m used to hiding in the shadows, and you’re like a bright, shiny light. And anyone who gets near you is engulfed in that light.”

His words seemed to make her even sadder, which hadn’t been his intention.

“Yeah, that’s true. And since we’re being honest, I’d give anything to turn that light off. Just once. To hide in those shadows with you.”

They shared a long intimate gaze. He realized that she was being sincere.

He never would’ve guessed after seeing her Instagram page that Ember Maxwell was uncomfortable being in the spotlight, but he should’ve known. Social media was all bullshit. People said things to try to fit in, to seem more popular and interesting than they actually were. They claimed to be one kind of person, but in real life were completely different. And Ember was living proof of that…just not in the way he’d expected.

“What are you doing in here?” he asked.

She shrugged. “Trying to see the stars.”

That wasn’t the answer he’d expected. “Pardon?”

“The stars. Every night before I go to sleep, I sit in my window and look up. The world is such a huge place, and seeing the stars twinkling reminds me that there’s so much more out there than my narrow little life. But I can’t see them from my room. There’s another dorm right outside my window and the lights from it make it impossible to see anything. So I came down here. But the view’s not much better.”

“I can see them from my room,” Doc blurted.

She stared at him again.

“Look…you don’t know me, but I swear on my honor as a US Army soldier that you’re safe with me. If you want to come to my room for a while, to look at the stars, I’d be okay with that.” Doc knew that sounded like the worst pick-up line ever, but he didn’t regret the offer.

“My room must be on the other side of the hall from yours,” he went on. “I face the stadium and the track. When a game or match is going on, you can’t see anything because of the lights, but tonight it’s quiet and there aren’t any clouds, so you should be able to see the stars.”


He wasn’t surprised she was skeptical of his offer. “Because regardless of my actions earlier, I usually don’t shy away from things that make me uncomfortable. Hell, my entire life has been uncomfortable. Letting you sit in my room for a while isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. And if it’ll help you be able to sleep, so you can be on top of your game when you compete, compete, all the better. I’ll even stay in here if you want, so you’ll feel more comfortable.”

Ember wrinkled her nose, and Doc couldn’t help but think it was adorable.

“I’m not kicking you out of your room. People might think I’m a diva, but I’m not.”

Doc took a deep breath and stepped toward her, holding out his hand in invitation. “Then let’s do this, so you can get some sleep. I’d never forgive myself if you lost out on a medal because you were exhausted from staying up too late.”

She gave him a shy smile. “Trust me, I’ve gone plenty of nights with not enough sleep. Especially before a competition. That won’t be the reason I don’t medal.”

Doc stayed where he was, with his arm outstretched, practically holding his breath as she came toward him.

He had a sudden feeling that the second she touched him, his life was going to change forever.

For good or bad? That was the question.

Their fingers touched, then she was gripping his hand tightly.

As Doc turned and headed for his room, Ember’s hand tucked in his, he knew he was right. Knew his life had taken a turn.

It was ridiculous. He didn’t know Ember, and she didn’t know him. Her life was everything he didn’t want—fame and fortune and the limelight. But he could’ve no sooner walked away from her in this moment than he could turn his back on his family.

He’d caught a glimpse of the real Ember Maxwell hidden below the glitz and glamour she showed the world. And he was intrigued. Wanted to know more about her. Wanted to know everything about her.

It made no sense…but then, being with her right now made more sense than just about anything he’d done in his life.

He kept hold of her hand and led her into his room, only reluctantly letting go to push the one chair in the room over to the window. He walked to the bathroom and flicked on the light, then turned off the lamp on his bedside table. It would be easier to see the stars in a completely dark room, but he figured she’d be more comfortable alone with him if the room wasn’t pitch black. Finally he headed back to the window, pulled up the blinds and took a step back, gesturing to the chair as he did. “Your throne, my lady.”

Ember rolled her eyes but walked toward the chair and sat. She looked up, and Doc heard her sigh in appreciation. “Oh, yeah. This is what I needed.” She leaned forward, as if that would get her closer to the stars she was admiring.

Doc took a step back. Neither said a word for several long moments. Ember was soaking in whatever it was the stars did for her, and Doc soaked in the view of the beautiful woman sitting in his room.
Stoker, Susan. Shielding Ember (Delta Team Two Book 7). Kindle Locations (422-468). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Doc and Ember really connect as they get to know each other. There’s also a lot of things going on behind the scenes. We see this Alex person who is more than a little stalkerish and of course there’s gonna be some excitement before the games are over.

Once again a Susan Stoker book I couldn’t put down, with action, suspense, laughter, tears, romance and some sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

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

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The Game Changer – The Billionaires of Silicon Valley Prequel 3 by Melissa McClone

The Game Changer
The Billionaires of Silicon Forest Prequel 3
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone



Romance is not part of her plan.
Maybe it’s time for a new plan…

Rachael Saunders, the Posh Planner, is ready to take her event planning business to the next level. Her handsome new client’s upcoming dinner party will help her do just that. Too bad the job isn’t exactly what it seems…

Billionaire Mason Reese never intended to throw a dinner party. But all his intentions went right out the window when he met the charming Rachael. Planning the party together gives him a perfect way to get to know her. He only hopes she’ll be able to forgive his deception if the truth comes out…

She isn’t looking for love. Neither is he. But meeting each other will be an absolute game changer for both of them.



Attending Adam and Cambria’s wedding and having to join the other bachelors for the garter toss isn’t Mason Reese’s idea of a good time. He’s just glad he didn’t catch it, Kieran did. Of course Mason and Henry are going to come up with a plan there. We already know what happens with Kieran. Mason based his and Henry’s helping Kieran on what Mason believes is working for him.

Henry introduces Mason to Rachel at Adam’s wedding and circumstances throw the two together during the event clean-up. Mason makes what he thinks is a coffee date with Rachel but there is a total misunderstanding there.

This is a favorite scene.

His interest in her was just that— curiosity. It had nothing to do with Rachael’s warm smile or how her clear green eyes reminded him of the park where he used to play as a kid or that her laugh had become his new favorite sound.

Yep, Mason was acting like one of his mom’s curious cats.

Except he only had one life, not nine.

Time to get out of here.


Recognizing Rachael’s voice behind him, his muscles tensed. So much for leaving. He’d spent too much time deciding what to do. He forced a grin before turning. “Hey.”

“Sorry, I’m late.”

Stray strands of hair from her ponytail framed her face perfectly. Her floral-print skirt fell above her knees, showing off her legs. The short-sleeved peach shirt complemented her complexion. Pink tinged her cheeks, suggesting she’d been hurrying.

Had she gotten prettier since Saturday night?

“I had to pick up something,” she added.

“I’m early.” The words rushed out.

Chill, Reese. Don’t act like Dash.

He opened the door, not wanting to make either of them suffer in the heat any longer. “After you.”

As she passed by, a citrus fragrance tickled his nose. Her shampoo? Soap? He hadn’t smelled that on Saturday night when they sat next to each other in the SUV.

Not that how she smelled mattered.

Mason forced his attention off her and onto the place. The shop wasn’t a massive franchise but a locally owned coffee house Rachael had suggested. He understood why. The cozy atmosphere with subdued lighting and soft instrumental jazz playing was an excellent setting for a first date. Mason joined her in line.

“What would you like?” they asked at the same time.

She laughed. “Let’s try that again. What do you want?”

Wait. Was she offering to buy his coffee? “This is my treat. I asked you to meet me.”

She studied the menu board. “Yes, but this is what I always do.”

Huh? He supposed some women might prefer paying, but he wasn’t used to that. Most expected him to pay, given his net worth. A few even hinted about the expensive gifts they wanted. But Rachael seemed genuine in her offer, so he would let her. “An iced coffee, please.”

“Anything to eat?”

“No, thanks. I had a late lunch with Kieran and Henry.”

“They both seem nice.”

“They are.” Henry had his moments, though.

Tonight, they would talk about getting Kieran together with Selah, who worked for Mason. If the two got married, there would be one less person in the bet.

Rachael stepped up to the counter and removed her wallet from the light-blue purse on her wrist. “One iced tea and an iced coffee for here.”

The barista, a woman with pink hair, rang up the order. “Someone will bring those to you in a few minutes.”

“Thanks.” Rachael handed over a twenty-dollar bill, placed two dollars into the tip jar, and tucked the change and receipt in her wallet. She glanced at him. “Let’s find a place to sit.”

The coffee house was quiet. Only a few tables were taken.

Mason noticed a small round table for two that was more secluded than the others and gave them some privacy. “How about the one in the corner?”

“Perfect.” She headed there and sat. “I hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far.”

“Fairly typical.” That meant crazy busy, but Mason thrived on that. “Did your baby shower go well?”

Rachael’s face lit up. “It did. The mother-to-be was so sweet, and everyone had fun.”

“You love what you do.”

She nodded. “Each client is special to me. It may sound corny, but I’m grateful to be a part of whatever event they’re celebrating.”

Once again, her genuineness struck him. “That’s sweet.”

“It’s also selfish. None of my family lives in Oregon, so it’s almost like being a member of someone else’s family for a few hours.”

Her wistful expression hit him hard. She must miss her family.

Whereas Mason managed a weekly call to his parents. He stared at the table, hoping to find something to snag his attention, but nothing was there. He shifted in the chair. “I rarely see my family, and they live in the same state.”

“It’s hard to make time when you’re so busy.”

He didn’t know if she was talking about him or herself. Perhaps both. He would rather they discuss her. “Do you work most weekends?”

“It depends on my client’s needs. This last weekend I worked both days. But I only have one this Saturday.”

A Saturday night date was out of the question. If— and that was a big if— he wanted to invite her out. Despite his freakout on the sidewalk, he kind of did. “So, you aren’t fully booked?”

“No. That gives me flexibility for clients like Cambria and Adam, who don’t have a lot of lead time.”

“That’s smart.” Mason was glad she’d fit the wedding in, or he would have never met her. “Henry says your business is going well.”

With a satisfied smile on her face, Rachael sat taller. “It is. We’re growing, but…”

“It’s never enough.”


Laughter lit her eyes, and his heart bumped. She was so beautiful.

“I have big dreams. Goals,” she added.

He never expected to be so captivated, but he was. That should bother him more than it did.

“I know how that goes.” Mason was glad he hadn’t left earlier. “And after you hit those initial ones, you want to reach for the next.”

She leaned slightly over the table. “Is that what you’re doing?”

He nodded. “But developing a follow-up to a popular product is… challenging.”

“That’s part of the appeal, right?”

“Guilty.” He half laughed. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against easy, and I love when things click into place, but much of the creative process happens when I’m trying to overcome obstacles and problems. That’s how I ended up developing TVT.”

“I love your app, and so does everyone I know. I’m glad you made it.”

His chest swelled. “Thank you. We’re working on an update now. It’ll be even better.”

The barista carried their drinks on a tray. She placed each on the table. “Enjoy.”

As he picked up his, the glass was cool against his palm. “Thanks for this.”

“My pleasure.” Rachael took a sip of hers. “I know you’re busy, and I don’t want to take too much of your time today. So, what kind of event are you having?”

He froze, holding his iced coffee halfway to his mouth. “Event?”

She nodded, which told him nothing. “I have brochures, and a few packages are listed on my website to give clients ideas, but most of my events are custom, which is why I love doing consultations like this. It helps me put together exactly what a client needs.”

Consultation. Client.

The word swirled inside his mind, mocking him.

She thought I invited her to talk about an event, not a date.

Mason almost laughed. He placed his drink on the table so he didn’t spill any.

No wonder she’d paid for his coffee.

Henry might be correct when he claimed Mason had no skills talking to women. He’d epically failed with Rachael.
Melissa McClone. The Game Changer (Kindle Locations 381-449). Cardinal Press, LLC.

Mason develops a whole dinner at a winery to get to know Rachel, and it’s working at least in his mind. They share a kiss or two and they are falling perhaps her more than him it’s hard to tell.

You have to know it’s going to fall apart, somehow. The way it does is quite ironic.

I really loved this book, there’s romance, tears, laughter and love.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!

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Melissa McCloneUSA 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!

Darkest Designs – Design Book 3 by Dale Mayer

Darkest Designs
Design Book 3
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer



Drawing is her world …
but when she’s pushed into the In-Between
and thought lost forever, it’s his world too.

Storey Dalton wants her life back. Her home back. Her world back. The way they were before she messed with time. She does not want to become a living dead lost In-between. She thought she’d known the worst that could happen … but she wasn’t even close.

Eric thought he’d seen the worst that his father could do…but he hadn’t … unfortunately. Heartbroken and panicked, Eric tracks Storey to the misty dead space – and follows her in. There is a way out – but not a way that anyone would willingly choose.

The stylus has no way to help with Storey’s latest predicament. But survival is paramount. Only this time it can’t do it alone. There might be help available … if they can save someone else…first.

Storey wants to save her world. Eric wants to save Storey. The stylus wants them to save someone else. But can anyone save them all?


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Tammy is now with her family and happy. With her safe, Storey and Eric go to retrieve the imprisoned Councilman. They barely manage to portal out with the him before the guards arrive. Then the Eric’s father, the esteemed Councilman does the unthinkable. He pushes Storey out of the portal.

Storey is now caught in the in-between, and as she starts thinking through her problem with her stylus, it’s not very promising.

Back in Toran, the Councilman is arrested and place in the dungeon under guard. Eric is determined to find Storey and bring her back, only to learn no one ever returns. Of course Storey isn’t staying put either, but her stylus is mapping where they go and Paxton is seeing it as he inputs the data from his stylus.

In order to do this properly Eric gathers all the things he could possible need including getting sketchbooks from her home, he also sneaks the broken stylus into his pack. There is no stopping him once he’s as prepared as he can be and Paxton has no choice but to let him go.

In the meantime Storey is learning a lot about the history between the Torans and Louers. It’s not pretty and her finding Dillon is going to reveal some very well hidden secrets.

This is a favorite scene as Eric arrives.

Shaking her mind free of those depressing thoughts and tucking the knowledge that Dillon was a Louer back into the corner of her mind, she turned to the more immediate issue.

“You said there is a Toran here. Who and where?”


“Really?” she shouted. This time she danced around Dillon, joy rippling through every part of her. “We’re saved!”

Dillon stared at her and blinked.

She groaned in disgust. “Dillon, it means someone is here to help us.” She continued to skip in small circles. “I presume he’s on his way to us? And we should stay until he finds us?”

He landed at our old coordinates, where you found Dillon.

She laughed. “I knew he’d find us. Does he have the new coordinates?”

Paxton has just given them to him.

“Good.” She said with satisfaction. “Then he should be here any moment.” Then she frowned. And tugged Dillon several steps over. “Just so he doesn’t land on top of us.”

She stared and stared at the spot. Nothing happened. She glanced around in case he’d adjusted the coordinates slightly and still nothing. She turned back to look at the original spot.

And there was Eric.

His grin flashed, huge and full of relief.

“Woot!” She launched herself into his arms. “I knew you’d come!”

He picked her up and swung her around and around. “Oh, I’m so glad to see you.”

He put her back down and gave her a blistering kiss.

She pulled back slightly and beamed up at him. “Maybe I’ll have to disappear again, if you’re going to welcome me like that!”

“Trust you.” He glanced around. “Man is this is a weird place.”

She snorted. “Tell me about it!”

He smiled down at her, then froze and spun around. “What the…”

“Yeah, what a surprise, huh?” Storey glanced at the sleeping Dillon. “I still don’t understand that whole 45 degree angle sleeping thing.”

“He’s asleep?” Eric dropped his to a faint whisper. He bent over slightly to look closer.

“Yes. I think he’s been asleep since he arrived. According to the stylus that was a long time ago.” She shrugged. “He’s spoken to me a couple of times, but then always nods off again.”

“Unbelievable.” Eric shook his head. “How did he survive here?”

Storey wished she knew. “I have no idea. I think he went into a sort of hibernation. The stylus doesn’t think he’ll survive if we try to take him home though. That his muscles, after not experiencing gravity in so long, won’t support him. And that’s just the beginning of the problems. The thing is, I can’t leave him.”

Eric stared down at her. “This isn’t a Louer child to return to her parents. This is an adult male Toran. If he dies while going home, surely that’s better than this quasi-dead existence.”

That whole death with dignity thing. She sighed. “I hate to kill the poor man. And speaking of family,” Storey winced, not sure how Eric would react. “He says he has a brother, named Paxton.”

Eric’s head swiveled to stare down at her in shock. Then back at Dillon. “It couldn’t be.”

“What?” When he didn’t answer right away, Storey poked him in the chest. “What couldn’t be?”

“Paxton did lose a brother when they were young men. He was playing up to the ladies while porting and fell In-between.”

She gasped and turned to stare at Dillon. “Oh no. Then we definitely can’t leave him.”

“Neither do I want to take him home to his brother to die.”

She didn’t know what to say. “Stylus. Is there anything we can do for Dillon?”

His body won’t be able to handle living in the other dimensions.

“But he’s not alive here either,” she said in frustration. Then caught Eric’s look. Right. He couldn’t hear the stylus.

Quickly she explained what she she’d heard. “According to the stylus, Dillon can’t live in other dimensions, but it told me earlier he won’t be able to survive much longer here, either. I don’t want to believe that.”

“But there is no other way.” Eric wafted his arm in the thick soup. “Either desert him to this endless darkness or take him home and he will either live or die, but at least he’ll be home again. Think of his family. This would mean tremendous closure for them.”

Storey opened her mouth to speak, but a weird noise sounded.

What the hell was that?
Dale Mayer. Design Trilogy (Kindle Locations 6321-6359). Valley Publishing.

Seems the best move Eric made was bringing the broken stylus. The soul contained is very knowledgeable and once a leader.

There are many complications both on the way out of the in-between and to getting home. Since the best pathway the styluses could follow was back to Tammy, she unwittingly attaches to them.

Plenty of suspense a few more surprise and the promise of a romance that will last.

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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Deadly Designs – Designs Book 2 by Dale Mayer

Deadly Designs
Design Series Book 2
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer



Drawing is her world …
but when she’s banished
to a deadly new world and needs help,
it’s his world too.

Storey Dalton wants to go home – but something goes terrifyingly wrong and she ends up in her worst nightmare. There’s no escape … not without Eric or her stylus. Then she finds someone who needs rescuing even more than she does…

Eric Jordan races to save Storey, only to realize a close family member has betrayed them both. Now the enemy is closing in on him. When he meets up with Storey, he knows her plans are a bad idea, but she won’t be dissuaded…and it could be their only way of staying alive.

the stylus, now bonded to Storey’s artistic soul, is determined to survive this new chaos – against all odds. But damaged from a prolonged separation, he can’t help Story or Eric – without making things worse.

Storey is determined to make things right. Eric is determined to help her. Neither counts the personal cost, until their very lives are in danger.


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By the end of the first book we’ve had a look at a few different dimensions, including one that Storey has created for the Louers. The Toran’s which is Eric’s, the Louer’s old and new and of course Storey’s. Oh and the creation also caused a time problem within Storey’s.

At the end of all that, instead of being sent home Storey is sent to a difficult situation, one she recognizes by the smell. Her sketches are portals and now she’s here without her backpack, sketch book or her stylus. She is however, soul connected to her stylus so she finds a way to communicate although the stylus isn’t answering her. It’s using her words to communicate with Paxton an elder and Eric through Paxton’s stylus.

As she looks for a way out, she finds a Louer child, alone except for her pet. The portal to the new dimension is damaged so no one can come back for her. Now Storey has a new project but first she needs to get out of the old Louer dimension.

Eric saw horror on Storey’s face as the dark mist surrounded her to take her home. He also saw the glee on his father’s. Now he needs to know she arrived safely. What he finds is not what he wants to hear. She is not in her dimension or his. With Paxton’s stylus communicating with hers they figure out where she is and Eric goes to get her.

This is a favorite scene.

“You didn’t even make it to your home, did you?”

“No. As I left the party, your father waved at me. In his hand he had my stylus. At least what he thought was my stylus. Oh, he gloated like he knew something bad was going to happen – something I was not going to like. And he was right.” Storey shook her head at the memory. “When the mist dissipated, there were these horrible hands reaching for me. I don’t know if it was crossing the dimension or what but I blacked out. When I came to, I was alone in a large cave-like room.”

Eric closed his eyes. Damn. His father couldn’t have known about her fake stylus. He’d intended to separate Storey from her stylus, thus bringing about her death. Could he have also changed the destination in her codex? Did he even know how to do that? The one was bad enough, but if he’d done them both… well, Eric didn’t know what to think.

Could his father hate Storey that much? Or was this a desperate act of a desperate man? Could he have thought this was a way to regain his all powerful leadership status – using her as an example to others, perhaps? He’d never had to deal with outright defiance or a potential non-confidence vote before – until Storey. Could this be just about ego?

Or maybe fear was the basis of his father’s actions. Fear of losing everything he had? Eric had heard mutterings from several displeased council members and presumed his father had as well. Would that have been enough to precipitate these actions?

Eric would have to let this mess roll around in his head for a bit.

Right now he had bigger priorities – like getting Storey home safely.

“It’s going to be fine now. I have my codex and I brought another one for you.” By the time he’d finished speaking, Eric had unclipped the spare on his left and snagged her arm to clip it onto hers.

He stopped. “What’s this?”

“What’s what?”

Eric tapped her arm.

“I can’t see.”

“Lights on full.”

Instantly the lights turned on, giving Storey her first real look at the large room. She couldn’t believe the enormity of the space they were in. There had to have been many Louers living here to require a room of such size. It was bigger than the community center she’d gone to at home. “Wow. Look at this place.”

“Wow,” Eric said patiently, “Look at your arm.” He grabbed her left arm and gave it a good shake.

Staring, Storey frowned at the intricate swirls decorating her arm. They traveled from the back of her wrist to her elbow and around the underside. She felt nothing as she ran her fingers over it. There was no burning, scarring or even loose ink to come off on her fingers.

“I have no idea. I don’t know when or how I got these.”

“It’s also not on you; it’s a part of you. Your people have tattoos inked into their skin. These are considered marks of honor in my home. I have no idea if the Louers have something similar in theirs.”

“Marks of honor.” She snorted. They were pretty cool looking. “That might have made sense if your people had given them to me on the night of the celebration. But not here and now. My arm was clean when I left your place.”

“Somehow you’ve gained these marks in the time you’ve been here.” He studied her face carefully, a hint of humor in his eyes. “You are the strangest girl.”

“Oh,” she gasped, “that is so unfair.”

He grinned. “Only you could be banished to another dimension and come out with marks of honor without having any idea of how you got them.”

She snickered. “I found a few other things here too.” All humor fell away. Storey looked into his eyes, willing him to understand. “A lost Louer child for one. A little girl was accidentally left behind in the mass exodus of her people. According to my stylus there’s something wrong with the portal and the Louers can’t come back for her. She’s all alone.”

“What? A single juvenile? Oh, that’s not good.” Storey nodded emphatically. “Exactly. I’m glad you understand. So, you’ll help, right?”

Eric tried to figure out where Storey’s lightning quick mind was going. A Louer child alone probably wouldn’t survive and as much as he didn’t like the idea, it might be a kindness to kill her now and prevent her suffering. But from the hope on Storey’s face, he highly doubted he was going to like her solution.

“Help you do what?” he asked warily. Somehow he didn’t think he was going to like her answer.

“Help me return her to her parents. In the new dimension.”

Oh shit.
Dale Mayer. Design Trilogy (Kindle Locations 3695-3732). Valley Publishing.

Storey didn’t just find the Louer child she’s named Tammy, she also found more styluses. Everyone is about to get quite the education on those.

Of course getting Tammy to the new dimension isn’t going to be easy, and they don’t get it right the first time either. We they do but not, they encounter a faction against her father, so not a good place for any of them to be.

The styluses seem to be able to cause a bit of trouble by interfering when they shouldn’t.

Eric and Storey grow closer as they face many obstacles in their way to getting Tammy to her parents. More than just a couple of surprises as well and topped off by another OMG ending.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!


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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Dangerous Designs – Design Book 1 by Dale Mayer

Dangerous Designs
Designs Book 1
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


Drawing is her world…
but when her new pencil comes alive,
it’s his world too.


Storey Dalton is seventeen and now boyfriendless after being dumped via Facebook. Drawing is her escape. It’s like as soon as she gets down one image, a dozen more are pressing in on her. Then she realizes her pictures are almost drawing themselves…or is it that her new pencil is alive?


Eric Jordan is a new Ranger and the only son of the Councilman to his world. He’s crossed the veil between dimensions to retrieve a lost stylus. But Storey is already experimenting with her new pencil and what her drawings can do – like open portals.

It …

The stylus is a soul-bound intelligence from Eric’s dimension on Earth and uses Storey’s unsuspecting mind to seek its way home, giving her an unbelievable power. She unwittingly opens a third dimension, one that held a dangerous predatory species banished from Eric’s world centuries ago, releasing these animals into both dimensions.


Once in Eric’s homeland, Storey is blamed for the calamity sentenced to death. When she escapes, Eric is ordered to bring her back or face that same death penalty. With nothing to lose, can they work together across dimensions to save both their worlds?

This is book 1 in the series and ends on a hook that is picked up in book 2.

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Story Dalton is reflecting on the loss of her boyfriend Jeff as she stomps through the woods. She’s kicking rocks and finally getting the release she needs. She’s about to kick yet another large rock when she spies something next to it, a pencil, delighted she picks it up. She loves to collect pencils finding value in what others toss away.

Once she picks up the pencil she find she has even more desire to draw. She spends every waking moment with the pencil sketching her teachers notice and so does the new boy at school.

This is a favorite scene.

“Hey, Storey?”

Storey spun around but continued to walk backwards. A tall man in black was walking up behind her. She frowned and reassessed her first impression. Not a man, a teen on the brink of adulthood. And one oddly familiar. Right. He was the new kid at school, a rare enough event that it caught even her attention. She’d caught a glimpse of him in the morning, navigating through the hallways. Tall and slim, dressed in black from top to toe, even his short hair matched, giving his white skin a bleached look in contrast. He’d make a perfect vampire.

She couldn’t help but smile. “Hi.” For the life of her she couldn’t remember his name. Her eyes locked on his square jaw, deep forehead and blazing blue eyes. His face would be hard to forget.

A lopsided grin slipped out, fascinating her.

“I’m Eric. You probably don’t remember me. I just started at school today.” He fell into step as she continued on her way.

“This is your first day and you know my name.”

“I recognized a fellow artist in the first class we shared and…” His smile deepened. “Your name would be hard not to know after the number of times I heard a teacher call it out today.”

“Oh.” Heat crawled up her face. Her stride stretched out, making him increase his pace to keep up.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to upset you.”

Surprised, she shot him a quick sideways glance. “You didn’t. Everyone knows I spend most of my time caught up in my art. Getting yelled at is no big deal.”

The same grin flowed in her direction. She watched, captivated at how his face changed with his moods. Her fingers itched for pencil and paper. His voice was striking too, gravelly with a sense of humor lurking just beneath the surface.

“What? Am I wearing my lunch on my face or something?” He swiped his chin self-consciously.

Her eyes widened. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to stare,” she muttered and walked even faster.

“Hey slow down, we’re not racing anywhere. And you’re tall, but I’m taller.”

Confused, she slowed down, sliding a sideways glance his way. “What does height have to do with it?”

“That I can walk as fast as you, I just don’t want to.”

Yeah, he was weird. “You don’t have to walk with me at all.” She couldn’t help but point that out. Give him a chance to beg off and go his own way. It was kind of hard to believe he was still there in the first place.

“I know. I want to.”

She snorted. “And why would you want to do that?”

“Because I like your artwork. It’s unique, dark.”

This time there was no holding back the look of disbelief. “And you like dark art?”

“Yup. It’s cool.” They came to a corner. “This is where I turn off. I live just down there.” In spite of herself, Storey looked in the direction he pointed. He lived close to the old mine. Not the most affluent area of town. Still, it wasn’t loser city like where she lived.

“See you tomorrow.” He waved and walked away.

Storey crossed the road, watching as his lanky frame disappeared in the distance.

What was that all about?
Dale Mayer. Design Trilogy (Kindle Locations 183-190). Valley Publishing.

Eric Jordan is not just the new boy at school, he’s much more than that and Storey is about to find out her new pencil is more than a pencil.

Another dimension and her pencil is called a stylus, but it contains memories. Many questions and the council where she lands with Eric isn’t receptive to her presence or her gaining knowledge.

A bit of a cliffhanger but I bought the trilogy so I can just continue on with the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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Amazon Author Page

Her Sanctuary – Texas Vampires Book 1 by Delilah Devlin

Her Sanctuary
Texas Vampires Book 1
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Delilah Devlin


A woman surviving
on the edge of a dark frontier
strikes a sensual bargain
with a handsome stranger
hiding a dangerous secret…

In a post-apocalyptic future, creatures who’ve hidden in the shadows for millennia are freed to roam in a world shrouded in darkness. Rancher Kate McKinnon runs Sanctuary Ranch—a last refuge on the western frontier. While running herd over her cowhands and integrating refugees into their self-sufficient refuge, she escapes her responsibilities the only way she has left—via radio to pockets of other survivors. One man, Ty Bennett, is her confidante, and she thinks she might be falling in love with his deep, rasping voice. Although they’ve never met, he seems to know her heart.

On a patrol to scavenge supplies, Kate and her cowboys are surrounded by a gang of renegades intent on claiming her. Rescue comes unexpectedly by a militaristic band led by the man she’s spent so many hours talking to through the dark nights. She brings him home only to discover she’s brought vampires inside the refuge.

Already half in love with the human woman, Ty offers added muscle to her defenses and promises to move her people to safety. Fighting his own nature and appetites, he seeks redemption for his many sins but can’t control his hunger to possess Kate. Getting past her prejudice and choking responsibilities tests his seductive powers.

It’s post-apocalyptic Texas and those things that were dismissed as a bump in the night are now very real.

Kate McKinnon’s Ranch has been a sanctuary for over a hundred years. She’d protect those who came looking for help with her life. Now supplies are running low and she knows she has to make a plan to leave. It’s just very hard for her to think about.

With the werewolves, rogues and vampires out there and having to kill a wolf today, that time is coming faster than she wants.

Needing some comfort from the outside world, Kate turns to the old radio and waits for Ty Bennett to respond.

This is a favorite scene.

Kate scraped the dirt off her boots on the edge of the stoop before entering Cass’s kitchen. She gave a nod to the older woman who stood covered in flour up to her elbows, cutting biscuits from flattened dough.

She held up the bird by its feet. “What do you want me to do with this?”

Cass grimaced. “Stick him in the pot. Gotta blanche that buzzard good before I pull its feathers.”

A large stockpot filled with boiling water rattled on the old gas range. Kate lifted the lid and dunked the turkey buzzard, feathers and all, into the pot. “If anybody asks—”

Cass held up her hand. “I know. It was an old damn turkey. Coffee’s in the thermos. Help yourself.”

Kate poured a steaming cup, flashed a smile, then tromped through the house to her office, avoiding the living room. She knew she was being a little cowardly, but she didn’t think she could bear sitting in the living room with the families’ quiet chatter surrounding her. Now that the ranch hands’ bunk house had been subdivided into living quarters for the three families, she’d hoped for a little more privacy, but their noise and the sight of their haunted faces spilled over into her home as well.

So, she’d settle down to eat her meal in her office when it was ready. The large dining room table would be crowded enough with everyone eating in shifts. Not that there’d be much reason for anyone to linger. Food was scarce. Their meals meager. Soon, they’d be forced to make another run for supplies. She’d been waiting for sunshine, but the unrelenting black sky kept them trapped inside the boundaries of the ranch.

At times, the weight of her responsibilities crushed her, making her feel overwhelmed and a little scared when she thought about so many people—especially the families—arriving at the gates. She feared she couldn’t feed them, wouldn’t be able to save them in the end. To protect her heart and her sanity, she avoided knowing them too well.

So, Kate took her coffee at her daddy’s big roll-top desk and eyed the silent radio, knowing she shouldn’t turn it on and waste precious electricity. But dammit, this was her ranch house—her blood, her men, protected the people within Sanctuary Ranch.

Besides, the radio was their only link with the outside world.

She turned it on, let the old-fashioned transistors heat up, then turned the dial to tune into the band where she knew he’d be waiting. “This is KN5GST calling. My name’s Kate. Anyone listening? Over.”

A moment later, the whine from an engine sounded over the air. “This is AA3TZ. How are you, Kate?” he said, dropping the ham radio lingo.

Her hands clamped around the microphone as she held it, and she closed her eyes as his voice surrounded her like a soft, warm blanket. “Been better.”

“Any breaches?”

“One got through today. I killed it.”

“I’m sorry about that,” he said softly.

She blinked—not because tears gathered in her eyes. Just dust. “It’s okay,” she said swiftly. “He was just another monster.” She’d try to forget how young and vulnerable he’d looked, lying naked and bleeding into the dry dirt.

“Still carrying that antique gun?”

Kate’s lips curved into a grin. What was it with men? Sometimes, Ty sounded a lot like Sam. “It did the trick,” she said, trying not to sound defensive.

“How many shots did you manage to squeeze off?”

“Two.” She shivered, remembering just how close the wolf had come.

“Goddamn, Kate, what’s it going to take to get you to be more careful?”

“I know what I’m doing,” she said, glad he couldn’t see how her lower lip pouted.

He was silent for a long moment, then, “You give any thought to what we talked about before?”

Kate shifted in her seat, uncomfortable with the direction he was going to take the conversation. “I have, but I don’t know how we’d manage it. ’Sides, we have most everything we need here, at least for a while.”

“Honey, you can’t hold out forever. They can. Soon, you won’t find enough gas pumps with gas in them or cars to siphon off to run your generator. Your propane won’t last long with as many mouths as you’re feeding now. What happens when you can’t scavenge enough food to hold off starvation?”

Every word he said was true. Eventually, they’d all have to leave Sanctuary. But not now. She wasn’t ready to let go just yet.

“Kate, the wolves are getting hungry enough to risk facing the armed men inside your game fence. When they’re inside, you’ll be the one who’s corralled.”

Kate knew in her gut he was right. But how could she abandon a hundred years of tradition—of McKinnons on Sanctuary Ranch? “I don’t have enough big trucks or men to protect a convoy for any distance.”

“I’ve been thinking about that problem, and I might have a solution for you. Let me get back to you.”

“All right.” She squeezed tighter on the mike. He’d pestered her about leaving, harangued her about her recklessness. Now, he’d say goodbye. Just like always.

“You doing okay?” she asked, wanting to extend the conversation.

“I’m fine. Stay put tomorrow. I’ll talk to you tomorrow night. Out.”
Devlin, Delilah. Her Sanctuary (Texas Vampires Book 1). Kindle Locations (111-148) Kindle Edition.

A trip to town for supplies is the catalyst that changes everything for Kate. She makes an agreement with Ty who has many secrets after he saves her and her men from rogues.

This is a quick read with plenty of action, sizzling heat and oh those secrets. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Delilah!

Coming Soon!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

DelilahDevlin Delilah Devlin

Up until recently, award-winning author Delilah Devlin lived in South Texas at the intersection of two dry creeks, surrounded by sexy cowboys in Wranglers. These days, she’s missing the wide-open skies and starry nights, but loving her dark forest in central Arkansas with its eccentric characters and isolation–the better to feed her hungry muse! To Delilah, the greatest sin is driving between the lines because it’s comfortable and safe. Her personal journey has taken her through one war, many countries, cultures, jobs and relationships to bring her to the place she travels now–writing sexy novels that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation.

Delilah Devlin is a prolific and award-winning author of erotica and erotic romance with a rapidly expanding reputation for writing deliciously edgy stories with complex characters. Whether creating dark, erotically-charged paranormal worlds or richly descriptive historical stories that ring with authenticity, Delilah Devlin “pens in uncharted territory that will leave the readers breathless and hungering for more…” (Paranormal Reviews) Ms. Devlin has published over 140 erotic stories in multiple genres and lengths.

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Cowboy Conspiracy Theory – West Protection Book 3 by Em Petrova

Cowboy Conspiracy Theory
West Protection Book 3
Em Petrova


They call her the Ice Queen…
but he’s determined to thaw her.

Bodyguard Mathias Trace is more comfortable on the back of a horse than guarding people. But when his next job involves brainy woman on a hunt for treasure, he’s as frustrated as he is turned on. Her pretty, delicate features and tight curves might threaten to give him whiplash, but her chilly disposition is enough to freeze any man in his tracks.

All Madeline asks for is a smart, savvy bodyguard. What she gets is a man who walks with a permanent swagger and only takes the name of his horse seriously. But she must be the first one to locate a rare artifact steeped in an ancient conspiracy theory, and she needs his help instead of his thunderous looks…though they might actually be starting to turn her on.

Searching for an artifact believed to bring two soulmates together is dangerous work, but so are the barriers dissolving between them. As those walls crash, their hearts are exposed, which means the woman known as the Ice Queen is sure to walk. Not that Mathias will let her get far…

Mathias always wanted to stay in the background of West Protection, he didn’t want to go in the field. Yet he does the training with everyone to be prepared. They need more employees to handle their growing client list. Now they’ve added one client that’s a bit different. Madeline Peerson needs a bodyguard and her own agency can’t provide one at the moment and time is of the essence.

Madeline has to get to an artifact before Dahl does, it will disappear forever if he gets there first. Unfortunately they face obstacle after obstacle as they prepare for the trek.

The first one is getting horses and a favorite scene.

“No horses?” Madeline couldn’t keep the exasperation from her question. “I’m sorry—they’re all booked for tomorrow.” The woman at the outfitter acted as if not having any horses to rent was no big deal, when it meant disaster.

Madeline settled her elbows on the counter and leaned in. “Exactly how many parties do you have heading into the canyon trails tomorrow?”

Mathias stepped up behind her, close enough for her to feel the man’s body heat penetrating through her clothes. As if she wasn’t hot and sticky enough in this weather without him adding to it.

“What she means is where can we find some horses if you don’t have any?”

The employee stared over Madeline’s head at Mathias. Her jaw dropped. Then she flushed pink.

“You can try down the road at Wild Bill’s.”

“Thank you, miss.”

Was it Madeline’s imagination, or did Mathias’s voice sound different? She wanted to whip around and catch him in the act of flirting on the job, but doing so would bring her up close and personal with him, and she was already tired of having him glued to her back.

The girl giggled. “I hope you find some.”

“Me too.” He placed a hand out as if to grab Madeline by the elbow. She stalked past him before he could do any such thing and barreled outside into the stifling heat.

“Why is it even hotter in the evening?”

“The land forms a natural basin. The rock’s holding the heat of the day and releasing it now.”

She inwardly groaned.

“Don’t worry. We’ll find some horses.” Mathias sounded confident.

“How can an outfitter not have enough horses? And what the hell was that back there?”

He shifted his head to pierce her in his stare. “What?”

“That disgusting flirting episode with the girl behind the counter.” She yanked open the truck door and jumped in.

Mathias took his good ole time rounding the front of the truck. By the time he climbed behind the wheel, her annoyance level had jumped two notches.

“That,” he twisted the key in the ignition, “was not flirting. That was being amiable and considerate of an employee. Your intimidation tactics weren’t going to make the girl pop out two more horses.”

Okay, he was right. She might fall back on her ability to scare people too much, when a simple thank-you would work.

They bumped down the road to another outfitter. This one had a big wooden cutout of a cowboy and WILD BILL’S painted across the chest. As they hit the parking lot, the sign’s lights came on, bare bulbs like those surrounding a Hollywood starlet’s dressing room mirror, except these outlined the cowboy.

“Ain’t that cute?” Mathias drawled.

“Charming.” She jumped out, but not before she caught his eye roll.

At the door, he blocked her way using his big body. She craned her neck to look at him. He must be six-two without the boots. She could still take him down in seconds.

“Let me do the talkin’.” Under his hat, his eyes were shadowed, but she knew they were fixed on her.


Seconds later, they were in the same predicament—no horses. No chance of getting horses.

She forgot her agreement to let Mathias do the dealing, and planted her elbows on the counter to glare at the little man who couldn’t be further from the famous gunslinger the name of the establishment suggested.

“Is it normal to run out of horses all over town?”

“No. First time it’s happened in years. We always have a horse or two left in the stable even on a busy summer day.” He scratched a finger on his balding scalp.

“Then why today?” she demanded.

A dinner plate-sized hand hit her lower back. The jolt of heat and the size of Mathias’s hand shocked her as much as the fact he touched her.

“Sorry, sir. We’re just trying to have a nice vacation, and we planned to take horses on the trip.” Mathias’s voice was smooth as silk.

The man gave a sympathetic nod. “I’d love to help you out, but a man came in a few hours ago and rented the lot.”

“All of them?” Madeline burst out.

The pressure on her spine increased until she couldn’t think about much else. His hand felt as if it spanned her entire lower back, thumb to pinky. It was too warm, but the heat began to seep through her skin and work at the stiffness she had from sitting on a cramped plane and then the truck.

She stepped forward, trying to separate his hand from her body, but he moved with her, which left her pinned between the counter and those long digits that she knew must be callused.

What did she care? She just wanted to find some horses and set out in the morning to beat Dahl to the artifact.

“What are our alternatives if we can’t get horses?” Mathias asked.

“I’ve heard of people taking dirt bikes.”

“Not exactly my thing,” he stated. “What about other animals? Llamas?”

“Have you ever ridden a llama?” Madeline twisted to look up at him.

At least he pulled his hand away. He shrugged. “How different can it be?”

“No llamas that I know of. But I’ve heard of some mules at the place two streets over.” The man pointed in the direction.

“I don’t know if mules are a good idea—” Mathias started.

Madeline cut him off by spinning back to the worker. “Thank you. Have a good evening.”

She hurried out with Mathias on her six. The man never seemed to move from his position. At least he was devoted to his job.

“Mules? No way.” He tugged down his hat brim.

“What happened to being considerate to an employee? It’s not his fault some douche-bag rented all the…” She trailed off as it suddenly hit her.

Em Petrova. CowboyConspiracyTheory (Kindle Locations 498-551). Kindle Edition.

The mules they acquire pose a couple of difficulties for Mathias but they do manage.

The trek is difficult and becomes more dangerous as Madeline realizes Dahl knows exactly where they are and another little tidbit she keeps from Mathias.

Ups and Downs both literally and figuratively as this adventure continues, even as these two cave to their attraction to each other just adding a different sort of sizzle to the weather’s heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Em!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Em Petrova Em Petrova

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

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

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Killian – The Mavericks Book 15 by Dale Mayer

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

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

The Mavericks Book 15
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


Killian is called up to retrieve a woman who’s been kidnapped, then escaped, only to be captured again.

With a sketchy SOS coming in, he’s tracking her from Vancouver to Alaska, where the intel finally stops.

The apple of her father’s eye, Stacey was a late gift in his life. But when it counted, he wasn’t there for her, leaving her alone and unprotected. On the run from her abusive ex, she’s kidnapped by a seasoned negotiator, who can see she’s in trouble. Only he plans to auction her off to the highest bidder.

With several threads running together on this mission, Killian must find the predator in the middle. It’s find him, take him out, or Stacey will never be safe again.

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As Killian sets off on his own mission with little time off, I wonder if I like the way they find themselves attracted to their mission goal more than the way they get their partner for the mission.

In this case it’s definitely a toss up. Hatch surprises Killian in his hotel room, which could have gone sideways but didn’t. Of course Jerricho is his handler on this one providing the intel they’ll need to accomplish their goal.

The town of Whitehorse has a strange atmosphere to Killian, it’s relatively early yet the streets are deserted. He’s taking a walk to familiarize himself with the route to the ransom dropsite. Hatch is out their too but Killian has that strange sensation of being followed.

Stacey Edgewater had escaped her kidnappers only to be kidnapped again. She was seen crawling out of a car on a ferry and became the prey to another lowlife. She’s figured out that the husband she left hired the first two but she hasn’t figured out the one that have her now. Now she’s informed she’s being sold but not like she figured, apparently two people want her and this kidnapper wants the money from both. He’s got money from one and he’s now about to collect from the other. Boy is he in for a surprise.

Even injured Stacey manages to get away, fortunately Killian is able to find her and help her stay hidden until they can both get away.

Then the fun begins.

“Great,” she said. “So now even my body is trying to hold me captive.”

“But this time, it’s for your own good,” he said. At the bathroom door, he looked at her and said, “Will you be okay?”

“I’ll be okay,” she said and shut the door firmly in his face.

He chuckled.

Hatch looked at him and said, “Better watch it.”



“No, that’s everybody else, not me,” he said, with a shrug. “I’ve never been the one who would get picked in a basketball game and certainly not have the popular girl.”

“Maybe not,” he said. “But you’ve got to admit, she’s an interesting character.”

Very,” he said. “Cute too.”

From the other side of the bathroom door, she yelled, “I’m right here, you know. I might be injured, but I’m not deaf.”

“That’s fine,” he said. “It’s not like I’ll lie about it. You are cute.”

She snorted. “Like hell. I’m cranky. I’m miserable. I look like shit, and I don’t like being lied to.”

“I’m not lying,” he said.

The door opened suddenly, and she glared at him. “No way anybody can look at this face right now and say I’m cute.”

He leaned forward and said, “You’re cute.”

She glared at him and pugnaciously stuck her chin out and said, “Am not.”

“Are too.”

“Am not.”

“Are too.”

At that, Hatch burst out laughing. “Oh, man,” he said, “I wish I had this on tape.”

On cue, both of them turned to glare at him as one.

At that, Killian asked, “Why? So you could send it to the rest of our team?”

“I should,” he said. “Or maybe just to her father.”

“Don’t do that,” she said. “He’s been bugging me to get into a permanent relationship ever since I filed for divorce.”

“Well, you probably figured that wouldn’t be a good idea, considering how you feel about your husband.”

“But my father loved my husband,” she said. “That’s why I had to bring him proof of what an asshat Max really is.”

Still smirking, Hatch turned and buried his face in his dinner.

Killian looked back at her and said, “Honestly, nothing in that bruising and puffiness hides your beauty.”

She shook her head and said, “You’re being ridiculous.” But her voice sounded more pleased than anything.

He smiled and asked, “Are you done in here? Can I help you back to your couch?”

“Since I’m up and all, I was hoping that maybe I could go to a bed?”

“Absolutely you can,” he said. “Pajamas are in that bag, if you want.”

She looked at him and said, “How about a nightie instead?”

“Why don’t we take a look,” he said. “And then we can figure out what else you might still need.”

“I don’t need anything,” she said. “I’m just really tired, and, with my leg injury, I don’t want to put on pants.”

“Wait here.” He brought the bag to her, and together they sorted through three sets of clothes, an oversize T-shirt, and weird shorts. He held them up and shrugged and said, “I honestly don’t know about these.”

She smiled and said, “Sleeper shorts. They’re perfect.” She grabbed the bag of clothes and shut the bathroom door in his face again.

“I could help you, you know?” he said through the door.

“Thanks anyway. I’ll be just fine.”

He waited, a big grin on his face, until he saw Hatch staring at him, with a smirk on his. Immediately Killian dropped the smile and said, “Don’t even go there.”

“Oh, I’ve already gone there,” he said. “Gone there and back a few times.”

“I wouldn’t think about it at all. You don’t know anything.”

“Nope, I don’t,” he said. “But, at the same time, I’m pretty happy with what I see.”

Killian groaned and said, “Just forget it.” When she opened the door, he looked at her and said, “Okay, I can see how that works.”

She smiled. “This should be good, for nighttime anyway.”

“Okay, so let’s get you to the bed, so I can dress the wound.”

She winced. “Is that really necessary?” He nodded. “Absolutely. We should have done it earlier, but the doc wanted it to dry and breathe a bit. Now that it’s dry, and you’re more or less as numb as you’ll be, we’ll bandage it up. That way, when you roll over in the night, you won’t catch those stitches in the bedding or the mattress and shriek from the pain.”

“That sounds horrible already,” she said, staring at him.

“Exactly, so let’s get you to the bed.” She hobbled to the bed, taking her time, and he let her. After her kidnapping ordeal, it was important for her to feel as independent as possible, and, when she finally got to the edge of the bed, she sank down heavily. “Okay, now I don’t feel so good,” she murmured.

“A little too much independence?”

“I don’t know, maybe just a little too much everything,” she said. She slowly flopped onto her back and lifted both legs onto the bed, until she was stretched out.

“You should’ve let me take the bedding off first.” She groaned and then sat back up and slid off the bed. He pulled the bedding back, and she laid back down again. He brought over the bag of medical supplies that the doctor had left him and quickly put on clean gauze and wrapped the large wound, covering all the stitches on her leg. “Maybe that’ll help,” he said, as he flipped a sheet over the top of her.

“Well, at least that’s not hurting anyway,” she said. Rolling over onto her good leg, she pulled the pillow underneath her head, yawned, and said, “I think I’m ready to sleep.”

“You need your pain pills and an antibiotic yet,” he said. “Let me get some water.” He stepped into the bathroom, filled a glass of water, and came out with the pain pill bottle and shook out two, then added the antibiotic. He handed them to her, as she shifted up onto her elbow, popped them into her mouth, and drank down the glass of water.

“That’s it, for me,” she said, pulling the sheet up a little higher.

“Do you want a blanket too?”

She shook her head. “Not at this point,” she said. “I’ll try it with just the sheet. It’s pretty warm in here.”

“It’ll get colder,” he said. “But that’s up to you.”

“Maybe in a bit,” she said. “If I can fall asleep like this, it’s all good.” With that, she drifted off.

He cleaned up his mess and put the trash in the bathroom garbage, then walked back to the little kitchenette area, where he wasn’t surprised to see Hatch still eating. “Still hungry?”

“A lot of work done today, and I haven’t had a ton of food.”

“Now you sound like her,” he said.

“It is what it is.”

“So you say,” he said. “We need to stand watch tonight.”

“Agreed. Way too much we don’t know yet,” Hatch said. “I’m still eating. You go crash.”

“You sure?”

“Absolutely,” he said.

With that, Killian dropped onto the second bed, and closed his eyes. “Wake me if there’s anything.”
Dale Mayer. Killian (Kindle Locations 757-819). Valley Publishing Ltd..

Not only do they have to find and put an end to the kidnappings, the whole thing escalates with the knowledge that she took something from her husband when she left. Something he’ll do anything to get back.

I couldn’t put this book down, there’s a lot of crazy involved before things get solved and of course Killian and Stacey are in denial of the attraction, well mostly.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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

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Home Again – The Long Road Home Book 4 by Caitlyn O’Leary

Home Again
The Long Road Home Book 4
USA Today Bestselling Author
Caitlyn O’Leary


Can he solve the mystery that has haunted him for years and set things right before it crumbles down around him and the woman who’s become entangled in his mess?

Since two days before Sebastian’s eighteenth birthday, when he left home to join the Navy, he’s been runny away from the pain, the confusion, the terror and the guilt.

But the Navy had made a man out of him, and now it was time to finally come to terms with his past, so he was going back.

When he finds a new woman in town, unknowingly caught up in the chaos of his past, Sebastian knows time is running out. Then he finds himself entangled with Gianna on a much more personal basis and he wants time to stand still.

Can he unravel the past and grab onto the future before it’s too late?

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This book opens as Sebastian Durand travels home to Louisiana, a place he never thought he’d return to. To say he has family problems is an understatement, but his Grandpère Lazar Durand has promised him answers, and he intends to get them one way or another. Of course he was traveling during a hurricane so his last flight was cancelled and late so he stayed at the local USO. After renting an SUV he drives the rest of the way to the family estate fighting the winds.

There’s no one around when he enters but with all the lights on he knows someone has to be there. He finds his Uncle Armand drunk in the study. He wasn’t exactly welcoming either. As he finds himself some food, he gets another surprise as the back door bangs open and a woman soaked from the rain takes one look at him and tries to run. Of course he’s not letting her get away. Turns out she’s renting the carriage house something that’s never been done before.

Gianna Prentiss had come up to the main house to remind Armand to eat, it seems without Lazar in residence he loses track of time and doesn’t eat at all. After joining them for a meal, during which Sebastian gets some answers, she protests his escorting her back to the carriage house. There he finds no storm shutters and then insists or rather demands she return to the main house to stay until the storm passes.

This works in Gianna’s favor since she really wants to go through Lazar’s office to find something to tell her what happened to her mother. She’s going about this with her friend Jada on the line and she’s under the desk looking for a maker’s mark. Unfortunately for her, thats when Sebastian catches her in the act.

This is a favorite scene.

“Yes, he is,” Jada said soothingly. “But this isn’t what we’re after. You need to keep on track, okay? We need information that will help us find your mom. If we can find something on him that will help us blackmail him so he will tell us what he might know about your mom, or any information on Etta Rose, then we’re golden.”

Gianna wiped away her tears on the sleeve of her hoodie. “You’re right. Did you find anything to help break into the desk drawers?”

“Yeah, I’m going to need you to crawl under the desk and find out the maker’s mark. It should be listed on a brass plate.”

Gianna stuffed the files that she had gone through back into the credenza and started to crawl back to the desk. At least the office was carpeted.

When she got under the desk, she couldn’t see anything. It was too dark. “Hey, Jada, I’m going to have to call you back. I need to turn on my phone’s flashlight to see anything under here, and I don’t know how to operate two functions at once.”

“You could use my phone,” a low voice rumbled.

Gianna screamed, jerked up, and slammed her head on the bottom of the desk.

“Owwww,” she cried. She fell onto the floor in pain.

“What the fuck is happening?” Jada screeched.

Gianna curled up into the fetal position and squealed when a warm hand gently touched her back.

“Calm down, honey, I didn’t mean to scare you. It’s me, Sebastian. I need to see how badly you hurt yourself.”

Gianna whimpered and reached around to the back of her head. It felt hot and she could swear she already feel a lump forming.

“Can I help you out from underneath there?”

“Sebastian, what’s wrong with Gianna?” Jada demanded to know.

His touch was tender as he drew her out from under the desk. Gianna looked up into his concerned eyes. “Can you sit up?”

She nodded, then regretted it. “I’m fine,” she said as she pushed herself up into a seated position then slumped back against the desk.

“Would somebody tell me what the fuck is going on?” Jada yelled.

Gianna closed her eyes, knowing she was in a ton of trouble.

“Your partner in crime smacked her head on the bottom of the desk. I’m trying to see how bad it is.”

“Do you have any medical training, SEAL boy?”

Gianna gulped. She didn’t feel well and Jada wasn’t helping.

“Yes,” Sebastian said. “I’m going to hang up now. Gianna can call you back when she’s feeling better.”

“Whoa there. My girl is hurting. I need to know you’re not going to give her a bunch of shit for being in the office.”

“Scout’s Honor. I’m not going to give her shit.”

“Were you a Boy Scout?” Jada demanded to know.

“Fuck no. Now goodbye.”

Gianna opened her right eye to see how mad Sebastian was.

“Can you open both eyes?” he asked softly.

“Depends. On a scale of one to ten, how angry are you going to be if I’m able to open both eyes?” she asked.

“Ten for hurting yourself, one for snooping.”

Gianna opened her left eye. Sebastian didn’t look angry. His large hands lifted and reached around her head to tenderly probe her scalp. He winced when she did. “Come on, sweetheart, let’s get you to the office couch, then I’ll get some ice from the kitchen.”

Gianna had to lean against him in order to make her way over to the leather couch. When she started to lie down, she crinkled her nose when the smell of brandy and cigarette smoke hit her nostrils.

“What is it?”

“Armand must have spilled his drink on the sofa.”

Sebastian leaned down and took a deep breath. “Jesus.”

He picked her up and she squeaked. “What are you doing?”

“We’ll go out to the drawing-room. That couch is more comfortable anyway, along with the added bonus of not stinking.”

Gianna was shocked. She had never been carried in her whole life. At least not that she remembered. She’d been almost five when her grandparents came and rescued her, too old to be carried, and God knows that neither her dad nor mom had ever picked her up.

“Honey, relax. You’re stiff as a board. Put your arms around my neck.”

She looked up into Sebastian’s eyes and they were warm. As if a switch had been flipped, her entire body melted into his hold.

“That’s better, now put your arms around my neck.”

She did. Sebastian bent down a little bit to open the door to the office, then it felt like she was flying through the air as he strode down the hall to the drawing-room. Ever so gently he placed her onto the sofa, making sure that the back of her head didn’t hit the cushions.

“I’ll be right back with some ice, pillows, and a blanket. Here you go.” He reached into his back pocket and handed her her phone.

“You remembered this?” How could he have remembered her phone? She hadn’t even remembered her phone.

“Of course. Now call your girl and tell her what’s going on. She seemed freaked.” “Okay.” Sebastian left the room. Gianna looked at her phone but she was too tired to hit Jada’s number.
Caitlyn O’Leary. Home Again: The Long Road Home (Kindle Locations 620-665).

There’s no denying the attraction between Sebastian and Gianna. They both need to focus on their objectives with the help of Jada and Sebastian’s teammate Gideon.

It seems Jada has unearthed much that Sebastian had no idea about and that information just leads to more things to investigate. Of course his Grandpère’s return puts not only a kink in those plans but adds a few new ones.

I couldn’t put this book down, there’s a lot going on and even more behind the scenes, as well as some sizzling heat with Gianna and Sebastian.

I’m definitely going to read the other books making up the Long Road Home series as well as Kostya and Gideon’s stories coming in a new series Omega Sky in 2022!

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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Shielding Jolene – Special Forces: Operation Alpha/Delta Forces Generation Next Book 1 by Jen Talty

Shielding Jolene
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Delta Forces Generation Next Book 1
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty


He’ll protect her with his life.
And she’ll run off with his heart.

Jolene Whittle’s last true crime novel cracked the top twenty of the NY Times bestselling list. Now all she has to do is hit number one with the next one and she has just the story to do it with: The Alleyway Strangler. And the woman who brought him down is willing to give her a once-in-a-lifetime interview. Jolene boards a plane heading for Texas where she meets a well-meaning emergency room doctor who happens to be her biggest fan. Except, this isn’t any ordinary fan. He’s connected to her past. And now history might repeat itself.

While forced into a little mini vacation, Michael “Cannon” Santoro is asked by a fellow Delta Force soldier to pick up Jolene up at the airport and keep an eye on her while she interviews his wife. Cannon doesn’t hesitate. Jolene is like no one he’s ever met, and he finds himself in uncharted waters. Only, he’s about to uncover a sinister plan that will bring both their pasts on a collision course with the future, and it isn’t bright.

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Michael ‘Cannon’ Santoro, has been called Cannon forever. His nickname came as a child and nobody calls him Michael. He’s currently on medical leave staying with his brother Tony and today is a gathering of friends. Oz, Gage, and Lefty are there with their wives and children, the conversations are varied and relay the fun of the occasion although it does start to get a bit heavy as they discussed the injuries from Cannon’s last mission. In the growing silence, Lefty asks Cannon for a favor. Kinley has agreed to be interviewed about the Alleyway Strangler and he wants Cannon to stick by her like glue. He wants to be sure the narrative is controlled not only because of his job but also the stress it puts on Kinley.

Jolene Whittle writes best selling true crime books. She is thrilled that Kinley has agreed to an interview for a story that really needs to be told. When we meet her she’s a bit anxious since it’s a once in a lifetime chance and she’s also being met by a friend of theirs who will be escorting her around. The flight itself becomes stressful when the man seated next to her knows far more than she is comfortable with. The ER doctor seems to me to be far more than just a fan.

Cannon rescues her from the man’s persistence but this isn’t the last of it. Cannon and Jolene face many things throughout this book, and their relationship is a simmer to sizzle one.

We see a lot of the stalker in this and knowing the behind the scenes is a bit disturbing.

Once Jen has me enthralled by the story and on the edge of my seat waiting for the next shoe to drop.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

Jen Talty

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

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

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

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