Poison in the Pansies – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 16 by Dale Mayer

Poison in the Pansies
Lovely Lethal Gardens
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


Riches to rags … Chaos has calmed … At least while out on the lake … Until poison is found, blowing up the peace again …

Enjoying a beautiful day on the lake, while Doreen tries her hand at paddleboarding, ends up on an odd note after finding poison in a bed of pansies. She garners a tidbit of information out of her BFF, Corporal Mack Moreau, about a man who’d recently walked into the emergency room, complaining he’d been poisoned.

Only on a threat of good behavior (surely it doesn’t count if given under duress), Doreen agrees to stay out of his case. But, as it happens, the mention of poison to her beloved Nan brings up another recent death and an old woman who’d been saying someone was poisoning her for months. Only no one listened. Now she is dead.

When Doreen’s case and Mack’s collide, she’s delighted, and so is he. Not. But, when Nan decides to join in the sleuthing, with her pal, Richie, it’s Doreen’s turn to worry—and with good reason!

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Aside from the prologue of this book setting up the title and crime, it also shows a real fun date with Mac, Doreen, Thaddeus, Goliath and Mugs.

Unfortunately, shortly after Max gets called to work, leaving Doreen more than a little curious.

The ever-vocal Thaddeous is getting more so, picking up new words, phrases and even mannerisms. This is amusing for the reader and annoying for Doreen, especially the he-he-he-he.

I also love when Mac comes over and fixes dinner, this time veggies and steak on the barbeque.

This is just one of many favorite scenes.

He looked over at her. “Rough day?”

“I don’t know.” She gave him a lazy one-arm shrug. “Kind of an off day. Didn’t know what I should be doing really. So I did some cleaning.”

Mack chuckled. “That’s like everything to do with applying on the internet nowadays,” he noted. “It’s almost anonymous, and you put in all these applications, like deep-sixing it into the garbage can.”

“I get it,” she agreed. “I just … it’s so different from when I was a teenager, applying for work.”

“You have been going in person to places though, haven’t you?”

“I have,” she replied. “And I even asked at the Chinese food place, when I was there a few days ago. I went and treated myself to one dish,” she shared. “And I asked him if he was looking for help. He gave me such a horrified look that I realized he didn’t think I would be good for business.”

When no answer came from Mack, she looked over to see his face working hard, as he tried to hold back his laughter. When she’d caught him, and he knew he had been caught, he burst out laughing.

“I didn’t consider that I would be bad for business.” She raised her hands in surrender. “I just thought I could help out.”

“And you could,” he agreed. “But he’s right too. I mean, people might just come because you’re an oddity. People might just come to get your autograph or to see the animals. However, I doubt you could bring your pets to work every day,” he noted. “I’m not sure that having you working there will make anybody come to get more Chinese.”

“What if they just came to get Chinese food and not more than Chinese food?” she asked in a confused voice. “Surely that would be okay.”

“Maybe, maybe not. I hate to say it, but a lot of people are very superstitious. And you’re dealing with a lot of murders. Maybe they think being around you will just invite more bad news to come in their direction. People make illogical links all the time. They could link you with sending them to jail because you do that, as you close these murder cases.”

She stared at him. “But that’s not fair,” she cried out. “How can people hold that against me?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because you keep getting involved in all these murder cases.”

She glared at him. “That would still be very narrow-minded thinking on their part.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulled her close, and gave her a big hug. “See? This is why I like coming over here.” He grinned. “Don’t ever change.”

She leaned back, looked up at him. “I don’t even know how to change.”

He dropped a kiss on her temple. “I have to get the veggies on.” And, with that, he headed to the deck again and quickly popped all the veggies onto the barbecue.

She watched with interest, still standing pretty close to him, wondering at the camaraderie and that connection that always seemed to exist between them. She sighed. “Nan says we’re getting really close.”

He looked over at her. “Of course Nan would say that. Has she put bets on our love life yet?”

She stared at him, nonplussed. “She wouldn’t …”

His eyebrows went up, questioning her.

“At least I would hope not,” she replied in dire tones. And then she stopped, looked at him, and asked, “She wouldn’t, would she?”

“Yes, she would,” he stated, his voice firm. “Nothing you and I can say will change that.”

She sat down on one of the nearby deck chairs and stared glumly out at the river. “She’s really got a problem, doesn’t she?”

“It’s a problem, yes, but it’s a good-hearted problem and not one that any of us will go after her for,” he noted gently. “As long as she keeps it friendly and is not getting people in trouble, then we’re willing to overlook a certain amount of this bookie stuff that she’s got going on.”

At that, Doreen sighed. “I hope she doesn’t do anything like that to me. It would feel very much like a betrayal.”

Surprised, he sat down beside her. “Why would you say that?” he asked. “You know that she loves you.”

“Sure, but she also knows that I don’t like being talked about or being the center of attention.” At that, his lips twitched again. “Hey.” She crossed her arms and frowned at him. “Okay, fine. So nothing I’ve done involving the cold cases makes it seem like that’s how I feel. But I do.”

“Maybe you should tell her that.”

“I have,” she replied. “Well, at least I’ve told her that I would be very unhappy if she did do something like that with my love life.”

“It will be interesting to see,” he noted.

“We won’t know anyway. They’ll keep it to themselves.”

“Of course they will,” he agreed, “and, even if she isn’t betting on us, you might want to consider the fact that somebody else there will, and that person won’t care about your feelings anywhere near as much as Nan will.”

She stared at him. “But that just means—” And then she stopped, her voice dropping away.

“It just means that you should let Nan run with it because, otherwise, somebody else will,” he noted, “and Nan at least will do it in such a way as to honor your feelings.”

Doreen groaned at that. “No, you’re right.” She paused. “Dang. I didn’t think of that.”

“No, it’s easy not to think about,” he replied. “And I don’t think it’s a big issue right now anyway.”

She nodded. “That’s because I don’t have a love life.” At the silence beside her, she looked over and then winced. “I guess that didn’t come out quite the right way, did it?”

He stood at the barbecue pit, watching the veggies so they didn’t burn, and didn’t say anything, but his back was unnaturally stiff.

And she realized that she’d hurt him. “You see? That’s why I don’t have a love life. I always put my foot in it,” she explained. “Since leaving my ex and being able to say things on my own, it’s like I have to learn all over again what to say and what not to say and how it impacts people.”

He looked over at her.

She shrugged. “Before,” she noted carefully, trying to explain how she felt, “he controlled everything, so I didn’t get to say things a lot of the time. Any natural ability I might have had to say the right thing at the right time from before I married him just became locked down into this really hard say nothing more rule, so I didn’t piss him off,” And then she frowned. “That’s not making any sense.”

“No, it doesn’t. You might want to try again.” He stared at her.

“Okay. You know when I was growing up …” She shook her head, stopped for a moment to gather her thoughts. “I mean, obviously you learn to say things, and you try hard not to hurt people, blah-blah-blah. But when I got married, I couldn’t say anything. It was that, you know, I was fed the lines I was supposed to say, and these are the things that I had to do, and these are the married people I had to meet, so I didn’t really get a chance to joke around and actually be me.

“And now that that ruling influence is gone, it’s like I’m a teenager again, trying to figure out what to say, what not to say, and how not to hurt people’s feelings. And I keep messing up.” She turned to face Mack. “So I’m sorry.”

He looked at her. “And what are you sorry for?” he asked quietly.

And she knew this was momentous. “Because I think I just hurt you.”

His eyebrows shot up, and she realized that the think part was the problem.

“So I know I just hurt you, and I didn’t mean to.” She felt the tears gathering in the back of her eyes. “And even now I feel like I’m messing up.” She brushed away the moisture from the corner of her eyes. She stared out at the river, shook her head. “This is why I don’t do relationships.”

“Why would you say that?” he asked. “You have to learn to walk before you learn to run.”
Dale Mayer. Poison in the Pansies (Kindle Locations 422-487). Valley Publishing.

So the current case Mac is working on is a poisoning, and as it turns out Nan knows of someone at the home who believes she was being poisoned too. Unfortunately, no one believed her.

Lots of intertwining of these cases as Doreen finds out about Mac’s case as well as her own.

I totally love the dynamic between these two and of course the animals are the best pets ever!

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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Vicious Chaos – Steel Roses Book 3 by Samantha Bee

Vicious Chaos
Steel Roses Book 3
Samantha Bee


I never cared if I lived or died.

For eight years I lived as a mess of broken pieces that never could fit back together quite right.

Eight years of training. Of building an empire. Of fighting. Of just surviving. Of letting my heart beat for revenge.

Only revenge.

Eight years of not really living at all.

While I was living half a life, I didn’t realize all that was being built up around me.

A home. A family. A place to belong.

Ways to soothe my broken edges until I feel almost whole again.

Something to lose. Something to miss. Something to protect.

I don’t wanna die anymore. But I’ll never give up my revenge.

Good thing it’s not just me seeking vengeance anymore.

Lines are drawn. Moves are made.

New alliances are formed while old ones burn to the ground.

We are done holding back, even if it means the streets of St Graves are stained red.

If you haven’t read the other books in this series, STOP, go back and read them first. This book begins where Deadly Chaos ends, although the prologue takes us back to Scar’s past first. If you read Damaged and Deadly, which is Jade’s story, you will recognize some scenes in this book as they are told through different points of view.

Rachel’s been stabbed and shows up on Scar’s doorstep proclaiming Jade is her sister. Collapsing in Scar’s arms right after that declaration, Scar yells for Declan even as Jade passes out in the corner with Ian and Mikey helps her with Rachel. Alec shows up next angry and concerned, but Scar needs answers to what is going on. Not surprised Romano was behind it, or that Michael, William’s next in command was the one to attack Rachel.

While they are waiting for the next move, things get even bloodier as they root out the spies in their organization.

They also make a startling discovery when Jade is attacked by Ciar, Romano’s son. Jade was chipped and Ciar had been tracking her every move. This solidifies the need for Jade and Britt to learn the tunnels.

While they recap everything Noah surprises her with his talents on the computer.

This is just one of many favorite scenes.

I was grateful when Ian got Jade out of there, because I was not going to be able to keep it together for much longer. Even fighting with Kade and Luca did nothing to release any of my pent up frustration.

I force myself to take deep breaths and try to find some semblance of calm from the storm whirling inside of me. My anger doesn’t help anyone right now. Being able to keep my emotions under a tight leash is what has kept me so successful for so long. I can’t afford to start slipping now. Not when everything is getting so crazy.

I need my tightly wound control now more than ever. Even if it’s harder than ever to hold onto.

“Okay, let’s go over everything again,” I say to no one in particular. I feel like I’m missing something and I need to run through everything again from the top. We called a meeting as soon as we got Jade settled into Ian’s house. Everyone else is now sitting around our security room as we go over all of the implications of today.

Noah starts, “The chip that Ciar had on Jade was collecting and storing all of her GPS data. That means we have to assume he has all of the coordinates of everywhere she’s been since we rescued her.”

Mikey picks up. “We are clearing out all of the safety houses we have as we speak. Not only the ones that Jade has been to but all of the ones that are connected to the same identities of the ones she’s been to.”

“Which are?” I ask.

Noah looks at his computer before answering, “The rescue house you had her taken to was under the name Cassandra Brown. Jade’s place was under Marcus Whittier. We had thirteen other properties under those aliases that are being cleared out and put on the market as we speak. Other locations of interest were here, Brittany’s apartment, the gym, Steel Roses, and Mikey and Ronan’s place.”

“We moved Brittany into our place,” Ronan interjects.

“Right,” Noah continues. “Her apartment building was owned by the alias Sarah Vandenberg,” he says, giving me a pointed look. I raise my hands in innocence and shake my head. I may have provided the identity, but it was not my possessive ass that wanted to own where she lived.

He turns his attention to the two burly men across the room. Mikey remains a stoic wall but Ronan gives him a sheepish expression.

“Well, there were four other properties under Sarah, so also getting those cleared out. The gym, Steel Roses, and here are all owned under Luca’s legal name, so we don’t have to be worried about that. Same with Mikey and Ronan’s place. I’m working on a new security system to put in place though.”

“So three aliases burned and twenty properties total?”

“Correct,” Noah confirms.

I trade looks with Luca. “Not as bad as we first thought.”

He nods in agreement. “Could have been worse.”

Ryder rears back in surprise. “Shit, woman. Just how many other identities and properties do you have for that to be no big deal?”

I laugh but don’t give him an answer. The truth is, I’m not entirely sure anymore. Not between the ones we’ve all amassed. Luca has been creating them for as long as I have. Kade almost as long, and it turns out even Declan has a fair few hidey holes. Who would have thought Mr. Posh would have such dark secrets after all?

“Okay, so those are taken care of. Security is being upped everywhere else. Jade is settled in. What’s next?”

Declan asks, “What about the integrity of the other identities?”

Noah nods. “I’m running some analysis there.” He points to a computer that has numbers and letters flashing across the screen. “It will pick up any odd activity, discrepancies, or anything that indicates a breach.”

I get up and over closer to the screen, watching the code fly by and taking in just what the program is doing.

“How the fuck did you do this?” I’ve never seen a program like this. Nothing even close to it. I’ve tweaked my fair share of programs to suit my needs, but I’ve never been able to get one to do what this one is doing. Picking up odd activity in someone’s GPS movements or financial activity? Easy. This? Nothing is easy about it.

“I created the program to collect things like google searches, or pulling up government records, anything like that. If anyone were to even type in one of the addresses into their maps, I would get a notification.”

My mouth drops open as I stare at Noah. “Who the fuck are you?”

Kade cackles behind me. “Keep talking, Noah. She’s about to orgasm on the spot.” I hear a thud followed by Joe cursing him out.

Ronan also laughs. “I think you broke her brain.”

I ignore all of them as I stare at my shy, sweet, secret badass Noah. His cheeks flush. “I’ve been working on it for the last couple of months,” he explains. “It’s still a work in progress, but it has any and every detail connected to us. Identities, businesses, addresses, cars, etc. Everything. The second part of the program I’m still working on will be able to sort through the normal searches, like people looking up your social media, Scar, or the address for Steel Roses or the tattoo shop. It’ll still collect IP addresses and such and be able to connect if one person is looking into multiple aspects of us.”

I’m shocked into silence. My mind is running through the configurations of code I see running across the screen. I’m more impressed than I can put into words with what I’m seeing.

“You really did break her,” Holden jokes.

I open my mouth as I look at Noah. “I…” I don’t even know what to say after that. “What the fuck?” I whisper to myself. I knew this had to be possible, but I had never even come close to collecting the vast amount of data he is as quickly and efficiently as this program is. “Just how fucking smart are you?” I demand.

Noah finally laughs and some of the color fades from his cheeks. His hand drops from where he was rubbing the back of his neck. A cool confidence comes over him that I hardly ever see on him. My eyes widen as I recognize this version of him.

“Apparently smarter than you,” he teases. A chorus of oh’s sound out around the room followed by laughter. Joe shakes his head at all of their antics. My eyes narrow at Noah. “Oh, really?”

He shrugs nonchalantly, like he isn’t lighting every competitive bone in my body on fire with his attitude. “Come on, baby girl. You can’t be the best at everything. This is what I went to school for after all. I’ve spent years studying every aspect of technology and coding. Not just how to hack into places I shouldn’t be.”

I roll my eyes. He isn’t wrong, and based on this… Well shit. I hate to admit it, but he is better than me. It would have taken me years to get this up to where he has managed to get it in only a few months.

“Okay then, Handsome. I’ll give you this win since you impressed me.” This time it’s a surprised chorus of oh’s that sound out from the peanut gallery. “But I’m running your training tomorrow,” I finish with a smirk.

He grimaces as he curses and Ryder pats him on the back in encouragement. Kade has a wicked smirk on his face, so I know something is coming even before he opens that big mouth of his.

“Come on, Ladybug. Don’t be a sore loser.”

I give him my best unamused look. He knows damn well I can admit when someone is better than me. “You,” I point at him, “were not recently kidnapped. That means I can and will shoot you for pissing me off.”

He throws his head back and cackles, absolutely undeterred by my threat. I wouldn’t kill him. I am quite fond of my giant dope. There are plenty of places I could hit that he’d survive. Little flesh wound.
Samantha Bee. Vicious Chaos (Kindle Locations 1212-1273). A World of Chaos Series.

As predicted the streets of St. Graves get bloodier. The alliance between Rachel and Scar becomes closer.

Specific targets taken out, with lots of kindle melting scenes in between. A new character introduced, Alec’s twin brother Nicholis. More of Dare the bartender/dancer, I love this girl!

Plenty of back and forth, twists and turns, ups and downs, laughter and OMG the tears.

I can’t wait for the next book. I need so much more!!!

5 Contented Purrs for Samantha!

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Born and raised in California, Samantha Bee lives for coffee, cheesecake, and chaos. She seems to attract psychos and can be needy and dramatic. However, those things get channeled to her muse in order to create dark and sexy worlds.

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Just One Spark – The Kingston Family Book 4 by Carly Phillips

Just One Spark
The Kingston Family Book 4
USA Today Bestselling Author


He’s a playboy rock star living the rock and roll dream…
Until a very real baby scare threatens to bring it all crashing down.

Dash Kingston has learned his lesson and knows his hard-partying lifestyle needs to change. To clean up his playboy image, he needs a fake girlfriend.

There’s just one problem: the perfect woman for the job is a gorgeous blonde who once aroused not just his body but his emotions, sending him running. And leaving her to wake up alone.

For the band’s sake, Cassidy Forrester agrees to play the girlfriend role, but she’s not going to fall for Dash’s charm or sex appeal ever again.

Except this Dash Kingston swears he’s a changed man, and he’s out to win Cassidy over – for good. But only a fool would make the same mistake twice, and Cassidy refuses to let their spark burn her a second time.

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Dash Kingston, rock star, musician, song writer is waiting for the results of a paternity test and his band’s manager thinks it’s a perfect time for a party. NOT.

With so much on his mind he sneaks from his house to his brother’s just down the road for some peace. Unfortunately, the rest of the band follows him, leaving Cassidy alone to wrangle the groupies and the entourage. His future sister-in-law Sasha will have none of that and goes to collect her from the fray. Cassidy’s their new drummer Axel’s sister and the group’s personal assistant for now, until her new position with Harrison Dare’s production company begins.

No one knows about Cassidy and Dash’s one night. Dash proved he could be a real jerk by leaving while she slept. All because he couldn’t handle the feelings he suddenly had.

With the paternity suit behind him, an interviewer goes after the band with off limits questions leading Naomi, the band’s PR person to suggest that Dare needs a down to earth, steady girlfriend. The person she’s eying for that job is Cassidy. Axel is not a fan of the idea, but Cassidy seems willing to at least discuss it.

Instead of discussing it in front of everyone, Dash orders the car to stop and takes Cassidy for ice cream to figure it out.

This is a favorite scene.

Needing a minute, she picked up a menu and looked through the choices. “Are you eating lunch first and then dessert?” she asked him.

“Nope. Pure decadence for me.” His eyes twinkled with amusement at his deliberate choice of words. “But feel free to order food first.”

“Decadence sounds perfect.” She shook her head at herself for getting into sensual word games with the man. “I mean, you’re right. A time like this calls for ice cream.”

“Glad we’re on the same page.”

A waitress stopped at their table. “Hi, folks. Are you ready to order or do you need … more … time?” Her voice trailed off and her eyes grew wide as she obviously recognized Dash.

“Cass?” Dash asked, calling her by the shortened name he’d used that night.

She swallowed hard. “I’m ready to order.”

The waitress had pulled herself together, obviously instructed to behave around celebrity guests. She politely waited.

Cassidy’s choice was easy. “I’ll have the Forbidden Broadway Sundae.”

Chocolate blackout cake, vanilla ice cream, and hot fudge topped with whipped cream. Her stomach rumbled with delight at the thought. That thought of the treat bolstered her nerves when deciding what to do about Naomi’s proposition.

“I’ll have the same thing.” He winked at Cassidy and she frowned.

“What are you up to?” She narrowed her gaze at him. “The word play, the winking. You won’t get anywhere trying to charm me into being your pretend girlfriend, you know.”

What she’d come to think of as his fake smile slipped. “It’s a habit.”

“Well, break it when I’m around. If I’m even going to consider this ludicrous plan, I want to be around someone real. Not a rock star with a massive ego he wants to project to the world.”

He nodded and she was shocked he hadn’t reared back at her insult.

“You know that’s one of the things I like about you,” he said.

“What’s that?”

“You don’t take my bullshit.” He shrugged. “The only other people who treat me like a regular guy are my family. It’s refreshing.”

“Glad I can surprise you. Now tell me. Are you seriously considering this plan?” Because to her surprise, she was considering saying yes. Axel had always been there for her, and if acting the part would help not just Dash but the group as a whole, she’d do it.

Dash blew out a long breath, picked up a spoon, and twirled it around. “I hate either of us being pushed into a situation we don’t want.”

“Wow. Tell me how you really feel.” She swallowed over the sudden lump in her throat. “You don’t want to be my boyfriend, real, fake, or otherwise. Got it.”

He blinked, drawing her attention to those long, fringed lashes any woman would kill to have. “Dammit, that’s not how I meant it.” He leaned closer so only she could hear.

Unfortunately for her, the scent of his cologne was potent and arousing, and she squirmed in her seat. This man was the whole package, and it wasn’t fair to the average people walking the earth.

“At first I thought Naomi was nuts, but the more I think about it, I realize she has a point. Which is why she’s paid the big bucks to come up with solutions when one of us gets into shit. And let’s face it. I’ve gotten myself into a pretty deep hole. One I want to get out of.”

He looked around and slid his arm behind her as he spoke. “I’m tired of the life I’ve been living. I don’t want to wake up hungover or, worse, still drunk. I hate the groupies and don’t want strange women pawing me. I want to focus on my music, my family, and my future.”

She studied him up close, stunned by his admission. “Dash Kingston wants a normal life?”

“As close to normal as I can get knowing I have to be on the road at times. But yeah. Why is that so surprising?” He hadn’t moved, and his warm breath fanned her ear as he spoke, making it difficult for her to concentrate.

“Because you’re you? A rock star who can’t stand to be in the same room the morning after with a woman you slept with the night before? Does that sound normal to you?” She was obviously still hurt. So sue her. She was human.

“I’m sorry for that and I will make it up to you.” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear that must have fallen from her ponytail, causing a ripple of awareness to cascade through her. “Despite me being a complete asshole, I’m still asking if you’ll do this for me. Be my girlfriend.”

Between his nearness, his masculine, sexy scent, and the warmth of his body, her nipples grew tight, as if they were saying yes even as every other part of her body screamed no. Don’t be an idiot. She was too susceptible to this man’s charms, which meant he’d hurt her again. She just knew it.

But she understood why the charade was necessary, and if she could remember it was pretend, she’d be fine. Her brother had just joined the band, and if they could get past this rocky period, he’d have another chance at a career with a massively successful band. They’d always looked out for one another, and despite his wariness about her being Dash’s so-called girlfriend, she was an adult who made her own decisions.

“There are some ground rules you have to agree to before I say yes,” she said.

“Name them.”

She sat up straighter in her chair. “One, no cheating. I don’t care that we’re fake,” she said, whispering the word. “The world will think it’s real, and I refuse to be made a fool of.”

“Agreed,” he said too easily.

She narrowed her gaze. “That means celibacy, in case you aren’t thinking things through,” she whispered.

He angled even closer. “I’ve been celibate since our night together. Next rule?”

What. The. Fuck?

With his thumb, he pushed her chin upward, closing her mouth, which she hadn’t realized she’d opened in surprise. Now wasn’t the time to dissect that statement or even decide if she believed him.

She attempted to unscramble her brain and get to her next rule. “When we break up, I get to be the one who dumps you. Again, I won’t be humiliated.”

“Deal.” Again, no hesitation.

Before she could try and come up with another rule to cover her ass, the waitress arrived with their sundaes. “Here you go.”

Dash straightened and waited while she placed their desserts in front of them. The huge metal bowl contained way too many scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of the chocolate blackout cake and so much whipped cream she’d be digging to get to the cake.

“Wow.” She picked up the cherry on top and popped it into her mouth, closed her lips, and pulled at the stem. “Mmm.” She closed her eyes for a brief moment because she loved cherries, and when she opened them, a heavy-lidded Dash was staring back at her, desire in his gaze.

Desire she recognized, having seen that look on his face once before, which led to her final rule. “I know we have to do PDA, but we are not sleeping together again.”

An amused smile lifted his lips. “Unless you change your mind and give me permission.”

Arrogant man. And wasn’t that part of his appeal? “I won’t,” she insisted.

Ignoring him, she took the long spoon and dug into the decadent dessert, shoving a huge scoop into her mouth because she didn’t want to discuss this subject anymore.
Carly Phillips. Just One Spark (Kindle Locations 376-436). CP Publishing.

Of course, there are going to be many ups and downs with this. Some caused by that road manager who just can’t seem to stay out of things. There are some things meant to stay private and that gets totally violated.

I love the way this plays out. Cassidy and Dare are truly meant for each other. They just have to figure out how to make it work.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.

Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

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Gunmetal Lily: A Dark Mafia Romance – Mafia Wars Book 2 by Rebecca Royce

Since the dawn of time, waging war on those who have wronged us has been embedded in the very fiber of mankind’s true nature. The thirst for vengeance and retribution has always prevailed overturning the other cheek to one’s enemies. Creating chaos and bloodshed is preferable to being subjected to vapid dialogues of peaceful negotiation.

None hold this way of life more sacred than made men.


These are the codes of conduct of every mafia family.

However, the same cannot be said when dealing with their enemies.

Throughout recent decades, in the midst of civil evolution, an ancient war was being fought. From both sides of the globe, blood was spilled in the name of honor, while the brutal carnage each family bestowed upon the other was anything but noble. Soldiers, kin, and innocent lives were lost on all sides, and the inevitable extinction of the mafioso way of life was fast approaching.

In the most unlikely scenarios, six families came together in an undisclosed location to negotiate a peace treaty. As the leaders of the most influential crime families in the world, they recognized that a ceasefire was the only way to guarantee their endurance. Should this attempt fail, then their annihilation was all but imminent.

The treaty was effectively simple.

Each family would offer up one of their daughters as a sacrifice to their enemies. Marriage was the only way to ensure that the families wouldn’t retaliate against one another. It would also guarantee that the following successor’s bloodline would be forever changed, creating an alliance that would continue throughout generations to come.

Not all in attendance were happy with the arrangement.

The deep scars gained from years of plight and hatred can’t be so easily healed or erased. However, even the cynical and leery knew that this pact was their best chance of survival. Although the uncertainty of the treaty’s success was felt by every mob boss there, one by one, the families swore an oath that would bind them to it forever.

And as the words spilled from their lips and the scent of blood hung in the air, they made sure innocent lives would yet again be deemed collateral damage to their mafia wars—one last time.

Their daughters would have to pay the price of peace.

Whether they wanted to or not.

Gunmetal Lily: A Dark Mafia Romance
Mafia Wars Book 2
USA Today Bestselling Author
Rebecca Royce


I was sold to my enemies.

There was a deal made to keep the peace. War wasn’t good for business. But deals were broken all the time. What did these powerful families have as collateral? Their daughters. A decade earlier, they decided that we were expendable, that we could be sold in marriage to keep their dealings honest. I didn’t matter more than the security I could bring to the marketplace. I was twelve when they decided that, in ten years, I’d belong to the Hernandez family. Everyone knew what was coming for me. Everyone…except me.

I have no choices. The daughter of mobsters, I now belong to the Mexican Cartel. But even the terrible images those words evoke are nothing compared to what is coming for me. My new family will discover I am more than just a pawn in their chess game. I’m named after a flower, but I don’t wilt. I am determined to come out ahead in their Mafia Wars.

*Gunmetal Lily is a full-length reverse harem novel in the dark and twisted Mafia Wars world.
* Recommended 18+ due to mature language, adult situations, and sensitive content.

Lily is marrying Alejandro of the Mexican Cartel. She didn’t know that until this morning. No one bothered to tell her and she’d been going about life in Chicago, studying and working on her graduate degree in anthropology. Now she belonged to the Cartel. What’s worse, instead of letting her join the festivities her husband sends her off with his brother Francisco.

That would be the first clue something was off but let me tell you once they arrive at the apartment, things certainly heat up as Francisco flirts his way into her bed. He also tells her that she and Alejandro would only be roommates. Something that becomes even more apparent when Alejandro arrives and finds them in bed together. He isn’t even a little upset.

Javier her other brother-in-law comes into play a bit later on and she’s surprised to find out the tattooed man is a doctor.

Then there’s the housekeeper/cook Guadalupe with her unusual and somewhat scary affliction. There’s quite the story there as we learn later.

Aside from Lily adjusting to her new life, and the relationship that grows between her and all three brothers, there’s something going on with the business.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. I truly love the way everything unfolds. There’s drama, laughter, tears and plenty of sizzling heat.

I can’t wait for the next book in this multi-author series.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!

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Coming Soon!

Rebecca Royce Rebecca Royce

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

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

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

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

I’d love to hear from you!


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Damaged & Deadly – A World of Chaos Standalone by Samantha Bee

Damaged & Deadly
A World of Chaos Standalone
Samantha Bee


Neglected. Abused. Forgotten. Thrown away.

The endless cycle of pain and abandonment that I’ve been living in. Somehow, I never let it break me.

Until I met him.

His games, his lies, his punishments.
They twisted and molded me to fit his desires. He was breaking me down. Leaving this world of misery behind no longer sounded so bad.
I had only ever known pain anyways.

Until I was saved.

Now, I have a new life. New friends. Maybe even a new family. I found a purpose and people who are willing to help me fight back for the first time ever.

But everything comes at a price. War is on the horizon and I’m caught right in the middle of it. This time, I have something I’ve never had before, people I want to help protect.

I can’t deny my damage. I’ll never be the same again. So this time, I’ll turn my scars into ammunition. This time, I’ll tear down the very ones who hurt me.

They call it war. I call it revenge.
Because this time?
I’m going to be the one that’s deadly.

Damaged & Deadly is A World of Chaos standalone. It is a full-length dark romance that can be read on its own.

Now you don’t have to read the Steel Roses Series, but I think you will get more out of this one if you have.

The prologue of this book takes us back to when Scar rescues Jade, Rowan and Ryder.
This is Jade’s story, well a good part of it, as it’s still intertwined with the other books. Jade has been training with Scar to not be vulnerable anymore. While the physical work has been challenging, it’s really the psychological part that’s even more of a challenge to overcome. Then there’s also the bomb that Rachel dropped at the end of Deadly Chaos, she’s Jade’s sister. Scar is doing what she does, trying to establish the truth of that statement.

Ian and Holden are the two men she’s been most comfortable with from the beginning. Ian gives her space but also protects her from others being too close when he sees she needs that. I really love him for that.

It’s also Jade’s birthday near the beginning of this book and I took great joy in reading as she baked a cake, she does however expect to celebrate alone. Then Ian shows up at her door.

This is a favorite scene.

I shake my head and feel some pieces of my hair fall out of the messy bun on top of my head and into my face. Ian’s hands twitch, but they don’t move towards me at all. Instead, he rubs the back of his neck and smiles. “Sorry, Britt was supposed to be here too, but she got stuck at work. Scar invited us all over tonight.”

“Oh,” I say, surprised Scar didn’t text me. She’s usually really good about not surprising me with things. “Britt’s coming?” He nods and I move back to invite him in, I can’t go out like this. “So not work?” Britt only recently became aware of what world we all live in. Her boyfriends, Mikey and Ronan also work for Scar. Britt mostly stays out of the business side of things though. 

He chuckles as he walks through the door and looks around. He’s never been inside the house before. “Not work, the kids wanted a sleepover and I think Scar was bored.”

I laugh, I should have expected that. “They need to get the girl back in the club. She has too much energy to be stuck in hiding.” I show him into the kitchen, thankful I left any words off the cake. I hadn’t told anyone it was my birthday. I don’t really know why I kept it to myself, but I guess I just didn’t want to make anyone feel like they had to do anything for me.

“Oo, a cake?” he asks as he walks over to it and examines it. “That must be what smells so good in here.”

I smile, proud of what I accomplished. “I just finished it. I’ve been trying to learn how to bake and cook more.” I can’t keep the note of pride out of my voice. I like my little cake, flaws and all. Confusion fills his eyes before understanding dawns on him. It’s easy to forget that I came back into society still with only the skills I had at fourteen. His eyes soften but not with pity and sympathy, more like empathy. Like he knows my pain. 

“I’ve never been much of a cook,” he admits, shaking his head. “If it wasn’t for Charlene, the boys and I would probably live on take out.” He looks back at me and smiles. “At least this explains…” He trails off as he motions to his face. I reach up and brush my own cheeks and find flour. I quickly brush it off as a blush spreads across my cheeks. How embarrassing. 

Ian laughs. “Don’t be embarrassed, it’s cute.” I see him stiffen as soon as the words come out of his mouth, my blush only intensifies. “Sorry,” he says as he rubs the back of his neck again. It’s something I’ve seen Noah do a lot when he feels like Scar is about to rip him a new one. He leans farther into the counter, giving me more space than he was already giving me. “Britt and Holden were going to come with me, but she’s still at work.”

I giggle. “You already told me that.”

He sighs, “I guess I did. Holden and I debated about if it would be better for one of us or for both of us to come get you, but we thought you might feel a little better if it was just one of us. I hope it isn’t too much for you.”

I smile. “The fact you guys care so much makes me feel better.” I’m surprised by how easily the words slip out of my mouth. I’ve spent over half a year with these guys and while I still have a long way to go, it’s true. They don’t make me uncomfortable anymore. I hadn’t even stopped to think about it just being the two of us when I invited him inside. My smile grows bigger as I realize this is a new hurdle I’ve overcome. “I didn’t even notice,” I whisper, and I know Ian heard me and understands exactly when I’m alluding to.

His own smile breaks out across his face. “Your confidence has really grown.”

“I think sometimes it’s just me overthinking, like if I don’t think so hard about it then it doesn’t bother me.” I hadn’t noticed before, but I only start to panic when I focus too much on how many people there are or how close they are to me. There have been plenty of times I’ve been alone with one of the guys or where someone has been in my personal space that I haven’t freaked out. Halloween comes to mind when Ian and Holden both stood right next to me while we talked with Britt and Mikey but it never felt overwhelming.

“Hey, that’s amazing you’re starting to notice stuff like that. It’s only going to help you grow more.”

We stand there staring at each for a moment, I don’t know who has the bigger smile on their face. Before I finally realize he came here for a reason. “Right, I should just,” I hesitate, “umm, I’ll go and,” I stutter, “change?” It comes out as more of a question than a statement cause I’m still confused by why she didn’t mention coming over when I was with her earlier. 

“Okay.” He grins, staring at my messy bun again. “I’ll just wait here. But can we take the cake?”

I nod as I exit the room. I’m quick to throw on a pair of burgundy leggings and an oversized gray sweater and some boots. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup, mostly because I’m not sure how to use it. So I wash the rest of the flour from my face before dabbing on some tinted moisturizer and some mascara. I should really ask Scar how she does her makeup, it always looks so perfect.

I pull my hair out of the bun and braid it to the side. I stare at it in the mirror as I twist the strands into place, a bitter feeling of resentment welling up in me the longer it takes for me to get to the end. I used to dream of having my hair this long, now it feels like just another sign of my captivity. I shake the thoughts away and walk back out to meet Ian. He has the cake wrapped up and ready to take over to Luca’s. It makes me happy that he’s so excited to eat it. 

I follow him out and lock the door behind us. “The boys already there?” I ask him as I climb into his truck. Ian has two twin boys, Kairen and Callum and they are both as cute as can be. Mischievous as all hell too. 

“They’ve been there since training. Lord knows what they’ve gotten into this time.” I can’t help but laugh. They get up to a lot of trouble and drag their best friends Trevor, Holden’s son, and Rowan, Scar’s daughter into it with them. At least that’s what we always thought. I have a feeling more and more often nowadays, it’s Rowan’s ideas that are getting them in trouble, but Kai takes the fall for her, no matter how much trouble he gets into. I haven’t told Ian or Scar my suspicions yet. I’m fond of the little firecracker and want to see how it plays out.

“What movie are they all obsessed with right now?” I swear these kids go through phases. Or again, maybe it’s just Roe and the boys follow right along. I don’t even think she realizes they do it. It’s adorable as all hell. 

Ian groans, “Roe discovered Peppa Pig.”

I arch a brow. “Do I even want to know?”

He laughs but there’s a thread of bitterness in it that makes me have to hold back my own laughter, “It’s a British animated show with a stupid, spoiled, bratty, piece of bacon as the star. It’s fucking awful so of course the kids are obsessed.”

“British?” I giggle at the venom in his voice as he trashes the children’s show. I mean really, how bad could it be?

He nods. “All the kids are going to have slight accents by the time this phase is over. They’re fucking obsessed.”

We laugh and joke the rest of the ride there and more pride surges up in me that I never once freaked out. I was able to relax and joke with Ian without any doubts or fears. We park in Luca’s drive and he grabs the cake from the backseat before leading me to the door. He opens the door and lets me walk in first before closing the door behind us.

He’s only a step behind me when I see everyone standing around in the living room, when they catch sight of me, they turn towards me and all shout, “Happy Birthday!”

My mouth drops open. “How?” I start to ask but can’t finish the question as a blush rises to my cheeks. I’m overwhelmed with an unknown emotion and just need a moment to process what it is. I turn around and bury my face in Ian’s chest without thinking about it. I’m surprised tears fill my eyes, but I just don’t understand why.
Bee, Samantha. Damaged & Deadly: A World of Chaos Standalone (Kindle Locations 418-475). Kindle Edition.

Now the party for Jade also becomes a turning point of sorts in her friendship with Ian. He’s falling for her, but that doesn’t become apparent to him until he helps prevent Ciar from taking her away again.

Jade grows so much in this book and let me tell you the scenes are sizzling and sensuous. There’s a lot of emotion pouring out of this book from many different angles.

Ian and Jade make such a great couple, but really Holden needs to be there too. She has such strong feelings for both of them.

I am waiting impatiently for Vicious Chaos the third Steel Roses book. I hope to see more of Jade’s relationships there.

5 Contented Purrs for Samantha!

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Coming Soon!

Born and raised in California, Samantha Bee lives for coffee, cheesecake, and chaos. She seems to attract psychos and can be needy and dramatic. However, those things get channeled to her muse in order to create dark and sexy worlds.

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All Cowboy and Charm – The Brothers of Dove Grey Book 1 by Rhonda Lee Carver

All Cowboy and Charm
The Brothers of Dove Grey Book 1
Rhonda Lee Carver


What happens at a fertility clinic stays at a fertility clinic…
unless there’s an accidental switch-a-roo…

Successful author Melanie Jane decided after a very public divorce that she would prove to the world, especially her critiques, that she didn’t need a man to make her dreams come true. So, she wrote a best seller and used a fertility clinic to get pregnant. An accidental switch-a-roo left Melanie curious…who was the father of her baby?

Coop Dawson was still grieving the loss of his twin brother when some lady showed up at the family ranch and announced that she was pregnant by Cade, impossible since he’d been gone for over a year. Coop didn’t have the patience for scam artists. He told her exactly how he felt then made her hit the road. Yet, after reading a letter from a fertility clinic, he realized she’d been telling the truth. Now he needed to turn things around fast before he lost the chance at knowing Cade’s child.

Sometimes tragedy can bring a family closer…and bring unexpected gifts.

Coop needed to step up for the first time in his life and do the right thing for everyone. He promised his brother in a late-night prayer that he’d take care of the child—but what Coop didn’t realize he was already falling for Melanie and he couldn’t imagine life without her. Will she learn to trust him? Or will he screw up every chance he’d been given?

Melanie Jane wanted a child, she went through the process, picked a donor, and now she’s pregnant. Only the fertility clinic made a mistake, the donor she picked isn’t what she got. Now she’s conflicted not about the pregnancy but how to find out who the donor was. She should know of any possible issues, right. Her friend and editor Steven manages to get the information, but she decides she doesn’t need to know, until she does. A jigsaw puzzle of the information reveals what she wanted to know, including a phone number. When she calls the response is it’s the wrong number, so that’s the end of that right?

Coop Dawson and his family while still reeling from Cade’s death a year ago, are planning a Rodeo in his honor with proceeds going to a charity for kids with leukemia.
He first meets Melanie as she’s waiting for take-out at Corby Q’s. He didn’t get much of a conversation in though, that is until she shows up at his family ranch. The conversation there wasn’t exactly pleasant, with Coop denying that Cade ever donated sperm to a fertility clinic. Unfortunately, he finds out otherwise and owes Melanie an apology which he delivers with an offer to show her around and an invite to dinner.

This is a favorite scene.

The brothers’ friendly joshing had turned into full blown arguing from the other room that spilled into the kitchen.

“Let’s get Melanie’s opinion. She’ll be unbiased,” Channing said.

“She doesn’t care.” Wales met her gaze.

Wiping her hands off on a towel, she stepped around the counter. “First tell me what the argument is about.”

“Would you rather meet Garth Brooks or Blake Shelton?”

“Garth, right?” Channing said.

“Nah, Blake,” Carter crooned.

“Well, I’ve met both. Although not many, there were a few perks to being married to Beau Banks.”

Wales and Channing stared in disbelief, then he said, “You were married to the greatest race car driver of all time?”

“Can we get an autograph?” Carter asked.

“He was a jerk,” Coop piped in.

“Sorry,” Wales and Carter said in unison, looking defeated.

“No, it’s okay. He was a jerk during our marriage and the divorce proceedings sucked, but I learned to let go. We’ll never be friends, but we can get along. I can do you one better than an autograph.” She went to her purse on the table and dug out her phone. She found Beau’s number and clicked ‘talk’. On the second ring he picked up. “It’s Melanie. Yes, I’m good. How is Camilla and the baby? Good. I have some of your biggest fans here with me. They’d like to ask some questions. Have a minute to spare?” She stuck out the phone. “He’s all yours, at least for a few minutes.”

Carter swiped up the phone, put it on speaker, and said, “Hello, sir. It’s an honor.” The brothers moved into the living room as they bombarded Beau with questions.

Coop stayed close by. “That’s very kind of you.”

She shrugged. “There’s nothing more that Beau loves than to be in the spotlight. Honestly though, he owes me at least a hundred more favors that I plan to call in eventually.”

Something changed in his expression. His eyes warmed and his jaw relaxed. Whatever was going on inside of him she felt it too as an invisible rope of satin wrapped her heart. An energy engulfed them, and she leaned in…


Jerking back, she blinked. “Yes.” Forcing her feet to move, she swiveled to face Candy who gave Melanie a knowing smile.

“How long will you be staying in town?”

Clearing her throat, Melanie pushed back the charge of electricity in her body. “I thought I’d be gone by now, but I don’t have any definite plans.” As if a magnet pulled her gaze to Coop, she swallowed against a sudden constriction. What was happening between them?

“Coop, why don’t you run and get Franny Maw.”

“Okay.” He offered Melanie a tender smile then exited through the back door.

“You should try this,” Candy said as she cut into the fresh out of the oven steaming pan of homemade lasagna. “It’s a secret recipe handed down in the family.”

It certainly did smell amazing. Melanie’s stomach growled in hunger.

Accepting the loaded fork of pasta, she took the entire bite and her eyes widened. The flavors were a combination made in heaven. The sausage. The sweet and tanginess of the sauce. The variety of cheeses all came together to make it delightful. “That’s the best lasagna I’ve ever tasted,” she admitted.

Candy blushed. “Thank you. Feeding a family this size was never easy although they’ll eat anything I put in front of them.” Something akin to worry creased the area around her eyes. “He has a good heart you know.”

Seconds passed as Melanie absorbed the words, realizing exactly what Candy meant. “I didn’t come here to cause problems.”

With a gentle shrug, Candy said, “What I’m thinking isn’t negative. I haven’t seen him like this since Cade passed. He’s more like himself right now and I’m guessing it has something to do with you.” She turned and cupped Melanie’s hands. “Listen, I know a good-hearted woman when I see her. I won’t pressure you, but I’d like to meet the child one day. You didn’t come here for that reason, but we’re a good family. Cade was a fine man. That’s all I needed to say.” She removed her hands and went back to concentrating on finishing the meal.

Feeling the sadness of the other woman, Melanie didn’t know what she could say to bring peace for Candy. After all, Melanie couldn’t imagine losing a child. The heart ache that would follow. She wanted to tell Candy that she could see the baby, but this crossed a line. Why? They were good people. Didn’t every child need a village? The support of family? This entire situation was uncharted for them all. Could she see herself visiting the ranch? Bringing Cade’s child here for visits?

Coop filled her mind. Could it be possible that this attraction between them could grow?

It was too early to know for sure, but she’d never felt so confident about anything before.

“So why didn’t Franny Maw come?” Candy asked later as they filled the chairs around the table.

“She had a date with some friends to play cards,” Coop said.

Platters were passed around and Melanie was surrounded by the brothers who went on and on about their conversation with Beau.

“Have some manners. I’m sure Melanie doesn’t want to hear another word about her ex,” Coop said in a groan.

“Does it bother you?” Channing asked.

“No. Not at all.” She met Coop’s gaze.

He reached around her to grab a piece of French bread from the basket and in the process his arm brushed hers, sending an awakening of goosebumps scattering across her skin. All those secret sensations and emotions were set free and things were taking on a new intensity between them.

She was afraid to look his direction for fear he’d see straight through her.
Carver, Rhonda Lee. All Cowboy and Charm (The Brothers of Dove Grey Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 1303-1360). Kindle Edition.

While these circumstances are very unusual, the attraction between Cade and Melanie grows exponentially.

A fun read with laughter, tears and sizzle!

5 Contented Purrs for Rhonda!

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Rhonda lee Carver Rhonda Lee Carver

Rhonda Lee Carver is a published book writer with a collection of print and eBooks under her wing. She is also a freelance editor. Her first book was published with Wild Rose Press in 2010.

She writes everything from contemporary to steamy to paranormal to suspense…you name it, she’s written it. Her specialty is writing men who love to get their hands dirty—hardworking, blue collar, heroes in everyday life.

When Rhonda isn’t crafting edge-of-your-seat, sizzling novels, you’ll find her with her children and husband watching soccer, watching a breathtaking movie, traveling to exotic places (with Bora Bora on her bucket list), doing (or trying) yoga, saving cats and dogs, and finding new ways to keep life interesting.

Rhonda thrives on making her readers happy. She believes life can be a challenge, but reading is a place where fantasy comes to life. Her motto: “Everyone deserves romance—one page at a time.“

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Bodhi’s Synful Mate – Iron Wolves MC Book 6 by Elle Boon

Bodhi’s Synful Mate
Iron Wolves MC Book 6
USA Today Bestselling Author
Elle Boon


KARSYN STYLES… aka Syn is tired of waiting on the man she knows is her mate to claim her. She’s going to take matters into her own hands, even if that means teaching the stubborn wolf she’s more than just the alpha’s baby sister.

BODHI… has fought the feelings he has for the little wolf who’s supposed to be like a sister to him. Only the feelings she’s stirred in his body and heart are far from brotherly. He’s done everything in his power to keep her at a distance, even going against everything he and his wolf want, but nothing can tame either man or beast except the one female meant to be theirs.

Just when he is ready to claim his mate, Bodhi’s world is rocked as his past comes back with a vengeance. He wasn’t born a wolf, but turned when his family was slaughtered. He’d thought he was all alone in the human world, grateful for his wolven family, until one fateful encounter.

Syn sees the man she loves pulling away. Her heart can’t take another rejection, or seeing him turn to another female for the comfort only she should be giving him. She’ll do anything to show him they’re meant to be together.

Neither realize the danger lurking in the shadows as Bodhi’s past is more sinister than either realize. Can the Iron Wolves survive what’s coming next, or will what destroyed Bodhi’s past come back to do the same to their future?

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In the last couple of books we’ve seen Bodhi on his phone, texting or leaving to take a call. Syn is done, with it now. She knows Bodhi’s her mate, but he hasn’t made a move so she’s going to put some distance between them for a while.

Bodhi’s problem isn’t as simple, he delivered a custom car to LA and found his sister and her child. Her husband, Roberto, is wealthy and abusive. The time has come to get her and the child away, somewhere they will be safe.

The last thing he expects is for Syn to follow him. Now that wasn’t her original plan but she wanted answers before she put the distance between them.

Things get a bit hairy at the house, and Syn ends up needing help, but once they are all away, she decides to go with her initial plan only to be taken by Roberto again.

This is a favorite scene.

The door burst open, the loud bang had her nearly jumping out of her skin. “We’ve got movement on the security feed.” She didn’t recognize the voice of the man talking, and worried Kellen and the others were walking into a trap.

“Mr. Dominguez doesn’t want to be disturbed unless we have something good to tell him. Take two men with you and see what it is. Shoot to kill, not injure.”

Her throat closed up. She couldn’t allow them to kill her family. “Kellen, can you hear me?”

“Karsyn, if you ever drop off the radar again, I swear to all I’ll beat your ass.” Her brother’s voice came across more worried than angry.

“I promise to never do it again. But, there are men coming out of where I’m being held. Are you near?”

“Absofuckinglutely, I’m near,” he growled.

“They have guns and are planning to shoot to kill.”

“Oh, let em bring it. I plan to gut them, and shove their weapons so far up their asses, they’re gonna wish they’d stayed home with their mamas.” His deep growl had her smiling.

Bodhi grunted. “Great imagery, Alpha. I’m now forever gonna have visions of you doing bad bad things with guns.”

Hearing Bodhi’s voice so clear in her mind, made her wish for the mate bond, but she pushed it aside.

“I’m serious. They have guns…with bullets. You guys are bad and all, but bullets hurt.” She touched the spot just below her ribs where one had skimmed her side.

“Oh, don’t think I’ve forgotten about that, chérie. You and I will be having a discussion about that when I get you home safely,” Bodhi said, his tone suggesting he had a lot to say and do.

“Children, big bro here. Don’t need to hear this shit in my head, thank you very fucking much,” Kellen informed them.

“Heads up wolfies, we got company.”

“Oh my gawd, you brought Jennaveve? Are you fucking insane? Her father-in-law-to-be will kill us all. Did you see the way he decimated all those things before? Fuck, get out of here Jenna.” Goddess, she was going to get them all killed.

Jenna snorted through their link. “Really, Karsyn, one would think, that one,” Jenna coughed and it sounded like she said Syn. “That one would be grateful that one such as I, was coming to rescue them. I certainly would be if roles were reversed. I didn’t even balk when they refused to let me ride them like a pony, not in a sexual way mind you. Eww.”

“Stop it. You’re going to make me laugh, and I’m pretending to be unconscious. I’m sorry for my lack of respect. Is that better?” She tried to keep the laughter out of her voice, but even though they were speaking in their minds, it came across as if they were talking face-to-face.

“Can’t talk now, must kill bad guy. Byeee.” Jenna’s words were cut off at the same time Syn heard Bodhi’s wolf growl.

She tried reaching him, but since they weren’t connected except through Kellen, if he cut her off, then she only saw what he allowed. The stark reminder was a knife to her already wounded heart.

Howls could be heard, but she didn’t think it was because they were close, but because someone was listening to video footage. Running feet pounded through the door.

“Shit, we are being attacked by a pack of wild wolves. Get the girl and let’s go. Where’s the boss?”

Syn wasn’t going to let them use her as a pawn. Her wolf had finally woken from the last round of drugs they’d given her. She smelled three different males in the room with her, and calculated her chances of winning in a fight as a human. Yes, she had enhanced strength, but they had guns. In her fur, she had claws, and teeth that could rip them to shreds. Before she could change her mind, she allowed the change to come over her, knowing she only had a precious few seconds of surprise on her side.

Yells of surprise came from all three men, and then she didn’t care what they did or said. Her mind shut down as she leapt at the only one who seemed to have a gun. Her wolf recognized him as one of the men who’d happily injected them with drugs. She didn’t go for his arm, instead they both tore out his throat. As they rolled in a tangle of human arms and wolf paws, she felt a kick to her side, making her release her prey.

Turning, she growled at the two men who stared back at her. Horror written on their faces. Syn could only imagine what they must be thinking, having seen her turn from a human to a wolf. Now, she stood with their friend’s blood dripping from her jaws, and she let out another growl. This one lower, and although she would cringe later, she allowed her wolven tongue to come out and lick at her jaws.

Both men made the sign of the cross, and then one ran for the door as the other pissed himself, the scent damn offensive to her nose. Gah, she so didn’t want to attack the asshat. All she wanted was to leave.

“We are coming for you, don’t you dare do anything stupid,” Bodhi warned.

“I just killed a man, I don’t think I could do much else that would constitute as stupid.” She shuddered at the memory.

Kellen’s growl sounded closer than just in her ear. “Good girl. You do what you need to stay alive. Kill every fucker that comes near you, just stay alive. Understand?”

The man who’d ran out came back in, his back to her as he muttered something in Spanish she didn’t understand. Damn why hadn’t she taken another class or three in school on the language. A big black wolf with flashing green eyes followed by a little woman screaming nonsense, had the man falling over his feet. If Syn was in human form she’d have covered her mouth with her hands to stop from laughing, as it was, she chuffed in her wolven form. Jenna was freaking the man out.

“Ay yay yayay,” Jenna yelled, waving her hands in a circular motion. A glow surrounded her, making it look as though she was lit up like a flame.

Bodhi came to stand in front of Syn, his large wolven body three times as big as hers. He faced the other man, growling. A knife she hadn’t seen clattered to the floor, and damn, the scent of urine hit her again.

“Shit, they can’t hold their bladders at all.” She butted her head into Bodhi’s side when he didn’t seem inclined to move.

Jenna’s war cry continued, making Syn wonder if the woman was a little crazy for real.

A boom shook the ground, and then Jenna was silent. Syn shot around Bodhi to see she was holding the man by the throat a couple feet off the floor. “Stay back, Syn. You, too, Bodhi. This one is depraved along with his boss. They all are, but this one likes little girls.”

Jenna’s eyes became a light silver.

“Someone has unleashed the Kraken,” Kellen strolled in, a smirk on his face.

Bodhi’s body shimmered and then he too was back in human form. Dressed. How the hell did they all get the super power, yet she had shredded jeans around her damn legs, and her favorite leather jacket was in bits on the couch?

“Did you kill all the baddies?” Jenna asked, dropping the lifeless man to the ground.

Kellen looked up to the ceiling. “How is it that you can snuff out the baddies, yet you can’t call them fuckers?”

The Fey Queen shrugged. “I can curse you under the table, I just choose to save my words for the right time.”

Syn stayed in her wolven form, her mouth still had the nasty taste of copper in it. Jenna knelt in front of her. “You’re a good girl, Karsyn Styles.” A wave of her hand, and then a feeling of lightness washed over her.

Seconds later, she shifted, finding herself fully clothed in a pair of jeans and tank with her leather jacket in one piece. “Holy, fuck. How’d you do that?”

Jenna stumbled. “Wow, remind me not to make a wolf shift unless I have to.”

Kellen steadied the Fey. “Woman, why didn’t you just tell her to shift?”

“She was freaking out cause she killed asshat over there. I needed to force her out of her misery and cleanse her pallet. By the way, no way in hell am I ever eating Bambi either. Ewww,” Jenna gagged.
Boon, Elle. Bodhi’s Synful Mate, Iron Wolves MC Book 6 (Kindle Locations 835-900). Elle Boon. Kindle Edition.

Now while they got Syn away, Roberto got away as well, he wants his property back otherwise known as his wife and daughter. They are only property to him and he is also more than they know at this point.

Holy moly the surprises just keep coming as Bodhi and Syn finally mate. We see a lot more of Jenna, Damien, Lucas, and even Creed shows up in this one.

I’m already reading the next book in this series!

5 Contented Purrs for Elle!

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Elle Boon Elle Boon

Elle Boon lives in Middle-Merica as she likes to say…with her husband, two kids, and a black lab who is more like a small pony. She’s known for her penchant of dropping F-bombs like a boss, needing coffee before she’s human, and blessing so many hearts, she is going for sainthood.

She’d never planned to be a writer, but when life threw her a curve, she swerved with it, being that she’s athletically challenged and all. She loves where this new journey has taken her. She writes what she loves to read, all things romance, whether it’s erotic, contemporary, or paranormal, as long as there is a happily ever after.

Her biggest hope is that after readers have read one of her stories, they fall in love with her characters as much as she did. She loves creating new worlds, and has more just waiting to be written. Elle believes in happily ever afters, and can guarantee you will always get one with her stories.

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Deadly Chaos – Steel Roses Book 2 by Samantha Bee

Deadly Chaos
Steel Roses Book 2
Samantha Bee


I’ve spent the last eight years focused on one thing, and one thing only. Revenge.
I’ve kept people at a distance. Didn’t let anyone under my skin.
I had my rules and they worked well.
Until they didn’t.
Four men worked their way in without me even noticing.

I thought I was shattered.
Broken beyond repair.
I thought there was nothing left to break.
I thought I could do this on my own.
I was wrong.
Four men showed me just how much further I had to fall.

I can’t abandon all that I’ve fought for.
I can’t give up my revenge.
I can’t let the sins against me go unpunished.
I couldn’t choose them.
Four men showed me just how ruined I was.

A vital missing piece of who I am.
A heartless coward, running scared.
A violent storm that vanished as quickly as she crashed into my life.
A ray of hope that was snatched away.
A pretty broken little thing.
One woman who ties the rest of us together.

I’m not the only thing shattered anymore. Everything is.
And this time, I don’t know how to fit the pieces back together.

Deadly Chaos is the second book in the contemporary new adult series, Steel Roses. If you have not read Shattered Chaos, please put this one down and go pick that one up. This story will not make sense without having read the first one. It is a reverse harem, meaning the female protagonist has three or more love interests and will not be forced to choose.

Trigger Warnings:
This book contains content that may be triggering for some, including violence, assault, sexual abuse, mentions of the abuse of children and/or minors, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

Before you start, if you haven’t read the first book in this series, STOP, go back and read it first. I also recommend you read the note and warnings in the blurb for the book.

In recent months I’ve found myself reading these dark reverse harem series and really enjoying them.

At the end of Shattered Chaos Scar left. More than that she removed any way for the guys to find her. As this book opens Scar is following her own agenda, revenge. She’s also releasing information on those she has terminated allowing the world to see the evil they had been. Unfortunately, she’s now hitting a low, one she’s having trouble climbing out of.

She’s still there when she meets Declan, a doctor who seriously gets her and wants to be her friend. He’s the one that helps her up and out of her loneliness, guilt, and despair.

This is just one of many favorite scenes.

“How long have you been here?” I ask him but he’s still studying me. I can hear how different my voice sounds, I don’t even know how to describe it though. Just wrong. Not strong and sure like I normally am. Faded, like hearing it through a bad connection.

“A few minutes.” He gets up, my eyes follow him as he walks into the kitchen. “You didn’t show up and weren’t answering your phone. I thought you might still be asleep.” He comes back with a bottle of water and a blanket. He hands me the water before draping the blanket over me and tucking it in on the sides. I watch him and feel my brows go up in question.

“What are you doing?”

He laughs. “Being your friend.” He settles back in next to me before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his keys, he starts to pull one off and I recognize it as my own. “I wasn’t intending to use this, but I started to get worried when you didn’t answer.” He starts to hand the key back to me, but I shake my head.

“You can just keep it,” I say. He looks at me surprised but I shrug or try to. I’m not sure how it actually comes out. I gave him the key early this morning when he had to leave for work. It’s not the first time he’s had to leave straight from here to go to work. The nightmares aren’t quite as bad when he stays the night. Sometimes it’s strange how fast we fell into our own little routine. Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve the comfort and relief I feel when he’s by my side. But if Declan wants to be my friend, teach me how to accept comfort and open up, I think it’s okay for me to be selfish and want him to soothe my demons. Is that what friendship is?

I’m still working it all out, much to his amusement. I struggle to be totally honest when I’m feeling anything. I have a hard time naming all the emotions coursing through my bloodstream. I don’t know how to put into words everything that happened with the guys and just how badly I fucked up. Declan is patient though. He stays silent as I work through everything running through my mind and can figure out how to put it into words. He offers comfort without expectation and doesn’t push me.

Mostly I tell him stories about the guys. He knows I miss them, he asks some questions but always just accepts whatever I’m willing to tell him. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Noah. I think it might be why I fell into such an easy acceptance of our friendship, even if I’m not as open as he wants me to be. He slowly drags truth after truth out of me. Splinters my resolve and breaks through my walls as the pain and hurt is too overwhelming for me to contain by myself.

Every time I feel like I’m starting to drown, he is there, ready and willing to pull me back up to the surface and help me float. He’s harder than Noah though. Where Noah was shy, Declan is reserved, more like Luca in that regard. He has a quiet confidence that carries through a room without him ever speaking a word. But he soothes me in a way similar to how Noah did. Not quite the same, Noah made me feel a calm, a sense of peace, a comfort. Declan comforts me, but he helps me take back the control of the rampant emotions slowly destroying me from the inside out.

I give him a small smile. “We both know, you’re probably going to end up sleeping over again.” He smiles back at me, and I can see the twinkle in his eye that means he thinks I’m making progress in this friendship. I shrug again but this time the gesture feels a bit more natural. I think the pills might be slowly fading out of my system. “Easier for you to have a key than me having to get up and lock up after you.”

“Aww, you’re finally getting this friendship thing,” he teases me.

I laugh. “I don’t know how many friends actually have keys to each other’s places.”

It’s his turn to shrug as he chuckles. “Nah, you’re right. But best friends? They always get spare keys.”

I laugh as I hit him in the chest. He can be such a confident shit. I eye him up and down. “Are you hungry?” We were supposed to meet for lunch after all. He spreads himself out over the couch, making himself comfortable.

“I already ordered pizza,” he answers after he finally settles in next to me. I groan in appreciation as I realize just how fucking starving I am. He puts on a movie and I drift off as he gently strokes my hair in a gesture I now associate with him.

I wake up to the smell of cheesy goodness and can’t stop the groan from escaping my lips. Declan chuckles and places a plate on my lap as soon as I move myself into a sitting position. We are quiet as I devour my pizza. I eat three slices, barely stopping for a breath. Between the small nap and the food now sitting in my belly, I feel more like myself and the last of the fog has cleared from my brain. I’ll have to remember to be more careful about what I take from now on. Being that out of it could be life threatening for me, especially with no one here to watch my back.

I drink more water as I assess Declan. “You know,” I start and wait for him to meet my eyes before continuing, “I’m pretty sure friendship is supposed to go both ways.” There’s a lot more that I haven’t told him, but I’ve given him more than I’ve ever given anyone else in such a short period of time. I know quite a bit about his background, but he actually hasn’t told me about it.

“What do you mean?” he asks, but I can see that he knows exactly what I’m asking by the look in his eyes.

I narrow my eyes at him. “You always preach about how I need to let the words out, but what about you? You never talk about yourself except to bitch about your coworkers.”

He sighs, running his fingers through his hair. “Okay, pretty girl. I guess you have a point.” He gets up and cleans up our plates and wipes down the counters before putting the leftover pizza away. It’s something I’ve noticed about him in the last few weeks. He can’t stand clutter or messes. He never leaves dishes in the sink, constantly tidies up when he’s here. I think it’s all subconscious too. I don’t think he actually knows he does it.

He comes back to the couch and settles my feet in his lap as he kicks up his feet on the coffee table and throws the blanket back over us. I wiggle as I settle in and he starts rubbing my feet as he begins to talk. I relax as his deep voice soothes me and I finally get to know more about him.

“I moved to St Graves immediately after I finished up my residency. I grew up in Belridge Heights.” My eyebrows draw up as I recognize the name. It’s a city nestled up in the hills not all that far from St Graves. Far enough to maintain distance but close enough to drive back whenever you needed. It’s one of the wealthiest and most affluent cities in the country. “I had no desire to return there once I had escaped. So, I settled here.”

I know there must be a story about why he doesn’t want to return home, but he never pushes me and I’m not one to pry anyways. Who says we have to share every facet of our pasts to be close? A city like Belridge Heights is steeped in secrets. Where there is money and power, there is corruption. I’m relieved to know he was able to get away, even if the marks of the elite are still clear in his presence.

“Since moving here, I haven’t fully gotten close to anyone.” He hits me with that little look of his and I smirk.

“So, it was really just you desperate for a best friend, not me.”

He chuckles but stops rubbing my feet to tickle them instead. I squeal out my protests as I try to rocket away from him. He has my foot in a firm grip that doesn’t allow me to escape. After making me laugh so hard, I’m actually wheezing. He finally has mercy as he releases my foot and admits, “I told you that I wanted a friend too that first night.”

I smile at the memory and sit up so I can lean against his shoulder. “You did,” I sigh and hesitate before pushing myself out of my comfort zone. “I’m glad you’re my friend, Declan,” I whisper. I feel him nod before he kisses the top of my head.
Bee, Samantha. Deadly Chaos (Steel Roses Book 2) (Kindle Locations 311-365). Kindle Edition.

In the meantime, the guys aren’t doing well at all, they can’t find her, have no leads and it’s driving them crazy. That’s when Noah shows up looking for her. He’s surprised at the state he finds them in, but also feels a camaraderie with them. It’s with his help they start tracking her yet find no location.

Declan becomes an anchor for Scar, even as her guides her towards reconciling with the guys.

When it gets to the point Scar is about ready, something happens with Kade at the bar she and Declan hang at. This is a turning point.

I really can’t say more, you have to read this book to understand all the emotions that flood through the pages.

There’s laughter, tears, revelations and a whole lot of sizzle in this book.

The emotional turmoil of the characters somehow offsets the craziness of our times for me. I’m already doing a re-read of Damaged & Deadly in preparation for the release of Vicious Chaos.

5 Contented Purrs for Samantha!

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Coming Soon!

Born and raised in California, Samantha Bee lives for coffee, cheesecake, and chaos. She seems to attract psychos and can be needy and dramatic. However, those things get channeled to her muse in order to create dark and sexy worlds.

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Code Name: Ranger – K19 Shadow Operations Book 1 by Heather Slade

Code Name: Ranger
K19 Shadow Operations Book 1
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Slade


Code name: Ranger
Target: Maisie Ann Jones
Mission: Uncover the whereabouts of a smart, sexy spitfire

Undercover, confidential, and dangerous, the new K19 Shadows lurk where others won’t, ready to act in a moment’s notice. When Maisie Ann Jones disappears with a serial killer on the loose, it doesn’t look good. The others have turned up dead.I refuse to let anything harm this woman, after all, she stole my heart. I’m determined to find her, save her, and take down anyone who gets in my way.

A teenage crush. At least that’s what I thought it was. But when Ranger comes barreling back into my life, nothing stops how I feel or what I should want—I just want him.I’m a Dartmouth grad who took over my family’s business before I turned twenty-five. I don’t need a man. I’ve never been a damsel in distress. Until now. But I’m worried that he’s met his match. Will this serial killer destroy the only man I’ve ever loved?

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This book opens with a glimpse of the now, then goes back to establish everything. If you’ve read Onyx, this will be a bit familiar but from a different point of view.

There is a major threat against the K19 group and the men here have been ordered to shelter in this small town until the threat has been eliminated. As a result, with Onyx in command and Ranger as his second, a new unit of K19 has been established this one Shadow Operations.

Ranger’s family has always been a part of this lakeside community of camps (cabins) and along with his team they are making it their headquarters.  He’s trying to make the best of the inactivity and when they are invited to dinner at the Jones’ he remembers Maisie and the attraction between them. Now he’s wondering if it will be the same.

This is just one of many favorite scenes!

Finally, Al motioned for Onyx to follow him down the hallway. I couldn’t have been happier when Jimmy followed and Mary went into the kitchen, leaving Maisie and me alone.

“Can I get you anything to drink?” she offered.

“I’ll take a beer if you’ve got one.”

“When does anyone on the lake not have beer?” She rolled her eyes and pulled two from the refrigerator. “Glass?”

“Bottle’s good.”

“They may be a while, if you two want to go sit on the porch and chat while I finish up dinner,” suggested Mary.

Maisie led the way, and I followed, watching her high and tight ass that was covered by jeans but that I remembered seeing once or twice in a bikini. Man, I wished it was summer and I could get a glimpse of that hotness again.

“So, Ranger, the last time I saw you, I must’ve been fourteen or fifteen.”

I took a step closer and looked into her deep blue eyes. “We both know that isn’t true, beautiful. We saw plenty of each other after our first meet up. The last time you talked to me, you were fourteen.”

“I don’t recall you striking up a conversation.”

I took a sip of my beer. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we did something more than converse the night of your eighteenth birthday.”

“Oh. Were you there that night?” Her eyes darted to the left, and her cheeks flamed a second time.

I leaned in closer still so my mouth was close to her ear. “I’m heartbroken you don’t remember.”

She took a step back. “Who’s lying now?”

I liked that she admitted she had been, in so many words at least. “I can tell you I’ve never forgotten it. I was quite taken with you.”

Her eyes were wide, and she studied my mouth. “So why didn’t you ask me out?”

“I think I did, but you were leaving for college the next day.”

“You remember that?”

“There’s a lot I recall about you.”

“I doubt that includes the first time we met.”

“You’re wrong. It was on the Canada Lake Store docks, and it was the day before I started working there that summer.”

“It was the only summer you did.”

“I filled in every now and then, but not as much as I would’ve liked. I came up every weekend I could, though.”

“Dinner’s ready,” I heard Mary call out from the kitchen.

“Wait,” said Maisie when I turned to walk in that direction. “What would’ve happened if I hadn’t left the next day?”

“I can’t say for certain, but I can tell you why I showed up at your party.”


I turned my body and crowded hers into the doorway. “To claim you as mine, sweet Maisie Ann Jones.” I waited for her to laugh or get pissed or have some kind of reaction to my Neanderthal proclamation. She didn’t have one besides her breathing accelerating and her pupils dilating— which was exactly what I’d been going for.
Heather Slade. Code Name: Ranger (Kindle Locations 149-175). K19 Shadow Operations Book One.

Now Maisie is taking over the family business and has big plans to revitalize the area. Unfortunately there are other things in play she doesn’t know about.

Ranger escorts her around to examine what makes some of the surrounding areas so successful and they wind up doing something very unexpected.

There are so many surprises, plenty of intrigue and of course some sizzling heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

Coming Soon!

Heather Slade

My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order.

I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.

I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.

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Shielding Aaliyah – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Delta Force Generation Next Book 2 by Jen Talty

Shielding Aaliyah
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Delta Force Generation Next Book 2
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty


Aaliyah Rose has spent the last year dealing with the judgments of others. She can handle the finger pointing. Even the name calling. But what she can’t handle is the fact she did what any other human being would have done in her shoes and Huck knows that, yet he won’t forgive her, much less give her the time of day. So, when her cousin, Jayme Caldwell calls her and tells her that Huck Duncan is stationed at the same base as her husband, Aaliyah hops on the next plane to Texas. It’s time that Huck faces the truth on how and why his brother died.

Huckleberry “Huck” Duncan fell in love with the wrong woman and because of that fact, his brother is dead. However, he can forgive Aaliyah for her hand in his brother’s death. But what Huck can’t forgive is her lies. That is until he’s faced with the truth and those facts collide with a past he’s been trying to forget.

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Aaliyah needs to talk to Huck, he doesn’t know the whole truth about his brother’s death. She’d had no choice, she wasn’t going to survive that night but there was more to it. When her cousin Jayme tells her he’s stationed in Texas at the same base as her husband Rocket she knew it was time.

Huck attends the party at Rocket’s along with many of his team members. For the first time he really feels he’s found family among the teams. What he didn’t expect was to be blind-sided by Aaliyah and the information she gave to him.

This is a favorite scene.

Someone pounded at the door. He glanced at his watch. It was only nine in the evening. Not horribly late, but no one ever stopped by at this hour. He stood and meandered toward the door. He glanced through the peephole.


She saved him the trip to apologize in the morning. He pulled open the door and turned. “Want something to drink?” He didn’t bother to glance over his shoulder. He just went straight for the mini bar next to the small galley kitchen in his tiny one-bedroom apartment. He took two wineglasses and poured from his favorite bottle of red, which he knew she’d like. He searched his brain for the right words. He so sucked at this kind of stuff. His ex-wife had made sure he’d have trust issues for the rest of his life.

Of course, what happened with Aaliyah hadn’t helped. But that was an entirely different story.

“You’re not going to kick me out,” she said as more of a statement than a question, which he found amusing.

“You came all this way to say something to me and I’ve learned you don’t give up that easily.” He handed her a glass and then sat back down on the sofa.

She joined him on the other end, curling her feet up under her butt. She pointed at the audio device. “You haven’t destroyed it yet.”

“I ended up listening to some of it.”


“I have no fucking clue,” he said. “If I could raise my brother from the dead and kill him all over again, I’d do it.”

“Can’t say I blame you for that thought.” She raised her glass. “He was a prick.”

“For the record, the story he tells on how our mother died, is how he killed our father. Though, not that I want to ever defend Sawyer, our dad wasn’t any better than our mom. It was a shitty childhood all around. If a week went by without one of us getting a black eye, it was a hell of a good week. The difference, though, was that Sawyer became like them.”

“I’m glad you can see the difference.”

He’d always understood he wasn’t like the rest of his family, but sometimes the guilt over what he’d done ate him alive from the inside out. “The fact that I could walk away from you knowing that Sawyer was going to lay his hands on you, makes me no better.”

“Oh, my God. Fucking stop with that shit.” She glared at him with daggers shooting from her eyes as if they were machine guns. “Sawyer wasn’t going to let you stay, and you knew that. He practically shoved you out the door.”

“I suppose that’s true.” Huck rubbed the back of his neck.

“I’m sorry I reacted the way I did. I believed Sawyer was fucking with me.”

“But you knew enough not to share that audio recording with anyone or tell even Rocket about it, though you certainly shared a lot of other information with him and Jayme.”

“They knew about Sawyer. Hell, Jayme even met him. I had to tell them that part, but the rest wasn’t my business to tell anyone. You might think I’m a lying, two-faced bitch, but—”

“I don’t think that.” He took her wineglass and set both down on the coffee table. “Considering the things I’ve done in my past, I should have been more understanding and I shouldn’t have treated you the way I have this past year.” He tucked a few pieces of hair behind her ears. “Tell me what you’ve been up to.”

She smiled. “I moved, for one.”

“Where to?”

“Upstate for now,” she said. “It’s temporary while I look for a job, but I couldn’t stand living in the city a second longer.”

“I don’t blame you there. I hate big cities. What kind of job are you looking for?” It felt good to let all the heavy stuff go and just talk. He’d forgotten how much he enjoyed being with her and listening to her voice, and right now, he didn’t want that to end. So, he’d keep asking questions until she said it was time to go.

Only all he could think about was kissing her and that was something he didn’t think would be a good idea. If he started, he wouldn’t want to stop.

“I don’t want to go back to sales, so I was thinking a behind-the-scenes job. Maybe data analyst or something. I’m good with numbers. But I’ve been out of the workforce for a few years so it might take some time.”

“Do you have a headhunter helping you?”

“I do.”

“And where ideally would you like to live— work?”

“Anywhere but New York,” she said with a nervous laugh.

“Would you consider Texas?” Why the fuck would he ask that? It wasn’t like he wanted to get involved, but she did have family here and it was her hometown, so it made sense.

“Absolutely. But who knows where I’ll find the right job.”

“You’re smart. You’ll find something.” He stared at her for a long moment, unsure of what to ask next. He’d had so many questions pop into his mind ten minutes ago, but now his brain was blank, except for a bunch of thoughts that he was too terrified to entertain.

But only because if he did, there would be no turning back this time. There wouldn’t be any games. They knew each other’s deepest, darkest secrets. There was no past to be afraid of. No lies to be hidden. No skeletons to fall out of the closet. Only two people who were attracted to each other.
Jen Talty. Shielding Aaliyah (Kindle Locations 654-697). Aces Press, LLC.

While Aaliyah has come to terms with everything, Huck still has a way to go.

These two belong together, but first Huck needs to find all the answers he’s been hiding from.

Lots of intrigue and plenty of sizzle in this engaging tale.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

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

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

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

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