Revenge in the Roses – Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 18 by Dale Mayer


Revenge in the Roses
Lovely Lethal Gardens Book 18
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Riches to rags. …
Bullets start flying. …
Rage is rising, …
especially for some!

When the journey to Rosemoor for a celebratory evening turns deadly, Doreen’s life is flipped on her head. She can only watch in horror as Mack is shot right in front of her. Horrified, she vows to solve this case and fast, before the shooter realizes he failed and comes back for a second attempt.

Corporal Mack Moreau has been shot before, but this time it’s way worse because Doreen watched it all happen. Now she’s planning to catch the shooter before Mack even starts to heal. That’s not a good idea. She’s yet to consider that maybe the shooter wasn’t after Mack but really wanted to shoot her. After all, the cases she’s been involved in have created a whole new level of acquaintances in her life. How many of them are gunning for her?

But Doreen is not deterred, and, with her trusty team at her side, she’s determined to keep Mack safe by finding his shooter before he tries again.

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There was supposed to be a celebration but as Mac, Doreen and her pets Goliath, Mugs and Thaddeus approach Rosemoor, Mack is shot.

Confusion reigns for a bit and Doreen drops the animals off at home and heads to the hospital. Some of Mack’s co-workers and even the captain is already there. Of course, it’s not long before Nan and many of the Rosemoor residents add to the group waiting for word.

Then there’s the problem of getting Nan and the other Rosemoor folks back where they belong and also get Doreen home so she can rest. The captain takes Doreen home first and then heads to Rosemoor to make sure everyone made it back and also issue a warning.

Doreen realizes she accepted the ride home and now her car is at the hospital. She makes the decision to go to Nan’s hopefully to catch a ride to get her car with Darren or the captain. What she walks in on is hysterical.

This is a favorite scene.

Doreen hugged her grandmother back, then stepped over to the captain and whispered, “What’s going on?”

He gave her a wry look. “Did I look a little too relieved to see you?”

“Yeah, you did.” She shot him a suspicious look. “So I repeat. What’s going on?”

“Your grandmother is trying to rally the troops to solve Mack’s murder.”

“And I’m sure you’ve given her the official line?”

“I have.” Yet he looked haunted.

“And I presume they’re ignoring you, as usual.”

He nodded at that. “I don’t understand. Almost all the citizens in this town are completely law-abiding, So, if I say stop, they stop.”

The corner of her mouth kicked up. “But every one of these people is old enough to know what you looked like when you were running around in the buff and sucking on a binky. That does undermine your authority a little bit.”

His lips twitched and then twitched again, until he burst into loud guffaws. By the time he finally calmed down, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, gave her a hug. “No wonder Mack likes you so much,” he said, with a grin. “I had not considered my reputation in that light.”

“No, but, once you hang around with these people long enough, you realize they respect very few things, and all of it has to do with what you’ve done in life. And their memories go waaay back.”

Still chuckling, he nodded. “So then maybe you tell them.”

“Meaning, they don’t see me still in diapers? You’re wrong. They do.” She sighed. “But, at the same time, they’ve also seen that I’ve done a few things to benefit them all, so that has held me in good stead. Plus Nan would not have them treat me otherwise.”

“You’re not kidding. They have more respect for you and Nan than they have for me.”

She smiled. “That’s because you still must be the bad guy sometimes. That’s not part of my job description.”

His lips twitched again. He nodded. “It’s up to you to get them all calmed down and to put them in their rightful place.”

“That’s the problem. They don’t go into the proper place,” she noted, with a sigh.

Overhearing that, Nan chuckled, turned to the crowd, and called out, “Let Doreen speak.”

Almost immediately the slamming of canes on the floor and the stamping of feet erupted, even if at an odd rhythm, as they moved and shuffled slowly to face Doreen. Then the chant rose. “Doreen, Doreen, Doreen.”

She looked around her, shook her head. “All right, guys, before you all have heart attacks, calm down.”

At that came muffled laughter. She looked around at Nan. “Do you have some folding chairs or a room with enough seats so that everyone can sit down?” And then came a collective sigh of relief.

Nan looked at the others and then slapped her hand over her mouth. “Oh, I didn’t even think of that. See? That’s why Doreen’s here,” Nan told the crowd.

“Good thing,” called out one old guy, “because I’m about to collapse.”

Doreen motioned to the adjoining communal sitting area, where plenty of couches and chairs were. “Come on. Let’s all go over there, so everybody can sit down. Maybe we can get some pots of tea or something going?” she asked, looking at Nan. “You want to go work your wiles on the kitchen staff?”

Nan chuckled and disappeared, as the crowd slowly relocated, and Doreen shook her head at how slowly most of them made their way into the comfortable seating area. She looked over at the captain. “Are you coming with me?”

“Oh, absolutely.” He chuckled. “You already got them doing more than I could.”

“Did you try to get them to sit down?”

“No, I was hoping to get them to disperse.”

She chuckled. “Nope. You know the rule about raising horses and unruly kids? Or seniors in this case?”

He looked at her and asked, “Do you have either?”

At that, she burst out laughing. “Nope, I sure don’t, but the rule always is, make the right thing easy and make the wrong thing difficult.”

An odd look took over his face as the captain contemplated that. “You know something? I think that goes for any situation.”

“Yep, now stay close, while we figure this out. We must take the wind out of their sails, otherwise they’ll be all on a big rampage.”

Following the crowd, Doreen spotted Darren. She waved at him. “Darren, did you get an update from the hospital?”

He nodded and joined her and the captain. “Mack’s awake and doing well. He’s been admitted into a private room in the hospital. You’re still not allowed to go visit though, even during regular visiting hours.”

She frowned at him, wondering if that was said on purpose.

He shook his head. “No, it’s not me. The doctor wants to keep Mack quiet for the next little bit. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow morning you can see him.”

She nodded slowly. “That’ll be all the quiet Mack gets. After that, I’m breaking him out of there,” she announced.

The captain sighed heavily. “I’m sure glad you didn’t say that in front of this crowd.”

She looked over at him, startled, and then nodded. “Right. Believe me. I’d have an awful lot of breaker-outers with me.”

Now with everybody seated in a big circle, she stepped into the center and sat down. All the animals immediately arranged themselves around her. “I don’t know how much of the scenario you all have heard, so I’ll give you what I know, and then anybody here who has information to offer, please speak up.”

She quickly gave an accounting of the walk down from her house with Mack and the animals. Mugs lay at her feet, and his ears lifted when she mentioned his name. Thaddeus did the same, poking his head out of Doreen’s hair, and cried out, “Thaddeus is here. Thaddeus is here.”

Immediately everybody laughed and clapped. Goliath just gave them all one of those long blasé looks, stretched out flat, and let his tail twitch.

Doreen continued. “We came around the corner of Rosemoor, saw a vehicle parked opposite the front door. A man hopped out when he saw us, lifted his hands, and called out “Copper,” then said something about revenge is better cold and shot Mack, who was already in motion. I’m not exactly sure whether Mack was trying to knock me out of the way or was moving toward the shooter, but Mack took the bullet high in his chest, actually more of a shoulder shot, and collapsed into the rosebush.”

She took a few minutes to compose herself, as everybody gave sage nods. “I’ll keep the questions simple. Did anybody see that vehicle parked out front? Hands up.”

Nobody raised their hands.

She frowned at that. “Did anybody see the actual shooting take place? Hands up.”

Again everybody shook their head. Nobody put up their hands.

“Did anybody know that there would be any kind of altercation earlier this evening?” she asked the crowd.

At that, one tiny little bird of a woman poked up her hand.

Doreen looked at her, with a sinking heart. “Yes. … What information do you have?”

“My knees have been acting up. That only happens when bad things are about to happen,” she explained. “I just didn’t know it would be Mack who would get hurt. If I’d known”— she slowly stood, her head barely cresting above all the other people seated—“ I would have said something to him, but I didn’t know it would be him.”

At that, several other people laughed, and one nodded.

Doreen looked over at the nodding man. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure what your name is,” Doreen began. “Have you seen this woman’s knees cause trouble before?”

“I don’t know that her knees cause trouble, but she has pointed out a few times when her knees have hurt, and bad things have happened.”

She stared at him for a moment. “Interesting. Okay. Besides that set of knees, does anybody else have anything to add about this?”

At that, several people put up their hands.

“Thank you for all being so mannerly.” She pointed to the one gentleman. “I think your name is Uriah?”

He nodded, seemingly pleased that she knew his name. “I want to know what we’ll do about it.” He then stood. “It’s one thing to get all the initial layout of the crime and then ask for answers, but do you have a plan yet?”

At the word yet, she realized just how much they were all counting on her. She looked over at the captain. “I’ll give you the official line,” the captain replied, his hands on his hips, as he turned and surveyed them all. “And you won’t like part of it.” At that, his words were met with jeers all around.

Doreen held up her hand. Instantly there was silence. At her side, the captain swore under his breath. She looked over at him, a question in her eyes.

He just shrugged. “They won’t do that for me,” he whispered.
Dale Mayer. Revenge in the Roses (Kindle Locations 278-357). Valley Publishing Ltd..

Not only does Doreen, get the Rosemoor folks to settle down, she assigns responsibilities much to the captain’s dismay.

Of course, Doreen isn’t staying out of it, and Mack’s brother Nick is now in town as well. Nick is quite amused by any and all interactions between Mack and Doreen.

This book is delightful, with plenty of twists and turns, laughter and more.

I really can’t wait for the next one!

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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Needing Neor – Madagascar Adventure- Hot Hunks Book 5 by Jen Talty


Needing Neor
Madagascar Adventure
Hot Hunks Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty

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When Captain Neor Benning gets a cryptic message from an old friend that he needs help, Neor’s on the first transport plan to Madagascar. Only, when he gets there his friend is no where to be found. Instead Neor found out his friend didn’t send the message at all. He has half a mind to turn around and get right back on the next plane for the states. Until he learns what his buddy had been up to.

India Holland came to Madagascar to help her brother find out who killed their father. However, when she arrived, her brother had disappeared. The only clue she has is a map and note from her brother stating if anything happened to him to call Neor. So that’s exactly what she did, only Neor doesn’t seem to know anything and the second he lands, bullets start flying.

India Holland travels to Madagascar after a very cryptic conversation with her brother, Nepal regarding their father’s death. When she arrives, she finds her brother is now missing. He hasn’t been seen for at least two days and he never checked out of the hotel. She needed her brother’s things and to get them she pays not only for her own room but what her brother owed as well. Fortunately, he left a note for her with his belongings which is why they brought her his belongings. The note instructs her to text his friend and teammate Neor and wait for him to arrive.

Both Neor and Nepal are Army Rangers on medical leave from their last assignment. Nepal was using that time to be with his father, while Neor went to his family. When he gets the text from who he thought was Nepal, he immediately travels to Madagascar. He’s more than a little surprised to find it was Nepal’s sister India who sent the text and the reason why. He would protect India until they found Nepal and got answers. The problem for him is that he’s been a little in love with her since the first time they met.

Neor makes the decision to stay in her room and work on getting into her brother’s computer. What he finds surprises him, and against his better judgement he shares what he can with India to calm her down.

This is just one of many favorite scenes.

He brushed her hair over her shoulder and let out a sigh. “Rome has a daughter who he named Romilly. Nifati is a corrupt politician. Kiadly is Nifati’s son who has his sights set on Romilly who is seen as royalty in Madagascar. A couple of years ago, Rome was held captive in a remote village. We were told it was by a group that wants to overthrow the current government.”

“Wait. Why would they kidnap Rome? Sounds like they got the wrong man if Nifati is corrupt.”

Neor chuckled. “Rome is quite influential in this country. His wife’s brother is Luca Ratsifa who happens to be high up in the government and where Kiadly wants to be, but he doesn’t have the respect of his people. Neither does his father, but not for lack of trying. What we found out after the operation was that Kiadly had been behind the kidnapping. Or at least that was the rumors. It had all been about getting close to Romilly. He wanted to be in her good graces so he could woo her, but after I did a quick google search when I saw that document on your brother’s computer, that didn’t happen. Although, Rome and Kiadly do have a kinship of sorts because Kiadly took credit for his rescue and we can’t deny it. Not to mention that Rome and Nifati, while also not friends, they aren’t sworn enemies.”

“But doesn’t Rome know who saved him? I mean how could he have not known it was a United States Special Forces team?”

Neor pulled her closer. The heat between them was thick and steamy and all-consuming.

She should take a step back and put some distance between them before their lips touched and ignited a flame that turned into a raging inferno. There was no way she’d be able to control herself. She’d already given in to the fantasy as her hands made their way up his muscular biceps to his strong shoulders.

“Yes and no. There is no record of the op because it wasn’t sanctioned. If I were to become a whistleblower and try to bring this knowledge to light, the government, the Army— Delta Force— they would all deny. I suspect that Kiadly and his father know this and Kiadly’s been using it to bend Rome’s ear to push his daughter to take him as a suitor.”

She tilted her head. “So, what you’re saying is that Kiadly is potentially telling Rome that he hired you and your team to save him and now he wants favors in return.”

“Exactly.” Neor kissed her nose. “But that’s honestly a guess on my part and without seeing what Nepal has in his files, everything is speculation, which I don’t like doing. I’m only telling you this because I know it’s important to you and I want to help either calm your nerves or make you feel better or something.” He twisted her body, turning her and guiding her toward the bed. He pulled back the sheets. “There is honestly nothing left for us to do right now except get a good night’s sleep.”

Holy shit. Either Neor didn’t know when a woman was hitting on him, or he wasn’t interested.

Both were equally depressing.

She leaned into him, pressing her breasts against his chest.

He looked down and the corner of his mouth tipped up in a smile while he arched a brow.

At least she’d gotten his attention.

He curled his fingers around her wrists and groaned. “You’re more than a tempting woman,” he whispered, pressing his mouth against her cheek. “Maybe when this is all over and you still want to explore this and we have your brother’s blessing, we—”

“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” She glared. “I don’t need anyone’s permission, especially Nepal’s.”

“Maybe not. But I do.” He kissed the back of her hand. “He’d kill me.”

“You’re honestly afraid of what he’d think? Because that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“It’s a code we live by.” He helped her into the bed, pulling the covers over her body before sitting on the edge of the bed.

She couldn’t decide if she wanted to burst out laughing or actually ask a few questions so she could try to understand Neor’s outdated philosophy. She could accept wanting to be respectful, but who she chose to sleep with had nothing to do with Nepal.

Ever.

“My brother and I have never discussed our relationships unless they are long term,” she said as a tinge of anger filled her belly. “If you didn’t want to be with me, a simple no, thank you would have done the trick.”

“Don’t mistake me turning you down tonight as rejection or an admittance of not wanting you because trust me when I say, if we weren’t in the situation we’re in, we would have been naked an hour ago.” He kissed her so hard she was sure her lips would be bruised.

It didn’t last but a few seconds, yet it left her breathless.

And speechless.

He ran his thumb over her lower lip and smiled. “Being a gentleman around you is proving to be nearly impossible.”

“Maybe I don’t want you to be one.”

“Perhaps that’s exactly what I need to be right now.” He stood tall and strolled to the other side of the room. Slipping out of his shirt and slacks, he climbed into the bed and turned off the light. “It’s not just about the respect I have for Nepal and my friendship with him. It’s about timing. I want to be with you, but not like this. I want it to be about us. Not about what’s going on around us.”

Her breath stuck in her throat.

“Good night, India,” Neor whispered. “Sleep well.”

Hopefully the next few hours would be filled with sweet dreams, and not restless nightmares.
Jen Talty. Needing Neor ARC (Kindle Locations 497-541). Jupiter Press.

There is nothing straight forward in what they need to do to find Nepal. There’s also the problem that her father probably isn’t dead either, just missing as well.

Plenty of action, suspense, romance and sizzle in this page-turning read.

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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Code Name: Cowboy – K19 Special Operations Book 4 by Heather Slade


Code Name:
Cowboy
K19 Special Operations Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Slade

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Code name: Garrison “Cowboy” Cassidy
Target: Winslow Greer
Mission: Take the ski champion to new peaks

COWBOY

Being quiet and reserved makes cracking cases and taking down enemies—one vile and malicious criminal at a time—easy for a stealthy agent like me. But when I meet Winslow, it requires every bit of my reserve to take it slow. I know once I give in to her tantalizing ways, it’s going to be one fast, slippery slope of passion and pleasure.

WINSLOW

Death. The end. My final hurrah. At least that’s what I thought. But by some miracle, I escaped. Saving myself. That’s not enough, though. It’s not over. Peril is imminent, and I need help. Safety. Security. And there’s only one man I trust. But can I really put my life in the hands of a sexy cowboy in tight denims and a country drawl?

Olympic Skier Winslow Greer is the latest reported missing person. Garrison ‘Cowboy’ Cassidy is determined to find her before the worst happens. Whether it was a mistake or on purpose her kidnapper left her a way to escape. When she realizes she can get free, she does and runs for help.

Cowboy is notified as is Mayhem and they head to the police station. Once her parents arrive the situation is a bit touchy.

This is a favorite scene.

“Cowboy, this is Onyx. I heard from the sheriff a few minutes ago. He got a call from Lake Placid PD saying a couple just brought Winslow Greer into their station. You and Mayhem are still up there, right?”

“Affirmative.”

I was out of bed with my boots on by the time he instructed me to head there. When I raced out of the room, Mayhem came out of his.

“Ranger just called.”

“Onyx called me. Let’s go.”

Just as we pulled into the PD parking lot, Mayhem’s phone pinged. He swiped the screen. “Ranger said they’re expecting us.”

“Us?”

“Two guys working with the FBI.”

“Copy that.” Neither of us looked the part, though. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a haircut, to the point it hung past my shoulders. Both of us had visible ink and were dressed more like bikers than agents.

“Cassidy and Gable?” asked a man in uniform who greeted us at the door. “Follow me.” He walked away without waiting for a response from either of us.

“What’s Ms. Greer’s condition?” I asked when we reached a closed door and he put his hand on the knob.

“She’s shaken but has no visible signs of assault.”

“Visible?” asked Mayhem.

“She doesn’t want to go to the hospital until her parents get here.”

“They’re on their way?” I asked.

“Should arrive within the hour.”

“They aren’t here in town?”

The man shook his head. “Don’t know. It’s just what I was told.”

“Copy that.” I motioned for him to open the door. When he did, I went in first.

The blue eyes I’d stared into so often over the last few days filled with tears when they met mine. I walked over and knelt down near her chair.

“Winslow, my name is Garrison Cassidy, and I’m part of the team who’s been lookin’ for you. I sure am glad to see you, darlin’.”

Her breath caught, and the tears in her eyes ran down her cheeks. When she leaned forward and reached for me, I took her into my arms and stroked her hair as she sobbed.

“You’re safe now, sweetheart,” I soothed. “You’re safe.” I felt her nod, but until she let go, I wouldn’t either.

Too soon, I heard a knock at the door and it opening. “Excuse me, sir. Ms. Greer’s parents are on their way in.”

“I’m so sorry.” Winslow pulled away and wiped at her tears.

I brushed her hair from her forehead. “Don’t be.”

When I stood, my eyes met Mayhem’s. Thankfully, I didn’t see any judgment in them.

“Winnie!” a woman cried as she burst through the door. I took a step to the side to give Winslow and her parents space, when I felt her hand slip into mine.

“Thank you,” she whispered, looking up at me.

I squeezed her fingers before I let go, and Mayhem and I left the room.

His phone pinged. “Ranger’s requesting an update,” he said after swiping the screen.

“Go ahead.”

Mayhem gave me a head nod and walked away. Once he’d gone out the door, I leaned up against the wall and put my hands in my pockets.

“She hasn’t reacted to much until you arrived,” the police officer commented. “Other than saying she didn’t want to go to the hospital until her parents arrived.”

“She’s in shock.”

He shook his head. “Hell of a thing.” The man looked up at the ceiling and let out a heavy sigh. “We haven’t questioned her yet. The boss told us this is FBI jurisdiction.”

“Correct,” I said without looking at him. While I had no desire to put Winslow through the hell of recounting her ordeal, we couldn’t wait much longer to see if she could tell us where she’d been for the last few days.

The door opened, and Winslow’s father stepped into the hall. “What are you waiting for?” he barked, looking between the officer and me. “Why aren’t you arresting the bastard who did this to my daughter?”

“Sir, we—”

“I don’t want to hear excuses. Go do your goddamn job.”

I raised my eyes to his but didn’t respond. I understood every ounce of his anger. More, his feelings of helplessness.

“We haven’t questioned your daughter yet, sir. Until we do, we have no way of doing as you ask.”

Winslow’s father stared at the guy beside me, and I watched his fists clench in anger and his breathing accelerate with every word the officer said. Then his expression changed as acceptance gradually set in.

“What are you waiting for?” he asked a second time, but with less of an edge in his voice.

The cop turned his head in my direction.

“For you and your wife to arrive,” I responded.

“We’re here now,” he said at the same time Mayhem returned from outside. Winslow’s father looked at him, then at me. “Who are you?”

“We’re with the FBI, sir,” I answered for both of us, introducing myself first, then Mayhem, by our given names.

“Let’s get this over with.” He motioned for us to follow him into the room where Winslow sat, looking down at her hands folded in her lap, no longer crying.

Her expression, her overall demeanor bothered me. Something was off here, but I didn’t have enough information to even guess at what it could be.

Before her father had the chance, I stepped around the table and took the seat beside her. I moved the chair closer so our arms could touch if she moved even slightly. When she did, I rested my open palm on my leg, and she put her hand in it. Even without looking directly at her, I could see Mrs. Greer’s confused expression. I didn’t care what the woman thought. The minute Winslow’s hand was in mine, I felt some of her tension release. It was all I cared about.

I kept my voice even, void of as much inflection as I could. “I understand the last thing you want to do right now is talk about what happened to you, but if you have any information at all that could lead us to where you were being held, we might have a chance to catch whoever abducted you.”

Winslow’s eyes met mine, and I kept my gaze as even as my voice. “Whenever you’re ready.”

“There was a utility bill sitting on the counter addressed to Craig Ferrone.”

I looked up at Mayhem, who held up his phone. “How would you feel about us recording your statement?”

Winslow nodded, so I set my phone on the table and pressed the button to record.

“The place where he took me was on Main Street, across from the Lake Placid General Store. A basement apartment— in a brick house. The entrance is in the back, surrounded by evergreen trees.”

When Mayhem immediately followed the police officer out of the room, Winslow’s grip on my hand tightened.

“Don’t leave.”

Her father cleared his throat. “Winslow, he has to—”

“My partner and the Lake Placid PD have this handled. I’m not going anywhere.” I spoke directly to her rather than her father.

“Garrison, right?” Winslow asked.

“Yes.”

She turned toward her mother. “I’d like to talk to Garrison alone.”

“Out of the question. Your mother and I need to stay with you.” I didn’t like the edge in her father’s voice, particularly when Winslow’s gaze fell to her lap like I’d seen it do earlier.

“Give us a few minutes,” I demanded more than asked.

Winslow’s mother stood and led her husband from the room despite his objections.

I squeezed her fingers. “Take your time.”

She nodded and took several deep breaths. “He didn’t…”

I waited to see if she could go on. “Assault you?” I asked when it didn’t appear she could.

She nodded. “He kept me in handcuffs and my legs bound.”

I looked down at the floor and noticed her feet were bare. No one had thought to give this woman a pair of socks? What in the ever living hell? “Be right back—”

<em.“No!” She clung to my hand with both of hers. “Don’t go.”
Heather Slade. Code Name: Cowboy (Kindle Locations 326-394). K19 Shadow Operations Book Four.

The interview with Winslow leads them to where she was held but then dead bodies start showing up, along with additional threats. Now they have to devise a plan to keep her safe while the search continues.

There are so many revelations in this book that are horrifying, and tension escalates as they try to identify possible victims.

Obviously, there is a connection between Winslow and Cowboy and that only grows with time together.

I really love how we get to see folks from other series as well as those added to this one.

So much frustration but things are starting to be resolved, as I now wait for the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Heather Slade

USA Today and Amazon Top 15 Bestselling Author Heather Slade writes shamelessly sexy, edge-of-your seat romantic suspense.

She gave herself the gift of writing a book for her own birthday one year. Forty-plus books later (and counting), she’s having the time of her life. The women Slade writes are self-confident, strong, with wills of their own, and hearts as big as the Colorado sky. The men are sublimely sexy, seductive alphas who rise to the challenge of capturing the sweet soul of a woman whose heart they’ll hold in the palm of their hand forever. Add in a couple of neck-snapping twists and turns, a page-turning mystery, and a swoon-worthy HEA, and you’ll be holding one of her books in your hands.

She loves to hear from her readers.


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Quinton – Hathaway House Book 17 By Dale Mayer


Quinton
Hathaway House Book 17
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Quinton had been a patient at Hathaway House in its first year. When she finally healed enough to move on with her life, she went into law and plowed forward. However, plowing forward may not have been the best answer for her physical injuries. While visiting Stan at the center, she collapses on her way to her brother’s room, as he’s a patient here now. The collapse shows a long-term issue, now an acute problem. After talking to Dani and Shane, Quinton’s booked back into the center on a short-term basis.

Stan hurts for Quinton. She’s an old friend, and he’s watched her progress from his first year in business at Hathaway. He’d always had a crush on her but figured his window of opportunity had passed. Now with her once again as a patient, it feels like a second chance for a personal relationship, one he’s more than willing to take.

Between her brother—who’s not getting along at the center—and Quinton’s own struggles to get back on her feet, thankfully she also has Stan and other old friends around, as Quinton takes the steps necessary to put her life back on track … in all ways.

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Quinton is a now corporate attorney and stops by Hathaway House to have Stan sign some documents. She knows Stan and the others from her own time at Hathaway House years ago. Stan always wanted to get to know her better, but the timing never seemed right.

Her brother Ryatt is now a patient here and he’s having issue adjusting, at least she hopes that’s all it is. She stops by to see Dani before heading to see him, but before she gets very far, she collapses in pain.

Dani calls for assistance and with Shane’s help gets Quinton settled in a room. She doesn’t want to stay but there’s really no choice.

Her brother comes to see her, and she reassures him she’ll be fine. She does question whether or not he wants to be there. His attitude is affecting everyone trying to help him. He tries to divert her attention back to herself, but she refuses his help with her prosthetic and his offer to find Shane to help.

It’s Stan who comes to check on her and runs off to find Shane.

This is a favorite scene.

Quinton took one look at Stan and Shane, then frowned. “You know that, if I just lay here quiet for a bit, I could probably get it.”

“You could probably get it,” Shane agreed. “However, if you never ask for help, especially when you need it, then I foresee more than just physical problems here.”

That made Quinton immediately gear up the attorney side of her to argue with that assessment.

Shane raised one finger to shush her, then gently pushed her pant leg over the top of her prosthetic and asked, “Did you hurt this recently?”

She shook her head. “No, I don’t think so.”

He looked at it closely and raised one eyebrow. “The prosthetic could be part of your main problem.”

“Why is that?”

“Because the whole alignment is off,” he said, “not in a big way, just enough that your structural alignment would go out the window with it.” He quickly pushed the button to release the prosthetic then slowly rolled the sock down off her stump.

She cried out softly with relief. “Ah, that feels better.”

He looked at her stump and noted, “You realize you’ve got a really big blister back here too, don’t you?” He lifted the leg up and showed Stan a good two-inch-wide blister.

“It was getting sore, but I don’t know about a blister.”

“You’ve got a good one,” Stan said, looking at her. “It looks pretty nasty.” He took a picture of it on his cell phone and then held it out for her to see.

She stared at it in shock. “Where’d that come from?”

“Are you sure you didn’t fall or have in any way damaged the prosthetic that you remember?” Shane asked.

She shook her head. “Not that I remember, no.” And then she frowned. “Except I did fall down a couple risers on the stairs.”

Both men stared at her in shock.

She shrugged. “I didn’t really think anything of it. I mean, obviously it wasn’t a great moment. But I was alone, I hopped up, straightened up, and carried on.”

“And how long ago was that?”

“It was about …” She stopped, thought about it. “I don’t know, maybe four, five months. It wouldn’t be from that, would it?”

“It could easily have been that,” Shane stated, “particularly when this fall caused a small adjustment to your prosthetic. Then, over time, your body goes out of alignment. That would make it pretty easy to become an even bigger problem.”

“Well, in that case then,” she replied, “I guess I did this to myself.”

Shane stood at the end of her bed, his arms crossed over his chest. “So tell me honestly. What would you say your regular workday is like?”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“I’m trying to get a picture of a woman, who has a two-inch sore on her leg, who fell down the stairs, who got up, who didn’t think anything of it, who slowly put her own alignment out of whack, and who didn’t notice the increase in pain nor the decrease in movement.”

She stared at him, slowly understanding what he was getting at. A flush rose up her neck. “So what do you want me to say? Obviously I’m a person who’s not very aware,” she muttered.

“But why?” Shane asked gently.

She looked over at Stan, who still stood here beside them. “Probably,” she added carefully, “because I’m very busy.”

“As in too busy to look after yourself?” Shane asked.

She glared at him. “I think the answer to that is evident,” she snapped, mostly mad at herself. “I obviously haven’t been doing a good job, if that’s what you found. I still don’t understand how I could have walked around and not noticed that thing.”

“Yeah, me too. I know you have nerve damage on the back, but that’s a pretty major blister. And it is fresh,” he noted. “So it could have been just even part of today. Still, I’ve got nurses coming to draw some blood and to give you some muscle relaxants. We’re going to run a bunch of tests, take X-rays tomorrow, and just see where you’re at. For tonight,” he added, “I suggest you eat, relax, and try to sleep if you can. A set of pajamas are in the bathroom for you. I think an extra set of comfy clothes are in the closet too. Call for a nurse to help you.”

She nodded slowly but was obviously pretty distressed by the whole thing.

Shane reached down, gently patted her good leg, and smiled. “We’ll look at it all tomorrow. It’ll be a whole new day. So get some rest, and we’ll see how we can fix you up, after we get more info. And, if you need something more, like heavy-duty painkillers, let me know immediately. Don’t put that off either.”

Stan leaned over, gave her a quick hug. “I’ll be back later to see if you are awake enough for dinner.” And he walked out behind Shane.
Dale Mayer. Quinton (Kindle Locations 350-389). Valley Publishing Ltd..

When Quinton realizes what’s gone wrong, she knows she’ll need to stay until things are right again. However, her bosses aren’t quite so understanding.

Stan uses this time to try to get closer to her and they both seem to have issues getting it right.

This is yet another heartwarming story, with struggles to find their way to both health and happiness.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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


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High Note – Cardinal Sins Book 3 by Heather Long and Blake Blessing


High Note
Cardinal Sins Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Long
&
Blake Blessing

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Carve up the world…

From the moment my sexy death angel strode through that door, I’d been in lust. Or at least that was what I told myself. Beautiful, powerful, and far too dangerous for me, and I was hooked.

Utterly, irrevocably hooked.

Course, she had her own personal psycho puppy and, man, as much as I’d like to hate him, I didn’t. The dude was OCD to the point of painful when it came to cleaning, and he had the best skills in the kitchen. He also worshiped the ground she walked on.

Same, man, same.

We were making this work, even with the Fed in the dungeon. Then she didn’t come home. I didn’t care what I had to do, I was going to get her back.

If that meant letting the Fed out and working with him, then I was down. He could kick down the door and break the bones, whatever it took. If we had to take the world apart, well, then that was what we’d do.

Rick needed her. Mr. Call Me Cash was obsessed with her.

And me?

Well, I was all of the above. No way we were letting her go without a fight, not after we’d hit more than one high note together.

NOTE:
HIGH NOTE is a full length dark adult romance and psychological thriller with suspenseful themes. Any trigger warnings will be included in the foreword. Some situations may be uncomfortable for readers. This is a reverse harem novel, meaning the main character has more than one love interest. This is book three in the series.

If you haven’t read the other books in this series, STOP! Go back and read them this book starts where the last one left off.

When we last left Vienna, she had been abducted and was about to be interrogated. Rick and Fletcher had been fine until she didn’t call. Faced with the worst they need help to find her and free Cash from the cell in the basement.

They’re not sure if they can trust him but he will give them a different view as they retrace Vienna’s last known steps. When they finally let Cash call his answering service, they get the break they needed. An informant has valuable information, but there’s a lot more than that.

This is a favorite scene.

“What happened?” Rick asked. “We waited for you…”

Okay, even I melted a little at that quiet admission.

Drew turned and patted his chest right over his heart and left her hand there, as if she realized he just needed physical touch. “I’ll explain all that later. What’s most important right now is why he,” she pointed at Cash, who grinned like the devil he was, “is with you. And how you found him.” She pointed to the blue-eyed fucker staring intently at Drew.

Yeah, I didn’t like him at all.

We still hadn’t discovered how he was able to bring us here.

Rick didn’t seem inclined to throw himself in the naughty circle, so I explained the easiest of the two. “We couldn’t find you,” I started.

Fuck, I sounded just as pitiful as Rick.

“I knew something was wrong, and I exhausted all of my resources and skills and still couldn’t find you.” I sucked in a deep breath for courage. “Because we were desperate, we let him out to help us find you.” Tossing an arm out at Cash, I almost yelled, “And look! It worked! Because he has a spidey-network of people on your trail. You should be upset with him, not us.”

Drew should be proud. I incorporated one of her 5 Ds. Deflect. I was deflecting the blame onto the ex-Fed.

Cash shrugged, all nonchalant. “I got us here. And you look like you could use the help, even if you got out on your own.” The fucker looked so proud I wanted to punch him in the face. But from over here.

She turned to Horatio, not even acknowledging Cash. “And you?”

He stepped forward, still drinking her in. Had he even blinked?

I was on to his game. The fucker wanted her to notice his blue fucking eyes.

Rick hugged her waist from behind when she lifted a foot to get closer to Horatio.

I studied him through new eyes, trying to see what Drew saw. She obviously knew him, and that irked me.

He wasn’t the stunner Rick was, or even Cash. He was maybe half an inch shorter than me and just a little broader. Standard brown hair. No distinguishing features except for those fucking blue eyes he didn’t even try to hide beneath round frame glasses.

“When you didn’t surface for a few days, I thought you might need some help. And these knuckleheads didn’t know their asses from a hole in the ground. So, I… assisted.” One side of his mouth kicked up in a crooked grin, transforming him into a somewhat attractive man. I guessed. If you squinted and tilted your head sideways.

Yup, still hated him.

Drew’s brows dropped and her lips pinched. “How did you know where I was?”

His grin grew. “Ah, that’s information. We could say you already owe me for getting your boys here.”

“How much?” She shot back.

“Dinner?” “I’m not going on a date with you,” Drew said as I shouted, “Hell no!”

Rick just growled. Good. We could intimidate the accountant with our psycho puppy. To him, Rick would look like a rabid rottie.

“A family dinner is fine.”

“Nope! No. Hell to the fucking no.” This man was not invited into the house. “No more.” I stopped and pointed at Horatio. “We already have enough foxes.”

He crinkled up his nose as he watched me resume my pacing behind Drew and Rick. “Excuse me?”

“No more blue-eyed fucking foxes in the hen house!” I shouted, then pressed up behind Rick’s back like he was holding me back from raining destruction on Horatio’s head. “We have enough, thank you fucking much.”

While Horatio didn’t so much as glance in my direction, Drew did. At her quirked brows, I frowned and then flushed.

“Well,” I continued in more of a mumble. “We do.”

“You never mentioned knowing her,” Cash said into the silence, his tone less arrogant and much more broody. I damn near smirked. Oh, look at that. Mr. I-Fucking-Know-Everything didn’t know something.

“You never asked,” Horatio told him without a sideways glance, then nodded to Drew. “Do you require medical assistance?”

With one question, he flipped my attention back to Drew. She really did look like death warmed over. Our death angel was still there, bruised and battered, but very much alive. Rick rumbled a sound, but she just rubbed a circle against his chest.

“I do not,” she answered. “We can discuss a family dinner later.” Then she flicked a look at Cash. Some of his smugness had drained away as he studied her in return, then eyed Horatio. “We will also discuss the releasing of dangerous individuals when they could be a threat to the two of you.”

Could be. Not was.

That actually made my chest puff out a little.

“Since you’re here, someone manage him. I need to get some more supplies.”

“What do you need?” Rick was ready to open a vein if necessary. Me too, if it came to that, despite the fact I’d prefer to never see blood again.

“Besides a steak, a hot bath, and perhaps a very large glass of wine,” I tacked on for him. There was no mistaking the faint gurgling noise that came from her stomach.

“I need to wash up,” she said, choosing her words carefully. Our accountant “friend”— okay, not our friend, but clearly he wanted to be Drew’s, the blue-eyed bastard— nodded.

“You also require rest,” he said. “If you have no objections, I’ll take care of closing the cabin.

Probably better for you to get home.” “Wait a fucking minute,” Cash said abruptly. “Wash— where’s Sandra Jane? Is that what you need help with? She should be arrested—” He stopped abruptly, and I stared at him.

Was he for fucking real, now? Did they all take stupid pills this morning? We couldn’t hand her over. I had no idea what she knew or didn’t know, but that wasn’t the point. She hurt Drew. That was unacceptable.

Period.

“Ignore the former federal officer,” Horatio said. “Some habits are almost impossible to break. He is, however, not an idiot. I also assume the two of you need to have a conversation. Those two would be better somewhere else, with you secure.”

If by somewhere secure, he meant home, and without him, I was down with it.

“And you?” Drew asked, ignoring Cash as easily as Horatio did. That was almost funny, because a vein throbbed in his forehead as he cut his glare back and forth between the two of them.

“I am a patient man. You’re safe. As for the rest, we can call it a favor…”

Before any of us could object, Drew merely shook her head. “We don’t deal in favors.”

“True,” he said with a faint smile. “But that, too, is an old habit.”

“One, I’m not interested in breaking.”

“Heard,” he acknowledged. “Then add, allowing me to bring a dessert or a bottle of wine to the family dinner for the cost.”

A troubled look passed over her face. The fact Drew let me see her feelings in her expressions at all was a gift, but this, I didn’t think was so much about allowing any of us. She sure as hell wasn’t allowing Cash. No, there was a weariness to her, a kind of strung too tightly. Now that I’d noticed it, I couldn’t unsee it.

Rick didn’t offer any objections. I expected the Big Guy to just shut this down, but he didn’t. Instead, he let himself be lulled by the contact with her. Yeah, that I got. I didn’t want to focus on them at all, just on her.

“If that means we can get you out of here,” I said. “Then let’s go. I can handle dinner with the numbers guy, as long as we don’t have to talk math all night.” Then again… “We could do group rounds of Sudoku. Pretty sure I can kick his ass.”

That pulled a smile from Drew, and she chuckled. “I think we’ll be fine. Dinner, and you may bring the wine after Rick decides what we’re having. I’ll message you the details.”

“Accepted.” Horatio turned to go back to the car, pausing only when Cash grabbed him.

Oh, was someone about to get their ass kicked?

“Ratio, you didn’t tell me you knew her.”

Yeah, we established that.

“No, I didn’t. Nor will I ever confirm it for you. The lady is tired. Try not to be too much of an ass.” Then he glanced back at Drew once more. “Unless this is another issue you need cleaned up?”

It was probably the most civilized and scary fucking threat I’d ever heard. The man was an accountant, but you’d have to be an idiot to miss the actual menace underscoring those perfectly polite words. Like said idiot, who released him with a laugh.

The Fed was definitely out there. “I’m starting to think there’s something really wrong with him,” I told the Big Guy quietly. Drew definitely heard me, but she didn’t look away from the other pair. I could imagine she weighed all the pros and cons in an instant. It seemed a very her thing to do.

“No,” she said, finally. “Thank you for offering.”

“Of course.” He shook off Cash, or maybe the Fed just released him. Either way, he returned to the car and retrieved a bag. “Good afternoon, gentlemen,” he said as he returned and headed toward the house. “Vienna.”
Heather Long; Blake Blessing. High Note (Kindle Locations 1170-1245).

Cash’s informant obviously knows Vienna but at this point he doesn’t know how he knows her. This is an interesting development, and it just gets better from here.

More clues, more things Vienna takes care of, revelations, the kindle melting scenes and an OMG ending. I can’t wait for the next book!

5 Contented Purrs for Heather and Blake!

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Heather Long Heather Long

USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.

From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.

When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.


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Blake Blessing is no longer new on the Indie scene, but she’s still ecstatic about this chapter in life. She is a mom, wife, art enthusiast, and author.

She attended ten different schools growing up, so books became her constant friend. Escaping into books of all different genres made life fun and exciting. Blake was also raised on music and still blasts it through the house and car at every opportunity.

She has a weird sense of humor and a penchant for chocolate milk. It only makes sense she would one day go on to write her own stories.


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Booked on a Feeling – A Sweet Mess Book 3 by Jayci Lee


Booked on a Feeling
A Sweet Mess Book 3
By
Jayci Lee

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Lizzy “Overachiever” Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:

* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.

If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.

Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. She’s a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he’s a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery who never left his hometown. He can’t risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books…

Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.

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Lizzy has just won a big case, one that will guarantee her a shot a partner in her law firm. The thing is Lizzy doesn’t feel happy about it, she’s frustrated and burned out. Needing some space, she leaves the office and heads to her favorite spot to relax and unwind, Hideaway Bookstore. Later that night she makes a decision to take some time off and re-evaluate her goals. She’s going toLizzy and Jack have been friends for a very long time. Jack’s come to realize he wants more from her but at the same time doesn’t want to mess up their friendship. He knows he’s been avoiding her, but that’s all about to change.

Lizzy finds a studio apartment to rent for a few weeks. It’s perfect and it’s over the Sparrow Bookstore. The next thing she does is bump into Jack while he’s on his way home from his morning run. He’s more than a little surprised. His family business is such that he has plenty of time he can spend with Lizzy, and he decides to do just that.

The bookstore becomes a focal point for Lizzy’s time off. Shannon the owner and also her landlord has to-do lists and if there’s one thing Lizzy loves it’s lists.

I love the sense of family in this small town of Weldon, although Lizzy’s parents no longer live in the US, the friends they made here are lasting and extend to Lizzy. Especially Jack’s parents and siblings.

As this relationship grows so does friendship and Lizzy makes some decisions as does Jack. It’s really a shame they didn’t confide in each other before they made them.

There’s laughter, tears, disappointment, romance and so much more in this book. I really need to go back and read the other books in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Jayci!

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Jayci Lee

Jayci Lee writes poignant, sexy, and laugh-out-loud romance every free second she can scavenge. She lives in sunny California with her tall-dark-and-handsome husband, two amazing boys with boundless energy, and a fluffy rescue whose cuteness is a major distraction. At times, she cannot accommodate real life because her brain is full of drool worthy heroes and badass heroines clamoring to come to life.

Because of all the books demanding to be written, Jayci writes full-time now, and is semi-retired from her fifteen-year career as a defense litigator. She loves food, wine, and travelling, and incidentally so do her characters. Books have always helped her grow, dream, and heal, and she hopes her books will do the same for you.

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Demon in My Veins – My Demon Lords Book 1 by Sydney St. James


Demon in My Veins
My Demon Lords Book 1
By
Sydney St. James

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All villains have a story.
This is how mine began…

I began as a nobody, a tavern girl in a backwater town, with one saving grace: the ability to use fairy artifacts. That put me squarely between four of the seven High Demon Lords, the most powerful creatures in our world. Belial and Eligos want me in their bed. Oriax would dissect me. And while I don’t know what Shax would do, but I both desire and fear him.

Caught in a pretty cage, my survival depends on the demons I now call lord. While matters of the heart become complicated, another plot is afoot that will change the course of our world.

Years from now, someone else will write my story. They’ll call me the butcher, the destroyer, the ravager. But those people, those creatures, they don’t know me. They want you to believe that I’m every bit as evil as they say I am. I’m just a woman who made an impossible choice in the name of love.

We meet Lioria as she accepts a shipment of the Lord’s Tonic for the Silver Roo Inn. Her name has the Demon Lord’s man insulting her. Not an uncommon occurence since her name says everything about her, she’s an orphan with no lineage to entice a match.

We also meet her friend Malka, she has a gift or some would say curse of seeing spirits. In Malka’s case she wears a blindfold and the spirits guide her so she doesn’t get overwhelmed by walking through them. Most with her gift are locked up and don’t live long going mad from the whispers of the souls surrounding them.

Lioria grabs a couple vials of the tonic when she discovers Malka has never had it and they almost get caught by Mistress Claridieu, the owner of the establishment. The Mistress has a special task for Lioria that requires her special skill.

Old magical things like Lioria, and often wake for her. In this case a decorative orb is required for a meeting that will be taking place. If it doesn’t work the Mistress will be in trouble with the ones who requested it.

Lioria’s friend Kirra, the cook for the tavern has made a special treat for her. Four small pastries that will lead to a change in Lioria’s life.

Belial is drawn by the scent of the little hand pies and finding Lioria has caused something intriguing to happen, his demon begins to awaken. This is only the first of these important men to notice her.

Eligos is the second one to encounter Lioria. She’s resting after proving the orb would cover the area needed for the meeting, having depleted her magic. At first Eligos berates her for being in the room at all then realizes the reason she would be there. He gives her some advice about using the orb so it doesn’t drain her magic and then stays with her while she rests. It’s then he also discovers his demon awakening.

The meeting is of the seven Demon Lords, Alastor, Shax, Raum, Oriax, Valac, Belial and Eligos. They each control a part of Eden maintaining the peace that is non-existent on the continent. Well, all but Belial and Eligos, who always stay together, so they control their area together.

Both Belial and Eligos want Lioria and to make that happen they meet with her and the Mistress to come to an agreement.

Oriax decides he wants a chance at Lioria when it finally hits him that she is the one who was able to awaken the orb. There is quite the confrontation as Lioria is saying her good-byes at the Inn.

This is a favorite scene.

Kirra waves at me, beckoning me to the relative safety behind the island, but I don’t budge. If anything happens, I don’t want her to be a target. If I can throw myself at their mercy to stop this, I will. I don’t understand why my trick with artifacts is so valuable.

“Fine.” Oriax holds his hands up and turns his head to look at me. “But should you ever desire a change of pace, I am but a letter away.”

Belial growls and lifts Oriax off the ground nearly a foot by his robe. “Shut up, you silver-tongued devil.”

Oriax’s head falls back and laughs. “So predictable, Belial. I haven’t harmed your treat. Do you really want to fight me here and now? Do you think you’re up to it?”

“Do you really want to take on two of us at once?” Eligos counters. His tone is haughty and cold.

It drives home to me that these men are not human. They are demons and they have dominion over all. They did not have to ask for my contract last night. These immortal, all-powerful creatures have lowered themselves to mundane labor negotiations.

Why?

None of this makes sense. “Stop. Please? All of you,” I say.

Three sets of eyes turn on me. Not a one of their eyes are rounded and human. Their pupils have become slits, the rest of their eyes a vibrant color.

Eligos’ are a deep purple, so deep the slit of black is almost imperceptible.

Oriax’s eyes are a brilliant green, with the black slit seeming to suck everything into it.

And Belial’s are a coppery red, almost orange that threatens to overpower the blackness dividing them.

Belial leans in closer until he’s almost nose to cheek with Oriax and says, “She is decided for us. Not you.”

Oriax sighs. It’s a long-suffering sound, as if he’s accustomed to being put out by these two. “Yes, yes, I heard. Will you get off me?”

Eligos reaches out and grips Belial’s shoulder. They don’t do anything. At least nothing I can see, but they seem to shrink a slight degree. The tense atmosphere in the kitchen dissipates and I can breathe again.

Eligos waves at the broken mugs. “And clean this up. It’s not fair to force others to fix your messes.”

Oriax makes a disgusted sound in the back of his throat. He flicks his fingers and—is something under his robe glowing green?

The pieces of the shattered mugs rise from the ground.

The tavern door swings open and Mistress Claridieu stands there gaping.

We all watch as piece by piece, the dozen or so mugs are put back together, right down to the fine dust between the cracks. They float to a stretch of empty tabletop and I continue to stare as if they might break out in a jig.

“There. Happy?” Oriax asks.

Eligos or Belial grunt by way of an answer.

“Very well. I’ll be leaving shortly.” Oriax glances over his shoulder at me. “Expect my letter, treat.”

Mistress Claridieu moves out of his way, and then it’s the five of us.

“Shit,” Kirra mutters and hustles over to the oven to rescue the pastries.

Belial is at her side in an instant, peering at the baking sheet with her while Mistress Claridieu takes it all in with wide eyes. I feel Eligos watching me. Unlike Oriax, who appears to have just risen, Eligos is dressed in boots, breeches, and a long coat, as if he’s ready to leave. I am acutely aware of him as he crosses the kitchen to my side.

My future is no longer my own. Like it or not, I belong to them now.

“I’m sorry we scared you,” he says in a voice for me alone.

“Better get used to it,” I mumble.

This will happen again. Maybe not this same conflict, but I imagine I will see more behavior like this between the lords if I am to work for them. I can’t imagine that I will be able to take up some out-of-the-way job. I draw in a steadying breath and steel myself to meet his gaze.

“I’m fine. Thank you for your concern, my lord.” I add a little curtsey, though it seems silly to stand on such formality.

“Not for you!” Kirra snaps, followed by a loud thwack.

My eyes go wide and I whip my head around to stare at Belial, shaking his hand and recoiling from Kirra.

She shakes her finger under Belial’s nose. “This is not your kitchen. You can’t just take what you want. You’re already stealing my best friend from me. I won’t let you take anything else.”

“Belial?” Eligos calls out.

Belial wisely retreats to join us on the other side of the island.

“I just wanted a taste,” he mutters under his breath.

I’m still gaping at him. Just a few moments ago, he was about to throw down with another Demon Lord. Now he’s pouting because a cook smacked his hand? What on earth am I getting involved with? And what was Kirra thinking?

Eligos trails his fingers down my arm and I shiver. They’re both standing so close they tower over me. There’s a tightness slowly knotting up my muscles, causing my panic to rise the longer they remain intent on me. And yet, despite their heavy-lidded gazes that speak of desire, I feel something else from them. It’s more like…

I struggle to find the word.

Comfort.

Their nearness makes it feel as though everything will be okay. Which is not at all reflective of reality. I highly doubt I will come out of this unscathed.

“We intend to leave soon,” Eligos says.

I sway slightly on my feet, and Belial places a steadying hand on my shoulder. Eligos’ fingers are still on my wrist and I’m more aware of those two places of my body than anything in my whole life. It’s as though something inside of me is reaching for them. Magic? Is this what makes me different? This ability inside of me?

It’s hard to wrestle my brain into focus.

“I’m ready,” I say in a husky tone, and it sounds as though we’re having a much different conversation.

“Good.” Eligos’ fingers drift up then down. “After you’ve said your goodbyes, the carriage will be waiting.”

The pair of them turn and exit back into the tavern.

The door swings on well-oiled hinges several times, giving us diminishing glances of the lord’s backsides.

Kirra and I both let out a breath.

Mistress Claridieu rushes forward and grips my shoulders. I don’t know if I can handle more today, but I look up at her worry-lined face.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I had no idea it would lead to this.”

Kirra circles the island to stand with us, her quiet solidarity welcomed. I’ll miss her. So much.

My anger is a weakly flickering candle, but I bear no ill-will to my mistress. I take her hands and squeeze them in mine.

“I know,” I whisper. “None of this is your fault. With any luck, they’ll bore of me quickly and I can simply come home. Though you won’t need me by then.”

“You’ll always have a place here,” Mistress Claridieu vows, and it stops my heart.

All this time I saw myself as apart from the others. She pulls me in for a tight squeeze.

I meet Kirra’s gaze finally.

“This is it, yeah?” Kirra mutters. “Time to get going? With them? After that shit show?”

I wipe at my eyes. “Yes.”

Kirra grabs a rag and mops up her face while she stares at the floor. Has she realized who they are yet?

“Better take some tea with you,” Mistress Claridieu says.

Kirra’s brow furrows. “What? You don’t think they drink tea anywhere else?”

Mistress Claridieu shakes her head. “Not like our tea, they don’t.”

Kirra rushes to the large tin sitting on the counter. She doesn’t open it, just turns and thrusts it at me. “There’s more in the storage room and I’ve been saying for ages I need a container that opens easier. Damn thing is going to stick on you, so keep something around to wedge it open. You’ll need at least two strong pots a day to deal with those two. This should be enough to get you through two months at least, maybe three, if you’re careful.”

“You know I’m not. I’m greedy.”

“Course you are,” Kirra mutters.

I glance between the two women.

“Thank you. Thank you both,” I whisper. “I haven’t told anyone. I don’t know what to say.”

“What can you say?” Mistress Claridieu whispers, earning a glare from Kirra. “Go. Go now.”
Sydney St James. Demon in My Veins (Kindle Locations 900-976). Inked Press. Kindle Edition.

From the moment Lioria leaves with the two Demon Lords she knows her world has forever changed. From the household staff to her new position as secretary there are challenges everywhere. Oriax has taken to writing her notes which she is actually enjoying. Then there’s Shax who seems to hate her but the vibes are wrong.

We meet some pretty amazing magical characters as well as some scary ones, as Lioria finds her place in this new environment.

I love the world building here, it’s subtly intertwined with the story and each new area offers challenges. Some good and some downright dangerous. There’s laughter, tears, action, frustration, and sizzling heat as we learn more about these Demon Lords and Lioria.

There is a cliffhanger ending but I was expecting it so it wasn’t too terrible, I just have to suck it up and wait for the next book!

5 Contented Purrs for Sydney!

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Demon in My Cell

Sydney St. James is the pen name of NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Sidney Bristol. The best part is that Sydney doesn’t have to choose. Welcome to a world of fantastical tales where the choices open doors.

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Bite The Bullet – Delta 6 Blackout Book 1 by Rhonda Lee Carver


Bite the Bullet
Delta 6 Blackout Book 1
By
Rhonda Lee Carver

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He put her in danger
and now he’s the only one who can save her.

Delta 6 is an elite team comprised of retired SEALs, the best-of-the-best, who have faced incredible conflicts and missions. Their motto is “Get in and get out, using all necessary force, and leave no man behind.” Working with Homeland Security, their team is the one called upon to do the impossible reconnaissance missions—and now they’re facing six big ones. Assigned to catch the six most wanted terrorists on friendly soil, each tough soldier will face brutal circumstances to bring the enemy to justice. And they’re willing to pay any price…

Enemies don’t always wear black and carry guns. Sometimes they’re beautiful doctors with raven hair and engaging blue eyes. Cason Driggs has been investigating elusive terrorist, Ghost, for six months and the first real clue he finds is a partial print that belongs to Dr. Yara Yates, an epidemiologist who is skilled in monitoring infectious diseases and bioterrorism threats. Cason decides the best way to draw a terrorist out of his hole is to dangle a juicy carrot underneath his nose. Kidnapping the lovely doctor, he plans to use her as bait, but something changes that Cason isn’t prepared for.

Yara believes the man who kidnapped her must be one of Ghost’s thugs who plans to kill her after she sent an unexpected clue to authorities. More than fearing for her own life, she must protect her family. And her heart.

A hunting cabin. A stray dog. A snake. And a bullet all lead up to a wild goose chase.

Cason is an alpha and Yara is a focused scientist. They couldn’t be more different. How will the two work together to bring down a terrorist? How will they deny, or tame, the fire that is threatening to consume them?

Cason Driggs made a decision to do something a bit out of character. He kidnaps a Dr. Yara Yates, an epidemiologist he knows is key to capturing the terrorist known as Ghost. His investigating found she’s connected with Ghost, he’s just not sure in what capacity. His goal here is to find out and put an end to Ghost’s terrorism. The problem is he’s failed to inform his team what he’s doing and why.

Yara is sure the man who’s taken her works for Ghost. She’d almost run out of time to find what Ghost wants from her, and in her concern for her family she’s sent a clue to her only outlet, The Daily Journal, a newspaper she has connection with. It’s this clue that Cason has misinterpreted.

The drive to where he plans to lure Ghost out is treacherous since the weather took a turn he didn’t expect. It was only made worse by his own errors in judgement as Yara fights back and they crash. With her unconscious he has to carry her the rest of the way to the cabin he’s prepared.

Cason doesn’t explain things to her or even question her, which doesn’t alleviate her fears in the least.

This is part of that first real conversation and a favorite scene.

“I’m going to make us a cup of coffee and I have a can of soup prepared. Can I trust you to stay put?” He raised a thick brow.

“Do you have more booby traps I need to be aware of?”

“All over the place. Consider them not only valuable in keeping you in, but also keeping others out.”

He walked over to the pan warming over the fire and she watched him pour the contents into two Styrofoam cups.

“Does this place have electric?” She traveled her attention over the rustic furnishings and oil lamps. Sitting more comfortably on the couch, she pulled her damp, clingy shirt away from her body, wishing she could take it off.

“I have two generators if we need them. I’m saving the gas for an emergency though.”

“Isn’t all this an emergency?” she asked.

He ignored her. Lifting the towel to her nose, she expected it to be musky, but instead she caught the faint scent of soap and sandalwood. She dried her hair and face, and when he brought one of the steaming cups over to her, she laid the towel aside.

“It’s not gourmet, but it’ll fill your belly.” He sat down in the overstuffed chair and stretched his legs.

Looking down into the cup, her mouth salivated, but she didn’t think she could eat.

The beast had no problem digging in.

Setting her cup on the table, she brought her knees up to her chest and hugged her legs. “I think we both have some questions.”

He settled his gaze on her above the rim of the cup. “No need to be in any hurry. Eat.”

“No. I want answers as much as you do.”

When he placed the cup next to hers, he scooted himself to the edge of the cushion and braced his elbows on his knees. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a pest?” A grittiness framed his words.

“Only those people who I don’t like.”

“The feeling’s mutual,” he groaned.

She went on without missing a beat. “The note…I sent it to the newspaper, yet you were the one who received it?”

“Not initially. It finally landed in my lap.”

“Are you a policeman? FBI?”

He eased back into the chair and crossed his arms over the broad expanse of his chest. “What I can tell you is that I’ve been tracking Ghost on and off for years and the first real solid clue was that note and partial print.”

She lowered her gaze to her clasped hands. “So you’re with the FBI then?”

“Let’s move the focus away from who I am to more importantly why you wrote the note and left your print when Ghost had been meticulous up until that point.” That tight set of his jaw returned.

Yara struggled to keep equal footing with him. “What do you know about me?”

“Enough. You grew up in California and attended a private school. You weren’t popular and didn’t play sports. However, you excelled in dance but you mysteriously stopped. After, you attended Stanford where you blossomed. A member of a dozen or more clubs, you graduated with high honors. You’re an epidemiologist who has won awards for her work in biochemical and disease control. Your father died last year from cancer. Your mother is a schoolteacher, and after a divorce from your father when you were ten, she remarried the principal of the middle school where she taught. Six months ago, you and a colleague were recognized for using genome sequencing of isolates to identify an outbreak of a new virus in a tiny, remote village in Africa.”

“Wow. You’ve really done your research.” She leaned forward, feeling a bit vulnerable that he knew so much about her and she knew so little about him.

“I also know you have to be one smart woman to be in the field that you are in, so why in the hell did you get involved with Ghost? I guess I should say how do you know the bastard who has a fascination for blowing up things and people?” His narrowed eyes drilled through her.

“You don’t know everything about me although you verbally vomited a handful of facts.” She looked at him through the veil of her lashes.

He shrugged, stretching the cotton of the shirt to capacity. “I know that there’s a picture of you and Ghost in your apartment. Hell, I could be wrong but that’s pretty damn condemning in my book.”

It took her a moment to absorb what he was suggesting. “You’re wrong.”

“Who is he to you? Lover?”

“The man you’re referring to is—was—my brother. He’s not Ghost.  Wait…you were in my apartment?” Her blood boiled.

He smirked. “I had to investigate.”

Why did she understand? She’d want to investigate too. Yet, she should be angry because he invaded her space. “You’re grasping at straws.”

“Obviously, you don’t—didn’t—know him very well. Why are we using past tense references?”

She moistened her lips. “My brother, Thomas, died in a boating accident two years ago. So, you see, it’s impossible that he could be Ghost.”

Yara could see the confusion in the beast’s expression. “That’s not possible.”

“It is possible.” she sighed. “My family and I buried him, and we have his death certificate.”

“And you saw his body?”

She shifted uneasily on the cushion. “No…his body wasn’t found.”

“Then there’s a chance he could be alive.”

“Listen, there were clues that he died. His death was investigated and ruled an accidental drowning.”

Her captor snorted. “You know how easy it is to fake a death? Have you seen Ghost? His face? Met him for yourself?”

Her chest tightened. “No, I haven’t. Not face-to-face. I only had interactions with his men.”

“Isn’t that just fitting.” He shrugged and dropped back into the chair. “But you know where he is?”

“No.”

“You must.”

“Don’t interrogate me. I told you no and I mean it.” She didn’t like where this was headed. “I’m not in cahoots with Ghost…at least not how you think.” She plucked at a loose string on her shirt.

“Then explain.”
Rhonda Lee Carver. Bite the Bullet (Kindle Locations 841-901). Kindle Edition.

As Yara explains to him exactly how she became involved with Ghost, Cason realizes he’s misjudged her but also knows she’s still key to capturing Ghost.

I was relieved when Cason and Yara finally begin trusting each other and the addition of a stray dog adds an unusual aspect to this strange relationship.

This story gets more and more convoluted with clues and people working with Ghost. It was truly satisfying to see his team show up reminding him he doesn’t have be alone in this fight. Things heat up in more ways than one as Yara and Cason work together to find the elusive Ghost.

5 Contented Purrs for Rhonda!

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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The Forever Game – Meet Cute Book Club Book 3 by A.M. Williams


The Forever Game
Meet Cute Book Club Book 3
By
A.M. Williams

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Daphne

Being born as a creative with zero athletic ability into a family of athletes means only one thing – I’m the family outcast.

The one who no matter how successful I am, will never fit in.

That’s okay. I’m happy with my life. I’ve got my friends, good books to read, and my very own tattoo studio where I get to live my own dreams.

Things are going just fine for me.

Then he shows up. The definition of tall, dark, and handsome. I don’t think I’ve ever been this wildly attracted to someone at first glance.

There are a million reasons why things between the two of us would never work out.

But, the universe keeps throwing us together and Jameson seems hell-bent on proving me wrong.

Jameson

I’m in town for one reason and one reason only: recover in the off season so I can go back next year ready to dominate on the field.

After a brutal divorce and an even worse football season, I need to recoup and get my head in the game.

What I don’t need is distractions.

That’s exactly what she is. She’s gorgeous, funny, and has curves in all the right places.

There’s just two small problems. I’m on the rebound and she’s the daughter of my mentor. Who would even want to go there?

But, somehow we keep crossing paths and there’s something tempting about breaking through all those stereotypes she has about guys like me.

Can we find a way to give in to what our hearts want and finally win the forever game?

The Forever Game is a standalone, sports romance that is part of the multi-author series, Meet Cute Book Club series. Escape with this swoon-worthy collection of romances where meet-cutes don’t only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters.

Daphne is waiting at the bar for her family to arrive for their family dinner when Jameson walks in. They’ve introduced themselves and he asks about her tattoos. When her mother shows up it’s clear everyone knows Jameson and suddenly, she feels very out of place. Nothing much to do but go along with it at least for a little while. However, when she finds out her father is his mentor, he’s a professional football player and her parents hoped they’d hit it off she was done. No fix ups for her.

Jameson knew nothing of this and tracks her down to The Ministry of Ink, her tattoo shop. He needs to explain and apologize. He’s also always wanted a tattoo but never found the right inspiration, until now.

Daphne is very attracted to him and is really trying to keep it together. Jameson had just been through a divorce and a bad season. He needs to relax and regroup.

Of course, her parents weren’t going to give up easily and they both end up at their house for another try at dinner. It’s here we get to see some really revealing things about the family dynamic. Especially between her and her sister Dakota.

This is a favorite scene.

He cleared his throat. “So dinner last night…”

He paused and glanced out the window, his brow furrowing.

I followed his gaze and just barely kept myself from groaning. Of course, my mother would come to the cafe and bring my sister with her.

“Did you tell them we were coming?” I asked Jameson, looking back at him.

He grimaced. “I mentioned we were meeting for coffee this morning.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. “That was enough. I bet my mom has either been sitting outside waiting, or one of her friends texted her we were here.”

Jameson said nothing in response because my mom sauntered up to us with a huge grin.

Dakota followed behind, glowering at me.

What else was new?

“You two look cozy,” Mom said, clasping her hands in front of her chest.

Cozy? We looked like two strangers meeting for coffee.

“He just got here,” I told her. “It’s hard to look cozy when we’re still warming up.”

Mom waved her hand in the air, like she was clearing my words from her presence.

“Nonsense. I just knew the two of you would hit it off.”

I stifled my groan as she gazed at the two of us. “We won’t keep you,” she continued. “But I wanted to drop in and say hello.”

Before either of us could say anything, she and Dakota went to the counter to order a drink and were gone in a few minutes.

Only then did I sag into my chair. “My God…” I muttered.

“Guess I should be glad this was coffee and not something fancy.”

I barked out a laugh. “You jest, but she probably would have crashed that, too.”

“What’s—“ Jameson started, but he snapped his mouth shut when Mrs. Aldrich, a retired elementary school teacher and one of my mother’s good friends, stopped by our table.

“You two make a fine couple,” she said, grinning at the two of us. “Tall, dark, and handsome, with fair and beautiful.”

I wanted to tell her she missed squat as my descriptor, but I didn’t want her to stick around longer than necessary.

“I’m so glad to see you dating,” she said, directing her gaze at me.

I pressed my lips together to keep myself from saying something rude and nodded.

With one last grin, she left the cafe.

Jameson cleared his throat. “I was going to ask you what the deal was with your sister,” he said. “But now I want to know what the deal was with her comment.”

He jerked his head toward where Mrs. Aldrich had disappeared outside the cafe.

“Nothing much to tell,” I hedged, not wanting to get into my dating history and how horrendous it had been. I also didn’t want to talk about my sister and hoped he’d take the hint.

I wasn’t so lucky.

“And Dakota?”

I was saved from thinking of a response by another person, this time my parents’ neighbor Mr. Creech.

“I thought that was you, Daphne,” he said, grinning at me. “But I forgot my glasses at home and my eyes aren’t what they used to be.”

I smiled at him with affection. Growing up, he’d helped foster my love of art and drawing. He also helped me get into the art program at Abbott Ridge College.

“Yep, it’s me.”

He nodded, flicking his gaze to Jameson, then back to me. “Who is this young man? Your beau?”

My face heated at his words, and I quickly tried to correct him. “No! I mean,” I cleared my throat, “no. We’re friends and we met for coffee this morning.”

Mr. Creech grinned at me and winked. “Sure, that’s what I said when I met my wife, you know. And look how that turned out?”

My mouth dried at his words. “Oh, it’s not—”

“I hope to see you next time you stop by your parents’. I have some stuff I think you might like.”

He nodded to Jameson, then shuffled out of the cafe. Thankfully, since he forgot his glasses, he didn’t walk to a car and get in the driver’s seat. He walked away from the parking area.

“Sure were quick to deny that I was your beau,” Jameson teased, chuckling.

I glared at him, wishing I could shoot lasers from my eyes as he continued to laugh while sipping his coffee.

“This isn’t funny.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he drawled. “This is pretty hilarious to me.”

I stuck my tongue out at him for lack of anything better to do, and he threw his head back and laughed.

The joy on his face as he did so cracked something in the wall I’d built around my heart and made me question if being so adamant about us not being something was the right thing.
A.M. Williams. The Forever Game (Kindle Locations 588-627).

There’s so much attraction between these two it jumps off the pages. However, nothing this intense is going to go smoothly. Both Jameson and Daphne both have some issues. Jameson with his ex and Daphne with her family.

I really loved this book, there’s laughter, tears, fun, intrigue and some sizzle too.

5 Contented Purrs for A.M.

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Coming Soon!

A.M. Williams is just a simple girl from the south that found herself living in Germany for six years, and now in Florida. When she’s not annoying her cat or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and planning trips to the beach, which is now only an hour away. She’s a total beach bum and would spend every day there if she could. She loves Cheerwine, sweet tea, and North Carolina (eastern style) BBQ as well as crisp, German white wine at any time of day.

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About The Meet Cute Book Club Series

Escape with the Meet Cute Book Club where meet-cutes don’t only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters.

Eight single women bound by their love of books take a monthly break from real life to lose themselves in the chapters of romantic fiction. From friends to lovers to fake relationships and more, each story features a brand new couple and their journey to find love from an amazing lineup of authors including Louise Lennox, Tracy Broemmer, A.M. Williams, Mel Walker, RJ Gray, Rebecca Wilder, Julie Archer, and Kate Stacy.

These eight standalone romances are packed with meet-cutes, heat, and of course a happily ever after!

This promotional event is brought to you by The Indie Pen PR

Carson’s Choice – Heroes for Hire Book 28 by Dale Mayer


Carson’s Choice
Heroes for Hire Book 28
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Carson is pleasantly surprised by the job Levi assigns him, until Carson hears all the details. An elderly friend of Ice’s believes someone is out to kill her. But she has no proof, no suspects, no motives. The police think she’s imagining things and won’t look into the case any further. However, after meeting this lady … and her granddaughter, Carson has his own suspicions.

Eva doesn’t want Carson in the house. She doesn’t want anyone in the house, if she were honest. As an artist, she loves her space, her freedom, and especially her privacy. This man is a distraction and soon could become so much more—her muse. And that is dangerous on various levels.

But, if his presence saves her grandmother, then Eva will do anything to keep her safe even put up with the man that makes her feel things she had never expected.

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Like all the others before him, Carson is skeptical over the matchmaking that seems to happen, especially when Levi tells him he’s next. After all who is he going to fall for looking a threat to an elderly friend of Ice’s. He only has a week to figure this out and it’s going to be more difficult than he imagines.

Eva wants no one in her space at all. She’s an artist with her first show coming up and doesn’t want or need distractions. She does want her grandmother safe so she’s going to have to make some concessions.

Eva’s the one who answers the door when Carson arrives. She’s less than welcoming, in fact she’s downright rude. She doesn’t want anyone in her space especially not her studio. Although she does realize her grandmother’s safety is of the utmost importance.

This is a favorite scene.

There was only the one way up, so taking those stairs back down, he spied a door on one of the landings, built into the paneling. The job was so well done that most people wouldn’t know it was even here. He popped it open and stepped through, realizing that he’d come out on a landing that connected both staircases.

Now he made his way upstairs to the other section of the second floor, over the main part of the house. As he went down the hallway, he found yet another hidden door as well. Behind it were stairs going up to the third floor.

Shaking his head, he quickly went through the main portion of the second floor, finding guest bedrooms and what appeared to be Aida’s master bedroom.

He did a quick search, checking the windows and the doors and the overall security, then making sure that the room measurements actually lined up with the original blueprints in a way that made sense.

By the time he made his way to the third floor, he’d entered a completely different space— open and airy— and he knew that on this floor would be Eva’s studio. As he stepped forward, a door opened, and there she was, glaring at him.

He smiled gently and reminded her, “I’m only here to help.”

Her shoulders sagged, and she nodded. “Then you might as well come in, but, after you’ve seen it, I don’t want you back in here ever again.”

“If I don’t have to, I won’t,” he replied. As he stepped inside, his gaze was immediately drawn to several easels, but they were all covered up.

He nodded to himself, thinking about how private she must want to keep everything. Whether that was because of the show or because of a lack of confidence, he didn’t know. He quickly wandered through, inspecting all the windows, checking the locks and latches, and looking down from here. This floor was at least thirty or forty feet off the ground. He saw no ivy, no latticework. Basically no way to get up quietly. It would take a very large ladder to scale this height. Or a helicopter, which he dismissed due to the noise it would make.

As he worked his way through this suite, he checked out a bathroom and then found a connecting door, which must lead to her bedroom on the other side. “Do you use this entire top floor?”

She nodded, grudgingly. “A lounge is on the other side.”

“Your bedroom, correct?” She nodded. “I don’t have to check it right now. It can be put off to later. Is anybody else up here ever?”

“No, this is my home.”

He stopped, looked at her, and added, “I know you don’t want to answer this, but I need to know. Have you ever had a boyfriend or fiancé or anybody who’s been up here?”

“I do— or did, I should say. So of course he’s been here,” she snapped.

“Did he stay the night?”

“No, I respect my grandmother too much for that.”

He nodded. “But he did have access.”

“Well, yes, in the sense that I was here and that he would come up sometimes to see me.”

He nodded. “And does he have a key to the house?”

“No, he does not.” She stared at him.

And again he just nodded.

“Do most people hand out access to their homes?” she asked, puzzled.

“Mostly, no,” he replied, “but, in some cases— like for a fiancé— then sure. Some people also do it for convenience, so, if they’re away, and the plumber needs access, a family member or neighbor could let him in. You know? That sort of thing.”

She chewed on her bottom lip and shook her head. “I’ve never given anyone a key. To me, although it’s my home, it is still my grandmother’s house, so I would never take such a liberty.”

“Good for now. The fewer keys we must track down, the better.”

“Good luck with that.” Her gaze narrowed. “I know some keys went missing a while back.”

“What’s a while back? Like how long ago? Do you have any idea where they went?”

“No, I don’t know anything else about it.” She frowned. You must ask Grandma or Flora.”

“We’ll take a look at that,” he noted, “or else we’ll just get the locks changed.”

She winced at that. “You have no idea what you’re saying. Some of these locks are very, very old.”

“I’m sure they are,” he agreed calmly, “but we don’t want to give anybody easy access to you or your home.”

“I think if it were that easy,” she replied, “they would have already come in.”

“How do you know they haven’t?” he shot back.

She stared at him. He watched as fear remained on her expressive features.She added, “This house is so big, I wouldn’t know. One time a cleaning person was working here, and I had no idea she was even here, and she’d been around for about six days. So, when I crossed paths with her in the kitchen about midnight, I was pretty freaked out about it. That’s when we stopped having cleaning staff stay overnight.”

“I can see that happening,” Carson replied. “You have a ton of space here. And, even for the person working here, it would have taken them weeks to get a real feel of the layout.”

“Exactly. This happened years ago, when I was still dealing with the loss of my parents. So I didn’t handle it very well. It was like the boogeyman jumped up and surprised me.”

“That’s understandable,” he murmured, then turned and walked back to her door. With a final look around, he said, “Thank you for your time. I’ll leave you to work,” and he stepped out. Just then came a gong. When he looked back in at her, she smiled.

“That’s the dinner bell.”

“Oh, I guess that means I’ll see you downstairs then.”

At that, her phone buzzed. She groaned as she looked down.

“Problems?”

“No, I just asked Flora to text me whenever dinner was ready.”

“You need a text after that gong?”

“Sometimes, yes,” she murmured, “but I actually wanted the text in advance of the gong.” She smirked. “So I’d be ready, but I guess I should be happy I got a text at all.”

“How do you get on with Flora?”

“I guess that’s another part of your job, isn’t it?” she asked. “Do you really like to snoop into people’s lives?”

“Nope, I sure don’t,” he admitted, “but I really like saving them.”

At that, she shut up.
Dale Mayer. Carson’s Choice (Kindle Locations 404-458) Valley Publishing Ltd..

So many secrets these folks are keeping. I really gave Carson kudos for his patience with both Eva and Aida. The one thing he does set up quickly is getting equipment to search for devices and then planning out a new security system.

Stone and Flynn both come to assist, and even more things start coming to a head. They’re the ones to notice the attraction between Carson and Eva. I really got a kick out of the reactions.

Plenty of suspense and intrigue as this book heats up.

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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