Frost – Frost and Nectar Book 1 by C.N. Crawford


Frost
Frost and Nectar Book 1
By
C.N. Crawford

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

On the worst birthday of my life, I come home to find my boyfriend in bed with another woman. Within hours, I’m drunk, homeless, and pledging to stay single forever. And that is when the dangerously sexy Seelie King rolls through town, looking for fae like me.

Every generation, the king holds a competition for Seelie queen. But for reasons he won’t explain, Torin is looking for a charade, not a real marriage. So when I drunkenly sling insults his way, I have his attention.

When Torin offers me fifty million to participate, I think, “What have I got to lose?” The answer turns out to be “my life,” because my competition will literally kill for the crown.

And the more time I spend with the seductive king, the harder it becomes to remember it’s all supposed to be fake. Now, my life—and my heart—are one the line.

Ava is a fairy who is living in the human world. On her birthday, she discovers her boyfriend in their bed with another woman. After throwing the dinner she brought home to celebrate at them she leaves with only her gym bag as she sees her dreams crumble before her.She heads to a local bar and calls her best friend Shalini to commiserate with her. Ava has a goal this night, to get drunk and forget her horrible day. She just doesn’t expect to have a confrontation with King Torin.

This confrontation goes viral, and King Torin has this crazy idea. He’s going to invite her to participate in the Tournament for fae women looking to qualify to be his queen. With a catch of course.

This is a favorite scene.

I sighed. “Okay. So, you want me to be your wife so your kingdom can drain my magic? Don’t be offended, but I’m going to pass on this offer. Why don’t you ask one of the many fae women who actually want to do this? There are plenty of them clamoring for the chance.”

“I don’t want you to be my wife, either,” said King Torin. “That’s the whole plan. That’s why you’re so perfect.”

I blinked. “Sorry, what?”

“You’ll just need to marry me for a few months. Not for very long. And you wouldn’t need to consummate anything. Just sit on the queen’s throne and channel your power. Replenish Faerie’s magic. Help me save the kingdom. Once things are back to normal, we’ll get divorced. And you can go back to”—he surveyed the small living room—“this place. And it can all be over without any messy emotions getting in the way because we don’t like each other. At all.”

He paused, crossing his arms over his chest like he’d just delivered the deal of a lifetime.

I stared at the king. “Why would I do this? You want me to become your wife, then divorce you a few months later. Can you imagine the impact that would have on my life? I hate being the center of attention, and I’d be all over the news as ‘a gold-digger common fae.’ Just that ten minutes outside was one of the worst experiences of my life. And after I left Faerie? I’d be all over the tabloids. I don’t need this. I have a mess of my own here I need to sort out, Torin. I need to find a way to get my own place. Normal things like rent that you probably don’t even know about. Can’t you just find someone you actually love?”

For a moment, I thought I saw him wince. Then his expression became unreadable again. “I was planning on paying you handsomely for your role. Thirty million dollars to cover your time and any potential future issues. You’d be set up for life. You can choose to stay in Faerie, with the understanding that it will not be a real marriage. I should probably add that there is a good chance you could die during the tournaments.”

I froze, my eyes widening. “Thirty…sorry I thought you said…did you say thirty million?” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, it occurred to me that I was a terrible negotiator. If he was willing to throw thirty million at me, how high could I get him to go?

I rested my hand on my hip. “I won’t have my good name dragged through the mud. And you did mention that I could die.”

He snorted. “Your good name? Your meltdown is all over mortal social media. How could it possibly be any worse?”

I closed my eyes, trying not to imagine what the memes were like. Shivers of horror crawled over my body at the thought of everyone sharing the video. Sounds of me slurring about Chad from Hitched and Stitched trending on TikTok…

It almost made the idea of running away to Faerie sound appealing.

“Fifty million,” I said.

“Fine. Fifty million—if you win. I will do my best to keep you alive.”

“How dangerous are we talking, exactly?”

“The tournaments always end in a fencing match, and it has been known to get bloody. But I will help you train.”

I let out a long, slow breath. “Besides bartending, fencing is the one thing I’m actually good at.” I bit my lip. “But what are the chances I’ll win?”

“Assuming you survive, almost certain, since I’m the one who chooses the bride. We just need to make sure it seems believable that I’d choose you, which won’t exactly be easy after…”

“The drunken meltdown, yes.”

“You must avoid making another public spectacle of yourself in Faerie. My cursory research tells me that until last night, I didn’t see any other evidence of public disgrace or scandal. Do you think you can conduct yourself with a modicum of decorum? I’m not expecting much, but my marriage to you has to be at least somewhat believable. And the idea of marrying a low-born common fae with a slovenly appearance and a drinking problem already stretches the bounds of credulity.”

His insults were sliding right off me now because…fifty million? I could probably buy my own privacy. I could buy people to compliment me. I could get takeout curry every night. It was a dizzying amount of money; I almost couldn’t comprehend what I’d do with it.

I opened my eyes again to find that King Torin had fallen silent and was staring at me. An icy fire danced in his eyes. I sensed that he was studying me. Not in a sexual way, but rather that he was finally taking me in as a person. Assessing my running outfit. The dark circles under my eyes. The rat’s nest of my hair. Assessing weaknesses.

“Who are your parents?” he said at last.

“My mother’s name was Chloe Jones.”

“Not her.” He leaned closer. “Who was your biological mother? Your true family?”

A heavy weariness pressed down on me, and I wanted to flop onto the sofa again. A buried memory from my childhood clawed at the hollow recesses of my mind: me, standing before the portal, clutching a Mickey Mouse backpack, sobbing uncontrollably because they wouldn’t let me in.

“I honestly have no idea. I tried to go back into Faerie one day, but they wouldn’t allow me.”

He cocked his head. “Why were you trying to get in? Did the human woman mistreat you?”

I felt instantly defensive at his question, and also annoyed he referred to her as the human woman. “No. My mother was amazing. But the kids at school thought I was a freak with weird ears and ridiculous blue hair, and they weren’t kind. They tied me to a fence post once, like a dog leashed outside a café. I just wanted to see other people like me.”

A dark look slid across his eyes. “Well, now you will. If you agree to my proposal, I will help you find your fae family.”

“I’m sure they’re dead. Why would they let me get kicked out if they weren’t?”

But my mind was already made up. Because what kind of moron would turn down fifty million dollars?

Especially someone homeless and unemployable, which was my current situation. With fifty million dollars, I could open an entire chain of bars—if I even decided to work again.

And the truth was, even if they were dead, I was desperate to know more about my birth parents. What exactly had happened to them? Fae almost always lived longer than humans. What were the chances they’d both died young?

I took a deep breath. “All right, I’m in. But we should sign some kind of contract.”

He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a form. I watched as he held it against the wall and crossed a few things out, then signed his name in an elegant calligraphy at the bottom.

He handed me the form, and I scanned it.

Generally, when given paperwork, my eyes just sort of glaze over, and the words seem to blur. Then I assume everything is fine, and I scribble my signature. But this was too important to half-ass, so I forced myself to focus. He’d added in the amount I’d be paid and initialed next to it. There was a clause about secrecy, and a stipulation that I’d forfeit the money if I told any other fae about my role. And if I lost the tournament, I got nothing.

I licked my lips, realizing there might be no point to a contract with the most powerful person in the world. “Who, exactly, would enforce this?”

Surprise flickered over his features. “If a fae king breaks a contract, he will grow sick and die. I can’t break it. Only you can.”

“Right. Okay. I guess that’s binding, then.” I signed it, then handed it over to him.

“Are you ready?” he asked. “It starts soon.”

Now? I haven’t even showered.”

He scrubbed a hand over his jaw. “Unfortunately, there is no time. But we’ll try to make you presentable in Faerie.”

“I volunteer as tribute!” Shalini stood in the doorway of her bedroom wearing a hot pink bathrobe. “Take me to Faerie. I’ll be a contestant.”

Torin exhaled sharply. “You’re not fae. And Ava has already agreed.”

“Don’t some of the women have advisors?” asked Shalini. “Someone as counsel? In Ava’s case, someone to stop her from any more outrageous drunken episodes?”

I should have asked about an advisor, but I was so caught off guard, I stammered, “Shalini, what are you doing?”

“Helping you.” She beamed. “I’m not letting you go alone. Who knows what these people are like in their own realm? I heard him say it’s dangerous.”

Torin shrugged. “So is your world.”

Of course—Shalini was desperate for adventure.

Torin turned, already heading for the door. “I don’t really have time to argue about this, but maybe it’s not the worst idea. You may need emotional support to keep you from falling off the rails and someone to help negotiate any duels. Let’s go. Now.”
Crawford, C.N. . Frost (Frost and Nectar Book 1). Kindle Locations (585-651). Kindle Edition.

Ava and Shalini head to the fae realm with Torin with little time to spare before the meet and greet ball. As impressed as Ava is with the castle, she also somehow feels unwelcome. A feeling she pushes away often.

The competition is fierce and sadistic as well. There is no love lost between those who would be queen. Torin needs her to win, he can’t marry anyone he may fall in love with, and Ava fills that requirement.

I love this tale, it has lots of twists, and many surprises as well as more than one romance.

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

5 Contented Purrs for C.N.!

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

C.N. Crawford is not one person but two. We write our novels collaboratively, passing our laptops back and forth to edit each other’s words.

Christine is from Lexington, Massachusetts and has has a lifelong interest in New England folklore–with a particular fondness for creepy old cemeteries and execution histories. Nick spent his childhood reading fantasy and science fiction during Vermont’s long winters, which have rendered him impervious to the cold.

newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Spelling the Tea – Vampire Tea Room Magical Mystery Book 1 by Erin Johnson


Spelling the Tea
Vampire Tea Room Magical Mystery Book 1
By
Erin Johnson

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

You’re supposed to support your guy, right? Even if it means moving away from the watery source of your witchy magic and suffering through five years of writer’s block?

Minnie Wells thought so, until her soon-to-be-ex left her high and dry for another woman.

Now, she’s back in Bath, with the magic of the town’s enchanted springs flowing through her veins, ready to explore her newbie witch powers and pen her novel. Bath inspired her favorite writer Jane Austen, after all. Why wouldn’t it work for her?

Only catch is, once the divorce is final, Minnie will be deported back to the US (and she’ll lose her powers all over again) unless she can convince the haughty (and handsome) vampire owner of a struggling tea room to hire her.

As if her cup didn’t already runneth over with trouble, an employee drops dead during her interview. Now Minnie’s got to solve the murder to clear the cafe’s name, while figuring out a way to bring in more customers.

With the help of her vampire roommate and black cat familiar, she’s hot on the killer’s trail. But when the murderer sets Minnie in their sights, she’ll have to tap into her own inner strength (and magic) to save herself, and bring the killer to justice.

Will Minnie solve the murder and save the vampire’s tea room? Or will she find herself in hot water with the killer?

I’ve been loving some witchy magic, so here’s more. Minnie has moved back to Bath after her soon to be ex-husband left her for another woman. Bath is the one place she’s in touch with her magic although she’s not proficient. She was raised in Arizona, not much water there, but when she came to Bath for University, she made that discovery after drinking some of the enchanted spring’s water.

She’s got an interview at the Bath Butler Cafe, and she really needs the job. Without a job she can be deported as soon as her divorce is finalized and if she leaves Bath she will also lose the connection to her powers.

She sort of eavesdrops on a conversation between two guys in the alley shortcut she was taking. She also meets a black cat just before she gets to the front of the shop, giving it pets for luck.

She would be meeting her best friend Gus who would introduce her to Fitz the owner of the tea shop. Fitz is a vampire as is Gus and he’s set in his ways from two hundred years ago. The decor of the tea shop reflects that time period and since it was also Jane Austin’s time Minnie found it delightful. She did think it was a bit stuffy and could use some changes to make it a warmer environment.

Unfortunately, the Butler she saw arguing in the alley dies after escorting her to the restroom and the police declare it a murder. Apparently his EpiPens had been emptied and then made to look unused.

That night after all the interviews, Minnie joins Gus in the living room to discuss everything that’s happening and to introduce him to her new pet, possible familiar Tilda.

This is a favorite scene.

I counted it as one of those lucky strokes of fate that I’d happened to make friends with Gustaf. He’d been a fellow student at the time (pretending to be twenty-two). After drinking the Roman spa waters, I’d confessed to him my new ability to move objects with my mind and boil water—okay, ability might be pushing it. “Strange occurrences that happened when I was either exceedingly happy or upset” was more accurate.

He’d reacted with amusement and understanding instead of thinking I was a basket case like I’d expected. He confessed that he was actually a very old vampire—I didn’t know how old, as he claimed it was impolite to ask—and was the first person to call me a witch.

I’d been slightly offended at the time but took pride in the word now. He’d helped connect me with some local witches he knew, who told me that I probably had ancestors from the Bath region. They’d explained that when I was near the enchanted hot springs, I had magic. But move away, and I’d lose my powers.

In retrospect, I think Gustaf and I had been drawn to each other by the magic that connected us. Aside from my cheating ex, Gustaf was the only friend I’d confessed my secret to.

I groaned. And if I got deported, I’d lose my connection to that magic!

“I wish I was a better witch.” Learning to use my powers had been put on the backburner while I’d moved away from Bath to Desmond’s hometown. “If I was, I bet I could figure out a way to stay.” A lump formed in my throat. “I just got back here, Gus. I finally have a chance to figure out what I want instead of just going along with Desmond’s plans, to write and to learn to use my magic and explore this whole other part of me that I had to hide for so long.”

Gus reached over and squeezed my shoulder, his lips pressed together in sympathy. “I’m very sorry, Minnie. I tried to get Fitz to hire you. He’s quite stubborn.” He sighed. “Plus, the cafe’s not doing so well.”

I frowned. “Yeah, I overheard that. I thought all vampires were rich. Couldn’t he just float the shop?”

“That’s racist. Not all vampires are rich.” He looked at his nails. “I mean, most of us are.” He grinned, revealing his pointed canines. “Fitz, I believe, is cash poor—he owns a massive estate outside of town, and it takes a pretty penny to keep it running.” He shrugged. “I think he’s pretty fully invested in this tea shop venture of his.”

I lifted a hopeful brow. “Couldn’t you give him a loan?”

Gus snorted. “I could, but Fitz is too proud. Besides, I’m afraid I’d only be enabling him at this point. He can’t cope with modern life—he wants to cocoon himself in the ways and manners of the Regency. But I’m not sure clinging to the past is good for him. Plus, with a murder? This isn’t the kind of attention a vampire wants to attract.”

I nodded, gently stroking Tilda’s head. Even if Fitz had agreed to hire me on, it wouldn’t make a difference if the cafe closed. I frowned. Unless hiring me saved the cafe….

Tilda licked my thumb, as though encouraging me to follow the interesting line of thought that had popped into my head.

I looked up. “Gus… what if I was just as stubborn as Fitz?”

He raised a brow. “If?”

I shot him a flat look. “I mean… what if I didn’t take no for an answer? He doesn’t have to hire me for me to spend time in the cafe. I could go in as a customer who just happens to spend an inordinate amount of time there. I could chat with the butlers, ask them what they think should happen to bring in more customers and save the tearoom. Plus, I could probably pick up some good clues about the murder and maybe help clear the cafe’s name by figuring out who killed Brock.”

My friend stared at the swirling, viscous red liquid in his glass. “It’d help clear Fitz’s name with the Council, as well.”

I wasn’t sure who this mysterious Council was, but Gus was typically tight-lipped about vampire affairs, so I didn’t pry. I just nodded my agreement.

“Totally. I could make myself useful until Fitz has no choice but to see how essential I am.” I waggled my brows. “Get it? Because I need that essential worker visa?”

Gus pressed his eyes shut as though my terrible joke literally pained him. “Yes. I get it.”

I sat up straighter. “Well? What do you think? I’ll figure out a way to save the cafe and maybe just solve a murder while I’m at it. Fitz will be so impressed, he’ll hire me on full-time. I’ll get a job, stay here in Bath with my witchy magic, and Fitz can keep his cafe! Win-win!” I beamed.

Gus rubbed his eyes. “Minnie? Remember that foolish optimism of yours we were just discussing? I know you have marketing skills, but you have to change the mind of a vampire who’s had two hundred years to get stuck in his ways. Plus, you’re no detective. You really think just hanging around the tea shop you’ll glean enough to solve the murder?”

“Hear me out.” I raised my brows. “Someone who was in the cafe this morning has to have killed Brock. How else would they have triggered his allergy?”

Gus pressed his lips together and acknowledged my point with a nod.

I waved my hands, and Tilda batted at them. I immediately returned to petting her, and she purred, appeased. “Did you notice that mousy gal by the window? She seemed really jealous of all the flirting that blond lady—”

“The mousy one is Grace, and the blond is Collette.”

“What?”

Gus rolled a wrist. “I overheard them speaking with the detectives.”

My eyes widened. “From downstairs?”

He tapped his ear. “Vampire hearing, my dear.”

Oh. Right. “Did you overhear anything good?”

“Like did one of them confess? No. It was boring, and I mostly tuned out.”

I lifted a brow. “Hey—why didn’t you or Fitz hear Brock wheezing and choking?”

“We were in the middle of a rather heated discussion. I was trying to convince him to stop being such a prat and hire you.” He shrugged. “We were distracted.”

I shot him a grateful smile, then went on. “Grace seemed jealous of Collette and Brock’s flirting. And they were pretty shameless in front of Collette’s husband.”

“Jay.”

I grinned. “Jay might have been angry about that… though he did seem rather oblivious. Oh! And I overhead Brock arguing with a teammate in the alley. He mentioned a crazy ex-girlfriend who’d broken into his flat.”

Gus raised his brows. “That’s interesting.”

I nodded. “Plus, there were all the other butlers. Maybe there’s some rivalries there.”

My friend chuckled. “Alright, Minnie—fine. It’s not the worst plan I’ve ever heard.”

I grinned. “I’m desperate, Gus. What have I got to lose?”

He nodded, then his eyes drifted down to Tilda in my lap.

I held her under the armpits and hefted her up to face Gustaf. “I forgot to mention—this is my pet cat now.” I quirked my lips to the side. “You’re not allergic, are you?” Did vampires have allergies? “Tilda meet Gustaf. Gustaf, this is Tilda.”

Gus stared down at the cat, who stared right back at him. All of sudden, she scrambled to get loose and jumped down onto the Persian rug, arched her back, and hissed at Gus. Gus bared his teeth and hissed right back.

I rolled my eyes. “Oh, grow up.”

He jabbed a finger at Tilda. “She started it!” He winked at me. “Besides, we’re just figuring each other out.

That should clear the tension.”

And sure enough, Tilda sprang back onto the chaise, delicately sniffed Gus’s thigh, and curled up in my lap again.

I shook my head. “I don’t understand vampires… or cats.”

Gustaf winked. “You don’t have to, darling.”
Johnson, Erin. Spelling the Tea: A Magical Tea Room Mystery (The Magical Tea Room Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Locations (523-583). Kindle Edition.

In order to save the tea shop and Fitz’s reputation, Minnie is going to be just as stubborn as he is. She’s going to solve this murder. Then with her marketing skills and knowledge of the era make the tea shop the most popular in Bath.

As Minnie works through the suspects, she also makes some connections from Brock’s past that may or may not have something to do with his murder.

Plenty of suspense, intrigue, and twists as this tale unfolds. There are even hints of romance, the question is with who.

I am already ready the next book in this fun series.

5 Contented Purrs for Erin!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Erin Johnson

A native of Arizona, Erin loves her new home in the Pacific Northwest! She writes paranormal cozy novels– stories that are mysterious, magical, and will hopefully make you laugh.

When not writing, she’s hiking, napping with her dogs, and losing at trivia night.

Erin’s had a ton of different jobs, from blackjack dealer to PA on a horror movie to Pilates instructor but has finally embraced her true calling as a writer. Thanks so much for your interest and for supporting her!

newsletter - for blog

Website | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Fairy Wives of Windsor – Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 4 by Trixie Silvertale


Fairy Wives of Windsor
Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Trixie Silvertale

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

A jolly Faire.
A shocking murder.
Can this furtive fairy outsmart the killer?

Coriander the Conjurer is trapped in a cursed Renaissance Faire, and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. But this fairy fortune teller veers off course when a corpse turns up in her storage wagon. While her bestie rots in jail for a crime she didn’t commit, the actual murderer walks free…

When a stolen unicorn horn leads her investigation into the protected realm of the Fae, Coriander must make promises that might prove too big to keep. She’ll need the help of a wily vampire, a brilliant blacksmith, and her meddling toad familiar to uncover the real killer. As her helpers disappear one by one, the case spirals out of control.

Can timid Coriander face the terrifying truth, or will her snooping seal a fate worse than death?

We’re back at the Faire for a new trio of books. This first one is about Coriander, she’s a fairy who had been abused by human parents and when she ate the magic candy that trapped her within the realm of Elbion her wings sprouted. Delicate and iridescent they are unfortunately lopsided having been forced by magic. The fairy Queen, Magnolia wanted nothing to do with a family with no lineage and unbalanced wings. She does allow Coriander an allotment of fairy dust, which now has shown up places it doesn’t belong. Coriander’s contribution to the faire is fortunetelling with her trusty toad familiar, Thornton aka Thorny. She also has a thing for the mer prince, Hadal. Her best friend and roommate Fraxi, is a nymph who phase shifts (like teleporting) and she will play an important part in this book.

This Renaissance Faire located in Texas is the largest and in her opinion the best. She even has an old gypsy wagon in which to store her supplies. She’s running just a bit late to set up and that’s when things shift radically. When she opens the wagon a body falls out…and she telepathically calls for Fraxi to help. She’s able to identify the body of Windsor an honored member of the Fairy Court.

Of course, this is the moment their lazy sheriff and his two VLTs (Very Large Trolls) start to stroll by. Instead, he instantly calls for the arrest of Fraxi, who had the unfortunate timing of turning Windsor’s head at that moment to verify his identity. So now she’s being dragged off to prison by the VLTs, with Coriander promising to help her. First, she has to do her morning appointments. Afterwards she goes to see Hadal, but he’s in a deep discussion with the mer elders. It’s Isaac the blacksmith who asks her about the body and accompanies her to the scene of the crime as he details Windsor’s true identity. They need to get the body to the vampire Vern’s dungeon to be autopsied.

As Coriander begins her investigation, she notes that there’s no blood in the wagon, and she spots a piece of unicorn horn stained with blood near the doorframe. Vern would be able to tell if it was the murder weapon. The most troubling thing is that unicorns are a protected species, and no one should have been able to procure a horn. Which technically means someone murdered a unicorn to kill Windsor.

This is a favorite scene.

I must have dozed. When I opened my eyes, darkness had descended. A fairy fingernail of moon hung low in the sky. I’d initially found the term offensive—and then endearing.  Thornton slept soundly in his habitat. I’d disappointed him one too many times today. I would handle this meeting with the unicorns on my own. Seemed like every time I relied on other creatures for help, I got myself—or them—into more trouble.

Outside the trailer, the air pressed against my skin—damp and heavy. I longed for a light rain to cool the earth. The heat of the day still lingered beneath a thick layer of fast-moving clouds. 

Seemed like perfect flying weather. I took to the skies and headed toward the paddocks.

A few voices echoed up from the tavern as I passed over, but the rest of the grounds were deserted. Most of the Rennies visited the humans’ campground at night and enjoyed the wild abandon of the fully committed guests. I didn’t want to know exactly what happened, but Fraxi had experienced nights away from the trailer, and the shared tidbits of her stories were enough to satisfy my curiosity.

Touching down outside the stables, I quietly entered. Stables always smelled of hay, feed, and, of course, manure. Nevertheless, the stable boys were conscientious and fastidious. They never allowed waste to pile up, and they proudly kept a clean and tidy area. It would never do for one of our illustrious knights to step in a pile of road apples.

Luckily Bartholomew, the horsemaster, had fallen asleep during his night watch. This would be easier than I’d hoped.

Despite my fairy gifts, I made it no more than a step before the sharp tip of a unicorn horn pressed against my chest.

“There shall be no business after dark. If thou value your life, back up.”

“Nefertiti, it’s me. It’s Coriander of the Fae. I’m not here to harm anyone. I’m here to help.”

The grand mare stepped back, and the sadness in her eyes nearly broke my heart. “Coriander! Thou art the only creature who hath offered aid. Ne’er-do-wells murdered my grandson, Amenhotep. Taken before his time. His beautiful horn spirited away! Forsooth, I hear ’twas used in a murder most foul.”

I dropped to one knee and bowed to the magnificent creature. “I’m sorry for your loss. And I’m furious that something so heinous happened within the realm of Elbion. I thought no one knew you were hiding here?”

She tossed her long white mane and pawed at the ground. “Hundreds of years have passed within this cursed Faire. There are no more secrets, sweet fairy. We may hide from yon casual observers or the simple humans, but rumors took the form of reality a century past.”

I wanted to tell her I knew who had taken the life of her precious grandstallion, but I’d already started one potential war today. No need to start another. “I intend to solve both murders, Your Magnificence.”

“Thou art a trusted friend and ally of the unicorns. How can we assist thee?”

“Thank you. I’m trying to find out who purchased—I’m so sorry to say it—the unicorn horn on the black market.”

Her majestic head fell forward, and the tip of her unicorn horn nearly touched my head where I knelt. “Arise, sweet fairy. I slept not at the stables on the night in question. On that night, Queen Magnolia did invite me unto her feast. At the moment the dear stallion was taken, I foolishly enjoyed the food of the Fae. I shall never forgive myself. If I had but been here, perhaps my wisdom and power might have saved him.”

As I slowly rose to my feet, I offered the only condolences I could. “You can’t blame yourself. Nothing can stop a wicked deed, done by wicked creatures. Neither you nor your grandson are at fault.” I had to get this interview back on track. “Were you acquainted with Windsor?”

She shook her head angrily. “Not in the least. Nor would I have been so inclined. He and his fairy mistress often sullied our stables with their secret trysts.”

“He brought Dandelion here?”

The beautiful unicorn stepped back, and her velvety lips hung open in shock. “Dandelion? I know no such fairy by that name. That man always brought a pompous noble. Mine eyes beheld her at the fairy feasts, but the name escapes my recollection.”

“Hyacinth?”

The grand mare pawed at the ground. “Indeed. Hyacinth. Too good for her own skin, if you asketh me. Now, who might this Dandelion be?”

“Apparently, Windsor also married a fairy from the wrong side of the creek.”

The powerful creature blinked her large silver-blue eyes in my direction. “Oh. Troublesome. Perhaps the lowborn fairy hath taken revenge. She would certainly know the type of scoundrels who could obtain—”

I reached my hand out to offer comfort, but couldn’t remember the protocol for petting a unicorn. 

She nuzzled my hand with her nose, and I stroked it gently. “You don’t have to say it. We all know what happened. I hadn’t thought of that angle. I have someone inside the fairy realm right now. I’ll look into it. Again, my deepest sympathy for your loss. I will find whoever is responsible for this travesty.”

A large glistening tear rolled down her nose and touched my fingers. The strangest sensation passed over me. For a moment, I saw her grandson, with his glorious unicorn horn, galloping through a flower-filled meadow.

“What a magnificent stallion.”

She pulled back and gazed at my tear-stained fingers. “Ah, I accidentally shared a memory tear. There be a great deal more to unicorns than mere horns and magic blood.”

I bowed deeply. “Indeed. I will keep you informed, Your Magnificence.”

She bent a knee and bowed in return. “Thank thee, sweet fairy.”

My heart weighed heavy with sadness as I left the stables. The memory the grand mare had shared in her tear played over and over in my mind. The pain of losing such a magnificent magical creature proved more than I could bear. I didn’t have the strength for flight.
Silvertale, Trixie. Fairy Wives of Windsor: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries Book 4) Kindle Locations (998-1047). The Faire Ladies LLC. Kindle Edition.

Now Vern confirms the unicorn horn as the murder weapon and also that there is fairy dust in the wound.

Fraxi, now hiding in the fairy realm, finds the deceased had more than one wife, two for sure and the speculation of yet another.

To say things are getting a bit twisted is an understatement. We find some very interesting people are involved in this case. I truly couldn’t guess until we got close to the end. There was also one very major revelation in this book.

I can’t wait to read the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Trixie!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Mark of Stars – Shifting Fate Book 2 By Tessa Hale


Mark of Stars
Shifting Fate Book 2
By
Tessa Hale

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

All Rowan wanted was a normal senior year. To fade into the background of her classmates. Instead, her entire world has been turned upside down. Words she never thought she would utter are now a part of her everyday life. Shifters. Powers. Bonds.

Comfort comes from the five fated mates who would do anything to protect her. Their connections are deepening, yet Rowan isn’t convinced all of them want her. Holden has secrets. Vaughn comes to her rescue in one breath and cuts her to the core with the next. But Anson, Lucas, and Keene will do anything to make their bond work and to convince Rowan that she’s all they’ve ever wanted.

They’re all trying, but each new development leaves Rowan reeling. As they realize just what kind of gift Rowan has, they discover it’s impossible to know who to trust.

Because there are those who lurk in the shadows, forces that want the power Rowan has humming beneath her skin. And they will stop at nothing to get it…

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, STOP, go back and read it. This book begins where that one left off.

In the last book things went overboard with Rowan’s adoptive mother in front of her adoptive father. Rowan was becoming delirious with fever and Holden realizes what’s going on and his father offers for Rowan to stay with them while her father gets her mother settled where she can get help for her grief.

Now the reason Rowan was fevered was because of her being apart from her mates, although that reaction was early in comparison to the way it normally is. She also shifts for the first time in this one, also early since she hasn’t been in contact with a pack for a year.

At the end of that book, Vaughn protects Rowan from three rogue wolves and is severely wounded. Rowan puts everything she has into healing him and passes out.

This book starts as Rowan wakes, she’s been out for a week. The major thing at this point is when she healed Vaughn their bond formed. She now has the bond mark. A star with five points and a triangle in the middle, one of those points is filled in.

Now for the record here, for the bond to form it doesn’t have to be sexual. At their age it’s a matter of connection on a deep emotional level.

Vaughn didn’t want that link and while he’ll do what he needs to keep her safe and healthy he’s determined not to get closer. It obviously took a lot for Rowan to heal him, he really was close to death. It also proves how strong her healing gifts are.

Rowan is still mad and confused after seeing Jasmine and Holden kiss. He insists it surprised him and he pushed her away. He doesn’t want her that way. They are supposed to be friends, nothing more. Apparently, Jasmine has different thoughts on that matter.

She’s going to need to practice shifting so it becomes easier as well. They know she’s powerful and after that thwarted attempt to kidnap her, security is going to be an issue. Of her bonds, the ones she can be sure really like her for herself and not just some bond are Keene, Lucas and Anson. Although Anson’s ex Sadie isn’t giving up the fight just yet.

Then there’s the fact that Mason had to register her since she’s shifted. He was able not to do that until it actually happened. Now the Quad is coming to their pack to test her.

The Quad is the top four wolves in terms of power and gifts. They are the final say on every judgement referred to them by the council.

They are coming to verify she’s a healer and see if she possesses any other powers.

This is a favorite scene.

I stiffened, my hands going damp. The guys moved in closer, and Ivan didn’t miss the action. He raised a single brow. “I asked you a question, young lady.”

I swallowed hard, using Coby’s tip to look at his nose instead of his eyes. “I’m not hiding anything that I know of.”

Ivan let out a harumph. “We’ll see about that.”

He extended a hand to me. I stared at it for a moment before slipping mine into his. Ivan’s eyes flared as he held on. I hurried to pull my hand back as he studied me with a thoughtful expression. “Very interesting.”

His reaction had the woman stepping forward, extending her perfectly manicured hand. “I’m Cinna.”

“Rowan,” I said with a small dip of my head.

Her shake wasn’t long, but there was a wariness in her expression as she released me. She glanced at Ivan. “There must be an explanation.”

Kaleb moved forward next. “Nice to meet you, Rowan. I’m Kaleb.” His expression was neither warm nor cold, but there was an assessing quality that had me fighting not to squirm.

“You too.” I reluctantly extended my hand.

Kaleb took it, his jaw going slack for a moment. He quickly covered it, releasing my hand and stepping back. “I’ll be damned.”

“What the hell is all the fuss about?” Gregor asked as he strode towards me.

There was something about the way he moved, the hardness in his stare, that had me taking a step back. Vaughn’s hand found my lower back. “We’re here,” he whispered.

Gregor’s eyes narrowed on Vaughn. “Remove your hand so I can get a clear read.”

Vaughn scowled at Gregor but did as he commanded.

Gregor didn’t wait for me to meet his shake, he grabbed my hand before I could raise it. His eyes widened, and the grin that stretched across his face was nothing less than terrifying. “This is going to be fun.”

I yanked my hand out of his grasp, not caring that the action was rude.

Gregor turned to Mason. “You haven’t been entirely honest with us, Mason. You downplayed her power. Lying to the council is a punishable offense.”

Holden stiffened at my side, and I slipped my hand into his, squeezing hard.

Mason didn’t show the slightest hint of a reaction. “I would never insult the council by lying. I informed you that she was powerful, our first healer in centuries. If you’re sensing something else, please loop us in.”

Ivan leaned on his cane, surveying the room. His gaze kept returning to the guys at my sides. “There’s a prophecy in the old texts. That a wolf will come along to reveal the rot in the shifter community. She will have five mates and untold power. She will burn out the sickness among us and truly unite the packs.”

Holden’s grip on my hand tightened, and Vaughn pushed into my other side.

Ivan took a few wobbly steps forward. “Has your bond been revealed?”

I glanced at Mason hoping for some sort of instruction.

“Look at me,” Ivan barked.

My head snapped back in his direction. “Yes.”

“Show us the mark,” Gregor demanded.

Anson let out a low growl, and Lucas grabbed his shoulder, pressing down hard.

I released Holden and lifted my T-shirt a fraction while tugging on the hem of my sweats.

Cinna let out a gasp and whirled on Mason. “Do you think you can pull one over on us by faking something like this?”

“It’s not fake,” Mason said calmly.

Kaleb studied me with that same assessing stare, as if he were trying to put all the puzzle pieces into place. He moved forward, slowly extending his hand. It hovered over my mark but didn’t touch. “It isn’t fake.” His eyes tracked over the five points of the star. “It also isn’t complete. Do you know who your mates are?”

“You’re looking at them,” Anson said, his voice hard.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gregor barked. “The feral wolf is in her bond?”

Vaughn bared his teeth at the Quad member.

Gregor took a step back. “This has to be rectified.”

“There’s no rectifying fate, Gregor. You know that. This bond is destined. You can’t break it,” Mason said.

Gregor’s expression blanked. “There are ways.”

“Has her gift been explored?” Kaleb asked, breaking into the conversation.

“She has healed herself and two of her bond mates,” Mason informed them.

Cinna picked an invisible piece of lint off her dress. “We need to test her further.”

Test? What did that mean? I instantly pictured the Quad hurting people just for me to heal them.

Ivan stepped forward, and for the first time, I saw a hint of sympathy in his gaze. “We need to know what we’re dealing with. If you are the one the texts are talking about.”

“We also need to know if Mason is instructing you properly. The Ridgewood pack might not be the right place for you,” Gregor said.

I lifted my gaze to his. My wolf demanded I not back down. “This is my home. My family. I’m not going anywhere.”

There were low growls of assent around me.

Gregor glared in my direction. I could feel his power pressing down on me. He was trying to make me submit. To defer to him and his decisions. It wasn’t going to happen. I kept my eyes locked with his. No matter how much power he threw my way, I forced my chin to stay up and didn’t look away.

“Incredible,” Kaleb whispered.

Gregor let out a growl. “How old is she?”

No one said a word.

Gregor turned to Mason. “I asked a question.”

“Seventeen.”

Gregor grinned with delight. “You’re an orphaned wolf shifter who has not yet reached adulthood. You’re under the council’s care.”

I trembled but did my best not to let it show. I was so tired of adults thinking they knew what was best for me. I stared at Gregor. “One week. I have one week until I’m eighteen. If you try to take me away from here, I’ll be gone the instant that week is up, and I’ll make you pay for it.”

Gregor prowled towards me. “You think you know this game you’re playing at, little girl. But you have no idea.”
Hale, Tessa. Mark of Stars: A Parnormal Reverse Harem Romance (The Shifting Fate Series Book 2) Kindle Locations (1486-1535). Kindle Edition.

Now the Quad is one issue, Sadie is another, and then there’s her adoptive father. He shows up on the eve of her eighteenth birthday to take her away from the ‘cult’.

I kind of feel sorry for Rowan, she’s been thrown into a whole other world and is trying really hard to adjust to her new environment.

Mason’s people find Rowan’s mother and that’s yet another shock. She does have some answers though, not exactly what Rowan wanted to hear.

It’s one thing after another, but there’s plenty of love, laughter, fun and there’s sizzle in this book as well.

I am already reading the final book in this trilogy.

5 Contented Purrs for Tessa!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Author of love stories with magic, usually with more than one love interest. Constant daydreamer.

newsletter - for blog

Website | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Press’ Passion – Wicked Winemaker’s First Label Book 3 by Heather Slade


Press’ Passion
Wicked Winemaker’s First Label Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Slade

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

A cyber intelligent Brit
with a soft side for the innocent.
A rescued MBA student with goals and dreams.
This winemaker is willing to help
—one WICKED way or another.

PRESS

Women swoon at my British accent, but I’ve been in America most of my life, hacking computers by day, and saving innocent women by night. A regular superhero. When I start getting close to Luisa, I want all disguises off. She’s falling for someone else, but I’m determined to wait it out—start a full court PRESS to make her mine.

LUISA

Focus, heal, and grow—those are my goals. After enduring the unthinkable, it’s time, time for me, time for my future. But when my walls start crumbling, it’s him who starts to pick them back up, making me see my potential. My truth. My life.

Barnes and Noble logo_150

In the first part of this book there is a lot of overlap with the previous book Ridge’s Release. This is necessary so this book can be a standalone. It also tells the story of Luisa’s rescue from Press’ POV, before detailing more of Luisa’s relationship with Beau and her therapy with Dr. Benedict.

As I’m sure you already know if you have read Ridge’s release, Luisa has a crush on Beau. However, the friendship she’s developed with Press is becoming more to her. Press of course isn’t seeing that, he’s seeing Beau being a jerk and toying with her affections.

It’s revealed that Luisa being abducted wasn’t random someone specifically requested her, and the price tag just went up. With her sister’s wedding in progress, Luisa doesn’t want to cause an uproar and insists just about everyone stays on Tryst’s ranch. The only ones to travel with her will be Zin, Press and Jaicon a former MI6 agent. They’d be traveling not to Seahorse Ranch but to Napa and Press’ parent’s home.

Things start to get a bit crazy when they arrive to the news Press’ mother was taken to the hospital and when he arrives to be with his father, he finds his mother has passed. Now he’s grieving but his brother needs to be informed and his father shouldn’t be alone. Security will be an issue, but Luisa doesn’t want to leave him.

A kiss from Beau that once would have meant everything to her but now doesn’t is the cause of Press putting distance between them. His father sees what Press doesn’t in fact it seems everyone sees the truth except for Press. Did I mention things are getting crazy?

This is a favorite scene.

The flight from Paso Robles to Napa seemed impossibly long in the helicopter. However, being able to land right on my parents’ property saved an hour’s drive from the airfield.

Luisa was quiet during the flight, but periodically, I reached over to squeeze her hand in reassurance.

I couldn’t imagine how she must be feeling, particularly since I still didn’t know exactly what the message she’d received said. Once we arrived and she was safely tucked away and asleep, I’d ask Jaicon for details.

Exhaustion was setting in on me as well. I’d slept restlessly, if at all, the last few days. While I didn’t want to admit it, part of that was due to Luisa’s absence.

When the helicopter landed on the front lawn, it dawned on me I hadn’t given any thought to the sleeping arrangements. Not even as much as determining whether Luisa would stay in the guesthouse where she’d been before or in the main house. And while she’d managed in the guesthouse previously with Jaicon and the rest of the team there with her, circumstances had changed quite drastically.

The other thing I was uncertain of was when my father would arrive with Tank, Magnet, Atticus, and Blackjack. Regardless, I knew his main concern would be for Luisa’s safety and well-being.

“Naughton? Would you like to stay the night and head back in the morning?” I asked.

“Appreciate it, but I told Bradley I’d be home in a few hours.”

“I truly don’t know how to thank you,” I said, shaking his hand.

“It’s what we do, right?”

I nodded. To my knowledge, no one in the Butler family had been a member of Los Caballeros. However, we’d certainly enlisted the aid of their family— Laird and Kade in particular— on several occasions.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw Jaicon was a few feet behind us, talking on her cell.

“We’ll stay at the main resident tonight,” I said to Zeppelin instead.

“Copy that, sir,” he responded.

“Are you sure it’s all right?” Luisa asked. “Of course. There’s plenty of room, and even if there weren’t, all that matters is your safety.”

I rested my palm on the pad near the front door, and it sprung open. I led Luisa inside. Jaicon and Zeppelin followed.

“I spoke with your father, who suggested you stay here this evening. Given they’ll arrive close to dawn, he said he’d stay at Beau’s,” Jaicon reported.

It wasn’t necessary for him to do so, but since the conversation had already taken place, I didn’t see the need to contact him myself to argue about it.

I picked up Luisa’s bag and led her upstairs. “Can I get you anything?” I asked.

“Where will I be staying?”

“There is a room next door to the one I’m in. It was Beau’s when we were children. Thankfully, they’ve been redecorated to serve as guestrooms.”

I opened the door, turned on the lights, and was happy to see the bed had been made, something that was definitely Mrs. Gonzales’ doing, not my brother’s. It also meant she’d changed the linens.

I pointed to an interior door. “That leads to the lavatory. I’m in the room just on the other side, but no worries about privacy. There’s an additional door on my side with a lock.”

She sighed. “I’m not worried about privacy, Press.”

I set her bag on the chest at the end of the bed. “You must be exhausted. I’ll let you get some rest. If you need anything at all, I’m just through there.”

She stood where she was, hugging herself and biting her lower lip.

“Luisa?”

Her eyes filled with tears.

“Come here.” I pulled her into my arms. “Tell me what you need, pet.”

“I’m scared,” she said, barely above a whisper.

“You don’t have to be alone. I can ask Jaicon to—”

She shook her head.

“What if we read a bit?” I offered.

“You wouldn’t mind?” “I’m still tightly wound from the trip myself. It will help us both rest more easily. I’ll get my tablet from the other room. It’ll take but a minute,” I added when I pulled away, but her hand gripped mine. “Well, then, how about if you come with me?”

“Hang on.”

I waited while Luisa kicked off her shoes and removed her jacket, then I led her through the doors connecting the two rooms. Once we’d entered mine, she dropped my hand.

“This room feels different.”

I walked over to the table where my tablet sat, took off my own shoes, and dropped my jacket on the chest at the end of my bed. “How so?”

“Warmer.”

“If you’d prefer it, we can read in here. You can stay in here as well.”

“Will you stay, Press?”

My back was to her when she asked, and I was thankful for it. I closed my eyes, breathed in deep, and reminded myself that to Luisa, I was her safety net, her protector, and while she may consider me a father figure, if I had to choose, I’d prefer older brother. Not that I wanted to be either.

The desire I felt for her was completely inappropriate. She needed comfort, reassurance, someone to hold her as she slept.

The first time we lay in each other’s arms, I was overcome by grief and exhaustion after learning my mother had passed. She’d comforted me that night. Could I do the same for her now? Could I set aside the longing I felt, or would my body react of its own accord to the woman I hungered for? A kiss alone or a touch— skin to skin— would likely bring me to the epitome of pleasure.

It had been four months since I stopped seeing the last woman who’d been my lover. I hadn’t thought of her once since I first met Luisa the night she walked out of the shipping container, broken. Then, I only wanted to protect her, help her heal, be someone she felt safe with.

As she recovered, she became a woman I desired more than any other I’d ever known. It went beyond that, though. I’d fallen in love with her.
Heather Slade. Press’ Passion (Kindle Locations 2122-2172). Wicked Winemakers First Label Book Three.

A really scary twist in this one and some interesting hints about Zin and Jada.

Luisa is a lot stronger than many give her credit for, Press does see this, and he’s been in love with her for so long and she with him. I really wanted to knock some sense into him.

I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Should be interesting with Zin as one of the main characters.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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.


newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Dragons and Cupcakes – Shifters and Sweets Book 2 by Zoe Chant


Dragons and Cupcakes
Shifters and Sweets Book 2
By
Zoe Chant

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Dragon shifter Caleb’s only hope of breaking his family’s devastating bad luck curse is an ancient, badly burned parchment. The incredibly useful surviving directions are as follows:

1. Find —– ome of the Aurum Lacu———
2. Prep——— caref———-
3. BEWARE! If not —————- DEATH ————— HORROR BEYOND IMAGINING

That, and a clue leading him to a small town called Girdwood Springs, are all he has to go on.

What he hadn’t counted on finding in his search was a beautiful, determined woman… who just happens to be his fated mate. And who has just busted him committing what might technically be considered trespassing.

What else could possibly go wrong?

With a property developer seeking to raze her beloved forest to the ground, ranger Kira has enough on her plate already. And now, to top it all off, some smoking hot guy with zero camping knowledge and an inability to read signs saying DO NOT ENTER has apparently decided to go on a strange scavenger hunt in her forest.

Obviously, it’s in her best interest that she personally escorts this oddly charming weirdo around the area. Helps him pitch a tent. Shares a cup of coffee with him. Confides her fears about the forest’s future to him. Falls head over heels, in more ways than one.

Together, with a little skill and a lot of courage and some fated mate destiny, maybe they can turn their luck around.

Caleb is traveling to Girdwood Springs to search for the cure for his cursed family. Someone each generation has manifested the curse and he is the one in his. Cursed centuries ago, with bad luck and now no one knows why or has the ability to reverse it. All he has is a burned parchment that he needs to interpret correctly. There’s a huge warning sort of spelled out on the parchment.

He figures he’s looking for some sort of golden artifact in the Girdwood Springs Forest, since Aurum means gold in Latin. Of course, his car breaks down and with no cell phone service he walks up the mountain to the town.

Girdwood Springs Forest has its own issues with the protective trust expiring and Kira Dearborn, who is a ranger there, is feeling the pressure with Tongle & Heit Property Developments’ people tromping through like they already own it. The thing is the trust was supposed to be for perpetuity but somehow the will and paperwork stating that has gone missing.

Kira starts her workday thinking about everything that is happening, and her run ins with the head honcho of Tongle & Heit she starts checking trails, beginning with one already closed. It’s here she runs into Caleb, and she thinks he’s working for Tongle & Heit.

This is a favorite scene.

The forest here truly was beautiful – the deep green cedars and the fall leaves of the smaller trees, the bright, clear blue sky, the mountains rising in the distance. Caleb had been a city dragon all his life, but he was starting to see why so many dragons still chose to stay in their ancestral homes in the mountains, refusing to join the modern world. The natural beauty of places like this simply couldn’t be denied.

I’d love to shift and unfurl my wings in a place like this, Caleb thought. He’d been tempted to do something like that this morning, even though he knew it wasn’t really possible so close to a human town. One hiker he hadn’t noticed, and bam – he’d be all over every conspiracy theory website in the country. Which wasn’t a huge problem, as such, since most humans would just assume it was a hoax. But it was so embarrassing – having to go back home and look like the latest idiot who hadn’t been careful enough while shifting. It had happened to his cousin Roland once, and he hadn’t lived it down for years.

Interestingly enough, as he spoke of the beauty of the place, Caleb noticed the woman’s face softening. He could tell by her uniform that she was a park ranger, so he supposed it made sense that she’d love this place – and he really couldn’t fault her for yelling at him, she’d only been doing her job.

“It is beautiful,” she said, her voice softer, before she bit her lip, residual suspicion crossing her face. “And… you’re really not from Tongle & Heit Developments?”

“Huh. No, I can definitely say I’m not,” Caleb said, shaking his head. Hearing those names was something he definitely hadn’t expected. Tongle & Heit were one of the largest dragon-owned corporations in the world, created when two already powerful dragon clans had merged.

They were known to be rapacious and ruthless – but then, that was simply their dragon natures. Getting between a dragon and something it wanted for its hoard was always a bad idea, and not all dragons had seen a reason to temper those instincts, even if they otherwise had joined the modern world of humans.

But why on earth have Tongle & Heit Developments been sniffing around here, of all places? Caleb wondered.

“But you know that name,” the woman said. “So you know what they’re up to.”

Caleb shook his head. “I’m sorry, I really don’t – I’m familiar with the company name, though. Who isn’t?”

“Well, that’s true,” the woman said, a little grudgingly. “They’re a big company.”

Ask her for her name, Caleb’s dragon hissed suddenly. She is our mate, and we are standing here making small talk! This is not the dragon way!

Caleb shushed it, but, he realized, he really did want to know her name. The tag on her uniform shirt read Dearborn – and Caleb quickly had to dart his eyes away, in case he got caught looking at the full, luscious swell of her breast beneath it.

“Uh, sorry, my name’s Caleb Tanner,” he blurted out. “What’s yours?”

Well, now Ms. Dearborn was looking at him a little strangely again. But he supposed it wasn’t strictly necessary for him to know her given name – not to mention it was a kind of abrupt change of topic.

“It’s Kira Dearborn,” she said, a little slowly, still looking at him with narrowed eyes. “Or Ranger Dearborn, since I’m at work. And look, as much as I appreciate your apology, you really shouldn’t be here right now. It’s not safe, between the rains and the… the increased foot traffic recently. So I’ll have to ask you to come back with me now, and I’ll try to recommend a different track so you can still enjoy your hike.”

Kira – or Ranger Dearborn, if she preferred – began to turn away, leading him back up the trail. Caleb wondered if he should try to chat to her a bit to make up for his earlier bad impression – perhaps if he made himself agreeable now, she’d change his opinion of him as a gatecrashing boor.

Plus, I’m really not in either the Tongle or the Heit clans. Perhaps she’s had some trouble with them? Does she know about dragons and other shifters after all?

Her having heard of Tongle & Heit Developments didn’t tell him much, though – it operated in the open, and its only secret was that it was dragon-owned. But the powerful Dragon Council had set down rules for dragons who wanted to run businesses in the human world, and Rule Number One was that they had to abide by human laws. Some dragons didn’t like that – but if they didn’t respect the laws that humans had set down, then the Dragon Council was always willing to make sure its own laws were enforced. Harshly, if necessary.

“Have you had some issue with that development company?” Caleb asked, as together they made their way back up the twisting trail. Kira seemed very sure-footed as she walked – perhaps her slip had just been a little bad luck. The kind of thing he’d usually be afflicted by. Perhaps he should have been thanking his lucky stars he hadn’t slipped over in front of her, and ended up in her arms. Not that he would have been complaining about that exactly, but it probably would have only compounded her first impression that he was… well, kind of an idiot.

Kira glanced over her shoulder at him. “Yeah, you could say that – they want to buy up all this forested land and bulldoze it, and turn it into a mall complex and holiday resort. They’ve been tramping up and down the mountain for weeks, ruining the trails and stomping all over the place as if they already own it. As you can imagine, I’m not a huge fan of theirs.”

“No, I can see why you might not be,” Caleb agreed, looking around the forest again. The thought of so much beauty being lost made his heart ache.

There is nothing those villains will not seek to spoil, his dragon said, smoke rising from its nostrils. You know it’s true. We should seek them out, and challenge them on our mate’s behalf. Show her how a dragon defends what belongs to its mate.

Caleb shook his head, pushing the dragon’s thoughts down. Fighting a dragon duel was out of the question for any number of reasons – not least because with his luck, he’d end up crashing into a mountainside and losing the fight before it even began.

“But I can tell you now, I definitely don’t have anything to do with them. I didn’t even know they had plans out here,” Caleb continued, once he’d shushed his dragon into submission. “Let’s just say I’m not that surprised, though.”

“The land is protected – for now,” Kira said, as they crested a small rise, and the cabin Caleb had seen on his way in came into view. “But at the end of the month that’ll all be over. The land is supposed to be willed to the township in trust for at least ninety-nine years, but the will that places it in trust has gone missing. And without that, the land is up for grabs.”

Caleb could hear the pain throbbing in her voice, and he heard an answering pain growing in his own chest. But then, that was part and parcel of the bond – her pain was his pain.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said, meaning it. “Is there any chance anyone can do anything? The will might not be able to be found, but if someone else buys the land –”

“Who has deeper pockets than a massive property development company?” Kira asked, turning back to him with a shrug. Despite her defeated words, Caleb could see burning anger in her beautiful hazel eyes. “That’s what decides things, right? Whoever has the most money. And I don’t think anyone’s going to come along who’d be willing to try to outbid Tongle & Heit, even if they could.”

Caleb grimaced. As much as he wanted to argue with Kira, he knew there was truth in what she was saying. Anything he could say would just sound like a platitude – well, it would be a platitude.

We must not give up when our mate requires our services. If we do not even attempt to help her, then we have no right to think ourselves worthy of her, his dragon snarled. There must be a way.

Swallowing, Caleb wanted to believe it was right. But while his family wasn’t exactly poor, there was no way he could ask them for that kind of money. They simply didn’t have it. And with his luck… well, he was more likely to accidentally burn the forest down than save it.

“Anyway, I’m sorry about all that – we do have a fundraiser for a legal effort to challenge the sale of the land, if you’re interested in donating,” Kira continued. “So we’re not completely powerless. We can at least tie them up for a little while longer.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” Caleb said. “Any time you can keep them at bay is useful, right? If it gives you more time to find that will.”

Kira nodded. “Yeah. But it might be just wishful thinking. The last place anyone saw that will was in a small archive building by the town hall. Which burned down a couple of years ago.”

Burned down…?

Caleb blinked. That… sounded just a little suspicious to him. And to his dragon as well, if the way it suddenly raised its head and narrowed its glowing eyes was anything to go by.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Caleb asked it, as he followed Kira to the cabin.

It sounds to me as if those scoundrels have had their eye on this land for some time, his dragon replied.

The more Caleb heard, the more determined he became to help Kira out. But before he did that, he knew he had to get his curse lifted. He’d just be more hindrance than help right now.
Chant, Zoe. Dragons and Cupcakes. Kindle Locations (281-349). Kindle Edition.

So now instead of just one goal, Caleb has two. First break the curse then find the proof to stop Tongle & Heit.

A few incidents in and Caleb knows he has to divulge everything to Kira including the fact he’s a dragon. When he shows her what’s left of the directions to reverse the curse, she knows exactly what he’s looking for and where to find it. He will also have to enlist the help of Silvie and Gale.

Fun, adventurous, intriguing and a dragon with a one track mind, Mate!

5 Contented Purrs for Zoe!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Zoe Chant loves writing paranormal romance. Over a cup of tea (or something stronger) she whips up sexy tales of hunky heroes and adventurous heroines to tantalize and satisfy her readers. Sizzling hot romance, no cliffhangers!

newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Embracing Joy – Blossom Ridge Book 5 by Becca Jameson


Embracing Joy
Blossom Ridge Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Becca Jameson

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Giana

I’m a well-known masochist.
I’ve been a member of Surrender for two years.
Someone unknown sponsors me.
I can barely make ends meet, and I’ve just lost yet another job.
When Kendric discovers me living in my car, he takes me home.
It’s a horrible idea. I can’t stay with him.
He’s a Daddy. I need a sadist in my life.
But I’m falling for him, and I don’t have any other place to stay.

Kendric

I’ve been secretly sponsoring Giana.
She’s intriguing, but I’ve never approached her.
She’s not Little. I’m not a sadist.
At least that’s what I’ve believed for two years.
When I find her living in her car, another side of Giana comes out.
She submits to me as a Daddy Dom.
She thrives, even when I take her to Blossom Ridge.
Convincing her she’s my Little is a challenge, and I’m all in.

Barnes and Noble logo_150 KoboLogo

In the prologue of this book, we see the discussion about Giana’s sponsorship to Surrender. It’s Kendric who steps up to pay the sponsorship, he’s a bit infatuated with her but he’s not a sadist, he’s a Daddy Dom and she’s definitely a masochist.

It’s two years later, and we meet Giana and her friend Hannah as they prepare for their night at Surrender. Hannah knows she watches Kendric and teases her about it. As much as Giana might wish for Kendric to dominate her, she knows he’s a Daddy Dom and she just isn’t a little.

It’s Kendric’s turn to lock up Surrender and as he’s leaving he sees a car in the lot. It’s a cold night and while it’s not unusual for a car to be left, he investigates further. He realizes the car is Giana’s and the windows are fogged, he hopes he’s not interrupting something when he knocks on the window. It’s Giana who looks out at him, and she’s alone.

Little does she know everything, and I do mean everything is going to change.

This is a favorite scene.

I’m stalling. I take a deep breath and rap my knuckles on the driver’s side window.

I hear someone gasp inside and a moment later, fingers wipe away the condensation. Thank fuck it’s Giana. Her eyes are wide and she opens the door. “What are you doing here?” she asks me as if I’m the odd ball.

I grab the frame of the door and the side of the car so I can bend down and see inside better. She’s alone. I narrow my gaze. “What am I doing here? What are you doing here? I thought you left a while ago.”

She sighs and lowers her gaze. She’s wearing a lot of layers. A thick heavy coat, gloves, a scarf wrapped around her neck and the back of her head. “My car won’t start,” she murmurs.

“Why didn’t you come back inside to ask for help?” The hairs on the back of my neck rise. Something isn’t right.

“I didn’t want to bother anyone.”

“Did you call a tow truck? Or what are you waiting for?”

She rubs her gloved hands together. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know what you’re waiting for?” I’ve never seen her this nervous. My brain is trying to figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile, I shift my gaze to the back of her car. It’s jammed packed. “What is all this stuff in the back seat, Giana?”

She sighs. “Everything.”

I blink. Everything? What does that mean?

I squat lower, so my face is below hers and I’m looking up at her.

“Giana, talk to me.”

She draws in a slow breath. “I lost my job and I’ve been staying at a motel, but then my car wouldn’t start, and…”

Fuck. Jesus.

“I work for a temp agency,” she continues. “They’ll find me something else. I just need to get by between now and then. It won’t take long.”

“Were you going to sleep in your car, Giana?” I ask gently, though that is obvious.

“Yes. I’ll be fine. I promise I’ll figure something out tomorrow.”

Like hell. “Do you have friends or family you can stay with? Can I drive you somewhere?”

“No.”

“What about Hannah? I thought you two were close?”

Giana jerks her gaze to mine. “No. I don’t want her to know about this. We’re not that kind of friends. We’re club friends. We don’t get together outside of Surrender. I’d be embarrassed for her to know I’m struggling.”

My lips move. There are no other options here. “Okay, you’re coming home with me then.”

She gasps and shakes her head. “Not a chance. I won’t impose on you like that.”

“It’s not an imposition, Giana. I have plenty of room.” I rise to standing and reach out a hand. “Come.”

She shakes her head again. “Kendric, I can’t. I hate that you saw me out here. Can’t you just forgot it and leave me. I’ll figure it out in the morning and I’m sure I’ll get a new position with the agency in the next couple of days.”

“Giana, I’m not asking. I’m telling you. Get your stubborn ass out of that car now before I decide to take you over my knee and spank your bottom so hard that Mistress Claudia’s crop earlier will seem like child’s play.”

What the fuck am I talking about? Jesus. I don’t spank anyone that hard. No one. I’m a gentle giant. I like snuggles and giggles and fun trips to the zoo. I can and have spanked Little girls before, but not hard enough to make them cry.

Giana’s eyes are wide and she’s staring at me. Mouth open. No words coming out.

I open the door wider. “You going to walk to my truck on your own, or should I throw you over my shoulder and carry you kicking and screaming like a naughty Little girl?” Jesus, fuck. I’m losing it.

“Kendric…”

“I’ll count to three. If you’re not out of the car, I won’t even give you the chance to take any of this stuff with you.”

She licks her lips. “Sir…”

My dick gets hard the moment she calls me Sir. That’s right, Baby girl. Sir. Or Daddy. Not Kendric. “One… Two… Three.” I reach in and grab Giana around the waist, easily lifting her small frame out of the car and tossing her over my shoulder.

She squeals and squirms as I reach in to snag her keys from the ignition. I hesitate for a moment, wondering about the decision to leave everything she owns in this car. What if she gets robbed in the night?

Mostly what I see is black trash bags, probably because she doesn’t own suitcases and left her residence in a hurry. If she’s homeless, she has gone months without paying her rent.

A tight ball forms in the back of my throat at the thought of Giana homeless and alone. How long has she lived like this? I feel like shit for not noticing.

I grab her purse while she fights me. My arm is wrapped firmly around the back of her thighs though. She’s not strong enough or large enough to get free. “Stay still, Little girl, unless you want me to double the spanking I’m already planning.”

She stops fighting me, but only long enough for me to let my guard down. The moment I loosen my grip, she arches her chest and tries to shove off my shoulder.

I grip her legs tighter and set my other hand on her ass, squeezing it hard. It has to hurt after the cropping.

Ouch,” she shouts. Finally, a human reaction.

“Yeah, ouch. You’re going to think ouch, Little girl. Stop fighting me and tell me if there’s anything valuable in this car we need to take.”

“Yeah. All of it,” she complains. “Leave me here with it.”

“Not happening. Computer? Phone? Cash?”

She slumps in my arms. “No.”

I shut the door, lock the car, and haul this bundle of feisty woman to my truck. What the fuck am I going to do with her?

I should call someone else. Maybe Claudia or at least Roman. Anyone. Someone else can put her up for the night or the week or the month. I’ll lose my mind with her under my roof.
Becca Jameson. Embracing Joy (Kindle Locations 165-214).

Concern for Giana is Kendric’s main reason for taking her in, but there’s also her response to him in the parking lot. It seems to him that there just might be a Little hidden inside her and he’s going to find her.

Giana protests albeit a bit too much, she agrees to see where things go. She has much to work out in her life and just maybe Kendric’s the man to help her do that.

I loved the way this story unfolds and that the trip to Blossom Ridge is quite revealing.

This is sexy, fun, enlightening and sizzling too.

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Becca Jameson Becca Jameson

Becca Jameson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 100 books. She is most well-known for her Wolf Masters Series, her Fight Club series, and her Club Zodiac series. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and Goldendoodle. Two grown kids pop in every once in a while too! She is loving this journey and has dabbled in a variety of genres, including paranormal, sports romance, military, and BDSM.

A total night owl, Becca writes late at night, sequestering herself in her office with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate, her fingers flying across the keyboard as her characters weave their own stories.

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

…where Alphas dominate…


newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

One Duke Down – Rogues to Lovers Book 2 by Anna Bennett


One Duke Down
Rogues to Lovers Book 2
By
Anna Bennett

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

A FISHERMAN’S DAUGHTER

Miss Poppy Summers is determined to keep her family’s fishing business afloat. Her poor widowed father has fallen ill, and her foolhardy brother has moved to London, leaving her precious little time to read or pursue her own dreams. But she’ll do anything for her family, so she cheerfully spends mornings in her rowboat, casting her nets. The very last thing Poppy expects or wants to find tangled in them is a dangerously attractive man. Especially one with a head wound—who’s convinced he’s a duke.

AND A DUKE OUT OF WATER

Andrew Keane is the Duke of Hawking, but he’s having the devil of a time convincing his wary, fiery-haired rescuer of that fact. The truth is he came to the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay to escape his life in London. Unfortunately, someone in Bellehaven wants to kill him—and he intends to find out who. He implores Poppy to tend to his injuries and hide him on her beach, reasoning it will be easier to find his attacker if that man assumes Keane is already dead. She wants no part of the scheme but can’t refuse the generous sum he offers in exchange for food and shelter while he recovers. It’s a mutually beneficial business arrangement…nothing more.

ARE ABOUT TO MAKE WAVES

Under Poppy’s care, Keane regains his strength—and a sense of purpose. As they work together to solve the puzzle of his would-be murderer, he’s dazzled by her rapier wit and adventurous spirit; she’s intrigued by his mysterious air and protective streak. Though Poppy’s past gives her every reason to mistrust someone like Keane, the seawalls around her heart crumble in the storm of their passion. But when clues hint at the prime suspect in Keane’s attempted murder, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie. Torn between the world she’s always known and the one she’s always dreamed of, she’ll need true love for a shot at her fairytale ending.

Barnes and Noble logo_150 KoboLogogoogle_play_logo_002_002

When Poppy Summers finds a man tangled in a fishing net on her beach, the last person she expected it to be is a Duke.

With a gash on his head and his clothes torn up, Andrew Keane, the Duke of Hawking does not look the part. It takes some convincing for Poppy to agree to seek out his valet for confirmation. Once she’s validated his identity, Keane convinces her to help him find his attacker so he can be brought to justice.

Poppy gets to explore some fun activities with him as they work through his list of possible suspects. As the Duke hides in her reading shack, they share meals and discuss many things. The Duke is impressed by her wit and intelligence so it’s not surprising to him that he’s falling for her.

Poppy’s family has always had their eyes wide open with regard to the nobility. Mostly she’s found them to be callous and uncaring of anything that doesn’t apply to them directly. Not to mention a family that hurt someone she loved dearly.

I love the way this story unfolds. From the beach to the ballroom this was a delightful read. There’s even a bit of excitement when the truth comes out.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Anna!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Anna Bennett

Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided historicals (with their balls, dukes, and gowns) were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Hale – SEALs of Honor Book 31 by Dale Mayer


Hale
SEALs of Honor Book 31
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Hale received an unexpected request to join Marsha McConaughey on a special mission. Only four of them would track a terrorist, with a history of blowing up American citizens. The bomber’s current plot was foiled, but, in the chaos, he escaped across the border into Canada, giving a middle-finger salute to the first set of cameras on the other side.

Marsha has been hunting assholes like this one for years. It’s wearing on her. This is her last job, but she’s determined to walk away on a success. This one means more to her than the others. This man took out several members of her team. She wants this a*****e. Willingly chasing him into Canada is one thing, but into the backwoods of Prince Albert National Park is another thing altogether.

When the killing spree continues in Canada, the team is more determined than ever to stop this guy—before he kills anyone else—particularly the woman hunting him.

Barnes and Noble logo_150 KoboLogogoogle_play_logo_002_002

Hale Rodney is finishing up a course that includes the history of terrorist bombs. One in particular he recognizes the signature. This catches the eye of the instructor who later informs him he’ll be joining a mission to catch this particular bomber.

Marsha McConaughey has been after this bomber, ‘the ghost’, for years. She came really close once and this time she’s determined to get him. This is going to be her last case and she won’t fail. Everything she had set up had to change when the ghost changed his location. He’s now believed to be in Prince Albert, and Hale makes the observation that it’s a good place to hide out, with the huge National Forest.

As they are traveling, Hale makes arrangements to pick up some camping and outdoor gear from his stepbrother. He wants to be prepared for anything at this point.

Marsha is shocked to find her men dead at the house she arranged for their stay. Hale immediately takes over with a contingency plan she had no idea he had. He grabs the groceries the men had bought and gets everything back into the truck. It’s time to go hunting.

Hale takes them the long way around a popular campground, and they walk about five miles to the site he has in mind.

This is a favorite scene.

Finally he stopped and announced, “We’re here.”

He felt her relief rolling toward him in palpable waves, as he turned, grabbed the pack off her shoulders, and said, “Let’s get that thing off you.”

As soon as the pack was on the ground, she crouched into a squat position, wrapped her arms around her chest, and tried to stretch out the center of her back. He dropped his own pack, walked behind her, then scooped up her arms and spread the muscles from her shoulder blades up and around. Then he gave her a hard two-minute massage and added, “That should help.”

She stood up, rolled her shoulders, and nodded. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Now let’s get set up for the night.” He pitched a small tent the same color of the trees around them.

She stared at it. “One tent?”

“Yep, one tent. Neither of us could carry any more than we did.” And, since she had barely even carried her weight, she surely wouldn’t argue. He tossed her a sleeping bag and suggested, “You might want to collect some leaves or something from around here to lie on.”

She winced. “We’ll sleep on the ground?”

“I have one roll each,” he explained, “but you’ll notice very quickly if you don’t have a pillow. Grab your T-shirt and fill it with leaves so at least you’ll have something. Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can just use your clothes, as packed.”

“I’ll try the clothes tonight,” she replied, and he just nodded. As soon as the tent was up and their gear stowed inside, he walked over and looked at the grocery bags that he’d been carrying in the top of his pack. “Was there much that they bought?” she asked quietly.

“Quite a bit. The question now is, how far can we make it go?”

“How long do you expect to be here?”

“Not long, but you saw how far we had to walk.”

She nodded. “I did, and I’m still not thrilled to be here.”

“Nope, but you’re safe at the moment.”

She frowned at that. “Safe wasn’t the entire plan.”

“No, but neither was getting killed, like the other three.”

She winced at that. “That’s not fair.”

“Maybe not, but it’s true,” he replied quietly.

“What exactly will this location do for us?”

“It’s simple.” He pointed. “A spot about five hundred yards from here is fairly popular with locals, yet wouldn’t be something that too many others would know about. However, if the Ghost’s up here, my guess is that he’ll be close.”

“Why?”

“Because he can drive there.”

She stared at him in shock, and then her tone turned ominous. “We just walked for five miles.”

Hale nodded. “He’s on the other side of the river.”

“What good is that?”

“Because I know how to get across.”

She fell silent. “I suppose you’ll tell me now that he won’t know we’re here?”

“We’re higher up. Now he might smell our fire if a heavy fog rolls in, keeping the air down. However, unless he’s quite as good as he thinks he is, he won’t get to us before I can get to him.”

“I suppose you’ll say that you set up some kind of warnings along the way.”

“No, but I am observant enough, and I will be making regular recon trips to see that nobody has followed us.”

She nodded slowly. “I still don’t understand how we’re supposed to capture him up here.”

“It’s hard to say,” Hale admitted, “but he’s hunting us. So we need to go to ground for a while, until either he figures that we’re not coming or he figures any op has been called off because of the killings.”

“He’ll be hunting us regardless, and he knows I would never call it off.”

“That just means we could be staying here longer then.”

“Why, when that won’t get the job done?”

“Why don’t we get a good night’s sleep and think on it,” he suggested.

She glared at him, and he nodded. “I know you’re pissed now, but maybe things will look different in the morning.”

“We sure as hell didn’t have to walk five miles.”

“Yeah, we did, because not too many people would follow us.” Hard for her to argue with that.

“It’s still a long way here and a long way to get back.”

“It is,” he admitted, “and again there’s a reason for it. Let’s see what we have for food and then call it a night.”

She bent down to the large bags that he had packed. “Is this all the groceries?” she asked in astonishment.

“Yeah, what the guys had picked up.”

She noted, “Steaks, potatoes, … even bacon, eggs, and bread. Lots of sliced deli meats and cheeses. Even peanut butter.”

He nodded. “Yeah, so, in a way, we’re in good shape.” She wanted to argue with him, but she didn’t, and that was good because, right now, he wasn’t in the mood. “I’ll cook these steaks, since they won’t keep and hope they don’t bring in predators.”

He soon got a fire going and, with such ease, that she just stared at him.

“You’ve got to remember,” he told her. “This is what I do.”

She frowned at that. “So, if I had picked somebody who wasn’t an expert in survival, I would be in a hotel right now?”

“If so, you’d be dead,” he stated flatly.

She winced at that. “Great, not exactly how I wanted to view this.”

“Maybe not, but you’ve got to admit the chances of that being the truth are quite clear.”

She hated to admit he was right, but it was a good possibility. “I still don’t know how he knew about the guys.”

“It doesn’t matter. Either he’s paid some locals or has other sources, and I know you don’t want to hear this, but they could potentially be within your own department.”

“Nobody knows where I am,” she replied quietly. “And the only one who knows you are here is Mason. Unless you told anybody?” she asked, searching his gaze.

It was hard to see in the dim light, but he could see her eyes. “Nope. I just knew that I had a job to do, so I came. I don’t bother telling people any details. First off, they’re not allowed to know about most of my jobs to begin with, and you never know when things will change, and you end up having to make clarifications later,” he noted. “I’ve learned that it’s just much easier to keep your mouth shut.”

She smiled at that. “Believe it or not, I agree.”

“Oh, you’re not going to argue with me, huh?” he teased, rolling his eyes. “That’s new.”

“Since when have I argued with you over everything?”

“Since … we met,” he stated, with another eye roll.

“Maybe you deserved it.”

He snorted at that. “You might think I deserved it, but I won’t agree with that assessment.”

She smiled. “Of course not, that would be way too simple. All right, so what can I do to help?”

“For now, just sit there and rest,” he suggested. “You’ll be very stiff and sore, so maybe do some exercises to stretch out your body. You might also want to tend to your feet. You’ve probably got blisters, and, for sure, you need dry socks.”

“I can do all that, but is there anything I can do for dinner?”

“Nope, not at the moment.”
Dale Mayer. Hale (Kindle Locations 710-777). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

With each page the suspense rises, and both Marsha and Hale are feeling a bit of an attraction toward each other. Of course, this isn’t the time to take action on that.

More death, the involvement of the RCMPs and plenty of hold your breath action as this tale unfolds.

I was sorry to read that this is likely the end of the SEALs of Honor series, although the author says we’ll see some of our favorite characters in other series.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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


newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page

Just Another Spark – Kingston Family Book 8.5 by Carly Phillips


Just Another Spark
Kingston Family Book 8.5
By
NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

He’s a rock star wanted by millions.
She’s a wife willing to fight for their love.

Rock star Dash Kingston is finishing the last leg of his band’s U.S. tour. Exhausted and ready to be home, he can’t wait to see his girl. Time zones, show times, and the demands of his career have made married life harder than expected. Even knowing the rock star life wouldn’t make their relationship easy.

Cassidy Kingston thought she was ready to handle being married to a man idolized by women everywhere. She believes in their love even though the separations when the band is on tour can be torture. But the paparazzi and media don’t make their time apart easier and the gossip headlines hit her harder than they should. She trusts her husband even if she misses him like crazy.

When rumors surface that Dash is seeing someone, what’s a girl to do? Surprise her husband and remind him of what he’s been missing. Except you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Barnes and Noble logo_150 KoboLogogoogle_play_logo_002_002

Cassidy knows not to listen to the gossip channels or read those papers. She knew when she married Dash Kingston there would always be someone out there twisting the truth into something unrecognizable.

This tour however had been harder, they are both having problems connecting. Opposite coast time differences, schedules, even just sleeping has interfered with them having a conversation more than hello and goodbye.

It’s a surprise for Cassidy when her brother, Axle the group’s drummer, manages a quick trip home. She enjoys a meal with him before he has to leave again, reassuring her that Dash is missing her just as much as she misses him.

He does some finagling with his agent and flies home on the family jet after the weekend’s concerts. Unfortunately, fate has something else in mind.

This is a favorite scene.

She should be finishing up soon, so I’ll drive you to the apartment and you can surprise her when she gets home.” Dash had a house in the Hamptons before he married Cassidy and, after, they’d purchased an apartment in the city for her convenience when K-Talent took over office space there, as well.

“Okay, perfect. That’ll give me a few hours to set the scene for when she gets home. I’ll order in dinner and flowers, get the table set, light some candles …” He nodded in approval of his own plan. “I can give her the ultimate surprise.”

Xander chuckled. “Dash Kingston, one-time playboy, is a romantic. Who knew?”

If his brother wasn’t driving, Dash would be tempted to slap him in the head. Instead, he folded his arms and leaned back against the seat, allowing his body to feel the exhaustion from all the sets and the five-hour trip.

*     *     *

MURPHY’S LAW, CASSIDY thought, as she dragged her weary body into the elevator of the New York City apartment she and Dash owned. If it could go wrong on set today, it had. From the broken air conditioner, to not enough extras showing up for a crowd scene, to one of their primary co-stars showing up drunk, the day had been an exercise in patience.

They’d had to sober up the actor with coffee and water and shoot scenes out of order until he looked and sounded ready to tape. Even so, when his time had come, he’d needed too many takes to nail his scenes. No air-conditioning in the summer meant she’d sweat like crazy until the repairman had finally fixed the issue and the stars of the movie had not been happy with the increasing temperature. Cassidy wasn’t sure how she felt about being a producer.

She’d started as a creative director at K-Talent. The first year had been a learning experience but she’d soaked up the information. On the company’s one year anniversary, Sasha and Xander had offered her a position as head of Film and Television, making her Sasha’s right hand. They’d always worked closely together, so the job was perfect for her. She’d also been able to pick projects and run them by Sasha. This past year, she’d moved into production and the truth was, Cassidy missed her former role.

She’d hoped to be home by six for a change. Instead, she stepped out of the elevator a short time after 9:00 p.m. on the penthouse floor. If anyone had told her when she and Sasha were sharing a small place in Los Angeles, one day, she’d be married to a rock star, living in the lap of luxury, and a producer in a film production company—she’d have laughed and called them crazy.

Yet, here she was, ready to walk into the luxurious apartment she and Dash had decorated together, alone, while her husband was clear across the country.

Despite the tour, everything in their lives should have been perfect. She was confused as to why it wasn’t. From the time they’d gotten together, he’d been true to his word. He and the guys had cut back on the amount of time the band traveled. Twice in almost four years wasn’t much to ask and the first time the band went on the road, she and Dash had talked often. They’d FaceTimed, and phone sex had been fun and constant.

This tour was different because they had no time for each other and that wasn’t the life she’d signed up for. If she was going to be married, she wanted a husband she felt connected to. The physical miles apart she could handle, but she hadn’t been prepared for the emotional distance she felt now.

She let herself inside and smelled something delicious. The lights were on in the kitchen and dim flickering shadowed the wall in the dining room visible through the kitchen pass-through. She wasn’t worried because a burglar didn’t make dinner or light candles, and her stomach did a flip at the possibilities waiting for her.

She strode into the main area of the apartment and there was her husband lying down on the couch, eyes closed, obviously out cold. She took in the dining room table that had been set with their dishes, not paper plates, silverware and water goblets. A bottle of wine chilled in an honest-to-goodness wine bucket he must have borrowed from a restaurant, and she’d bet the ice inside had melted. Like the candles had burned halfway down.

Her heart dropped at the sight. She wished he’d called instead of surprising her but even if she’d known he was here, there was no way she could have left the set.

She stepped over to the sofa and looked down at his sleeping form, taking in the features she adored. His dark lashes lay dark against his skin and she saw the deep circles beneath his eyes, telling her how hard he’d been working and the late nights the band had been keeping. But that had been true of the last tour, so what had changed?

Her. The answer slammed into her and her chest squeezed tight. She worked longer hours. She didn’t have time to take his calls. Yes, he was extra busy, too. But her life had gotten much busier, to the point where she hadn’t been able to fly out for a visit as she had a couple of years ago.

She sat down beside him, her hip nudging against his, making room for herself, and his eyes fluttered open. “Cass.” He pushed himself to a sitting position.

“Hey, stranger.” She smiled softly. “I am so sorry I’m home so late. I had no idea you’d be here.”

He treated her to his dimpled grin. “I wanted to surprise you. Xander let me know you were hung up at work, but I hoped you’d get here in time to enjoy some of this.” He gestured to the romantic atmosphere he’d set for them.

She sighed, letting her disappointment show. “Isn’t this just like the way things have been going for us?” Tears filled her eyes, taking her by surprise.

“I’m sorry, too. Our opening act is being sexually harassed by her manager and she won’t let us report it. Not until the tour is over. It’s complicated with the guys, especially Jagger, but I’ve been around overtime to make sure she’s never alone. But I swear, Cass, no matter what the tabloids say—”

She placed her finger over his lips. “I know. If you had to tell me, that would mean I didn’t trust you, and I do.” No matter how she’d felt when she heard CGC’s reporting and seen the photos, in her heart, she knew he’d have a legitimate reason.

He took her hand and pulled her on top of him, letting her position herself before he took her mouth with his. The moment his lips touched hers, everything turned right in her world. He kissed her for a long time, his tongue sliding against hers, his teeth nipping, his lips gliding, never coming up for air until she broke the kiss.

“I just need to breathe,” she said, laughing. Reaching out, she wiped his damp lips with her finger.

“Breathing’s overrated.” He threaded his fingers through her hair and tugged on the long strands. “Are you hungry? The food I ordered in is cold, but we can heat it up again.”

She shook her head. “I grabbed a sandwich from craft services. What about you?”

A sheepish look crossed his face and his cheeks flushed. “I got hungry and ate.”

She shook her head and groaned. “I don’t blame you,” she said, touching her forehead to his. Without warning, she yawned, the day that had started at 5:00 a.m., catching up with her.

Dash reached around and slapped her ass, causing her to squeal. “Okay, up you go. Let’s go to bed.”
Carly Phillips. Just Another Spark (Kindle Locations 195-241). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.

It truly wasn’t either of their faults that they are exhausted and only manage to sleep.

As the tour ends and that one really big problem gets handled, Cass tries a surprise of her own.

I love this couple. They are both strong and so totally in love with each other.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Coming Soon!

Carly Phillips

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

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


newsletter - for blog

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Amazon Author Page