A Clean Sweep – Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 4 by Sara Bourgeois


A Clean Sweep
Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 4
By
Sara Bourgeois

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The witches of Coventry are all on edge when the crew of a famous ghost hunting show arrives in town. Coventry has been good at hiding its secrets from the world for hundreds of years, but in the deep dark corners of the web, whispers of a town full of witches and ghosts circulate among those who are true believers of the paranormal.

When it’s decided that denying them a filming permit would just make them more suspicious, Brighton is elected by the town council to be their official Coventry escort. Her job is to ensure they don’t catch any convincing evidence of the paranormal and hopefully make them so bored they decide to cut the town from their show’s schedule.

But, this is Coventry we’re talking about. When one of the film crew turns up dead at Hangman’s House after a night of paranormal investigation, Brighton is once again forced to get involved.

Oh, and Thorn’s in trouble too. He’s in hot water in more ways than one. He’ll need Brighton’s help to save his bacon from the frying pan, but will he really break her heart?

Nothing like waking up to pounding on your front door and finding the cast and crew of a ghost hunting series on your front porch. Needless to say, it was only a matter of time before it happened. For the moment they can’t do any filming, but they are scoping out possible sites. They need to get a permit from the town before they do anything else. Brighton decides to escort them to the town council knowing they won’t be happy about it but also know it’s inevitable.

Once they have the permit, they start looking at sites and the citizens of Coventry are reporting trespassers left and right, keeping the sheriff’s department running around to their calls.

Remy and Brighton keep a lid on the paranormal, but the council wants more from her. She’s officially appointed babysitter so the number of calls to the Sheriff gets stopped.

After a couple of days camping out in different places, the star Kurt announces they are getting a room to shower before they do anymore. Before she even realizes it, Brighton invites them to shower a Hangman’s House. With Remy and Annika plus Meri and Brody they had them all covered to keep them from snooping. Oh, and she also offers to feed them.

While they were hoping to do some investigating at the Courthouse, it was too late and although Brighton suggests the asylum in the next town, the ghost hunters have something else in mind. They want to do Hangman’s House and they are surprised Brighton doesn’t know the house’s history.

This is a favorite scene.

“Well, it’s probably too late to start something in the courthouse. What about the abandoned asylum?” I asked.

“That’s not in Coventry,” Chris interjected.

“I know,” I said. “It’s in the next town, but it’s close. I’m sure your viewers would love it.”

“We were actually hoping you’d let us do an investigation here,” Kurt said softly.

“No,” Remy said before I could answer.

“I knew letting you guys in here was a mistake.”

“We aren’t trying to upset you,” Toto said. “I’ll even let you review any footage before we put it in the show.”

“You have to understand that this is one of the most fascinating locations in Coventry,” Chris said. “The history of this place is amazing.”

“Don’t,” Annika warned.

“Don’t what?” I asked.

“She doesn’t know,” Chris’s voice didn’t hide his shock. “She doesn’t know about the house.”

“I mean, I know it’s called Hangman’s House,” I said. “I guess I never really thought too much about why.”

“That’s weird,” Brody said as he came down the stairs. “I didn’t really think about looking into the house’s history either.”

I wondered if the witches of Coventry had used magic to keep me from looking into the history of the house, or perhaps Meri did. The again, with the way the house behaved, it could have been responsible for Brody’s and my complete lack of interest.

“You should know,” Kurt said. “You live here, after all.”

What they told me next was shocking, but it wasn’t surprising. Before Coventry was a town full of witches, it was a frontier village. Hangman’s House belonged to the first wealthy family in the area. The head of the household eventually became the mayor and the town judge because back then, people were pretty much left to run things the way they wanted out on the prairie. As long as what they did didn’t draw the attention of the magistrates in the larger cities, small hamlets like pre-colonial Coventry did things the way they wanted.

And at one point, what they wanted was witch trials. That year there had been a great deal of sickness and a lot of the crops had gone bad too.

One evening, the youngest son of the mayor had snuck out of his bedroom to go for a walk on their property. Some said he’d endured a belting that evening for having a smart mouth and was probably in a sour mood. He was looking to take his hurt and humiliation out on someone.

He found several someones as he skirted the edge of his father’s property near the woods. The boy heard laughter and saw a fire in the woods, and he was drawn to see what it was.

What he came upon was a small group of the town’s young, unmarried women dancing around a small fire in a clearing. They were drinking wine and singing.

Of course, the boy ran back to his father and reported that he’d seen the girls worshiping the devil in the woods. The mayor was more than willing to forgive his son for sneaking out given the information he’d found for his father.

The next day, a meeting was called at the church, and shortly after, the girls were all arrested. Their families were afraid to protest, and most of them ended up testifying against the girls.

The trials lasted less than a week, and the entire group was sentenced to hang. No one stepped in to prevent the executions, so all of the girls were hung the next Sunday afternoon right after church.

“And they call this Hangman’s House because the judge who sentenced them to hang lived here,” I said.

“Yes, and from what I’ve put together, the girls are buried across the street in the unmarked cemetery,” Chris said. “It’s mostly Tuttlesmith and Skeenbauer ancestors in the old part, but there are a few graves there that are much older.”

“Where did they hang?” I didn’t want to know, but the question was burning a hole in my mind.

“The tree out front,” Rachel said matter-of-factly.

The rest of the Ghost Seekers’ heads swiveled around. Kurt glared at her. I got the feeling they hadn’t wanted to tell me that part.

“Oh,” I said and turned to Remy and Annika. “Why didn’t you tell me this?”

“It wasn’t important,” Annika said. “I mean, of course it was an important part of history, but it’s not like they were real witches.”

“What do you mean by that?” Bobby asked.

“I mean that there have been numerous witch hunts and trials throughout history where innocent women died because people were scared of things they didn’t understand,” Annika said.

“And you?” I asked Brody. “This never came up?”

“It’s not his fault,” Remy said. “Most of that information is contained in the Coventry archives and a few rare books. It’s not exactly common knowledge.”

“But you guys know?” I asked the Ghost Seekers.

“We don’t have access to a small town’s private archives,” Kurt said, “but we do have access to something else. We’re able to get information most other people can’t or don’t want.”

“What do you mean?”

“What he means is that we get our information from the dark web,” Rachel said. “There are forums there where people can post and discuss real paranormal evidence. No one there accuses them of hoaxes or being crazy. We just investigate.”

“Sometimes we have to pay for information too,” Link added. “Some people have information or evidence you can only see if you pay.”

“That doesn’t sound like it would be very reliable,” Brody said.

“It’s not usually, but sometimes you get something good,” Kurt said. “Like the information on this house. We weren’t sure if it was true, but your friend confirmed it. That means there was another set of witch trials in this country.”

“There were probably even more than that,” Chris added. “The ones in Salem were only discovered because they affected people beyond just the village of Salem.”

“But if I let you investigate the house, then the information about the witch trials will get out,” I said. “The world will know.”

“Don’t you think it should?” Kurt asked.

I knew it was a decision I’d be making for the whole town. On one hand, I knew it would draw more investigators and possibly tourists to Coventry. On the other hand, Kurt was right. I felt like the world should know.

“All right, you can do an investigation on the property,” I said. “But if I catch anyone rifling through my underwear drawer, it’s over.”

Kurt clapped his hands together. “Yes! Thank you so much, Brighton. After we conduct our investigation here tonight, we can move on to the old cemetery tomorrow. This is going to be awesome.”
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (5707-5754). Kindle Edition.

Of course, the first place they want to check out is the basement, and Brighton worries when she sees Bobby drawing a pentagram and placing candles down there. This is not going to end well especially when they all start arguing over what Bobby was doing. Meri and Brighton agree they have to be stopped as the veil was thinning feeding off the anger and tension. Brighton suggests going outside to investigate the tree to cool off, but Bobby takes off and Rachel follows him.

The rest of the crew discuss letting Bobby go but decide to wait until the end of the season when his contract ends. Once again Brighton does the unthinkable and invites them to stay instead of them getting a room at the inn.

The next day finds Kurt dead in the tree and thinks get really crazy after that.

Brighton has to prove it was murder and not suicide so they can’t use it to increase the show’s ratings. She’ll also have to figure out who did it.

All this on top of Thorn, mostly ignoring her while trying to work out parental rights over his daughter Dani with his ex-wife Sara.

So much going on, and this book will certainly keep you on your toes. Some surprises and some things we just knew had to happen.

I love reading this as a boxset since I can easily move on to the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

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Books 1-11

Or Separately

Sara Bourgeois

Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)

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Broom With A View – Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 3 by Sara Bourgeois


Broom with a View
Wiked Witches of Coventry Book 3
By
Sara Bourgeois

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A best friend on the mend, a love triangle that just might be a square, and a dead college co-ed – there’s never a dull moment in Coventry. But, can Brighton’s powers save her from a serial killer’s snare?

In the last book, Annika became a victim of Janet, and it took the Aunties and Meri to bring her back. The witches also used their justice on her as well. This is something Thorn is going to have to come to terms with as some things can’t be dealt with by humans. Annika is now recuperating at Amelda’s and she’s not allowed visitors.

As this book opens, a contractor, Grey Bane, is hammering outside Hangman’s House at an ungodly hour. Brighton gets dressed and confronts him only to find he’s honoring a contract made by his grandfather to her Aunt Maude. Apparently, a glitch in the banking system had waylaid the payment and on a revamp of the system the payment went through. So, Brighton is getting a garage for a price set thirty years prior.

For some reason the house has emptied the refrigerator again, so Brighton has to go get groceries, unfortunately when she arrives at Mann’s, she finds a body by the gas pumps. She calls Thorn and pounds on the store door, hoping Bob Mann would answer quickly.

Couple of unexpected things happen here, first is the FBI is going to take control of the case since the victim fits the profile of a serial killer’s prey. Second, Brighton’s brother Brody shows up at the scene, and it seems he was the victim’s fiancé.

Brody and Brighton haven’t been close since her mother was always fueling animosity between them. Now they are going to get the chance to know each other under very different circumstances.

This is a favorite scene.

“I’m making fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and grilled corn,” I said.

“You don’t know how to make fried chicken,” Meri countered.

“I’m going to use magic to help me,” I said. “I figure it’s not for personal gain since I’m doing it for Thorn and Brody. It’s Brody’s favorite. He was always asking for it when he was little, but my mother had no idea how to make it. We’d get take-out fried chicken for his birthday every year, but it’s just not the same.”

“I suppose that wouldn’t be for personal gain.” Meri swished his tail. “At least you better hope not or you might burn the kitchen down.”

“You can send demonic entities screaming into the night, but you can’t deal with a little kitchen fire?” I teased.

“Of course, I can,” Meri huffed.

“Well then, I have nothing to worry about.”

With that, I set to work making the chicken. Even though I was using magic to make the process run more smoothly, I still had to use a recipe. I’d thought about looking it up on the internet, but when I got into the cabinet to get the flour for the coating, I found my Aunt Maude’s recipe box.

Friend Chicken

That was the recipe card I pulled from the box. Despite the name, it was a recipe for fried chicken. The name seemed a little creepy at first, but there was a note at the bottom under the instructions.

“For bringing together new friends and old. Additionally, serve to anyone, and they will be your best friend from that day forward,” I read the note to Meri.

“That sounds like black magic. You can’t interfere with people’s will,” Meri said.

“I think it would be gray magic at best. Not entirely black, but besides that point, I believe it’s because the chicken is so good. It’s not a spell.”

“Whatever,” Meri said. “I’ll wait here to put the fire out.”

“Thanks.”

Making the chicken wasn’t as difficult as I’d expected, and I didn’t need to use nearly as much magic as I’d anticipated. Though being able to use magic to mash the potatoes did come in handy while I ensured the chicken didn’t burn.

I grilled the corn on the barbeque grill I’d purchased with the money from the cemetery job. Lawrence at Nailed It had even given me a nice discount.

Thankfully, I wasn’t using any magic when Brody ambled into the kitchen half asleep. Apparently, the sleeping magic Meri had used on him wasn’t as strong as my familiar believed. Perhaps it was that Brody was already becoming a powerful witch. That would make things awkward if I didn’t tell him soon.

“You’re making fried chicken?” he asked as he slid into a chair at the kitchen table.

“Is it still your favorite?”

“Yes,” he said quietly. “They have it in the cafeteria at school. It’s all right.”

“Well, I hope this is better.”

“I can’t believe you took the time to make it for me.”

“It’s your favorite,” was my response. “But we are having another guest for dinner.”

“Who is that?”

“The sheriff from earlier. He’s… He’s my boyfriend, Brody. I invited him to dinner with us.”

“To prove that I’m not a murderer,” Brody said.

“I don’t know that I’d put it that way. I want him to get to know you. I want to get to know you,” I said.

“We haven’t been close,” Brody said more to himself than to me.

“But we can fix that,” I said hopefully. “There’s no reason we can’t.”

“You know, when we were younger, I was always angry with you, but I don’t know why. It just always seemed to be there hanging in the air, and it got worse when you left home. But when I went away to college, it started to makes less and less sense,” Brody said and stood up. “Let me help you by setting the table.”

I knew why he was always angry at me. It was my mother whispering in his ear. That’s why it stopped making sense when he got away from her, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to tell him that. I didn’t know if he’d believe it, or if he’d get angry at me in defense of our mother.

“I’m glad you’re here now,” I said. “And I would greatly appreciate it if you set the table.”

Brody seemed to know where everything was, so he put out the dishes and silverware without any directions from me. I finished the food and put it in serving dishes. We could have just filled our plates at the kitchen counter right from the cooking pots and pans, but I was trying to make the dinner something special.

As I set the tray with the grilled corn on it down on the table, the doorbell rang. “That will be Thorn,” I said. “Go ahead and sit down to eat, Brody. Or grab yourself a drink from the fridge. I imagine Thorn will want a beer.”

“That sounds good to me as well, what about you, Brighton?”

“I’ll just have a diet soda.”

It was Thorn at the door, and when I opened it to let him enter, he surprised me by pulling me into his arms and kissing me. He held me there for a long moment before reluctantly letting me go.

“I’m so sorry, Brighton,” he said. “I stepped out of line with the things I said this morning. Please forgive me.”

“There’s nothing to forgive, Thorn. You said what you said because you care about me. It was me that was out of line. I was too harsh.”

“No, you weren’t. It wasn’t right of me to question your brother the way I did. He’s your family.”

“It’s okay, really,” I said. “Please come in. Dinner is ready. We can have a nice meal, and all get to know each other better.”

“So we’re not going to have the talk tonight?”

“I told you earlier that we weren’t,” I said and kissed him again quickly. “I meant that.”

“I’ve been worried,” he said softly.

“You don’t need to worry about that, Thorn. Whatever happens between us, we can work it out.”

“It’s good to hear you say that,” Thorn said. “Now that’s enough of you spending your energy soothing my insecurity. Dinner smells delicious.”

“Thank you. I just finished cooking. Please, come eat.”

I’d expected there to be more conversation at first, but apparently both Thorn and Brody were starving. They devoured firsts and then seconds while I just sat and watched in awe at how much food they consumed in a short period of time.

I ate too, but not with as much gusto as my boyfriend and my brother. The chicken was better than I expected, but the mashed potatoes and corn were my favorite. I left the majority of the chicken to the men and ate my fill of the vegetables.

“So, Brody, what are you studying?” Thorn asked when he came up for air.

“I’m getting a master’s degree in history. I’d planned on getting a PhD after so I could teach at the university level,” Brody said.

“You planned on getting a PhD?” I asked. “What happened?”

“I think that I still might,” Brody said. “But I was considering changing my course to a more research-based trajectory. I just don’t know if I want to teach anymore.”

“Is that something you were thinking about before today?” I asked.

“Are you asking if I am saying crazy things because of Brittany’s death?” Brody asked. “No, Brighton, it’s not because of her. I’d been thinking about this for a year. In fact, it’s one of the reasons Brittany and I argued.”

“You argued because you wanted to do research?” Thorn asked, and I could tell he was trying not to sound too much like the sheriff.

“She didn’t like the idea of me making even less money than I would as a professor,” Brody said. “A research job wouldn’t pay as well, and Brittany had expectations. She was… I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but she was high-maintenance. It didn’t help that her father is a surgeon and her mother inherited money. She was used to a lifestyle that I would not be able to provide. It caused friction between us.”

I hadn’t expected Brody to be so open and forthcoming about his private life, but he seemed like a weight had been lifted from him when he finished speaking. Thorn tensed up, and I knew Brody’s story made him even more of a suspect, but I watched as he took a deep breath and relaxed.

“I understand,” Thorn said. “I was married to a woman who wasn’t happy with the life I provided.”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “Well, I was married to a man who was never happy. So I guess we’re three peas in a sad little pod.”

“I’m glad the two of you made me stay,” Brody said. “This has to be better than going home and stewing in my little apartment.”
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (3836-3899). Kindle Edition.

Brighton confesses to Thorn about discussing with Remy telling Brody of his heritage and what being in Coventry means. Thorn is more understanding than she expected and she’s grateful for that.

Of course, Brighton’s not going to stay out of the investigation. She regains Annika as her accomplice and adds Brody to the mix.

We take some pretty convoluted twists to get to the bottom of this murder. Once we know the culprit, I could see the hints that were staring me in the face.

The Epilogue also throws a major twist. So glad I am reading the boxset so I can just keep reading.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Books 1-11

Or Separately

Sara Bourgeois

Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)

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Doom and Broom – Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 2 by Sara Bourgeois


Doom and Broom
Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 2
By
Sara Bourgeois

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When Brighton Longfield discovers her treasured protection amulet is missing, she knows there is big trouble brewing. Not only does she not have the money to replace the expensive charms used to make it, she finds a note in its place from Langoria Skeenbauer telling her that Tuttlesmiths are not welcome in Coventry.

Brighton confronts the woman in the town square with a crowd of Coventry’s residents watching. Of course, Langoria Skeenbauer is one of the town’s most upstanding citizens, so people assume she’s innocent and Brighton is nuts. When Langoria is found dead in the cemetery across from Hangman’s House, Brighton becomes a suspect.

Brighton is the one who discovers the body, and even Thorn is suspicious. But Brighton’s not the only one in town who wanted Langoria dead—While Langoria was seen as a model citizen by many, she’d actually been cruel to many of the witches in Coventry who don’t bear the Skeenbauer name. There are quite a few human residents who aren’t a big fan either. To clear her name, Brighton’s going to need to sweep away all of the lies and misunderstandings that surround the suspicious death.

With her best friend Annika and her familiar Meri on her side, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to catch the real murderer. She’s desperate to clear her name and fix her relationship with Thorn, but will her quest lead her right into a killer’s snare?

Brighton is always waking to strange noises in Hangman’s House, sometimes it’s just the house and others, like tonight, an intruder. Hearing the hall closet close and then the back door slam she hurries downstairs. She’s too late to see the intruder she can’t even tell if it was a man or a woman. Discovering her protection amulet gone and a threatening note from Langoria Skeenbauer she calls Thorn.

Thorn seems to downplay this event and it annoys her, but he’s been ghosting her so she shouldn’t be surprised. She’s been spending a lot of time with Remy investigating the cemetery she found across from her house. Thorn takes issue with that as well even though Remy is best qualified to help with that since he takes care of the courthouse archives.

She decides to confront Langoria as she heads into work the next morning. Of course, she doesn’t get the reaction she wants instead she gets the threat of a tax lien on Hangman’s House. A lien of ten thousand dollars. She doesn’t understand how that’s possible since her family has promised to take care of that for Maude.

Brighton waits a bit before entering the courthouse herself, she doesn’t want to be accused of stalking Langoria. In the archives she finds Remy where he has a contract for her. The Historical Society is offering it to restore the old cemetery. The amount to do so ten thousand dollars plus two thousand for equipment and materials. She doesn’t have to worry about the taxes now and Remy offers his help with that as well as determine if Langoria actually left the note for her.

Since it’s still early for dinner, Meri suggests she take pictures of the cemetery to get an idea of the scope of the work and make plans. Arriving back home and about to start dinner Brighton sees a specter of Langoria she assumes is an astral projection since it faded quickly once Meri hissed at it.

Remy comes by after work, and she has his favorite dinner ready, when he burns his hand on the pan of garlic bread Meri talks her through healing him. After dinner the two of them go over to the cemetery to begin work and find Langoria dead. Remy is shaken by the discovery and even after Thorn arrives, he doesn’t come back to Hangman House. Of course, now she’s the prime suspect in the case, even though she has proof that Langoria wasn’t in the cemetery when she was there earlier.

Thorn continues to be a bit of a jerk, but he does kiss her, and when Remy shows up later, he says he’s had a vision about them. That isn’t the reason he came by with pizza and wine though. He wants to tell her about his relationship to Langoria.

This is a favorite scene.

While he was gone, I couldn’t help but contemplate what he’d told me. Why had he had a vision of Thorn kissing me? Were we that connected already? Did the universe have some reason for showing him?

“I don’t know why we are so connected, Brighton,” he said as he walked back into the living room.

“Did you just hear what I said in my head?”

“Not so much. I could just feel what you were thinking.”

“Are you using some sort of spell to do this?” I asked.

“No, and I wouldn’t do that. I used magic to teach you the witch language, but I would never use it to interfere with your free will,” he said and sat down on the sofa next to me. “But I saw something else, and I feel like I have to tell you.”

“What is it?”

“You’re going to choose him, Brighton. I missed my chance to stop that by abandoning you the other day. You’re going to choose to be with him, but it’s not going to go well. You won’t believe me. You already don’t, but I’ll be here for you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I saw you coming home one night in tears. I was sitting on your front steps waiting for you.”

“That’s a pretty big leap to go from that to I’m going to choose Thorn and he’s going to break my heart. Is that what you came here to talk to me about?”

“No. I came here to talk to you about Langoria,” he said. “I have a secret, and I need to share it with someone. You’re the only one I feel like I can talk to about this.”

Thoughts that he had killed her flooded my mind, and I grabbed a glass of the chocolate wine and moved to one of the wingback chairs. Is that why he’d looked so stricken when we found her? Perhaps he had some sort of serious remorse for killing her. But why would he have murdered his aunt?

“I don’t blame you for being startled. I guess what I said did sound pretty cryptic, but, Brighton, I’d hope you know me better than to think I killed her.”

“If the secret isn’t that you killed her, then what is it?”

“Brighton,” He took a deep breath which he exhaled through his nose. “Langoria wasn’t my aunt. She was my biological mother.”

“Oh, my,” I said and took a huge gulp of the chocolatey wine. “Oh, my.”

The rest of the story went that Langoria had never wanted a child, so she’d given Remy to her sister when he was born. Remy’s adoptive mother had loved him from the start, and the rest of the family approved of the adoption since it was within the family.

Langoria moved on as if she’d never had a child, and in fact, had always treated Remy with a sort of aloof contempt. She married when Remy was in elementary school, he remembered being forced to attend the wedding, but never had any more children.

“They think I don’t know, Brighton,” Remy said as he ran his hands through his thick mop of chestnut hair. “I do know, though. I found the letter giving my mother legal guardianship of me when she accidently left it out in a stack of papers. She was registering me for high school and had to show it again. I tucked it back away and never said anything about it. No one knows that I know.”

“You’ve carried that around with you since high school?” I asked softly. “You never told anyone? Not even Annika?”

“I didn’t want to cause any trouble. I feel like it would cause a rift between Annika and her mother and Amelda if she knew. She wouldn’t like that they’d kept it a secret. She really wouldn’t like it that they’d just let Langoria give me away like an unwanted puppy. My mother was amazing to me even if she is kind of the black sheep of the family now. She doesn’t support the feud or keeping other witches out of Coventry, and because of that, I think I’m a better person. I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I was raised by Langoria.”

“You know that you’re not, right?”

“Not what?”

“Just an unwanted puppy,” I said. “I feel like you probably think that even though the mother that raised you loved you very much.”

“I guess you’re probably right. I mean, I know on an intellectual level that it’s not true, but it has shaped who I am. It’s probably why I took the job hidden away in the archives, and why I left when we found her dead.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Part of it was that it hit me like a train that she was never going to come apologize for just giving me away. She never cared about me even a little bit. That much was obvious. I guess I’d always thought she’d at least try to make amends for that. Maybe she’d come to me one day and say it was her weakness that caused her to abandon me and not mine. When we found her, I knew that was never going to happen. That was only half of it, though. The other half was the terror I felt that it would come out she was my mother. You’d know, and you’d see me as someone disposable. You’d know that I wasn’t worth all the time and affection you’ve given me.”

“Remy,” I said. I stood up from my seat and crossed back to the sofa. After I’d set my wine glass down, I took him by the hands and pulled him off the sofa and into my arms.

It was just a hug, but we stood there in that embrace. He cried for a few minutes, and I just kept my arms around him until he quieted again. I listened to his heart beating while his arms stayed wrapped around my shoulders.

After a while, he took a step back and looked into my eyes. “Thank you for that, Brighton.”

“You know that I could never think that about you? I would never see you as disposable. You are worth all of the time and affection I’ve had to give.”

“You’re amazing,” he said and tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear. “If Langoria’s death hadn’t happened, I would have fought so hard for you. But I hope that you’ll understand someday that this has put me in a place where I’m not ready for what you need. I need some time.”

“Who says I can’t give you time?” I asked, and he took a half step back.

“I say,” he said. “I don’t know how long it will take me to recover from this, and you are ready for love now. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

“But you said I was going to get my heart broken.”

“I’ll always be here for you,” he said and kissed my forehead.
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (2087-2131). Kindle Edition.

Things go downhill with Remy after Annika guesses his secret, but Remy thinks Brighton broke her promise to him.

The investigation into Langoria’s death takes a turn when they find a sting on her, seems a scorpion bit her. The coroner recognized it having seen it in South America. However, it doesn’t belong here in Coventry.

There are lots of ups and downs in this one, with both Thorn and Remy running hot and cold. A few more suspects but the actual killer is definitely a surprise.

Intrigue, Suspense, Romance and More!

As I’m reading the boxset I am already devouring the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

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Books 1-11

Or Separately

Sara Bourgeois

Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)

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If the Broom Fits – Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 1 by Sara Bourgeois


If the Broom Fits
Wicked Witches of Coventry Book 1
By
Sara Bourgeois

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Brighton Longfield is kinda bad at life. She’s divorced, childless, and she just got fired… again…

With dwindling savings and few prospects, she packs her possessions into a U-Haul and sets out for the little town of Coventry where she inherited a dilapidated old house from her Great Aunt “Mad” Maude Tuttlesmith.

Coventry is supposed to be a stop in the road for Brighton. The plan is to fix up the house, sell it, and then figure out what to do with her life.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans…

Coventry isn’t your typical small town. At one time, it was home to two powerful families of witches. But, the Skeenbauer and Tuttlesmith families couldn’t put their differences aside, and eventually, the feuding drove the Tuttlesmith witches out of town.

The matriarch of the Skeenbauer family isn’t pleased to have a descendant of the Tuttlesmith witches return. The thing is, the Tuttlesmiths stopped practicing magic when they left Coventry, and Brighton has no idea she’s a witch. She’s about to get a big surprise.

Oh, and there’s also a dead guy in an alley behind the diner. Brighton finds his body one night after stopping in for a stack of pancakes, and of course, the town’s hunky sheriff starts to give her the side eye. But, a lot of people wanted the victim dead, and that only complicates the investigation.

There’s a murderer on the loose in Coventry, and Brighton’s got to learn to harness her powers to avoid the killer’s snare.

Brighton Longfield is divorced, childless and has lost her job again. The only thing she has is Hangman’s House in Coventry, she’s inherited it from her great aunt ‘Mad’ Maude Tuttlesmith. As she approaches the town her car sputters and dies, with dwindling funds she just gets out of the car raises the hood and begs it to start with promises of the best oil changes money can but once she has the funds. To her surprise it works and she’s on her way once more.

Hangman’s House is rundown and definitely needs a thorough cleaning. After a bat in the master bedroom closet scares the living daylights out of her, she decides to stay a night at Mama Hattie’s. It’s a basement room and definitely not worth the money, even with dinner and breakfast included, but it’s the only place in town.

At dinner she meets Professor Max Harkin who’s surprised she doesn’t know of him. However, everyone is shocked and Cassidy the manager ran to the kitchen to burst out laughing when she professed to not being interested in his specialty of the paranormal. Let’s just say Brighten is in for quite the surprise as she settles here.

Once back at Hangman’s House Brighton is surprised to find as she cleans, the house is in better shape than she originally thought. A visit to the grocery store leads to interesting reactions from some of the shoppers. But it’s an encounter she witnesses at Prue’s Chocolate Treasures between the owner, Prue and Professor Harkin that leaves her angry and without her treat.

Back at home she finds a cat on the porch, she doesn’t let him in though. It’s not until she’s rehanging the now clean drapes that she sees him again outside the window. When she goes outside to shoo him away again, he scoots into the house and settles in front of the fireplace. She hasn’t admitted yet but she now has a cat. However, this is not just any cat.

Treating herself to dinner at Dumbledore’s Diner, she has to share a table because of the crowd. It’s here she meets Annika Skeenbauer and learns of the feud between their families, although Annika doesn’t seem to be holding any grudges toward her.

Deciding to go home a different way, Brighton traverses the alley behind Dumbledore’s only to find a body. The body of Professor Harkin. As she’s panicking the cat shows up and she can hear him talking to her and calming her as she calls 911. Of course, she thinks she’s imagining things. This is when she meets the Sheriff Thorn Wilson who advises her not to leave town.

This is a favorite scene.

The thing he said about me being part of an active investigation sounded ominous. “He must suspect that I killed Harkin,” I said to the cat who was strolling next to me as we make our way home. “And I don’t know if I buy that returning my U-Haul is just small-town hospitality. He must think I’ll try to run off or something.”

“Telling you that was just standard operating procedure, Brighton. It doesn’t mean that you’re an actual suspect. Besides, you didn’t do it, so there’s not going to be any evidence linking you to his death,” the cat responded. “And it is small-town hospitality. Not everyone is Coventry is so friendly, but Thorn is one of the good guys.”

“That should make me feel better, but it doesn’t. This whole thing makes me anxious. Plus, I almost tripped over a dead body. That’s pretty gross.”

I stopped chatting and stared straight ahead when I realized that I was talking to the cat. My breathing became shallow when it further occurred to me that I’d very vividly imagined him answering me.

“It’s going to be all right,” the cat said. “I’m so going nuts. I’m going to end up in the asylum like Maude,” I said to myself and not the cat. “These things run in families. And now I’m talking to myself.”

“I’m not going anywhere just because you feel like you need to pretend like you can’t hear me,” the cat said. “We’re in this together for reasons that are going to become clear soon.”

I reached the edge of my yard and hurried toward the front door. After I practically leapt up the steps, I paused at door. As turned the knob and walked through, I felt a chill run down my spine. Again, I was on the verge of some sort of realization, realization, but it completely fizzled once I was inside. I decided that it must have been stress-induced anxiety from finding a dead body.

One thing was for sure, I felt like I needed a proper bath after spending time in the alley with a dead body. Even if I didn’t touch it and I was only in the alley for a minute, it felt like some of the ick had seeped into me. So I ran a tub of hot water and poured in some of my favorite lavender relaxation bubble bath.

I was just relaxing in the tub trying to clear my mind when the cat jumped up on the counter and knocked the bottle of bubble bath on the floor. “Hey,” I scolded, but then I glanced at my phone and realized that what I’d thought was just a minute was nearly a half hour. I’d almost fallen asleep in the tub, and the cat had saved me. “Sorry,” I said as I pushed myself to my feet.

It had been a long day, and what I needed most was to get to bed. After drying off, I opened the blinds to the room and put on my pajamas. The bed looked warm and inviting, but I was afraid I’d lie awake thinking about Harkin.

Those fears were unfounded, though. The weight of the day pressed on my eyelids, and soon enough, I was ready to drift off again. Seconds before sleep took me, the cat jumped up on my pillow.

“Hey,” I said. “I’m thankful that you saved me from drowning in the bathtub and all, but I said you had to stay off my pillow, cat.”

“My name is not cat,” he said haughtily. “My name is Merimus, but you may call me Meri if it suits you. I am the Tuttlesmith family familiar, and I am at your service, Brighton. But I would prefer to be called by my name and not cat.”

“I’m dreaming,” I said and scrunched my eyes closed as tight as I could. “I have to be dreaming.”

“You’re not dreaming and, Brighton, I’m talking to you. Closing your eyes isn’t going to stop you from hearing me.”

So I grabbed the covers and pulled them up over my head. “I don’t want to be crazy. I don’t want to live in an institution,” I mumbled to myself.

“You don’t need to go to an institution, Brighton. You’re not crazy, and neither was Maude,” Meri said. “She was the best of the Tuttlesmith witches, and that scared the wrong people.”

I tossed the covers back and sat up in the bed with my legs crossed. “You need to stop talking because cats cannot talk,” I said. “You cannot talk, and I cannot hear you. I just need to get some sleep.”

“You can hear me and let me tell you a little bit about why,” Meri began. “I’m a familiar. That means that I’m like your magical assistant. That’s the easiest way for me to explain it. I’m not a witch, and I never was, but you are. Your entire family is. Maude was too. She wasn’t mad at all, and I’m sure if you think back very hard you can remember her talking about her cat or you’ll remember seeing pictures of her with me in them. Think hard, Brighton.”

I was about to put my fingers in my ears and start singing when I recalled a picture my grandmother had shown me of Maude when she was much younger. Maude did have a big black cat named Meri. When I was little, I’d always assumed it was a girl named Mary, though.

“No,” I said. “It just can’t be.”

“It is, and I am in your service. At one time, I was the familiar for the Skeenbauer witches, but I might have dropped a house on one of them or something by accident. It’s hard to recall,” he said and swished his tail as if to sweep the memory away. “Either way, they cursed me to serve the Tuttlesmith family for eternity. The only way I’ll ever be free of my service to your family is if the last Tuttlesmith or Skeenbauer witch dies. They were my family, but now you’re my family. Which I am totally thrilled about. No really, it’s amazing.”

“You’re kind of snarky,” I said. “Wait, Skeenbauer? That’s Annika’s last name. So she’s a witch and I’m a witch, and our families are involved in some sort of witch feud? And you were their familiar, but they cursed you and sent you away? That’s terrible. I’m so sorry.”

I felt very bad for him. Being cast out when you were no longer useful was a feeling I could identify with wholeheartedly.

“That’s the very abbreviated version,” Meri responded.

“Well, it’s going to stay abbreviated because I’m going to sleep, and when I wake up, I’ll realize this was all a very sad but realistic dream. Because cats can’t talk, and witches don’t exist.” I lay down, rolled over and pulled the covers up over my head again. I heard Meri make a tsking sound, but he settled down against my back again. I stared out through the open blinds for a few minutes trying to make sense of what was going on, but sleep won quickly as I drifted off.
Bourgeois, Sara. Wicked Witches of Coventry: Books One – Eleven. Kindle Locations (692-737). Kindle Edition.

It seems the cat, Meri has much to say and Brighton has a conversation first with her mother, who doesn’t help and then her grandmother who does.

The attic, proves to be a library of old books, and some of them she can’t read. In looking for help she meets Remy, Annika’s cousin in the Archives of the Courthouse. She also manages to have a confrontation with Amelda Skeenbauer, Annika’s grandmother, who was responsible for Maude being placed in a psychiatric hospital.

We meet a lot of people in this book, I’ve mentioned the most important ones. Those who help her solve the murder and clear her name and those who become fast friends and romantic interests.

I am reading the boxset, so I’ve already started the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Books 1-11

Or Separately

Sara Bourgeois

Sara Bourgeois is a Midwesterner through and through. She spends her time writing, reading, herding cats, and standing in her driveway during tornado warnings. (You can’t see them from the basement.)

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Desert Bound – Cambio Springs Book 2 by Elizabeth Hunter


Desert Bound
Cambrio Springs Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Elizabeth Hunter

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Wolf shifter, Alex McCann, and mountain lion shifter, Teodora “Ted” Vasquez, came from rival clans. They left Cambio Springs together. Ted came back; Alex didn’t.

Now years later, the future alpha of the McCann wolves has returned with plans to bring new life to the dying desert community–plans that could change everything for the isolated enclave of shapeshifters in the California desert.

As the town’s doctor, Ted has concerns about exposing her community to outsiders. The two former lovers are at each other’s throats. And everyone is watching to see what happens.

But when murder once again strikes Cambio Springs, can they overcome their past to help the community they both call home? And can the love they once shared burn again when so many stand against it?

Teodora “Ted” Vasquez is helping Ollie out at the Cave when Alex McCann shows up. It seems he is also going to help Ollie when Jena had to leave suddenly. It doesn’t take much for him to annoy Ted, he can’t just waltz back into her life and expect everything to be the same again. She still feels the hurt and betrayal over his leaving her, it is palpable when he’s around.

Alex isn’t going anywhere. He’s going to bring Cambrio Springs into the present and work towards the future. The exclusive hotel and spa he’s building has brought many back to town.

One of whom is Marcus, a snake shifter, he’s the foreman on the project and everyone loves and respects him. His family is moving here as well so his children can be surrounded by others like them when they shift. His daughter is getting close to that age.

Now many things happen in this one, first Joe Smith, aka Russell, leaves Allie saying he doesn’t want to be married anymore. Allie is upset although everyone glad he’s gone. He’s been mentally abusive to Allie for quite a while now. She’s better off but the kids loved him, he was a good father to them.

Alex rents one of the trailers on Jena’s property to get away from his Alpha father. Robert doesn’t approve of Alex’s relationship with Ted believing the Wolves and Cats shouldn’t mix.

Things start to get crazier when Marcus’ body is found at the job site. Alex gets the call from Caleb Gilbert the town’s sheriff. Ted is the on-call coroner and declares that the death isn’t shifter related although it seems the coyotes have gotten to the body. Unfortunately, word has already gotten out and the snake clan is already out for blood.

Alex needs to be involved in the investigation, but Caleb needs him to stay out of it. There are shifters involved and their laws are different for a reason. Now Ted is caught in the middle.

This is a favorite scene.

Alex was sleeping, but he heard it. Soft padding feet creeping through his trailer.

Big padding feet.

He woke when the bed creaked to find a hundred-pound mountain lion lying half across his legs, staring at him with lazy golden eyes. He shifted to his back and scooted up a little, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Hey, baby.”

The lion was silent, but her lip curled up. Alex smiled and reached out, running a finger through the soft hair behind her left ear. The instinctive purr made him smile, but the smile was wiped away when she got up on all fours, leaned down, and hissed in his face, baring vicious two-inch fangs.

A full-grown cougar was a terrifying sight, but it was the silence that had always freaked out Alex more than anything. When wolves hunted, there was panting and crackling as they ran through brush. Little yips and barks to let each other know the movements of the pack. But cats were silent hunters; they could creep up rocks and through brush with little trace, their silence broken only by the occasional blood-curdling scream.

So it was probably stupid that the only thing Alex could think of was getting Ted to shift back to human form just so he could see her naked.

He reached over and grabbed the small bag he had kept in his bedside drawer ever since he moved back to the Springs. The cat lurched back as he opened the bag.

“Oh yeah. You know what this is.”

Her eyes glazed over a second before her head dipped down to nuzzle the blanket. Then she shook her head and immediately shifted back to her human form.

Alex grinned. “Still like the catnip, huh?”

“That is so wrong, Alex.”

He laughed wickedly, even as Ted grabbed a corner of the sheet to wrap herself in.

“But it’s so cute.”

“I hate it when you do that!”

“Big scary cougar acting like a kitty cat? How can I resist?”

“That stuff should be regulated.” She scrunched up her nose and shook her head, as if still trying to rid her senses of the smell.

Seeing the advantage in her distraction, Alex grabbed Ted and rolled her under him, trapping her hips with his legs. He always slept naked, and it wasn’t lost on him that the only thing separating their bodies was a thin cotton sheet.

“My turn to pounce.”

“That’s not why I came over.” She was trying to brush him off, but he could scent her arousal and feel her pulse picking up.

“You’re the one who snuck into my trailer naked.”

“I wasn’t naked. I was wearing fur.”

“You’re not now.”

She shrugged. “I felt like having a run, and I wanted to talk to you. It’s quicker this way.”

“Definitely quicker.” He leaned down to her neck, taking in her scent. “We’re both naked. Saves time.”

She could shove him off if she wanted to. She was more than strong enough. But she just lay there, staring at him with an inscrutable expression, as if they were in business negotiations, not naked in bed. She had to feel how aroused he was; it wasn’t something she could miss with his legs caging her in, but she did nothing. Said nothing.

He let his mouth whisper across her neck, felt her pulse spike. Then he pulled away. “What did you want to talk about, Téa?”

“Why do you keep antagonizing Caleb?”

He lifted an eyebrow. “You want to talk about Caleb Gilbert while you’re in bed with me?”

She huffed out a breath. “I’m going to keep you in the loop on this, but it makes it more difficult when you’re pissing him off. I do have to work with the guy. And he’s married to one of your best friends.”

“I wasn’t consulted on that.” He braced his elbows beside her shoulders and played with a curl of her hair. “I like it when you don’t straighten it.”

“It’s a pain in the ass.”

“You didn’t straighten it in college.”

“I didn’t have time in college.”

“Hmm.” He didn’t say anything more. Didn’t push things, even though his body wanted him to. It was this he’d missed, as much as anything. Whispering with her in bed. Arguing about things, then kissing the frown from her mouth. He pulled a thick curl from behind her ear and pulled it out to its full length, laying it across her face so the soft strands touched her lips. Then Alex bent down and slowly took the curl between his teeth, letting his lips brush hers as he pulled it away.

Ted let out a soft breath, and her scent bloomed around him. He buried his face in her neck as her hands came to rest at his waist.

His lips trailed up to her ear.

“Kiss me, Téa.”

“Alex, we shouldn’t—”

“A kiss.” He spoke against her lips. “Just… a kiss.”

She drew in a breath, and he felt her body relax. Her hips sank into the bed, and her hands spread across the small of his back. His lips rested against hers. Not moving until she opened her mouth and let him in.

A ferocious need tore through him, but he clamped it down and sank into what she offered. Just that. Soft lips pressing and moving against his, then her mouth opened and he tasted her again. Slick tongue licking the inside of his mouth, lapping at him like the cat she was.

His Téa could do amazing things with her tongue.

He smiled as he kissed her, enjoying the familiar rhythm that took over their bodies. They rocked together, hands grasping harder, the friction of the sheets maddening against his skin. Their lips never parted. His hands sank into her hair, tugging her mouth back to his when she pulled away to gasp his name.

“Alex—”

“Shh,” he murmured, taking deep breaths, forcing his body away from her and closing his eyes as he rested his cheek against hers. They were flush with desire. She was hot and wet. He could smell it around her. Alex ached to take her like that. Sink into her and sate the need that clawed them both, but he pulled back.

Too much too fast would only come back to bite him. And not in a good way.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

I miss you so much.

His wolf growled at him to claim her.

She said nothing, and his heart hurt a little.

Ted didn’t need him. Not like he needed her. Her life was full. Work she loved. Family. Friends. But cracks had appeared in her walls with the shock of Marcus’s death, and he was trying to ease closer without her shutting down. She hadn’t clawed at him when he and Caleb almost came to blows. She’d comforted him. Soothed both the man and the wolf with her touch. And so far, she hadn’t raised her guard again. It was an advantage he didn’t plan to waste, and he didn’t think his old friend would mind.

“You know… I’m sorry,” he said, still pressing his cheek to hers. His thumb stroked the side of her neck. “For hurting you. Sorry that you didn’t know how much it hurt me to lose you. Even if it had to happen, you should have known—”

“I should go.”

He closed his eyes. Too much. Slowly, he nodded and rolled to the side, but she didn’t get up right away. Just stared at the ceiling while he watched her in profile.

“This place is tiny,” she said.

“It’s decent for a trailer.”

She’d pulled the sheet up to her neck.

“If you’re really staying, why didn’t you just get a house? There’s a few in town that are nice. And you could always fix one up.”

Dammit, his sister had been right.

“I like the old places like yours,” he said. “There’s none of those right now. I can wait.”

“For what? Why not just build a new one in the old style?”

“You really want to know?”

She said nothing, but he could feel her tense.

“I didn’t want to buy one by myself, Téa. Or build one. Not alone. I always wanted—”

He broke off when he felt her shift. Seconds later, the mountain lion was out the door. He could hear the wind whipping through the trees that shaded the trailer. He listened for a few moments, then stood and walked to the door, looking out into the black night. He didn’t see her, of course. He didn’t expect to.

Alex sighed. “I wanted our house, not mine.”
Hunter, Elizabeth. Desert Bound: A Small Town Shifter Romance (Cambio Springs Book 2). Kindle Locations (1056-1123). Recurve Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.

With the two investigations going on they of course are stepping on toes. On top of that Marcus’ wife Josie had come to town with her children and plans to stay. Just not with the Quinn family. They’re really too much.

Josie’s brother, Chris Avery, comes to replace Marcus at the job site since they were partners, he’s quite opinionated and rude but seems to be getting the work done.

Other problems in the Quinn family lead to an interesting consequence for Alex and Ted and another shifter, Sean Quinn, returns to the fold to help control the unruly snakes.

There are so many twist and turns in this one, with laughter, tears, action, romance and sizzle as each problem works to resolution.

5 Contented Purrs for Elizabeth!

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Coming Soon!

Elizabeth Hunter

ELIZABETH HUNTER is a ten time USA Today bestselling author of romance, contemporary fantasy, and paranormal mystery. Based in Central California and Addis Ababa, she travels extensively to write fantasy fiction exploring world mythologies, history, and the universal bonds of love, friendship, and family.

She has published over fifty works of fiction and sold over two million books world-wide. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries, the Glimmer Lake series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.

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Zin’s Sins – Wicked Winemakers First Label Book 4 by Heather Slade


Zin’s Sins
Wicked Winemakers
First Label Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Sladee

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ZIN

My main concern is protecting those I love. I keep them out of harm’s way and out of legal trouble. These are my brothers through and through. And I would do anything for any of them. But when one our own is kidnapped and tortured, it’s up to me to take care of her—whether her brother likes it or not.

JADA

I’ve grown up with these men most of my life. I know them all inside out. But the chilly Zin doesn’t stop me from wanting more of that sweet taste on my tongue all over again. And he’s the only one I trust right now. He’s been doing my bidding to keep me safe and secure. Now, it’s time for me to make the bid that’s going to change everything.

NOTE:
WARNING, this story may cause triggers.

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As this book opens, Jada is at the Butler Ranch recuperating from the injuries incurred during her captivity. Luisa, her best friend and the one her captor wanted comes to apologize but Jada kicks her out. She even kicks out Vaile Oliver/Zin, who she’s been seeing for years. She really doesn’t understand the depth of his feelings for her, nor he hers.

Her brother Montana/Onyx is there as well and he’s really angry with Zin and the Los Caballeros. Onyx was leading the rescue mission and Zin rushed in before them, saving Jada’s life but Onyx doesn’t see it that way. Now he wants to get rid of the group before anyone ever does something like that again. He and Zin get into it, and both get a bit bloody.

Disgusted with both of them Jada tells them to go away and leave her alone. They won’t leave her alone and it’s Tryst who saves the day.

When he sits with Jada, he tells her a story.

This is a favorite scene.

“Hi, Tryst,” I said when he walked over to the bed, leaned down, and kissed my cheek. The man wasn’t my uncle, although I’d always thought of him that way. My mother’s sister had been married to his brother before he passed away.

“How bad is the pain?” he asked.

So bad I didn’t know how to respond. He meant physical pain, though, not what was really torturing me. “I don’t know, maybe a seven,” I responded.

“I am sorry this happened to you, Jada.”

While I had no doubt others, maybe even everyone, felt the way he did, he was the first to say the words. “Thank you.”

“What can I do to help?”

“I honestly don’t know.”

“Are you able to rest?”

I looked at him with wide eyes and shook my head.

“Will you hold my hands?” Tryst put his on my lap, and I put my palms on them. “Make yourself comfortable but keep your eyes focused on mine.”

I rested my head on the pillow, but my gaze stayed on him.

“I’ll tell you a story.”

“Okay,” I whispered.

“I was on a walk in Mexico one day. I was young, younger than you are now, and I got lost.” He smiled. “Since I was in the Army at the time, I couldn’t admit to anyone that a survivalist got himself lost in the wilderness, so I kept going, hoping I would come to a trail or, better, a road.”

“Or another person?”

Tryst smiled a second time. “While you may think you know the story, I’m going to share a few things I’ve never told anyone.”

I drifted in and out of sleep, trying so hard to keep listening as he told me about the day he’d stumbled on the property that was now his ranch. It was the same day he’d met the woman who would become his wife. Like him, Rosa had been visiting Mexico. She with her family, him with the military.

I’d never visited the place he called El Lugar de Curación, but listening to his story, I felt like I had. I could hear the rush of water in the creek he and Rosa had walked beside, and I could feel the warm breeze on my face when he described how soothing it felt.

“We crested a hillside and gasped as our eyes took in the view of the entire El Palomar valley. I told my Rosa I’d build her a house on the very ground we stood. It was a promise I kept.”

I drifted deeper into sleep, but then woke with a start.

“What did you see?” Tryst asked when I gripped his hands and my eyes bored into his.

“A coyote. It was approaching me.”

He nodded and closed his eyes, as if in prayer. When he opened them, he smiled.
Heather Slade. Zins Sins – Heather Slade (Kindle Locations 270-292). Kindle Edition.

With Onyx’s threat to the Los Caballeros Zin speaks with his father and it’s decided that all of the members, past and present should meet. Onyx resigned from K19, this could have serious repercussions.As soon as she’s cleared to leave Butler Ranch, Jada makes the decision to do the rest of her recuperation at Tryst’s Ranch, El Lugar de Curación. She finally talks to Louisa, and they are fine, but she doesn’t tell Zin she’s going and only the nurse, Lynne accompanies her.

Zin starts working the vineyard, giving up his law practice. It’s there he starts seeing the coyote, there’s a message here.

The process for Jada to heal is a complicated one, and Zin manages to get close but not near her by staying with Brix and Addy and working on the home they are building on property given to them by Tryst.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure how Zin and Jada were going to work this all out. Neither of them have been honest about their feelings and keeping their relationship a secret from everyone hasn’t help things either.

There’s lots of tears in this book, and yet so much healing and joy as this story winds to it’s conclusion.

I can’t wait to see what Heather has in mind for us next.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Heather Slade

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

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


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Undefeated Love – Black Swan Book 8 by KaLyn Cooper


Undefeated Love
Black Swan Book 8
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
KaLyn Cooper

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Did Jack Ashworth really retire to a Caribbean island?
Or is he dead?

Who will take over as Director of Operations for Homeland Security?
Or will Jack return?

Is Katlin Callahan deathly ill?
Or is she pregnant?

Is Alex Wolf engaged to the rising star JJ?
Is he still in love with Katlin?

Who is getting married?
Will all the attendants show up?

What happens to Black Swan Team One?
And to Black Swan Team Two?

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After learning that General Standish is in charge until a new Director is selected, Katlin gives an in-depth tour of Homeland to Black Swan Team 2. Four days later Kat and her team are sent on their first mission since her injury.

As Alex is driving home with Dammit their dog, he gets a call from his childhood friend JJ. She and her director want him to do the training and coordinating on the fight scenes for her new movie. He’s done them before, and after figuring out his schedule agrees to start the next week.

Kaitlyn has some issues on their mission, she’s been tired and having trouble keeping food down. But thankfully not while doing the actual tracking of their subject. Now they are heading home, and she promises Nita she’d have a full checkup done after the two weeks at the beach is done. Being alone in the condo isn’t working for Kat, she misses Alex and decides to surprise him. It was easy flying with Dammit on their executive jet. When she arrives in SD she drops off Dammit at the groomer and goes for the tests she promised Nita she’d do. She leaves there with good news and can’t wait to see Alex.

Although Alex’s schedule didn’t show it he has a commitment that evening. He’s taking JJ to the premier of her movie since she broke up with her boyfriend. It was a last-minute thing and he’s running late after properly welcoming Kat home. Unfortunately for Alex, she sees a note with the tuxedo that arrives while he’s in the shower and that makes what he called a meeting a lie. That sends her mind off in a direction Alex doesn’t see coming, the argument is fast and furious as Kat walks out. However, things are about to get even worse.

This is a favorite scene.

As soon as Alex hopped into the back of the limousine, he immediately tried to call Katlin. The first time, he didn’t bother leaving a message. He simply hung up and tried again. It flipped to voicemail. “You’ve reached the voicemail for Katlin Callahan. You know what to do with the beep.”

At the tone, he almost started to call her babe in his brain as he prepared for what to say. “Kat, I’m so sorry. Please call me back so we can talk about this.” He stared at his phone debating if he should call her right back again, hoping she picked up. Maybe she was on a call to one of the women on her team, bitching about what an ass he’d been.

He quickly texted her:
Kat. I’m so sorry. You were right. I acted like a dick to you. When you get this, please call me. I love you.

He tried calling her again. No answer.

She’s always answered my calls or at least called me back right away. She must be seriously mad at me. I fucked up big time. I should’ve told her that I agreed to escort JJ at the last minute, after she dumped her boyfriend a few days ago. Katlin would’ve understood.

He decided to tell her exactly that in a text:
Kat. I’m sorry. I should have told you that I agreed to escort JJ to her premiere tonight after she dumped her boyfriend three days ago. So, you see, this was really a last-minute job. Please forgive me. I promise to make this up to you.

It had been a few minutes, so Alex decided to call her. Again, it went to voicemail. “I love you, Katlin. I’m so sorry if I made you feel… used. I’ve missed you so much, especially after we’d spent every day and night together for nearly three months. There has never been anybody else, and never will be. Please forgive me for being such an ass tonight. I love you, and always will.”

His messages got longer as did the apologies. He felt absolutely terrible. Although she hadn’t responded, he’d hoped that she’d read each and every text and listen to all of his voicemails. Hopefully, he’d find her waiting for him in their bed.

He had the operations center track the car. It was currently sitting in long-term long-term parking at the airport. A typical escape and evade trick. The person tracking her wouldn’t know whether she got on an airplane, picked up at the airport, rented a car, or stole one. He’d already sent a team to retrieve the company sports car.

He’d checked her embedded tracker, but it seemed to be malfunctioning. It had her in South America for a few minutes before bouncing to China, then Africa.

Alex was becoming frustrated, more so after they picked up JJ and her entourage.

“Alex, put that damn thing down,” JJ insisted. “There can’t be anything that important back in the office that you need to be glued to your phone.”

He looked up at JJ. “Babe—” Oh, fuck. Katlin was right. When did he start calling every woman babe?

JJ looked at him with perfectly arched raised eyebrows as though waiting for him to finish his sentence. Fuck. What was he going to say? Oh, yeah. “I think Katlin read your note, got pissed, and walked out on me.”

JJ gave him a small grin. “Sorry. Not sorry.” Her grin widened. “If she left you over such a small thing as that note, then maybe she doesn’t love you as much as you think she does.”

Katlin loved him. He knew that in his soul. “Maybe her medicine is fucking with her emotions.” That could be it. Glancing at his watch, he realized it was too late on the East Coast to call Dr. Tobias to see if they changed her medicine. Maybe that was the good news she’d wanted to tell him.

Meredith excitedly clapped her hands. “I need you all to pay attention. We’re almost to the line of limos.” She stared at Alex and JJ. “Remember, no matter what happens around you, or what anyone says to you, just keep smiling and moving down the red carpet. We’ll jump out of the car when there are still two cars in front and meet you inside.”

Her hairstylist fussed with JJ’s hair and sprayed it once again. “Reapply your lipstick now,” she ordered.

JJ opened the tiny clutch purse and extracted her lipstick. Using the minuscule mirror on the case, she carefully reapplied more of the color. After slipping the tube back into the purse, it didn’t want to close. “This damn latch is broken.”

Meredith grabbed it from her and snapped it closed. “You’ve got too much crap in here. I’ll take it into the theater with me.”

“No. I have to carry this. The designer of my dress insisted I carry this clutch with me, and I don’t want to make her angry. It fits me perfectly and I wouldn’t mind getting more from her.” JJ ran her hand down the low-cut neckline that accentuated her perky breasts. “She knows how to highlight all my attributes and hide my flaws.”

“Then hold onto it overtop the clasp.” Meredith continued with her instructions, which included which media to stop at and give an interview. Alex only half listened as he checked his phone every few seconds.

Fuck it all. I don’t have time for Kat to pull this shit on me. I don’t care whether she’s PMSing or whatever the hell is wrong with her today. There always seems to be something with her. If she’s going to be that way, I’ll let her cool off tonight. I’ll make it up to her tomorrow by taking her out to dinner and showing her a good time, being the loving fiancé she expects… and deserves. I’ll find her. I’m sure Homeland will straighten out her tracker quickly.

A minute later Alex and JJ were the only ones left in the back of the limousine.

Alex looked at his childhood friend. “When we were kids, did you ever think you’d be riding in a limousine to your premiere?” They’d both been poor children from the seedier side of Washington D.C.

She reached over and squeezed his forearm. “Not in my wildest dreams.” She inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly. “This is my first starring role in a big movie. I just hope they like it. I know it’s already been reviewed by several big names, but those people standing out there are the ones who will really determine my success as an actress.”

The car inched forward, and Menudo gave them the signal. “I’ll be right behind you watching the audience.”

Someone opened the back door and Alex exited first. He stood to his full height and scanned the area out of habit before reaching in for JJ’s hand. She elegantly stepped out of the limousine to camera flashes and people yelling. She lifted her hand to wave and dropped that damn purse. Since all eyes were on her and he wasn’t her bodyguard, Alex stepped back and scooped up the purse and the few contents that had spilled. JJ all but grabbed it from his hand and placed her free hand in the corner of his elbow.

This wasn’t Alex’s first red carpet. He’d been a bodyguard to several stars. When she moved too quickly, he warned through his pasted-on smile, “Slow down.”

JJ instantly let out a breath and reduced her pace, waving and smiling to the lines of fans. Several places had been set up for staged photographs. She entered the first posing for the best pictures of herself and the dress. She then signaled for Alex to join her. The camera clicks were almost deafening. This part he’d never done before and swore he would never do again.

They moved to the next stop and repeated the process. It took almost fifteen minutes before they reached the media. Here, Alex knew his place; he was simply window dressing to the beautiful JJ who captivated audiences with well-practiced soundbites.

JJ was up next for the last and most important media who were talking to the director. “I need to freshen my lipstick. I’ve cheek kissed more people in the last ten minutes than I have in my entire life.” She opened the tiny purse and several things popped out. Alex kneeled to retrieve the contents once again. He handed everything back to her and waited as she stashed it away. A small box was the only thing left. While he was still on one knee, the ring box popped open, revealing a very large diamond ring.

The media host must have glanced their way because she squealed, “Oh, my God. Is that a diamond?”

What the fuck? Alex looked at the ring in the box. What the hell was JJ doing caring around a diamond ring? A rather gaudy ring in his opinion. He looked up to her for answers.

“Of course I’ll marry you, Alex,” JJ gushed, clasping her hand to her nearly bare chest.

What the hell?

When Alex stood, JJ slipped the ring on her finger and went on tiptoes. At the last second, he moved his head slightly, so she only got the corner of his mouth with her kiss. She grabbed his face in both hands and gave him a quick peck on the lips before turning to the hordes of cameras.

Alex tried to step back but she pulled him even closer. She then turned and set her left hand on his chest flashing the huge diamond ring. Then she threw her arms around his neck and kept her mouth on the opposite side, away from the cameras.

“Alex, please go along with this. Please. Don’t embarrass me now.”

“You saw it here, first, live on…” the host droned on, hyping her TV talk show. “JJ, how are you feeling right now?” She shoved the microphone in front of JJ.
KaLyn Cooper. Undefeated Love – KaLyn Cooper (Kindle Locations 736-807). Kindle Edition.

Yep Alex is in deep trouble, and Kat isn’t going to be found. She takes a lone assignment in China, then the team takes on a sanctioned assignment, after which she resigns the team and disappears. Only appearing once for the wedding before taking off again. Poor Alex doesn’t get a chance to even talk to her even though he’s proven is innocence in the JJ debacle.

So much happens in this book, I was laughing, crying, screaming and WOW what a perfect series end!

I can’t wait to read the adventures of Black Swan Team 2.

5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!

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KaLyn Cooper KaLyn Cooper

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

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

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


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Waking Hearts – Cambrio Springs Book 3 by Elizabeth Hunter


Waking Hearts
Cambrio Springs Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Elizabeth Hunter

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Fox shifter Alison Smith gave up on happy endings when her ex-husband walked out, but that didn’t mean she was allowed to give up on happy. With four growing kids, Allie is determined to look on the bright side and carry on. Luckily, Allie has the best friends a girl could ask for. Especially a certain quiet bear who’s always been her rock.

Oliver Campbell knows what it means to be patient. But twenty years of wanting one unavailable woman may have pushed him to the edge. With Allie working every night at his bar, their friendship has begun to fracture.

Then old ghosts offer one more kick to the little family that’s already down. Allie’s ex-husband may be gone, but his actions are haunting his family. With danger licking the borders of Cambio Springs, the bear and the fox will have to work together. And twenty years of unspoken passion may finally come to light.

In the last book Joe Smith aka Russell left his wife saying he didn’t want to be married anymore. No one has seen him since. Ted and Alex are married, and Alex won the dominance fight against his father and is now Alpha. Sean Quinn is back and helping Quinn.

Allie Smith filed for divorce six months ago, but nothing has happened. No one can find Joe to serve him the papers. She’s frustrated and wants to move forward but can’t without resolution.

Things are about to change, as Caleb gets a report that a rancher had found a body on his property. There was a pawn ticket in his pocket for a Bowie knife with the name Joe Russell. Now they still have to formally identify the body since it was exposed to the elements for quite a while. He has to tell Allie to get permission for the dental x-rays to be sent.

While they don’t know for sure if the body is Joe’s Allie only tells her two oldest their suspicions. Kevin is angry and Mark is thoughtful as they are told.

Ollie and the bear clan are asked by Allie to help find out if Joe was into anything that could lead back to her and the kids.
Of course, law enforcement is investigating as is Alex and the wolves. There are so many possible issues knowing Joe’s history of drinking and gambling. However, it’s the snakes that come up with the pertinent clue.

This is a favorite scene.

Sean fell silent just as Ollie turned onto the main road and headed toward Allie’s house.

Ollie asked, “Did you know? About the shit your uncle told me?”

“I knew about the poker game in Palm Springs. Maggie told me one of her brothers set it up for him, but it sounds like she’s the one who really did. I’m the one who told my uncle.”

“Why the hell would your sister vouch for a gambling addict in a high-stakes game, Sean? Why would she even—”

“Joe owed her money, okay?” Sean raked a hand through his hair. “Listen, I’m not saying I approve. I don’t. But Joe came to Maggie and asked for the introduction. The man knew his cards. She and a couple other people staked him for it and expected Joe to be able to walk away with at least enough to pay them back.”

“And then he disappeared.”

“Maggie’s a bitch, but she wouldn’t set him up if she thought it was someone violent. Joe was one of us. She wouldn’t have done it. If nothing else, the old man would have killed her.”

Ollie ground his teeth. “I’m going to talk to Alex.”

Sean winced. “Oh, you hate me. You know he’s going to blame me.”

“I have to. He’s the only one who’s ever run in that crowd. He’ll know who we can talk to. We need to find out who was at that game.”

“You think they had something to do with it?”

“According to your uncle, the game was set up for a night almost exactly ten months ago, the same age as the body. You telling me you think that’s a coincidence?”

Sean sighed. “No.”

“Yeah, I don’t either.” He turned right, toward the house, only to see Caleb’s police truck turn in behind him. “What the…?”

He cleared the line of willow trees that bordered the road to see Sean’s truck sitting in front of Allie’s house next to Ted’s Jeep.

Ted’s Jeep at Allie’s house. Caleb’s truck behind them.

“Shit,” Sean whispered.

No.

Ollie parked and jumped out of the Bronco, running toward Allie, who had her arms wrapped around herself. Her face was leached of color.

No no no no.

“Allie?”

Hollow eyes turned toward him, and he opened his arms, grabbing her and lifting her up as her arms went around his neck, holding so tight she threatened to choke him.

“Ted’s friend decided to work the weekend,” she whispered. “Trying to catch up. He called her…”

Ollie turned toward Ted, whose eyes were red. Alex stood with a hand at the small of her back as Caleb and Sean came walking toward them.

“It’s him,” Ted said. “Larry said the dental work was conclusive. He called as soon as he knew.”

Ollie turned his head, pressing his cheek to Allie’s temple, his hand against the back of her head, holding her to him.

“Okay.” He took a deep breath. “It’ll be okay. What do you want us to do?”

She was shaking. Ollie took her to the porch steps and sat down, holding her on his lap, her arms still around his neck.

“Allie-girl, what do you need?”

“I can’t think,” she said. “I can’t…”

“Do you want the kids here? Do you want us to take you over to Cathy and Tom’s?”

“Ollie—” His name was a choked cry when she broke.

He held her, stroking a hand over her hair, their earlier anger forgotten. He didn’t know what he whispered to her as she cried, but he felt Ted when she came to sit beside them and put her arm around Allie’s waist. He heard Alex sit beside his wife. Heard Sean pacing back and forth as Caleb murmured quietly on his phone.

The wind had picked up by the time her crying stopped. Allie lifted her head and wiped the tears from her cheeks, leaving one arm on Ollie’s shoulder as she blinked.

“Ted,” she said in a hoarse voice, “can you call Jena? Have her call my dad and get them to bring the kids home. My car is at the Crowe’s house.”

“Okay, mama.”

“In fact, see if Tom and Cathy can come over too.” She sniffed. “And I need you guys to stay.”

“Anything you need,” Alex said. “The kids—”

“Caleb?”

The lean man knelt next to Allie, worry creasing his tan face. “What’s up?”

“Can you bring Low and Bear too?”

Ollie frowned. “You sure you want so many people here when you tell them?”

“I need…” Her breath hitched. “I want everyone here. Everyone close. They need to know they’re not alone. I want them surrounded. Want everyone… everyone who loves them—”

“You got it.” Caleb’s eyes filled with tears. “We’ll take care of it, Allie. We’ll get everyone here.”

She nodded and Ollie drew her to his chest again, wrapping both arms tight around her. He could feel her heart racing against his chest.

“Take a breath,” he whispered.

“Ollie, my babies.”

“Take a breath, darlin’. We’ll keep things together.”

“Stay.”

“As long as you want me to.” He hitched her tighter into his embrace, felt her hands move down and wrap around his waist. “I’ve got you, Allie. Just breathe.”
Hunter, Elizabeth. Waking Hearts: A Small Town Shifter Romance (Cambio Springs Book 3). Kindle Locations (1443-1485). Recurve Press LLC. Kindle Edition.

For Ollie this is almost as hard as it is for Allie. He’s loved her since before she and Joe got together in high school. Now that have an idea of what Joe was doing before he died, they need to move fast.

With Joe’s legal name of Smith out there, whoever killed him could come after Allie. Ollie is going to do everything he can to protect her. They really need to get past all this and finally be the couple they were meant to be.

There is a lot of suspense and intrigue in this one as the pieces slowly come together.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Elizabeth!

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Coming Soon!

Elizabeth Hunter

ELIZABETH HUNTER is a ten time USA Today bestselling author of romance, contemporary fantasy, and paranormal mystery. Based in Central California and Addis Ababa, she travels extensively to write fantasy fiction exploring world mythologies, history, and the universal bonds of love, friendship, and family.

She has published over fifty works of fiction and sold over two million books world-wide. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries, the Glimmer Lake series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.

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Just One Fling – Kingston Family Book 9 by Carly Phillips


Just One Fling
Kingston Family Book 9
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

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Winter Capwell knows all about billionaire Harrison Dare’s bad-boy reputation.

His all-pleasure, no-commitment rule worked well for her, too. Until fate changed everything.

Harrison never wanted a wife or kids. His incredibly large family provides all the siblings and children he needs. Besides, no woman has ever tempted him to give up his bachelor lifestyle.

Until the mysterious and sexy Winter entered his life.

But when someone comes after the woman he loves, he will stop at nothing to protect her and make her his. For good.

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This book opens with the startling revelation that Winter is Derek and Nikki Bettencourt’s half-sister. As expected, Collette Bettencourt goes ballistic given the way she’s treated Nikki. She also tries to attack Winter, but Derek prevents it. Corbin reacted quite the opposite and in response, moves out and files for divorce. Mind you this is only half of what’s going on in this book.

Harrison Dare hadn’t been looking for a relationship when he and Winter hooked up while doing the in-depth interviews for K Talent Productions. He couldn’t stop thinking about her though, and they got together again at Nikki and Asher’s engagement party. He knew then something was on her mind, but she was already gone the next morning and they hadn’t talked.

Winter’s revelations and Corbin’s actions triggered another scandal for the Bettencourt family. Fortunately, Nikki, Derek and Asher have all been there for her.

Harrison is looking forward to seeing Winter at this charity ball benefiting Future Fast Track for foster children. It’s a costume ball and he definitely pushed it with a tuxedo and claiming to be James Bond. His look however is nothing compared to Winter’s Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she truly took his breath away.

Unfortunately, she’s light-headed and feeling nauseous so Nikki leaves with her. It’s Nikki who makes Winter consider another reason for her illness. It seems before the engagement party Winter had been on antibiotics for a strep infection, she didn’t even think of the possibility her birth control could be compromised. Now those results are in and Harrison definitely messed up with his response as his brothers let him know.

Of course, his ex Sharon has to go and mess things up more when Winter calls as he’s finishing up auditions in LA. So instead of her asking him to be at her doctor’s appointment she has Nikki accompany her. Harrison finds out and hopes to catch her there, not thinking of the possible consequences of his actions.

This is a favorite scene.

Harrison called, texted, FaceTimed, and showed up at Winter’s apartment building. She hadn’t answered the phone, her read texts option was off, so he had no idea if she’d seen his message, but he’d bet she was ignoring him. And the doorman told him she wasn’t home. He called Nikki, but she didn’t answer either. Frustration rode him because he needed to sit down with her and discuss his involvement in both her pregnancy and their child’s life.

When the direct route to Winter failed, he called his brother and somehow convinced Asher to tell him where to find the women. They were at Winter’s first obstetrician appointment, and Harrison muttered a curse.

He had no doubt that was why she’d called him. To extend an olive branch and invite him to join her. Then she’d gotten a glimpse of his lipstick-stained face and decided he wasn’t serious enough to be all in when it came to their baby.

Persuading Asher to give him the doctor’s address hadn’t been easy. Asher had insisted that if Winter wanted him to know, she would have told him. And Nikki would throttle him if he got in the middle of their issues.

Harrison tried reminding Asher that they were brothers, Asher had informed him fiancée trumped brother.

“Would you want to miss your baby’s first doctor’s appointment?” he’d asked.

Asher had texted him the address.

Harrison walked into the office off Park Avenue. All sets of eyes turned his way, and most widened the moment they recognized him.

Shit.

A quick glance told him Winter wasn’t in the waiting room, which meant she’d probably been called into the back. He was lucky enough that when he’d spoken to Asher, he hadn’t been late for the appointment.

Harrison stepped up to the front desk where an older woman was on the phone, and he waited anxiously for her to notice him. When she finally glanced up, her lips parted in a surprised O. “You’re… You’re… Harrison Dare! Oh my God.”

He leaned in on one elbow, giving her his full attention.

“Can I help you?” she finally remembered to ask.

“I’m here to see Winter Capwell. I was supposed to bring her today, but I was running late, so she came with her sister. Think you can let me in to surprise her?”

She furrowed her eyebrows together. “Oh, I don’t know. It’s against protocol. Let me go back and ask her.”

That wouldn’t work. Winter would probably have him thrown out. “This really needs to be a surprise.” He treated the receptionist to his patented, big-wattage grin and turned on the charm. “Can you please help a guy out?” he asked with a wink.

She leaned in. “Will you give me your autograph?” She blushed as she asked.

“Sure thing.” One signature later on an envelope, the nearest white paper she could find, and she led him to a room with a closed door and left him there.

Two nurses walked past. Both stared. A patient exited a room, noticed him and did a double take. So much for slipping in unnoticed.

Drawing a deep breath, he knocked on Winter’s exam room door. A female doctor opened the door, and her gaze met his. After the requisite eyebrow-raising, she pulled herself together. “And who are you, besides Hollywood’s Hottest Playboy?” she asked.

His face heated as it usually did when that stupid moniker came up.

“He’s the baby’s father,” he heard Winter speak, followed by a heavy sigh. “You can let him in,” she said, and the nervous knot in his stomach eased.

“Well, I was just leaving so Ms. Capwell can get dressed and meet me in my office where we can talk some more.”

“You’re finished with the exam?” he asked.

She nodded. “With the basics. Congratulations.” She stepped into the hall and let him walk past her and into the small exam room.

Winter sat on the table wrapped in a blue gown with a paper sheet covering her to her waist. Beside her stood Nikki, looking at him with a huge grin on her face. His baby’s mother didn’t look nearly as happy to see him.

“Ladies,” he greeted them with a smile.

“I think that’s my cue to leave!” Nikki gathered her bag and jacket she’d hung on a hook behind the door and walked over to her sister.

She wrapped her arms around Winter and whispered something in her ear, then stepped past him, squeezing his hand in silent support as she left, pulling the door shut behind her.

Harrison glanced around the room, taking in the medical instruments and stirrups on either side of the table, grateful for his timing. He’d missed the exam, and he had a feeling it was for the best this time.

He cleared his throat and met Winter’s glassy green eyes. With her makeup-free face and her arms wrapped around herself, holding her gown shut— and probably herself together— she looked more fragile than he’d ever seen her.

“This is why you called me, right? You wanted to tell me you’d made an appointment?”

She nodded. “I was going to ask if you wanted to come along, but… you were busy.”

He inclined his head. “Watching auditions.” And the rest they would discuss another time. Right now, he needed to be succinct. “I’m here now, and this is how things are going to be. You. Me. Co-parenting this baby.”

She visibly swallowed hard. “I can’t— we can’t— be an obligation.”

There was obviously a lot of emotional baggage behind that word, and he’d need to unpack it if they were going to make this work. They had time to do that, but for now, they needed to be in agreement.

“Winter, I don’t want to do this the hard way or take extreme measures to be a part of my baby’s life. I want to make this work with you. Will you let me?”

Her lower lip trembled as she obviously thought about his words. “I want my baby to have what I never did. If you want to be a steady presence, if you aren’t going to be someone who pops in and out of my child’s life, then okay. We can do this. Together.”

Relief washed over him, and he nodded. A part of him wanted to pull her into his arms and promise her everything would be okay, but she was stiff and didn’t seem as if she’d be receptive to his comfort. Not when he was the one pushing her.

“How about we go for lunch after the appointment and talk? I have some things I want to explain to you. Things that I hope will make me easier for you to understand.” Instead of a hug, he took her cold hand in his. “Are you free?”

After a brief hesitation, she nodded. “I am.”

“Good. I’ll step out so you can get dressed. We’ll talk to the doctor and then you can pick your favorite food or restaurant.”

“I want mac and cheese.”

He couldn’t help but grin. “You got it.”

Then he needed to set her straight about what had happened in LA.
Carly Phillips. Just-One-Fling-Carly-Phillips (Kindle Locations 715-769). Kindle Edition.

A swarm of paparazzi is avoided when Zach sees her before she gets close to her apartment after walking her dog. Now she has to figure out how to handle everything and Harrison, well he has to fix what he’s broken.

This book has so much emotion, from laughter and tears to romance and sizzle. There’s also a bit of drama and action to round it all out.

I can’t wait to see what Carly has in store for us next.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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Carly Phillips

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The Accidental Princess – Her Royal Duty Book 1 by Melissa McClone


The Accidental Princess
Her Royal Duty Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone

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A skeptical prince,
an American heiress,
and the enchanted ring…

Prince Richard de Thierry of San Montico believes legends and love are relics of the past. Attending a royal birthday ball in his honor is not at the top of his to-do list, but duty calls. There, he encounters the enchanting, accident-prone American heiress, Christina Armstrong, who he dislikes on sight and wants to avoid for the rest of the evening.

Christina, desperate to escape the spotlight, finds her clumsiness reaching new heights when she gets the fabled royal engagement ring stuck on her finger. The legend of the ring claims Prince Richard must marry the woman who wears the ring or abdicate, but both he and Christina are determined to defy destiny.

As royal wedding plans spiral out of control, Christina’s charm and kindness breathe fresh air into the royal court, challenging Richard’s beliefs about his kingdom. Though their chemistry is undeniable, they’re forced to keep their distance as everyone pushes them together. But in their quest to remove the ring and debunk the legend, will they risk missing their chance at one true love?

When two worlds collide, can opposites really attract? Find out in The Accidental Princess where a skeptical prince and an accident-prone heiress defy expectations in a whirlwind, contemporary royal romance set on an island kingdom in the Mediterranean.

NOTE:
Previously published as If the Ring Fits… This is a revised and expanded edition.

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It’s the Birthday Ball for Prince Richard de Thierry of San Montico and he really just wants to escape from it. All of the single women attending are there to try on ‘The Royal Engagement Ring’, if it doesn’t come off, she is supposedly his perfect match. He’s tired of wealthy, spoiled, heiresses who only want the title. He also doesn’t believe in the legend of the ring, unfortunately everyone in his country does.

Christina Armstrong is a US heiress, her father escorted her to this ball at her mother’s insistence. She’s always in the press for doing something that happens because she’s clumsy. It starts with colliding heads with the prince, then managing to remove the gauntlet off ancient armor. Far worse is yet to happen.

Didier Alois, Prince Richard’s royal advisor, is making sure these women try on the ring, and Christina is not going to escape that. Didier insists she try on the ring, and she’s flippant about it, asking if there’s a prize or something. Little does she know what’s in store for her and the prince.

This is a favorite scene.

Didier brought the ring to her finger.

Funny, but it almost felt like heat was emanating from the gold band.

Must be Didier. Men were always hot.

As the ring touched her skin, a buzz of electricity shot up her arm.

She gasped, but Didier continued sliding the ring onto her finger. When he let go of her hand, Christina couldn’t believe it.

The ring fit.

She stared at the ring.

Beautiful.

Someday, she would have an engagement ring of her own. Not this spectacular. A simple gold band would do.

All she wanted was to find a man who would love her for whom she was, a man who wanted what she did— children, pets, a porch with a swing. A normal life, a normal family.

No more limelight. No more photographs or headlines or snide remarks in gossip columns. No more twelve-inch-thick prenuptial agreements to protect an inheritance she didn’t want.

Didier furrowed his brow. “Are you all right, miss?”

“Yes.” Though the temperature had warmed in the room. Her head spun, but she knew what explained the dizziness. Too much sun, too much champagne, too much lusting after Prince Richard.

The proverbial clock had struck midnight. Time for this Cinderella to call it a night. “Thank you for letting me try it on. The ring is exquisite.”

She pulled on the band. It wouldn’t budge.

Didier leaned toward her. “Is there a problem, Miss Armstrong?”

Christina pulled on the ring again, but her fingertips simply slid over the elaborately decorated band. It wouldn’t even twirl around her finger. “The, um, ring seems to be stuck.”

“Let me try.” Didier straightened his shoulders and tugged on the ring until Christina cried out in pain. “The band doesn’t seem to be moving.”

She couldn’t understand why Didier smiled as if he’d just won the lottery. This was a disaster. “I must get this ring off. If my father finds out, he’ll kill me. And the prince…”

A glance told her Prince Richard was too engrossed in his conversation to realize what was happening. Christina wanted to keep it that way.

She tried again, but the ring didn’t move. “Would it be okay if I went to the ladies’ room and tried to remove it?”

For some reason, Didier seemed to be enjoying himself. His brown eyes twinkled; his smile grew wider. He looked almost giddy. “I don’t think it’s coming off.”

“Please.” Why had she allowed this to happen? She knew better. “I’d like to try.”    

From his peripheral vision, Richard saw Didier approach. About time. If Richard heard one more boring piece of gossip about the United Kingdom’s royal family, he would reinstate flogging.

“May I speak with you for a moment, Your Highness?” Didier asked in a low voice.

“Of course.” Richard bowed to the women surrounding him. “Excuse me, ladies.”

As soon as the women were out of earshot, he sighed. “Thank you for coming to my aid, Didi. I never thought I would escape with all my clothes on. I felt like a rabbit surrounded by panting wolves. I was hoping you would leave the ring long enough to rescue me.”

“I left the ring for another reason, Your Highness.”

Richard glanced at its pedestal.

The empty pedestal. No guard. No ring.

His stomach knotted. “Where is it?”

Didier’s wide grin answered his question.

No. This could not be happening.

The legend wasn’t true.

It wasn’t.

The legend dictated he had to marry the woman whom the ring fit within a week or abdicate. He would do neither.

His duty was to marry and produce an heir. He would, but not because he was turning thirty and a legend determined his relationship status. He would marry whom he wanted when he wanted.

Every decision in his life had been made for the sake of San Montico. He sacrificed childhood dreams and adult desires for his family, his people, his country. But the choice of a wife was his, and his alone, to make.

He glanced around. “Does anyone know? My mother?”

“No. We can make an announce—”

“Tell no one.” Richard needed time to think, time to come up with a plan. San Montico’s sentimental attachment to a legend would not take away the most important choice of his life and prevent him from modernizing the country. “Where is… it?”

“In the ladies’ lounge,” Didier said.

Not her. Please not…

“With Miss Armstrong,” Didi finished.

Richard’s shoulders slumped. “May I suggest a course of action, Your Highness?” Richard clenched his teeth. Didi was his best friend, but as royal advisor his role was to ensure the continuation of the monarchy. That was Richard’s duty, too. But he wouldn’t allow a misbelief in magic to determine his future and his wife.

“No. You have done enough.”
Melissa McClone. The-Accidental-Melissa-McClone (Kindle Locations 221-270). Kindle Edition.

Now the ring isn’t coming off Christina’s finger, and Prince Richard knows he can’t keep it hidden for long. Christina has no idea of the legend at least not yet.

Things take a rapid turn when the entire kingdom starts preparing for the wedding. All Christina and Richard can think about is getting the ring off her finger, but they both had to attend to royal duties in between. The clincher is they both want to bring his kingdom into the future, but the ring and its legend will always be a part of it.

This is such fun as these two gradually start to like each other and fall in love.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!

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Melissa McClone

USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.

Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.

Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!