All posts by carolkittie

I am a retired software developer, avid reader and reviewer. While I read all genres, I love romance and erotic romance. I am devoting this blog to the Authors of Romance, for now. I occasionally review books for Bea's Book Nook where you can catch my reviews for books that do not qualify under the Romance genre.

Summer of Love – The Costas Sisters Book 2 by Carly Phillips

Summer of Love
The Costas Sisters Book 2
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips


Zoe Costas is a security specialist and a Costas through and through. Her eccentric, rather dubious family runs an Atlantic City spa that’s just this side of legit. So Zoe isn’t inclined to trust handsome, charming Ryan Baldwin when he shows up claiming to be related to Sam, the girl the Costas family is about to adopt. But Ryan is Sam’s uncle and one of the famously rich and snooty Boston Baldwins.

Ryan’s search for his sister has led him to news of her death, and to a niece he’s never met. But someone else has also tracked Sam down — someone who never wanted the child to be found. Ryan is determined to protect Sam and find out what really happened to his sister. And Zoe is just the woman to help him do it. Neither expects to lose their heart in the process.

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If you read the first book ‘Under the Boardwalk’ you’ll remember that the Costas family has expedited the process of becoming foster parents to take in Sam. In this book they are getting close to the point of adoption and there’s going to be a major twist.

It seems Sam has an uncle, one who just found out his late sister had a daughter. Ryan wants to meet her and have her become part of the family. He arrives with Sam’s 14th birthday party in full swing, and the family believes Ryan to be Sam’s new social worker. Ryan not knowing what else to do, goes along with it. However, while Zoe is giving him a tour of the house and finds herself attracted to the man, she gets a call.

This is a favorite scene.

Thankfully Social Services had agreed to the foster placement and the past few months had been uneventful. Now if she could just get her mother to stall Sam’s birthday present until Ryan Baldwin left, she’d feel much better.

“I’m sorry. No more pushing. I promise. So, how about a tour of the house?” she asked with forced cheer, recalling that had been one of the first things the other social worker had requested.

He seemed to relax and even crack a smile. “Has anyone ever told you you’re just like your mother?”

She cocked her head to one side. “If you mean because I’m pushy, tend to ramble, and usually get what I want, then yeah, people do think my mother and I are alike.”

“I was thinking that you’re both like a tornado of sorts.” The corners of his eyes crinkled. “But I have to admit; you two can be somewhat refreshing.”

“That’s one way of putting it, and coming from someone more… How shall I put this delicately? Coming from someone more stuffy than I am, I think I’ll even consider it a compliment.”

He laughed at that, two dimples suddenly becoming evident. With his guard down and his smile genuine and unstrained, Zoe was struck again by how handsome he truly was. It was strange that she’d notice him at all since a “suit” was the last kind of guy she’d normally be attracted to, but what the heck. The rush of adrenaline proved she wasn’t dead, as her mother accused her of being.

“I’d like to take that tour now,” he said, changing the subject back to business.

“Come.” Zoe grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the house.

She kept things light as she pointed out the spa and how it was completely separate from the house. Entrances on opposite sides of the property meant nobody could get in or out of the house from the spa. She showed him all the safety precautions they’d taken and couldn’t help but show her pride in the business her family had made a success in such a short time.

He asked questions, and she answered. He even laughed a time or two at her jokes. And all the while, she couldn’t shake the heat his touch generated or the sense that his big hand had imprinted itself on her smaller one. She hadn’t liked the other social worker’s unexpected visits, but she could get used to this guy hanging around.

They ended their tour in the kitchen, and Zoe hopped up to sit on the counter. “So what do you think?”

He nodded in what seemed reluctant approval. “It’s a different setup, but you’ve definitely made sure the family is separate and protected from spa guests. The cowbell was a unique touch.”

She rolled her eyes. It figured. Zoe had pointed out their high-tech protection, the video cameras and the alarm system and he’d focused on Elena’s personal method of ensuring nobody entered the private part of the house unnoticed— a cowbell hanging over the door, virtually impossible to move or disable. She’d used the same technique on Zoe and Ari when they were younger to make sure neither sneaked out of the house or came in too late.

Zoe shrugged. “What can I say? Mom and Dad have got their own ways. But they did their job as parents and did it well.”

He strode closer. So close she smelled his rich, musky scent and a warm, tingling feeling arose in her chest.

“Your family is certainly different,” he said.

“I take it you’re from a more conservative bunch?” She laughed and yanked on his tie playfully before remembering who he was. The social worker who would determine Sam’s fate.

She started to pull back but he touched her hand, stilling her movement, and his eyes locked on hers. The air around them grew heavy, pulsing with anticipatory awareness. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this drawn to a man on first meeting.

Zoe had a healthy sex life but not a love life. That description she reserved for soul mates, people like her parents, or Quinn and Ari. In fact, she reserved the description for many people, really, with the exception of herself. She didn’t know how people made a lifetime commitment and kept it. She hadn’t even been able to accomplish that with a job.

She understood these things about herself, and though she accepted them, she was taking steps to lead a more adult life. Her sister’s marriage had made her realize it was time to make changes. Zoe supposed it was a good thing that love had never happened for her. One less decision she’d had to make and stick with, she thought wryly.

And since she was approaching her thirtieth birthday in a matter of days, she had long since stopped expecting love at all. Besides, she enjoyed her freedom too much to give it all up for one man.

She glanced at the good-looking man before her and realized that her sex life had been status quo for so long even this overwhelming chemistry came as a surprise. As a woman who liked excitement, she welcomed the rush of adrenaline in her veins, and she had no trouble acting on their mutual attraction.

As long as she didn’t jeopardize Sam’s future in the process. Thankfully, the ringing of the telephone interrupted their prolonged silence, and she reached for the phone. “Hello.”

“Elena?” a voice asked.

“No, this is Zoe.”

She gave Ryan an apologetic look and held up one finger, asking him to wait a minute while she took the call.

“It’s Katherine Farr, Samantha’s social worker,” the voice on the other end of the phone said. “I just wanted to apologize that neither myself nor my colleague could make it to Sam’s party today.”

Zoe narrowed her gaze. “But…”

“I know you’re disappointed and so is Samantha, but it can’t be helped. My mother needs me for another few weeks, and my colleagues will be tied up with urgent cases. I hope you understand.”

“Sort of.” Zoe shot a covert glance at Ryan beneath her lashes.

“It’s a compliment and a testament to your family’s skills with Samantha. She’s come such a long way. I know she’s safe and in good hands, so I have no problem with the final evaluation being postponed for a few weeks until I’m back.”

“Okay.” She didn’t want to give anything away to her companion who stood with is back to her, staring at the photographs on the refrigerator.

“My colleagues will need to focus on the more problematic cases in order to cover my absence,” Katherine explained.

“I understand. And I hope things work out for your mother.”

“Thank you, dear. You’ll relay the message to your parents?”

“I certainly will.” Zoe hung up the phone and focused on the stranger in her kitchen.

A man who’d stirred something inside her that had been dormant for too long. A man who obviously had an agenda.

She walked up behind him and tugged on his arm.

“Is this you and Sam?” He gestured to the picture of Zoe, Ari and Sam with orange spray-on tans on their faces and arms, smiling for the camera.

“We were recreating an old childhood memory,” she said laughing before she caught herself. “Never mind that.”

He narrowed his gaze. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

You’re wrong, Ryan Baldwin, if that’s even your name. Since I just spoke to Sam’s social worker on the phone and I know she couldn’t get someone to replace her, I’d like to know just who the hell you are. And what the hell you’re doing snooping around my family and my house.”
Carly Phillips. Summer of Love (Kindle Locations 266-325). CP Publishing.

A fun yet intense tale, as Sam and Zoe get to know Ryan. His biggest fear is that his parents would make the same mistakes they did with his sister and drive Zoe away as well.

Plenty of surprises, fun, laughter, tears, drama and suspense. I hope Carly has something in mind for all those Costas cousins.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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Carly Phillips

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

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

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Troy – SEALs of Honor Book 24 By Dale Mayer

SEALs of Honor Book 24
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


When a friend of Tesla’s sends out an SOS on the lowdown on an oil rig in trouble, Troy has a good idea what he’s getting into. As far as he is concerned, the maximum danger, the potential for betrayal, and the chances of not coming home sounded like the right kind of job for him.

After all, he lived alone. So going into these situations with no family to worry about him made him the ideal candidate—until he meets someone at the oil rig who suddenly makes him see his future in a different life.

Berkley knew something dangerous was going on. No way this oil rig hadn’t been sabotaged. She’d requested to remain with the skeleton crew until her help arrived. And was surprised at the size of the team that showed up to assist her.

Who knew it would take all of them to get to the bottom of this mess and to keep them alive, as human nature and Mother Nature combined to take them all out.

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Mason’s SEALs frequently get interesting assignments but this one truly grabbed me as unique. An oil rig off the Alaskan coast is in trouble, suspected sabotage, and the programmer who sent the SOS is a friend of Tesla. Did I mention rough seas and a storm heading their way?

A six man team, two covert, Dane and France, two as crew, Axel and Troy with Mason and Nelson as representatives of corporate head out joined but an actual corporate rep. What they find on arrival is not at all expected.

Berkley needs to let the team know there are cameras watching their every move so she plans a way to corner them.

This is a favorite scene.

As they stood here, looking at the crossroads of the hallways, wondering which direction to go, Troy heard a sound to the left. He turned to see a tall, lean brunette with her hair stuck in a clip at the top of her head, motioning at him. He walked toward her quietly, Axel pushing him faster. She motioned inside a room and disappeared ahead of them. As soon as they stepped inside, she shut the door behind him.


She smiled up at Axel. “Hey, am I ever glad to see you.”

He reached out and gave her a gentle hug, which she seemed more than happy to accept.

Troy was struck by the moment, wondering, and then realized that it wasn’t anything. But because Berkley was a close friend of Tesla’s, she likely knew all of them. Except for him. “And I’m Troy,” he said quietly. “I think we’ve met, but it’s been a while.”

She smiled. “Well, we’ve been at the same parties,” she said, “but I don’t think we met.”

“I’m sorry then,” he said in surprise. “But, if it was at Mason’s, sometimes it can get to be quite a crush.”

“It was, indeed, at Mason’s,” she said, chuckling. “So listen. Things here are ugly.”

“Can you tell us what happened?” Axel said.

“First off, you have to understand that you were picked up on cameras,” she said. “That’s the only reason I know you are here. Jonesy has been monitoring the cameras on the rig and caught sight of you. He got pretty agitated and upset about it.”


“New crew,” she said. “Everybody is on edge. Nobody knows what the deal is, what happened, whether it was sabotage or not. Although they’re not talking either.”

“And yet you seem to think it was sabotage?”

“Definitely it was,” she said. She pulled something from her pocket and held it out to Axel.

He looked at it and frowned. “Part of a C-4 package,” he said, and his gaze hardened as he looked at her. “Where did you find it?”

“Heading to the number one drill that blew up,” she said. “It was tucked at the bottom of the ramp.”

“Nobody else saw it?”

“I don’t think so,” she said. “There was so much chaos, and everybody was racing back and forth. Only later, when I went to take a quiet look, did I see it jammed down on the corner.”

“But how did it get there?”

Berkley shrugged.

Troy studied the paper inside and out. “But any sign of C-4 on a rig like this, especially in one of those drill locations—”

“Exactly,” she said. “And maybe they do keep it around. I don’t know. But there was no need for it to be an open package at the site where we had an explosion.”

“Anything else?” Axel asked, tucking the piece into his pocket.

“I saw in my data,” she said, “that a hacker’s been going through some of the emails. I’m running scans right now to see what files he’s been after. So far it seems innocuous, which makes me very worried.”

“Wondering if it’s a cover for a Trojan or something more devious?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m not the only one working on electronics here. We have a programmer, Bruce, who’s been tracking the electronics controlling the pumps and doing analyses on those. And then we have Jonesy, who’s not necessarily a programmer, but he’s been doing a lot of the same work I was doing, prior to me arriving. So he’s kind of stuck himself to me as my friend, but I think he’s sticking close to see what I know.”

“In order to take your job? Or to see what you might find and whether or not he’s in trouble?”

“No real way to know,” she said. “There are six crewmen total, plus Daniel, the foreman, and Denny, who does the cooking, and I’m the ninth on the rig.”

“I’m surprised you were allowed to stay.”

“I’m the one who needed to stay,” she said. “I definitely found hacking throughout the system.”

“What could a hacker do on a rig like this?” Troy asked, puzzled.

“Cause the chaos he already did,” she said.

“And yet C-4 could easily have caused the chaos anyway.”

“Exactly,” she said. “So, no, I don’t have any answers. What I do know is that somebody has been into the computer files, and somebody blew up one of the drills on this rig.”

“Okay, do you have any suspects?” Axel asked.

“There’s one guy. I call him Idiot but not to his face. His name is Phil. He’s one of the guys here who gives me a lot of trouble,” she said.

“What kind of trouble?” Axel asked.

She took a deep breath. “He’s, … well, he’s the female-beating kind,” she said, “but he’s also one of those power-mad people, who thinks that nobody else can do a job but him. He feels that my job is useless, and, since I’ve been here and haven’t found anything regarding the explosion, I should just take myself off the rig.”

“Outside of personal feelings,” Troy interrupted, “does he have access to do any of the hacking stuff?”

“Anybody with a laptop could gain access,” she said mildly. She glared at him. “And it’s not personal. This guy is one freaky dude.”

“Big, mean, tough?”

“Slimy, skinny, sleazy. But something’s dead in his gaze.”

At that, Troy stopped and slowly nodded. “I’ve known guys like that,” he said quietly.

“I don’t want to know any more,” she said. “Honestly, the worst thought in my mind is that they’re all part of it somehow.”

Troy let out a slow whistle. “That would be a pretty major conspiracy theory.”

“Maybe,” she said, “and I get that it’s probably not fair to everybody here, but Chucky and Winslow are both oddballs. They’ve been working the rigs for fifty years, I swear to God. Probably only forty, I guess. But, listening to them, it’s been at least seventy.”

Axel cracked a grin at that. “And we all know guys like that too,” he said, “but what benefit does anybody get out of blowing up the rig?”

She took a deep breath. “The company was bringing in a new management control team. They would get rid of a lot of people here who were troublemakers.”

“What kind of troublemakers?”

She winced.

“Come on. Fess up. Let’s hear it all,” Troy said impatiently.

She glared at him. “You forget,” she said, “that I’m an outsider. I’m not one of the crew and a part of things.”

“And you’re female,” he said.

She gave a clipped nod. “Exactly. Three other women were on board, but they’re all gone now.”

“Why did they leave?”

Her glare upped in wattage. “Sexual harassment and— well— rape.” Her words landed into a heavy silence in the small room.
Dale Mayer. Troy (Kindle Locations 340-397). Valley Publishing.

So many things are going on, with the storm complicating things left and right. The discovery of bodies just adds to the suspense and intrigue surrounding the problems on the rig.

I couldn’t put this book down, I was drawn into the story right from the beginning. So many horrible revelations about life on this particular rig, and the things that come out implicate many.

In spite of this or perhaps because of it, Troy and Berkley flirt and he becomes her protector as things get crazier. A simmer to sizzle romance in all the chaos and deceit.

I truly can’t wait to see what sort of mission will grab hold of me in the next book.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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

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The Cowgirl Ropes A Billionaire – Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 4 by Cora Seton

The Cowgirl Ropes a Billionaire
Cowboys of Chance Creek Book 4
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton


Bella Chatham will lose everything – her veterinary practice, her animal shelter, and even her home – if she can’t find another source of income, fast. So when her best friend signs her up for the hot new reality television show, Can You Beat a Billionaire, Bella accepts the challenge and hopes against hope she can win the ten million dollar prize. If she doesn’t, it’s bye-bye pet clinic and shelter, bye-bye Chance Creek, Montana, and hello to marriage to the billionaire for a year!

Evan Mortimer, billionaire, can’t believe he’s reduced to competing in a television contest to win a wife. Unfortunately, it’s the only foolproof way to secure his position as head of Mortimer Innovations. At least he’ll be able to dump his “spouse” at the end of the year. He has no intention of getting hitched for life.

Bella doesn’t expect her adversary to be handsome – or funny, or compassionate – but Evan’s all three, and he’s proving a tough competitor, too. When they end up sharing a tent – and a sleeping-bag – her body betrays her with a longing so deep it cuts her to the core. Still, this cowgirl must stay strong. If Evan uncovers her secret fears, he’ll use them to win the contest – and then he’ll own her for a year. She’ll be out of luck, out of cash, and stuck being Mrs. Mortimer until he kicks her to the curb. Too bad she can’t decide which is worse – winning the show and losing Evan forever, or losing the show and only being his temporary wife.

Evan can’t believe he’s falling for the one woman who doesn’t want him. This cowgirl’s not impressed by his money, his name, or his inability to sleep in a tent with her for an entire night, but every look and touch she gives him sends his desire through the roof. With a director determined to use his claustrophobia to make him look like a fool, and an adversary so sexy he can hardly see straight, he’ll need all his savvy to come out on top. Too bad he’s going to lose no matter how this show turns out. If he beats Bella, he’ll destroy the first woman he’s ever loved. If he doesn’t beat her, it’s bye-bye Mortimer Innovations.

Will either of them remember in time that it’s not who wins or who loses – it’s how they play the game that really counts?

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Bella Chatham is in a difficult position, faced with losing everything she’s worked for because of her kind heart. She has a veterinary clinic and no kill animal rescue while the clinic holds it’s own the care and feeding of the rescues isn’t getting the donations needed to sustain it. Her receptionist and assistant Hannah along with Morgan and Rob Matheson have come up with a plan to solve all her problems. Hannah sent an application in Bella’s name to a reality show Beat the Billionaire, the prize, five million dollars. The downside, if she loses she has to marry the billionaire and stay married for a year.

Billionaire Evan Mortimer needs a wife within the month. His father’s will as with all previous generations states that if unmarried at the time of inheriting the business you have six months to marry or lose it to the next in line. His brother Nate is already taunting him with taking over, his plans for the company are the exact opposite of what Evan has in mind. Nate is all about the bottom line and hurting the environment doesn’t matter at all, gas, oil and fracking are at the top of his lists. Evan is all about technologies to improve the environment and make money. He needs a wife and he’ll get one. His first order of business, have his assistant Amanda get him on ‘that show’.

Well they both get on the show and the director Madeline is all about ratings. In spite of those frustrations the show must go on. Evan and Bella have weaknesses that the show can flaunt, and they totally intend to.

However one of my favorite scenes is the first competition which is archery.

Two targets were set up about fifty yards from where she stood. Evan stood in front of one, a recurve bow upraised in his hands. As she watched, he pulled the string back to his ear and let an arrow loose. It flew at the target and hit it with a thwap. His two crew members clapped. Another man she didn’t recognize wrote something on his notepad. “That’s four.”

Four? As in, four arrows in the target? If each arrow equaled a point, Evan had nailed four out of five points in the first challenge. She’d never picked up a bow in her life—there was no way she could beat that.

Evan took another arrow from a quiver at his feet, set it on the string and lifted the arrow again. She watched him carefully, trying to note his stance, the way he set the arrow to the string and how he positioned the bow. Obviously, he’d done this before.

Was Madelyn aware of that? Was this contest rigged against her? She realized she had no way of knowing. Maybe this whole thing was going to be an exercise in humiliation, with the loss of her clinic and animal shelter the final blow.

She had to do something. What had Madelyn said? They weren’t allowed to hurt each other, but trash talk was encouraged?

She waited until Evan pulled the arrow back to his ear and steadied it there. Right when she judged he would let it loose, she yelled, “Bear!”

Evan jerked and the arrow swung off course, missing the target altogether. Everyone in the clearing tensed and scanned the area.

“Sorry,” Bella called and stepped forward. “My mistake—it was just a tree. I’m a little jumpy.”

Evan turned on her. “You did that on purpose.”

She shrugged. “I haven’t spent a lot of time in the woods. My specialty is pets, not grizzlies. Like I said, I’m a little jumpy.”

“You’re going to be a whole lot jumpier before the day’s done. You realize you’ve only spoiled one shot of mine. I’ll be here to spoil all five of yours.” He held her gaze as he came to stand close enough to her she could smell the sweat from his morning’s exertions. It should have disgusted her, but instead it seemed to waken something deep inside. He was clean shaven this morning, still neat and tidy despite the hike, but as handsome as he was now, she had the feeling that the wilder this trip got, the hotter he’d look. Rugged outdoorsy activity suited the guy far better than his suits did. She doubted it had the same effect on her appearance, though.

He handed her the bow and Bella swallowed, all too aware of the way his hands wrapped around the polished wood. Strong hands with blunt fingers. Hands that could caress and squeeze and stroke…

“You’ll lose your head start,” Bella said, suddenly eager to send him on his way. Her hands weren’t shaking out of nervousness about handling a bow for the first time, nor because he obviously intended to taunt her while she shot. The thought of Evan touching her made her feel warm. Delicate. Womanly.


Crud. Of all the men to react to like that. Why couldn’t she fall for one of the businessmen of Chance Creek, or even one of the cowboys working the ranches around town, like Rob’s brother Jake? Or the county sheriff, Cab? She got along great with Cab, but there’d never been a spark between them—not like this.

Cab didn’t have Evan’s hands.

Surely she was losing it. Who cared about hands? It was a man’s heart, his brain, his capacity for love that was really important, if you cared about things like that. She didn’t care about men one way or another.

But her thoughts returned to the way Evan’s hands could make her feel alive. They could tease and torment her until she writhed with desire.

Seriously. She needed to get laid.

Did Evan feel it, too, or was she the only one being shanghaied by hormones? He stepped closer and for a second she thought she saw her own interest echoed in his eyes. He frowned and bent nearer. “I’ll always beat you in a race, Betty Bumpkin. I’ve already beat you at this challenge. I’ve got this contest in the palm of my hand. Pretty soon I’ll have you in the palm of my hand, too. At least for a year.”

Betty Bumpkin? Heat rushed into her cheeks. He called her Betty Bumpkin on national television? What an asshole! And what did that last crack mean—having her in the palm of his hand? She could think of any number of dirty interpretations for that sentence.

Now she saw him as he truly was—a cocky, arrogant, self-absorbed jackass who’d inherited a bunch of money and thought it made him superior to everyone who worked for a living.

“We’ve got a long way to go, so step aside, Moneybuns. Let’s get on with it.” His snort of disgust at the crude nickname made her smile, but her anxiety rose as she approached a white line spray painted on the ground. One of the extra crew members took the bow Evan had handed her and directed her to a rack full of them.
Seton, Cora. The Cowgirl Ropes a Billionaire (Cowboys of Chance Creek, Book 4). One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (685-722). Kindle Edition.

I love the nicknames they chose to taunt each other. Bella does manage to intimidate Evan just a bit throwing him off his game.

During the many challenges ahead of them and long nights in tight quarters, they actually get to know each other. Evan actually figures out that the show is losing money and if Bella wins it would most likely be cancelled. He doesn’t like that it could possibly be stacked in his favor, he wants to win on his own merit. They both discover things about themselves in this process, things that become clearer and easier to handle.

Lots of fun, laughter, tears, sizzling heat, and an ending you won’t forget.

I am starting the next book now, I have a couple of Cora’s series to catch up on.

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

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Cora Seton

USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.

Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.

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Liam’s Lily – Heroes for Hire Book 15 by Dale Mayer

Liam’s Lily
Heroes For Hire Book 15
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


When former Navy SEAL Liam O’Brian joins Legendary Securities, he looks forward to being shipped somewhere exciting for his first mission with Levi and his crew. Instead, he learns exotic and enormous aren’t exactly synonymous when he stumbles upon the oversized pachyderms inhabiting his new backyard. Still, conflicts are universal and Liam’s troubles are only just beginning once he finds himself falling for a woman deeply rooted in her family’s livelihood and problems.

Go-getter Lilianna Howell is a biologist who believes all problems can be reduced to minor ones if only they’re nipped in the bud early enough. When her dad can no longer deal with the loss of his son and his detachment threatens the elephant reserve, Lilianna steps into a much larger role, handling the marketing and fundraising. Being close to her sister and her husband–once Lilianna’s fiancé–forces her to struggle with distrust from that past experience and a growing attachment to a man who appears in her life like a dream come true.

Mammoth issues escalate as Liam and Lilianna team up to save the gentle giants, their newfound love… and their own lives.

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As this book opens Brandon and Kasha arrive and get to say hello to Liam before they ship out again with Rory. Liam and Nelson however are heading to an animal reserve in Texas. Levi has gotten involved at the request of Gunner, who was contacted by one of the daughters of the owner.

There’s a lot involved here and the only one who isn’t pleased about their appearance is Brianna. Lilianna is the one who called Gunner and her sister doesn’t want them there at all.

It seems at least part of the key is Lilianna’s father, Jim Howell, and the condition he’s in since his son died in a fire. The visit they make suddenly becomes extended, with Gunner providing a new specialist and lawyer to Lilianna. It seems the family lawyer has been in the process of doing the paperwork required for Brianna to have general power of attorney. Lilianna just has POA over her father’s medical care.

Now as much as these events get interesting right from the start it’s the events of the next morning that will have you turning the pages faster. With the discontinuing her father’s medications he wakes far more lucid than he’s been in months.

This is a favorite scene.

Just then they heard a series of enduring sniffles and light snorts coming from the bed. Lilianna hopped to her feet and rushed to her father. Liam joined her at the end of the bed.

There was a little more color in her father’s face, a little more life to his movements. Her father rolled to his back and opened his eyes. He gave a sigh as if not happy with what he saw.


Jim turned to look at her. He smiled. “Brianna.”

She stepped forward and, with a misty smile, said, “No, Dad, it’s Lilianna.”

He frowned, searched her gaze, then lay back down on the bed, reaching up to rub his face. “I never could tell you apart.” He looked over at Lilianna, his eyebrows raised.

She shrugged. “You used to be pretty good at it, Dad. You always said there was such a fundamental difference between us that it was pretty easy to tell us apart.”

He frowned at her. “That was before,” he said briskly. “I don’t think it was recent.”

She didn’t argue with him, just patted his hand. “How was your night?”

He looked around, but a confused look was in his eyes. “Fine.” He half sat up on the bed. “Why are you here?”

“You don’t remember us coming last night?” she asked softly.

Her father frowned. He looked from her to Liam, and his frown deepened. “Who are you?”

“A friend of Gunner’s,” Liam said gently but fast enough that he cut off Lilianna’s answer.

Jim’s face eased back. He nodded. “Good man.”

Lilianna was overjoyed her father was talking. He was closer to what he’d been months ago.

There was still some confusion, but he was throwing it off rather well. He sat up, tossed back the bedcover and said, “You shouldn’t be here this early. I’m not even dressed.”

“For the last few weeks, maybe longer, Dad, they haven’t bothered dressing you at all.”

He sat and stared at her. “Who is they?”

She sent a worried glance to Liam, and he put an arm around her shoulders.

“You’re still in the same assisted-care home,” Lilianna said quietly. It broke her heart to see the fear and confusion in the man’s eyes as he glanced around.

“How long have I been like this?” he asked. He reached out a hand, but it was trembling.

Liam stepped forward. “Quite a while. You had an argument with a nurse several months back. After that they gave you medication to calm you down and make you easier to get along with.”

He closed his eyes and sat there for a long moment.

Liam asked, his voice low, “Do you want to walk to the bathroom yourself or do you want a hand?”

Lilianna’s father’s eyes opened up. There was still confusion and a lack of trust. But they settled on Liam. “How do you know Gunner?”

“I work for Levi. Logan works with me.”

Her father’s shoulders sagged. He reached up a hand; Liam gently pulled him to his feet and supported him as he walked over to the bathroom. He went into the bathroom and shut the door.

Liam turned to look at Lilianna, seeing the dismay on her face. “You should be happy. He appears to be throwing off the drugs faster than we expected.”

She stared at Liam. “If he’s like this now, would he have been like this the last four months?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know for sure, but I’d say yes.”

She clapped a hand over her mouth. “The difference is night and day. He’s a very willful man. That’s why it was so damn hard to see him go down the way he did. Yet I understood. We lost Keith too,” she said tearfully. “But it was so hard to watch Dad give up like that.”

“I wonder how much he gave up on his own and how much other people helped him,” Liam said in a dark tone.

She cast him a sideways glance. “I don’t like what you’re implying.”

“You haven’t liked anything I’ve had to say in the last twenty-four hours. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong to say it.”

She winced. “No, you’re right. I do need to hear it, and we do need to get to the bottom of this. But, so far, all you’ve said is that my brother-in-law went into my cabin and searched it. Well, potentially my brother-in-law. There are other men on the place.”


She pulled the hair tie from her hair, letting waves of long dark hair hang down; then she ran her fingers through it as she sat down on the edge of her father’s bed. “I need a shower, a change of clothes and some answers,” she said determinedly. She glanced out the window. “Where is North?”

“Standing watch at the cabin still.”

“Why bother now?” she asked. “Somebody has already been there. Surely not more than one person would search it.”

“I can’t be sure of that. Would anybody else know you weren’t there? Could your sister have told someone else?”

She shrugged. “My sister could’ve told someone, and, of course, anybody who works here in the home could have seen both of us here.”

He nodded. “I talked to Katie. She said that generally this place has no problems. It’s considered to have a very high quality of care.”

Lilianna nodded. “Which is why I trusted them with my father,” she said sadly. “Maybe I shouldn’t have.”

“Let’s just say, it’s a good thing that we’re doing what we’re doing now.”
Mayer, Dale. Liam’s Lily: A SEALs of Honor World Novel (Heroes for Hire Book 14) (pp. 95-99). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

As more people show up in her father’s room Lilianna and Liam begin facing the challenges of the day. Lawyers, Specialists and Gunner get more involved and a visit from Brianna is just what you’d expect.

I couldn’t put this book down as this all unfolds and the attraction Liam and Lilianna have for each other cumulates to something more.

Complete with a bit of a conversation that North has with Ice as the lead in to the next book, North’s Nikki.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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

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Issued to the Bride, One Sergeant For Christmas – Brides of Chance Creek Book 6 by Cora Seton

Issued to the Bride, One Sergeant
For Christmas
Brides of Chance Creek Book 6
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton


Orphaned at seven, kicked out by his aunt and uncle at 16, Sergeant Emerson Myers gave up on family until General Augustus Reed chose him as his assistant, becoming as much a father-figure as a commanding officer. But when the General starts sending elite forces men home to marry his estranged daughters, Emerson’s torn between relief at not being given such an irrevocable mission and dismay the man never even considered him for the job.

Wyoming Smith has watched with a mixture of wonder and horror—and a little envy, if she’s honest — as her best friend Cass and all Cass’s sisters have married the warriors their father sent to them. Witnessing their happiness was hard enough when her life was on track, but now she’s lost her job and her apartment and she’s accepted Cass’s invitation to live at Two Willows, which means she has a front row seat to five loving marriages — while remaining all alone.

Emerson knows marriage isn’t for him and he’s ready to recommit to his career in the Army — but before he can, an explosion rips his life apart — and the General’s.

Wyoming knows everything will change now that the General is coming home to Two Willows. Will she have to leave?

Or has the General had a bigger plan all along?

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In this series General Reed assigned to USSOCOM has sent each of his daughters a husband, as per the instructions in the letters left to him by his late wife Amelia. Not that they wanted or needed one. Military men all, they were ordered to wed a specific daughter. He’s back home now recovering from an injury to his hip, and he has his aide Emerson with him.

This book opens with an interrupted encounter between Wyoming and Emerson in the laundry room. It was Emerson’s plan to ask her out but they were interrupted.

Now Wyoming isn’t the General’s daughter, she’s his daughter Cass’s best friend. The intended groom is the General’s aide Emerson. By now the you know the General doesn’t take no for an answer, but Emerson really isn’t upset about this order at all. We begin at Thanksgiving where they are celebrating the wedding of Alice and Jack. If you’ve been reading this series you know that the next groom arrives during the reception. Before Emerson knocks on the door Wye has an interesting conversation with her brother that is sure to impact the impending courtship.

This is a favorite scene.

Wyoming squashed her dark thoughts. There was no time to feel sorry for herself. She had a wedding to help with. A job to find. A life to get on with.

So, she didn’t have a mother who communicated from beyond the grave like Cass’s mom seemed to, or a father who would send her a husband, like the General did—handsome, wonderful husbands—to each of his daughters. She had her independence. Her self-respect.

Wasn’t that more important?

Her phone buzzed. She wouldn’t have heard it if she hadn’t fished it out of her ridiculous hoopskirt and placed it on the counter a few minutes earlier. Her brother’s name flashed onto the screen. Wye wiped off her hands and took the call, plugging her other ear so she could hear above the noise as Cass directed the setup of the dinner buffet.

“Ward? What’s up?”

“You haven’t heard from Mindy, have you?”

“Mindy? No.” She moved across the room to the back door to try to get away from the noise, but it wasn’t much better.

“She’s missing. She said she was going to the grocery store this morning, but she never came back.”

“Where’s Elise?” Wye asked quickly. Ward and Mindy’s daughter was only ten months old.

“With me. Mindy wasn’t supposed to be gone long.”

His petulant tone made Wye sigh. She had no doubt if she wasn’t at a wedding, Ward would try to lure her over to help. Not that it would take much luring; she loved her niece. This wasn’t the first time Mindy had stayed away from home longer than expected, though. Wye tried not to judge, but Mindy wasn’t the most maternal woman around.

“Did you call Mindy’s friends?”

“Yep. No one’s seen her. I called the grocery store. Hell, I’m about to call the sheriff.”

Something twisted inside Wyoming, and she began to take the situation more seriously. “Do you think she got in an accident?”

“Wouldn’t someone have called? I don’t know what to do. She’s got the car—it’s a hike to the center of town with the baby, and it’s cold outside. Could you—?”

Normally she could and would have taken over from here, running to the grocery store to check for Mindy there, then driving to her friends’ houses, heading to the hospital, even, but she was needed here, and besides, it was barely half a mile from her brother’s house to the grocery store—and the sheriff’s department.

“No, I can’t,” she said firmly. “Call Cab Johnson and tell him everything. Call the hospital, too. If you need to get somewhere, take a taxi. Ring me back when you get news.”


“Ward, I’m at a wedding. You’re much closer to the grocery store than I am.”

“Fine.” He cut the call, leaving Wye to sigh again.

It was obvious her sister-in-law wasn’t happy with her lot as a small-town stay-at-home mom. Wyoming figured she’d driven right by the grocery store this morning and gone on to Billings to do some real shopping. She and Ward needed to work that out. It wasn’t up to her to fix her brother’s marriage.

Somehow Ward seemed to think it was, though, the same way he thought she should be available at a moment’s notice to watch his baby daughter. It was like they were back in seventh grade. After their mother had left their father—left all of them, actually—Wyoming had been the one to pick up the slack. Her father hadn’t sobered up for weeks, so she’d raided what little cash Randi had left in the cookie jar and walked to the grocery store every few days. She’d cooked meals that Ward had gobbled up and that her father had left mostly untouched. She’d done the dishes, the laundry…

And she hadn’t stopped until she’d moved out.

A loud pounding sounded on the Reeds’ front door and startled her out of her thoughts.

Someone was arriving late to the wedding.

Cass, carving one of the turkeys, groaned. “Who could that be?”

“I’ll go get it.”

Wyoming put down the phone and hurried to answer it. Her bulky skirt hindered her progress around the large kitchen table and chairs and made it hard to get past the other men and women who’d volunteered to help set out the meal, but she reached the front hall at last.

When she tugged open the wide wooden door, she laughed, some of her worry over her brother’s missing wife slipping away.

“Emerson? What on earth are you doing out here?”

The sergeant stood in the doorway, his rangy, muscled body catching her eye like it always did. She hated to admit she’d been too infatuated with Will to notice Emerson much when she’d first met him, but these days she couldn’t tear her gaze away—especially after those kisses he’d stolen. All day today she’d been aware of him whenever he got near and had held her breath, wondering if he’d kiss her again.

She admired the efficient way he completed each task. He wasn’t as young as she’d first thought. Probably in his mid to late twenties. There were lines around his mouth and at the corners of his eyes she hadn’t noticed. His gaze had depths not apparent to a casual acquaintance. He was a man who took his responsibilities seriously.

“Needed to see you, and I figured it was just as easy to go around the house as to try to push through the crowd. Besides, I wanted your attention. Looks like I got it.” Emerson leaned against the doorjamb and added, “The General sent me. Are you going to let me in?”

“Sent you—to do what?”

Emerson grinned. “To marry you—what else?”
Seton, Cora. Issued to the Bride One Sergeant for Christmas (Brides of Chance Creek Book 6) (pp. 19-21). One Acre Press. Kindle Edition.

Now things aren’t going to go smoothly with this although Emerson does help Wye when dealing with her brother. Wye has wants and needs she has always denied when it comes to her brother. Her brother Ward, just expects he to bend to whatever he needs regardless of what she is doing. Now that Ward’s wife has disappeared he expects Wye to step in and take care of everything for him. He’s in for a surprise.

This is a story of growth for Emerson and Wye and also an awaking of understanding for the General. As the last book in this series it pulls at my heart as I say good-bye to these characters. Although since they are in Chance Creek I hope to catch glimpses of them in other books taking place in town.

With love, laughter, some tears and that simmer to sizzle romance I love, thank you for this wild ride Cora!

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

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Cora Seton

USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.

Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.

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A New Series Beginning with Two Books in One: Hope City Duet – Hope City Book 1 by Kris Michaels & Maryann Jordan

A Hope City Duet
One City… Countless Stories.
USA Today Bestselling Authors
Kris Michaels
Maryann Jordan


Brock – Book 1
Kris Michaels

It had taken five years for Detective Kallie Redman to become emotionally and psychologically available after her cop-husband devastated their marriage and her career. The Hope City Police Department offered her a new beginning and over a thousand miles between her old life and her new. Being partnered with Brock King didn’t hurt either. He was smart, generous—and too sexy for words.

Placed under a microscope and intense pressure to solve a high-profile murder, homicide detective Brock King didn’t need or want a new partner. He managed his stress-filled life via sleep deprivation, a metabolism fueled by sugar and caffeine, and an all-consuming passion for his job. He had little time for anything else—and he was soul-tired of that wash-rinse-dry-repeat cycle. He’d written off finding a woman who’d put up with the odd hours, physical danger, and emotional stress of his job—until Kallie Redman. The woman was wicked sharp, ran on caffeine, and rocked one smoking hot body.

Unfortunately, the profession they chose had a way of grinding people into the ground, and the high-profile nature of this murder case guaranteed scrutiny from the press, the victim’s extremely wealthy family and politicians at the highest levels. He’d begun to question if he’d have a job at the end––or a shot at a life with Kallie.

Sean – Book 2
Maryann Jordan

The last thing arson detective Sean McBride expected while entrenched in the ongoing investigation of a serial arsonist was to meet a feisty insurance company fire investigator. But when she landed at his feet, breaking her wrist, he had more on his mind than just finding the elusive fire-starter. Picking her out of the ashes was easy. Needing to work with her…not so much.
Harper Walsh was stunned when the handsome detective insisted on taking her to the ER…even more stunned when he suggested they work together. But the stoic detective gave mixed messages…did he want her arson experience or something more?

Finding a woman who understood the demands of his job quickly had their partnership grow into love. He even introduced her to his large, crazy, but loveable family. But the arsonist was not as hidden as they suspected, and Harper gets too close to danger before Sean has a chance to smoke him out.

Will Sean be able to save Harper before the arsonist goes up in flames, taking her with him?

Scenes and language similar to an R-Rated movie. 18+ readers only.

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Brock by Kris Michaels

As this series opens we will meet many people with roles in future books. Brock King is a homicide detective and is called to the scene of a fire that is suspected to be arson. The body discovered didn’t die from the fire, he was already dead, his wallet nearby and though devoid of cash and credit cards contained his driver’s license.

The victim, identified as one Samuel Treyson. His family owns half the city, ensuring a media circus that would involve both the homicide and the arson. While Sean McBride the arson investigator calls his Captain, Brock calls his Lieutenant, then his father, Chauncey King, the police commissioner. While the brass head off the media, both Brock and Sean finish collecting evidence to go to the lab. Neither one of them happy with the pressure that was sure to be put on this case.

Brock’s partner, Jordan Wyatt had been working vice when the call came in, now he’s with Brock to follow some leads until the feds decide to pull him into a different mess of a case. They had just begun tracking Samuel’s day by receipts found in his wallet when that call came. Now Brock would be getting a new partner for the duration. He’d been assured his new partner would be a good fit but that remained to be seen.

I like the way we’re introduced to this partner. Not at the station but at the diner across the street. It’s a peek at the thoughts flowing through Kallie Redmond’s mind prior to reporting for duty. It also gave a glimpse her past prior to moving to Hope City.

Brock says goodbye to Jordan and assures him he will take care of his cat Fester, and check on his apartment and car while he’s working with the Feds. Then heads inside to meet his new partner.

This is a favorite scene.

They stood sheltered behind the precinct in a small walkway that led to the parking lot, neither one inclined to turn and go their separate ways. “You’ll probably get shoved onto another team. They won’t keep putting you with a slew of temps. Don’t let them assign you someone permanently.” Jordan shoved his hands in his pockets and looked up at the heavy clouds that hung over them. “It would fucking suck to have to break in a new partner when I get back.”

He tipped his eyes up, too. It was going to snow, just a matter of when. He spoke to the clouds, “Never. I don’t think anyone else could put up with me.”

“Damn straight.” He chuckled when his partner immediately agreed.

“Seriously, you take care of yourself. Check in when you can.” Because they both knew it would be impossible for him to reach Jordan.

“I guess I’d better go.” Jordan glanced toward the parking lot and his car. “You sure you’re okay taking care of Fester?”

He shrugged. “Sure. That cat is chill. I’ll move him over to mine tonight.”

“You have to actually feed him, so you have to leave the damn precinct at least once a day.”

“Got it. Feed the cat. He survived me watching him when you went to see your folks.”

“That was a week, Brock. This could be… a lot longer.”

“Fester and I will be fine.” He’d enlist his little sisters to help cat sit if he needed to, but he’d make sure the thing made it through.

“Check on my apartment and car?” Jordan said.

“You know it.”

“Okay, so…”

“Yeah.” He extended his hand one last time. Jordan took it, and God help him if he didn’t feel like they were saying goodbye, not ‘so long’. He watched Jordan until he turned the corner before he entered the building. He nodded to people as he passed through the lobby and made his way to the sixth floor. The case and Jordan’s departure weighed equally on his mind. He wasn’t happy with either situation, but for now his focus had to be on the case. He glanced at his watch. If his new partner wasn’t a complete idiot, he could get him up to speed, interview Chloe and maybe Garrett, and make it to Miriam Treyson’s home by 3:30. He’d instructed patrol to bring both individuals to the precinct. He’d rather talk to them in their homes, but there was no time to waste. If it turned out his new partner was an idiot, well, he’d just tell the guy to shut his mouth and take notes. He didn’t have time to waste on an idiot partner. He had to solve this murder. The stakes were too damn high. His father’s career was on the line. Fuck, there wasn’t any time to waste.

He did a drive-by and snagged a tankard of coffee before he headed for Lieutenant Davidson’s office. The door was closed, so he knuckled the frosted glass and waited. “Enter.”

He pushed the door open. “Jordan punched out.”

“Ah, King. Come in. This is your new partner, Kallie Redman.”

A woman in the corner stood. Wow. She was tall and a fucking knock-out punch type of striking, not beautiful in the classic sense, but fuck him, he’d notice her in a crowd. Dark brown hair held away from intelligent brown eyes. He’d describe her vibe as… athletic. No makeup but vibrant and… striking. Oh, yeah, there was a feisty spirit in this lady. He could see the challenge in the way she sized him up. Not an idiot, either. Those eyes were sharp and inquisitive. She extended her hand.

“Brock King.” He introduced himself, grasping her hand. The woman had a firm handshake, and she met his eyes. Damn, she struck him as… razor sharp. “Have you been brought up to speed on the case we are working?”

She nodded. “The basics that the Lieutenant had.” She nodded at the case file on Davidson’s desk.

“Perfect.” He turned away from her and addressed Davidson. “We tracked down several key people in Treyson’s life. He was in a polyamorous relationship that his wife knew about.”

“Jealousy as a motive?” His new partner interjected.

“At this time, we don’t believe so. The interview we just had with a Miss Ava Dall suggested the wife has lovers, too. Patrol have brought in two of Treyson’s three lovers, and we have an appointment to speak to his wife at 3:30.”

His partner blinked twice. “Excuse me? Appointment?”

Oh, fuck, yeah. She was sharp but obviously not from Hope City. An accent was immediately distinguishable. Southern, but not in that twangy backwoods way.

He nodded and then chuckled, “The Treysons own half the city. I tried to talk to the wife this morning after processing the crime scene. Besides the horde of press at the residence, I was met with a wall of lawyers.”

“What time was that?” She glanced at her watch.

“About 6:00 a.m.”

She glanced at him and narrowed her eyes. “So…” She glanced at the lieutenant and then back at him. She shrugged and finished, “You’ve got a leak, and someone told wifey that the husband was dead—or she’s involved and knew you’d be coming.”

Brock smiled. A real, show-your-teeth smile. Fuck, yeah, he’d drawn a winner. “Exactly.”

“The file listed the evidence gathered, and I saw the crime scene photos. What about your examination of the scene? Did the fire destroy evidence? Was there any indication as to why this guy was at the warehouse or how he got there?”

“None. Of course, the first responders annihilated any tire tracks around the building. There was little physical evidence on scene. No tracks. The floor was concrete, and it was dry ground. Fingerprints were nonexistent. The arson investigator on scene told me the accelerant used was probably gasoline. The person who torched the warehouse wasn’t a professional. More than likely the fire was an attempt to try to hide the crime. The ME has orders to push the tox and histology to the front of the queue, but we have a couple weeks minimum to wait for those. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a ping off of one of his lovers or the wife. We’ve got the techs downloading his phone information, and we are tracing his moves based on the apps and the receipts in his wallet to build his last twenty-four to forty-eight.”

“What does this guy do? Is he a socialite or a businessman? If he is a businessman, does he have enemies?”

“On the list of avenues to travel down and explore. Come on, I’ll show you where we work, and then we’ll head out and talk to his lovers.”

“Perfect, but I’m going to need coffee. How much is the coffee fund, and where did you get that thermos impersonating a mug? I gotta get me one.” She nodded at his cup. He glanced at Davidson. “Boss, I like this one.”

“Well, she’s not yours to keep.” Davidson moved a stack of paperwork toward him. “Jordan will be back, and we are finally getting Couch back from deployment. Get out of my office, and find me the bastard who killed this guy. Shut my door on your way out.”
Michaels, Kris. A Hope City Duet (pp. 55-59). KMRW LLC. Kindle Edition.

There are many ups and downs in this investigation, Kallie is sharp and as they work together they also find an attraction. It’s a good thing they wouldn’t be permanent partners and that their isn’t a policy in place to prevent them from seeing each other outside of work.

We meet the King family in this one, since it’s all about the police investigation and their family is mostly police. I anticipate seeing all these folks in future books of the series.

This is an edge of your seat tale and just when things are wrapping up, the past looms up to bite Kallie. Lots of action, suspense, a simmer to sizzle romance and a whole lot more!

I’m just going to keep reading now with ‘Sean’. I like that the first two books are together in one.

5 Contented Purrs for Kris!

Sean by Maryann Jordan

In this book we go back to the fire scene we saw in ‘Brock’. Detective Sean McBride is with the Arson Division. Hope City is one of few places fortunate to have that special unit of detectives. Especially now with a serial arsonist on the loose. This warehouse fire was different though. We get a bit of a replay as Brock, Sean’s best friend arrives at the scene before we settle into the Arson investigation.

After the initial evidence collection the lab requests some additional samples in different containers. When Sean gets to the site he’s stunned and angry to see a woman there.

Harper is the fire investigator for the insurance company, just like Sean she needs to collect evidence. She brings it to an independent lab for analysis and adds those results to her findings for or against policy payout.

Sean yelled at her causing her to startle and fall injuring herself. He immediately offers assistance and insists on accompanying her to the hospital to be checked out.

This is a favorite scene.

Harper Walsh focused on the task, never hearing anyone approach. She let out an undignified squeal when a man’s angry voice sounded out just behind her. Whirling around, she landed awkwardly amongst some of the concrete that she had stepped over. A sharp pain shot through her hand and wrist, reverberating up her arm as she stared up in shock.

She blinked for a second, noting that his dark hair and blue eyes, square, stubbled jaw, and tall, obviously fit body combined to create a gorgeous man. But as he towered over her, his eyes snapping and his hands planted on his hips, it was equally obvious that he was furious. Her gaze dropped to where his hands pulled his jacket open, and she saw a badge hanging on his belt.

Damn, I was told the police were finished with the scene. Trained to not get in the way of the police when collecting evidence, she was careful to always follow protocol. She placed her hands on the ground next to her in an attempt to stand. The stabbing pain in her wrist caused her to cry out, plopping back down on her ass, now cradling her injured wrist with her other hand. Shit, shit, shit!

The man dropped to kneel by her side, his large presence seeming to surround her. “Let me see.” No longer scowling, his voice still held an irritated edge.

Fighting the embarrassment of her clumsiness, she started to lose the battle of keeping her tears at bay from the pain. “Why did you have to sneak up on me and then bellow?”

“Sneak? I wasn’t sneaking.”

“Well, you certainly bellowed.” Still cradling her wrist, she looked up, stunned to see him so close. She could now see that his eyes were not just blue but a shade that reminded her of the water in the harbor on a bright, cloudless, sunny day. He did not just have stubble but had a neatly trimmed beard. His hair was dark, almost black, just as neatly trimmed. The breeze blew a few strands, but she wondered if his hair would not dare to mess with the commanding man.

“I don’t bellow,” he refuted, not as confidently as he had sounded a moment earlier. He reached out and took her injured arm in his hands, his touch gentle but causing her to wince. His voice softened. “It might be broken.”

She feared he was right. “Damn it, I don’t have time for this.” Tears sprang to her eyes. The back of the hand he now held was covered in burn scars from long ago, extending from her fingers to several inches above her wrist. Uncertain if he was staring at her new injury or old scars, she pulled her hand from his, wincing again at the pain.

“You need to have that looked at. I’m serious when I said it might be broken.”

Glancing toward her evidence kit on the ground next to her, she gritted her teeth. “My samples. I have to get my samples to the lab.”

Still kneeling, he looked down at the labeled bottles and bags. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

Breathing through the pain, she gritted her teeth. “I’m a fire investigator.”

His brow lifted as he cocked his head to the side. “And who do you work for?”

“Eastern Mutual Insurance Company.” She met his glare with one of her own.

“Okay, then answer the first question I asked you. Who are you?”

Frustration at her situation stabbed through her, almost as painful as her wrist. “My name is Harper. Harper Walsh. I’m a certified Evidence Collection Technician as well as working on my final certification to become a Fire Investigator. Eastern Mutual sent me here, and I had been given clearance to come to this site. I was told the police were finished with their evidence collection and that’s why I was here. I had no problem with the policeman letting me in.”

With a curt nod, he stood. “Here, let me help you.” He placed his hands underneath her armpits and with little effort lifted her to her feet.

“Oh, now you want to help?” Looking at her wrist, she observed the swelling as well as bruising and felt lightheaded. No, no! Always fainting at the sight of blood, she could not believe she was going to pass out, considering her injury was not bleeding. Her stomach roiled. God, don’t let me throw up on him. She tried to maintain her dignity, breathing deeply, but weaved, and her knees buckled.

Strong arms grabbed her shoulders to keep her from staggering, and she face-planted against his broad chest, her head foggy.

“I’ll take you to the hospital.”

The last thing she wanted was to be indebted to the grumpy detective. She sucked in a deep breath in an attempt to clear her head and pushed away from his support. “I’ll just gather my samples and leave. I can drive myself to have my arm checked out.”

“Nope.” He deftly bent, picked up her evidence bag in one hand, and with his other hand at her elbow guided her carefully toward the front of the warehouse, pointing out the rubble she needed to step over.

Ignoring his care, she focused on his one word response. “What do you mean by ‘nope’?” He looked down at her, and she tried not to stare at his lips, which were now very close to hers.

He held her gaze then sighed loudly. “Nope. No. Nix. Negative. Not going to happen. Not going to let you. Any other questions?” She blinked, her mouth opening but no words came forth, and he continued. “I feel responsible for your injury and would like to make sure you arrive at the ER safely to get your arm checked out.”

“I don’t even know who you are.”

He had the grace to look chagrined. “You’re right. I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Detective Sean McBride. Arson Division. HCPD.”

“And are you always so bossy?”

“When I think someone needs help, then yes.”

She glanced over, seeing the policeman by the yellow tape staring narrow-eyed at them. Great, it looks like I’m being arrested. Bypassing her car, he continued toward a large SUV. He opened the door and placed her evidence collection bag onto his backseat, then reached into the front seat to grab a large paper sack, placing it into the back as well.

The scent of greasy sausage met her nostrils, and with the pain in her arm, another wave of nausea moved over her. Blowing out a deep breath, she battled the desire to throw up again.

He assisted her into the seat, his movements gentle. “Do you need help with the buckle?”

She reached over to take the seat belt, but pain shot through her left hand as she attempted to pull it down. He leaned over to buckle her, and she sucked in her stomach in an instinctive response to make herself appear smaller. Her gaze dropped from his eyes to his mouth. God, what would his lips feel like against mine? She tried to block out the idea and blurted, “Your vehicle smells like a diner.”

His lips curved into a grin, and his rugged good looks morphed into just pure handsome. Speaking softly, his breath whispering across her cheeks, he said, “That’s because I’ve got a dozen sausage biscuits in that bag.”

He leaned back, threw the door closed, and jogged around the front of his SUV. Calling out to the policeman still standing by the tape, he said, “I’ll take care of getting her vehicle later.”

They drove in silence for a moment, and Harper’s mind raced. How could everything have gone so wrong within a matter of moments? Following all proper procedures, she was almost finished with the evidence collection that she would need for both her certification and for her employer when she had suddenly landed on her ass with a possible broken wrist. And, of course, the cause of both had to be an infuriating—albeit gorgeous—detective.

Sighing, she knew that she needed to make amends. She had been sure that the police were finished with the scene or she would have waited. “While I had every right to be where I was, I’m sorry if I got in your way. I’m also sorry that you’re now having to take your time to drive me to the hospital. I’m sure I could’ve made the trip myself.”

“Apology accepted.”

His deep voice glided over her, sounding sincere. Twisting her head around to look at him, she asked, “That’s it?”

He shrugged. “You apologized. I accepted.”

She was quiet for a moment, wondering about the ease of his acceptance, and he continued, “I was taught that a heartfelt apology should always be accepted. If not, then it reflects on me, not the other person. And while we’re at it, I’m sorry to be the cause of your fall.”

She leaned her head back against the headrest and closed her eyes. His words were spoken in a soft voice, but the sincerity rang out clearly, something she had not expected considering his earlier arrogance. Her mother’s similar words ran through her mind. “Funny, I was taught the same thing… apology accepted.”
Michaels, Kris. A Hope City Duet (pp. 280-284). KMRW LLC. Kindle Edition.

Not exactly the best way to meet someone, but one that quickly spread to colleagues and friends providing a never ending source of amusement.

With the results in on the warehouse proving it wasn’t their serial arsonist, Sean and Jonas get back to work sifting through possible suspects.

Harper and Sean have an attraction that only grows as they continue to cross paths in there investigating. As much as he may try to avoid it, Sean can’t help but admire Harper’s tenacity and investigative instincts.

In spite of or perhaps because of the intensity of the investigation, Sean falls in deeper and deeper with Harper. Their attraction sparks into flame as things heat up with the arsonist. Yes, pun intended.

I enjoyed this book immensely and since I’ve already read and reviewed ‘Carter’, I have to wait for the release of ‘Brody’ later this month.

5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!

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Coming Soon!

Kris Michaels

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author, Kris Michaels is the alter ego of a happily married wife and mother. She writes romance, usually with characters from military and law enforcement backgrounds.

Kris was born and raised in South Dakota. She graduated many years ago from a high school class consisting of 13 students (yes that is thirteen, eleven girls and two boys…lucky boys). She joined the military, met her husband, and traveled the world. Today she lives on the Gulf Coast and writes full time.

Kris is an avid people watcher and dreamer. The stories she writes are crafted around the hopes and dreams of a true romantic. She believes love is essential, people are beautiful, and everyone deserves a happy ending.

When she isn’t writing Kris enjoys a full life revolving around family, friends, laughing, whiskey, and cold red wine. (Yes cold…don’t judge.)

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Maryann Jordan

I have always been an avid reader. My early memories were of my mother taking me to the library and allowing me to check out as many books as I could carry. My favorite books were checked out numerous times and read over and over. I would use my Barbie dolls to play out the scenes in books (such as Nancy Drew!).

I have written as a hobby for many years (probably since childhood). I have written devotionals, autobiographical writings about having a severely handicapped, medically fragile child, about my mother’s Alzheimer’s, and other subjects that interest me.

I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old historical romance books. In 2013, I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.

I worked as a counselor in a high school and was involved in education for the past 30 years, until retiring in 2015. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 35 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!

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Under the Boardwalk – Costas Sisters Book 1 By Carly Phillips

Under the Boardwalk
Costas Sisters Book 1
USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips


Ariana Costas may be a college professor in Vermont, but she’s still a Jersey girl at heart-at least according to her lovable, eccentric Greek family. Then her twin sister, Zoe disappears an dher Jersey roots tug hard. Soon Ari is back home, ducking bullets and, to her chagrin, getting rescued by a hunk in a black leather jacket.

Detective Quinn Donovan takes one look at the windblown beauty-and then looks again. If this lady isn’t Zoe Costas, it’s someone who looks exactly like her. Suddenly, Ari’s in trouble deeper than the Atlantic at high tide, and Quinn is trying to protect her without spilling his well-guarded secrets … as déja vu just might become the love affair of a lifetime.

When Ariana finds out her twin sister is missing she takes a leave of absence from her Professorship in Vermont to return to Hope City. Her family is a bit wacky and part of that is normal for them the rest was to keep from breaking down over their missing daughter and niece Zoe.

Needing a break Ari takes a walk to the beach with memories flooding her as she stops under the islet pier. Someone calls out Zoe’s name and instinctively she raises her head to look for her sister.

Quinn who is working undercover at the casino where Zoe was last seen is on the pier above her when a shot rings out. He immediately jumps to the sand below and covers her. When he rolls away Ari runs and he follows, what occurs is a very interesting conversation in which he reveals Zoe is alive but can’t tell her anything else. He also extracts a promise from her that she would return home to Vermont.

Of course Ari isn’t going to listen and the next time he sees her he definitely isn’t pleased.

This is a favorite scene.

She’d promised to get her ass on a plane. She hadn’t. By walking in here, she’d shown she wasn’t scared of the repercussions. She should be, Quinn thought as he rose from his seat.

But before he could intercept Ari and prevent Damon from seeing Zoe’s twin, Damon put a hand on Quinn’s shoulder. “Is that the woman you were talking about?” Damon nodded toward Ari.

“That’s her,” Quinn muttered.

As if Damon’s date sensed competition, she hung on more tightly to his arm.

The fact comforted Quinn, while he tried to figure out what to do about this newest complication. “I thought she was leaving, but don’t worry. I’ll get rid of her.”

“Let’s see what she wants first,” Damon suggested.

Quinn watched through gritted teeth as Ari strode up the three steps to the bar and greeted them with a wide smile. Thank God Damon preferred blondes, Quinn thought.

“Hi.” Her gaze encompassed both men and Damon’s date.

“What are you doing here?” Quinn asked, to hell with preliminary niceties.

She shrugged but didn’t flinch at his angry tone. “I thought I’d check out where my sister works.” She motioned around the room with one elegant sweep.

“Worked,” Quinn reminded her. “You wanted to see where your sister worked.”

She lowered her gaze, the confidence in her demeanor not as strong now. “I’m just not used to thinking of Zoe in the past tense.” She drew a deep breath. “But you’re right. I wanted to see where my sister worked.” When she looked up, her grin was nowhere to be found.

A punch in the gut would have been a gentler way of hurting her, Quinn thought. But if she trusted him at all, which she had no reason to do, she’d play this game through. In the end, she would see her sister again.

“So now you’ve seen. Don’t you have a plane to catch?”

Damon stepped forward. “Tsk, tsk, Quinn. That’s no way to speak to a beautiful lady.”

Damon’s arm candy started to whine, but Damon cut her off by pulling cash out of his pocket. “Go play,” he ordered his companion.

The blonde whose name Quinn hadn’t bothered to learn treated Damon to a kiss on the cheek and sashayed off.

Ari raised an eyebrow Quinn’s way. “I’d appreciate an introduction to your friend.” Her sultry gaze settled on Damon.

Unlike when she’d convincingly lied to Quinn, now he detected traces of nervous energy as Ari made a show of fingering her purse and tapping her foot.

She was scared. Of Damon, he hoped, because that would mean the professor did indeed have the brain Zoe credited her with. And then Quinn could count on her to behave, at least while she was in the casino.

“Yes,” Damon said from beside him. “I believe introductions are in order.” He oozed charm. Slimy, not-to-be-trusted charm.

“Ariana Costas, I’d like you to meet Alec Damon. Mr. Damon owns this casino, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years.” Or in Vermont. “Damon, this is Zoe Costas’s twin,” Quinn said pointedly.

Damon smiled. “I thought I noticed the resemblance. Nice to meet you, Ariana.”

“Same here.” She swallowed hard. “I’ve heard so much about you, Mr. Damon. Not from my sister, since we . . . we hadn’t been in touch in a while, but my mother talks about you often.”

“Only good things, I hope?” She nodded. “That’s another reason I came by. I wanted to meet you. To thank you in person for lending my mother money when she was in need.” Ari held out her hand and Damon took it.

“My pleasure.” He released his grasp, his astute gaze raking over Ariana’s body. “Your mother was a hard worker and a very talented dancer.” He inclined his head. “Do you share her ability?”

She laughed. A full-blown, light and airy sound. Quinn’s groin immediately tightened. Damn the woman, anyway.

“No. I’m sorry to say I have two left feet.”

“Somehow I doubt that.” His gaze traveled the length of her body, beginning with her long legs and remaining on her cleavage before finally landing on her face.

She did her best not to squirm, but failed. Still she faced Damon head on. “Thank you again for helping my family. And it was nice meeting you,” Ari said, all but ignoring Quinn.

“The feeling’s mutual. And . . .” Damon paused. “I’m sorry about your sister. Zoe was beautiful inside and out. She worked hard and we at Damon’s valued her.”

Ari tipped her head. “That means so much.”

“Quinn, why don’t you show Ms. Costas around the casino.” The suggestion was nothing short of an order.

Despite Damon’s civil veneer, Quinn didn’t want her staying around unchaperoned. Quinn would follow his order with pleasure. Not just to find out what the hell was behind Ari’s agenda, but to get closer to the sultry beauty for reasons he didn’t want to name.

Putting his arm around her waist, he led her down the stairs and away from Damon. She was smaller than she looked, and her waist fit snugly against his body, feeling too good considering he wanted to throttle her.

He left the casino behind, entered the hotel lobby, and steered her directly to the office area and a vacant hallway. He paused only long enough to unlock the door and nudge her in. Entering his private domain, he slammed the door shut behind him and locked them inside.

He turned on the light before folding his arms across his chest and facing Ariana. “Well?”

“Well what?” She batted her eyes and forced the most innocent look she could manage.

It had to be forced considering she must be quaking in her stiletto pumps. “Does this look like Vermont to you?” He gestured around the state-of-the-art office, with its new computer, expensive desk, sophisticated phone system, and both audio and video bugs recording everything that was said.

She shrugged, taking in the sterile environment where he spent many of his days. “Not particularly. My office is a lot more musty and not as bright.”

He closed his eyes and counted to ten. She was baiting him on purpose, and she was more like Zoe than he’d given her credit for. He wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
Carly Phillips. Under the Boardwalk (Kindle Locations 477-528). CP Publishing.

In spite of her not listening or maybe because of it, Quinn finds himself falling hard and fast for Ari.

Then there’s Sam, a teenage foster child he helped get placed in a good home. She keeps testing everyone’s patience by running off.

She takes to Ari and the craziness of the Costa’s family. Which just happens to now include a monkey named Spanks.

This is a convoluted tale, with tears, suspense, action, surprises and some sizzle as well.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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Carly Phillips

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

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

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Defending Raven – Mountain Mercenaries Book 7 By Susan Stoker

Defending Raven
Mountain Mercenaries Book 7
NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker


A missing woman leads the alpha heroes on their boldest mission yet in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s searing Mountain Mercenaries novel.

It’s been ten years since Rex’s wife, Raven, disappeared from a Vegas casino. Never losing hope, he even formed the Mountain Mercenaries to help find her—and other missing wives, sisters, and children. Now Rex and his fearless team are following a lead to Lima, Peru, where the rescue operation is greater than they imagined.

A day at a time. That’s been Raven’s motto for a decade. Once held captive by an elusive sex trafficker, she has an indomitable will to survive. But Raven’s not ready to leave Peru. She can’t. Not yet. Because her liberation from the barrios comes with devastating consequences. One wrong move and all hope will be lost to an unimaginable hell.

For the Mountain Mercenaries, the stakes have been raised. The threats are escalating. But Rex hasn’t searched this long, risked so much, and come this far to lose Raven all over again.

Once again Susan Stoker had me up all night reading although I can probably put some of the blame on Amazon for the book showing up on my kindle just as I was heading to bed.

The entire team and Zara are headed back to Peru. Zara is going to help Daniela set up a real clinic and also act as a translator for the team. She also knows the Barrio like the back of her hand so navigating it will be much easier.

One of the most poignant moments in this book is when Dave first lays eyes on Mags, his Raven. It is also one of my favorite scenes.

Mags looked back at Dave . . . and once again couldn’t breathe. He hadn’t taken his eyes off her. It was as if he was drinking her in. But instead of his gaze comforting her, she felt exposed. Naked. She felt as if he could see straight through her to her deepest, darkest secrets. Things she’d never speak of. Not to him or to anyone. They were her shame to carry.

Zara was acting as a translator, but Mags couldn’t even hear what she was saying with the rushing sound in her ears.

Dave didn’t get off his knees. He stayed on the floor, looking at her intently. Mags knew if she had to endure it for one more second, she’d go stark raving mad.

“Raven,” Dave said softly. “I wanted to believe Zara. Wanted to believe that the woman she knew as Mags was really you . . . but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. I’ve been disappointed so many times, I knew I couldn’t handle it again. But it’s you. It’s really you.”

Mags stared at him without blinking.

“Can I . . . Are you all right?”

She wanted to snort at that. Was she all right? No, of course she wasn’t.

“It’s a lot to process, Dave,” Arrow said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You need to give her some time.”

“I can’t leave,” Dave said, his voice breaking. “I just found her. I can’t go!”

Mags stiffened. He couldn’t stay. She had to make him understand. “I don’t want you here,” she said in as hard a voice as she could muster. Unfortunately, it came out more like a plea than a demand from the in-charge woman she’d had to become over the years.

She was shocked when tears formed in Dave’s eyes and spilled over his cheeks. He didn’t reach up to wipe them away, simply continued to stare at her.

“Ten years,” he said softly. “Ten years, twenty-two days, four hours, and thirty-six minutes. That’s how long you’ve been missing. And I’ve been searching for you for every single second of that time. I’ve prayed to hear your voice again . . . and the reality is so much better than my dreams.”

His words both soothed a hurt she didn’t know she’d harbored and stung like a thousand bees. Dave had obviously suffered. The man she used to know never would’ve cried. Especially not in front of others. She couldn’t talk through the lump in her own throat.

“You should go. Just for tonight,” Zara said. “Mags needs time to process everything.”

Dave opened his mouth to protest, but Gray spoke before he could.

“That sounds like a good idea. We can come back tomorrow.”

“You’re not staying here,” Meat told Zara.

“I’ll be fine,” she told him gently.


Mags approved of Zara’s man. He was protective and obviously concerned about her safety. As much as Zara was a product of the barrio, it wasn’t safe. Not even for her.

“Maybe they can all come to the motel with us?” she asked.

“If we’re gone too long, Ruben or someone else might take over our house,” Maria said.

Zara’s shoulders drooped. “Yeah.”

“We’ll come back first thing in the morning, and we’ll bring food,” Meat reassured both Zara and the other women. “If there’s anything else you can think of that you need, we’ll go shopping again tomorrow and get it for you. We need to visit Daniela as well.”

The women all agreed, and Mags knew they were anxious to go through the bags of supplies the men had brought them and talk about exactly what was happening.

“I don’t want to go,” Dave argued.

Meat put his hand on Dave’s shoulder and squeezed. “She needs time,” he said quietly.

No one said anything for a long moment.

Then, from his position on his knees in the doorway, Dave said, “I love you, Raven.”

Mags braced herself to look at him again.

“I love you. I know enough about what happens to young women who get taken without their consent to know your life has been hell. But I’ve found you—and I’m going to do whatever it takes to prove you’re now safe. That my love for you hasn’t stopped simply because you’ve been gone.”

“People change,” she said softly. “I’m not the woman you once knew.”

“And I’m not the same person you married,” Dave countered. “I’m harder. More stubborn. A hell of a lot less trusting. But one thing will never change, and that’s how much you mean to me, and how much I love you.”

“I don’t love you anymore,” Mags lied.

Dave didn’t even flinch. “You will.”

Frustration rose within her. She needed him gone. Why wasn’t he getting mad? Leaving? She had too much to lose if he didn’t go. “My life is here in Peru,” she said as sternly as she could manage. “I’m not leaving.”

Dave eyed her for a long moment, and Mags refused to squirm under his scrutiny. Then he slowly stood, and Mags forced herself to stand her ground and not cower from the intensity of his gaze. The tears had dried up, and a very determined man stood in front of her now.

“I didn’t tell your parents that I was coming to Peru. They’ve had their hopes raised too many times and dashed just as many. And my parents have suffered right along with me. But they don’t matter. No one matters but you. My life is wherever you are,” Dave said without a trace of irritation or insecurity. “If I have to move to Lima in order to be with you, I will.”

At any other time, Mags would’ve thrown herself at her man and begged him to take her away from the barrio. From Lima. From Peru. But she couldn’t.

She was in hell. This was like being offered everything her heart desired, but she knew if she dared reach for it, she could lose something else she loved just as dearly.
Stoker, Susan. Defending Raven (Mountain Mercenaries) (pp. 39-43). Kindle Edition.

Like everything else in life this gets far more complicated than just talking to Mags and bringing her home.

The bullies in the Barrio learn a few lessons from this dedicated team, lessons that start making life for the residents a bit better. The horror of del Rio’s mindset had me both cringing and crying as Susan takes a horrific part of human trafficking and intertwines it with a love story for the ages.

So much suspense as Dave breaks down the walls Raven has erected to maintain her sanity. Her reason for needing to stay in Lima, while shocking to Dave only cements his determination to bring her home.

Some laughter, lots of tears, and an ending you won’t soon forget.

This is the last book in this series and I will miss these characters. Thank you, Susan it’s been a wild ride.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Delta Force Heroes, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired Army non-commissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, or find her on Facebook. Links below.

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Stroke of Death -Psychic Visions Book 17 by Dale Mayer

Stroke of Death
Psychic Visions Book 17
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


Cayce’s art is well-known and respected among her peers, and, as such, has spawned forgers, copycats … and enemies. But when her favorite model and best friend is murdered—the masterpiece painted on her skin cut off her body—Cayce knows she’s up against a collector of a very different sort.

Detective Richard Henderson doesn’t know much about art, but he knows what he likes. Of all the art mixed up in this case, it is the artist, Cayce, who fascinates him the most. While he understands her work contains an element of something extraordinary, he just doesn’t know what that is exactly or how she embodies it in her creative works of art.

But, when other models show up dead, with more souvenirs taken from their bodies, both the artist and the detective realize much more is involved in this than just Cayce’s art … It’s all about Cayce’s soul.

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Cayce is an artist with a unique gift, she does mural size masterpieces and incorporates models into the scene. The models disappear into it until the moment they are to move away. Cayce’s gift is more than this though, she calls upon positive energy when she paints using it to create with the perfect colors and blending.

As this book opens the client has insisted on a new model, Naomi exudes negativity and Cayce is having trouble getting around that but she manages, and reaches a point for a break for both herself and the model.

It’s then a visitor enters the area, something that Cayce hates since it interferes with the energy and this stranger has a darkness about him. The news he brings devastates Cayce, Elena her bestfriend and favorite model has been murdered and besides her life the killer took something else. That something is not only part of Elena but of Cayce as well.

Detective Richard Henderson is assigned to the case and with so few clues he turns to the artist as he talks to other friends of Elena.

This is a favorite scene.

Cayce had been working three hours already. She had this massive, expansive wall— twenty by sixty feet. It wasn’t that she particularly liked this size, but it was something she was certainly capable of doing. She put the roller back down and relaxed her shoulders, rotating them and her neck to ease up the tension. She had a base color on the back wall, and she had the sky with the clouds working in. She was doing the foreground in this one, and that was tougher— a fantasy forest winter design.

“That’s quite a job,” a man said behind her.

Cayce stiffened, then turned to look at Detective Richard Henderson. “Are you back to bug me some more?”

“Do I bug you?”

She narrowed her gaze at him. “What do you want?”

“I have a few more questions,” he said. He looked at the many trays of paint all around her. “Good Lord,” he said. “Are you really doing this whole wall?”

She shrugged her shoulders several times, again feeling her muscles cramp. “Yes, and I have to do the background first, before I start doing any of the fine detail.”

“And how long does something like this stay up?”

“Weeks, months sometimes,” she said. She walked to where she’d placed her coffee, realizing it was lukewarm at best right now. She took a big slug, nearly spitting it out. “Back to the questions, Detective,” she said pointedly.

She was caught by the way the light played along his cheekbones. Just the way he stood there. She moved a little to the left, so she could take a look at him from a different angle. Her mind immediately filled in all the details of this man and realized he had unforgettable features. But, of course, that sent her mind spinning, only to wonder what the rest of him looked like. Just from a model’s perspective, she assured herself.

He frowned at her. “What are you looking at?”

“Your cheekbones,” she said bluntly. His eyebrows shot up, and she grinned. “I am an artist.”

He shrugged uncomfortably and said, “Well, I won’t be part of your installations anytime soon.”

She nodded, smiled, and said, “That’s fine too, considering you weren’t invited anyway. So, questions?”

He glared at her. “Joe Johnson.”

“Good model,” she said instantly. “I really like him.”


“No,” she said. “Not personally. But he’s a very good model. He could hold the position and stand for a long time, but he wasn’t cut out for the actual cutthroat part of the business.”

“Isn’t that a little hard to believe?”

“Every business is cutthroat, if somebody stands to gain a ton of money,” she said. “There are always markers that define success, fame, or wealth. But knowing that your face will be on every magazine is a thrill for a lot of people.”

“True,” he said, “and Joe wasn’t cut out for it?”

“No, not at all,” she said. “But that didn’t stop him from being damn good at what he did.”

“Would you use him again, if you had a chance?”

“I don’t body-paint men very often,” she said, “but, yes, I would.”

“And did Elena have anything to do with him?”

“You’d have to ask him,” she said. Cayce hated talking about her friends, particularly the ones who were no longer here to answer any questions.

“We have to pry into Elena’s life,” he said gently. “Somebody took it from her. No way I’ll let that happen to anybody else.”

Her eyes widened as she thought about that. She took several steps forward, her voice dropping as she whispered, “Do you think other models are in danger?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “You tell me. Was this dedicated just to her, or is there something about her that somebody wanted?”

“It depends if they were trying to kill her for revenge,” she said, “or if it was because of the masterpiece.”

“Why do you keep calling it a masterpiece?”

“Not because I’m an egotist,” she snapped, “but because it was a copy of a masterpiece that she was in.”

He stopped, stared, and said, “Really?”

She nodded. “A van Gogh.”

“Oh, God,” he said. “That adds a whole new layer of shit to the case.”

She nodded slowly.

“We have to get to the bottom of this and fast. Do you have any other masterpieces coming up?”

She stared at him in horror; then she nodded slowly. “Tomorrow night,” she said. “I’m doing one tomorrow night.”

He waved at the wall behind her. “This one?”

She shook her head immediately. “No. I’m doing one at the big art museum,” she said. “It’s different. We’re bringing in the canvases that will be the backdrop, and then the models in the front. So, I’m doing them in pieces.”

“Not that I even begin to understand that,” he said, “but I’ll have some added security on the place.”

“You can do that,” she said, “but will you look after my model too? I don’t want her to turn out to be a second masterpiece for some creep collector who’s found something new to collect.”
Dale Mayer. Stroke of Death (Kindle Locations 554-597). Valley Publishing.

One of the things I love about these books is we get a look at the bad guy, not the name but insight into the twisted reasoning.

As more bodies turn up so does Sebastian, I love the way he just pops into the fray. This case has intertwined with one Sebastian is working on so the stakes are even higher. Richard has to embrace his talents as does Cayce as this nail-biting story continues.

Plenty of suspense, intrigue and a simmer to sizzle romance.

I had started this series in the middle and I am now going back to the beginning. I really need to know more about the characters that show up to help in every book.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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

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Saving Love – Brotherhood Protectors World: Saving Series Book 1 By Jen Talty

Saving Love
Saving Series Book 1
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty


The only thing Alabama Love wanted was to provide a safe home for her son, Wyoming, away from her abusive husband. When she landed in Eagle Rock, Montana, she thought just maybe, she might have found the perfect place to start her life over and give her son the kind of future he deserves. But sometimes the past has a tendency of catching up to the present.

And in her case, the past could prove to be a deadly future.

Only one thing really matters in Wayne “Dakota” Newark’s life, and that’s family. When his wife passed away from breast cancer, he left the military and joined the Brotherhood Protectors in order to provide a more stable life for his two little girls. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his kids. But when his nanny quits, he finds himself having to trust a woman he doesn’t know and that doesn’t settle right in his gut. All in the name of protecting his family, he does some digging into Alabama’s past.

Unfortunately, his prying into her background disturbs a hornet’s nest that has the potential to destroy both their worlds.

And now he’s tangled up with a woman who has not only stolen the hearts of his precious girls but has taken his hostage and now he wants to spend the rest of his life protecting her and her young son.

That is if he can keep them all alive.


Alabama needs a job to support her son, this last interview hadn’t worked out for her either. With no real experience she was having a difficult time finding anything. She was fortunate to have this tiny house on Dakota Newark’s Broken Spur Ranch and he had offered to help her find a position. Now she was going to have to talk to him about that. While deciding whether to wait for the nanny Candice to leave, she’s witness to said nanny being fired.

Dakota is immediately faced with a dilemma of being in two places at the same time and Alabama steps up to solve that problem for him. This leads him to hire her as his nanny, it also brings into question how deep to look into her background since he’s pretty sure she’s running from something or someone.

She clutched at her pendant dangling around her neck. It carried a picture of her and her son on the day of his birth. But behind that was an image of her parents and her when she’d been five years old. It was the only thing she’d kept from her past. The only thing she had linking her to her old life. She missed her parents. She wondered if they hadn’t died her junior year in college if she would have fallen so hard and fast for Josh. Maybe they would have seen what a heartless bastard he was and saved her from five years of hell.

“I don’t mean to pry, but the girls didn’t mention what your wife died from?”

“Breast cancer.” He scratched at the side of his face and let out a puff of air. “She was diagnosed when River was two and died two years later. River only remembers her being sick, which breaks my heart. I try to give them all the good memories of their mother as often as I can, but they are my memories, not theirs.”

“But they had a loving mother, and they have pictures and videos.” Her son, thankfully, would have nothing to remember his father by. “And they have you. They think you walk on water.”

“They also think all dads should have wives and have made it their life mission to find me a good one,” he said with slight chuckle.

“I’m aware. They showed me a list they have compiled of potential women for you, but they told me they haven’t vetted them all yet.”

“Vetted? They actually used that word?”

“Oh yeah. Sky even said your boss, Hank, was going to help her with the process.”

“Oh, good Lord.” He tossed his head back and laughed. “And dare I ask why they showed you this list?”

“They started by crossing Candice off the list.”

“Oh, thank God. Besides her basically being a child, she’s so not my type,” he said.

“She’s only five years younger than me.”

He arched a brow and glanced to the ceiling. “That makes you twenty-eight?”

“I’ll be twenty-nine on Valentine’s Day,” she said, wishing she hadn’t enlightened him on the date of her birthday, much less her age, though now she wondered his and hoped maybe she was under what he considered too young. Sadly, she’d always preferred older men. That’s one of the reasons she fell so quickly for Josh.

“I’ll have to remember that and treat you to something special.” He winked.

She waved her hand. “Oh, no. Please don’t. I hate birthdays. And this one is just one shy of a big one.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I just turned forty, so you don’t get to say that to me. Besides, knowing my girls, they put you on the dating list, so even if they don’t know that Valentine’s Day is your birthday, they will be up to playing cupid.”

“Wonderful,” she mumbled. “No offense to your daughters, or you, but I’m not looking.”

“Neither am I, but Sky and River have it in their heads that I need a girlfriend. I’ve explained that I don’t. However, they have my stubborn streak and their mother’s inability to let things go. I will have a little chat with them, but can we humor them for your birthday? We kind of make a big deal about birthdays because that’s a celebration of life and having lost their mother, well, we like to make the living feel important.”

How the hell could she say no to that? “As long as it’s nothing too fancy, got it?”

“Got it,” he said.

The oven dinged.

“Of course, you might fire me after this meal.”

His laughter was cut short the second he opened the oven.

She stood and peered over his shoulder. “Oh no. How did that happen?” She stared at the goop that had bubbled over the rim of the metal pan she’d put all the noodles, meat, sauce, and a couple different kinds of cheese in. She’d followed the directions, for the most part, so she wasn’t sure why half her concoction was burnt on the bottom of the oven.

He snagged some hot mitts and pulled out the so-called lasagna, setting it on the rack next to the stove. “You overfilled the pan and might have put in too much sauce and cheese, but it smells good.” He took a fork and a cut out a small portion. Holding it up to his mouth, he puckered his lips and blew.

For the last few months she’d lived on takeout and the occasional microwavable meal. Back in the day, her palate couldn’t tolerate such things, but today, all she cared about was putting calories in her body. Her stomach knotted as she gnawed at her fingernail.

“You look absolutely terrified,” he said with an amused smile.

Fear crept up from her toes all the way to the tip of her tongue. If this were Josh standing in front of her, she’d already be on the floor with a few bruises for ruining the oven.

“It would be such a waste if that meal isn’t eatable. And I’m so sorry about the oven. I will clean it tomorrow.”

He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “Once it cools, I’ll scrape what I can, and then it will self-clean. You don’t need to worry about it at all.” He gave the pasta one more good blow before he shoved it between his teeth. His eyes grew wide before he turned and spit the contents of his mouth into the sink.

She covered her mouth with a gasp, taking two steps back. Her hands trembled. She resented how quickly certain situations would send her spiraling into the scared woman Josh created. When she left, she promised herself she’d never let another man make her feel the way Josh had.

“I can honestly say I’ve eaten worse.”

Panic took over her mind. No matter what she told herself about how kind Dakota had been since she’d moved in, he was still a man, and he still had fists.

He glanced over his shoulder as he tossed a napkin in the trash. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you, but you did say it could be bad.”

She nodded, trying desperately to control her breathing. She’d never had a panic attack until after she’d gotten married. And in the last couple of years, they came regularly. While in the underground, she developed strategies on how to deal with them, but currently nothing was working. As he closed the gap between them, her lungs burned while she tried to take in a deep breath.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” He held his hands up.

Clutching her necklace, she pushed her back against the wall. “I know,” she whispered. But she didn’t know anything except she felt as though she were still a caged animal.

“You’re safe with me,” he whispered. “It’s just a dinner that didn’t come out right and a mess that can be cleaned up. Nothing to get upset over.”

Intellectually, she knew that.

But her past reality dictated something entirely different. She opened her mouth but all that came out was some high-pitched strange noise that made her sound like some pathetic person. She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. I’m just tired. It’s been a long day,” she managed to croak out in what she hoped was a strong tone.

He reached out and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. “You still need to eat dinner. I’m going to order pizza, wings, and salad. Does that work for you?”

“You don’t have to feed me. I’ve got some—”

“I insist.” He rested his hands on her shoulders. “I don’t know what happened to you, and I’m not going to ask you a lot of questions about it right now, but I want you to know that I will make sure you and Wyoming are always safe in my home.”

A burst of rage moved through her bloodstream. “You keep saying that, and I don’t understand why. I don’t need your protection.”

“I’ve seen this kind of thing—”

“I’m not a client of yours. I haven’t hired you to protect me from anything.”

“I understand that,” he said with an arched brow. “But I’ve seen women on the run before and—”

“On the run? That’s what you think? Wow.” She sucked in a deep breath, hoping it would give her some courage as she patted his chest and maneuvered around him. “I suppose your job puts those kinds of ideas in your head. Now, it’s getting late, and I need to put Wyoming down. Sorry my dinner didn’t work out. I’ll do better next time. See you tomorrow morning.”
Talty, Jen. Saving Love: Brotherhood Protectors World (Saving Series Book 1). Twisted Page Press LLC. Kindle Locations (491-554). Kindle Edition.

Things get pretty intense as Candice with her boyfriend start harassing Alabama. However it’s her boyfriend’s family that concerns Dakota and the Brotherhood Protectors the most.

This is a quick read because you won’t be able to put it down. There are plenty of twists in this tale along with action and some frustration. All that and some laughter, tears and a simmer to sizzle romance.

I love seeing the Brotherhood Protectors and the new additions to the crew. I have to go back now and read the others Jen Talty has written in this world.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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More of Jen’s Brotherhood Protectors World Books

Jen Talty

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

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

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

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