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.

Christmas in July! The Twelve Stitches of Christmas by Debra Parmley



The Twelve Stitches of Christmas
By
Debra Parmley & Robert Arrow

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Ensorcelled and enslaved by her evil uncle, Carolennea has lost her sweet voice and sews the impossibly beautiful clothing he sells in his tailor shop. But this yuletide season will bring a new customer: a handsome knight for whom she will brave her uncle’s wrath—and who in return will help break the spell. Sir Ardin will set free her fingers, her voice…and her heart.

A handsome knight and true love are the recipe for breaking the evil spell that enslaves Carolennea, all in time for Christmas.

Carolennea’s uncle gained custody of her after her mother died. Her father had gone off to war years before and never returned. The disgruntled man who now was responsible for her was doing something strange in the clearing. The results of which didn’t entirely please him.

As a result when he discovers the hiding Carolennea, he forces the potion down her throat. The entity who provided it on seeing the event, sends another spell weaving around the girl.

It’s years later, and Carolennea is sixteen when a knight in need of a repair of his cloak comes to her uncle’s shop.

This is a favorite scene.

He’d reached the tailor’s shop just as the shopkeepers in the village were closing up for the night. Tying the palomino to the tree in the front yard, he hurried to the door. Giving a short two raps and hearing no answer, he pushed on the door, opening it. “Hello?”

Dim light inside from flickering candles showed him a girl. A slim, blonde girl in a white nightgown bent down to the ground picking something up.

Long blonde hair covered her face until she raised her head to look straight into his eyes, her green eyes gazing at him though the strands of her long, silky hair. Like some skittish forest creature, she froze.

Their gazes locked onto each other and held.

A girl with green eyes. A beautiful girl. He leaned toward her, excitement and interest filling him as a large smile spread across his face.

Her eyes lit in return. He glimpsed a matching flash of excitement and interest, before she blushed and glanced back down, once again hidden behind her hair.

“Wench, who told you to open the door? I told you never to go out.” A broad-shouldered man with a large belly hurried down the back stairs, bellowing. Seeing Ardin, his expression quickly changed. “Milord, beg pardon. Please come in.” He hurried over to Ardin. “How may we serve you?”

To the girl, Trad pointed a silent, angry arm, telling her to get back. He stepped in front of her as she skittered backward.

Ardin tried to see the girl past the tailor’s shoulders, but the portly man’s body blocked her from view.

“Don’t mind her, she is simple minded. Crawling about on her knees. Searching the floor for what?” He shook his head. “Tsk.” Then he beamed a large smile. “Now what can I interest you in today? A new cloak?”

“Nay, simply the repair of this one.”

“We have many mighty fine cloaks here and we can custom fit one to you, unique among all others.”

Ardin removed his cloak and handed it to the man. “Just repair this one. When can it be ready?”

“On the morrow, good sir. We work fast.”

Carolennea, listening from behind her blankets, had a moment of anger, the first she’d had in many years.

Uncle Trad doesn’t work fast. I do. He hasn’t sewn a thing since the day he made me drink the green poison. He’s lying. Uncle’s good at lying. Everyone always believes him.

A deep yearning for the handsome knight to know who really did the sewing for the shop, who really would be mending his cloak, filled her. Pressing her hands to her lips a tear slipped out and down her cheek as she thought of her ruined throat. She could never tell him. Never even attempt to, for then he would hear her noises and turn away.

She longed so deeply for him to stay and not turn away. Never in her life had she had a longing like this one. Wanting to speak to him, yearning for something she knew not what; she was drawn to the handsome knight like moth to a flame.

His eyes had searched hers, as if he wanted to know more.

He did want to know more. She felt it within her bones.

She would have spoken to him if she could, but she mustn’t, mustn’t even try.

No one would listen to her, repelled by the goosey sounds coming from her throat when she tried to speak. There was no one she could tell. Her story stayed locked inside these six years. It would stay locked for another six. She dared not hope any more.

The light in his eyes, which had searched hers, wanting to know more, that light would fade and he would turn away. Like all the others. None would ask about her, let alone ask her. It had been so long since any in the village had seen her and none even knew her name.

She curled into a ball as she always did before going to sleep and would hide there in her comfort spot until the man left.

Uncle will be angry. The biggest rule, to stay out of sight, had been broken.

She stayed very still, knowing she would soon be punished.

The men finished speaking and she heard the handsome knight leave.

“Get to work,” her uncle said. “Only eleven days ’til Christmas.”

The handsome knight would be here on the morrow. She would finish his cloak tonight. Never had the thought of sewing filled her with more pleasure. Each stitch, though driven by the magic, would carry her heartfelt blessings upon it.

If I must be cursed then I shall bless as well.
Debra Parmley; Robert Arrow. The Twelve Stitches of Christmas (Kindle Locations 160-196). Belo Dia Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Ah the rules of magic, there is a difference now that Carolennea is no longer a child and Ardin is just the knight to complete that change.

A lovely Christmas fairy tale, with a perfect Happily Ever After.

5 Contented Purrs for Debra!

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Debra Parmley

Fascinated by fairy tales and folktales ever since she was young, Debra Parmley has always ended her stories with a happy ever after. Every story she writes has an element of romance. She started out writing gritty western historical romance and damsel in distress stories. Her first book, A Desperate Journey, was traditionally published in 2008, after competing in the American Title II contest. A hybrid author, she went on to write for five publishers before branching out with her own Indie press, Belo Dia Publishing Inc. Belo Dia is Portuguese for Beautiful Day.

Debra writes historical romance, contemporary romance and romantic suspense. An Air Force veteran’s wife, she writes military heroes in the present and in the future. Debra’s work as a travel consultant gave her the opportunity to visit many countries. Her luggage often carried home folk tales from the countries visited.

Her three favorite things are dark chocolate, visiting the beach and ocean, and hearing from her readers. Each card, letter and email is a treasured gift, like finding a perfect shell upon the beach. For more information about Debra, please visit her website, links below.


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Stone’s Surrender – Heroes for Hire Book 2 By Dale Mayer



Stone’s Surrender
Heroes for Hire Book 2
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Life is on the move again…

After a long slow-ass recovery, Stone finds himself triumphantly back at work at Levi’s new company. The action comes fast and furious on his first run out as they rescue a senator’s daughter who’s been kidnapped in the Middle East.

Lissa will do almost anything to thwart her father’s plans for her. Getting kidnapped wasn’t on her list. And once she meets Stone no other man matters. She falls, and she falls hard. But even on home soil, there’s no respite as she finds the nightmare has followed her home…and she’s caught in the middle of it.

It’s a battle that requires both of them to not only clear her name but to keep her safe…especially when a twist is thrown at them that they didn’t see coming.

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I have the first three books of this Heroes for Hire series in one book. I am reviewing them individually as I read them.

I love Stone, he has such inner strength and determination, as well as some problems. This is his first mission since his recovery, issues with swelling and his prosthesis have been frustrating for him.

Lissa is a senator’s daughter who has been bucking her father’s will for a long time. Finally out on her own she volunteers all over, helping refugee in whatever capacity she can. This time she ends up in more trouble than even she can imagine. Kidnapped along with two American doctors in Afghanistan, she doesn’t hold out much hope of rescue. The policy is no ransom and she isn’t sure her father would pay it anyway.

Levi and his team undertake the mission to get Lissa out and they get a surprise. They were expecting only Lissa and found the two doctors as well. One of which wasn’t doing all that well.

This is a favorite scene as things go a bit fubar.

She closed her eyes and tried to relax as the men tracked down the rest of their team. She could only hope nobody else would be hurt because of her actions. Her father was right about that. If she hadn’t run to help with the refugee camp, nobody would’ve come after her, putting their own lives in danger. It didn’t matter if they were paid or did this on a regular basis. If one of them died, she’d feel terrible.

Way too late for recriminations now. She knew somebody had been shot out there; she just hoped it wasn’t one of the rescue team.

On the other hand, if it was one of the enemy, how many more were there?

Susan’s tired voice startled her in the silent truck. “What’s going on? Where are we?”

She could hear Kevin’s low murmur as he tried to comfort his wife. His explanation was done in soft tones, as if that would matter.

The harshness of the scenario had Lissa wanting to run from the truck and do something. Being confined was killing her soul, and bringing up her fear. She used to have panic attacks all the time growing up. But she could lay the blame for that at her father’s feet. They began after he locked her in the closet when she wasn’t “being good.” She thought she had overcome her confined-space issue when she’d finally taken the elevators instead of escalators.
It had taken her a long time and a lot of tears and sleepless nights to get to the point where she could now ride them freely. But that didn’t mean she liked them.

And now she was in this truck. And although not confined in the same sense of the word, it felt restricting and, even if she left, she had no place to go. She tried to control her breathing, but the panic was setting in. She closed her eyes, clenched her fists, and took great big gulping breaths, but it wasn’t enough.

Finally she couldn’t stand it. She bolted upright and rolled onto the front seat to push open the passenger door, leaning out, taking in large amounts of fresh air. Behind her she could hear Kevin’s shocked gasp. But she couldn’t worry about that. She was too busy sucking in oxygen.

As she held the door, the tremors working down her arm made it shake in the night. A strong hand reached up to grip her arm. She didn’t know if it was to hold her in place to stop the shaking, or to make her relinquish her hold on the door. No success with the latter. Instead she gripped it like a lifeline.

She didn’t have time to react as a face appeared in the darkness. Instead of being scared, she was relieved to identify Stone, their driver.

He studied her with concern. “You okay?”

She nodded barely. “I just … I just needed fresh air.”

But she could tell from the intensity of his gaze that he knew there was more to it. Now that she was no longer alone, and fresh air swooped through the place, she started to relax. She took several more deep breaths, telling her body to calm down, that it would be okay.

When he lifted her hand off the doorframe, she let him. But when he slid his down to hold hers, she froze.

Gently he squeezed her fingers together, a rough thumb stroking up and down on the back of her fingers. “It’s okay. Being scared is a normal reaction. You’ve been through a lot already.”

If he only knew. She gave him a slight smile and added, “I could’ve managed all that. But when you left me locked up in the truck …” She shook her head. “I thought I’d been doing so much better lately, but sometimes being confined confined gets to me.”

He smiled and patted her hand. “I can leave the door slightly ajar if that makes it better, but I can’t just stay here.”

She tensed at the thought that he was leaving.

Instantly he squeezed her fingers and said, “Don’t worry. I’m staying at the side of the vehicle. I’m not leaving you. It’s my job to stand guard here.”

“My hero,” she said with a light groan. But, of course, it was his job. Still it didn’t matter; she was such a mess right now she was grateful for anyone’s support. She lowered her head to her other arm and just relaxed across the front seat. Her hand was still in his as he gently reassured her that she would be okay.

She thought she was out of the worst of the danger, and it was safe to relax. Then she heard a shout in the distance. Lifting her head, she studied Stone. “What is that?”

He lifted her palm to his lips and dropped a gentle kiss on the back of her hand and said, “Don’t worry. It’s my men, not the enemy.”

In the distance she heard, “Stone?”

Instantly he straightened. He ducked down to look at her and said, “Stay here. I’ll be back in two minutes.”

She snorted. As if she was going anywhere. No way in hell. She was warm, safe, and dry. And soon this vehicle would get her the hell out of here. But none of that made her feel any better right now.

She pulled her hand in and tucked it against her chest, wondering at his gentle kiss. For such a huge man, the graceful gesture of comfort seemed out of place—and yet not. His actions had been smooth, natural. And that made all the difference.

With her arms tucked up close, she huddled in the front, listening for the men to come back. Only they didn’t come anytime soon.

And her return home was to be delayed yet again. She rolled to her back and stared straight up at the ceiling. A chill set in. Likely shock. “Kevin, you doing okay?”

“Susan’s asleep again. We’re both fine.”

But she could hear the underlying worry in his voice. They were all fine. But for how long?
Mayer, Dale. Heroes for Hire: Books 1-3 (pp. 258-261). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.

First London and some interesting things with luggage, followed by the journey to Melissa’s family home. She does manage to elude her father edicts and join them for the trip to Texas in an unconventional way. This leads to the discovery of much destruction in Melissa’s house and so much more.

With nothing really making sense to her, Stone knows he can’t let her shoulder all of this alone. The team in good conscience needs to unravel all the mayhem and mystery.

Lots of interesting surprises and the simmer to sizzle relationship between Stone and Lissa will have you turning the pages.

I am off to read the next book in this series. I really hope to catch up before Vince’s Vixen is released in October. There’s a lot of books to go.

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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Jett’s Wild Wolf – Mystic Wolves Book 3 by Elle Boon



Jett’s Wild Wolf
Mystic Wolves Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Elle Boon

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A WILD WOLF…
Taryn yearned for the freedom to find a place where she belonged. A place where she was loved and could love without fear. The first time she saw Jett, her heart and mind knew he was the one for her.

A SEXY AS SIN SHIFTER…

Jett nearly lost his place in the Mystic Wolves because of one wild wolf. Now, she’s saved his life, and his wolf wants her for their own. Can he trust her not to betray them all?

A BOND THEY COULDN’T DENY…

Taryn and Jett fight the attraction they’ve felt simmering between them, until danger almost takes what is most precious away… an unyielding love they’d never thought they deserved to have.

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Taryn is trapped in an abusive pack. Her father is the Alpha and he is sadistic and powerful, feeding off the pain and fear of his pack but mostly off the pain he inflicts on his daughter.

Jett feels like a failure to his Alpha and his pack. While guarding the wolf who almost killed his Alpha’s mate he scented Taryn recognizing her as his mate.

He hasn’t scented his mate in a while, but as he’s performing in the pack’s club in Sturgis, he not only scents her but sees her dancing and teasing him.

There is more going on that night, and as a result Jett’s life could be forfeit. Taryn manages to convince the Mystic Wolves she can help, not an easy task when she has the scent of the ones who attacked. However, she is more than willing to sacrifice herself if she fails to save Jett.

This is a favorite scene.

Jett looked over his shoulder, checking on their sleeping guest. Something in the vicinity of his heart twitched at the image of her in obvious distress. He didn’t like the smell of her blood mixed with the unique scent. After sufficiently dressing, he grabbed a bottle of water and walked back to where she slept, easing the jacket back from her shoulder. The torn and jagged wound made him gasp. He wondered why she hadn’t started to heal.

A touch to her forehead let him know she was warmer than was normal. Fear for her safety snaked up his spine. He got back to his feet and walked out to the bar area where he found the phone.

He punched in Zayn and Cora’s number, uncaring of the time. Zayn answered on the second ring.

“What the hell do you want?”

“Taryn is bleeding and hotter than a shifter should be. She needs medical attention.” Jett didn’t add anything more, figuring Zayn would fill in the blanks.

“Damn, how bad is it?” The second to the Mystic Wolves didn’t sound half asleep anymore, or angry.

Jett looked back toward the open door to the office, wishing he could see through walls. “No clue, man. I didn’t know she’d been attacked.”

The sound of rustling fabric came through the line. “We will be there in an hour, give or take a few. If she wakes up before we get there give her some water, but nothing else. I’m bringing Alaina with me,” Cora said and then hung up before Jett could ask her more.

His gaze snapped back to the darkened room at the sound of a low moan, instantly alert. He heard the voice of a tortured woman and it broke his heart. His feet were carrying him across the concrete floor before he’d thought about his actions.

She’d kicked off the blanket, her head thrashed in the wake of a nightmare. In a protective move he leaped the dozen feet separating them just as her back bowed, catching her when she would have fallen out of the chair. He was astounded at her slight figure.

When she didn’t wake up, he carried her over to the large couch, wishing he’d had the foresight to clean it off. Retracing his steps, he grabbed another blanket and lay it over the cold surface before putting her down.

Her arms locked around his neck, feverish eyes opened. “Don’t leave me, please.”

Jett found himself mesmerized by her sky blue eyes. Her arms fell away as quickly as they grabbed him. He rearranged her body, making her more comfortable, not wanting to look too closely at what that meant. For now, Jett did what he could until Cora and Alaina showed up with their mates. He got a cool wet cloth and washed her face and neck. When he reached the black leather jacket, he was reluctant to remove it, but again knew she’d rest more comfortably out of the garment.

Getting women out of their clothes was something he excelled at, but he’d never undressed an unconscious one before. “Fuck it.” Jett let his claws lengthen, easing beneath the edge he sliced the arm off one side then the other. Under his watchful eyes she slept on, looking like something the cat drug in with her ripped jacket and torn up shoulder. Another wound in her side seeped blood. Jett lifted the blood soaked shirt, wondering how the hell she’d gotten the injury without her clothing getting damaged.

He got up from the sofa, getting the ice bucket from the corner bar and filling it with warm water. He’d never seen himself act as a nurse before. Most shifters healed on their own, or would need a little assistance, usually between the thighs of a woman. Didn’t mean they didn’t get hurt, they just didn’t last.

His brows drew together at the gashes in her side. They looked like she’d been gouged by a wolf, much like what he’d had in the fight earlier. He lifted his own T-shirt, expecting to see similar marks, only pinkened skin marred the area. By tomorrow even that would be tanned with no visible signs.

Without a conscious thought, Jett shredded the bloodied tank, leaving her in a lace black bra that didn’t contain as much as display her gorgeous breasts. However, he wasn’t turned on by the sight of her breasts as he was horrified by the amount of blood she’d clearly been losing, while he’d been blissfully unaware. The black coat and top had masked it, but he was a shifter for fuck sake.

A hot sensation burned through him, and Jett sucked in the anger threatening to swallow him whole. He’d find out who caused the damage and make them pay.
Boon, Elle. Jett’s Wild Wolf: Mystic Wolves Book 3 . Elle Boon. Kindle Locations (395 – 429). Kindle Edition.

Taryn has more than one secret, and the revelations are not only shocking but intriguing as well.

I’m am thoroughly enjoying this re-read. I had forgotten how twisted things were outside of the Mystic and Iron Wolf packs.

Intense, with hold your breath action and plenty of heat as yet another Mystic Wolf gets his mate.

5 Contented Purrs for Elle!

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Elle Boon

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

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

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


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Did you know, Cara Carnes has free books on her Website? Moving On – The Arsenal Book 1.5 by Cara Carnes



Moving On
The Arsenal Book 1.5
By
Cara Carnes

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Newsletter subscribers only – PDF File

If you haven’t read Jagged Edge, I suggest you wait to read this. It occurs immediately after the end of book 1 in The Arsenal series and bridges its conclusion with the second book, Sight Lines.

If you are a fan of the Arsenal series, you won’t want to miss this book. It’s a novella, short, sweet, sexy and to the point. While you do have to sign up for Cara’s newsletter to get it, who wouldn’t want to know when the next book is coming out?

The girls are going to head to Marville to collect Rachelle and bring her to the compound for her own safety. Dylan would much rather do other things with his fiancé but his sister is quite persistent.

This is a favorite scene.

“We’d agreed to work Marville together,” he whispered.

“Yeah, but after the reaction your brothers got, I’m thinking I’m better off going without a Mason man glowering at everyone.”

“You aren’t doing this alone.” “Of course not. I’ll have my girls.”

“Riley shouldn’t be part of this,” Dylan added.

“I’m thinking the entirety of the US Military couldn’t keep her away,” Mary retorted.

A loud banging on the door startled Mary. Dylan drew her closer as the door rattled.

“Mary? You’d better not be in there doing naughty things with my big brother. You’re supposed to be downstairs, ready to go.”

Damn.

She looked over at the clock and then up at Dylan, who was flashing a not-so-nice-look toward the locked door. “She can wait.”

Mary chuckled. “I’m afraid we’ll have to wait to continue this. Once we get started, I doubt it’ll be quick.”

“Never, not with you,” he promised. He cupped her face. “You get overwhelmed, or need me, you call.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“I know you will be. Just remember it’s okay to step back and focus on you.”

“You’re starting to sound like Doctor Sinclair,” she teased.

“Mary?” Riley pounded on the door again. “Don’t think I won’t kick this thing down. Get your cute, brilliant ass out here. We’ve got a hornet’s nest to stir up, and Addy’s not the patient sort.”

No kidding.

Dylan kissed Mary softly on the lips. “See you later, sweetheart. Text, let me know how it’s going.”

“HERA will have eyes on us.”

The system she and Vi had created was at the root of so many of the problems they’d had lately. It was almost hard to believe something they designed in their dorm room was worth all the effort to secure. But she couldn’t regret it’s creation, not when it’d saved so many lives and done good. That trumped the evil, right?

Mary hoped so.
Cara Carnes. Moving On (Kindle Locations 36-53). Kindle Edition.

More of the friendship between Riley and Rachelle, and we also get to know her brother Chris a bit. Insight into what Kamren is up to and so much more. There’s sizzle between Mary and Dylan, well they are engaged after all. Plus the beginning of wedding plans.Don’t miss this wonderful filler to bridge The Jagged Edge and Sight Lines.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Coming August 6th!

Check Out These Other Free Reads on Cara’s Website!

Cara Carnes
Born in small-town Texas, Cara Carnes was a princess, a pirate, fashion model, actress, rock star and Jon Bon Jovi’s wife all before the age of 13. In reality, her fascination for enthralling worlds took seed somewhere amidst a somewhat dull day job and a wonderful life filled with family and friends. When she’s not cemented to her chair, Cara loves traveling, photography and reading.

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More Christmas in July! Christmas in His Arms – A Dallas Debutante/Reunited Lovers/Christmas Story by Cynthia D’Alba



Christmas in His Arms
Dallas Debutants
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Author

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My name is Opal Mae McCool. I love my parents, but that name? Ugh, but I’ve adjusted. This year has been rocking along until October when my entire life lands in the toilet and someone flushes. First, my groom dumps me at the altar. Confession…not as destroyed as I should have been. Then, I share a steamy kiss with old love which leads to…nothing. Radio silence. Fine. Disappointed, but moving on. However, it’s almost Christmas and I make a quick overnight business trip to Montana just in time for the snowmageddon and I’m stuck in Bozeman with only clean panties and a toothbrush. Next year has to be better, right?

I’m Michael Rockland. Born, raised and will die in Texas and I’m fine with that. I’m a mechanic at heart, even if my everyday job doesn’t allow me under the hood. About a month ago, I discovered I’m the Friday Lunch Special at a local diner. I’d be pissed if it wasn’t for a good cause and it hadn’t led me back to the love of my life. One hot, steamy kiss, a promise for the future, and she shuts me out. Harsh, but I’m a big boy. I can deal with reality, except when she ends up on my grandparents’ doorstep in Montana.

My dad doesn’t approve of him. His mother doesn’t approve of me. It’s not quite the Capulets and Montagues, and we are long past the teenage years, so isn’t it time to let us decide if we belong together or not?

This book is only available for TWO WEEKS, Get it Now!

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After being dumped at the alter by a man who declared his love for her cousin, Mae has been a bit of a recluse. Not wanting the looks of pity she dove into her work and didn’t bother going out.

Her friend KatiLyn decides enough is enough and insists on taking her to lunch. What a lunch it turns out to be.

This is a favorite scene.

KatiLyn whipped into the parking lot of Maude’s Diner and found a spot between a Bentley and a Mercedes.

“We’re here,” she announced with a bright smile.

“Seriously?” I looked around a lot filled with expensive cars, not one of them under a one-hundred-thousand starting sales price. “What’s the deal? What’s with all the expensive cars?”

“The ten-dollar lunch special. Come on. I hope we get a table.”

my feet was chipped in spots, with the white being mostly an aged yellow. There were about fifteen tables, each one occupied by young, attractive women dressed in pricey outfits. There wasn’t a face without perfect makeup, except for the three ladies dressed in classic pink waitress uniforms working the eatery. A row of ten stools stood in front of a long eating counter, which faced the waitresses’ work area and kitchen window. A glass of iced tea or a cup of coffee sat in front of each patron.

“Yay. We got lucky,” KatiLyn announced announced as she race-walked to the last empty table.

The table wasn’t a prime location by any definition. Stuck in the back corner, the two of us could barely squeeze into the chairs.

“I am so confused,” I said with a frown.

“Don’t worry. All will become clear very soon.”

My stomach growled, and I reached for the plastic menu standing upright between the napkin holder and the bottle of ketchup. The menu had nothing on it that would, in my opinion, draw so many women in for lunch. Most of the offerings were deep fried. I suspected the cook could deep fry a salad, if requested.

The roar of a motorcycle in the parking lot had all the ladies fluffing their hair and arching their backs to project their assets. An excited chattering rose among the tables.

I glanced over at the waitresses behind the bar and watched as the oldest one shook her head and turned to speak through the kitchen window to the male cook.

The door opened, and he swaggered in. Dressed in ass-hugging jeans, a black leather jacket pulled tight around his broad shoulders, and a pair of thick-soled motorcycle boots, his presence seemed to suck the air from the room, or possibly the lack of oxygen might be related to my own inability to draw in a breath. His shiny, dark hair was disheveled as though he’d just run his fingers through it…pretty much what I suspected every woman in this room wanted to do. His cheeks and jaw sported a scruff that brought a tingle to the junction between my thighs at thought of that soft stubble abrading the tender skin there.

Except, I didn’t have to imagine what that would feel like. I knew.

I grabbed KatiLyn’s knee and squeezed…pretty hard, if her noisy intake of breath was any indication.

I tossed a frown at KatiLyn and mouthed, What the fuck?

Her only reply was to squeeze my hand before prying my dug-in fingers out of her flesh.

“Hey, Maude,” he said, his voice deep and rough with testosterone and sex appeal. “Is my lunch ready?”

“Almost. Give me a minute.”

“Anything for you,” he said to the older woman.

My heart tapped out an SOS on my chest wall. My breathing stuttered, and my stomach rolled over. My fight or flight response kicked in, and I fought the urge to run.

Thank goodness, I was seated in the corner. The odds were, he would never see me.

Why was I so bothered by seeing him? Why didn’t I jump up and run over to say hi? It’d been ten years, and we had been friends, right?

Was it because my legs had turned to jelly and wouldn’t support my weight?

Or was I embarrassed to be sitting here with all these bored, rich women who had nothing better to do than drink a glass of tea while ogling a man who’d only come in to get his lunch?

He glanced around the café, smiled at the women, acknowledging his audience with a slight nod. But he couldn’t just give them a simple smile. Oh no. He had to pour out his panty-melting smile that no woman could resist.

His gaze swept past our table to the next. And then he froze. His head and gaze returned to me. He lifted one eyebrow in my direction then collected his lunch and sauntered back out the door.

The second the door closed, I released a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. I heard other women doing the same.
D’Alba, Cynthia. Christmas in His Arms: A Dallas Debutante/Reunited Lovers/Christmas Story (Dallas Debutantes) . Riante, Inc. Kindle Locations (243-280). Kindle Edition.

The feelings seeing Michael rekindled wouldn’t go away so she conspires with Maude for a meet-up with him. The connection appeared to still be there but apparently not enough for him to call.

I love how this story progresses with an airport rescue of sorts. Lots of fun, romance, some family drama and Kindle melting heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Cynthia!

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Cynthia d'Alba Cynthia D’Alba

Hi Y’All! I’m Cynthia D’Alba from Arkansas.Here’s a little about me…New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia D’Alba started writing on a challenge from her husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.

She was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, she’s thrilled to be making her home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. When she’s not reading or writing or plotting, she’s doorman for her two dogs, cook, housekeeper and chief bottle washer for her husband and slave to a noisy, messy parrot. She loves to chat online with friends and fans.


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The Not-So-Perfect Princess – Her Royal Duty Book 2 by Melissa McClone



The Not-So-Perfect Princess
Her Royal Duty Book 2
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Duty requires her to marry—
but she’s having second thoughts.

Princess Julianna dreams of marrying for love, but no one cares what she wants. The future of her kingdom—and countrywomen—depends on her arranged marriage. Too bad, her intended’s brother is the one who captures her interest with his good looks and sailing skills. She’ll just have to push aside her attraction and do what’s right for everyone else, if not herself…

Prince Alejandro wants nothing more than to relinquish his title. He can’t wait for his older brother to marry and have a child. That is, until he meets the beautiful princess destined to be his country’s future queen. Julianna holds the key to his freedom, yet he recognizes a kindred spirit—someone trapped by the demands of being royalty—and finds her utterly irresistible.

Knowing the royal wedding must occur for the sake of their countries doesn’t stop them from wanting to be together. A happy ending could be theirs if they are willing to accept the consequences of following their hearts. Will duty or love reign supreme?

Barnes and Noble logo_150 ibooks-logo-150x150KoboLogo

Princess Julianna captured my attention in ‘The Reluctant Princess’ and I really wanted her to get her own HEA. Her father has arranged several matches, and not one of them have panned out to this point. They were all in love with another. This time her match is the Crown Prince of an Island in the Mediterranean.

With her love of sailing, she is pretty sure that living on an island will afford her many opportunities to sail the ocean.

Prince Enrique has signed a somewhat unique marriage agreement, one that Julianna would not be happy with.

Then there’s Alejandro, the second son. He designs, builds and races sailboats. His goal is to attract more tourism to his island country, improving the economy in a way very different from his father’s and brother’s ideas.

Of all the introductions when Julianna reaches the island this is a favorite.

Jules forced herself to breathe. That might slow her heart rate.

“Are you injured?” Brandt’s concern over her well-being was unmistakable.

“I’m fine,” Jules assured her brother. She was more interested in the man— the prince— who saved her from hitting the floor and still held her with his strong arms. Such wide shoulders, too.

Awareness seeped through her.

“My apologies.” His deep, rich voice and Spanish accent sent her rapid pulse into a mad sprint. “The kitten darted out of the room before I could grab him.”

Ortiz raised his chin. “As I said, there are no rats in the palace.”

With a sharp inhale, the prince set her on her feet. He kept hold of her after she was standing.

“Stable?” he asked.

She nodded, forcing herself not to stare at his muscular chest and ripped abs.

He let go of her.

A chill shivered through Jules. She wasn’t used to being in close contact with anyone, but she missed having his nicely muscled arms around her.

She studied him, eager for a better glimpse.

Over six feet tall with an athletic build, he was more pirate than prince with shoulder-length dark brown hair, an earring in his left ear, khaki shorts, and bare feet.

His strong jawline, high cheekbones, and straight nose appeared almost chiseled like the sculpture. But his full lips and thick eyelashes softened the harsher features.

The result— a gorgeous face she would be happy to stare at for hours. Days. Years. Decades.

Jules’s heart thudded. “Thank you.”

Warm brown eyes met hers. Gold specks flickered like flames around his irises. “You’re welcome.”

Everyone else faded into the background. Time seemed to stop. Something unfamiliar unfurled deep inside her.

With one hand, he scooped up a black ball of fur. As he checked the kitten, his tenderness melted her heart. She would love for a man— this man— to gaze at her that way.

The kitten meowed. As he rubbed the small cat, he returned his attention to her. “You’re Princess Julianna from Aliestle.”

It wasn’t a question.

“Yes.” Jules had never believed in love at first sight until now. She hoped their children looked exactly like him. A smile spread across her lips and reached all the way to her heart.

Her father had gotten this right.

She would realize her dream of marrying for love. A warm glow flowed through her. “You must be Enrique.”

“No.” His jaw thrust forward. “I am Alejandro.”

Her heart sank. Who was Alejandro?
Melissa McClone. The Not-So-Perfect Princess ARC (Kindle Locations 411-438). Cardinal Press, LLC.

Oh the tangled webs that surround this match. So delightful and heart-rending to read. Julianna’s brother is so not a chaperone.

While Enrique is the ‘perfect’ Crown Prince, he knows nothing of dating or wooing.

Alejandro on the other hand is looking forward to being freed from Royal duties and pursuing his own agenda of business.

I loved the emotions, the subterfuge, and all the elements that make this a love story one you won’t be able to put down. I’m not sure who’s book I want next.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!

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Melissa McClone

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

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

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

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

How about Some Christmas in July! Jenna’s Christmas Wish by Debra Parmley



Jenna’s Christmas Wish
By
Debra Parmley

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Santa, if there’s one thing I want for Christmas more than anything, it’s someone to spend Christmas with, not as an after thought invitation because they feel sorry for me, but someone who really wants me to be there.

Full of loss and sadness after the death of her mother, romance author Jenna Heart travels to a December writer’s retreat quite a distance from her home at the other end of the state. The snow covered mountains of East Tennessee are a welcome change from the city lights of Memphis, TN and she looks forward to meeting new people. She’s determined not to explain her loss, to avoid sympathy and to enjoy the retreat for what it is.

Jenna has one wish: she doesn’t want to spend Christmas alone.

Meeting Nicolo Maldini, cover model and actor, could make more than Jenna’s Christmas wish come true. Nicolo is attracted to Jenna’s kind nature and she is attracted to his good looks and big heart. But does their budding romance stand a chance?

Advice from Chyna, Jenna’s book critique partner, makes Jenna second guess whether Nicolo could truly be interested in her. Nicolo is attending the writers weekend with his mother. He’s younger than Jenna, and in his career, is surrounded by beautiful women.

Then there’s Morten, Nicolo’s crazy ex girlfriend, who will do anything to stop Jenna and Nicolo from being together. Will Jenna get her Christmas Wish or have to listen to I’ll Be Home for Christmas all alone?

Romance Author Jenna Heart has been out of the game for a while. Taking care of her mother and then dealing with her grief has left her insecure and floundering a bit. Going to a signing is the best medicine.

One of the attendees is cover model Nicolo Maldini. A pleasant surprise is he is attending with his mother Angela, a breast cancer survivor. Both Nicolo and his mother are lovely people and Jenna enjoyed the time with them, the wolf sanctuary dinner, the signing and the dinner hosted by the sponsor of the event.

This is a favorite scene.

Though she did want to meet Nicolo. Something in the depths of his eyes called to something deep within her.That longing must have shown in her face because Amy said, “Come on, I’ll go up with you.”

“All right.”

She had to get over this thing from the past. This wasn’t high school.

Amy kept her talking until they were in front of Nicolo and then he was looking at Jenna with those deep brown eyes which made her want to melt and she had to say something, anything before the silence stretched too long.

“Hello, Nicolo. I’m Jenna Heart.”

He gave her a warm welcoming smile as his firm, warm hand reached for and now held hers. “Pleased to meet you Jenna Heart.”

Everything about him spoke of warmth and heat. The kind of heat only an adult male, fit and in his prime, could exude.

“Nice to meet you.” she replied, decidedly warm and wondering if her face was bright pink.

“This is my mother, Angela.”

“Pleased to meet you.” She gave his mother a smile and then heard Nicolo speak and turned her attention back to him.

“Are you going to dinner with us?” His gaze, focused entirely on her, made her feel giddy and shy all at once.

“Yes, I’m looking forward to it.”

Two other women pressed forward and Jenna moved back before he could say anything more. It all happened so fast. There was no time for a photo with him now. Everyone was pairing up to carpool to the Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium where they’d hear a program about the wolves while they ate dinner.

She rode up to Bays Mountain with another author named Dora. They found their way by following the car in front of them through a light drizzle of rain up to a large log building in a heavily wooded area. Gray and drizzly, the area was dark and calm. Not one sound gave away the location of the wolves though they had to be near.

Once inside, everyone seemed to have already made plans to sit together in groups as they went to the tables and filled them.

Many of these women already know each other. Amy and Brett’s table is full.

Jenna took a seat on the other side of the room. Too far to see Nicolo. She learned her table mates weren’t with the author reader weekend and had only come to hear the talk on the wolves. Jenna felt isolated, though the people at her table were nice enough. They only wanted to talk about wolves, which Jenna knew little about.

Dinner was delicious and the wolf specialist and park naturabout the wolves on the mountain. Wolves could be solitary creatures, but they mated for life. Fascinated, she listened and ate. Desert was sweeter than she was used to and her head buzzed from the sugar.

After dinner, the park naturalist invited everyone to walk over to edge of the wolf sanctuary to hear the wolves. Though he warned the rain might make the wolves quieter than usual.

She followed the group down the path until they all stood waiting and listening. Drizzling rain colored everything silver dark and shiny as it came down. The cold began to chill her, along with the drizzle, which had dampened her scarf, and everything it touched beyond her raincoat.

One lone wolf howled. The sound was one of the most lonesome and eerie things she’d ever heard.

Another wolf joined in, their howls sending a cold chill into her bones. She shivered. Goose bumps covered her skin. Rain was running down her face past her hood and she could hardly see. She had the primitive urge to run, brought on by the sound of wolves howling in the dark night. She shivered again, wrapping her arms closer about herself.

The rain stopped running down her face and nose as an umbrella appeared over her head. She turned to look up.

Nicolo.
Debra Parmley. Jenna’s Christmas Wish (Kindle Locations 176-206). Belo Dia Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Let me say here, her friend Chyna is no friend. Every time Jenna speaks with her it’s all about how Jenna isn’t as beautiful or as worldly as the women seen with Nicolo. He’s an actor and model, way out of her league. My immediate feeling was ‘Jealous Much’? This one needs to be kicked to the curb for good.

Nicolo on the other hand is sweet, attentive and has a problem of his own.

I loved the way this relationship develops in spite of the the negative friend, and Nicolo’s problem. This book is a delightful, romantic Christmas read.

5 Contented Purrs for Debra!

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Debra Parmley

Fascinated by fairy tales and folktales ever since she was young, Debra Parmley has always ended her stories with a happy ever after. Every story she writes has an element of romance. She started out writing gritty western historical romance and damsel in distress stories. Her first book, A Desperate Journey, was traditionally published in 2008, after competing in the American Title II contest. A hybrid author, she went on to write for five publishers before branching out with her own Indie press, Belo Dia Publishing Inc. Belo Dia is Portuguese for Beautiful Day.

Debra writes historical romance, contemporary romance and romantic suspense. An Air Force veteran’s wife, she writes military heroes in the present and in the future. Debra’s work as a travel consultant gave her the opportunity to visit many countries. Her luggage often carried home folk tales from the countries visited.

Her three favorite things are dark chocolate, visiting the beach and ocean, and hearing from her readers. Each card, letter and email is a treasured gift, like finding a perfect shell upon the beach. For more information about Debra, please visit her website, links below.


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