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The Incident Under the Overpass – The Traiteur Trilogy Book 1 By Anne McClane


The Incident Under the Overpass
The Traiteur Trilogy Book 1
By
Anne McClane

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It’s been fifteen months since Lacey Becnel’s unfaithful husband suddenly passed away, leaving her to sort her feelings of anger, love, and loss. Her dead-end job, once a life raft but now just endless days of boredom, leave her wondering where exactly her place in life should be.

But when she awakens under an overpass near her home, next to Nathan—a man she met just hours before in the streets of New Orleans—she begins a journey of discovery that some might call supernatural. In the days that follow, Lacey and Nathan try to sort out the events of the evening, and it becomes clear that he might be the target of a murder plot, and she—somehow—might have the power to heal.

Lacey uncovers a link both powerful and deep, a connection to her dead husband’s family and the traiteur tradition, a centuries-old faith healing practice. As she becomes more embroiled in Nathan’s danger, the more confused she becomes about her feelings for him. Will she ever fully understand her abilities, or will the danger surrounding Nathan bring things to an abrupt end?

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There is definitely a lot going on in this book. We meet a lot of characters and I do mean characters. All of which play an important role in the plot.

While Lacey is dealing with a boring job, her late husband’s infidelity and attempting to move on with her life something happens to change her.

A favorite scene, is as she leaves her car to join her best friend for a night out. I can see this happening to me, minus the hot guy rescuer.

She got out, pushed a button on her key to lock the car, and then turned around at the same time she was attempting to stuff the key in her pocket. She looked up at the gloaming sky— the faint outline of the new moon had appeared— and missed her pocket. The key dropped to the ground and skipped about a foot, just enough to land behind her in a ditch. Not just a ditch, but a gaping maw marked off with barricades and a few cones. Construction work on that part of Harrison Avenue was a constant.

“Well, shit,” Lacey said to no one in particular as she turned on her precarious heels to see where the key had landed. Fortunately, the pit was bone dry. It had been an unusually parched June so far. Lacey figured she could reach down and grab the key without getting too much of her new outfit dirty. She stepped with her right foot into an innocent-looking part of the crevasse, bent over, and picked up the key. Pleased with the relative ease of the operation, she stood upright and found herself stuck. Her wedge heel must have caught on something.

“Well, shit again,” she said as she strained to see if she could free her foot. She thought of bending down again and unfastening the strap on her shoe, but she began to question her every move. Suddenly the barricade she had previously ignored seemed to heckle her. She was feeling mightily self-conscious as she looked down at her foot, and looked across the street at Patton’s to see if anyone was watching. Preoccupied, she was startled when she heard a voice behind her.

“You look like you could use a hand.”

She whipped her head around and saw a man, alone, at the driver’s side of the car next to hers. He was a little older— maybe ten years older than herself— and looked very sharp, in a summer-casual kind of way. Linen jacket and jeans, like he was dressed for an elegant dinner with elegant friends.

Feeling even more self-conscious than before in her trendy jeans and T-shirt and ridiculous predicament, Lacey didn’t answer at first and just stared. The man removed his hand from his car door and walked toward her, a reassuring smile on his face.

“They always say the potholes in New Orleans are bad enough to swallow a person, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen it actually happen,” he said.

Lacey finally spoke. “Oh, I dropped my key, and now I’m stuck. I feel really stupid. You don’t have to help me.”

“Well, what kind of douchebag would I be if I came over here to help and then didn’t?” He bent his head to look at her foot and gave her a surreptitious once-over as he did.

“This is easy,” he said. “You just need some leverage.” He straightened up and looked her in the eye. “Did you get your key?”

“Yes,” she said as she held out her hand, showing it to him like a child might. “Let me put it away.” She looked down and stuffed the key in her pocket. She averted her gaze for a moment and tried to compose herself. She was afraid she was gawking. The combination of his charm and directness and easy valor was working a number on her.

When she finally looked up, he was smiling broadly at her. She blushed.

“Okay, now turn directly toward me,” he said.

He watched her feet. “Straighten out your left foot. Good. Give me your hands.”

Lacey caught her breath and looked reluctant.

The man laughed. “I promise I won’t bite. And this will get you out of there. Give me your hands.”

She hesitantly held her arms out. The man grabbed her by both forearms, lifting the ring finger on his left hand slightly. As soon as he had a hold, he tugged, and almost immediately Lacey felt her right foot purchase some air. She pulled it out of the ditch and lost her balance, falling right into him as she did.

They both laughed as it happened, and as he released his grip she steadied herself against him, her hands falling to his sides. His waist was rock hard to the touch, no love handles. Lacey quickly removed her hands and righted herself. Even standing straight, she only came up to his chin.

“I’m sorry, I should have given you some warning,” he said to her.

“I’m the one who should be apologizing, for being so stupid,” Lacey said, swiping her hand at the dirt on the right leg of her jeans.

Still standing where she had fallen into him, not looking like he was in any great rush, he held out his hand.

“I’m Nathan, by the way.”

Lacey, most of the time, liked her name. It was unique, and feminine, and had paired well with both her maiden and married names. But there were times when she wished it carried a little more weight, had more of a ring of authority to it, like “Margaret” or “Samantha.”

She sighed and took his hand and said nearly under her breath, “Lacey. And thank you, by the way.”

He smiled. “Lacey,” he repeated, drawing out the two syllables. He held on to her hand for an extra millisecond. “No thanks necessary. Glad I was able to help.” He seemed at a loss for any more words.

“Me too,” she said with a little smile. Lacey was also reluctant to end the exchange. Her sense of embarrassment eventually overpowered that feeling.
Anne McClane. The Incident Under the Overpass: The Traiteur Trilogy, Book One (Kindle Locations 370-406). After Glows Publishing.

It is when Nathan finds himself in a world of trouble that Lacey discovers the changes in herself.

This book is full of suspense and discoveries making me want the next one as soon as it is released.

5 Contented Purrs for Anne!

 

  Anne McClane
Anne McClane is a New Orleans native who spent sixteen years out west before finding her way home to embrace the mysteries of the Mississippi River Delta. She has many years experience in publicity, public relations, and marketing, which has provided a fine primer for writing about the speculative, abnormal, and outrageous.

 

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Brotherhood Protectors: Protecting Kiera – SEAL of Protection Book 10 by Susan Stoker


Brotherhood Protectors: Protecting Kiera
SEAL of Protection Book 10
A Kindle World Novella
By
Susan Stoker

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Summer Blurb

Cooper Nelson’s SEAL career was cut drastically short when an explosion left him almost completely deaf. With so much of his pride and self-worth tied to the profession he loved above all else, Coop struggles in his nearly silent new world, his future seemingly bleak…until Commander Hurt badgers him into volunteering at the Riverton School for the Deaf. There, he meets teacher Kiera Hamilton, who opens his eyes—and his heart—to a love more fulfilling than any job could be.

Ten years his senior, Kiera can’t believe Coop would ever be interested in anything long term, but he patiently proves her wrong. And she’s not the only one enamored with the sexy former-SEAL—her impressionable first-grade students are enthralled with the man, especially Frankie. The troubled young boy flourishes with each of Cooper’s visits, which only makes Kiera fall harder.

As he learns ASL, connects with the students, and gets closer to Kiera, Coop’s happier than he’s ever been…until an attempted abduction at the school threatens to take away everything that makes his new life worth living.

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Summer My Review

Cooper like all the SEALs has been devoted to protecting his country. Forced to retire when an explosion takes out his hearing he is struggling. At first he isn’t happy to volunteer at the School for the Deaf, but that quickly changes. He meets Kiera a first grade teacher, and his interest is peaked in a romantic way.

This is one of my favorite scenes when Cooper visits Kiera’s classroom for the first time.

Just when Kiera was about to tell the children to get back to work, a little boy sitting in the back of the classroom slowly raised his hand. She hid her surprise. Frankie was small for his age and wasn’t making much progress. He was very reluctant to sign and hadn’t made any friends in the class since he’d been there. He frequently resorted to pushing the kids in his class when he couldn’t understand them or when he wanted his way.

Kiera knew his attitude was a result of his tumultuous home life and starting in a new school and her heart hurt for him. Frankie’s father was excited about the chance for his son to be in the special school. They’d moved down to Riverton from Los Angeles for a fresh start after a contentious divorce. His ex-wife was a drug addict who was deemed unfit to have custody of their son. Until recently, she’d been allowed to have supervised visitations with Frankie, but after slipping away from the court-ordered supervisor and taking Frankie to the mall to a drug drop, she’d had all parental rights stripped from her.

Kiera understood that the little boy was probably having issues dealing with all the upheaval in his life, but it had been two months since he’d started school and he wasn’t getting any better. The fact that he’d engaged enough to raise his hand and ask a question was almost a miracle at this point.

She pointed at the skinny boy and signed, “Yes, Frankie?”

He mostly used the alphabet to spell out his question, but it was understandable, if not painful to wait for him to get through.

Kiera swallowed and flicked her eyes to Cooper before repeating the question for the rest of the class. “Frankie asked what his tough military friends thought of Cooper using his hands to speak in such a sissy way.”

A few of the kids gasped and whipped their heads around to gaze at Frankie with wide eyes. Kiera hadn’t realized that was what Frankie thought of sign language. It was as heartbreaking as it was shocking.

Bless Cooper, he didn’t even blink at the question. He got up and went over to where Frankie was sitting. When he got there, he sat on his butt and awkwardly crossed his legs. Then he proceeded to blow Kiera’s mind.

He used mostly finger spelling, as Frankie had, and not once did he look to Kiera for a sign. “My friends are jealous that I have my own secret language. Believe it or not, Frankie, my team had our own hand signals for stuff. This,” he made a movement with his hands that Kiera didn’t recognize, “meant danger. And this,” he did it again, making another sign that clearly wasn’t American Sign Language, “meant bad guy ahead. I don’t know who told you that sign language was sissy, but it absolutely isn’t. It’s cool. The coolest thing I’ve ever tried to learn. I can talk to you, your classmates, or Ms. Hamilton, and people who aren’t deaf can’t understand me. It’s like being an undercover spy right under people’s noses. I love knowing a secret language, even if I’m not very good at it yet.”

If Kiera hadn’t been watching Frankie carefully, she would’ve missed it, but his eyes got big and she could literally see the knowledge that a big, strong man like Cooper thought sign language was cool sinking into his psyche.

She’d tried for months to get Frankie to show an ounce of interest in anything she did or said, to no avail. But with one painstakingly finger-spelled answer, Cooper had somehow bonded with the young boy in a way she’d rarely seen before.
Swallowing hard so she wouldn’t burst into tears, Kiera waved her hand in the air to get the children’s attention. She sighed, “Now that we have all met Cooper, time to get back to your lessons.”

The kids all nodded and shuffled back to various places around the room with their tablets. There were beanbags strewn around the classroom, as well as small couches, and big fluffy rugs… more than enough choices for the children to settle in comfortably somewhere.

She looked over at Frankie and Cooper and caught the tail end of Cooper’s question to the little boy. “…me sit with you while you read?”

Frankie nodded his head and Kiera watched in awe as Cooper and her troublemaker student shifted so they were sitting facing each other, knees touching, with the tablet off to their right. Frankie reached out and turned it on, activating the story he’d been reading before the interruption.
Stoker, Susan. Brotherhood Protectors: Protecting Kiera (Kindle Worlds Novella) (SEAL of Protection Book 10) (Kindle Locations 485-521). Kindle Worlds. Kindle Edition.

While Kiera had struggled not to cry I didn’t have the same luck. Get your tissues you’re going to need them. Now none of these SEALS have had an easy time with love and Coop’s no different. Hold onto your kindle and get swept away into this story.

Once again Susan has hit on problems in today’s world and done it with finesse and tact.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Summer About the Author

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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My Review of Grizzly Beginning – Arcadian Bears Book 2 by Becca Jameson


 

Grizzly Beginning
Arcadian Bears Book 2
By
Becca Jameson

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Nuria Orson has waited fifteen years to return to her hometown of Silvertip, Alberta, the place where she was molested at age fifteen by her boyfriend’s older brother. If she had her way, she would never return, but she needs to sell her childhood home so she can move on with her life. Her plan is to slip into town, sell the house, and relocate as far away as possible before anyone finds out. Not an easy task for a grizzly shifter easily scented by anyone who wanders close enough.

Austin Tarben has spent half his life silently pining for the girl he was certain was his mate before she left town with her parents in the middle of the night fifteen years ago. Believing she willingly dumped him for his brother before she disappeared, he has longed for answers for all these years.

When Austin learns his childhood sweetheart is in town, he forces himself to confront her if for no other reason than peace of mind. But Nuria doesn’t welcome him with open arms. In fact, she’s furious. As the true story of what happened in high school unfolds, the two mates must decide if they can put the past behind them and forge a future together.

But Austin isn’t the only shifter in town shocked by Nuria’s arrival. It would seem she has a pile of enemies. Before Austin and Nuria can possibly reconcile, they need to figure out who wants her dead and why.

There are some misunderstandings even mates can’t overcome, and it’s difficult to be certain the act of binding together for the rest of their lives will create a bond strong enough to heal the hurt.

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I am really loving this series. These bears are devoted and protective of what’s theirs. In this one Austin wants answers from Nuria and when he gets them he isn’t sure she can ever forgive him. She is still unbound after fifteen years and she is still his mate. This is a favorite scene when she reveals the reason her parents spirited her away all those years ago.

“You pulled away from me. For weeks, maybe months, you pulled away. We used to spend every afternoon together doing homework, eating snacks, laughing, watching stupid reruns on TV…” The flood of memories ate a hole in him.She wrapped her arms around herself as if chilled.

“And then you stopped coming around as often. I still saw you at school. We hung a few times, but something had changed. I didn’t know what. Rumor had it you were seeing someone else. Rumor had it you were seeing Antoine. And then I saw you in the barn that day.”

She flinched.

He swallowed, the memory bringing bile to his mouth as it always did. His voice was lower when he continued. “My life ended that moment. I never recovered. Why? Were you seeing him behind my back?”

She tucked her lips into her mouth, not meeting his gaze. Her gorgeous curls fell around her face like a curtain. Her hair was thicker and longer than he remembered. Something else was different about it too…

It wasn’t pulled back. When they were younger, she hated it getting in her eyes. She spent so much time brushing the wispy loose curls away from her forehead or cheeks that she made him laugh. Now it was down. Shrouding her. Covering her face. Was she hiding? From the world?

“Make me understand,” he begged.

“It’s too late, Austin. There’s nothing to say. You made your judgment about me. You can’t take it back.”

He furrowed his brow. “I made a judgment? How do you figure?” He leaned forward, set his hands on both sides of her thighs, and crowded her personal space. “Tell me, Nuria. Make me understand why my girlfriend, my mate, the woman I intended to spend my life with, was in the barn of my parents’ home fucking my brother?”

His voice rose higher. “Why did I have to see that? Tell me?” he insisted.

Suddenly, she snapped. Her head jerked up, and fury filled her eyes. “You think you’re so smart? If you were so sure we were meant to bind to each other, then why the hell did you believe I would fuck your damn brother so easily?”

He flinched. “You telling me you didn’t?”

She shoved at his chest, but he didn’t move. “That’s what I’m telling you, you dick. Not only did I manage to get away, but now I’m finding out my own boyfriend saw his smarmy brother trying to rape me, and instead of helping, he fucking left me there to fend for myself.” She screamed those last words, spit hitting him in the face.

He felt like he’d been slapped. No. Much worse.

She shoved away from him in his stupor and scrambled to stand behind him. Tears streamed down her face. “I wish you hadn’t come here at all. I never would have known what a fucking jackass you were.” Her voice rose higher in pitch. “You fucking left me there in that barn? With your disgusting brother pawing at me? Tearing at my clothes?”

He spun around to face her.

“I fought with all my might to keep him from pulling off my jeans. Do you know how much bigger he is? I had to jerk my face back and forth to keep him from biting my neck and fucking binding me to him. I was fifteen years old, Austin. Fifteen.”
Austin lowered his ass to his heels, unable to hold himself up. He set his hands on his thighs.

“The only thing that saved me from a fate worse than hell that day was a cat that jumped down from the rafters and scared your brother for enough seconds for me to wiggle out from under him and run from the barn. I ran hard and fast in human form until I got to the tree line, and then I shifted and ran faster in bear form.”

Austin felt like he’d been punched in the gut.

She was shaking. Tears fell freely down her face. She wiped them away with the back of her hand. “And my boyfriend, the person I trusted most in the world, saw that? You left me there?” She sobbed, and then she spun around and ran from the room.

He listened as she stormed out of the house, the back door slamming. And then she was gone.

He had no doubt she’d shifted and headed into the woods. He couldn’t blame her. He was indeed the biggest dick alive.
Jameson, Becca. Grizzly Beginning (Arcadian Bears Book 2) (Kindle Locations 183-215). Hartwood Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Not only does Austin have to win back his mate, but now someone is trying to kill her. Suspenseful and sizzling I couldn’t put this book down.

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

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Becca Jameson  Becca Jameson
Becca Jameson currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and the various pets that wander through.After editing for about five years she recently started writing. She is loving the journey, dabbling in various genres.When not writing or editing she can usually be found taxiing kids to and from their activities, scrapbooking, and reading!Late at night she can usually be found sequestered in her office creating fantasy with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate.

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The Cowboy’s Socialite by Carmen Falcone


The Cowboy’s Socialite
By
Carmen Falcone

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Summer Blurb

Winning the bet should be easy. Keeping their hands off each other is a lot harder…

After losing everything, socialite Lola St. James moves to Texas to convert her only possession, Red Oak Ranch, into a luxury bed and breakfast. After all it can’t be that hard to trade in a pair of stilettos for cowboy boots.

Jack Canyon, her estranged husband and co-owner of the ranch, vows to stop her from turning his home into Barbie’s country hotel. He knows her promises are meaningless, and he needs the land’s mineral rights to expand his business. He bets everything she won’t last a week as a cowgirl. She agrees—if he’ll turn over his half of the land. No problem.

Except now they’re forced to live together. New flames reignite until Lola and Jack can’t deny the red hot sexual tension between them. But when old betrayals resurrect, Lola must choose between running away or staying in Jack’s arms…

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What does a guy do when his estranged wife shows up at their ranch intending to make changes? He bets her she can’t pull off her plans and if she loses she leaves. There is another hitch though, no one in town knows they are married. That part of their lives took place in another state, in another time.

Unfortunately for both of them that information will be real quick to leak. Especially since they still have a wild attraction to each other.

Lola is determined to turn the ranch she co-owns with Jack into a bed and breakfast. For once she will see something through and make it a success.

Jack knowing her penchant for not finishing anything she starts allows her to begin transformation of the ranch house.

Although this starts off with both arguments and heat sparking, One of my favorites scene is when the car Lola bought won’t start. Used cars are fun like that and she really doesn’t have the extra money to spend on it.

He left the kitchen, but a few moments later, he realized he wasn’t ready for the sight in front of him. Lola St. James, her delectable ass up in the air as she leaned over the engine.
Libido stirred strong and hard inside him, and he had to evoke all kinds of cockblocking images to wipe the very real one just before his eyes. Time to think about Dad, politicians and buckets of icy water. Anything to yank the blood pounding thoughts invading his brain, and corrupting his soul. But no descriptions surpassed the cold truth, no matter how much he’d tried to fool himself. We aren’t done. Not yet.

Straightening his nearly sagging shoulders, like he’d just been punched in the gut, he crunched the dry leaves under his boots, and walked over to her.

Perhaps sensing his nearness, she arched back, easing the kinks out of her back.

A hot pink shirt outlined her voluptuous breasts and indented the sensual curve of her stomach; the same shorts he’d seen her wearing on the horseback ride showcased her sinful long legs. The thread of sweat on her face and glistening between her breasts assured him she’d been under the sun for a while.

He cleared his throat. “What are you doing?”

She jammed both hands in her pockets, a pang of frustration in her eyes. “Trying to get this sucker to work.”

He gave a sideways glance to the bare engine. “What’s the problem?” “It won’t start. I popped the hood and hoped to see some smoke or something to clue me in as to why this is happening.”

Turning his attention to her, he placed his hand over his eyes to fight the blinding sun. Bad idea. Rays hit her head and shone around, producing a halo effect, outlining the curly ends of her hair—that would look glorious, spread on his pillow. With a shudder, he curled his fists into balls. “And what would you do if it smoked?”

She chewed on her lower lip. “Besides praying my skin wouldn’t get oily? I hoped to find an open lid I could close. It seems easy enough in the movies.”

Smothering a chuckle, he leaned onto the engine. After a quick survey, he shook his hands. “You need a new alternator. It won’t start like this.”

She slapped her forehead and sighed. “Of course.”

He closed the hood and tapped the metal. “I can ask Earl to sort this out, but it’ll take at least a few hours to get it done,” he said, describing the best case scenario. Earl would have to stop his work and go into town to buy a new alternator and hire a mechanic to change it.

“How much will it cost?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.”

“No. No. I’ll do it.” She stepped closer to him, and her face sobered. “Not right away, obviously, because I’m broke, but can I pay you back in the future?”

“It’s nothing.” She touched his wrist, demanding his full attention. Heat coiled in his stomach. “Please?”

“Okay.” He choked out the word, and took a step back, taking his tingling wrist away from her.

What to say next? He wouldn’t, couldn’t let her see his control slipped from him. “But weren’t you supposed to go see your dad’s cousin today?”

She shuffled her weight from foot to foot, and lifted her hand over her eyes to look at him. “That’s where I was going.”

“I’ll take you,” he said, and when he heard himself, the spontaneous offer echoed in his ears. He stretched to his full height. She couldn’t drive that piece of junk, and if she found a ride to get there and then needed to return at the end of the day… who would she call? Him. So. He might as well bite the bullet. That’s all this was—a way to avoid more inconvenience later on.

Lola settled for a closed lip smiling, her shift changing from one leg to another. “Your driving me is too much. I’ve been trying to do things on my own.”

“You have, Lola. I’ll just be doing this as… a friend. Maybe you shouldn’t be alone.”

“Thanks, Jack.” The sweetness in her voice, lacking any sexual connotation, cut into his heart.

Friends helped each other. However, how could he be her friend when dirty images and thoughts filled his mind at every turn? The words pounded in his ears, in staccato.

Not. Done. With. Her.

Carmen Falcone. The Cowboy’s Socialite (Kindle Location 1136-1172). Kindle Edition.

With much quarreling and off the charts sex these two just can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. But there is of course a few wrenches thrown into the mix as Lola tries to find her birth parents. Nothing like some added angst when you’re starting a business.

A fun read with lots of twists and turns in the relationship.

5 Contented Purrs for Carmen!

Summer About the Author

carmen-falcone  Carmen Falcone

Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beat doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband–living proof that opposites attract.

She found in writing her deepest passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps talking about. When she’s not lost in the world of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.

She loves to procrastinate, so please indulge her and drop her a line. For more info, visit her website.

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Jungle Inferno – The Phoenix Agency Book 1 by Desiree Holt


 

Jungle Inferno
Phoenix Agency Book 1
By
Desiree Holt

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For Faith and Mark, the telepathic connection they’d shared for years was nothing compared to the scorching physical connection they realized as adults. From the first moment they came together, their relationship made the world’s epic tales of love pale in comparison. Together they explored each other’s deepest, darkest desires. But now Mark, a survivor of an ambush to his Delta Force team, is a prisoner of a terrorist group in the Peruvian jungle, and his telepathic communication with Faith is his only contact with the world. While she searches for help to save him, they survive on dreams of one another that defy boundaries. In the Phoenix Agency—a top notch security agency run by five men who served their country and rose from the ashes of war to serve again—Faith sees the strength and support she needs to rescue Mark. But will she be able to persuade the men of Phoenix to undertake a treacherous mission and bring Mark back to her arms?

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A re-release, this book has been revised and re-edited. I have read both versions and this one far surpasses the previous. The sizzling starts at the very beginning but quickly you will understand that it is a coping mechanism for Mark as he holds on to his love for Faith while a prisoner of arms dealers. The telepathic link he has always had with Faith is his only hope of rescue.

Faith on getting his message telepathically has to figure out a way to find where he is and get someone to help her save him. Not easy to do when you really don’t want to reveal your unique connection. With another telepath on his end, Mark has to try to give her hints without giving away her identity. He calls her Tidbit, his nickname for her since school.

As Faith begins pulling strings to find him, the other side is trying to find not only her but another survivor of the ambush and eliminate them. 

With her assistant Tess researching Spec Ops for what she believes is part of Faith’s next book, Faith finally gets a lead. Joey Latrobe is in the hospital, he was part of Mark’s team and he has a brother Eric. With the aid her computer wiz friend Andy she gets a number to contact Eric and starts leaving messages for him.

Annoyed yet curious Eric ‘Rick’ Latrobe, decides it’s time to make contact with this author. With his brother safely out of harms way, he and his Phoenix team need to determine which side Faith is on as they try to find Joey’s Captain, Mark Halloran.

This is a favorite scene with Faith anxiously awaiting Rick’s arrival.

Faith was awake at five o’clock, too restless to sleep. She dressed hastily in slacks and a silk shirt, pulling her hair back into a clip at the nape of her neck, but didn’t bother with makeup. She’d been too nervous to bother with it. Anyway, it wasn’t as if she were going on a date.

She made coffee, a rarity for her, then paced while she drank most of the pot, giving herself a caffeine high that she didn’t need. She tried reading through Tess’s notes again, but her mind refused to settle down. She couldn’t seem to find enough to occupy herself. Time seemed to have weights on its feet, dragging so slowly it felt as if days passed rather than minutes.

Tess finally dumped the dregs in the coffee pot and brewed some chai tea for both of them, forcing Faith to sit at the table and drink it.

“You’re driving me nuts,” Tess told her. “I think you’ve already worn a groove in the floor. What time do you think he’ll get here?”

“I don’t know. He said early. What’s early?”

“Well, it’s eight o’clock right now. To some people that’s early. To others, it’s late.”

Faith shuffled the papers in front of her, pretending to study them again. “I just hope he gets here soon.”

Tess moved to the living room window, watching the street through the slatted blinds. “Do any of your neighbors own a black Lincoln?” she called out.

“A couple of them.” Faith came in from the kitchen where she was getting coffee ready to brew. “Why?”

“I swear this is the second time I’ve seen this one roll past the house.” Faith shrugged. “I’ve got at least two neighbors who parade them around like icons of affluence. You probably saw both of them leave.”

“Maybe. I guess after last night everything’s making me nervous.”

Faith flipped the switch to the coffeemaker. “I’ll check it out. I’m going to get the newspaper.”

“Are you crazy?” Tess grabbed her arm. “People threaten your life and you go around like everything’s normal?”

Faith gave a nervous laugh. “Not exactly. But what’s going to happen to me on my own street? The paper’s just at the edge of the driveway.”

She shrugged off Tess’s hand, unlocked the front door, and hurried down the pavement. A black town car sitting in front of the house four doors down, engine idling, registered peripherally in her vision. The Thompsons. Obviously. Harry Thompson was probably cursing as he waited impatiently for his wife, the habitually tardy Gail.

As she reached the end of the driveway the car began moving down the street. She shaded her eyes, waiting, planning to wave at them. And then it all happened before she could blink. The town car picked up speed and seemed to be heading right for her. At that exact moment a black SUV pulled up to the curb, and a man leaped from it as it rocked from the fast stop. The car was scant feet away from her and coming faster, and she couldn’t seem to make her feet move.

Then strong arms wrapped around her and carried her to the lawn as the car whizzed by, so close it almost brushed her legs. Her face hit the turf, and the breath was squeezed from her lungs by the heavy body on top of her. Seconds ticked by while she struggled to breathe, unable to make her body, her mouth, or her brain work.

Finally the pressure was gone, and big hands reached down to help her to her feet.

“What the hell are you doing out of the house?” She looked up. And up. And up even more. Mark was well over six feet but this man topped even him. At the moment he wore an expression of mingled anger and disgust on his face. His blue eyes looked like twin torches.

“I-I was getting the newspaper.” She was shaking so badly she wasn’t sure she could stand upright.

“Get the hell into the house before they decide to come back.”

Gripping her arm with fingers like steel, he frog-marched her into the house and practically threw her inside, where Tess stood waiting in the hallway.

“Don’t move.” He jogged to the SUV and dragged the keys from the ignition.

Tess was standing with her arms around Faith when Rick strode back inside seconds later, slamming the door and locking it.

“Faith, my God.” She brushed Faith’s hair back from her forehead. “Did that car almost run over you?”

Rick glared at Faith, who was trying to gather some semblance of dignity. “Damn straight it did, thanks to your friend’s stupidity.”

Faith couldn’t stop shaking, nor could she get the image of the black car closer than a whisper of breath out of her mind. She had to fight the urge to race to the bathroom and throw up.

“She was just getting the newspaper, for heaven’s sake,” Tess snapped at him.

“After I told her last night to stay in the house with the doors locked.” He glared at Faith. “Did I not? Was I talking to myself?”

“Y-yes.” Faith moved away from Tess, her hands gripped tightly together to still their trembling. “But I just—”

“Someone is obviously trying to kill you, and you have to go out for the newspaper? You got a threat last night, didn’t you? It came up while you were talking to me.”

She nodded. Her brain wouldn’t come unstuck. She was shaking so badly she wasn’t sure if she could stand upright.

“How?” he demanded.

“Ph-phone. And email.”

Tess moved closer to Faith and put an arm around her again. “Can’t you stop shouting at her? She’s obviously in shock.”

“She’s lucky she’s not dead.”

“I assume you’re the mysterious Eric Latrobe?” Faith looked up at the mountain of a man looming over them. “At least I hope that’s who you are.”

“So you don’t let just any stranger in the house?” His voice was edged with sarcasm. “Good for you.”

“O-only men who save my life,” Faith told him. She was getting some control back, her pulse settling down to a manageable beat.

“Smart mouth, too.” He inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly, working to get his temper under control. “All right, Miss Wilding. You’ve been trying your best to get hold of me, so let’s cut out the crap here. What do you want, and why does someone want to kill you? Besides claiming to be an author, just who the hell are you?”

She wet her lips and struggled to keep her voice even. “I’m Tidbit. And I’m trying to get help for Mark.”

Rick stared at her as if she’d just descended from Mars.
Holt, Desiree. Jungle Inferno (The Phoenix Agency Book 1) (Kindle Locations 2282-2330). Kindle Edition.

From here the excitement revs up as the Phoenix team with the aid of Joey and Faith try to beat the clock as Mark’s time begins to run out.

Plenty of extremely hot scenes and hold your breath action. These two definitely deserve their Happily Ever After!

I am about to start the next book in this series. I just can’t get enough of the Phoenix Agency Team.

5 Contented Purrs for Desiree!

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Coming September 12, 2017

 

  Desiree Holt

USA Today Bestselling and award winning author Desiree Holt writes everything from romantic suspense and paranormal to erotic, a genre in which she is the oldest living author.

She has been referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, and is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice nominee.

She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times and numerous other national and international publications.

“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” (Romance Junkies)

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Are You An Aspiring Author? Check Out This Course By Cate Pierce!


Ever read a book and wonder how the author created such an incredible, engrossing world? Do you want to BE that author?

Writing is a lot more than just Characters + Dialogue + Action = End. For genre writers especially, worldbuilding is a critical skill that will help you create a world that jumps off the page and into your reader’s mind.

How do you get there?

Where do you start?

Worldbuilding is one of the most intimidating aspects of the writing process, but it doesn’t have to be. In Why Worldbuilding (is the Secret Ingredient): The Complete Beginner’s Guide, Catherine Peace, author of books like Gemini—a science fiction romance featuring a universe built around giant cats, Chuck Norris facts, and aliens galore—will guide you on the journey from creating bland settings to vibrant, believable worlds for your characters and stories to inhabit.

Starting October 16, you’ll get your chance to learn about one of the hardest and most rewarding parts of the writing process: Worldbuilding. Using examples from some of science fiction and fantasy’s best known worlds, you’ll gain the tools and insight you need to create your own.

Once you’ve gone through the course, you should be able to:

• Understand worldbuilding’s importance and function in your story
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• Seamlessly weave your worldbuilding elements into your story

Over the five-week course, we’ll explore some of storytelling’s lushest worlds—from Westeros to Hogwarts with a few unexpected stops in-between—and break them down into easily digestible concepts you can use to beef up your stories and give them the punch that will set them apart. BAM!

Full syllabus is here.

Each class is $30, or you can complete the set for $130.

Registration is open through September 15. Don’t miss out on your chance to take your worlds from bland to BAM!

About the crazy person running this shindig:
Catherine Peace has been telling stories for as long as she could remember. She often blames two things for her forays into speculative fiction—Syfy (when it was SciFi) channel Sundays with her dad and The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells. She graduated in 2008 from Northern Kentucky University with a degree in English and is still chasing the dream of being super rich and famous, mostly so she can sit around in her PJs all day and write stories. When not being a slave to the people in her head, she’s a slave to two adorable dogs.

Oh My! Shelter for Sophie by Susan Stoker!


Shelter for Sophie
Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes – Book 8
By
Susan Stoker

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She’s shy, he’s stoic…not the hardest personality traits to overcome, but Sophie Carson and Roman “Chief” Proudfit have their work cut out for them.

Sophie has a crush on the silent-but-studly firefighter next door. She’s been pining away silently while secretly helping the hardworking man by mowing his lawn—which he thinks is being done by her nonexistent husband and/or boyfriend. He’s definitely not big on neighborly chitchat, but with her stutter, that suits Sophie just fine. But now a misunderstanding at a bar has put him even further out of her reach.

Roman’s difficult upbringing on an Indian reservation is a sore spot, so when he thinks Sophie is taking advantage of poor people for medical trials at her workplace, he lets her know exactly what he thinks. But when he discovers he misunderstood, he’s man enough to admit it…and also that he should have opened his eyes to his beautiful, sensitive neighbor sooner.

As the couple gets closer, each helping the other overcome lifelong pains, for the first time in years, Roman has something to live for other than his job. And, as he discovers when Sophie puts herself in danger, something even bigger to lose…

** Shelter for Sophie is the 8th book in the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings. **

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I am finding it difficult to find new words of praise for Susan Stoker. Once again she has enthralled me with her tale. In this one we once again have a very strong woman, but she is also introverted and shy. Sophie is a researcher, looking to find better and less painful ways to treat severe burns.

Chief is a paramedic/firefighter who has previously insulted his neighbor by giving her twenty dollars for mowing his lawn while he was on shift. Without knowing her, he again puts his foot in it while out with friends at the Sloppy Cow. This is a favorite scene.

“Soph, I don’t know how you do it. You always manage to find the most vulnerable people for our studies.”

“It’s a gift,” Sophie responded, the pride easy to hear in her voice. “S-Sometimes disadvantaged people are the easiest to convince. Honestly, s-sometimes I feel bad about pressuring patient’s families, but then I think about how it affects m-me and the institute, and the m-money it will ultimately bring in, and I’m perfectly okay with m-my actions.”

Chief chugged the rest of his beer, stood, and informed his friends, “I’ll be right back.”

He swallowed down the bile that had crept up his throat. He didn’t know his neighbor, but he was disappointed nevertheless. Growing up on the reservation in New Mexico, he’d experienced “do-gooders” first hand who’d tried to take advantage of his people. They’d come in pretending to have their best interests at heart, when in reality all they’d wanted was a Native American body for whatever experiments they wanted to do. Drug trials, mental health counseling, magic pills to “cure” alcoholism…the list was never ending.

The fact that his pretty neighbor might be like the leeches he remembered from his childhood sat like a thick black ball in his gut.

Chief used the restroom and looked in the mirror as he washed his hands. The face looking back at him had been called handsome by more than one woman. He kept his hair long, but pulled back into a ponytail that hung down his back to honor his heritage. Being part Native American was as much a part of who he was as being a firefighter. It was literally in his blood.

Gritting his teeth as he dried his hands, Chief knew what he had to do. He’d promised himself when he’d moved to Texas and off the reservation that he wouldn’t stand by and let anyone take advantage of those weaker, poorer, or not as fortunate as him. Even knowing it would cause problems, since he lived next door to the woman, he couldn’t leave without confronting her and making her agree to lay off the poor teenager she had in her sights.

He left the restroom and saw his lovely neighbor standing at the bar talking to Erin, one of the bartenders. Realizing it was the perfect chance to talk to her away from her friends, and his, Chief went right up to her.

“Sophie, right?”

She turned in surprise and looked at him with wide eyes. To give her credit, she didn’t gape at him as she had in her driveway. “Yeah, that’s m-me. Hi.”

She held out her hand in greeting and Chief ignored it. He knew he was being rude, but he didn’t want to pretend he liked her when he was so pissed.

“It’s not cool to prey on the poor.”

“Pardon?” Sophie asked, dropping her hand and shifting uneasily.

“I heard what you told your friends. That the poor teenage boy with the single mother can’t afford treatment so you just happened to be there to jump in and offer to pay for it…as long as they entered your program. That’s not cool. Not at all.”

He ignored the cute little furrow in her brow as she looked at him in confusion. “I’m s-sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“I’m talking about you offering to help the ‘poor black boy’ who doesn’t have any money. I’ve seen it time and time again when I was growing up on the reservation. You know they can’t afford to pay for the treatment they need so you play savior and offer to pay for everything…as long as they take the drugs you want them to and allow you to take his blood and do who knows what else in return. You make him a pin cushion and a human scientific experiment. It’s disgusting and vile. I know I can’t stop you from doing it, but I’m hoping I can make you at least think twice about it.”

“I think there’s been a m-misunderstanding,” Sophie insisted. “That’s not what I’m doing. I m-mean, I do look for patients who can’t afford treatment, but—”

“There are no buts about it,” Chief interrupted, thoroughly disgusted. “I’ve seen what burns do to people firsthand. They hurt, and when people hurt, they aren’t thinking right. They’ll sign whatever bullshit agreement you put in front of them if you say there’s a chance it’ll reduce that pain.” His lip curled in derision and he didn’t care that the woman in front of him saw it. “I think I’ll go to the hospital tomorrow and have a talk with that poor kid’s mom. Tell her what she’s really getting into.”

Instead of looking scared by his threat, Sophie put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “You do that. Ask for Traynesha Washington and her s-son, Diontray. And m-make s-sure you ask her exactly what S-Sophie promised her, too, while you’re at it.”

“I will.”

“Good.”

They glared each other for a heartbeat before Sophie shook her head and turned to Erin who had been standing on the other side of the bar shamelessly eavesdropping. “I just wanted you to know we’re gonna call it a night. We’ve called cabs and will be out of here in a bit. Thanks for the drinks tonight.”
Stoker, Susan. Shelter for Sophie (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 8) (Kindle Locations 189-233). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.

From here Chief has to eat a lot of crow and even grovel a bit to get back into Sophie’s good graces. He is determined though. Especially as he learns more about her and her never ending quest to make things better for those in need.

Another beautiful example of how strong and beautiful one is, even with what some would consider a disability.

I couldn’t put this book down, thank you Susan for not being quite as hard as you usually are on your heroines!

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Coming November 14th 
Click for Pre-Order Links

 

Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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