Hot SEAL, In His Memory – SEALs in Paradise: Holiday Edition Book 4 by Delilah Devlin



Hot SEAL, In His Memory
SEALs in Paradise
Holiday Edition Book 4
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Delilah Devlin

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On Memorial Day, he will stand by her side when she visits her husband’s grave, but he wonders if she’ll ever see him as anything more than her husband’s best friend and the man who accompanied his body home for burial…

Navy SEAL, Chris “Zig” Bykowski, has done his duty to his best friend’s wife by being there to help whenever she or her son needed him. However, now, he has the feeling she wants to put distance between herself and the SEALs who watch over her as the widow of a fallen teammate. Though painful, because he’s grown to care for her, he will let her go, knowing she needs closure to move on with her life.

Andi Westall has picked up the pieces of her shattered life after the death of her husband, Ozzie. Although she knows it will be painful to break away from the SEALs who have given her their support, she is ready to cut ties and move on past the painful memories. However, fate has another idea. When she discovers that she may have a stalker, the only person she knows to confide in is Ozzie’s best friend, Zig. When Zig and the team rush to the rescue, she finds that accepting their aid and continued friendship isn’t as hard as she’d imagined.

While the team works to figure out who is stalking her, Zig insists on sticking close to keep her safe. One night of tearful remembrances ends with her waking up to discover that she wants more from Zig than just his protection. Whether this is love or simply need is something she’ll have to figure out before they both get hurt.

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On their last mission Chris “Zig” Bykowski promised his best friend and teammate Ozzie that he would take care of his family should something happen to him. Zig hasn’t gone back on that promise, even now when Ozzie’s son, Jeremy, is able to do most of the chores he does for Andi.

In spite of her feelings for Zig, Andi knows it’s time to push him away. He deserves to have a life beyond taking care of her. She knew he was coming over, he comes over every leave he has. She was surprised to see flowers on the counter near where he was preparing breakfast for them. Unfortunately they weren’t from him and now she’s scared.

This is a favorite scene.

Then she saw the red roses wrapped in hunter green tissue lying on the counter. Had he brought her flowers? Her body went still.

Zig noted the direction of her gaze and blinked. “I didn’t bring them. They were on your porch when I arrived. No card.” Then he pressed his lips together as if stopping himself from saying anything more.

Andi frowned. The flowers were beautiful, but added to the other “gifts” she’d received of late, she was more than a little alarmed. The last two incidents hadn’t frightened her, but this one, arriving at her doorstep, did.

“You have an admirer…” he murmured, his gaze going back to the skillet filled with fluffy eggs.

“I think…” She paused because she didn’t want to say it. If she did, Zig would likely decide he had to do something about it, and this wasn’t his problem to fix. Still, she had Jeremy to consider, and being stubborn about her independence didn’t mean she had the right to risk his safety. She glanced toward Jeremy and was relieved to see him with his nose stuck inside a graphic novel. She moved closer to Zig and whispered, “I think I have a stalker.”

He blinked then turned to the stove, switching off the burner and placing the pan on a cool ring. After preparing one plate with toast, bacon, and eggs, then piling the rest of the meal on one plate and slipping it into the microwave, he slid Jeremy’s plate in front of him. “Buddy, eat up. Your mom and I are going outside to talk.”

Jeremy nodded, his gaze locked on the plate. For her son, food topped anime and baseball. He’d be good for a few minutes by himself.

Zig pulled off the apron, draped it over a chair, and then indicated for Andi to precede him out of the room. Once they were outside on the front porch, he turned to her, his arms folded over his chest. “What’s going on?”

Feeling a little chilled despite the balmy morning, Andi rubbed her arms. “It’s probably nothing.”

“Let me be the judge.”

When she frowned at his words, he held up his hands. “I’m just here to help. You froze when you saw the roses. Do you know who left them?” he asked, speaking slowly.

She’d always liked his deep tones and the way he held so still when he listened to what she said. She blew out a breath. “I don’t. It started last week—”

“Something started last week…? A week…and you didn’t call me?” His blond eyebrows lowered, darkening his blue eyes.

“I thought it was nothing. Besides, you didn’t get back into town until Thursday. I wouldn’t have been able to reach you anyway.”

He closed his eyes for a second then lowered his head to lock his gaze with hers. “Tell me.”

Good Lord, he’d never used that tone with her before—all alpha, kind of hard. A shiver worked its way across her bare arms, and she rubbed them again. “You know I’m teaching at the University, on base.”

He nodded. “Night classes.”

“I’m part of the Workforce Education Solutions department. I’m teaching some basic job search classes—how to complete a resume, what to expect in your first days on the job sort of thing.”

“Helping people processing out of the military, I assume.”

“Mostly, but also some spouses looking to reenter the workforce take my classes, too.” She shrugged. “Anyway, I teach at night, and sometimes, I hang around to proofread resumes or give advice. It’s crazy really. Sure, I worked managing a temp agency early in my marriage, but it’s been years since I was out there. Still, they hired me.”

“Why wouldn’t they? You’re smart. You have the receipts.” The corners of his lips curved, but his gaze was still steady.

She appreciated that he was giving her time to describe her worries. “Anyway, early last week, I went to my car in the faculty lot, and there was a note under my windshield wipers. It said something like, ‘You bring sunshine everywhere you go.’ Then something else… ‘I’d like to soak up all your rays.’” She rolled her eyes. “It was like a bad high school love note.”

“Did you keep it?”

“For a day or two. I checked the handwriting against my students’ when they turned in their papers, but nothing stood out, so I tossed it. Then last night, I found a pretty gold bracelet attached to my car’s doorhandle. I was too spooked to take the time to remove it until I got home. It’s gold all right—eighteen karats. And now the flowers—at my house?” she said, hissing the last word.

He reached out and rubbed his hands on her upper arms, up and down. The warmth of his palms seeped into her skin, and her knees weakened just a little, making her sway toward him. She found herself leaning against his body, her face turned to the side, one cheek pressed against his chest. He wasn’t nearly as tall as Ozzie had been, but he still topped her by a few inches. His arms were just as strong as they slowly rose and encircled her.

They stood together for a long moment, and she felt his breath feather her hair. It had been such a long time since she’d felt a comforting embrace…

“I need to hit the hardware store again,” he said softly. “I want you both to come with me. I won’t leave you alone here. The flowers were fresh. He might be watching now.”

She jerked back and glanced up into his eyes. “Do you really think I should be worried?”

“I honestly don’t know. Three gifts. One on your doorstep. It’s too much of a coincidence. I’m betting it’s the same guy, and I don’t like the fact he found out where you live.” Once again, his hands moved, this time to her shoulders, which he held gently. “Humor me. We can make a day of it. Maybe hit the store for what we’ll need to harden the security around this place, and then take Jeremy to the batting cages at the park.”

She nodded. “Okay.” When he drew away, she wished he hadn’t. She’d enjoyed feeling his strength and warmth pressed against her. But when he stepped back, his jaw hardening, she realized this was for the best, and that she was maybe reading more into his embrace than what it really was—a friend’s comfort. When he turned away to open the door for her to reenter the house, she felt as though a rubber band snapped her back into awareness of the fact that this was Zig.

This morning, she’d been determined to figure out a way to push him gently out of their lives because she needed to move on. Now, she knew she was in real trouble. Zig was a very attractive man—tall and muscled, with thick blond hair and ice-blue eyes. She’d have to be dead not to notice. Still, the last thing she wanted to do was to cling to him. Hell, he might let her because he felt responsible for her after Ozzie’s death, but he deserved more. He should be out finding the woman who was meant for him, not hovering over a woman five years older than him who had a half-grown child. He deserved a woman who’d give him all her “firsts”—her first love, her first child.

So, maybe she’d let him watch over them this one last time. Let him do the things he needed to in order to make them safe, and then she’d let him go, pushing him out, if she had to, no matter how hard it would be to see him leave.

Besides, she wasn’t even sure what it was she felt. Only lately had she really begun to react to his presence. She’d always known he was handsome and well-built—all of the SEALs on Ozzie’s team were. However, Zig was the leanest, with a runner’s body that was so densely muscled, so well-honed, that watching his muscles flex as he did the most mundane things around the house and yard made her sigh.

Not that he was trying to attract her. But it had been a long damn time since she’d been this aware of a man’s body, and he’d been driving her crazy for a while now. With him following her into the house, she was only too aware of the movement of her hips.

Damn, hussy, she warned herself. She moved forward more stiffly, forcing a smile when she entered the kitchen. “Hey, Jeremy, after we eat, Zig needs to pick up some things at the hardware store.”

Jeremy’s glance went to Zig. He was already smiling, envisioning another manly adventure.

“We’re all going,” Zig said. “After we get what we need at the store, how about we hit the batting cages at the park?”

Jeremy fisted his hand and pulled it sharply inward. “Yes! I’m almost done eating. I’ll go get my bat and glove.”

She followed her son with her gaze while the sound of the microwave beeped behind her. Better to look there than to glance at Zig again. Now, she knew what it felt like to stand inside his embrace and breath in his sea-fresh scent. She felt silly for feeling a little shy.

The slide of a plate across the counter drew her attention to him. He’d divided the food onto two plates.

“Better eat up. It’s going to be a long day.” He gave her a crooked half-smile—so familiar and dear. He’d worn it every time he’d shown up unannounced, trailing Ozzie into the house.

She lifted her chin. “You don’t have to do this, you know.”

He raised his eyebrows. “What? Feed you breakfast? I’m just returning the favor. You’ve cooked for me a million times.”

She pressed her lips together and dropped her gaze. “You don’t have to take care of us. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself and Jeremy.”

Zig leaned over the counter and used a finger to lift her chin until her gaze locked with his. “Andi, Ozzie asked me to watch over you both, but I’m not doing this because I made him a promise that I would. I want to be here, for you.”

Andi’s eyes widened a fraction, and she licked her lower lip before she could stop herself. Damn, if she didn’t wish he’d kiss her.
Devlin, Delilah; Authors, Paradise . Hot SEAL, In His Memory. Kindle Locations (195-269). Kindle Edition.

Of course Zig calls in the rest of the team and as they investigate, more things add to the suspense.

I love the way this slowly and steadily moves into the relationship they both want and need. When Andi and Zig finally get together they melt the pages with the heat. Even better, Jeremy and his team heartily approve.

I love these multi author series and I will be reading all of these.

5 Contented Purrs for Delilah!

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DelilahDevlin Delilah Devlin

Up until recently, award-winning author Delilah Devlin lived in South Texas at the intersection of two dry creeks, surrounded by sexy cowboys in Wranglers. These days, she’s missing the wide-open skies and starry nights, but loving her dark forest in central Arkansas with its eccentric characters and isolation–the better to feed her hungry muse! To Delilah, the greatest sin is driving between the lines because it’s comfortable and safe. Her personal journey has taken her through one war, many countries, cultures, jobs and relationships to bring her to the place she travels now–writing sexy novels that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation.

Delilah Devlin is a prolific and award-winning author of erotica and erotic romance with a rapidly expanding reputation for writing deliciously edgy stories with complex characters. Whether creating dark, erotically-charged paranormal worlds or richly descriptive historical stories that ring with authenticity, Delilah Devlin “pens in uncharted territory that will leave the readers breathless and hungering for more…” (Paranormal Reviews) Ms. Devlin has published over 140 erotic stories in multiple genres and lengths.

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Pretty Little Savage – Sick Boys Book 1 by Lucy Smoke


Pretty Little Savage
Sick Boys Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Lucy Smoke

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Rule No. 1: Don’t piss off the Sick Boys

They’re cruel. Reckless. Impossibly fucked up.

The Sick Boys feed on the order they create. They rule Eastpoint University just as their families have for decades. But their power doesn’t stop there. The three of them are heirs to some of the largest fortunes in the world, and behind that kind of wealth lies an underworld of corruption.

On the surface, they’re perfect princes and he is their King. But underneath it all, they’re filled with blood, lies, and secrets. With all of their connections, they have the power to crush anyone who gets in their way. But just because they’re as warped as I am doesn’t mean I’m going to give them a free pass.

Because I, Avalon Manning, bow to no one, and I live to break the fucking rules.

NOTE:
This is a Dark MF New Adult Enemies to Lovers Romance.

In the prologue to this book we see Avalon in a future scene in this book, one that made me want to read faster. It was definitely a tease.

In the first chapter we meet Dean, Abel and Braxton at the age of 16. Dean is being initiated into his family role by his father. Let me just say this is totally messed up.

The book progresses to Avalon at 14 where we get a birds eye view of her crappy home life, her mother surely isn’t a role model, neither is she a protector. It’s Avalon who protects herself. She finds herself in trouble once again and is about to be kicked out of the last school around when she’s given a reprieve of an unusual sort.

In spite of her violent tendencies, Avalon is intelligent. She’s caught the eye of a recruiter from Eastpoint University, a private and elite school, and now has the opportunity to enroll in classes that will allow her to finish high school and get credits toward her freshman year. One of the prime advantages here, she will live on campus albeit with a roommate.

Riley is her roommate, she’s the one who tells Avalon that the recruitment is more than just a scholarship opportunity. They’ve all been selected not only for their backgrounds but also for some purpose known only to the recruiters. A warning she gives Avalon is to stay away from the ‘Sick Boys’. Unfortunately Avalon attracts trouble even when she’s not looking for it.

Her first encounter is with Abel and Brax in class, this ends with her on their version of lockdown which doesn’t bother her in the least. Dean knows about her and usually doesn’t get involved with the games but this time something compels him to invite her to their party.

Of course Avalon refuses the invitation and subsequently gets herself kidnapped to attend.

That was a fun scene but this one is a bit better.

We can’t be that far from campus—there just wasn’t enough time in the car for us to be more than ten or fifteen minutes from where they’d picked me up—yet as I take a look around, I realize that we’re in the middle of nowhere. Or at least, it seems like it since there are no other nearby buildings and everything is surrounded by a dense wood.

“Welcome to the Frazier House,” someone says, pushing against my back. “Now, move.”

I take a step forward, glancing up to the three-story building before me. House is putting it mildly. This place looks like a freaking hotel. Long vertical windows stretch up each of the floors and white pillars line the front. Golden light spills from inside as does music and laughter. The party, it seems, is in full swing.

Music pours outside, and though we get a few strange looks as we march through the crowd of people surrounding the property, no one stops to ask why there’s a girl being led through a party in zip tied handcuffs. I start to wonder if this is, perhaps, a regular occurrence.

The guys lead me around the side of the house, through a massive area overwhelmed by plants and rocks and into what looks like a natural spring. It’s not, though, because natural springs don’t have heated pools or hot tubs bubbling out of perfectly cut rocks. A low whistle leaves my chest. These guys aren’t just rich, I realize, they’re fucking loaded.

Girls in low cut, barely there bikinis with martini glasses in hand—no Solo cups for these people—skirt around the edge of the water. Across from the glass back doors, a makeshift dance floor has been set up and unseen speakers radiate music out over the back lawn.

Someone pushes me towards the back doors, and they slide open just before I’m shoved inside. My thin soled Converse slap pure white tile and I stop and tilt my head back. A glittering chandelier hovers overhead, tinkling as the air conditioning kicks on and a wash of cold air brushes over my bare arms. Another door towards the front of the house is flung open and raucous laughter echoes up towards the massively tall ceilings as the three dickwads from the gas station come careening around the corner.

The place is packed, top to bottom. Several girls linger in the kitchen, giggling and reaching for Abel as soon as he stops inside the door.

“Abel!” one girl squeals, nearly leaping into his arms. Looking far less pale than he had at the gas station after round one with me, he grins at the girl and lifts her up until her legs spread wide and wrap around his waist. In the next second, his tongue is in her mouth and the sound of wet slopping groans follows.

I purse my lips and shift on my feet. The plastic around my wrists bites into the skin beneath my thumb as I slip my hand further out. Abel finally manages to pry his lips away from the girl humping his front. He whispers something in her ear that makes her giggle and drops her back onto her feet before slapping her ass and watching her walk away with a hungry look in his eyes.

Brax moves through the massive amount of people converging on the space now that the three of them are here with ease, and two of the guys who’d brought me in move to follow him. Together, they approach the island in the center of the kitchen that looks like the size of my mother’s trailer and start unloading shot glasses and a tall bottle of clear liquid—tequila.

Abel crosses towards them, shooting me a dirty look. I smile his way. “Looks like I didn’t completely ruin your night, frontman,” I say.

“Not for lack of fucking trying,” he snarls as Brax hands him a shot. He downs it in one breath before jerking his chin at the rest of the girls lingering about, not so subtly trying to catch their attention. “Give us the room,” he commands, and just like that, they do.

Everyone in the vicinity, girls and guys alike—save for the two still standing at my back, the three assholes who orchestrated this kidnapping, and me—leave the room. I pry my attention away from Brax and Abel and meet the eyes of the most dangerous man in the room. Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t, but I’ve got the feeling that he’s the leader of this battalion of assholes. Therefore, he’s the one that gets the focus of my attention.

“So, Dean,” I say, emphasizing his name. I flex my arms. “Care to tell me why you thought it was necessary to bring me here? Do you want to piss me off?”

A cold smile filters across his face. “You and I both know you’re not pissed off about this,” he says. The blood in my veins freezes. I know that, but how does he know that? Dean folds his arms and stares at me as if he’s waiting for something. I don’t know what and I bide my time as I consider my response.

My gaze slides to the two guys remaining—keeping vigil at my sides as if they’re bouncers in a club and they want to make sure no one can come near me … or rather, that I won’t go near their bosses. Too bad for them, I think. They’ve got no clue what a little girl like me can do. They’re obviously athletes of some kind—football if their size is anything to go by, but size has nothing on smarts.

I decide that now is as good a time as any to prove that. I twist one arm free of the zip ties, but hold onto the plastic ring, keeping both of my hands behind my back. Brax looks up and locks onto me, and my back straightens. A smile lifts his lips and he glances over to Dean, who shakes his head subtly. I narrow my eyes, but since neither of them say another word, I don’t halt my plan. The green light is flashing and I’m feeling a heady mixture of anger and eagerness.

“So,” I start casually, “which of you actually put the bag over my head and zip tied me?” I ask the bodyguards. “Was it one of you or one of the others?” If luck is on my side, it’ll be either one or both of them.

They glance at each other and then with a shrug that determines how very little they consider me a threat, the one on the right answers. “We did,” he says. “Orders are orders.”

I grin. Ahhh, sweet lady luck. She did love me after all. “No problem. Just wanted to make sure before I did this.”

They frown and look down. “Did what?” the one on the left asks just a split second before I bring my hands around my front and punch him in the face before turning, grabbing the back of his friend’s head and bringing it down just as I bring my knee up. There’s a muffled crunch against my leg and then I’m shoved away.

“The fuck!”

“Bitch!”

I laugh, taking a step away from them and towards the butcher’s block. Abel, Brax, and Dean—all three of them don’t move a muscle as they watch me round the island and reach for one of the knives. Perhaps if I were more pissed off and less amused, they would have more reason to be concerned, but right now—I’m more curious than anything else. It takes a lot to get me to that kind of dangerous point. I use a sharper one to cut through the remaining zip tie and drop the plastic on the counter before reaching for one of the shots and downing it.

Red hot fire slides down my throat. Not as good without the lime and salt, but still … not bad. “Ahhh,” I say on a sigh.

“That’s top notch shit.”

Brax grins and takes a shot of his own before pushing another my way. This time, he hands me a cut lime and a salt shaker. “You’re staying for the party then?” he asks.

“Nah.” I pour salt on my hand, lick it, and take the shot. The lime goes in my mouth as I slap the glass back onto the counter before turning and striding for the doorway. “But thanks for the fun.”

As I pass, a hard hand grabs my arm. “You’re not leaving, Avalon.” Dean’s words slide over my skin, making that unhealthy darkness that festers within me respond. I tip my head back and grin.

“Oh?” I ask. “And who’s going to fucking stop me?”

His eyes glitter. Smoky and hazy with something unknown. Curiosity holds me bound. I don’t even mind that he’s grabbing me without my permission. For now … anyway.

“No one,” he says, “but you’ll stay.”

“Oh? Why’s that?”

Finally, he grins and releases me. I almost hate the feel of his skin leaving mine. He spreads his arms wide and takes a shot glass that Brax hands him. Swallowing, the workings of his throat mesmerize me for some reason. “Because you’re curious,” he replies.

With that, he nods to the others. Brax and Abel go for their guys—the ones who made the mistake of underestimating me—and they drag them out of the room. Just before Dean leaves, he turns and gives me a grin. “Enjoy the party, Avalon.”
Smoke, Lucy . Pretty Little Savage: A Dark Enemies to Lovers College Romance (Sick Boys Book 1). Kindle Locations (1075-1141). Kindle Edition.

Dean is more than a little bit attracted to Avalon and pretty much claims her as his. Avalon wants nothing to do with him, at least that’s what she tells herself.

Things get more and more interesting as Spring Break approaches and Avalon finds she can’t stay on campus.

We meet several other folks Corina another student, Kate who is Dean’s ex and the fiancé of Luc Kincaid. Luc himself, who appears as full of himself as Dean, and Jake who is kind of friend even though he answers to the sick boys just like everyone else.

There’s one heck of an ending in this one that definitely proves out the title of this book. I already started the next book in this series, I couldn’t wait.

5 Contented Purrs for Lucy!

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  Lucy Smoke

Lucy Smoke, also known as Lucinda Dark for her fantasy works, has a master’s degree in English and is a self-proclaimed creative chihuahua. She enjoys feeding her wanderlust, cover addiction, as well as her face, and truly hopes people will stop giving her bath bombs as gifts. Bath’s get cold too fast and it’s just not as wonderful as the commercials make it out to be when the tub isn’t a jacuzzi.

When she’s not on a never-ending quest to find the perfect milkshake, she lives and works in the southern United States with her beloved fur-baby, Hiro, and her family and friends.

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Cowboy Luke – Cooper’s Hawke Landing Book 5 by Rhonda Lee Carver


Cowboy Luke
Cooper’s Hawke Landing Book 5
By
Rhonda Lee Carver

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Two stubborn firefighters are faced with an uncontainable blaze inside their hearts. Can they withstand the heat?

What’s a woman to do to get over a lying, cheating ex-husband? She finds a cowboy-firefighter like Luke “Mug” Foster to salve her open wounds. He’s exactly what the “heart” doctor ordered. He was tall, dark, handsome, and eager to stoke her fire. But what happens when Jady Pierce starts to have feelings for him? She runs before she loses herself to another heartbreak. People couldn’t be trusted, and she’d learned that lesson through a long list of men who’d done her dirty.

Jady was back in Cooper’s Hawk. Last year, she’d swept in, turned Mug inside out, then disappeared without a word. Story of his life. He wouldn’t lose himself in her again, yet there was something about her that challenged and excited him. To get to the “real” Jady, he’d have to chisel through some tough layers. She was carrying around a lot of pain…and not just from a cheating ex and a bum childhood. So what made her tick? What made her hurt?

She’d be sticking around town for a while when she accepted the Sheriff duties, but how would she keep her feelings for Mug in check? He had a hold over her and she could feel her walls crumbling.

An abandoned baby, an unveiling of secrets from the past, and Mug will have Jady slowly gaining trust as she finds peace, emotion and joy in the small town that she’d once hated. However, she isn’t the only one with a few demons to exterminate.

Jady Pierce is back in Cooper’s Hawk to settle her father’s affairs. The property she didn’t know he owned needed to be sold to pay off his medical bills but needed work first.

Luke ‘Mug’ Foster has been looking for property to buy since he decided to take the fire chief position. Hank Hawke is the one who lets him know about Jady’s property. He’s not sure about seeing Jady but he certainly would like to get a bid in on the property before it hits the market. That doesn’t stop him from stopping by the property at night, her light was on after all.

This is a favorite scene.

Traveling from place to place has lost its enticement. I like it here. I enjoy volunteering at the Landing Search and Rescue. I’ve also been taken on as Chief at the firehouse. I’ve even made some good friends. It’s time I planted some roots.”

“I’m happy for you.” Their gazes met.

“What about you? Cooper’s Hawk ain’t a bad place.”

“So are you trying to convince me to sell you Mags Farm or that I should stay?” Her laugh sounded weak.

“I’d like to buy.” He pressed his boot on a loose plank in the floor. He already had a ton of ideas on how to make the place better. “I just wondered if you had any emotional connections to the place.”

“Do you know how my father came to own this place?” She sank her brush in the paint again and stepped back over to the wall to start painting along the taped-off trim.

“Something about a poker game?” She looked over her shoulder at him. “I imagine someone would have to be drunker than my father to make that mistake.”

“Drunk or desperate to win the game.”

“Two of Bobby Sinclaire’s greatest achievements in life. Poker and liquor.” She went back to focusing on the wall. “He definitely did have a knack for card games. He’d spent more time in basement gambling clubs than he ever did at home. For that, I’m grateful.”

A familiar twinge developed in the center of his chest. He wasn’t a stranger to family turmoil.

Shrugging out of his jacket, he tossed it over a plastic covered chair and picked up the new roller.

“What are you doing?” she asked. “Helping. I’ve used a paint roller once or twice over the years.”

“Aren’t you tired? If you’ve been out on the mountain doing a search—”

“No. We were just out training a couple of horses. Anyway, I might as well do something to keep myself busy. I won’t be able to get to sleep for hours.”

“I don’t need any help—”

“Jady…” He wanted to be distant with her because she’d kicked him to the curb, but the last thing he wanted to carry around on his shoulders was anger when it wouldn’t add up to a bag of beans. Cooper’s Hawk, and the people in it, had taught him a lot about himself and what he wanted, and needed, not only for the present but also for his future. Each day he grappled with his troubles, but each day he also made amazing strides to recovery. “This isn’t for you as much as it is an ulterior motive. Maybe it’ll sway you to sell to me.” He rolled the sponge into the paint and made a wide W on the wall.

“Are you putting pressure on me, Cowboy? I’ve a had a few inquiries, just so you know.” She turned her back to him.

“No pressure.”

“Have you thought about all the work this place will need?”

“Well, obviously it hasn’t been a functioning farm for years. Your pa might have won it in a game of poker, but farming wasn’t his business. The fields will need a bush hog. The outbuildings will need reconstructed, possibly a few torn down. And the house,” he swung his gaze around, “will need more than a layer of paint or two. Or three. I’m willing to pay a fair price. I thought you’d be happy to get out of dodge.”

“This wouldn’t be my pick of places.”

“I think the townsfolk of Cooper’s Hawk would have their feelings hurt at a statement like that.” He dipped his dry roller, glancing over at her. She did a little bounce as she attempted to reach the highest point of the wall. “Here, let me take care of that” He grabbed the ladder and set it up close to the wall. “Even tall women need a little help to reach places sometimes.”

Their gazes met for a fleeting second before she turned away. He skimmed his gaze up her long, toned legs to the hem of the shorts, feeling a tug in places he needed to shut off. Clearing his throat, he grabbed up his roller and focused on finishing up the last bit of wall. “Do you have someone you need to get home to?” He shouldn’t ask, but a curious man couldn’t hold his tongue.

After a tense hesitation, she answered, “No. How about you? Do you have someone who might be wondering where you are tonight?”

His chuckle vibrated off the bare walls. “If I did, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Well good.” She stepped down from the ladder and dropped her brush in a bucket of water. “I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of any drama. I know how folks around these parts can talk.”

There was that look again, a sadness that consumed the brightness in her eyes.

“Why did you do it, Jady?” He needed an explanation. “Do what?”

“Leave like you did last year. You disappeared.” He shifted in his boots. Seeing her expression, he wished he’d kept his mouth shut but that couldn’t happen. “It was a pretty shitty thing to do.”

“Why are you bringing this up? Can’t we leave the past where it belongs?”

“Hell if I know. I didn’t come here tonight to exchange tidbits about what we shared. I guess the curiosity overcame me.” He moaned. “Damn, forget I asked.” He didn’t want to expose too much of his raw emotions. It didn’t matter anyway. She’d leave town soon enough.

“You don’t seem like the type to get your feelings hurt so easily.”

“And I didn’t think you were the type to bail out so callously. Sometimes we’re wrong about a person.” He dropped his roller into the water bucket. As if an invisible force took control of him, he crossed the short distance between them. He saw her eyes widen as he bent and kissed her. It couldn’t have been described as a passionate kiss, but one of pent-up energy and closure. When he pulled away, he explored her expression, humored by the flecks of twinkles in her eyes and the quiver in her bottom lip. She stood there and stared as if she couldn’t wrap her brain around what had just happened. “There. Now that’s a proper goodbye in my book. Or hello. Either way, I got that out of my system, so I think we’re good.” He swallowed the giant cotton ball feeling in his throat then reached for his jacket and swung it over his shoulder. “You have a nice night, ma’am, and welcome to Cooper’s Hawk, for however long as you’ll be here.” He strolled out and inhaled a needed dose of oxygen. His body screamed for more of the kiss, but logic warned him he’d left things on a good note so leave it at that.

Smiling, he climbed into his truck, turned up the music, and drove home. He had a feeling he’d be out like a light once his head hit the pillow.
Rhonda Carver. CowboyLuke.FinalTOC1 (Kindle Locations 386-437). Kindle Edition.

Jady has a lot of decisions to make, but one of the easiest is to let Mug buy the farm. The other took some consideration but she also agreed to be the acting sheriff while Sheriff Conley was away on personal business.

That one leads to quite a few interesting encounters.

The more time Mug and Jady spend together the more the attraction ramps up. These two are definitely meant to be together, but her past just keeps getting in her way.

Fun, tension, surprises and a romance that sparks then flares to life.

5 Contented Purrs for Rhonda!

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Rhonda lee Carver Rhonda Lee Carver

Rhonda Lee Carver is a published book writer with a collection of print and eBooks under her wing. She is also a freelance editor. Her first book was published with Wild Rose Press in 2010.

She writes everything from contemporary to steamy to paranormal to suspense…you name it, she’s written it. Her specialty is writing men who love to get their hands dirty—hardworking, blue collar, heroes in everyday life.

When Rhonda isn’t crafting edge-of-your-seat, sizzling novels, you’ll find her with her children and husband watching soccer, watching a breathtaking movie, traveling to exotic places (with Bora Bora on her bucket list), doing (or trying) yoga, saving cats and dogs, and finding new ways to keep life interesting.

Rhonda thrives on making her readers happy. She believes life can be a challenge, but reading is a place where fantasy comes to life. Her motto: “Everyone deserves romance—one page at a time.“

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How To Train Your Earl – First Comes Love Book 3 by Amelia Grey


How to Train Your Earl
First Comes Love Book 3
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Amelia Grey

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Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

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This book opens with Brina in Paris at a masked ball. She’s avoiding a man who wants more from her than she’s willing to give. All she has to do is find a place to hide until the time her Aunt is retrieving her.

Zane has found himself in an embarrassing situation when Brina stumbles onto him. He has to convince her he’s not a criminal and save his cousin from making a serious mistake with his life. When she releases him from his bonds he shouldn’t have kissed her, but he did and he’ll never know who she was.

Now back in England taking on the title of Earl of Blacknight, one that never should have been his, Zane spots the woman he never thought to see again. What he didn’t expect is that she is a widow, one who has no interest or desire to change that status.

Zane’s family thinks he needs a lot more lessons on how to be a proper Earl and while they may be right, the way he decides to go about it is extremely unconventional. He makes a very public bet and Brina’s responding terms stun him but he doesn’t back down or away.

This is such a fun read with laughter, tears and a touch of heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Amelia!

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 Amelia Grey

Amelia Grey (aka Gloria Dale Skinner) grew up in a small town in the Florida Panhandle. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over twenty-five years. She has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire and now lives in Florida.

Amelia has won the coveted Romantic Times award for Love and Laughter, the prestigious Maggie award for best historical and Affaire de Coeur’s best American historical award. She has been a finalist for the Golden Heart and the Holt Medallion awards which are given by Romance Writers of America and numerous other awards. Her books have been sold to many countries in Europe, Russia and China.

Amelia likes flowers, candlelight, sweet smiles, gentle laughter and sunshine.

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Standby – Open Skies Book 4 by Becca Jameson


Standby
Open Skies Book 4
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Becca Jameson

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Shayla

It’s been months since she broke up with abusive ex-boyfriend, Hawke.
The man won’t leave her alone. He texts, calls, and now he’s stalking her.
She’s exhausted but too embarrassed to share her problem with anyone.
When Jake catches wind Shayla is in trouble, he moves her into his home.
She’s had her eye on him for over a year, but it’s hard to let down her guard.
So she agrees to a bet that keeps Jake at arm’s length.
But Hawke’s getting dangerous and she needs Jake’s help.

Jake

He should have asked Shayla out months ago, but she was always taken.
Now it makes his skin crawl that a pilot is stalking her.
The threatening messages Hawke sends her are very troubling.
Jake will do whatever it takes to stop the madness.
The game they play with each other means he can’t touch her.
But it’s hard to keep his hands to himself. He’s got to convince her she’s his.
And that hurdle could be harder than saving her life.

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Shayla made a big mistake when she started seeing senior pilot Hawke Richman. They never went out, they had hookups when they were in the same place. Shayla broke it off, but he won’t leave her alone. Everyone has noticed the changes in her and they’re worried about her. She won’t open up about it, not even to her closest friend. Friends who have heard the rumors Hawke is spreading.

Jake has wanted to go out with Shayla since they first met, but she was seeing someone so he really couldn’t make a play for her. He has a feeling they are perfect for each other. With that in mind he decides to find out the truth about what’s going on with her.

This is a favorite scene.

He liked that she was standing tall, trying to look tough. She was barely over a hundred pounds though and lacked four inches on him, especially in her bare feet. Still, she had his card, and he’d played it poorly.

He forced himself to relax his stance. “Can I come in?”

She sighed and considered his question for a moment before stepping back and letting him enter.

Progress.

He was torn. On the one hand, he wanted to demand that she tell him every detail of what the hell was happening with the fucking pilot she’d been dating. On the other hand, he wanted to pull her into his arms and feel her lithe body against his. That was unreasonable of course.

On top of that, it was incredibly distracting seeing her in so few clothes. Did she not realize he could see the outline of her breasts and the points of her nipples? Jesus. His dick was hard.

“You want coffee?” she asked over her shoulder as she headed across the living room toward the attached kitchen.

“No. I’m good.” He watched her fantastic ass as she walked away. The shorts were loose but still showed off her body. Not much was left to the imagination. He followed her like a magnet into the kitchen and leaned a hip against the counter as she fiddled with the Keurig.

“You’ve probably been up for hours, run ten miles, eaten some sort of green smoothie, and solved the world’s computer problems,” she joked. “But some of us are just now coming up for air.”

He chuckled. This was more like the Shayla he knew. Witty. “I only ran six miles this morning, and the computer problem I solved was my own, but the rest is pretty accurate.”

She rolled her eyes as she grabbed some kind of flavored creamer from the fridge and added it to her coffee. Salted caramel, he noted. After taking a long sip, she sighed. “I’ll be more human in about ten minutes, but…” She shot him a glare. “If you’ve come here to lecture me, I’m not interested.”

Jake drew in a breath and followed her as she wandered back to the living room. When she plopped down into an armchair, tucking her feet up under her, he lowered himself onto the sofa. “I’m worried about you,” he began.

“Don’t be. It will all blow ever eventually. I’m tough. I’ll live.”

Would she though? He wasn’t sure how bad the situation was, but he didn’t like a single word he’d heard from her friends about the fucking rumors being spread about her. Shit ranged from her being verbally abusive to a cock tease. He wasn’t buying either, and neither were her friends.

“Tell me what happened, Shayla.” He tried to keep his voice soft and calm instead of accusatory.

She took another sip of coffee. “I don’t really want to talk about it, Jake. I went out with a man I should have steered clear of, learned a lesson, and broke up with him. That’s all that matters. It’s over. If he wants to be a baby about it, let him. I’m strong. I’ll ignore the gossip.”

Jake leaned back and crossed one leg over the other. He watched her closely as she fiddled with her mug and kept her gaze lowered. Anywhere but on him. She wasn’t being fully honest. “You want to try that again, sweetheart?”

She flinched and glanced at him.

He decided to be blunt. “Look, I don’t know you as well as everyone else in our friend circle, but I’m sure you’re aware I’ve paid attention to you. If you hadn’t been dating someone else, I would have asked you out a long time ago. However, even though we’ve had only limited interaction, I noticed you aren’t yourself. The bubbly woman I’ve met several times was not at Kraft and Christa’s party the other night. You’re more reserved. You looked nervous and sad and pissed.”

She swallowed and looked away. He was hitting close to home.

“Maybe your posse bought your story last night, but I still don’t like it, and I suspect you weren’t completely forthcoming with them either.”

“It’s amazing how much you already know about what happened here last night.” She sighed.

“Don’t be mad at your friends. They’re just worried about you. Everyone is. Now talk to me.”

She tipped her head to the side. “Why on earth would I share incredibly personal information with a man I’ve been drooling over for more than a year? If I wasn’t interested in sharing with my closest friends, why would I talk to you?”

He couldn’t keep from smiling. “You’ve been drooling over me?”

She groaned.

He cleared his throat, forcing himself to stick to the issue at hand here, her safety. Maybe he was exaggerating the extent of her problem, but he didn’t like the vibe he got at all, and years in the Army had taught him to trust his gut. “Sometimes it’s harder to talk to the people we’re closest to. You don’t know me as well. Might be easier to dump on me. Plus, I’m sure you don’t want to worry your girlfriends.”

Shayla said nothing as she finished her coffee. She kept the mug in her hands, idly playing with the rim. Her gaze was locked on the mug, but he doubted she was seeing it. “Why are you being so pushy?” she finally asked. “Why on earth do you care? It’s not like there’s anything you or anyone else can do about it.”

He leaned forward, dropping his foot to the floor and setting his elbows on his knees. “I care because it’s in my nature. I care because I don’t like to see any woman being pushed around. I would care even if I didn’t know you. Also, I’ve drooled over you a bit too.”

She gave him a wan smile at that last part.

“You’re sexy and mysterious and fun and if I hadn’t been so busy with work for the last few months and had paid attention to the fact that you were no longer dating the pilot, I would have swooped in and asked you out. I’m sorry I haven’t done so yet. I’m here now.”

“As much as I’d love to go out with you, now’s not a great time. My energy is zapped from dealing with Hawke. I can’t possibly enter into a new relationship right now.”

“How long ago did you break up with him?”

“Three months ago.”

Jake cringed. “And he’s still bothering you?”

“Yep.” “Does he call? Text? Email?”

“All of the above.”

“How often?”

She drew in a breath and looked at him, seeming to try and decide how much she really wanted to share. “Every day, Jake.”

He nodded, forcing himself to remain calm so she would keep talking. “Why did you break up?”

“He was an asshole.”

“How? What kinds of things did he do?”

She sighed. “Look, I know you’re just trying to help, but I don’t want any help. I want to handle this my own way. It’s embarrassing and I’m not going to like the advice anyone has to give me.”

“Why? What’s wrong with advice?”

“Hawke Richman is a senior captain for Open Skies. He’s been with the airline twenty-five years. He’s a beloved employee who can do no wrong. There isn’t a single person within the company who would take my word over his. You’re a smart guy. You’ve seen how things are going in this country lately. When women speak up, they lose. They lose everything sometimes. They lose their jobs and often their self-esteem. They get chastised and treated like shit. I won’t let that happen to me. I love my job, and I don’t want to lose it over this. I’m going to wait him out. Eventually, he’ll give up and move on.”

Jake listened to every word carefully, knowing it was huge that she was revealing as much as she just did. He could read between the lines. Hawke Richman was a piece of shit. No doubt about it. Jake knew the stakes though. He’d seen it firsthand, unfortunately.

Yes. Jake understood exactly what Shayla was saying, and now wasn’t the time to point out to her that if she did nothing, Hawke would just do this again to some other woman. Shayla wasn’t in the mindset to absorb that or care. Not yet.

Jake made the split-second decision to share a personal story in hopes it would deepen Shayla’s trust in him. “Did you know I have a sister?”

Shayla shook her head, frowning.

“Shelly. She lives in Florida where my parents live. She was in an abusive relationship that lasted several years. It was incredibly hard for her to get out. Her ex gaslighted her every damn day. She couldn’t do anything right and he convinced her it was always her fault.

“If she’d started cooking earlier, his dinner would have been ready on time. If she hadn’t worn such a short skirt, other men wouldn’t have looked at her. If she’d done the laundry yesterday, his favorite shirt would be clean. On and on. Eventually, he beat her almost to death. The police called my parents from the hospital. Finally, she left him, but it took a lot of therapy for her to see the light.”

Shayla wiped a tear from her eye. “I’m so sorry, Jake.”

He held her gaze, his chest tightening. “I’m trying to point out that I understand abuse and gaslighting. It’s horrible. I suspect that’s what you’re going through and you’re too embarrassed to talk about it.”

Another tear fell and she looked away. He was hitting close to home, which had been his intention, but it also infuriated him to know some asshole was harassing Shayla.

“Did he hit you?” Jake forced himself to ask. He sat stiffly, torn between the desire to punch something or pull her into his arms. He would do neither.

Shayla swiped at tears from both eyes now. “Only once, and please, for the love of God, keep this between us. I don’t want my friends to know.”

“Okay. I promise. I won’t say a word. But let me help. Please.” Her situation was serious. No way would he accept no for an answer. A lump formed in his throat at the thought of what she’d been going through alone.
Becca Jameson. Standby: Open Skies, Book Four (Kindle Locations 159-237). Becca Jameson Publishing.

Once Shayla has opened up and lets him see the texts and listen to the voicemails, Jake is concerned for her safety. He talks her into staying with him while he figures out Hawkes motives. There’s no way this man hasn’t done this before and Shayla’s concerns about being fired must be the same reason no one else has said anything.

I love the way Jake and the guys handle this even as thing escalate.

Plenty of intrigue, some action and that simmer to sizzle romance I love so much!

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

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Trent and Destiny’s Story

Coming Soon!

Becca Jameson Becca Jameson

Becca Jameson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 100 books. She is most well-known for her Wolf Masters Series, her Fight Club series, and her Club Zodiac series. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and Goldendoodle. Two grown kids pop in every once in a while too! She is loving this journey and has dabbled in a variety of genres, including paranormal, sports romance, military, and BDSM.A total night owl, Becca writes late at night, sequestering herself in her office with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate, her fingers flying across the keyboard as her characters weave their own stories.

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

…where Alphas dominate…


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Make My Move – Hannaford Prep: Male POV by J. Bree


Make My Move
Hannford Prep: Male POV
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
J. Bree

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The Mounty trash has wormed her way into our circle.

We have no choice but to wait until she shows her hand, each move on the board more risky than the last. There’s no way she’s not a spy, not with her allegiance with the sociopath drug addict who walks the halls with murder on his mind.

We’re watching her every move, every choice she makes reshaping the world we live in.

The halls of Hannaford Prep have never been so deadly. The game is only just beginning and now I need to make my move.

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This book opens as Harley, Blaise, Ash and Avery are at the gates to the party warehouse, They’ve come to pick up a very wasted Joey. Lip is there in her Wolf persona and she found him quite by accident as she was waiting for a payment. The scene is from Harley’s POV and it really is kind of hysterical how he wants to get her out of there and protect her. They really have no clue as to who she really is.

This is a favorite scene.

We all hold our breaths until the car is out of the parking lot completely. Once it’s out of view, Lips turns and holds her hand out for the bags of cash but I’m not handing them over… not when she’d probably just disappear into the night without us, so instead I head for the trunk of Morrison’s car. I tap it gently and Morrison pops it open for me.

Lips is on my ass in a hot second. “What are you doing?”

Once they’re secure I give her a look. “I told you. I’m not leaving without you.”

She might be a blank slate around the gangsters down here but her emotions are all over her face for me. I try not to crow over that fact, but she gives me so fucking little to work with it’s hard not to gloat.

She huffs and snaps, “Fuck. Fine, leave it open. I have the rest of my stuff here too.”

I nod and walk over to where the rest of her bags are, where the guy who was flirting with her when we first arrived is still standing and watching us both. As I walk up he takes a step forward, over the bags, and crosses his arms.

I’d love nothing more than to take some of my frustration at this fucking night out on him with my fists. To just smash that longing look he keeps throwing at Lips right off of his fucking face.

So I smirk at him and watch him roll his shoulders back, ready to throw down over some bags and the Mounty.

Fucking perfect.

Except then Lips walks over and says, in a voice I’ve never fucking heard outta her with all its teasing and husky tones, “Luca, it’s fine. My feet hurt and I need a bath.”

She fucking pouts at him, flirting right back, and he leans down and brushes a kiss against her cheek without breaking eye contact with me.

I’m gonna kill him.

I don’t know the where or the how of it, but I’m gonna fucking kill him.

Lips steps around me to grab her bags and then shoves one into my chest with a look.

Doesn’t matter.

I’ve already marked him for death.

As we walk over to the car, the asshole calls out, “I’m going to miss that ass while you’re gone, princess.”

Lips laughs as I turn back to glare at him, wishing so fucking badly that Avery wasn’t down here and there weren’t a dozen other gangsters here watching because they’re the only things stopping me from taking the asshole down.

“You get more ass than the average Mounty street girl on a Saturday night, Luca. I’m sure you’ll survive without mine.”

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

The asshole grabs his chest with another flirty grin and I get the car door open for Lips, ready to shove her in and leave.

I’m gonna spend the rest of the year convincing Avery to get the Mounty to stay with me next summer, as far away from this place as fucking possible.

Lips startles at the sight of the Beaumonts in the backseat and darts around the car to Avery, chuckling when Floss opens the door to her straight away and sliding right in.

The moment I get in the back and shut the door, Morrison takes off, as eager as I am to get the hell out of the slums.

The girls start whispering amongst themselves and I use an arm to help Ash prop Joey up so the cunt doesn’t choke on his own tongue.

I wish the fuck he would though.

“Where should I drop you off, Mounty? Feel free to tip me for my services,” drawls Morrison. I hear Avery snort at whatever face the Mounty has pulled and for some fucking reason that only pisses me off more.

“She’s coming back to the hotel with us,” I say.

Ash turns on me with a scathing look and snaps, “Why?”

“Thank you, Lips, for finding my coked-up brother and getting him out of danger before he got himself stabbed by an angry Mounty girl for not keeping his hands to himself,” Lips says, the sarcasm dripping from every word.

Ash doesn’t know the meaning of backing down. “Thank you, Mounty, for traipsing around the docks dressed like a slut and tripping over Joey. Do all your clients pay you in large bags of dirty money? Is your puss really that good?”

“Ash, shut your mouth.” Avery turns in her seat to glare at him.

I ignore Ash’s shitty mood completely and lean forward in my seat until I can get half a look at her jammed into the seat with Floss. There’s more important shit to know than the fucking money.

I can figure that shit out later and when it comes to the Bay, there’s more than a dozen reasons she could be getting paid and each one more dubious than the last.

“Who was the guy with your bags?”

“Luca. He’s… he works for the same guy your uncle does. We’ve known each other forever.”

Like I give a fuck about who he works for. “Have you fucked him?”

Her eyes narrow at me. “How is that any of your business?”

Blaise tips his head back and laughs, a total fucking cover-up because I know he’s just as fucked for her as I am. “How many of those Mounty guys have you fucked?”

“Why do either of you care?” Avery says in her most dangerously sweet tone and there’s absolutely fucking nothing I can say back to that.

Not in this car with the rest of them, and certainly not while Lips still looks at me like I’m the biggest fucking asshole she’s ever seen.

This year is going to be a fucking nightmare.
Bree, J. Make My Move (Hannaford Prep). Kindle Locations (162-206). Kindle Edition.

This book follows Make Your Move in context and I was truly amazed at how clueless the guys really were. Without having the insight of the conversations between Lips and Avery there’s no way for the reader to know either.

From Joey trying to get to her, Lance trying to claim the bet on sleeping with Lips, to discovering she’s the Wolf and all the rest of the crazy, this was a fun read. All the twists, turns, fights and even them discovering Lips is clueless they want her truly had me giggling.

I would recommend reading Make Your Move first though so you aren’t in the dark like the guys.

5 Contented Purrs for J.

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The Complete Series

Individually

J. Bree

J Bree is a dreamer, writer, mother, farmer, and cat-wrangler.

The order of priorities changes daily. She lives on a small farm in a tiny rural town in Australia that no one has ever heard of.

She spends her days dreaming about all of her book boyfriends, listening to her partner moan about how the wine grapes are growing, and being a snack bitch to her two kids.

If you want to hear more about all things Mounts Bay then join my readers group! There’s a lot of creative ways to dispose of a body in the Bay so come join the fun.

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Reckless Times – Paragon Society Book 1 – Gifted Academy Book 5 By Michelle Hercules


Reckless Times
Paragon Society Book 1
Gifted Academy Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Michelle Hercules

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Weak.
Useless.
Freak.

Those are the words used to describe me. I’m an Idol who can’t see, and in this savage world where power is everything, being born with a disability makes me an aberration. Idols are the direct descendants of the gods. We’re supposed to be perfect.

My parents kept me protected behind walls most of my life. They fear I won’t survive in the real world. They have no idea what kind of power runs through my veins.

Stephan Silverstone—the most perfect Idol I’ve ever met—does. He’s cocky, annoying, and pushes my buttons like no other. But he sees me, the real person behind all the preconceived notions. Without effort, he’s breaking all my barriers; he’s claiming my heart.

When I’m with him, sparks fly. I want to be reckless and forget everything. If only things were that simple. We’re both keeping dangerous secrets that could tear us apart. War is coming, and I’m not sure if what we have will survive.

Note:
This is a spin-off of Gifted Academy Series. This is not an RH romance.

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As this book opens we see Andromeda participating in an illegal fight. She wins and the arena boss asks the crowd if anyone wants to challenge her. It’s Stephan who accepts it.

Instead of continuing from there, we go back two months prior. We meet Andromeda’s parents, who really have no clue as to Andromeda’s talents. They homeschool her and pretty much keep her isolated with the goal of marrying her off as a business deal, or as they call it a merger.

At the Belfor’s annual gala, Stephan attends in his father’s place. This is the first time they meet and it’s also when she’s being told of her father’s plan for her to wed Patrick O’Neill.

Let’s just say Patrick is a jerk and Andromeda overhears him talking about her with his friends. She gets some pretty awesome revenge that Stephan witnesses. Stephan also recognizes that Andromeda would be a great addition to the Knights, but he needs to know her better. Finding that she’d like to attend Paragon Academy rather than be homeschooled he sets his plans in motion.

This is a favorite scene.

I scream when Fatima invades my room and begins to open the curtains. Not that sunlight has any effect on me, but she’s being loud as fuck on purpose. “Good morning to you too, Andy.”

“Ugh! What are you doing? Let me sleep.” I cover my face with the pillow to muffle the noise. I had zero sleep last night thanks to Stephan Silverstone. I couldn’t get him out of my head.

“No can do. It’s almost noon, and your parents are expecting you.”

Cursing under my breath, I toss the covers aside and sit up. “Why?”

My tone is innocent enough, but a part of me wonders if this is about Patrick’s destroyed Ferrari. Boy, if he figured out this fast that it was me who destroyed his toy, I underestimated him. Facing the consequences of my deed would be easier if I had witnessed his reaction first.

“I don’t know, but they did ask me to make sure you looked presentable.”

My stomach bottoms out at the same time a bout of sickness hits me.

“What’s that supposed to mean? Is anyone coming? Crap. Please don’t tell me they want to shove another suitor down my throat.” I hug my middle, trying to ward off the queasiness.

“I know nothing of the sort. Stop acting like you’re a heroine in a nineteenth-century novel.”

“Then tell my parents to stop trying to pair me up with a guy from a good family. Actually, that applies to you too.” I jump out of bed and pretend I’m not nauseated with the idea.

“We’re just looking out for you, honey.”

“Ugh. Cut it out. Your sweetness is giving me a toothache.”

Almost running, I reach the bathroom and lock the door. It’s a pointless action, since Fatima has all the keys that lead to me. A precaution just in case something happens. I have no privacy, but like I told Stephan last night, I have to pick my battles, and this isn’t one worth it.

I usually take my time in the shower, but I’m too anxious to find out what my parents want. Fuck, I hope Patrick isn’t coming to see me. He’s keen on pleasing his father, after all, even if it means flirting with me. My chains vibrate around my wrists as I curl my hands into fists. I won’t be able to bite my tongue if I have to face the jerk so early in my day.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m heading to my parents’ receiving room. Yeah, they like to believe they’re royalty. I have no idea what I’m wearing, but since Fatima picked out the outfit, my guess is I look like my mother. At least she left my hair alone. It dried naturally, and it’s unbound.

With my spine straight and chin raised high, I mentally prepare for whatever my parents want to throw at me. But my steely resolve falters when I catch a familiar fragrance seconds before I enter the room.

An ice-cold fever seems to run over me when I’m hit full bloom by his scent. Stephan is here. My traitorous heart takes off at warp speed while my mouth becomes drier than chalk.

“What are you doing here?” The question leaves my lips automatically.

“Andy. I’m glad you could join us. I believe you met Stephan Silverstone last night, didn’t you?” my father asks.

“Briefly.”

“We have wonderful news.” My mother approaches, wearing excessive perfume. It’s like she’s surrounded by a cloud of it. The strong smell goes straight up my nose, making my head throb.

I frown at her tone. She sounds too peppy, and I can guess why. Man, what did Stephan do to her?

She hugs me sideways and steers me forward.

“What kind of news?” I don’t hide my suspicion.

“We know it’s been your desire for a long time to attend a real school.”

“Only because being homeschooled is so lame. I’d be glad if I didn’t have to study at all.”

So not true, but I can’t just simply stand here and not be antagonizing. I have a reputation to preserve.

“Andy is joking.” My mother laughs nervously. “She’s a very dedicated pupil.”

“I’m sure she is,” Stephan replies in his smooth voice.

Ugh. Why does he have to sound so sexy?

I free myself from my mother’s hug and turn in his direction. “You don’t know anything about me.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. Are you saying you’re a terrible student?”

I hear the mockery in his question. I bet he’s smirking now. Jackass.

“Of course not. I’m excellent.”

My father clears his throat to draw my attention. “As I was saying, we have great news.”

“Yeah, yeah. You already said that. What is it?”

“How would you like to attend Paragon Academy?” my mother asks.

I don’t speak for several beats, shocked by her words. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“I asked if you would like to attend Paragon Academy.”

“Are you serious?”

“Of course we’re serious,” my father replies. “Isn’t that what you want?”

“Yeah, but you always said it was too dangerous for me to go to a regular school.”

“Oh, we’d still prefer if you were homeschooled, but Stephan pointed out that there’s no safer place in Hawk City than Paragon Academy.”

I glower in his direction. “Really? He said that, huh? And you believed him?”

“Andy. Manners,” my mother chastises me, which I promptly ignore.

Being blind doesn’t bother me as much as people think, just only on certain occasions, one of them being now. My parents don’t know about my chains, so I can’t use them to see Stephan’s expression and it’s killing me. Why did he go out of his way to help me? What’s his endgame? Scanning his body’s vitals isn’t revealing anything either.

“I thought you would be happy,” my mother says. “If you prefer to continue with homesch—”

“No! Not at all. I’m psyched about attending Paragon Academy. But didn’t class already start?”

“You missed two weeks of preparation, but I’m sure you can catch up,” Stephan pipes up.

My heart is now drumming away in my chest. I’m so close to getting what I want that I can’t hardly believe it.

“Andy is a great student,” my mother points out.

“We’ve stunned her into silence. That’s a first,” Dad jokes.

I know I should say something to Stephan. In fact, I want to say many things to him, but not in front of my parents. I opt for a simple “Thank you” instead.

Even without sight, I feel his intense gaze on my face, scrutinizing. I surprise myself when I dip my chin to avoid his stare. Hell, I’m acting completely out of character today, and it’s all his fault.

“I should go,” he continues.

“Why did you come here in the first place?” I blurt out, unable to hold on to my questions until we’re alone. “My parents could have told me the news themselves.”

“I, um….”

“The reason your mother and I agreed to let you attend the school is Stephan. He’ll personally see that your transition to a group school setting goes smoothly,” Dad explains.

“Uh, what?” I ask stupidly.

“I’m part of the school’s faculty,” Stephan replies. “I’ve requested to be assigned as your mentor.”

A surge of mixed emotions runs through me. I’m excited, terrified, and also mad as hell. I don’t know which feeling is stronger.
Hercules, Michelle. Reckless Times: A Paranormal Romance (Gifted Academy Book 5). Kindle Locations (476-536). Infinite Sky Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Things are going to get complicated relatively quickly from the moment Andromeda begins Paragon. Stephan is falling for her and she starts showing up in places she shouldn’t. She also discovers Stephan and his family are Knights which is dangerous in so many ways. The fight club in the beginning of the book is just a drop of the trouble Andromeda finds herself in.

As this book begins to overlap with Hateful Heroes things get even more intense.

Plenty of action, intrigue and sizzle as Stephan and Andromeda become involved.

I really hated where this book ended and I really can’t wait for the next one!

5 Contented Purrs for Michelle!

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Michelle Hercules

USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born. Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter.

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Numbers Game by Desiree Holt and Liz Crowe


Numbers Game
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Desiree Holt
&
Amazon Bestselling Author
Liz Crowe

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Former professional football player and coach Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher fumbled his career and marriage. Now divorced and ready to tackle his future, he has an opportunity to redeem himself as coach of his college alma mater’s football team. But how can he can turn the team’s losing streak around and keep the secret of his downfall buried when the school agrees to a documentary that will allow a lovely journalist to dig her way into his past…and into his heart?

Olivia Grant’s ex-husband almost wrecked her journalism career while he definitely did a number on her self-esteem. The documentary on Duncan Hatcher is the perfect way to rebuild both. As a freshman in college, she’d had a crush on the senior football hero, but he hadn’t known she existed. She never expects the sparks that fly between them as they work on the project nor the struggles they must face if they both want to win.

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Olivia Grant finally has the opportunity to reclaim her reputation and her career. The damage her ex, Daniel Forrest, has done to her self confidence is still playing with her mind, but now she knows she can and will overcome any obstacles. He took enough from her she’s not ever caving again. This documentary on Duncan ‘Hatch’ Hatcher is her ticket back and it’s going to be perfect.

Duncan Hatcher is now the Head Coach at his Alma Mater Lakeview University. It’s important for him to build a successful team, to prove himself worthy of this opportunity. The team he’s working with is not one he helped choose, and they are sorely lacking in the discipline needed in a winning team. He’s also looking forward to the documentary as long as his personal life stays personal in the process.

What neither of them realize is that there will be a spark between them from that first interview.

This is a favorite scene.

“Hello,” he said, his voice rough, as if he’d been asleep. He stuck out his hand as he approached her. “Olivia Grant, right? I’m not sure why anyone wants to do a documentary about me, but if it will help the school and the team, I’m all for it. Why don’t you come on into my office? You can tell me exactly what you’re looking for in the visuals and how much of my time you think you’ll need.”

She nodded, his welcoming attitude relaxing her slightly, taking the edge off her nerves. This might go well after all.

“As I said when I called, the A.D. assured me he’d spoken to you about clearing some time for me. And that I’d be able to come to the practices.”

“He did.” They came to an open door with the words Coach Hatcher on it. “Let’s go in and sit down.”

Olivia looked around, taking in the space where he spent so much of his time. There were pictures on the wall of him scoring his final winning touchdown for Lakeview his senior year, the game that sent the team to its first of several post-season bowl games. Of him with his coach and the president of the university. Others cataloguing his career in pro football, both as player and coach. The newest was one of him with this team, taken the day he was introduced to them.

“I’m sorry I don’t have more time today,” he told her, “but I’ll give you what I can. Then, if you can let me know what you’re looking for from me, we can work out a schedule.”

She nodded. “Understood. I’m grateful for any time you can make available. A lot of this will be video of the team interspersed with clips of my interviews with you. Will that work?”

He grinned. “We’ll make it work. Have a seat and fire away.”

“Is it okay if I record this? My memory isn’t what it used to be.”

Good going, Olivia. Make yourself sound old and decrepit.

“Sure. No problem.”

She opened the recording app on her phone and placed it on his desk. Here came Chapter One in her campaign to redeem herself both personally and professionally. She’d better not blow it.

“My first question is more to satisfy my own curiosity. How old were you when you started calling yourself Hatch?”

He chuckled. “Ever since I discovered I’d been named after my two grandfathers— Duncan and Jerome— and decided they made me sound too old.”

“I’m sure a lot of people have asked you this. What made you choose to come back to Lakeview rather than accept one of the other, more lucrative offers you had?”

He was silent for a long moment, staring at all the pictures before he answered her.

“Lakeview’s had some tough years recently. The shine is off the apple, so to speak, compared with how it was ten years ago. Scott, along with the president of the athletic association and two major donors, convinced me I could be the one to bring it back. I’m definitely going to give it my best shot. I guess you could say it’s an emotional thing.”

“How do you feel about this team? You arrived after signing season, none of the players, including the newest ones, are your recruits.”

He rubbed his jaw, pausing, as if carefully choosing his words. “I’ve been able to assess the team in practice, and we have a lot of young talent out there to work with. Luckily, they’re enthusiastic and feel they have something to prove. Feel free to come to as many practices as you like. I’ll set it up with security.”

“Thank you. I appreciate that.” She checked off a few more questions before turning off the recorder. “That’s it for the moment. I have more, but you said that you have limited time today. I’m sure there’ll be additional questions as we go along. If you can give me some idea of when you’d be available, I can put together a schedule for you.”

He flashed her that amazing grin once more. “I can work with that. Now, how about telling me the way you see this documentary laying out.”

“I want a double hook. I think it will capture a wider audience and really spike people’s interest.”

He raised one eyebrow, a gesture that gave her an utterly inappropriate thrill. “Like what?”

“The desire of the university to restore its football program to its former glory paired with the journey of Duncan Hatcher from player to coach and what that journey has meant. Personally as well as professionally.”

Again, he was silent for a long moment. Then he picked up a pen from the desk surface and began flipping it back and forth between his fingers. The muscles in her stomach tensed as she got the feeling there was something hidden beneath the surface here. Something that would screw things up. Oh, please, no.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’d like for you to leave my personal life out of this as much as possible. I still believe the constant lack of privacy and the pressures of my… situation played a big part in breaking up my marriage.”

Olivia studied his face. There was something closed off about his expression when he referenced his ex-wife. She had a feeling there was a lot more to the story than privacy issues and pressure, but she wasn’t here to get into that aspect of things. And if she didn’t respect his boundaries, he’d kill the documentary in a hot minute.

Still, her reporter’s nose was twitching, and she made a mental note to do some research on his personal life, even if just for herself.

“What about your parents or either of your siblings? Are they off limits, also? Your brother is a well-known coach, and your sister is married to—”

“Minimal exposure for them, and I get to approve whatever it is before you air anything.” His face was flushed. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you or be rude. But it’s something I’m firm on, okay?”

She cleared her throat. “That’s not a problem. I’m not here to produce an exposé, only a story that will garner interest for the football program and show how an icon can make a big difference.”

At that he laughed, again treating her to that slight tremor of something she shouldn’t feel. “I don’t know if I’d call myself an icon, but if I can do anything to promote this team, I’m all for it.”

“You said you only had a little time today, but I prepared a list of questions. I can go over them with you and then email them to you if you like.”

“Sure. Let’s have it.”

Olivia reached into her messenger bag, pulled out her tablet, and opened the document with her notes. She explained how she had outlined the script and what visuals she’d need to best carry the message. And the kind of questions she’d be asking him.

Hatch nodded as she spoke, making notes on his own tablet. “Why don’t you email them to me anyway? Maybe I’ll think of something else to add.” He wrote something on the back of a business card and handed it to her. “Use my personal email and my number.”

Her eyes widened as she took the card from him. “Your personal number?”

He shrugged. “I like to think I’m a good judge of people. My senses tell me I can trust you.”

“Thank you. I promise not to betray that trust.” She leaned back in her chair. “I’d like to come to as many practices as possible, and of course, the games will be an important component.”

He pulled over a scratch pad and wrote something on it. “I’ll have the department office get you the credentials you’ll need to be a sideline reporter for the games. I watched you today. You’re savvy enough to know how to stay out of the way and still get what you need.”

“Thank you. I appreciate it.”

She had to tamp down the thrill of excitement that tickled her yet again.

“When do you plan to release this?”

“I’m hoping to have it ready to go at the end of the regular season, before the bowl games, since I’m sure the Jaguars will get a great invite this season. We can always add that bit after the fact.”

Hatch nodded. “Scott says the video is self-funded. Is that right?”

Olivia nodded. “That’s correct. It will run on Channel Five, but I also plan on shopping it to major sports networks.”

He grinned. “Looking for a foot in the door, right?”

“I am.” She lifted her chin and stiffened her back. “I hope you aren’t one of those men who think women can’t produce good sports material.”

He smiled, then laughed, surprising her. “My mother and my sister would tan my hide if they thought I felt that way. No, I’ve seen damn good video and some excellent reporting by women in the industry. I just want to know where you’re going with this. It will help me make sure you get what you’re looking for.”

“Thank you. And thanks for making time for me tomorrow. I know your schedule’s very tight right now.”

“Then you’ll understand if I have to cut out any time.”

She nodded. “I will.”

“So.” He leaned back in his chair. “Tomorrow?”

“Sure. Thanks for making the time.”

“You’re welcome.” He paused and seemed to be studying her through narrowed eyes. “Listen. They’ve got me doing a bunch of charity events that you might want to get some shots of. I’m sure the folks sponsoring them wouldn’t mind. The first one is a 10k race on Sunday.”

Olivia swallowed her smile.

“Actually, I’m running in it myself, although I’m sure I won’t be anywhere close to your time.”

His eyes lit up. “Yeah? You are? I bet you’ll do better than you think.”

“We’ll see. But I can have my cameraman there to get some action shots. And Hatch? Thanks again for agreeing to do this.”

An undecipherable expression flitted across his face, there one minute and gone the next. “I’m totally on board. Scott and I agree it will be a great way to give the program a shot in the arm. Let people know things are moving forward here. Help the program.”

He rose, signaling their meeting was over. “See you then.”

She gathered her messenger bag, practically dancing her way out of the office. She felt like pumping her fist and shouting, Yes! Yes! Yes! Take that, Daniel.
Desiree Holt & Liz Crowe. Numbers Game (Kindle Locations 156-237). The Wild Rose Press, Inc..

Other than her mind reverting to things her ex has said and done to undermine her, someone else enters the picture to muddy the waters. Bert Hoekstra a freelance reporter who thrives on dirt and the worst kinds of gossip is waiting in the parking lot by her car. He wants access he’s been denied but Olivia will not be coerced. Not anymore.

Now what Olivia doesn’t know and won’t for a while is the reason behind Hatch’s divorce and leaving the professional coaching arena behind.

The documentary will be beneficial to all involved and Olivia is putting her heart and soul into it. Hatch understands all of this as well, and he can’t help but fall for her.

I laughed and cried a bit too, these two are complicated and fun. There are many ups and downs in this story and the romance is sweet as well as sizzling.

I would love to read more from this awesome author pairing.

5 Contented Purrs for Desiree and Liz!

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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  Liz Crowe

Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois. She’s spent her time as a three-continent expat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author.

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

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Tempting Tavor – Enemies To Lovers- Hot Hunks Steamy Romance Collection Book 3 By Jen Talty


A look. A judgment. A string of words.
Bitter rivals and sworn enemies have been around
since the beginning of time.
But make no mistake, once the spark is ignited
and the fuse is lit,
the fine line between love and hate will go up in flames.
So stand back or cross over,
but be prepared to strap in for the ride.

Seven USA Today and bestselling authors are bringing you the next in the line of Hot Hunks. Enemies to Lovers, where tempers flash, messy situations erupt, and mouths and hands seek each other.

Tempting Tavor
Enemies To Lovers
Hot Hunks Steamy Romance Collection Book 3
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Author

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

Lieutenant Tavor Bale knows only one thing: Delta Force. When a dangerous mission goes sideways and Tavor finds himself not only unable to perform his duties, but the Army informs him that his only option to remain in service is in an administrative position. For the first time in his life, he hasn’t a clue what to do. Instead of turning to family and friends, Tavor turns to the bottle, but those who love him won’t tolerate his self-pity and the next thing he knows, he’s at a wellness ranch in upstate New York singing feel-good songs around the campfire wondering how this is going to solve the fact the only thing he’s ever known has been ripped from him.

Paulina Hoover is no stranger to physical and emotional pain. Ten years she’d been in a car accident with her father. He didn’t survive the accident and during the first year following the incident, there were times Paulina wished she hadn’t as well. But now, she owns and operates a ranch dedicated to helping those regain their inner hope and help them find a new path. Only, she’s never met anyone quite like Tavor. His anger, hostility, and self-loathing she can deal with, but what she can’t handle is her growing affection for a man who wants nothing to do with an entirely new world of opportunities. All he sees her as the enemy and he’s determined to prove her methods of self-healing are nothing but smoke and mirrors.

This book opens with a look at the mission that left Tavor wounded. His injuries are such that he won’t be able to return to his Delta team but there are many options for him. He just doesn’t want to hear them. Instead he’s cocooned himself in his home, drinking and making decisions that aren’t really the best for him. One of which is leaving the Army when his current tour is done.

He hasn’t been going to his physical therapy or psychologist appointments which have been mandated. Since he is still considered active duty this is a big problem. His brother Ledger and his sister Serenity show up on his doorstep with an ultimatum. He goes to Jack’s Place for rehabilitation or he leaves the Army with a dishonorable discharge.

Tavor can’t do that to his father, so he reluctantly goes with his siblings to check in.

Pauline Hoover started Jack’s Place because she understands the feelings of loss, of those things held near and dear, of career especially a military one. She’s pretty sure Jack’s Place can help Tavor, but he’s going to have to put the effort into it.

She takes Tavor on a little tour, stopping in the gardens to chat with him.

This is a favorite scene.

A couple of birds flew overhead, landing on the big oak tree in the center of the garden. She sat on the bench, making room from Tavor. When she’d been a little girl, she used to love to come to this small patch in the backyard, hidden by thick brush, tall trees, and beautiful flowers, and lie in the grass, staring at the sky. She would dream about being a fighter pilot and screaming across the sky at twice the speed of sound. Being in the Navy had been all she’d ever wanted or cared about.

She had no secondary plan. She’d never thought about doing anything else, especially going to medical school, but after her accident, she had to change not only the direction of her life, but her entire mindset. It hadn’t been easy, but she did find a career path that had more than fulfilled her heart and soul. Helping others like her had become her calling and she wouldn’t change a thing.

“We always have choices and you can leave, but there are consequences to that decision.”

“A dishonorable discharge isn’t an option.”

“But death is?” Normally, she wouldn’t come in this hot and aggressive, but she could see the bottomless pit into his soul through his empty eyes. He thought, just like his buddy Drake, that his new limitations were so damning that he had nothing to live for.

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.” For effect, she took off her jacket, something she rarely did in front of people she’d just met. She’d become comfortable with the scars, but she knew how shocking they could be to a complete stranger. She set the article of clothing on the back of the bench.

She’d had a dozen or so skin grafts, but there wasn’t much the doctors could do. The burns on her arms, back, and legs would never go away. While they’d healed and didn’t look so hideous, if she were to go to a beach, people would try not to stare, but they wouldn’t be able to look away.

Tavor’s jaw slacked open. He cleared his throat. “Is that supposed to be some kind of bonding thing?”

“Yes,” she admitted.

“Did you do this with Drake?” Tavor leaned back on the bench, stretching out his legs, crossing them at the ankles.

“Not when I first met him,” she said. “And while I don’t hide what happened to me, or any of my past from the clients here at Jack’s Place, I don’t always open up about it so quickly.”

“Then why are you?”

“Because what I see in you is exactly what I saw in my father right before he died.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.” Tavor tilted his head. “But what does that have to do with me or your burns?”

She traced a finger up one of the more veiny parts of her arm. It was never easy to discuss what happened, but if her story could help him, or anyone, then she was happy to share. “My dad had just picked me up from the airport. It was Christmastime and I had a couple of weeks before I had to return to the Naval Academy.”

“You were in the Navy?” His eyes grew wide.

“Not for very long.” She twirled her hair between her finger and thumb, staring at two chipmunks fighting over an acorn. “I was halfway through my junior year and I had no desire to come home for the holidays. My father and I were at odds. He’d been drinking a lot and he was constantly putting me and my career path down.”

“What do you mean?” Tavor shifted, resting his arm on the back of the bench.

“I wanted to be a fighter pilot and he didn’t think I had what it would take, but it wasn’t really about that. His body was failing him as he’d gotten older and being a rescue swimmer wasn’t something he could do anymore, but it was all he had.”

“That’s a tough job.”

She nodded. “The Navy pulled him from his station and he felt demoralized and he struggled with my success.”

“He was jealous? Of his own child?” Tavor gave her shoulder a slight squeeze.

“His entire world was changing. My mom had died a few years before that from cancer and he was depressed for a variety of reasons. Back then, I had no desire to be a doctor. I was focused on my education and a woman in the seat of a fighter jet isn’t an easy career choice.”

“Nope. I hate to admit it, but being a woman in the military still has its pitfalls, and that’s really too bad.”

“I appreciate that.” She nodded. “Anyway. My dad was stationed in Jacksonville back then. He picked me up at the airport and we immediately got into a fight. He actually told me I should pursue something different and that he would even support me leaving the Academy. I was so angry because my dreams had once been his too and I didn’t understand what was going on with him.” She turned, catching Tavor’s gaze. “He pulled off the highway, heading toward the house he rented in the middle of nowhere. He looked at me and told me that what I was doing wasn’t worth it. Then he pressed his foot on the gas pedal and wrapped his car around a tree at a hundred miles an hour.”

“Jesus. With you in the passenger seat?”

“The next thing I remember was waking up a few weeks later with about forty percent of my body covered in burns. My back and both my legs were broken. All the doctors thought I was lucky to be alive. I didn’t agree with them. I thought my father was the lucky one considering he died instantly.”

“That’s rough.” Tavor ran a hand across his shaven face. “So, that’s why you became a shrink.”

She laughed. “No. I did that for me. I didn’t die for him.” She jutted her chin toward a rock strategically placed to the far right of the gardens. “I made that memorial for him the day I decided ending my life might stop the pain and solve what I thought my problems were, but it wouldn’t prove to my dad, or anyone, that we all have purpose, even when it’s not what we thought.”

“I’m sorry about what happened to you, but I don’t want to die. I just want out of the Army, and then I’ll figure out what’s next.”

“Really?” Feeling a bit too exposed, she slipped on her coat. “Because it seems to me you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

He jumped to his feet. “You don’t know anything about me or my life. Just because your military career never even got started, or you suffered life-altering injuries, doesn’t give us common ground.”

“Maybe not. But your death wish does.”

“I don’t want to die. I wouldn’t do that to my family.” He ran a hand across his head. “And to be totally frank with you, I’m only here to save my father the shame of having a son who left the military with anything but honors. So, I’ll do what you ask of me and I’ll even do it with a smile on my face, but you and me, we’re not friends.” He waved his finger. “I’m truly sorry about what your father did. That’s horrific. But I’m not your father and I’m not Drake. Now, if you don’t mind. I would like to go to my room.”
Jen Talty. Tempting Tavor: Enemies to Loves: Hot Hunks Steamy Romance Collection (Kindle Locations 467-520). Jupiter Press.

While Tavor doesn’t think that chat helped, it certainly has him thinking, as does his first group session.

More surprising is the conversation he overhears while visiting the horses. He really didn’t like Gill, his therapist for group, but what he hears in the discussion with Pauline disturbs him. Gill is harassing Pauline and apparently they were once a couple.

I love the build up in this book, both of Gill’s obsession and the relationship between Pauline and Tavor. We meet all of Tavor’s sibling in this book as well as things come to a head.

Lots of intrigue, revelations and a relationship that sizzles right from the start.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

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

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

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


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Just One Night – Kingston Family Book 1 by Carly Phillips


Just One Night
Kingston Family Book 1
By
NY Times Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips

1cf2a-addtogoodreads

She’s the woman he can’t live without.

The one he can’t risk screwing up their relationship with sex.

Linc Kingston doesn’t accept anything less than perfection. Not in his billion-dollar business or in his personal life. He has it all. Except one thing. His personal assistant and best friend in his bed, moaning his name. No matter how much Linc wants her, she’s completely off-limits.

Jordan Greene grew up the daughter of the housekeeper at the Kingston estate, where she met and bonded with Linc at a young age, despite their economic differences. But no matter how close they are now or how much their attraction simmers beneath the surface, they’re still from two different worlds. Besides, Jordan isn’t about to risk losing her best friend for one sensual night.

Jordan might be the only woman who can handle Linc and his domineering, bossy attitude, but beneath that gruff exterior is a vulnerable man who, despite his wealth, has had a less-than-charmed life

And when Linc’s father dies, she’s there for him—unwavering in her friendship.

Until one night of passion and a positive pregnancy test changes everything.

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When Kenneth Kingston died, Linc started going through all his papers both personal and relating to business. What he found was the evidence of paying his ex secretary to take care of and keep their child a secret. When Linc can’t find her he hires a PI. What he finds horrifies him, apparently the girl had ended up in foster care when her grandmother died. Neither her mother or his father did anything to prevent it.

We met Aurora in Dare to Stay, she’s staying with Braden Prescott’s girlfriend Willow and works for Austin at Dare Nation. It’s her job there that enables Linc Kingston to find her. Now Linc is heading to Florida to meet her and hopefully bring her home to New York. His brothers Dash and Zander and his sister Chloe are in agreement that Aurora is entitled to an inheritance and they want her to be a part of their family.

Jordan Greene is Linc’s best friend and his personal assistant. She grew up with the Kingston’s but not as an equal. Her mother was the Kingston’s housekeeper and she was graciously allowed to play and do homework with the Kingston siblings. She’s always had feelings for Linc but her mother is forever reminding her she isn’t in his class and any relationship other than business would only bring heartache.

Linc relies on Jordan for many things in business, she’s able to anticipate what he needs and spur of the moment plans are made and confirmed quickly and efficiently. He’s also more than a little in love with her, but has been afraid to take a chance and possibly lose her friendship. Jordan’s a bit surprised that he wants her to come with him on this trip to meet his half sister but really has no reason to say no. Even though they shared a kiss when he showed up a tad drunk the night before.

Once they hit Florida, Austin puts a temporary halt to Linc’s plan to meet Aurora, he wants to prepare her for this meeting. Linc grudgingly agrees to wait for his call. In the meantime things heat up with him and Jordan and now he’s afraid it might be a mistake.

The meeting with Aurora goes well and she needs to process the information and get to know Linc better before making a decision to travel to NY. There’s also her pregnancy to consider when it comes to flying, so she has a week. It’s when Jordan joins them for breakfast the next day that she helps Linc understand a bit about how Aurora is acting.

This is a favorite scene.

Linc left the next morning to pick up Aurora. Jordan stayed in the room, getting ready for the day. They were each doing their best to find their normal footing with one another after their incredible night together, and it wasn’t easy. The current awkwardness had never existed before, and he hoped Aurora’s arrival would be the icebreaker he and Jordan needed.

Aurora had been chatty on the ride to the hotel, asking questions about New York, the city, where Linc lived, and whether the rest of the family was as eager to meet her as he’d been. He assured her they were.

Jordan joined them for breakfast at a table in the restaurant located off the main part of the lobby. They approached the table, and Jordan greeted them with a smile. She rose and stepped forward to say hello to Aurora.

As she stood, Linc took in her outfit. A cute ruffled skirt hit above the knee, revealing her long legs, a pop of hot-pink polish looked bold and cute on her toenails, and a white tank top hugged her curves.

He drooled at the sight of her, her hair pulled off her face with a headband, putting his focus on her bright pink lips. He groaned and shook his head, wondering if she was torturing him on purpose or if he was just now noticing every little appealing thing about her.

“Aurora,” Linc said, his hand lightly on her back. “This is Jordan Greene, my … best friend and personal assistant.” He nearly stumbled over the description and couldn’t figure out why when the lines had always been so clear before.

“Jordan, my sister Aurora.”

“I am so happy to meet you,” Jordan said, pulling Aurora into an awkward hug due to the size of her belly.

When Aurora pulled back, she had a wide smile on her face, obviously thrilled with the warm welcome. “Same here.”

“Let’s sit.” Jordan gestured to the chairs and they each settled into one. “I thought you’d be more comfortable indoors with air conditioning than outside in the heat.”

Aurora nodded. “I hate getting hot and sweaty, especially now. I’m so uncomfortable.”

“I can only imagine.” Jordan smiled, and only Linc knew Aurora’s comment had brought up painful memories.

Jordan really had no idea what it was like to carry a baby to term and feel the things his sister now did, and Linc understood Jordan’s unexpressed pain.

“So what does everyone want for breakfast?” Linc asked, determined to lighten the subject.

Aurora opened the bound menu and scanned the page, her eyes widening before slamming the book closed.

Linc shot Jordan a concerned glance, and she gave him a slight shrug.

“Aurora? What are you having?” he asked.

She swallowed hard. “Umm, just a glass of orange juice. I’m not really hungry.”

“But you told me in the car you were starving.”

Jordan cleared her throat. “Well, I am hungry and I can’t decide what I want. If I order pancakes and scrambled eggs, will you share them with me?” she asked Aurora.

His sister’s eyes lit up. “Are you sure?”

“Definitely.” Jordan shut the menu. “Linc? What are you having?”

“A vegetable omelet and bacon,” he said, wondering what he’d missed.

“I’ll be right back,” Aurora said, rising from her seat and heading toward what looked like the restrooms in the back.

Linc glanced at Jordan. “Can you explain?”

She nodded. “The prices on the menu freaked her out, and she didn’t want to order anything.”

He narrowed his gaze, his stomach churning at the possibility Jordan was right. “How did you know what was wrong?”

A soft smile lifted her lips and she leaned forward. “Because I remember the first time you insisted I come with you for lunch to some fancy place you usually went with your family. I took one look at the menu and said I just wanted French fries.”

He stilled, recalling the day clearly. “I believed you,” he said, horrified by his privilege and ignorance.

“You had no reason not to.”

He shook his head, suddenly understanding so much more about Jordan’s take on his life and their different upbringings.

“At least now I have an idea about what to look out for with Aurora. I don’t ever want her feeling uncomfortable.” As he met her stare, regret filled him. “I never wanted you to feel that way either.”

She reached out and curled her fingers around his hand. “You can’t control everything, Linc. No matter how much you want to. Or how much money you have. As for Aurora, some things are going to take time.”

He let out a frustrated groan, but before he could reply, Aurora returned to the table and they enjoyed their time together. They took a walk down the beach and talked before Linc returned her home.

The rest of the week passed quickly, including the football game. Braden had managed tickets for Linc, Jordan, and Aurora, and they’d all had fun. Eventually Aurora agreed to come to New York with them. She understood how much easier her life would be around family and people determined to help her both emotionally and financially. As much as she loved the Prescotts and Willow, Aurora had a deep-seated need for family.

Another plus, Aurora and Jordan had formed a fast bond, and Linc was glad Aurora would have someone she already knew and liked to rely on once in New York. But what was good for Aurora wasn’t helpful to Linc. Having Aurora to focus on meant Jordan was able to avoid dealing with him and their relationship.

And he had no idea what to do about it.
Carly Phillips. Just One Night (Kindle Locations 901-945). CP Publishing.

Of course once they return to NY, things change a bit but Jordan is conflicted and Linc decides he really wants a relationship with Jordan.

Aurora is a sweetheart and everyone is helping her get adjusted not only to being in NY but also in planning for the baby.

This is a delightful read, with laughter, tears, and a relationship that sizzles off the pages.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

Coming Soon!
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Carly Phillips

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

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


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