Code Name: Cayman – K19 Allied Intelligence Team One Book 2 by Heather Slade

Code Name: Cayman
K19 Allied Intelligence Team One Book 2
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Slade


A man of strength
A man of danger.
Cayman will destroy anyone threatening his world.

I take my job seriously. I’m strong. Hard as nails. Nothing hurts me, and I refuse to let anyone hurt those I love.

As the new commander of the UK Task Force on Human Trafficking, I have important work to do, and innocent lives to protect. There’s no time for mistakes or distractions.

But when I encounter the beautiful and damaged Bexli, I’ll move mountains to keep her safe. After the hell she’s endured, she needs my strong exterior more than anything. For the first time, my hard shell just may soften with her touch.

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NOTE: Review may contain spoilers

The opening of this book introduces us to Bexli and her plight. She’s a captive of the human trafficker known as Mithras. She was planning her escape and she’d only get one chance at it.

In the UK, Winston ‘Cayman’ Trace is about to greet the French ambassador to the UN and leader of the UN’s Coalition Against Human Trafficking along with his boss Z Alexander. There are a couple of promotions coming down one of which is Margeaux “Nemesis” Jordan being named the head of the UN Coalition, and Cayman her replacement as Commanding Officer of the UK Task Force. As he reflects on this promotion, he wants to share it with someone he considers the most important person in his life, Bexli. They’ve been friends since he was eight years old and he’s shared all his accomplishments with her. Unfortunately, calling her would have to wait as there is more business to take care of.

Once he is able to call, it goes to voice mail, and he pulls up the last photo she sent him, one of the mysterious Lorenzo Moretti. He’s wondering if she’s in a relationship with him since he’s the one who offered her this chance to model in Milan, where she’s been since September. It’s then he notices it’s been six weeks since he’s heard from her. No other replies to his texts or messages. He texts her a brief message he has news and for her to call him before he gets called away.

Nemesis received a brief from Marchand and it has pertinent information. With everyone gathered, Cayman lowers a viewing screen as Nem hooks up her laptop, the screen fills with a photo of Mithras. Cayman couldn’t breathe, he started sweating and couldn’t say a word as Poseiden gripped his shoulders. He swiped at his phone and handed it to Poseiden, it was him. Lorenzo Moretti is Mithras.

With the return of his phone he runs outside, the panic he feels is overwhelming thought. He knows now that Mithras has Bexli and he can’t think straight.

Ares, Poseiden and Nemesis are all trying to calm him. The brief from Oleander suggests an auction on the dark web, and Zeppelin and Magnet are checking the site for Bexli, then they can plan. With Bexli’s image found they are waiting for Wren and Wilder to trace the IP address when an update hits with the notification the auction will open in 24 hours. The clock is ticking.

With the location found, they successfully take it down, rescuing the women they found there. The problem is Bexli wasn’t there. She had managed to somehow escape and they have to find her. They do manage to track her movements and enter a restaurant to have drinks where they believe she is.

This is a favorite scene.

We’d been at the restaurant a few minutes and, so far, hadn’t seen anyone matching the description the guard gave of the nurse. An older woman was going in and out of what I assumed was the kitchen while a younger man took our order. Both stole surreptitious glances at the four of us. We’d arrived shortly after it opened. Poseidon and Delfino played the role of one couple, while Oleander and I played another.

“According to the Dopler device, there are two people above us but in different rooms,” O whispered, looking at the unit she held beneath the table.

The man returned and delivered our drinks.

“Perhaps we could get a recommendation for a place to have dinner later,” I said, looking between Poseidon and Delfino.

When she looked up at him and, I assumed, reiterated what I’d just said, he responded in Maltese. Once he left the dining area, though, Oleander said she was certain he’d understood me. She took another look at the radar device. “It appears someone is headed up a staircase near the rear of the building.” She waited for a couple of seconds. There are now three people gathered together directly above us.”

“I cannot wait another minute. I know Bexli is here. I can’t explain why. I just do.” I pushed the chair back and stood. “Cover us,” I said to Oleander and Delfino when Poseidon stood as well.

I burst through the door we’d seen the two people go in and out of, confirming it led to a kitchen. The only person immediately visible was the woman. When I drew my gun and pointed it at her, she dropped the spoon she held and raised her hands.

Delfino approached her, putting her finger in front of her mouth, indicating the woman should remain silent.

Poseidon pointed to the back door I’d already spotted. We rounded a corner, found the stairs leading to the second floor, and crept up them.

Once we reached the top, I rounded another corner and nearly sobbed with joy when I came face-to-face with Bexli.

“Release her, or I’ll shoot!” I shouted at the man who’d taken our order and now had his arm around her waist.

“Cayman!” Bexli gasped. “Don’t shoot! It’s okay.” She looked over her shoulder. “Xavier, let me go.”

When the man hesitated, I retrained my eye on him via the sights. “Let her go!” I shouted.

Poseidon took a step around me; his gun was aimed at the woman who stood slightly behind the man. “Step around. Keep your hands where I can see them. Raise them high in the air and walk toward me.” When her eyes scrunched, he spoke to her in Maltese. This time she did as he demanded.

The man, however, still had his arm around Bexli’s waist.

“Who are these men?” I heard him ask her.

“It’s Cayman. It’s who I wanted to call earlier. Remember? I asked if I could make a call?”

His eyes bored into mine, and he nodded once. “You are certain?”

“Yes, Xavier. Let me go before either of us gets hurt.”

He released his hold and raised his hands in the air. I lowered my gun as Bexli ran into my arms.

“You found me!” she cried as we embraced.

“Get her out of here,” said Oleander, walking up behind us with her gun trained on the woman. Poseidon had moved to the man and was restraining him.

“Wait!” said Bexli as I led her to the stairs. She looked over her shoulder at him. “Thank you, Xavier.”

Like before, he nodded once but didn’t speak.

When we reached the bottom, Delfino was standing next to the old woman but hadn’t restrained her.

“Nonna,” Bexli said, twisting out of my arms and rushing over to her.

“Thank you,” she cried, embracing her. I watched the woman cup Bex’s cheek with her palm.

“She said you’ll be safe now,” Delfino told her when Bexli’s head cocked at the woman’s foreign words.

“Thank you,” she repeated, kissing the woman’s cheek before turning back to me.

“Transport has arrived,” said Delfino, motioning to the back door.

I looked down at Bexli’s feet. While she wore socks, she had no shoes. Rather than waste precious time asking her about them, I put one arm behind her knees and gathered her into my arms. She rested her head against my chest, and I carried her outside. Z got out of the vehicle and opened the back passenger door. I set Bexli on the seat and was about to go around to the other side when she grabbed my arm. She shifted to the center, and I climbed in next to her.

I put my arm around her shoulders and drew her close to me.

“How did you find me?”

I rested my head against hers. “There’s time for us to talk about all of that later. For now, let me hold you.”

“Of course.” She stiffened, and I eased my grip but didn’t let go.

“We received intelligence that a man we’ve been looking for was believed to be holding an auction. I recognized him as the one in the photo you sent to me. From there, we traced the dark web site to Gozo.”

“An auction?” she whispered in a ragged voice.

“Shh, my darling,” I soothed.

“What kind of auction?”


She tried to pull away, but I wouldn’t let her.

“What kind of auction, Cay?” she demanded.

“We discovered the man who lured you to Milan is a known human trafficker.” Did I really need to say the rest? It was horrific enough to think it. I didn’t want to utter the words I knew would only terrify her more.

“I was to be a s-slave?”

I raised my other hand and cupped her cheek, similar to the way the old woman had. “You’re safe now. That’s all that matters.”

“What about Moretti?” “We’re tracking him.” It was as close to the truth as I could get.

She turned her face toward me. “I should’ve killed him. He… he…”

“Shh,” I soothed again.

“Where are we going?” she asked when Z, who’d remained silent during the drive, pulled through the gates of the compound.

“We brought a team to the island. This has served as our base of operation.”

When she nodded, the coarseness of her hair abraded my cheek.


The dampness from her tears mixed with my own. I couldn’t speak, even to comfort her.

Z pulled up to the portico of the compound’s main house. I gathered Bexli in my arms, then approached the front door, where Delfino was waiting for us.

“Hello, Bexli. My name is Kima,” she said after stepping aside so we could enter and I set Bex on her feet. “Like Cayman, I am here to help in any way you need.”

“A shower?”

“Of course, if you’ll come with me—”

“No!” Bexli’s jagged fingernails dug into the skin on my forearm when I released it from her shoulders. “I need you with me,” she whispered.

“I’ll take it from here,” I said to Delfino. “Where is the clothing you mentioned?”

“With your things.”

I nodded and thanked her. I knew from her dossier that Delfino had extensive training in victim advocacy and trauma counseling. I should’ve considered that and asked her to return to the compound in the SUV with us. However, I was grateful she’d somehow managed to arrive before we did.

I led Bexli up the staircase and down the hallway. The room I’d been assigned was one of the larger ones and had a rather luxurious en suite bath. As promised, several articles of clothing were laid out on the bed. Bex was so distressingly thin that I had no doubt even the smallest sizes would hang on her. However, not likely as much as the flannels she had on now.

She held onto me as I walked to the shower area. When I reached in to turn it on and adjust the water’s temperature, I noticed her gaze longingly at the oversized tub.

“Would you prefer a bath?” I asked.

“May I?”

I shut the water off in the shower. “As Kima said, we’ll do everything in our power to give you whatever you need or want, Bex.”

“I need you with me, Cay.”

“Of course.”

Even when I moved to run water in the tub, Bexli kept her hands on me. It was a perplexing contrast to how she’d behaved at the restaurant. There, she’d seemed more confident, more self-assured. Was it because of the man who’d kept her from immediately coming to me? Was he holding her in his arms more than captive? And in the kitchen, she’d immediately raced over to the old woman and embraced her. I stopped myself from asking her about either of them or how she came to shelter with the family of someone Mithras employed. There would be ample time for questions later. I’d not allow myself or anyone else to make Bexli feel as though she was being interrogated.

“How can I assist?” I asked after adjusting the water’s temperature as I had with the shower.

“Stay with me.”

I turned her in my arms and guided her to the tub’s edge. When she sat, I knelt before her and removed each of her socks. Bandages, which I gently peeled off, covered the soles of both her feet. While the water may sting the cuts initially, it was necessary to keep the wounds clean.

She sat with her arms at her sides like I imagined a child might with a parent who was helping them disrobe. “Do you need help with the rest?” I asked.

When she nodded, I lifted the shirt slowly, waiting for her to take over. When she made no move to do so, I raised it over her head and tossed it to the floor. “Stand for me, my darling.” I lowered the flannel pants, biting my tongue to keep myself from gasping at how emaciated she was.

I looked up as I felt her body shudder and wrapped my arms around her when I saw tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I’m…” Her voice cracked, and her quiet cry turned into sobbing.

I used the pad of my thumb to wipe her cheeks. “You’re safe, Bexli, and I’ll not allow anyone to hurt you ever again.”
Heather Slade. Code Name Cayman – Heather Slade (Kindle Locations 1068-1150). Kindle Edition.

All this is just the beginning as they still need to take down Mithras, but he is only one of the big players.

There’s also Bexli and the way she feels unworthy of Cayman’s affections. Her family and background embarrass her although it doesn’t matter to Cayman or his parents. This leads to some interesting accomplishments on Bexli’s part as well as ups and downs in her relationship with Cayman.

There is plenty of intrigue and action in this one as we follow the steps in this investigation.

I really can’t wait to see what’s next in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Heather Slade

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

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

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Romancing Miss Quill – Willful Winterbournes Book 1 by Sandra Sookoo

Romancing Miss Quill
Willful Winterbournes Book 1
USA Today Bestselling Author
Sandra Sookoo


Lightning doesn’t strike twice…

Arthur Charles Winterbourne, Earl of Ettesmere, at the age of forty-four is done indulging in fanciful matters such as love and romance. When his wife died, he was brokenhearted. During the midsummer season, he and his siblings join their mother at the Berkshire countryside for revelry and entertainment, but all his wants is to shut himself away and leave living to the ones who believe in happiness after loss.

Romance doesn’t hold a candle to science…

Miss Juliana Quill has no time for courtship or attracting a man, which is why she’s on the shelf at seven and thirty. A self-taught astronomer, she looks after her aging father and wants nothing more than to chart the stars and perhaps discover a new heavenly body. That gives her more satisfaction than marriage or rearing children ever could. No sense in wishing for more, especially since she missed her chance.

Love appears when it’s least convenient…

When a handful of mysterious notes throw Arthur and Juliana together at every turn, a slow attraction blooms from friendship. Despite their stubborn refusals, desire flares and grows into a romance neither of them ever expected. While Arthur battles with guilt and memories, she’s nearly petrified by their difference, but these two willful, love-shy people will need to open their hearts and minds to grasp a happy ending they’d never dreamed they could have.

I’ve had this book on my tbr pile for a while and was in the mood for historical romance. I was not disappointed.

The book opens with Arthur Charles Winterbourne, the Earl of Ettesmire receiving a letter from his mother requesting him join her and the rest of the family at their country estate in Berkshire for summer. As he’s contemplating this journey his sister Sophie arrives and they discuss the possibility. She also hints at him remarrying, something he really doesn’t want to think about. He’s rescued by his daughter Emily’s return from school. Her reaction to spending the summer in the country is a positive one so it’s decided. He hopes his son John is of a similar mind.

We meet Miss Juliana Quill as she’s perusing the stars from atop her favorite spot on Otis hill near her home outside the village of Wokingham. She’s alone save for companion, an overweight beagle named Regent. She’s long been interested in Astronomy and preferred the stars to socializing. Which is how she finds herself unwed and without prospects at the age of thirty-seven. She’s been following a comet that she’s spotted again years after her brother first spotted it before his death. She’s charting its trajectory and coordinates in the hopes of having it and her recognized by the Astronomical Society of London.

It’s during this foray she meets Lady Emily Winterbourne, the young miss having escaped the manor for a bit of adventure and comes across the wandering Regent and returns him. They have an interesting conversation after which Juliana escorts her home. Her running around without a maid or chaperone would surely be frowned upon if discovered.

Juliana meets Arthur in much the same way as his daughter, when Regent gets away from her. He was walking down the road heading home after meeting with his tenants and his estate manager, when the dog burst from the trees and changed his direction to bounce at his feet.

This is a favorite scene.

“Ah, and who might you be?” He leaned down, picked the heavy animal up into his arms and then chuckled while the exuberant dog licked his face and chin. “Whoever you are, you certainly don’t know a stranger.” Despite the large belly, the dog was surprisingly muscled.

“Regent! Where the devil are you this time?” Though the hail and question were some way off, there was no mistaking the exasperation in the dulcet tones. “I’m growing weary of chasing your miserable hide all over creation.”

“What sort of name is that?” Arthur snorted with laughter as he regarded the dog in his hold. “Ah, you must be named after Prinny, and if so, what a jolly joke indeed.” He peered into the soulful brown eyes of the canine and grinned. “I believe your mistress is on the hunt, and from the sounds of it, she’s not best pleased.”

The beagle woofed with pleasure as he wriggled. This was no lightweight dog. He bussed Arthur’s cheek with his nose.

“I mean it, Regent. Show yourself this instant. I don’t have time for this nonsense.” Seconds later, the owner of said voice broke from the trees and marched over the grass to the road. She held a willow basket in one hand and a leather lead in the other. A bonnet swung from its tied ribbons in the crooked elbow of one arm. When she saw Arthur and the dog in his arms, she sighed. “Oh, botheration.”

“Good afternoon.” He offered what he hoped was a welcoming grin. “I assume you’re the owner of this rapscallion?”

“I am, unfortunately.” She glared at the beagle and then rested her gaze on Arthur. The blue pools of those eyes had him unexpectedly arrested. “He has a nasty habit of squirming away just when I’m about to tie the lead to his collar.”

“Such is a dog’s existence, I’m afraid. Always searching for the next break of freedom.” Though the burden in his arms grew heavier by the minute, he kept hold of the hound while looking over the woman with interest.

Of average height, she possessed a slender frame yet had enough curves to pique a man’s desire. The dress of robin’s egg blue suited her pale complexion and brought out another layer of color in her eyes. Curly black hair caught back in a loose chignon at the nape of her neck drew his regard to the elegant column of her throat, and as he came closer, the afternoon sunlight illuminated a sprinkling of freckles over her upper cheeks and nose. A tiny scar in the shape of a sideways V marred the smooth perfection of her forehead.

How mysterious. The need to know how she’d come by that scar took hold of his brain and wouldn’t let go.

“Well, thank you for finding my dog. He’s a handful at the best of times.”

The sound of her voice wrenched him out of his thoughts. Arthur nodded, for he’d temporarily forgotten how to speak, apparently. “Are you from around the area?” Obviously, she must be. Otherwise, the dog wouldn’t be so comfortable roaming.

“Yes. I live in a cottage not far from the village.” She gestured with the hand that held the leather lead. “About a mile in that direction. Three from Ettesmere Park the opposite way.”

“I see.” He hefted the dog more comfortably in his hold.

She shifted her weight from foot to foot. “By the by, I’m Miss Quill. Usually, I recognize everyone from the village, but your face isn’t known to me.”

“Ah.” Arthur glanced between her and the dog. “Oh! You’re that Miss Quill.” The woman his daughter had told him about at breakfast.

She blinked a few times in rapid succession. “Are there women with my name here in the village?”

“What?” That made no sense. Then he realized what she had asked. He forced a laugh. It sounded rusty even to his own ears. Had it been so long since he’d done it? “Uh, no. Of course not.”

Confusion filled her expression. “Then how do you know me?”

Heat crept up the back of his neck. As introductions went, he was certainly cocking this one up. “My daughter apparently met you two days ago.”

“Oh.” Her perfectly balanced lips formed an equally perfect “O”, and he couldn’t stop staring at those rose-colored pieces of flesh.

What the hell was wrong with him? Where had his manners gone? He knew better than to appear so vulgar in mixed company. After clearing his throat, he asked, “So then you’ve met my daughter?”

“Yes, I actually did. Lady Emily is quite a charming young lady.” She quirked a finely arched eyebrow. “Did she mention when we met to you?”

Was the woman daft that she couldn’t remember? “Sometime in the late afternoon. Beyond tea but before evening.” What difference did it make?

“Right. That is quite true.” Her expression cleared. “We did meet at that time.” She smiled while the fat beagle writhed in his arms. “I found her lovely.”

“She is that. I appreciate your acknowledgement.” His reality suddenly came crashing back around him. He was an earl and a widower with a daughter who he suspected of sneaking out of the house. Why this stranger was corroborating her story was beyond him, but he would discover the why later. “Er, I should give you back your dog.” And quickly, for the corpulent beagle had broken wind and produced a malodorous cloud that had the power to make his eyes water. He moved beyond the lingering odor and came closer to Miss Quill.

“Thank you again for curbing his escape.” She took the wriggling bundle from his arms. Barely, their hands brushed, but a tendril of heat curled up to his elbow. The scent of apricot and vanilla and some sort of flower wafted to his nose to banish the foul smell. “He’s a ridiculous animal, but I adore him. He’s my constant company on the days when my father’s illness becomes trying.”

“I’m sorry to hear that your father is ailing.” Arthur didn’t wish to leave her company so soon. There was something about her that invited confidences, but why? Did Emily feel the same when she’d met this woman? “What does he suffer from?”

“His mind is fading. Some days are better than others, and on the days he’s not lucid, he can turn angry and belligerent.” In that one moment, she appeared vulnerable and afraid before those things vanished under happiness when the beagle licked her cheek. “You wouldn’t need to welcome me back if you wouldn’t run away, Regent.” After another lick, she giggled.

The sound was surprising and captivating. Then guilt crept in to tighten his chest. He was still in love with his wife, wasn’t he? Finding a connection or a tiny bit of interest in someone else felt entirely too wrong.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” He resisted the urge to tug on his cravat. “What do you do to pass the time? Surely you don’t spend all of it at home with your father?” She was well past youthful blooms. “Is there a Mr. Quill?”

A sharp stab of something went through him that he shoved away as soon as it made its presence known. He wasn’t jealous; he barely knew her. What she did in her personal life was no business of his.

She chuckled. Amusement danced in her eyes. “The only Mr. Quill is my father. I have long ago missed my chances to marry, I’m afraid.”

“Why? I mean, you’re an attractive woman. Surely, you’ve had suitors.” Then he berated himself for being rude. Why the deuce was he acting as if he hadn’t a brain in his head?

A blush stained her cheeks. “I have not, actually. My time has been committed to one thing only over the years—the study of astronomy.”

“How fascinating.” And he meant it. Beyond that, he was once more hooked on every word this woman said.

“I think so.” She smiled, set the dog onto the ground, and then firmly and with efficient movements, she tied the lead to the beagle’s collar. When she stood, she met Arthur’s gaze. “Well, I should go. I still need to visit the market and then return to my father. He’ll want tea soon, and the heavens will fall if I don’t serve it to him on time.”

An unexpected laugh escaped him. “That sounds like my mother. Ever since my father died, she has maintained a rigid schedule, perhaps as a way of coping with his loss.” Yet he’d not discovered anything of import about her other than she was unattached. “Shall I see you again?”

Another giggle left her throat. When Regent strained at the lead, she stumbled to the side a few steps. “I know astronomy, my lord, not divination. The future remains a mystery to me.”

He shivered even though it was a hot day. “Perhaps you’re right.”
Sookoo, Sandra. Romancing Miss Quill (Willful Winterbournes Book 1). Kindle Locations (463-524). Dragonblade Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

After this encounter, they both receive a note to meet, with no signature or seal.

Curiosity leads them to follow through and they are both surprised to find the other didn’t write the note. They do however enjoy each other’s company as Juliana gives him a lesson in astronomy.

I was amused as Arthur keeps trying to talk himself out of being attracted to her. Letting go of his grief is a major problem for him and one he battles throughout this book.

There are more notes and these two seem to find themselves in interesting situations. I really like the way things heat up between them as well, although Arthur’s devotion to his late wife gets irritating. For Juliana it’s very hard to win over a ghost and still she tries.

This is a fun story with laughter and some sizzle between older adults. I really loved that Arthur’s family encouraged the relationship that might otherwise be forbidden. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Sandra!

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Sandra Sookoo

Sandra Sookoo is a USA Today bestselling author who firmly believes every person deserves acceptance and a happy ending. She’s written for publication since 2008. Most days you can find her creating scandal and mischief in the Regency-era, serendipity and happenstance in Victorian era romances, or historical romantic suspense complete with mystery and intrigue. Reading is a lot like eating fine chocolates—you can’t just have one. Good thing books don’t have calories!

When she’s not wearing out computer keyboards, Sandra spends time with her real-life Prince Charming in Central Indiana where she’s been known to bake cookies and make moments count because the key to life is laughter. A Disney fan since the age of ten, when her soul gets bogged down and her imagination flags, a trip to Walt Disney World is in order. Nothing fuels her dreams more than the land of eternal happy endings, hope and love stories.

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Fierce Dancer – 82nd Street Vandals Book 9 by Heather Long

Fierce Dancer
82nd Street Vandals Book 9
USA Today Bestselling Author
Heather Long


The dancer.
The victim.
The sister.

I’ve worn a lot of labels over the years. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to escape. I hid in my dance. I ran away from my life as much as I could. I fought to be somewhere else, even if I couldn’t be someone else.

One night, after my partner lashed out at me and I’d been hurt, the Vandals took me and never looked back. They introduced me to a world I had no idea existed and a family so much greater than the one I’d been trying to survive.

I gave myself up once to protect them.
I’ve fought for them.
I’ve bled for them.
I’ve killed for them.
And I’d do it all again if it keeps them safe.

My name is Emersyn Sharpe. I was born Ivy Hardigan. When the Vandals kidnapped me, I had no idea how life-changing it would be or how I would find real love. More, I found my place in this world. To have the future I want, I will finally wage war on the past.

FIERCE DANCER is a full-length mature dark, new adult romance with enemies-to-lovers/love-hate themes. The dark romance aspects of this tale continue. Please be aware some situations may be uncomfortable for readers. Trigger warnings can be found in the foreword should you require them. This is a why choose novel, meaning the main character has more than one love interest. This is book nine and the final in the series.

If you haven’t read all the books in this series STOP! Go back and read them all first! This one begins just before the end of Reckless Thief.

While we all know the dire situation Emersyn is in, we are taken back to where she is leaving with Milo to be safe from the events that are about to begin.

I really loved this part since we get to see them as they really get to know each other as siblings. The protection, love and devotion that comes so naturally for Milo, is beginning to show in Emersyn. It’s still new to her, this having a brother. They actually talk about everything, including Lainey, very interesting.

It’s a lot of driving and it’s the next morning as they are approaching the meet up that all their internal alarms go off, this isn’t right, this is an ambush.
We get to see all the interaction before Bradley Sharpe orders his men to bury her. She had her bracelet, Liam would find her, the guys would find her and Milo.

Back at the clubhouse, another piece of the puzzle was beginning to unfold as Freddie, Vaughn and Rome watch JD and the rats pack up the last of the trucks to be sent out. Freddie senses something off but can’t quite put his finger on it. As they are discussing the tattoos Freddie wants, they get a surprise, their mole wants to break out their prisoner. The Mole is exactly who I thought it was. Nah not telling. But Kellen’s phone is compromised, and things go into motion to get to Milo and Emersyn.

With both Emersyn and Milo back at the clubhouse, although Doc has had to keep Milo sedated, Emersyn is in far better shape. Jasper and Liam have been dispatched to collect Lainey and Ezra joins them as well. Liam and Ezra spend much of the flight at each other’s throats. For Lainey it’s a relief when they land.

A reunion of sorts ensues, as Jasper and Liam see Emersyn awake. Tears and hugs then Emersyn along with Lainey and Doc they go to see Milo. Love Lainey and her kickarse attitude.

Downstairs is a waiting game as they wait for all their allies to show up and Emersyn joins them.

This is a favorite scene.

“How is he?” Ezra asked after a prolonged moment in the gruffest tone. That absolutely cost him to even ask.

She tilted her head, then glanced toward us. Her smile when she met my gaze steadied me then her expression sobered as she looked at Ezra. “He’s going to be okay. He needs rest and antibiotics.”

Blowing out a breath, Ezra nodded. “Can I do anything?”

“Coming with Lainey was a lot, and keeping her safe is everything. So, thank you.”

I didn’t grin as Hellspawn completely neutered the bastard’s grumpy mood. “Tell me if you need something else.”

“We got our girl,” Jasper said. “You don’t need to suck up.”

Ezra glared at him and it was my turn to laugh as I focused on the table again. “Don’t bait him,” I said, lining up the next shot. Hearing that Milo would be okay was one thing, but seeing the relief in Hellspawn’s face and hearing it in her voice offered far more comfort.

“Who?” Ezra asked. “Me or him?”

“Both,” Hellspawn answered, drifting closer to the table with Rome following her. She paused to wait for me to finish the shot. When I straightened, lifting my arm, she glided to me and slid up to my side. Wrapping that arm around her, I took a deep inhale of her hair and pressed my cheek to hers.

The tension knotting my spine released and I had to lock my legs to keep from leaning on her. Turning around and leaving five minutes after we got them to safety at the clubhouse burned. But she and Milo both needed Lainey Benedict. Ezra was being a raging dick about bringing her here, so I wasn’t going to fight that battle on the phone. I showed up and Jasper went with me, then we brought them back.

It protected them and shut Ezra up. The reward was right here, cuddling against me. The relief was profound. “I’m alright,” she whispered against my chest. I felt more than heard the words. I soaked in the content as I rubbed her arm and pressed my lips to the top of her head again.

“Need you,” I told her, and she pressed a hand to my chest before she tilted her head back. I didn’t need another invitation to kiss her. She parted her lips at the first brush and I sank into the kiss, half wishing I was fucking into her, but this was enough. The delicate, kittenish licks were enough to make me insane on a good day.

Today? They were the cure for everything ailing me. She sucked on my tongue then nipped my lip like I was taking away her favorite treat. When I deepened the kiss again, she let out the most delightful little groan.

Someone coughed.

Then a second person.

When a third person cleared their throat with almost obnoxious loudness, I growled. It was hard to be irritated when she let out a wild giggle that succeeded in breaking our kiss and I lifted my head to marvel at the light dancing in her eyes as she grinned. “Hi.”

“Hi,” I murmured. “Don’t mind me when I steal you away and lock these assholes out.”

“Awww,” she elongated the complaint with a laugh even as Freddie echoed it. Then the little pair of comedians glanced at each other with equally wild grins. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be mad,” she teased. “I’m perfectly fine with being stolen by one of you. You just have to bring me back.”

“Fine,” I huffed with all the mock impatience I could muster. When she flicked my nose then kissed me again, I adored her with my eyes. “Look at that, you’ve kissed me right into submission.”

“Bullshit,” Jasper sneezed and Ezra, the prick, burst out laughing. An alarm went off on my phone— and everyone else’s. I slid Hellspawn right back to Rome and pulled the phone out to check.

“Friendly,” I said, before I headed to the door. Adam had arrived and it was good. I didn’t leave the clubhouse alone. Vaughn and Freddie trailed me, and there was no mistaking the sawed-off shotgun Vaughn carried. Yeah. We weren’t soft balling this.

I messaged Adam to pull inside and hit the remote to open one of the exterior rolling doors. He didn’t answer, just drove his black Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG inside without hesitation. As soon as he cleared the threshold, Adam shoved the door open and stalked out.

“Is she safe?”

“They both are,” I told him, betting he was asking about Lainey every bit as much as he was Emersyn. Relief trickled through his expression, easing some of the icy emptiness he often adopted. He cut a look at Vaughn and then Freddie before staring at me. “Ezra’s inside, hopefully not picking a fight, but I already belted him once.”

Rolling his eyes, Adam just shook his head. “Typical.”

I shrugged. “C’mon. I’ll get you a drink, then we all need to talk.”

Freddie raised his phone, while flicking his eyes to the side door. I made a face then shook my head.

“Fine, fuck it— Vaughn, can you take Adam in and get him a drink?” I locked my gaze on him. Preferably, he would keep him from starting a fight too, or sit on him if he did. Vaughn lifted his chin once in acknowledgement before jerking his head toward the door.

“C’mon in. People are a little on edge, so I recommend minimizing any and all assholish tendencies if you don’t mind.”

“If I do?” Adam asked.

“Well, then when someone hands you your ass, you’ll know why…” Vaughn deadpanned that delivery perfectly, and I had to swallow my own chuckle as Freddie rolled his eyes.

Once Vaughn and Adam were inside, I focused on Freddie. “When is he due?”

“Soon,” Freddie said. “I texted him. I know you’re not a fan, but Bodhi came through for us.”

Yeah, I was aware of Freddie’s trust in the guy. “Fine,” I said. “But you let us control how much Cavendish knows.”

“Why don’t you like him?” Freddie asked, and I sighed. “Long story. It begins and ends with money, privilege, and the ability to buy your way out of just about anything.”

“And?” The dry question served to deliver a point. Frankly, he wasn’t wrong. I had that kind of money. So did Ezra and Adam.

“Cavendish is a loose cannon,” I told him. “The family wealth covers up a lot of crimes and crazy.”

“I like him.”

“I know you do,” I said, then clasped Freddie’s shoulder lightly. “I trust your judgment.” The surprise flickering through Freddie’s eyes at that declaration was humbling. “I need you to trust mine here too. If he can help, I welcome it. Just like Doc’s guys. But…”

“Bodhi isn’t one of us,” Freddie said, and the understanding there helped. “Yeah, I get it. Though if he can help…”

“As I said, we’ll take it. We’re already bleeding, Freddie, and this last battle—” It had come too fucking close for Milo and Hellspawn.

He nodded. “I got it. I’ll follow your lead.”

Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait that long before Bodhi arrived. Just like Cavendish always did, he blew in when he was ready. The man ran on his own timetable and acted like the whole world was just here for him.


Thankfully, Doc’s guys arrived hot on his heels. While he didn’t say much after greeting Freddie, Bodhi seemed to be studying Doc’s guys the same way they were studying him— too many unknowns. Once we had them inside, the clubhouse felt too crowded. Hellspawn was sitting with Kellan, curled up in his lap, half asleep. Probably because he was rubbing her back and she was exhausted.

Jasper and Vaughn formed a barrier between the rest of the room and Kellan. Yeah, even if Doc trusted his friends and we were trusting him— adding Ezra and Adam to this volatile mix wasn’t helping. As it was, Adam and Bodhi were glaring daggers at each other. Then Lainey descended the stairs and her arrival seemed to toss a match right into the kerosene.

“Elaine Benedict,” Bodhi said with a wide grin as he crossed the room. Her expression would have been entertaining if Ezra wasn’t already storming across the room.

She raised her brows at him. “Cavendish,” she said slowly. “When did you get here?”

He dipped his head and pressed a kiss to each of her cheeks like they were French, and she gave him a light shove before she headed toward Hellspawn. Vaughn shifted to let her slide onto the sofa next to Kellan.

“Right,” I said, watching the girls confer for a moment. “I think it’s time we all put our cards on the table…” Kellan and I had discussed some of this but not all of it. “Before anyone starts throwing their dick around about who is the bigger badass, listen. We all have pieces of this puzzle.”

I tracked my gaze to Hellspawn as she slipped off Kellan’s lap to let him stand. The guys moved and then we formed a loose circle around the girls while facing Ezra, Adam, Doc’s guys— Lunchbox, Bones, and I forgot what the last guy was called. Alphabet wasn’t here, so I’d guess he was with their girl wherever.

Doc had come down to join us and seemed to read the room as easily as I had. This was a seriously volatile combination of people.

“We’re going to start with what we know,” Kellan said. “You guys have all helped us in different ways since this began, but I’m making it clear right now— there’s going to be more blood spilled before this is over. None of you are committed, yet. If you want out, now is the time to go.”

No one moved. Not that I expected them to make that choice. If anything, Adam turned his brooding, studious gaze on Kellan and seemed to be assessing him. “Read us in… if we can help— if I can help, I will.”

Ezra sighed. “Fine, fuck it. You guys are always good for a fight.”

“We’re here for Doc,” Bones said like that answered everything, and granted it probably did.

“Is there going to be pizza?” Bodhi asked and I rolled my eyes. “Cause I’m hungry and think better with food.”


Hellspawn laughed and I almost forgave the son of a bitch for being a son of a bitch.


“Right,” Kellan said. “Pizza later. Everyone take a seat, this is going to be a minute.”
Heather Long. Fierce Dancer ARC – Heather Long (Kindle Locations 1600-1681). Kindle Edition.

With their forces gathered they begin to formulate a plan, the first thing needed is Bradley Sharpe’s location.

There is plenty of sizzle in this one as they all welcome Emersyn home again. A surprise is an apology from Adam to Emersyn for trying to keep Lainey away from her. He also has a mission that could interfere with theirs. His current boss, who no knows, wants Julius King aka Jeff Hardigan dead. In the last book you will recall that he is Milo and Emersyn’s father, although they haven’t let on they know the truth. That is for this book and trust me it was awesome the way Emersyn handles him and gets the promise of a location of Sharpe from him.

One of the biggest standouts in this book is Freddie, his growing relationship with Emersyn truly moves forward in giant steps. I also love his bird name it’s truly perfect for him.

This book is a building crescendo of suspense, intrigue, romance, and the finale absolutely superb!

BRAVO, Heather!

5 Contented Purrs for Heather!

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Heather Long Heather Long

I love books. Not just a little bit, but a lot. Books were my best friends when I was growing up. Books didn’t care if I was new to a town or to a class. They were always there, my trustiest of companions. Until they turned on me and said I had to write them.

I can tell you that my own personal happily ever after included writing books. I’ve always said that an HEA is a work in progress. It’s true in my marriage, my friendships, and in my career. I am constantly nurturing my muse as we dive into new tales, new tropes, new characters and more.

After seventeen years back in Texas, we relocated to the Pacific Northwest in search of seasons, new experiences, and new geography. I can’t wait to discover what life (and my muse) have in store for me.

Maybe writing was always my destiny and romance my fate. After all, my grandmother wasn’t a fan of picture books and used to read me her Harlequin Romance novels.

Friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, friends to enemies to lovers, you name it, I love them and love to write them. I started with Earth Witches Aren’t Easy, the first in the Chance Monroe trilogy, but my characters and I have traveled a long way since I created that urban fantasy world.

One of the series I hear my readers recommend the most is the Untouchable series followed in quick succession by the Vandals, and that just delights me. No lie, whenever one of my readers brings up my wolves, I do a little a fist pump.

I’m active on social media, and I love hearing from readers. Feel free to tag me with a question about any of my books, or just say hi!

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Liberated – Holt Agency Book 4 by KaLyn Cooper

Holt Agency Book 4
USA Today Bestselling Author
KaLyn Cooper


She was the job and off limits,
but his heart wanted so much more.

Heath Kubiak jumped at the chance when a Holt Agency job came up in the Apostle Islands. After years of working back-to-back missions all over the world, he longed to take some much-needed time off. He knew that area of Lake Superior extremely well. He’d take lead of the team this time, they’d find whoever was lost in the National Park, then he’d stay for a week or two, fishing and camping. Sounded like a perfect plan.

All Annali Frantz wanted to do for the summer was get away from teenagers, her parents, and Washington D.C. She loved teaching biology to high school students, but she also needed a break from them. When the opportunity arose for her to work at a research station—and get a full semester credit toward her second master’s degree—she couldn’t pack her bags fast enough. For the past two years, her mother had been on a mission to find her the right husband for when her father, the senator, made a run for the White House. Ali, who preferred her nickname, found trout more interesting than politics, the only subject discussed inside the Beltway. Avoiding boring first dates and spending time on the Great Lakes with other scientists and forest rangers was the perfect summer plan.

You know what they say about best laid plans. Will they work out right this time for Heath and Ali?

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When Senator Jonah Frantz’s daughter doesn’t call in for her weekly check-in with her mother, he immediately tries to find someone in the park service to aid him. When he gets a video and then a call from the kidnapper, it’s his press secretary Susan who records the call. Her boyfriend works for the Vice President who had an issue with his son that was handled confidentially by a group in Indiana. Here begins our story.

The Holt Agency has been called in to find Annili Frantz, the problem is there are many islands, and many are isolated. However, Heath Kubiak grew up around the islands and his family still has a cabin there. That knowledge will prove to be invaluable. Afterward he plans to spend time at the cabin to regroup.

Annili Frantz was working on research in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior to complete her second master’s degree when she was taken. She’s currently chained in a small cabin with only enough leeway to reach the camp toilet and the food left in a cooler daily a few feet away from the door. She couldn’t even reach a wall to lean on. She’s figured out she’s being drugged and is trying to figure out what it was in, really hoping it wasn’t the water because she needed to stay hydrated. The cooler they left today had more food than usual, and it makes her wonder if they weren’t coming the next day. She decided to ration the food just in case.

Heath and his team arrive with not much daylight left and a storm on the way. Storms would make the Lake impossible to navigate. They’d have to be quick to check what they could and return to the mainland before the storm hits or find shelter where they are. They were splitting up to hit the ones Heath believed were the best to hide someone. Keene would set up a command center, while Kenner questions the folks at the research camp on Stockton Island before crashing. He had flown them in so rest would be necessary, this would have Heath searching this first day alone. Ryker and Xena would be checking Manitou Island and if there is time Otter as well. Heath would search Outer Island.

The storm moves in quicker than expected and the rain began to pelt down as he found the creek he was looking for and secured the boat as best he could. After gearing up, he hid his extra gear under a fallen pine tree to get later, only taking the necessities with him now. The cabin he was looking for was straight up this creek. There he hit the jackpot, he found her. They couldn’t stay there though and Keene lets them know where to go.

This is a favorite scene.

“Even though it’s raining like hell, I don’t want her to be here in the morning. Do you see any other huts or anyplace we could go?” He looked at her bare feet, dug out the pair of strap-on sport sandals and socks they carried on rescue missions, and handed them to her.

“There’s the lighthouse about a mile north but I have no idea if you can get inside it.” Keene was quiet, only mumbling, for the next several minutes. “It looks like there’s another shack, about the same size as the one you’re in, fifteen hundred feet south down the lake and up another stream about fifty feet. Given the trouble you had getting there, are you sure you want to try to get to this other hut?”

“I know I don’t want her here at sunrise.” Heath held her gaze. She had intelligent brown eyes and a girl-next-door face. None of his science teachers ever looked that pretty.

“I can make it. I sure as hell don’t want to be here when they arrive in the morning.” Ali had shocked him with her language. He figured a high school teacher, who was also the daughter of a senator, would be prim and proper, never swearing.

“That’ll give me a chance to check on the boat. It should be flatter walking down near the shore. Any chance this storm is letting up?” The storms on the lake he remembered from his childhood seemed to come in waves separated by lighter rain.

“Can you make it to the mouth of the creek in this downpour in forty-five minutes?” Keene sounded doubtful. “If so, it’s supposed to let up for about an hour. Still raining, but not this hard. Be sure you’re inside before the next one starts. It has steady winds at thirty miles per hour and gusts up to fifty miles an hour.”

Heath looked to Ali. “It’s about three hundred and fifty feet of slippery, steep creek bank. You’ll be hanging on to trees and limbs and anything else you can grab.”

“I’d rather be anywhere else but here.” She stood to make her point.

“We’re leaving now,” Heath announced. “Bravo team out.” Once again, he dug in his bag and pulled out a Frogg Togg suit for her. The lightweight, breathable material was one hundred percent waterproof. He’d guessed her to be a size small, but he had a medium in his bag just in case.

He attached a barely visible, motion-activated camera in the corner that faced the door. It would feed video directly to their satellite phones and to the Holt Agency computers back in Indiana.

Over the past three years, they’d done so many kidnap and human trafficking rescues that they had refined their list of necessities to carry. Since they had information about her ahead of time, they’d estimated her to be a size small. Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything waterproof for her feet.

Barefoot, Ali went to the cooler provided by her kidnappers and grabbed the two gallon-sized plastic bags, tossing out the ice cubes. She returned to the dry spot on the floor and using the blanket, wiped off her feet before she slid on the socks. She put the plastic bags over her socks then strapped on the shoes, making sure the Velcro held tight.

Genius. Heath made a mental note to add plastic bags to their growing list of rescue mission necessities.

She slid on the thin waterproof pants. They were a bit long until she tightened the Velcro on the bottom hem. It helped seal the plastic bags covering her feet. She winced as she tried to slide her left hand down the jacket sleeve, so Heath helped her.

“Your left shoulder is going to be sore from where you tugged on the chains. When we get to the other cabin, I’ll give you a topical lotion to rub into it.” Heath knew how painful her body would be from being restrained. He’d spent three months as a POW of rebels in Ethiopia.

“Thank you.” She eagerly zipped the jacket and secured the hood.

He could tell she was anxious, so he grabbed his backpack, slid the waterproof rain cover over it, and hiked it to his shoulders. “Hang onto my belt. Grab what I grab. Step where I step.”

“Got it.” When she latched onto his belt, the surprising warmth of her fingers as they wrapped inside his pants at the small of his back sent an unexpected shiver through him. He’d personally rescued dozens of women and given them the same instructions, but no other woman had the same effect on him as Ali.

“Let’s go.” As soon as he opened the door, the wind shoved at them both. He leaned forward and stepped onto slick, rain-soaked grass. He had to make it fifteen feet through horizontal rain that felt like tiny needles jabbing at his exposed cheeks before they reached the woods where they had saplings to hang onto. They slid with each step but soon learned to walk in sync, steadying each other. When they reached the woods, he was able to use the trees to help balance and move much faster. His goal was to reach the lake by the time the rain eased. The best path back was close to the rushing water, which was now waist deep, looking more like rapids than a creek.

He and Ali were working exceptionally well together, making very good time when her left leg slipped during a large step.

She let go of him, grabbing at the surrounding small trees. Most were too large for her to hold onto.

She slid into the gushing creek. “Fuck!”

Heath jumped forward, grabbed a strong sapling, and held out his free hand. Flailing in the whitewater, their wet hands brushed but neither could get a good grip.

“I’ll meet you downstream,” she yelled as she maneuvered her body, feet first, arms crossed over her chest, hands fisted under her arms, chin on her chest.

She knew exactly what to do and had the wherewithal and strength to move into the correct position.

I wonder if she whitewater kayaks? Or enjoys river rafting? Very few people know what to do if caught in a fast-moving river.

It took Heath, moving as fast as he could now that he was alone, almost twenty minutes to reach the lake. Ali sat on the southern bank just inside the woods.

“Are you okay?” he called from the other side of the creek.

She grinned ear to ear. “That was one hell of a ride. I’m wet, but not too cold. It is easier to get to this side closer to the lake.”

“Stay there. I have more bags to retrieve,” he yelled above the crashing lake waves. It wasn’t until then that he looked up the shore and saw nothing but waves.

His boat was gone.

The ragged ends of the ropes he used to tie it to two trees rode the white froth of waves a few feet offshore. Waves taller than a room rushed toward the shore, curling over onto themselves before they flattened out on the thin strip of sand. The water was immediately sucked back into the lake with the same power that created the next huge curl.

As a SEAL, Heath had spent a lot of time on, in, and under the oceans all over the world. The Great Lakes could whip up the water to rival any ocean storm with waves over twenty-five feet tall. More than three hundred and fifty sunken ships, some buried under thirteen hundred feet of water, were a testament to the rage of Lake Superior during a storm.

“Looks like it’s letting up.” Ali stood as Heath approached, huge duffel bags over both shoulders. “There’s a game trail that runs along the shore about ten feet into the woods.”

“Thanks for scouting that out, but you really shouldn’t have moved once you reached safety. Had you fallen into the lake, I wouldn’t have been here to rescue you,” he chastised.

“Yeah, that would’ve sucked. That undertow is a killer.” She smiled up at him, her face glittering with small raindrops that fell vertically. “I can’t thank you enough for the waterproof flashlight. It came in real handy when I got close to the lake.” She glanced toward the woods. “And when I explored while waiting for you.”

“You’re welcome.” Heath glanced over her. “Were you hurt? That water was really moving.”

“No. I’m fine.” She grinned. “I believe the depth of the water kept me above the rocky bottom. I floated on top and kept to the center. I knew if I got close to the shore, it would scrape me across those trees.”

She led him to the animal trail, and he took the lead. She slid her hand around his belt this time. He missed the warmth of her fingers through his shirt and T-shirt.

“Do you whitewater kayak or raft?” he had to ask as he started down the well-worn trail.

“Both.” She gave him that grin again when he looked over his shoulder to check on her. “I did a summer internship a few years ago in the Great Smoky Mountains. One of the guys on our research team paid for his undergrad by guiding on the Pigeon River during the summers. The first time he took me down the river on a raft, I fell in love with whitewater. He taught me how to kayak and that summer we did the Ocoee, Hiawassee, and the Nantahala— that’s a cold river I’ll never do again. I joined a water rafting club at school, and we did the Snake River in Wyoming, Gauley River in West Virginia, and the Rogue River in Oregon before I graduated. As a graduation gift, Dad and I did a rafting trip on the Colorado River.” She turned the tables on him. “Do you whitewater?”

Heath chuckled. “If it’s water, I do it. You don’t happen to scuba dive, do you?”

“I love to dive. Even my mom dives. We used to take two weeks at Christmas and go someplace with sunshine up. My grandfather loved the Caribbean.” There was warmth in her voice as she spoke.

“Did he teach you how to dive?” Heath knew their conversation kept her mind off the misery of the rain and her lack of real shoes.

She giggled and he thought it was the most wonderful sound in the world. “No. Dad insisted we all learn at the local YMCA from a certified master diver.”

“Smart man.” Over the years, he had met more than his share of people who claimed to be instructors and were extremely dangerous underwater. He was very careful now who he went down with.

“Every dive was a science lesson. Grandpa Frantz taught earth science at the University of Michigan so every time we went down, I either got a lesson in fish, coral, or geography” Ali sighed.

“Do I need to slow down?” Heath was afraid he was walking too fast, so he turned to look at her.

“Heavens, no.” She gave him a small smile. “I just miss my grandpa. He and I did a lot of things together when I was young.”

Heath turned and continued walking. He kept an eye on the time. Provided the cabin was where Keene said it would be, it might only be another fifteen minutes. “What kind of things do you and your grandpa do together?”

“Everything. We used to, anyway. He passed away in my senior year of college. But we used to have the best time. When we lived on the Upper Peninsula, he and my grandmother had a small cottage on Lake Superior. Grandpa had a sailboat and he and I used to take it out on the lake. He also had a fishing boat and he taught me to fish… after I dissected my first worm.”

“I take it you weren’t one of those queasy little girls.” Heath was so proud of how she was keeping up. They were going to make it to the other shed a few minutes before he’d planned, given that it was exactly where Keene had said it would be.

“No way in hell.” She giggled and it touched his heart.

What a woman. Here they were, tromping on an island during a huge storm, basically running from kidnappers, and she could find something joyous.

“I couldn’t wait to get back home and dissect the fish we caught,” she continued her story. “That’s what Grandpa called it. Dad informed me I was cleaning the fish so we could eat it for supper.” She giggled again.

He liked a woman who could laugh at herself.

Heath could see a much smaller creek ahead and turned upstream. They hadn’t gone far before he found the small clearing and the fishing hut.

“Stay here, hidden in the woods,” Heath ordered.

Ali gazed up at him as though he were crazy.

“It’s the middle of the night and we don’t know if anybody is in there. This might be where your kidnappers are staying.”
KaLyn Cooper. Liberated – KaLyn Cooper (Kindle Locations 599-684). Kindle Edition.

Once safely in the cozier cabin they Heath once again contacts Keene. Verifying the cameras were working properly at both cabins and the knowledge they would be stuck for at least another 24 hours due to the storm stalling. There is more than a little attraction between these two and staying professional is becoming difficult for Heath.

There is much yet to come as they narrowly escape without being seen by the kidnapper but were unable to identify him because of a mask. Still Annili refuses to return to DC insisting on completing her research for her degree.

Heath becomes her bodyguard as this story continues to ramp up with intrigue and potential suspects.

There is laughter and fun intertwined with the tension of the situation as well as a romance that will not be denied.

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

5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!

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Coming Soon!

KaLyn Cooper KaLyn Cooper

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

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

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

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Kascius – K9 Files Book 20 by Dale Mayer

K9 Files
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer


A trip to overseas would be a great idea, as long as it didn’t include a stop in Scotland. He’d do a lot to visit his brother, but he could cheerfully never see the woman he used to love at the same time. But somehow an American War Dog was shipped overseas and Badger tagged him for the job. Arriving home for the first time in five years is a challenge but nothing has changed. Liam, his middle brother is full of and his younger brother Angus appears to still be a lightweight. There’s nothing he could say about his relationship with his mother. But Ainsley now she’s a different story. She’s still the same beautiful woman he left behind.

Ainsley hopes seeing Kascius again can help heal the rift that still stops her from moving forward in life. She’d been in a bad place back then and had regretted the way they split but finding forgiveness, although it might be possible, doesn’t look likely.

Only his arrival sets off a chain reaction that leaves her under the suspicion of murder as her world imploded in a chaotic nightmare. Between dog fighting, gambling, and murder… the two of them have their hands full keeping Ainsley out of prison, and Kascius alive… then there’s the fate of the war dog, Beamer, on his shoulders as well…

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There’s a missing war dog in Scotland, the adopting family had moved there right after getting the dog bring him with them. Unfortunately, once they arrived the dog went missing, that was two weeks ago. Badger has two men working for him, cousins, Kascius and Karl, both from Scotland and Kascius is willing to help find dogs. He just never expected to go home to find it.

He arrives in Scotland to be greeted enthusiastically by his brother Liam, who also informs him that his ex, Ainsley is his mother’s nurse. While that seems out of character from the woman he remembers, Kascius is fine with it. When he left to go to American and joined the military there, he had to end that relationship.

The homecoming is interesting to say the least, his sister-in-law Emily is delighted to see him, his brother Angus, the youngest is irritating, Ainsley his ex, reserved, and his mam, who has severe dementia didn’t remember him at all and she doesn’t have much longer to live. It really seems the family issues are far more than meets the eye.

We get a glimpse of Ainsley’s relationship with her sister at the beginning of this as well. That seems to be a difficult one as well. She also still has feelings for Kascius and isn’t sure how to handle them. This uncertainty is because she made a big mistake by going out just once with his brother Angus after they broke up.

Kascius’ first priority is to find Beamer, the war dog. he returned to the airport and meets with Henry the cargo manager. He wants to speak with the dog’s handler here at the airport, but first he once again contacts the adoptive family. What he learns is very different from the initial story and Henry also informs him of the outstanding fees owed. It’s Terry who answers the biggest question though, apparently, he sold Beamer after he was let out of the cage. Now Kascius has to locate the dogfighting ring and get the dog out. This is going to open a whole new can of worms.

As a mystery unfolds with regards to his mother’s medication, Kascius with the cooperation of the police is about to join them on a raid of the suspected dog fighting property. Not only do they find the war dog but many more as well, effectively shutting down the ring. It’s as they are settling that Kascius learns of his mother’s death and Ainsley’s arrest.

This is a favorite scene.

She didn’t have a clue what was happening, but, considering she was getting out, she didn’t really care at this point in time. In silence, she went through the process of being released. As soon as she got outside, she turned to the lawyer. “Who retained you, and who posted my bail?”

“I did,” Kascius said, from behind her. She turned toward him. He smiled, walked up to her, and pulled her into his arms, holding her close. “You’re a lot of things, but you’re not a killer.”

She felt her tears choking her once again. “Thank you,” she whispered, swallowing her sobs. “Not just for posting bail but for believing in me.”

“Believing in you is easy. You’ve always been on the straight and narrow, and I know that.”

“And the fact that you contacted the doctor about that substance in the glass is also a good thing,” the lawyer noted. “I did hear that part of the conversation, so now we need to go somewhere safe and away from listening ears. I need to know what the hell is going on here. Every single detail. Kascius has brought me up to speed, as he knows it, but honestly, we haven’t had a chance to do more than that.”

“How did you get that done so quickly?” she asked, looking over at Kascius. “How did you even find him so fast, much less get him here?”

“I called my boss.”

She stared at him, finally saying, “Nice boss.”

“We have a network around the world.” He grinned. “Besides, this is my hometown.” He grinned over at the lawyer. “By the way, this is Larry. He and I went to school together.”

She stared at Larry. “Thank you.”

He shrugged. “Hey, when old friends call, you step up to the plate. I did know you in high school, and I certainly would have agreed with what Kascius said about your character, but I can’t take it on faith. We need to talk, and you need to tell me exactly what’s going on.”

Kascius suggested, “Let’s head to a coffee shop or something. We need someplace that’s a little private, where she can have some food and calm down.”

She looked over at him. “How did you know I needed food?”

“You’re shaking, and you’ve always had low-blood-sugar problems.”

She sighed. “And here I thought you walked away and never thought of me again.”

“I never stopped thinking about you,” he said cheerfully. “But you weren’t ready to commit to what I needed you to commit to back then. So, we weren’t ready for each other, but that didn’t keep us from being friends.”

Friends was the last thing that she wanted to be with him right now, but, as a friend, he’d already proven to be a hell of a lot more helpful than she would have expected. By the time they hit a coffee shop, and she was sitting down in a warm space, holding a hot cup of coffee in her hands, she explained the little bit that had happened over the last few days.

“And all of this happened after Kascius arrived?”

“Yes, and, though I didn’t bring it up to him, I assumed that he was astute enough to not ignore the fact that he would make a great scapegoat.”

“And yet, as scapegoats go, it ended up being you instead.”

“Yes”— she shuddered—“ but only because of Angus.”

“Maybe I’ll look like a second-best suspect, or with the suspicions on her, maybe they’ll assume that we’re in it together,” Kascius offered in a wry tone. “I’m not under any illusions here.”

She stared at him. “Wow, that was a leap.”

“Maybe, but whoever is doing this can’t be all that stupid.”

She shook her head. “That’s why it never made any sense that they were trying to make it look as if you had done it. Since you had only arrived, that would be way too obvious.”

“The ability to discern something as ‘way too obvious’ is a feature of brainpower that some of these criminals often don’t have,” Larry interrupted. “So, from the top, go over everything, and don’t leave anything out.”

It took a while, as she tried to remember all the bits and pieces. By the time she was done, Larry had several pages of notes.

He nodded. “The best thing in all of this is that you did give that glass to the doctor and that, somewhere along the line, hopefully, he got it tested.”

“I haven’t heard from him. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what to do about it. I guess I could have contacted the cops, but I sounded idiotic, prattling on about a mysterious white substance in the bottom of a glass.”

Larry nodded. “And, because you were responsible for her, you did the right thing in the sense that you reported it to the doctor. Now, what the doctor did with that, we don’t know, but we need to find out.”

“You can contact him or I can,” she said, pulling out her phone.

“Nope, leave it,” Larry said. “I’ll contact the cops, and we’ll make sure it’s all done through official channels. Chain of custody is important, and we need to do things by the book.”

She slowly put her phone on the table and nodded. “I don’t even know what to think right now.” She bit her lip, as she looked over at Kascius. “It would really hurt to think Emily and Liam believe this.”

“Right. I haven’t talked to them, but I will as soon as I get home. And then of course there’s Angus.”

“Angus?” Larry asked, still writing down notes. “My youngest brother,” Kascius stated in a hard voice. “The one who pointed the finger at Ainsley.”

At that, Larry raised his head and looked at him. “The lazy one.”

“Yeah, the lazy one,” Kascius confirmed.

She looked over at Larry. “You really do know the family, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do. We were in sports together, and I was part of Kascius’s life when his dad more or less kicked him out of the family. So, Liam got the farm.” He looked back at him curiously, “I suppose that hasn’t changed.”

“No, it hasn’t changed at all,” he agreed. “My mother retained a portion of the farm, and it’s expected that it would go to Angus.”

“Did she have any rights over the rest of the farm?”

“I’m not sure.” Kascius eyed Larry curiously. “Everything went to my mother but the shares to the farm, I thought.” Then he frowned, looked at Larry. “Maybe you can clarify that. I don’t get anything, but did Angus get more than that? I wasn’t privy to the will, as I wasn’t in it.”

Larry considered that and frowned. “How much money did your mother have?”

“I have no idea. Remember? I got kicked out when I wasn’t worthy of being part of the family.”

At that, Larry nodded. “Sounds as if you went on and had a better life anyway.”

“I did. However, another concern here is that Liam’s wife, Emily— you remember her. She was a couple years behind us. She’s very pregnant, and she’s had multiple miscarriages already. They didn’t think that she would make it this far, so the last thing we want is to have her upset.”

“Too late,” Ainsley whispered. “She was there when I got arrested.”

“Ah, crap.” Kascius rubbed his temples. “That’s something I need to check in on. We may need to get her a nurse.” He looked over at Ainsley. “The sooner we get this cloud cleared over your head, the sooner I can get Emily back to being calm too. She’ll be absolutely hysterical.”

“Have you checked your phone?” Larry asked. Kascius shook his head and pulled out his phone. “Shit, I’d turned it off because of the police raid I was part of. Then when the detective I was working with told me what happened with Mam, I came straight to the jail to check on Ainsley.” He quickly saw he had four messages. He got up and said, “Excuse me. I’ll be right back.” And, with that, he walked off to the side.

As she watched him go, she faced Larry. “I really didn’t do it. Angus immediately accused me of killing his mother. But I didn’t. I wouldn’t.”

“I’m glad to hear that. That’s important.”

“I can’t even begin to imagine.”

“As you suggested, Kascius makes a really good victim for a setup here but not necessarily a reasonable one, as in what’s his motive?”

“See? That’s the thing I don’t understand. He wouldn’t do this, and it doesn’t make any sense at all that he would do this when he’d only just arrived. If he was trying to hide his tracks, he would have made it seem to be somebody else.”

“You mean, like you?” he asked seriously.

She stared, her jaw dropping, and then shook her head. “No, he wouldn’t do that.”

“No, he wouldn’t. I wanted to know how you felt about it.”

“I’m completely confused at the moment, and I don’t understand any of this. If the police had even asked me a few more questions, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but Angus just— well, I think Angus probably threw me under the bus right away.”

“I suspect what he pointed out was the fact that you had the opportunity, since you were the one looking after his mother, and he also said that Bella was quite upset and included something about her accusing you.”

“Oh, great. So how am I supposed to argue with a woman’s deathbed accusation?” She frowned. “I didn’t realize Angus saw her that morning. He wasn’t there when I arrived. Or was he?”

“Nothing’s ever that simple, but we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually.”

She sighed and sat back. “I’m glad to hear that,” she whispered, a single tear rolling down each cheek, “because I didn’t do anything wrong. To Bella  … or my brother.”

“Good. Keep that energy, that righteous anger at the forefront. Don’t let it ever go, but you also have to be controlled, so you’re not the person who keeps giving the police more to go on, even if it’s just motivation.” Then he looked at her. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to Kascius about his return. I presume he came back for you?”

She stared at him, her bottom lip trembling. “I wish he had come back for me, but it was a job that he was asked to do. He is trying to locate a retired American War Dog that was shipped over here and got lost. You’ll have to ask him, but now there’s something about it getting sold to a dogfighting ring. I honestly don’t know very much about it.”
Dale Mayer. Kascius-Dale-Mayers-re (Kindle Locations 1953-2039). Kindle Edition.

With Ainsley out on bail, and his sister-in-law in the hospital, Kascius turns his attention to the war dog. There’s a bond between him and an injured dog and he wants to take both of them. Plus he needs to do what he can to prove Ainsley’s innocence.

Holy Moly! This book couldn’t be put down, everything happens so quickly, and the suspense just ramps up higher and higher.

I really can’t wait to see what Dale has in mind for the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Dale!

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Coming Soon!

Dale Mayer

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

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

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

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Accepting Love – Blossom Ridge Book 6 by Becca Jameson

Accepting Love
Blossom Ridge Book 6
USA Today Bestselling Author
Becca Jameson



I’m deeply Little in my heart.
But no one outside Surrender can ever know.
In my real life, I have a reputation to uphold.
I’m a well-known public persona.
The vanilla world wouldn’t understand.
When I’m alone, I can be myself.
When I’m not, I’m what everyone expects me to be.


I’ve had my eye on Hannah for two years.
When I’ve asked her out, she’s turned me down.
I know she likes me. It’s obvious.
I dominate her, but only inside the club walls.
It’s against strict policy for me to pressure her.
So I wait and watch and hope.
And then fate drops me into her space, outside the club…

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The prologue of this book has us at Surrender after Giana and Kendric’s wedding and Hannah is congratulating her.

Hannah only gets to be her real self on the two nights she allots herself each week here at Surrender. The rest of the time she is in the public eye so often that she can’t even hint at her true self. To do so would jeopardize her reputation and career. Even as she’s talking with all the other littles, she keeps glancing at Zane. He is the Daddy of her dreams, only it can never be. Zane is watching her as well, so even though the feeling may be mutual, he’s asked her out a few times, but the answer is always no. It doesn’t stop him from watching her though.

In Zane’s life outside of Surrender, he has a recording studio and has been chosen to record Carolina Fraser, an acclaimed pianist, for a charity orchestra concert. Each member will have their part recorded all over the globe. At a meeting with her manager Audrey Simone, she asks if he could come evaluate the needs to fix the acoustics in the music room of Carolina’s new home. Zane knows little about Carolina as she’s reclusive and a bit mysterious. There are no photos of her that show her full face and he’s more than a little curious. He’s really hoping he gets to meet her when he does the evaluation the next day.

When he arrives, he hears the music and knows he will get the opportunity to meet Carolina. He’s instructed by Audrey to head back to the music room as she needs to take a call. Carolina’s back is to him and in spite of the music spurring images of her wearing a long black gown, she’s wearing a pink t-shirt and jeans with pink sneakers. That for some reason makes him smile.

When she turns around, they both get quite the shock. For Hannah/Carolina Fraser and Zane/Kingston Slade their worlds have just collided.

This is a favorite scene.

“Look at me, Hannah.”

She’s trembling violently as she does so.

“First, let me say, I would never, ever reveal you to anyone. Never.”

She gives a slight nod. “I never should have joined the club,” she murmurs. “It was too risky.”

“I hate that you feel that way. Surrender and other fetish clubs exist for people to explore their preferences without judgment. There’s a code of honor that must be respected.”

She chews on her bottom lip. Her eyes are watering. “I do not mix my real life with my kinky side.”

I nod. “I understand. Most people don’t. Your secret will go to the grave with me, Hannah.”

She flinches.

“I should call you Carolina. I’m sorry.”

She shakes her head. “It sounds odd coming from you.” Her hands are shaking violently as she lifts them to cover her face.

I physically hurt for her. She’s scared out of her mind and freaking out. I’m not even sure what to say or not say to make this better, but I have to try. “You hold the power here, Hannah,” I inform her. “I hate seeing you so distraught. There’s no need. I swear on my life I will keep your secret. If you want me to leave right now, I’ll do it. We can pretend we never saw each other. If you want me to do what I came here for, I can do that too. I’m professional. I can assess your music room and make a recommendation and disappear. I know you’re scheduled to record in my studio. If you’d like to cancel and make arrangements with someone else, I’ll understand. If you’d like me to not be there when you’re recording, that’s also your prerogative.”

I feel like I’ve laid it all out there.

She ignores everything I’ve said and changes the subject. “I’m not the same person outside the club,” she murmurs.

“I get that. You’re not alone. That’s true for many people, especially submissives.”

She lowers her hands and looks at me hard for the first time. “It’s not true for you.”

I furrow my brow and draw in a breath. “You’re right. It’s different for me. I should have made that distinction. I’m a Dominant whether or not I’m at the club. However, I don’t run around telling people I’m a Daddy Dom in vanilla society. I keep that to myself.”

“I can feel your power.”

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m kind of glad. “I’m feeling extremely helpless right now, Hannah.
My instinct is to gather you up in my arms and reassure you that nothing has to change just because we accidentally met in real life.”

“My instinct is to let you, but that scares me to death.”

I nod and then tentatively reach out to slowly clasp her hand in mine. Her fingers are cold. I bet they weren’t cold while she was playing the piano. I stroke her knuckles with my thumb when she doesn’t pull away.

She’s breathing heavily. “I’m not Little in my real life.”

She’s wrong, but I don’t point that out. She’s so Little right now that it’s thick in the air.

“Or maybe you’re not a pianist in your real life,” I tease, hoping to lighten the mood.

She gasps, her eyes wide, mouth falling open.

I’ve struck a nerve.

She jerks her gaze down.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

She shakes her head. “No. You’re right. I’ve thought that many times in the past few years. It’s just shocking to hear someone say it out loud.”

I need strength to handle this carefully. “I understand now why you’re so private at the club and why you turned me down when I suggested we go out.”

“I never should have joined the club. It was too risky. This is exactly what I feared.”

I squeeze her hand. “Hey, I know you’re shocked and panicking, but nothing has changed.”

She jerks her gaze to mine again. “Everything has changed. Do you have any idea how I’m feeling right now?” Luckily she continues without needing a response. “My worlds have collided.”

I suck in a breath. Those are the exact words I thought when I first saw her face.

“People expect things from me. I have a public persona to uphold. I can’t be seen as weak. I can’t be Little.”

“Nothing about you is weak, Hannah, and I feel sad that you obviously work so hard to deny yourself something you crave just to appease other people.”

She glares at me. “You don’t understand. How could you?”

She’s right.

She jerks her hand out of my grasp, scoots the bench back, and rises.

I want to drop my forehead down onto the bench seat as soon as she steps away. I hate the distance she puts between us. I rise but don’t move from my spot as I watch her hurry over to the windows. I doubt she’s seeing anything outside. I know I’m not.

My focus is on her and how she’s wrapped her arms around herself. How her hair is still lying down her back in perfect waves. I’ve stroked that hair before in a parallel universe. I’ve spanked the curved bottom I’m seeing. I’ve felt her heat even though I’ve never reached between her legs.

I’ve held her down when she has squirmed across my knees. I’ve experienced the swell of her breasts on my thighs. I know the scent of her arousal. I know the color of her favorite panties.

My chest is tight. My God, I’ve wanted her for a long time. If I could just…

“What do you think of the room?” she asks in a different voice. “The acoustics suck. I know it needs insulation or panels or something. Maybe a lower ceiling. I hate to lose these windows if I can help it. The view is amazing.”

I close the distance she’s put between us because I can’t stop myself, and I don’t want to. “Hannah…”

She glances at me when I step next to her. “You can’t call me that either. It sucks me into Little space. I can’t be her when I’m not at the club.”

I nod. “Would you like me to call you Carolina?”

She searches my face with the most serious expression. “I don’t know what I want.” At least she’s honest. “I can’t think.”

“What does Audrey know?” I need to understand this before she barges back into the room.


Okay. That’s surprising and it helps.

“It was her idea. That I join Surrender, I mean. She thought it would be good for me.”

I furrow my brow. “She knew you were Little?”

Hannah, Lordy, Carolina nods. “She’s like a mother to me. I’ve known her my entire life. I was never like other kids. I didn’t have friends. I had my piano and my music teachers. Audrey was my friend. My champion. She’s the one I went to when I started my period. She’s the one who read to me at night. She’s my everything.”

“She sounds amazing.”

“She is.”

“How did she find out you were Little?”

Carolina— I need to engrain this name in my brain and learn to toggle it. It feels important. She looks out the window again. “I tried to keep it private. I only let myself be real in my bedroom. My grandfather never knew. But Audrey knew. She knew for a long time before she confronted me. She researched age play thoroughly before she came to me.”

“That must have been scary.”

“Oh, I freaked out. I wanted to die. But we talked about it for hours, long into the night. She helped me understand that I wasn’t a freak, that there are others like me. She had already found Surrender, visited it, and spoken to Master Roman.”

I wince. I might have lost my shit if someone did all that behind my back. “Did this make you mad?”

She shrugs. “At first. But she only wants what’s best for me.” She looks down and wrings her hands together. “She’s the only family I have. I don’t know what I would do without her.”

I wonder how much of Carolina’s life is managed by Audrey. Perhaps more than just her business.

“I’m out of sorts,” Carolina whispers.

I turn and step between her and the window, facing her. I slowly lift my hand to her chin, making sure she’s well aware I’m going to touch her.

She inhales sharply at the contact, her eyes wide as she meets my gaze. I’m six-two. She’s about five-five. I tower over her. I don’t want to intimidate her, but I do want her to pay attention to what I’m going to say. “I need to know something.”

She licks her lips.

“When I’ve asked you out in the past, did you turn me down because you weren’t interested in me?”

She shudders. “No, Sir,” she whispers.

My God. She’s submitting to me. She’s brave enough not to lower her gaze too. “Did you turn me down because you made a vow to yourself not to ever let your personal life mix with your preferred kink?”

Her voice is even softer when she murmurs, “Yes, Sir.”

“In a perfect world, would you want a relationship with me?” My heart is racing.

She blinks. “We don’t live in a perfect world.”

I step closer. “Answer my question.”

Her breath hitches. “Yes.” She immediately steps back, breaking contact with me and putting several feet between us.

Her sudden distance doesn’t change the admissions she’s made.

As I stand here, watching her every move, I know one thing for certain.

She is mine.
Becca Jameson. Accepting Love – Becca Jameson (Kindle Locations 211-283). Kindle Edition.

From the realization that they are both interested, to their first date, to Zane being her full time Daddy, this is a journey of Hannah not only accepting who she is and learning to trust.

I love all the way things come together in this book especially with regard to Audrey who is far more than Caroline’s manager. She really is more like a mother to her.

The visit to Blossom Ridge is more freeing for Hannah than she could ever have imagined, and Zane is more than up to the challenge of merging the public and private personas of Hannah.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Becca!

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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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Stormy Sky Magic – Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 9 by Sara Bourgeois

Stormy Sky Magic
Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 9
Sara Bourgeois


After a tornado strikes Coventry, the cleanup efforts are interrupted by the discovery of a dead body in the ruins of one of the worst-hit homes. But was the deceased killed by the raging storm? Or, is there something more sinister going on?


Kinsley and Thorn are new parents. Laney is a perfect baby, and because of the magical reset, they don’t have to harness her powers.

Life is everything Kinsley always wanted it to be. Nice. Normal. Quiet.

Until a dead witch turns up outside under the old hanging tree, and Lilith is possibly the prime suspect.

In an interesting twist this book is in two parts, it opens with massive storms moving through the area. Kinsley decides to go into work and takes Tangerine and Meri with her. Not fair to leave them to fend for themselves in the storm. While Viv had opened the Brew Station, she definitely wasn’t busy.

Lunchtime sees Kinsley and Reggie closing up and heading to the Brew Station and Viv is very glad to see them. She even tells Kinsley to bring the animals inside, as the storm seems to be building into something worse. After a rather unpleasant encounter with a man berating his son, Viv decides to close, Reggie and Kinsley are in agreement to just head home and wait it out. Then the Tornado hits Coventry.

In the aftermath of the storm there is much destruction and yet erratic areas untouched. Such is a tornado’s path, hit or miss.
Dorian, Reggie and Kinsley aid in checking neighborhoods for people needing help and Viv sets up to feed folks in need. In one neighborhood they found neighbors concerned about one particular house. The man hadn’t come out and he had his son with him. This is where they discover a body and when Thorn arrives, he checks the rest of the house, and the son doesn’t appear to be there. Jeremy is familiar with the man and calls his ex-wife, she confirms her husband had picked up the boy before the worst of the storm hit. One less thing to worry about.

Even as pregnant as she is, we all know Kinsley can’t stay out of things and Reggie is certainly one to aid her in this quest. Unfortunately, Kinsley ends up in early labor after talking to the ex-wife and her son. Just to make things more interesting the tornado sirens go off again and the race is on.

This is a favorite scene.

“Thorn will get here faster,” I said.

“Do you have any healing magic you can use?” Reggie whispered to me. “Anything at all?”

“I can’t,” I said. I felt so drained, and then another contraction hit me. All I could do was grip my belly and try not to scream too loudly. We’d already attracted a small crowd. “Meri,” I said.

He came sprinting down the street. Apparently, he’d wandered off to investigate something. Probably trying to figure out how close the tornado was. That’s what I told myself.

Wordlessly, he pressed himself against my back. The pain lessened a bit, and I felt strong enough to stand up.

As Reggie helped me to my feet, Thorn’s cruiser pulled up and its tires squealed to a stop. “Get her in,” he shouted when he was halfway out of the car.

He rushed around and helped Reggie get me in the car. As soon as they had my feet inside, Thorn buckled the seatbelt across me.

“I’m coming with you,” Reggie said.

“No, it’s too dangerous. Just go home and get to your shelter. The storm is still possibly coming in this direction. You can come to the hospital after it passes,” he said and shut my door.

I looked out the window, and Reggie was standing there looking at me. She contemplated it for a few seconds before nodding her head and taking off for her car. I noticed that the sirens had stopped, but the sky was turning an inky shade of black.

“We shouldn’t be going anywhere,” I said as I stroked Meri’s fur. He’d managed to jump into my lap before Thorn shut the door.

“I know that,” Thorn said. “But looking at you, I can see that we have to try.”

“We could stay here and call my family. Call the coven together,” I said. “Maybe together they can…”

“No,” Thorn said as he pulled away from the curb. “Maybe before the magic went wonky, but no. Not now. I can’t put you in the hands of… It’s just that there might not be enough magic…”

“To save me?” I asked. Suddenly, I wished the cruiser had a vanity mirror. “Do I look that bad?”

“You just look like you don’t feel well, sweetie,” Thorn said. He squeezed my hand, but his eyes didn’t meet mine.

We drove out of Coventry and off toward the hospital. The rain kicked in again, but at least some of the flooding had partially receded.

“We don’t have to cross any bridges, Well, one, but that one’s not close to the water. We’ll be all right,” he said as if he’d read my thoughts. “At least in that respect.”

I wanted to ask him what he meant, but I already knew. The sky was as black as night, and it looked like it was boiling. Hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, and I knew we were in a bad place.

Thorn hit the gas and began to drive much faster than I ever would have expected him to go with me in the car. When I turned to look out my window, I saw why.

Off in the distance, I couldn’t tell exactly how far, was a tornado. The wedge was a sinister scene, and it was so close to us. Too close for me to feel safe.

“Thorn,” I choked out.

“I know, sweetie. I know. Hold on,” Thorn replied.

“Should we turn around? Should we go back? I don’t know if you should try to outrun it,” I said.

“It’s not heading right for us,” he said. “I can make it.”

I was about to argue when another wave of contractions hit me. I squeezed my eyes shut and prayed to the Goddess.

By the time I opened them, we had passed the tornado. As long as it didn’t change directions, we were in the clear.

“We should be there in about five minutes,” Thorn said as we drove into the city. “I’ll call ahead and let them know we’re on our way.”

His words sounded far away. The sky was still bubbling and black above us, but there didn’t seem to be any tornadoes. The rain wasn’t very heavy either. I recalled reading somewhere about dry super cells, but the memory was as fuzzy as the rest of my thoughts.

The pain was nearly unbearable, and somehow, on the short trip to the next town, the contractions had accelerated. They felt as though they were right on rest.

But more than that, I was worried about my baby. If I wasn’t getting enough oxygen, then she wasn’t either. I tried to tell myself I was just panicking, but it really did feel like I couldn’t fill my lungs all the way.

“Kinsley?” I heard the terror in Thorn’s voice as we pulled up under the awning that covered the emergency room doors. “Kinsley, sweetie? We’re here. Baby, please,” Thorn pleaded as he squeezed my hand.

I wanted to answer him, but I just couldn’t. Suddenly, a rush of people came out of the automatic doors. People in scrubs and white coats with serious faces. Thorn opened my car door, and I felt myself being dragged out.

If a situation could be calm and frantic at the same time, that’s how I would have described it. There was a flurry of activity, but everyone around me was studious and professional.

Words about hypoxia and oxygen saturation swirled around me. Thorn was nearby at first, and I could tell he was on the phone with my mother.

“Brighton, you have to wait until the storm passes,” he said. “She’s here in good hands now, but you won’t be doing anyone any favors if you get killed trying to drive through that storm. Give it twenty minutes to pass and then you can come. The doctors will take care of her.”

“Meri,” I cried out as I looked back and watched the doors close with him on the other side of them. A nurse had shooed him out.

Thorn locked eyes with me and gave me a nod. He’d find a way to sneak him inside. I had to have Meri with me. I just had to have him there.

I was on a gurney being rolled somewhere. Bright lights above blocked my vision as they poked and prodded me. But it was all some sort of weird fever dream. I couldn’t hold onto a thought for more than a few seconds. I kept reaching for Meri, and then remembering that he wasn’t there.

A nurse leaned over me talking about informed consent. Could I sign a form for a procedure? What procedure? I thought. I was having a baby. What procedure could I possibly need?

Next thing I knew, Thorn was in the room. He told her that he was my husband. He signed the form.

They’d put an IV in my hand as soon as I’d come in. I felt that part as clear as day. Once Thorn signed the form, someone injected something into it. The medicine was icy at first, but then it burned and stung as it snaked up the vein in my arm.

At some point, though, it started to make the fuzzy edges even fuzzier. I was transported away to a place that wasn’t sterile and antiseptic. When they wheeled the gurney down the hall toward giant double doors, I could have sworn I was floating away on a bed of clouds.

We passed through the doors, and someone put an oxygen mask over my face. A blue cloth was hung right below my chest, and I tried to squeeze Thorn’s hand. But he wasn’t there. In the movies, the husband was always there.

Instead a nurse grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. “He can’t be in here,” she said as if she could read my mind. As if she’d done this a million times.

That made me feel better.

Then I was dreaming.
Bourgeois, Sara. Stormy Sky Magic (Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 9). Kindle Locations (848-940). Kindle Edition.

After the birth we get an unusual result on the body found after the tornado. That was quite the surprise.Then we come to part two of this book. Before Kinsley even left the hospital, she started having nightmares. There’s no explanation for them and her magic is going wonky as well. After one particular bad night, Thorn is due to start back to work and her mom is coming to help. After he leaves and Brighton arrives, she gets a call from Reggie. The shop has been broken into. Nothing is missing, but something’s been added.

Things get even more interesting when a body is found under the hanging tree in front of Hangman’s House. Lilith was pacing in the street in front carrying a knife and is disoriented.

Things get even more peculiar as her dad helps her with summoning the women’s ghost to find out who killed her. Witches seem to be involved somehow and they need to know what’s going on to top it off, another body of someone close to the first one.

Lots of interesting twists in this one as the story unfolds, no answers on the reduction of magic though. Meri is snarky as ever and Laney the new baby is just precious.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

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Sara Bourgeois

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

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Yule Be Magical – Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 8

Yule Be Magical
Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 8
strong>Sara Bourgeois


It’s the day after Halloween, and Christmastime is upon Coventry.

Kinsley is not in the mood…

It might be the pregnancy or the fact that her fiancé left her at the altar. Still, this year more than the years before, Kinsley is annoyed at how the Christmas season starts right after Halloween is over.

A dead body then shows up in the hastily erected Santa house, and Remy is a potential suspect.

Kinsley feels the need to solve the crime, not just to clear her father’s name but also because she catches a glimpse of the dead woman’s mournful spirit. A ghost without a voice is not something Kinsley can just ignore.

But will getting involved in the investigation be the coffin nail in her relationship with Thorn? Or will they work it out only to have her fall into the killer’s deadly snare?

If you haven’t read the previous book, STOP, go back and read it. This book begins where that one left off.

At the end of the last book, Azriel crashes Thorn and Kinsley’s wedding as he protests their union. Kinsley passes out and when she wakes Thorn and Jeremy are taking him into custody on attempted murder charges.

Aside from the shock of all that’s going on, Thorn insists on taking him in, and stopping the wedding. Kinsley is dumbfounded yet takes on Azriel’s dog Tangerine refusing to let Thorn send her to the pound. She’s embarrassed and thankfully her parents Viv, Reggie and Dorian get her out of there quickly. Back at Hangman’s House she manages to get everyone to leave except Dorian, he’s ready to commiserate with her since he thinks Isaac is filing for divorce.

When Thorn doesn’t come home, Kinsley goes to the station to confront him. He’s not there and Jeremy doesn’t know where he is. Kinsley insists on seeing Azriel, which starts her doubting again and falling apart outside before she goes home. Her father comes not only to check on her but also find his Santa suit. They end up heading downtown to get breakfast as he drops off the suit at the already built Santa house.

This time it’s Remy who finds a body and try as she might Kinsley just can’t help getting involved. Jeremy is first on the scene with Thorn arriving shortly thereafter. It’s quite the confrontation between the two of them.

This is a favorite scene.

Jeremy was the first on the scene, and he flashed me a look that told me to stay back. I did, but it took all of my strength not to approach him and at least try to ask him some questions.

The young woman’s ghost had been hanging around, but I never got the chance to approach her. She was tethered to her body, but when she ran out of energy to manifest, she disappeared. There was no way of knowing if she would appear again, but I knew it would be possible to raise her with a séance. How long she had before she crossed the veil was an unknown.

But that didn’t matter. I’d vowed to stay away from things like summoning the dead until my baby was born, but something about the mournful way the woman looked at me was pulling at my heart strings. She had something to say. There was unfinished business. Someone had to help her lest she become an angry, confused spirit.

That would have been a tragedy because I could see in her eyes that she wanted redemption. Don’t ask me how. It must have been that intuition that my father had just been speaking about.

“Kinsley,” Thorn’s voice gave me a start.

I whirled around and he was standing there looking at me with a familiar softness in his eyes. One that I couldn’t remember seeing for some time. It took all I had in me not to fling my arms around him and squeeze as hard as I could, but I knew that I couldn’t fix everything by wishing it away. So, I stood there.

His mouth, his full lips that might never kiss me again, disappeared into a tight line as he contemplated me before speaking. “How are you? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I said a little too bitterly. “I’m okay, I mean. Sorry, I’m a little on edge. What’s going on?”

“With the scene or with us?” he asked.

“Well, I was asking about the dead woman, but I’d rather hear about us… you.”

“How do you know that there’s a dead woman? Jeremy said you stayed back from the scene,” Thorn said.

I leaned in and whispered to him. “I saw her ghost,” but as I said it, I caught a whiff of his soap and aftershave. Something hormonal shifted inside of me, and I wanted to climb him like a jungle gym. Since I couldn’t do that, I took a step back. When I did, Thorn looked at me like I had three heads. Great, I thought. I’d offended him.

“Please stay out of this,” Thorn said and rubbed his jaw.

“Are you even in a position to ask me that anymore?” I sort of hissed.

“Well, I’m the sheriff of this town,” he said and scowled at me.

“Not what I meant,” I snapped back.

“Well, then what did you mean?” he asked.

We were both acting like we hadn’t been about to get married the day before. It was like the beginning of the relationship where we couldn’t decide if we liked or loathed each other. It didn’t occur to me at the time that it was probably a good sign. That even when things were at their worst, Thorn and I just went back to the beginning. It never really seemed to be over.

But I wasn’t thinking about that then. I was too busy being annoyed that he wasn’t down on his knees begging for my forgiveness.

“I meant are you in any position to try to tell me what to do, Thorn? Are we even still together?” I wanted to say more, but I bit my tongue and waited.

“I think that’s more up to you than it is me,” Thorn said, but his breath hitched a little when he said it. His shoulders slumped a little too. He was taking it hard, and I abruptly felt a rush of empathy. I felt his pain as if it were my own.

“How can you say that?” I asked. “You walked out on me.”

“Because you wanted him there. You wanted him at our wedding. That’s what I don’t get. Why? Why did you want him there?” Thorn asked through gritted teeth.

“Who?” I could not for the life of me figure out what he was talking about. Did he mean Azriel? Did Thorn think I invited him to our wedding?

“You know who. That bloodsucker. The man who loves your darkness. It makes me sick just thinking about it. The two of you. What were you planning, Kinsley? Marry me so you could have a respectable family and keep him on the side?” Thorn’s cheeks burned red with fury.

“Don’t you dare,” I hissed for real that time. “Don’t you dare accuse me of something like that. You know me better than that.”

“Do I?” Tears threatened to spill over, but Thorn kept them at bay. He would not lose control, but I could feel the devastation radiating off him. He was hurting so much, but what could I do? How could I fix this? “I thought I knew you, Kinsley, but tell me why he was there. If you didn’t invite him, then how?”

“He just showed up,” I said. I thought about leveling the accusation Azriel had shared with me about Thorn capturing him and using his gang to hold him hostage to keep him away from me, but it was becoming obvious that at least that part of Azriel’s story was a lie.

I should have seen it as a lie from the beginning. Just like Thorn knew me, I knew him too. He would not have imprisoned Azriel to keep him away from me. Would he? Either way, I couldn’t bring it up. When I tried to say something about it, the whole thing sounded ridiculous.

“He just showed up?” Thorn wanted confirmation.

“Of course,” I said. “I didn’t want him there. I didn’t invite him, and I hope you didn’t take me wanting to keep a dog from going to the pound to mean that I did. I wasn’t going to let you take revenge against Azriel out on Tangerine.”

“You’re right,” he relented. “I’m sorry I said that. I should have never. You know that I couldn’t hurt an innocent animal, right?”

“I know that,” I said. “But you were furious and not yourself. I took Tangerine because it was the right thing to do, not because I wanted Azriel there. The dog isn’t some sort of connection to him. I’m not holding on to him.”

“Are you sure?” Thorn asked.

“The fact that you don’t believe me worries me,” I said. “Do you think that I’ve suddenly become this person that’s going to lie to you?”

“I wouldn’t say suddenly,” Thorn’s edge returned. “We’ve both left things out in the past. Neither one of us has been perfect to the other, so you can’t blame me for wondering.”

“I can blame you for wondering, Thorn. We moved past all this. We were supposed to, anyway.”

“I thought so too until the man who got you pregnant while you were supposed to be with me showed up at our wedding,” he spat.

I should have let that go. It was the first time he’d said anything negative about my brief marriage to Azriel, and I should have just let him have that moment of anger. It could have just been forgiven, because it was sort of true, but oh, no. A new rush of hormones took over. The rage ones to be exact. So, when Thorn went low, I went lower. Crawling on my belly through the mud low.

“You walked out on our wedding, Thorn,” I said. “You did this.”

“I was trying to protect you and the baby. I don’t care if you love him more, I still want to protect you. He’s no good for you, and he’s definitely no good for a child. I had to make sure he was locked away for good. If you won’t protect yourself, then I will. Even if it’s the last act of love I get to show you.”

“I. Don’t. Love. Him.” I gritted out through my clenched jaw.

“Okay,” Thorn relented. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I walked out the way I did, but I had to protect you. Please calm down, sweetie. It’s not…”

“I know it’s not good for the baby,” I said. “Please stop acting like I don’t know what’s good for me or my baby. You’re way too overprotective, Thorn. It’s not cute, or endearing, or romantic. It’s unhealthy.”

“Some of the things you do are unhealthy too,” he said. “We’re supposed to be a team, so when one of us falls, the other is supposed to pick up the slack. That’s all I’m trying to do, Kinsley. Loving you doesn’t always mean giving you exactly what you want.”

He was right, but I didn’t let that stop me. “Is that why you manufactured the story about Azriel trying to have me killed?” My fists were clenched in fury, and I felt my heartbeat pounding in my ears.

I regretted it as soon as I asked it. My stupid mouth spouting off before my brain had time to think.


“Let me see, Thorn. I went to see Azriel in jail when you disappeared on me. He told me a lot of things. Some I don’t believe, but some I’m not so sure about. I want to see it, Thorn. I want to see the proof that Azriel tried to have me killed,” I said, because why stop before I ruined everything?

“You know that I can’t do that,” Thorn said. He sounded heartbroken. I’d broken him, and was beginning to hate myself for it. “It’s not just that I shouldn’t show you evidence in an ongoing case, but I turned it all over to the FBI. I’m sorry that it’s come to this, Kinsley. I do love you, but you’re trying to push me away. You don’t need to do that. If you don’t want me, then I don’t need to be pushed. I’m perfectly capable of walking away on my own.”

And he did. He walked away, and I tried to call after him, but it came out as a strangled sob.

When Thorn heard it, he turned back. He practically ran to me and pulled me into his arms. “I can’t do this right now, Kinsley. I’m supposed to be working,” he whispered into my hair. “I’m so sorry. For all of it. Please don’t cry.”

But it was all I could do. I wanted to plead my case and tell him that I couldn’t go on without him. I wanted to say the perfect words that would make him stay. We needed another chance. All I could do was sob, and for a minute, he let me.

Then, Thorn held me at arm’s length. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I cannot do this now. I have to get back to the scene. I will come find you later. I promise. This isn’t goodbye.”
Bourgeois, Sara. Yule Be Magical (Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 8). Kindle Locations (405-477). Kindle Edition.

Of course, you know Kinsley isn’t staying out of anything, especially with her father as a suspect. Her friends Reggie and Devin are right there with her as she gets caught eavesdropping on Thorn, Jeremy and her Dad. After they’re chased away, Meri takes over the listen for her.

Devin finds out there is a vigil to be held that night and they both head over. She runs into Thorn, and he suggests finding a judge right then and there to finish their wedding ceremony. Kinsley thinks the timing is inappropriate considering where they are and that ends up going downhill quickly. Although, he does promise to come home that night.

There aren’t quite as many suspects in this one, but I still managed to be surprised. There are other surprises in this one as well, a happy one and an unusual one that isn’t so happy.

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

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Sara Bourgeois

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

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Jack-O-Lantern Magic – Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 7 by Sara Bourgeois

Jack-O-Lantern Magic
Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 7
Sara Bourgeois


Halloween hijinks abound! The Halloween Festival in Coventry is one of the biggest celebrations of the year, but when a prop in the haunted house attraction turns out to be a real dead body, Kinsley has to solve the crime one spell at a time.

Kinsley is helping build the haunted house for Halloween and Dorian shows up, he’s doing a piece on the festival and the process for his paper. He lends her a hand for a minute before suggesting they both finish up and go for dinner. She invites Viv and Ursula but Viv has a date with a doctor. She neglects to ask Thorn so she texts him her plans instead.

At dinner they see the other folks who are working on the house and Ursula wonders why they didn’t ask Kinsley to go with them. They actually had but Dorian had asked first. There’s an altercation at the table between James Governor and Simon Barlow, she knows James but not Simon, he’s new in town. Thomas wouldn’t let things escalate and says one or both has to go. James looked embarrassed but throws money on the table and leaves. Simon however stays. Before Thomas leaves he asks Kinsley to meet with the electrician in the morning as he has an early meeting. Kinsley agrees although she’s not pleased about getting up so much earlier.

The day starts off weird as the ghost in the courthouse does something it never has; it leaves the building and is coming after Kinsley. For the first time Meri is no help and they run to the haunted house, someone left the gate unlocked so they got in quickly, as Kinsley goes for a light, she trips over what she thinks is a pile of props. It wasn’t, it’s a body, Simon Barlow’s body. As she’s calling it in, the electrician shows, and he acts weird about seeing the body wanting pictures of it. He tries to run off when Jeremy arrives, but he doesn’t get far.

Of course, Kinsley isn’t going to stay out of the investigation, without being able to work on the house she’s got plenty of time and Dorian is a willing sidekick.

I was vaguely aware that I was diving back into another murder investigation, and that Thorn would be, at the very least, displeased. I was also very aware that Dorian was excited to have something to investigate, and his enthusiasm was contagious.

After all, who better to chase the story down than the woman who found the body? That’s what I told myself anyway.

Meri was back in his bag flung over my shoulder, and Dorian and I made our way past the haunted house and then down the block to where the electrician’s truck remained parked.

He’d stayed there right up until he saw us approaching. His truck came to life, and he attempted to pull away from the curb quickly. The only problem was that someone had pulled into the spot behind him, and it was a tight squeeze.

The electrician was struggling to get the truck out of the spot without hitting either the car in front of him or behind him while Dorian furiously wrote down information. I watched as he finally rolled down his window and leaned out.

“What are you doing?” he shouted at us.

“We just want to talk to you,” Dorian said calmly as he slid his notebook back into his bag.

“Talk to me about what?” The guy was still leaning out the window talking to us as he tried again to get his truck out of the parking space.

“I just want to know why you were so intent on getting pictures of the man that died,” I said.

“Did you know him?”

“Get bent!” the guy called out before rolling up his window.

He finally managed to get his truck out of the parking space and peeled off down the street. “Well, let’s go back to the apartment and finish that pot of coffee,” Dorian said.

“Okay, but what next? Is that it? Are we dropping it?” I asked.

“Not hardly. I just want to get some more coffee and we’re going to find that guy’s address.”

“His address?” I asked. “Yeah, a guy like that must have some interesting things at his house. Unless you just want to go home, watch some daytime television, and knit booties?” Dorian cocked one eyebrow up.

We went back to Dorian’s apartment, and while he did whatever he was doing on his computer, I made us some sandwiches. He hadn’t had any breakfast yet, and mine hadn’t stuck with me. Meri was more than happy to eat a few pieces of sliced ham that I’d chopped up.

“Are these eggs any good?” I called to Dorian. “Should be. I’ve only had them for a couple of weeks,” he called back before the clicking resumed.

“Thanks. I’m going to fry a couple up, okay?”

“Sounds good,” Dorian responded without stopping his typing.

I found some butter and a couple of slices of sharp cheddar in the fridge. After heating the butter in the pan, I cracked the eggs in and let them sizzle.

While I stood there at Dorian’s stove, my mind wandered. I thought about the argument the night before in the restaurant. Sure, it had been heated, but I couldn’t imagine it was bad enough that James would kill Simon.

Could I really know that for sure, though? Perhaps the argument had started because there had been bad blood for a while. I didn’t know either man very well, and I’d have to find out more before I could make a decision. The whole thing could have been nothing more than a testosterone and beer-fueled spat. Or perhaps it was just tension because neither men had a permanent job.

The bread I’d put in the toaster popped up, and I put two more slices in. While the eggs finished frying, I slathered a layer of mayonnaise on the toast and put on the cheese. There was a little room left in the pan since I was only cooking two eggs, so I put the ham in the pan to let it get warm.

When the sandwiches were done, I took them into the living room area and set them down on Dorian’s coffee table. His cup was empty, so I made us two more coffees. By the time I got back into the room, he was smiling.

“You look like the cat that got the canary,” I said and set his coffee down in front of him.

“I got his name and address,” Dorian said. “Maurice Larkin at 1336 Laurel Avenue in Waverly.”

“Waverly is a small town,” I said before taking a bite of my sandwich.

“Coventry is a small town,” Dorian countered.

“Yeah, but Waverly is really small. Shouldn’t be too hard to find his house, but I’m sure his neighbors will notice us,” I said.

“Isn’t there anything you can, like, do about that?” Dorian asked. “With magic or something?”

“She shouldn’t, but I can,” Meri said. “I could be convinced.”

“Bacon,” Dorian offered. “We could get you bacon.”

“And?” Meri asked.

“Salmon or tuna?” I asked.

“Yes,” Meri said. “I’ll take those too. We can stop at the store when we get back to Coventry.”

“What does this buy us?” Dorian asked.

“I can make sure that anyone who notices us looks the other way as long as neither of you do anything obvious or stupid,” he said and climbed into his bag. “We going?”

“Hey, you had your ham. Let us eat our sandwiches,” I said.

“We should get going. Who knows how long we have,” Dorian said.

“Eat your sandwich. I made it. The least you can do is scarf it down, and you don’t want to waste your coffee,” I demanded.

He obliged and we ate our sandwiches quickly. In order to further bribe Meri, I tore off pieces of ham that stuck out of the edges of the sandwich and fed them to him.

I finished the last of my sandwich with the final drink of my coffee and went to collect the dishes. “Leave it, Kinsley. I’ll clean up when I get back.”

“You sure?”

He laughed at me. “You cooked me food, and now you’re trying to clean up my apartment. No need, dear. I’ll do the dishes later. Come on, let’s go find out what this Maurice guy has in his house.”
Bourgeois, Sara. Jack-O-Lantern Magic (Familiar Kitten Mysteries Book 7). Kindle Locations (493-546). Kindle Edition.

While Kinsley is expecting Thorn to get upset over her getting involved in another investigation, she didn’t expect him to leave town with only a text. A family matter that he doesn’t want her to help with, and then he doesn’t update her at all. With the wedding coming up this just adds to Kinsley’s growing doubts.

There are plenty of suspects in this one, and interesting clues. I have to say I didn’t see that one coming and I certainly didn’t expect the ending. Wow!

5 Contented Purrs for Sara!

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Sara Bourgeois

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

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Shielding Daisy – Delta Force Generation Next Book 6 by Jen Talty

Shielding Daisy
Delta Force Generation Next Book 6
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty


He wanted a family to call his own.
She wanted a fresh start.
What they ended up with was something unexpected.

All Daisy Greene wanted to do was protect her boys. Moving to Killeen was supposed to be a fresh start. A chance at a new life. Only her past came crashing down and threatened to destroy everything she’d worked so hard to achieve. Now she had to rely on a perfect stranger to help her through one of the most challenging times in her life. The last thing she expected was to fall in love.

Liam Murphy had watched his entire team find their soulmates, and all he had was a cat named Spits. Worse, the damn thing hated him. He didn’t begrudge his buddies for their happiness. However, he wanted what they had but seemed to be looking for love in all the wrong places. After being injured during his last mission, he’s tasked with helping out a friend of Craig “Doc” Wagner’s, and in the process, he finds the one thing that has been alluding him his entire adult life: true love.

Only will he be able to save her from a deadly past?

Liam is still on medical leave after being injured on his last deployment. He’s at a barbeque at his team lead Cannon’s home when he’s approached by Doc. Doc and his wife have a friend in need of help. Doc has been supporting her, but he’s got a two-week training mission and can’t at the be at the hearing with her. His also concerned that her ex is escalating and might try to coerce his sons to be compliant.

Daisy is an Olympic Gold Medalist, who was married to her coach, Boris Fedorov. He’s involved in a scandal involving underage girls. The problem is the girls who came forward have changed their stories and he’s free. Daisy has full custody with no visitation, and he now wants that right and Daisy fears for her boys’ state of mind since Boris is a master manipulator.

Daisy was nervous to meet Liam and is surprised at the way she feels when she does. She’s been around physically fit and attractive men before, but none made her feel the way she does now. The idea here is for Liam to be around during the day to watch over her. The boys are safe at school and the school’s both know they aren’t to release them to anyone other than herself.

Then everything changes with a text from Boris. On top of that he does a press conference blaming Daisy for everything. Daisy can’t say a word to her boys about how she feels or it could jeopardize the outcome of the hearing.

This is a favorite scene.

“When I first left Boris, Edwin was so withdrawn and often angry. Mostly it came out sideways and was directed at me, but I know the source was his father. He took the brunt of Boris’ harsh discipline and he also saw some things that he shouldn’t have.”

“Like what?” Liam tempered his anger. This wasn’t about how this affected his emotions or the triggers it brought. It was about two small children and the support system they needed.

“He heard the way Boris treated me. He saw him hit me. He stepped in once and that cost him a sucker punch.”

Liam closed his eyes for a brief moment, taking in a long slow breath. It would take a miracle for him not to beat the shit out of Boris if he ever crossed paths with the man.

“I’m not sure, because Edwin has always clammed up about it, but the psychiatrist believes he might have seen inappropriate behavior on my ex-husband’s part when it comes to teenage girls,” Daisy said softly. “But again, it can’t be me to bring that to the surface. If I’m the one who pulls that information from my son, it will be seen as—”

He pressed his finger over her lips. “I get it and I don’t want you to worry about any of that. Craig has already said he’s willing to take this case. Let him do what he’s good at.”

“This hearing is happening too fast. I can’t lose my boys.”

“I’m not going to let that happen.” He kissed her forehead. “Is it okay with you if I go talk with Edwin?”

She blinked her big doe eyes. “What are you planning on saying to him?”

“I’m going to let him know that I’m a good listener, that’s all.”

“Don’t take it personally if he tells you to leave him alone.”

Liam’s only experience with children was dealing with his buddies’ kids. He’d babysat a few times and he’d been considered cool Uncle Liam. But all he had to do in those situations was show up with gifts, play a little ball, and pretend to think the grown-ups were super annoying.

This was going to be an entirely different kind of conversation.

“What time do we need to leave for school?” he asked.

“Fifteen minutes.”

“I’ll make sure he’s ready.” Liam squared his shoulders. Growing up, his father always told him that half-assing anything was disrespectful to one’s own being. As a teenager, that statement drove Liam bonkers. However, he’d completely understood what his dad had meant by the time he got to West Point. Commitment and dedication to action were the cornerstones to his father’s philosophy in life. He believed in hard work as well as putting time and energy into relaxing. Life was all about balance. Being lazy had its place when it was time to put your feet up and take a breather from the fast pace of life.

He lifted his fist and tapped his knuckle against the door. “Hey, Edwin, it’s Liam, can I come in?”

“Whatever,” Edwin called.

Liam pushed open the door.

Edwin sat on his bed holding his glove and baseball in his hands. He glanced up. “Are you going to lecture me?”

“Nope.” Liam sat down on the edge of the mattress. His entire childhood had been filled with love and kindness. Sure, he had difficult times and he got angry with his parents. They fought, but to him, that was a normal part of being a teenager, especially when his father banned him from driving the convertible. That totally sucked and it had been embarrassing to tell his girlfriend at the time he couldn’t take her out in the vintage Mustang. Turned out, she didn’t care about Liam at all, but only wanted a ride in the damn car.

That had happened more than once.

And not just with the vehicle. The moment some girls got wind that his dad had his own plane, Liam became a hot commodity.

“Why are you here anyway?” Edwin tossed the ball up in the air and caught it in his glove.

Liam’s areas of expertise were in foreign language, search and rescue, and counterterrorism. He had a basic understanding of six languages and spoke four fluently. That did not include brooding preteens. “Doc asked me to support you, your brother, and your mom while his team’s deployed.”

“Is it necessary for you to spend the night?”

“Does my presence bother you?”

“I just don’t understand why.” Edwin set the ball and glove aside and shifted. “My mom’s been acting strange lately and now you show up. I want to know the reason.”

“You’re a smart kid. I believe you already know the answer to that.” Liam made sure he chose his words carefully. He didn’t want to be part of the problem. However, something told him that Edwin wanted to someone to talk to; he didn’t know how to go about it or who to trust.

“My mom keeps giving me nonanswers. Or suggests I talk to the therapist. I hate that.”

“I probably would too if I were you.”

“Why does she do that?”

“That’s a complicated answer and it’s not my place to—”

“You’re just like the rest of them.” Edwin jumped to his feet. “This meeting with the judge affects me. My life.” He tapped the center of his chest. “I have a right to know what I’m up against.”

“I’m going to ask you a question and I’d like it if you gave me a straight answer.”

Edwin scoffed. “Right, because you grown-ups do the same for us kids.”

“The adults in your life are doing two things.” Liam held up two fingers. “The first one is they are trying to protect you and your brother from anything that could harm you. The second one is they are being forced to play by a set of rules that don’t even make sense to them and that’s scary.”

“That’s the closest thing to a real answer I’ve gotten from anyone,” Edwin said quietly. “What do you want to ask me?”

“It’s pretty simple, but it might not be easy to articulate.” Liam held the young boy’s gaze. “What do you want the outcome of this hearing to be?”

“If I had my way, I’d never have to sit in front of a judge and say anything and now my mom keeps telling Oliver and me that it’s important we’re truthful, but she doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.”

“That’s not true.”

“Then why won’t she talk to us?”

“Because of those rules I mentioned.” Damn, this was complicated as fuck. “You understand what the judge will be deciding, right?”

Edwin nodded. “Whether or not my dad will have visitation and possibly custody.”

“You know what custody means?”

“It’s who we live with most of the time.”

“It’s more than that,” Liam said. “It’s who gets to make decisions for you and if it appears your mom put words in your mouth, that could be used against her. We don’t want that.”

“She’s explained that part.”

“Good.” Liam nodded. “So, even if you were to tell her exactly what you wanted, and she smiled or frowned or made any kind of body movement that made you feel like your response pleased or displeased her, the judge could take that as a sign she’s pressuring your statements.”

“That’s not fair. We live with her.”

“Dude, none of this is fair.” Liam remained seated, where he was eye level. He hoped that continued to help the boy feel as though he was in a safe place. “Unfortunately, you’re going to learn that there are a lot of things in life that aren’t, but for the time being, you can express anything you want to me, including what you’re thinking and feeling right now, especially with what your dad just did.”

“I want to stay with my mom. She knows that and I’ve told the therapist we want to live here. We’ve also said that to Doc. I don’t see why I have to go to Dallas and tell a judge.”

“Are you afraid of seeing your father?”

Edwin’s mouth drew into a tight line. His clenched his fists at his sides. That spoke more than words ever could. The anger that resonated from his body was palpable. “He puts a lot of pressure on us to choose him.”

“When was the last time you spoke to him?” Edwin glanced around the room. He rubbed his hands against his thighs.

“A while ago,” he mumbled.

“Would you be willing to let me know if he reaches out to you again?”

“Will you tell my mom?”

Oh boy. That was a tough one. “That depends on the nature of what your father says and expects from you.” Liam took a chance and rested his hands on Edwin’s shoulders. He lowered his chin, making sure to catch the boy’s gaze. He didn’t want to press too hard on this first intense conversation. His main goal was to establish trust. “If I feel that it’s something your mom needs to know, you and I will work on a game plan to inform her.”


Liam stood. “I’ll let you finish getting ready for school. We need to leave soon.”

“You’re driving me?”

“I sure am.”

Jen Talty. Shielding Daisy – Jen Talty (Kindle Locations 526-600). Kindle Edition.

Not only is Liam falling for Daisy, but he’s also falling for her children. They’re bright, happy, and enthusiastic young people in spite of everything going on.

This is a very emotional book, and Craig the PI hired by Liam more than accomplishes the job he’s hired to do.

Plenty of laughter, tears, some action, romance and sizzle as this story unfolds.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

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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