Snowy Montana Nights: McCool Family/Montana Cowboy Romance – Dallas Debutantes Book 3 By Cynthia D’Alba


Snowy Montana Nights: McCool Family/Montana Cowboy Romance
Dallas Debutantes Book 3
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cynthia D’Alba

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A sexy new book in the Dallas Debutantes/McCool Family trilogy. All books in the trilogy can be read as standalones.

A cowboy who isn’t what he appears must play private host to a spoiled Dallas Debutante who isn’t what she seems. Between frozen pipes, bonfires, bowling, a flu epidemic, a jealous ex-girlfriend and a snowstorm of the century, when will they ever find time to discover the real person under their façade?

After an embarrassing disaster at her cousin’s wedding, Dr. Wendy McCool needs a change of scene and some quiet time to reflect on her medical career choices, her future and her lack of a love life…or really, any life outside of eighty-hour work weeks. An offer of a private apartment from her mother’s friend sends her off to Montana only to discover the unexpected.

Over a decade in Chicago as a hedge fund manager and Zane Miller is ready to call it quits. He misses the family ranch in Montana, the fresh mountain air, and even the smell of a barn full of horses. When his mother falls ill, he heads to Montana, ready to do what it takes to get her health back, even running the ranch while his parents winter in Florida. What he didn’t agree to was playing host to a spoiled Dallas Debutante/jilted bride. Heaven help him.

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Could there be anything more embarrassing than having the groom jilt his bride at the alter by declaring his love for you, her maid of honor. This is the scene as the book opens, Wendy McCool quickly sets the errant groom straight and his bride sends him on his way. Then it all hits the internet.

This is the catalyst for Wendy to reevaluate her life and career choice. A prominent plastic surgeon, she would rather do reconstruction than face lifts and ‘nose jobs’, but those were the bread and butter of the practice.

Zane missed his home in Montana and when his Mom falls ill it was the perfect excuse to leave Chicago. He’s reconnecting to all the things he loves, the outdoors, horses and family. With his parents vacationing in Florida, his mother calls upon him to set up the barn apartment for a guest. Problem is the apartment isn’t livable after water damage.

Not only was Wendy not dressed for Montana in December when she stepped off the plane, she was going to be hit with that news. However she finds herself relaxing after settling in the main house.

This is a favorite scene.

Zane stomped his boots on the porch to knock off as much barn muck as he could before removing them and parking them inside the enclosed porch. He’d made the mistake of leaving a pair outside once. Pike and Coda, the ranch border collies, had had a great time with what they’d thought were their new chew toys. He couldn’t blame them, however. He’d been the fool to leave them within the reach of their teeth.

Speaking of his dogs, Zane’s gaze swept across the pastures for the working pair, but saw no sign of them. As he began pursing his lips to whistle for them, two loud, shrill whistles blasted from the barn. Then he heard the barks as the dogs moved side to side and around the horses in the field. Working as a team, they moved the horses down the fenced area and through the gate Cowboy Russ had standing open. The ten horses trotted through the gate and into the barn, the two black and white dogs close on their heels. Once their roundup work was completed, Pike and Coda raced from the barn toward the main house.

He laughed as they hit the porch at full speed and then skidded to a stop at the toes of his socks.

“Okay. Let me see those feet if you want to come in the house.”

Both dogs dropped on their bellies, rolled on their sides, and put their paws in the air, a neat trick his mother had taught them. Muddy paws made muddy tracks through the house, so she’d trained Pike and Coda to let her clean their feet.

He retrieved the dog towel from the enclosed porch and cleaned eight paws. As soon as he was done, the dogs jumped back to their feet ready to head inside for dinner. Freely available meals, like dog food, had the potential to attract some unwanted wildlife visitors—a valuable lesson learned over the years. Now, the dogs were fed either inside the house or inside their kennels, which were accessed via a small room under the stairwell. Heated in the winter with excellent air flow in the summer, their kennels were more akin to dog palaces, not that the two spent much time in them. They were too busy running the ranch, or so they would tell you if they could talk.

“Okay, let’s see what we can fix you two for dinner,” he said, walking into the house. “No steak, Pike,” he said, and the dog’s eyes took on a look of pity that made Zane chuckle. He had no idea the size of their vocabulary, but he knew they understood more than some of the people he worked with in Chicago.

For the first time since frigid temperatures took hold, a warm room greeted his entrance. From the kitchen, he noticed the fireplace had fresh wood and a nice blaze going. Parked in front of the hearth was his mother’s favorite chair—what she called her reading chair. Long, blonde hair draped over the arm. He shushed the dogs and quietly made his way over to the chair.

Wendy’s shapely legs were stretched out with socked feet propped on the rock hearth. Her slender fingers were interlaced and lay across her stomach. Then his gaze stopped on her face. Whew. He’d just about convinced himself she wasn’t as gorgeous as he’d originally thought. He was oh so wrong about that. The woman was still a knockout beauty, but asleep, some of the stress on her face had been erased.

His heart rattled like the tail end of a rattlesnake.

Yeah, he wasn’t going there. She might be beautiful. Her personality might shine like a full moon, not that he’d spent enough time with her to know. She might have a body that filled a man’s fantasy. Hell, she might be as rich as Croesus, but none of that mattered. He was not getting involved with someone like her…rich, beautiful, and pampered, not to mention a recently jilted bride. No thank you. Been there. Had the scars to prove it. He was smarter now than he’d been in Chicago, or at best, more cautious.

As he was considering how to wake her without scaring her to death, Coda decided she was the perfect alarm clock. She sniffed Wendy’s hair, then put her paws on the arm of the chair and licked up the side of Wendy’s face.

Since he wasn’t sure what Wendy’s reaction would be, he headed back to the kitchen to play innocent. Let Coda take the blame.

“Hey,” a sleepy voice said. “Where’d you come from?”

“You awake?” he called. “Hard to sleep with a dog licking my face. I’m not complaining, mind you. Just stating a fact. She’s beautiful. Who is she? Wait, there’s another one. Who are these cuties?”

Zane pulled a beer from the fridge. “The bigger one is Pike. The other is Coda. Want a beer?” He almost groaned. Of course she won’t want a beer. “Or there’s probably some wine around here.”

“Beer’s fine,” she said, standing and stretching her arms over her head, then adding a yawn at the end.

He was glad to see she’d changed into clothing more suitable to the Montana winter.

He pulled out another beer and passed it to her as she walked into the kitchen, Pike and Coda on her heels. “Looks like you’ve got a couple of fans,” he said, gesturing to the dogs with his bottle.

She smiled and leaned down to hug each dog. “They know a sucker when they see one, I guess.” She stood. “I hope you don’t mind that I added wood to the fire and sort of rearranged the chair. I love to watch a fire burn. It’s something with the flames, I think. So calming and mesmerizing.” She chuckled. “Someone could probably hypnotize me with a fire.”

“I don’t mind at all. I told you to make yourself at home.Plus, it was nice coming home to a warm house that didn’t involve spending a small fortune on electricity.”

“Now, dinner. What can I do to help? You said something about a spaghetti casserole.”

“Oven’s on.” He pointed to the dial he’d flipped before grabbing his beer. “Thirty minutes, and it’s done.”
D’Alba, Cynthia. Snowy Montana Nights: McCool Family/Montana Cowboy Romance (Dallas Debutantes Book 3) . Riante, Inc. Kindle Locations (511-549). Kindle Edition.

Now there’s plenty of surprises in store for Zane as he gets to know Wendy. not the least of which is his attraction to her. A big problem with that going forward, he thinks she’s the jilted bride.

Wendy really has to decide what she wants to do with her life. Being away from her twin and her family is difficult for her, but really gives her a chance to find out who she really is inside.

With laughter, tears, and some sizzle, you won’t be able to put this one down.

5 Contented Purrs for Cynthia!

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Cynthia d'Alba Cynthia D’Alba

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

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


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A SEALs Oath – SEALs of Chance Creek Book 1 By Cora Seton


A SEAL’s Oath
SEALs of Chance Creek Book 1
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Cora Seton

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Wanted: one wife, one baby.
Love not required.

Navy SEAL Boone Rudman has six months to find a wife and get her pregnant or he’ll lose his chance to win 1500 acres of prime Montana ranch land. So when he discovers Riley Eaton living on his new ranch, all grown up from the tomboy she used to be, he decides she’ll do for his bride—whether or not she’s got other plans.

Riley Eaton quit her job, sold her car and moved to Chance Creek with her friends to pursue the dreams she’d put on hold for far too long. She has no idea her uncle sold the ranch out from under her—and has no plans to marry any time soon—but when Boone shows up, sexy as hell after fifteen years in the service, she begins to wonder if her priorities are all wrong.

When duty turns to desire, Boone launches a campaign to win Riley’s heart. But is it too little, too late? Or can he convince Riley to forget the past and create a future worth fighting for?

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I had just finished the latest in this series when I realized that I’ve read all of these but haven’t reviewed them. So now I’m on a mission to re-read and review from book 1.

In this first book the stage is set. Boone Rudman and three of his friends have decided to build a sustainable community. One that is eco-friendly to show that you can live comfortably and save the planet. He had applied for a grant from the Fulsom Foundation and it was their impressive proposal that caught the attention of the Foundation’s director Martin Fulsom. Fulsom has the property they will need and the funds to achieve their goal. Unfortunately he also has a few things he insists on, a reality type show, women involved, a wedding and pregnancies.

Riley’s has just lost her job and with it the possibility of adopting a child. Her friends aren’t happy with their jobs and one of them has been receiving threats. Riley’s been thinking a lot about her family home in Chance Creek, her Uncle Ross owns it now, but one day it would be hers. She was the only one who ever spends time their. Now she comes up with an idea, throw off the shackles of this modern world and make a vow to live as Regency women for six months. During that time they would pursue their dreams. For Riley it would be painting, for Nora write her novel, for Avery write her screen-play and Savannah resume piano. Little did they know things were about to take a radical turn.

Apparently Riley’s Uncle Ross sold the property and the deal Boone made with Fulsom made him the next owner if the conditions are met.

This is a favorite scene.

Getting her to fall for him might prove more problematic, though.

“Go away,” Riley said. “It’s the middle of the freaking night.” She tried to shut the door again, but Boone muscled it open.

“The sun has been up for over two hours. Time to rise and shine.”

“What are you so cheerful about?”

“Getting to see you again.” It was true; there wasn’t anywhere he’d rather be than right here. “I’m glad you came to Westfield.”

“Glad enough to let me stay?”

“Of course. If you’ll marry me.”

“Boone.” Even disapproving, she looked so delicious in her old-fashioned getup.

“Riley.”

“Are you really serious about that?”

“You have no idea.” He was afraid she’d close the door, so he steered the conversation to safer ground. “You four can have the manor and the two acres around it, including the gardens out back. The Horsemen and I won’t touch them. In fact, we won’t trespass without your invitation.”

Riley relaxed a little. “Okay.”

“Feel free to wander the rest of the ranch, of course; just be careful of our gardens and installations. If you want to learn more about our solar power system or anything else, just ask. I’d love to show them to you once they’re up and running.”

Riley nodded. “We’ll be careful.” She bit her lip and he had the feeling she was remembering that Russ had sold the place out from under her. Time to distract her again.

“My sustainable community will be off-grid. How about we get the manor off the grid, too?”

“That would be… interesting,” Riley said. She stifled a yawn. “Could you maybe come back later? Like, when I’m dressed?”

“I’d prefer to talk now. I’m kind of enjoying this,” he said.

Riley rolled her eyes, but color bloomed in her cheeks, and Boone’s pulse two-stepped in his veins. Without thinking, he leaned in closer, intent on stealing a kiss. Riley didn’t pull away. Instead, she watched him come toward her, and even lifted her chin as if to meet him halfway.

“Riley? What’s going on?” a voice called.

They sprang apart. Boone looked past Riley to see an ethereal blonde come down the stairs. A possible match for Clay, he thought.

“It’s our landlord.” Riley smoothed her dress. A blush tinged her cheeks.

“This early?” Another woman descended the stairs. A brunette. Boone paired her with Walker in his mind; she looked nearly as serious as he pretended to be. When a redhead joined the group, pattering down the steps so quickly her white nightgown billowed around her, he had to bite back a smile. Jericho would be pleased.

“Just had a few things to say. Riley, can you introduce me?”

“This is Savannah,” she said, indicating the blonde.

“Good morning, Lieutenant,” Savannah said with a little curtsy. “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”

“It sure is. But I’m not a lieutenant,” Boone said. “I enlisted in the Navy straight out of high school and—”

“We appreciate you letting us stay at the manor, Lieutenant,” the redhead interrupted. “I’m Avery, by the way. It’s a shame you aren’t wearing your uniform, you know.”

“I’m happy to have you here.” What was with the lieutenant bit?

“We’re very happy to be here, Lieutenant. And we’ll take care of the house as if it was our own,” the brunette said.

“Because it should be,” Riley added. “This is Nora, by the way. She’s a teacher.”

Boone forged ahead. “First things first. I’m not a lieutenant. I’m a non-commissioned officer and—”

“But lieutenant sounds so romantic,” Avery said. “They’re always lieutenants in Jane Austen novels.”

“That’s not even true,” Nora said. “There’s Colonel Brandon, Captain Wentworth…”

“Are you a colonel or a captain?” Savannah asked Boone.

“No, but—”

“See, he’s a lieutenant,” Avery said.

“Of course, Jane Austen would have pronounced it lef-tenant, being British and all,” Nora pointed out.

“I’m damn well not a lef-anything,” Boone growled.

“That’s okay, we’re not British.” Avery shrugged. “Lieutenant it is.”

Boone gave up. “I was explaining to Riley that I want you all to feel at home here. Three friends will be joining me soon. Until then, please let me know how I can help make Westfield comfortable.”

“Lieutenant Rudman’s building a commune down by the barn,” Riley added sweetly.

“Community. A sustainable community.” If he thought he’d have the upper hand by coming early, he’d definitely been mistaken.

“When are your friends arriving?” Avery asked.

“A couple of weeks.”

“Weeks?” She sounded disappointed.

“Avery.” Nora looked reproving.

“That’s a long time. It’s not like I can head into town on Friday night and go to a bar dressed like this,” Avery said.

Boone suppressed a smile. He’d like to see that.

“We’re not here to meet men,” Nora said.

“Maybe you aren’t.”

“We swore an oath, remember?”

“There’ll be plenty of men to choose from in my community,” Boone interjected. He could handle them screwing up his rank if they’d agree to marry his friends. “Maybe you’ll find your Mr. Darcy there. Come on down whenever you get lonely. You can take your pick.”
Seton, Cora. A SEAL’s Oath (SEALs of Chance Creek Book 1) . One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (1117-1162). Kindle Edition.

With Riley and Boone getting reacquainted there’s still much for Boone to accomplish. Riley in her way helps to open his eyes about some of the design.

We meet a couple who also like to stay in the same era and offer some fun things the women hadn’t considered. Things really get interesting when the other guys show up, each showing an interest in one of Riley’s friends.

Riley and her friends also start thinking of a plan to make money once all this everything with the reality show is over. A B&B and Wedding venue at the manor house becomes a viable idea with the request for a regency wedding by Savannah’s cousin.

Fulsom is another matter altogether, every time that man opens his mouth it’s something that makes this project even more of a challenge.

I love these characters, the premise is different and intriguing. The reality show part will no doubt cause issues, and also add more complications as this series continues.

I laughed a lot and shook my head as well. Riley and Boone are explosive in their attraction and really heat up the pages.

I am starting my re-read of book two, I hope to have these all done by the time the final book in the series publishes.

5 Contented Purrs for Cora!

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Cora Seton

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

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


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Ice’s Icing – Heroes For Hire Book 21 by Dale Mayer


Ice’s Icing
Heroes for Hire Book 21
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Dale Mayer

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Ice wanted only one thing in her life, and that was Levi—and maybe someone who was a blend of both of them. When he asked her to marry him, she was thrilled, but now she’s struggling to pin down a wedding date for fear he’d been caught up in the moment and didn’t really want to go through with it. When the compound is attacked, and they are forced to go on the offense, she realizes what’s truly important.

Levi is infuriated that Ice refuses to set a wedding date. He’s always loved her, and there will never be anyone else for him. This fact is reinforced as they come under attack by a military group trying to overthrow a government that he aided.

As the bullets fly and the body count mounts, who says you can’t have your cake and your icing too!

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Levi and Ice are the ultimate team. They compliment each other from the battles to the Homefront and more than that they are deeply in love. Ice however is reluctant to set a wedding date and Levi is getting impatient. She’s really afraid he’s not ready.

The compound has gradually become a home with the pool area and apartments for the team and their significant others. It’s also been a while since they’ve been attacked there. As Levi and Ice are discussing possible wedding plans, the compound is attacked, let me rephrase that, there is an attempted attack. This team is a well oiled machine and it won’t take all that long to squash this attempt.

This is a favorite scene.

Icelite Danning spun on her heels and walked away from Levi. It was hard to do, but she was getting better at it.

He reached out, grabbed her arm and spun her around again, his face twisted with anger. “What do you mean, no?” he roared. “I asked you to marry me. You said yes, but, anytime I try to set a date, you keep pushing it off. Why?”

Ice stood firm, her hands on her hips. “You’re not ready,” she snapped.

“It’s not for you to tell me when I’m ready or not,” he said, his voice gentle as he stared at her searchingly.

She smiled up at him. “No, it isn’t. But it’s a momentous time. And I don’t want you to make a mistake.”

His eyebrows shot up at that. He crossed his arms and said, “Really? You’re telling me that I don’t know what I want?”

“Really?” she said, mimicking him. “Of course you don’t know what you want. You’re a man.”

She laughed. He reached out, snagged her up and kissed her hard. Immediately passion swept over them, as it always did. He held her close, murmuring against her ear, “Ever since I asked you, I’ve been trying to set a date. Please put me out of my misery.”

“Okay,” she said, “but I want to think about it. An awful lot of people live and work here with us, and we’re likely to start something.”

He winced at that but bravely said, “Maybe we should do a group wedding then, like Badger’s crew did.”

She shook her head. “I don’t think that’ll work. We only got caught up in that one because of other people’s plans. That’s not something we do here.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing,” he said. “I have to admit, I was a little concerned about that.”

She chuckled. “I’m sure you were. But the bottom line is, a group wedding is not a good idea here.”

“So what do you want to do?”

She frowned. “I know Bailey and Alfred will want to do the cooking. I don’t want anybody else here but family and friends. I want my father to give me away.”

“What about Bullard?”

She stared up at Levi. “I would love that, but I don’t know if you would.”

He gave her that lazy sexy smile she adored. “Sweetheart, I don’t mind in the least. But I don’t know if Bullard would want to come.”

“Then we’ll leave it to Bullard to decide,” she said. “He’s a very good friend, as are many of his people. I wouldn’t want to exclude them.”

“In that case, you just doubled the numbers.”

She scrunched up her face and shuddered.

He leaned closer and said, “Maybe you’re the one getting cold feet.”

Heat flashed between them again, and she shook her head. “No cold feet here. I can think of nothing I want more than to be your wife.”

At that, he kissed her again, but, just as they were deepening their kiss, the alarm sounded throughout the compound. They broke apart and bolted in different directions. Ice headed for the control room, and Levi headed downstairs to the garage. In the control room, Stone watched the cameras. She stepped inside, and he said, “Lock the door behind you.”

She closed and locked it and hit the security button. “What’s going on?”
Dale Mayer. Ice’s Icing (Kindle Locations 27-53). Valley Publishing Ltd.

Now planning a counterstrike and a wedding may seem like opposite things but in this case both appear to require some subterfuge.

Pissing off bad guys is a talent both Levi and Bullard have, they’ve both worked for governments that are in conflicted areas.

There are injuries, and plenty of action in this one, along with many long awaited events. I laughed, cried and held my breath more than a couple of times.

I love this team and their interactions and we see many folks from previous books. From the battles, to recoveries, to the bedroom you won’t be able to put this book down.

I can’t wait 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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Releasing Tomorrow! Our Time – Baytown Boys Book 11 by Maryann Jordan


Our Time
Baytown Boys Book 11
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Maryann Jordan

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Military duty called them away to war zones,
but after tours overseas,
the group of friends found their way back home as men,
seeking the peaceful little seaside town.
Now, the band of brothers, together once more,
work to provide a place
for less fortunate veterans to call home.

Colt Hudson, Sheriff of North Heron County, has little time for anything other than his job…and keeping an eye on the pretty waitress at The Diner.

Single mom, Carrie Beaumont has little time for anything other than her job, her son, taking care of her elderly neighbor…and harboring secret fantasies about the handsome Sheriff.

When a fire in her neighbor’s home forces them out, Colt comes to the rescue. After all, his big empty house is in dire need of a ready-made family.

As they give in to the attraction and their friendship turns to love, a string of thefts leads to a investigation that her son stumbles into.

Keeping his newly found family together, and safe, is just what Colt lives for. Protecting her son and the man of her dreams is what Carrie fights for.

Note:
Scenes and Language similar to what you would find in an R-rated movie. 18+ only.

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We’ve seen Colt in the previous books, now we get to know him. He’s the North Heron Sheriff a position he’s had since he returned five years ago. It’s a time consuming position and that’s just one of his excuses for not asking Carrie out.

Carrie is a single mother working at Joe’s Place a popular diner in Easton. She moved here with her mother about ten years ago. She knew of Colt before he walked in the door and pretty much knocked the breath out of her with his stunning good looks. It’s a friendship of sorts, but she looks forward to seeing him every morning for breakfast just as much as he looks forward to her smile.

There’s also Jack, Carrie’s son, he’s an intelligent fun loving child who has grown up with plenty of love around him. I love the interactions with him and Colt. It’s pretty obvious from the start that not only is Colt more than a little interested in Carrie, he also cares a great deal for Jack.

This is a favorite scene.

“I got some time to sit down.”

She blinked for a second, forgetting what she had asked. “Well, good, because we kept your place open. Have a seat, and I’ll be right there.” Her gaze stayed on the back of him as he walked away, heading toward the far stool at the counter. He was the only man that she thought the back view of him was almost as good as the front, and she sucked in a quick breath before letting it out slowly.

“You’d better stop drooling,” BettyJo said as she walked by, a sparkle in her eyes.

Wondering what on earth was wrong with her, she gave a mental shake, fetched a few more plates to deliver to tables, and headed behind the counter. Giving Joe the order for Colt, she caught sight of the big yellow school bus pulling into the parking lot.

Colt must have seen her staring because he swiveled on his stool and looked out the window as well. “Already?”

Nodding, she replied, “The kids have some half days here at the end of the school year.”

They both watched as the door to the school bus opened, and a dark-haired boy hopped down. He shifted his backpack around, then waved to the bus driver and his friends. He then turned and hustled to the front door of the diner, and she could not help but grin as the bell rang and the boy walked in.

He looked around, met her gaze, and grinned widely as well. He walked straight over to the counter and called out, “Hi, Mom!” The boy hopped up on the stool next to Colt and said, “Hey, Sheriff Hudson.”

“Hey, Jack. You’re out of school awfully early.”

“It’s almost the end of the school year! Yesterday we had a field day. Today we had a party. And tomorrow, we help our teacher get the room ready for the summer cleaning.”

“When are you going to get any learning done?” Colt asked, lifting an eyebrow, pretending to scowl.

Carrie watched as Jack threw his head back and laughed. “We’ve already had our state assessments, and I passed them with flying colors. I think I’ve had enough learning for one year, don’t you think?”

She rolled her eyes. “If you’re so smart, how come you haven’t given me a hug since coming in?”

Jack got up on his knees, balancing on the stool, and leaned over the counter, and she bent forward. She felt his arms wrap around her neck, and she closed her eyes, knowing that was the best feeling in the world. She also knew that the day when he would want to hug his mom in public was soon coming to an end.

With his arms still around her, she opened her eyes and was surprised to see Colt’s face so close, his gaze penetrating as he stared at the two of them. Not being able to read that look, she pulled back after giving Jack a quick kiss on his forehead. That must have pushed the limit because he wiped his forehead and complained, “Mom!”

Soon, she delivered Colt’s lunch to him, also setting a plate in front of Jack. Mavis and Joe had called out to him from the back, and he waved with excitement.

“Just so you know, Jack, Grandma is taking her neighbor to the library this afternoon, and she’ll come by and pick you up when she’s finished. Until then, you’re stuck with me.”

Jack cut his eyes toward Colt and said, “There are worse places I could be stuck. At least here, I get to have some of Mavis’ apple pie when I want to.”

Colt chuckled. “Sounds like you’ve got quite a deal going on here.”

“It’s great! I get as much food as I want, and they love me here.”

Placing her fists on her hips, Carrie said, “Boy, you might get Mavis’ apple pie, but you’re going to work for it. As soon as the lunch crowd thins, you’re going to help wipe down tables and see what else you can do.”

Jack shook his head and looked at his mom before cutting his eyes back over to Colt. “Sheriff, isn’t there something about making kids work for their food?”

Colt adopted a serious expression and said, “I think we can trust your mother to make sure you’re not overworked.” Leaning in closer, he whispered loudly, “But, Jack, if you ever think I need to investigate your mom, you let me know.”

Rolling her eyes again, she tried to ignore the thrill that shot through her at the idea of Colt investigating her. Deciding to walk away before she did something foolish like ask him to frisk her and pull out his handcuffs, she headed around the room, checking on her customers, determined to get her mind back on her job. The only problem was that she kept looking back over to the corner of the counter, seeing the best man she had ever met, laughing and talking with her son, who was her favorite person in the whole world. And she smiled.
Maryann Jordan. Our Time (Arc copy): Baytown Boys (Kindle Locations 297-299).

As Carrie signs up Jack for summer activities, Colt and the deputies start investigating a rash of burglaries. When one of the victims is Carrie’s neighbor, it seems things start heating up in more ways than one.

Another great story surrounding Baytown and all the characters within. I laughed, cried, held my breath and sighed more than a couple of times.

I really can’t wait for the next book, I am truly addicted to this town and its inhabitants.

5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!

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Coming Soon!

Maryann Jordan

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

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

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

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


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Mother of Gods – Daughter of Winter Book 0.5 by Skye MacKinnon


Mother of Gods
Daughter of Winter Prequel Book 0.5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Skye MacKinnon

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“I’ve been alive for less than a year, but it’s been nothing but trouble. I was born to be someone I’m not, created by a lonely Goddess in the image of a random man she met at a party. No wonder it didn’t work out. What I have to decide now is how I want to spend the last few days of my life.”

Beira, the Mother of Gods and Queen of Winter, has grown tired and lonely. After millennia of living on her own, she decides it’s time to create the perfect lover. But while Colan might look like the man of her dreams, he’s not falling in love with her as she’d planned. Can she change his mind or has it all been for nothing?
___
Note:
This tragic prequel to the bestselling novel Winter Princess tells the story of Wynter’s parents. It’s a stand-alone novella that can be enjoyed without having read the other books in the Daughter of Winter series.

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I started this series at the last one, Winter Goddess. I wanted a book for Samhain/Halloween and I became hooked and had to go back to the beginning.

In this prequel we meet Beira, Mother of Gods. She is Queen of Winter and in spite of everyone around her she is lonely. As the book opens Thor is whining about having to go to Lucifer’s wedding celebration, an event Beira isn’t invited to. Having great incite Thor invites her to go with him.

After berating Lucifer for not inviting her, she glimpses a human that takes her breath away. Beira doesn’t play with humans, their life span is too short, she does however get an idea. She can create a new guardian in the image of the human. Thus Colan is born, well sort of, and Beira is in for a surprise.

This is a favorite scene.

“Who are you?” I ask, my voice sounding foreign to me. Somehow, I’m aware that I’ve never spoken before. But how is that possible? I know I’m an adult; I can’t have been mute all my life. I search my mind for what I did before I fell asleep. There’s nothing. Darkness. Maybe I had an accident. Amnesia. That’s the word. I’ve lost my memory. Maybe the woman knows me. Maybe she can help.

“My name is Beira, and I am your Queen,” she whispers seductively, reaching out to pull me onto my feet. She is stronger than she looks. I waver a little, getting used to the feeling of standing. This is strange. I could swear I’ve never stood on my own two feet before. What is happening to me?

“I’m sorry, I can’t seem to remember…” I stumble. “Do I know you?”

She laughs, the most beautiful sound in the world. I want to make her laugh again and again, just to be able to listen to it.

“Not yet, my sweet boy. But soon you will, inside and out. Now come, I’ll show you our quarters.”

She turns to leave but one word resonates in my mind. Our. If we don’t know each other, why would we share a room? Who is this woman?

“Beira, I…”

She whirls around, her bright blue eyes suddenly sparkling in irritation. “Your Majesty.”

“I’m sorry. Your Majesty… Why am I here? Why can’t I remember? Why are we sharing quarters?”

She grimaces, showing her perfect teeth. “Oh, you’re one of those. The ones who question everything. I must have forgotten to switch that off when I created you.” She smiles when I gasp, unsure of how to take her words. “Yes, you’re my creation. You didn’t exist until a few minutes ago. Now come, chop chop, I want to try you.”

I stay where I am, my mind in absolute chaos. She can’t be right. I have memories… no, I don’t. I have knowledge. I know we’re on a tower in the Winter Realms, I know how to walk, talk, breathe, I know what Gods there are, what Guardians are -“

“Am I a Guardian?” I whisper, making the connection. Guardians are created. If that is true… then all I have is her. No family, no life, no purpose. I tremble as the reality of my non-existence washes over me.

“Of course you are, you silly boy. I gave you intelligence, did I make a mistake with that as well?”

“What… what am I for?”

She laughs again, but this time, I can hear the coldness in her voice. “To be my companion, of course. You will live in my quarters, ready for me when I want some entertainment. You have been created for my pleasure, and now I want to see if you’ll live up to my expectations. No more talking. Follow me.”

She strides down the stairs of the tower, ignoring my shock and humiliation. I’m to be her… sex slave? Her boy toy?

No.

“No,” I say firmly and she looks at me with confusion.

“What?”

“No,” I repeat. “I will not sleep with you.”

“Oh, you don’t need to sleep,” she grins. “I want you fully awake for this.”

In a flash, she’s in front of me, gripping my wrist. “If you refuse to come, there are other ways of getting you to our rooms.” A bright white flash, blinding me. When I blink open my eyes, we are no longer on the cold tower, but in a large, cosy looking bedroom. A massive four poster bed sits in the middle, covered in pillows.

Beira releases my arm and strides forward, spreading her arms. “Welcome to your new home.”

I frown as I take in my surroundings. It’s pretty, and I’m sure I could be comfortable here – but not with her.

I’m about to tell her that I refuse to be her willing concubinus when her dress suddenly dissolves into nothing, leaving her naked. By the Gods, she’s beautiful. Her skin is flawless, her breasts large but firm. I can imagine that most men wouldn’t hesitate jumping into her bed. But I am not most men.

“Put on some clothes,” I say, completely ignoring the sultry looks she gives me. “I will not be your sex toy, your Majesty.”

Undeterred, she steps forward, swaying her hips. I can feel my cock twitching traitorously. I need to stay strong. If I resist long enough, she will find someone else and let me go. I cling to that thought as she gently strokes my cheek, then presses a kiss on the other. Her lips are soft but her breath is cold. Stealing myself against her coming wrath, I step back, crossing my arms in front of my chest.

“No. I will not do this.”
MacKinnon, Skye. Mother of Gods: A Winter Princess Prequel (Daughter of Winter Book 0) (pp. 14-17). Peryton Press. Kindle Edition.

It seems nothing will deter Colan from his refusal to be with her, not even prison.

I love the way this story plays out and even though it is sad there are truly touching and loving moments, and a sizzling connection that is finally realized.

I’m already reading the next book in this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Skye!

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Skye MacKinnon

Skye MacKinnon is a USA Today & International Bestselling Author whose books are filled with strong heroines who don’t have to choose.

She embraces her Scottishness with fantastical Scottish settings and a dash of mythology, no matter if she’s writing about Celtic gods, cat shifters, or the streets of Edinburgh.

When she’s not typing away at her favourite cafe, Skye loves dried mango, as much exotic tea as she can squeeze into her cupboards, and being covered in pet hair by her two bunnies, Emma and Darwin.

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Lady Wyre’s Regret – A Jane Austin Space Opera Book 0.5 by Joely Sue Burkhart


Lady Wyre’s Regret
A Jane Austin Space Opera Book 0.5
By
Joely Sue Burkhart

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A mash-up of Jane Austen and Firefly,
this series puts ladies in charge–in space.
If you love a Regency romp and space opera adventure,
join Lady Wyre on her adventures.

In a universe where ladies reign supreme.

As Queen’s Physician, Charlotte, Duchess of Wyre, has done her job entirely too well. She invented a dangerous technology that not only healed the queen from an incurable fatal illness, but also could be used as the most destructive weapon the universe has ever seen.

Her technology has already been used to ravage an entire planet, and she fears the queen has decided the only witness to her illness must be silenced. Forever.

Lady Wyre is not about to wait for an assassin’s blade. Instead, she hires the galaxy’s most infamous assassin, the dashing Lord Regret, to fake her death and whisk her away to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. All goes perfectly to plan, until a bounty hunter shoots them down and they’re forced to crash land on a rebel colony.

She knew certain sacrfices would be required during this new life on the run. She’s fully prepared to give up her title and position in Society. She’s even willing to lock up her research and live in obscurity. But give up tea? And silks?

Alas, Dear Reader, she may not survive.

This Book is FREE on Joely Sue Burkhart’s Website!

Lady Wyre’s Regret

I have to admit it was the subtitle of ‘A Jane Austin Space Opera’ that caught my attention on this one. Since it is also a free title, I decided to give it a try.

Lady Charlotte Wyre, the Queen’s Physician is in trouble, the kind of trouble that gets you sentenced to death. Her technology is going to be used in a way she never intended for it to be, as a weapon. Now she needs to figure out a way to disappear, with all the existing parts and also survive.

Lord Sig Regret is the answer to Lady Wyre’s dilemma. An infamous assassin he is the perfect person to carry out her plans.

This is a favorite scene that includes a mysterious stranger as well.

Dark, gleaming eyes met Sig’s. Even a sardonic wink failed to disguise the man’s silent threat. Instantly, every cell in Sig’s body went on high alert, causing another firestorm of agony to tear through his burning muscles. That kind of lethal grace and unflinching stare meant only one thing.

This man is as good a killer as I am.

“Dying by Shee ale is a hard way to go. I’ve seen men tearing their own skin off, trying to make the burning sensation end. If you really want to die, there are much easier ways to accomplish it.”

The implication that he would certainly be able to accommodate a death wish gave his words a cold, heavy weight. Sig didn’t allow his body to tense with alarm, but he mentally took a quick inventory of the weapons he had on his person.

Perfect for throwing, thin silver blades were strapped to each wrist beneath his coat. He had a longer, heavier dirk tucked down his spine in a back harness, and two more throwing blades in each boot. Not to mention the lazor surely stashed beneath the bar.

Of course, an assassin’s body was his best weapon. While Sig took great pride in his agility and quick-handed strikes, he wouldn’t be able to surprise this man, who undoubtedly outweighed him by at least thirty stone. The man was solid muscle and topped him by another foot yet moved with the silent glide of a predator on the hunt.

Why haven’t I ever heard of him before?

Using his best High Society voice which had made him famous, Sig drawled, “If you can recommend another way to dull painful memories, sir, then I would love to hear it.”

The stranger’s dark gaze flickered over him, so sharp and deep that Sig unconsciously held his breath. “Ah, you have my sympathies. I know what it’s like to be haunted by a living nightmare.”

He gave the barkeeper a short nod and the man brought two steaming mugs. Sig smelled the mug suspiciously. No alcohol. He took a hesitant sip and shuddered at the dark, bitter taste. “What is this, witch’s brew?”

The stranger laughed as though he’d made a fine joke. “Merely a drink to help combat the Shee ale. If we decide to test each other’s knives, I want you to be at your best instead of dulled by drink.”

Since this man obviously cared little for polite Society, Sig forgot niceties. “Who the hell are you?”

“No one you’ve heard of. No one you would or should know.”

“But you know who I am?”

“Of course. Everyone in the galaxy has heard the tales of your marks.”

At least the man hadn’t said his name aloud. Sig wouldn’t mind a drunken brawl or a nice, juicy contract so impossible no other assassin would attempt the mark, but he’d rather not have to kill his way out of the Australis prisons because this fool talked too much.

I’m the bloody fool who decided to risk a drink at the Black Stump when there are countless dives where I could have indulged without a super-secure prison only paces away.

Pain banded his tight chest. It hurt to breathe. Hurt to think. Killing helped dull the pain and keep the nightmares at bay, but he couldn’t…

A loud thwack jerked his head up. The stranger had slammed the tip of his knife into the top of the bar. In size, the blade wasn’t that impressive, only as long as his hand, but that edge gleamed in the light, wicked sharp. The hilt was smooth, aged ivory, darkened over the years by sweat.

Or perhaps blood.

“A word of advice, my friend.” The man’s eyes flickered in the dimness like flames licking red-hot coals. Sig glanced about quickly but didn’t see any fire that would have reflected in the man’s eyes like that. “Never accept a contract on the woman you love.”

Sig couldn’t help the smirk twisting his mouth. “That is something I’ll never have to fret about, for I’ve never met a woman I could ever love more than my work.”

Giving him an equally arrogant grin, the man tugged his blade loose and let the knife roll across his palm, back and forth, effortlessly controlling the knife without even looking at it. “So I thought.”

A vibration in Sig’s pocket made him inhale a quick, hopeful breath. He drew the device out and scanned the incoming message. “Excellent. A new job. I’ve got to go.”

The man nodded and sheathed the blade on his hip as he pushed away from the bar. “Another time, then. I’d enjoy testing your blade.”

“You never told me your name,” Sig said over his shoulder, trying to memorize the man’s appearance so he could search for history on him later. Long dark hair, dark eyes, and nasty blade. That’s all I really know. His accent is strange, but I can’t place it.

“My name doesn’t matter.” The man paused at the door and glanced back, giving him another wink. “I’m Shadow and Death, a killer, like you. We can’t help but find each other again someday.”

“Thank you,” Sig whispered, but the man was gone.

Shaking his head, he stepped out of the main room, searching along the dark hallway until he found a secluded, quiet spot. A supply closet. A quick scan confirmed there were no listening or monitoring devices inside the room.

The sender’s message only included a House sign: the white dove of Wyre. Was that his contact… or the mark? Slipping into Britannia would definitely prove a worthy challenge. Their shields were tighter and more secure than the Australis prisons, keeping the unwashed masses out instead of locking them into their punishment.

He opened a secure channel to the sender. Since he’d just received the offer, hopefully his contact would still be waiting. His curiosity burned, a much better feeling than shortness of breath and desperate panic.

A woman’s face appeared on the screen, and not even the small monitor could diminish her classical grace. The tilted angle of her chin declared her pride and royal breeding. He’d never been introduced to the Duchess of Wyre, but he recognized her. Smooth dark hair, chocolate eyes, in many ways a sister to the man who’d just left. Impossible. If that man was from Britannia, then I’m a Razari lizard.

“Lord Regret, I presume. Your reputation precedes you.”

Her voice matched those dark, chocolate eyes. He inclined his head and allowed his own ancient bloodlines to deepen the pride in his voice. “Your Grace, it’s my great honor to offer my blade in service to you. Who’s your target?”

She smiled. Sig’s eyes flared, his chest aching as though that stranger had buried his blade directly into his heart. “I am.”
Joely Sue Burkhart. Lady Wyre’s Regret: A Jane Austen Space Opera (Kindle Locations 203-254). Joely Sue Burkhart.

It was interesting to see how these plans are made and carried out. The escape into space and then ensuing twists kept me turning the pages.

Some nail-biting action, an interesting look at the ‘US’ in space, and the hint of romance will have you wanting more of these two.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

5 Contented Purrs for Joely!

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Joely Sue Burkhart

Joely Sue Burkhart has always loved heroes who hide behind a mask, the darker and more dangerous the better. Whether cool, sophisticated billionaire, brutal bloodthirsty assassin, or simply a man tortured by his own needs, they all wear masks to protect themselves. Once they finally give you a peek into the passionate, twisted secrets they’re hiding, they always fall hard and fast. Dare to look beneath the mask and find love in the shadows.

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Bad Intentions – Bad Housewives Club Book 1 by Carmen Falcone


Bad Intentions
Bad Housewives Club Book 1
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Carmen Falcone

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Divorced mom Nikki Brady is about to kiss her play-by-the-book ways goodbye. When her best friends challenge her to buy a hot stranger at the bar a drink, she reluctantly agrees. To her surprise, the man is not only gorgeous, but makes her smile and feel long dormant emotions. Too bad she doesn’t know the out-of-towner is there to shake up her job at the retirement community.

To repair his estranged relationship with his father, Cole Myler must focus on a deal to relocate a retirement community. No problem, right? If only the sassy brunette at the bar didn’t turn out to be a human resources director dead set on thwarting him and delaying the project. Still, he’s determined to resist his scorching attraction to her and follow through with his plan. She plays dirty, but he plays to win. And if it’s up to him, she’ll be doing a whole lot more than working overtime.

Once again Carmen Falcone has heated my kindle from a low simmer to full on flames.

Pushed by a dare Nikki goes to speak to the handsome stranger at the bar, the results of which is some public smooching and her fleeing.

Cole didn’t expect to see the beautiful woman he kissed again. When she walks into the conference room of the nursing home, he realizes he just might have a problem.

Now Nikki’s grandmother is a resident of this facility and as an employee Nikki gets a nice discount allowing her to afford this. When she finds out the plans to move patients hours away she knows she has to do something.

Cole was fuming when he finds out Nikki’s plans to undermine him, this is his last chance to get on his father’s good side and keep what should be his.

Plenty of twists, turns, ups and downs as this tale unfolds, along with that simmer to flame I love.

5 Contented Purrs for Carmen!

Carmen Falcone

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

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

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


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