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A Taste of Holiday Fake-Out: 22 Fake Holiday Dates to Heat Up the Season

Holiday Fake-Out


Bad Santa by Carmen Falcone
The Holidare by Laurel Greer & Dee Holmes
Marry Christmas by Kat Baxter
Mr. Right Under The Mistletoe by Kara Kendrick
The Billionaires Naughty Thief by Cara Carnes
And Many More!


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Bad Santa

Carmen Falcone

Julie Campbell needs to get Mr. McCarthy’s attention to pitch her business plan. But the man is not only busy, but an old fashioned, archaic oaf. She does everything for her job as the manager of an exclusive mall—she’s even dressed like an elf to help out one night. Her altruistic act leads her to the hot Santa… who she sees talking to Mr. McCarthy like they’re good friends. So, she comes over and pretends to be with Santa to get Mr. McCarthy’s attention—which ends up leading to a fake date.

All that Paxton Thurman wants is a holiday season without his family worrying about him since his breakup. When he’s disguised as Santa because of losing a bet, he meets a sexy blonde who summons him to go to a party with her, without knowing he’s a moneyed tech guru and nephew of the man Julie is trying to impress. She likes him for him, and he’ll take that any day. But a little lie snowballs into her mistrusting him on a much bigger issue. When he realizes she’s the one for him, he needs to show her where his loyalty lies—before he loses her for good.

Seeing the mall Santa speaking with the Mall owner, Julie Campbell makes a move that will mean some fast talking on her part.

Paxton doesn’t call her out on it, but thinks of a way to make it work for him as well. First he needs to know exactly what she wants to pitch to Alan McCarthy.

This is a favorite scene.

He straightened his shoulders, leaning closer, regarding her with interest. “Why does this mean so much to you? I can feel it in your voice.”

She bit back a smile. “I’m an only child, and my mom worked a lot growing up. I used to hang out with my cousins. They’re a few years younger than me, really sweet girls. Amy is on the spectrum and Carly has severe ADHD and some learning disabilities,” she said, affection softening her tone.

“We used to go to the parks, but whenever we went to the malls or stores, they’d feel overstimulated by the large number of toys stacking the shelves, the bright colors, the endless noise of an overcrowded space.”

“And they inspired you to build their own place?” he asked, a pang of admiration in his expression.

“Yes.” She knew she couldn’t do much for their cousin’s childhood now, as they were older—one of them attending college. But she could help the other kids and their parents who wanted a safe place to hang out. A place where their kids wouldn’t be judged or bullied.

The waiter returned, bringing him his drink and a couple of appetizers. She hadn’t paid attention when he’d ordered them. When the waiter took their orders and left, Paxton shifted his attention to her.

“Sounds like a good idea. Why do you need him? Can’t you find another investor?”

“Because Mr. McCarthy is a guru in the toy department,” she said, reminding him how Mr. McCarthy had amassed his wealth—by not only investing in toys, but creating a few very successful ones. Then, he’d branched out to malls and other assets. “He’s well respected not only in the community, but in the country. He’d be a phenomenal endorsement. Besides, I want to show him I’m intelligent and capable, and one day tell him how I had to ask a guy to accompany me to a pitch and make him regret he didn’t hear me out sooner,” she said. The latter was a selfish motivation, she knew, but she’d enjoy it just the same.

He raised his tumbler to his lips. “That’s ambitious. I like it.”

A surge of excitement traveled through her. She’d shared her dream with former boyfriends before, but she never felt like they listened or really believed in her. Something about Paxton encouraged her. “Good. Have you worked with him before? I forgot to ask where you know him from.”

He shrugged. “We kind of know the same people.”

“Ah. I get it.” She didn’t, but she got the sense he didn’t want to tell more. She also doubted that Mall Santa was the average mall Santa. He had a good knowledge about business and had picked this expensive restaurant. “Do you have any tips for me?”

“Look him in the eye. And don’t dim your light when you’re talking to him because you’ve heard he’s sexist.”

Good advice. She would have been more aggressive before but, also as a general manager of one of Mr. McCarthy’s properties, would hate for him to think of her as pushy and avoid her altogether in the future. But if she didn’t make herself heard, she’d never come through to him. “I’ve heard? He is sexist.”

“Yes, but you’re here to welcome him to the twenty-first century.”

She tilted her head to give him a good look. “What’s your day job? Motivational speaker?”

He chuckled. “Hardly. What do you think I am?”

“You’re one of those digital influencers. You post pictures about health and fitness and get paid for ads. But it’s not steady income, the reason why you take second jobs here and there.”

Amusement glinted in his eyes. An energy bounced between them, and she shuddered, like every part of her became super aware of him. Her breasts constrained against her bra, her breath caught in her throat.

“Not close. Software developer.”

Hmm… beauty and brains. She sank her teeth on her lower lip, to keep from voicing that thought. But when she glanced at him, his gaze dropped to her lips and she drew in a long breath. “Nice. How did you get the Santa gig?” Besides a few employees who had volunteered for overtime money, most of the Santas were hired by Bruce, the HR director, who usually used a local talent agency.

“I know Bruce. We went out drinking and had a bet. I lost and had to be Santa for one day. Though he did that so he wouldn’t have to find cover.”

As a general manager, she made a mental note to talk to Bruce about randomly recruiting people without previous experience to work on mall events. Though still… well played. “What would you have gotten if you had won?” she asked, taking a piece of bruschetta to her mouth.

“He’d have to dress as a clown while running some errands for me.”

A chuckle floated up her throat, and she almost spewed the bruschetta. “That I’d like to see.”

Paxton’s eyes searched for hers, and he curled his lip at the corner of his mouth. A silent exchange took place between them, and she hoped her body was signaling the right message. Because the way he stared at her twisted her insides, then melted them for good measure. “Meeting you makes me glad I lost the bet. And I hate losing,” he said, his voice dropping an octave.

A hot stir unraveled in her body, warming parts of her that usually didn’t feel hot. The area behind her ears, her neck… She swallowed. The sensation arrowed lower, at the pit of her stomach, then on her sex. Get ahold of yourself.

If she gave in, she’d be distracted. She wanted to be taken seriously and needed no extra drama. One thing was for Alan to believe she was dating someone to get her a leg up and an opportunity to pitch. Another thing, quite different, would be to indulge in the searing attraction to Paxton and lose sight of what was important.

Other dates would come. None like this, but they’d come.

Another opportunity to get in Alan McCarthy’s good graces? Hardly.

She placed her hands on her laps, her fingers fidgeting with the napkin. Then she pulled what she hoped was her most serious expression. “I’m flattered, but while I appreciate your help, I’m not interested in dating. I’m laser focused on this pitch, and I don’t want to get distracted.”

“Understood,” he said. “Tell me more about the project…”
Holiday Fake-Out: Bad Santa – Carmen Falcone Kindle Locations (803-848).

His reaction to her plan is more than positive and he tells her what he wants in return for getting Alan to listen. Julie will be his pretend date at his family Christmas in Tahoe.

A few ups and downs, tears, giggles and a quite a bit of sizzle!

5 Contented Purrs for Carmen!

The Holidare

Laurel Greer & Dee Holmes

Pro-hockey star Noel Beckett is determined to avoid his family’s holiday chaos and anything remotely festive. Enter his sister’s roommate Gwen Darling, a curvy artist with a heart of gold who lives for the season. Wanting to sprinkle some glitter over Noel’s Grinchiness, she dares him to be her holiday plus-one.

Noel’s not one to back away from a dare, and he expects his grumpy ways to be validated. But Yule shenanigans and flirty Christmas games with Gwen break through the hot athlete’s commitment to all things Scroogy. Why does she feel like the dash of magic he’s been missing? Is this a Holidare they both can win?

Hockey Star Noel ‘Beck’ Beckett hates the holiday season, he grumps through the whole time. However, he’s not one to turn down a bet especially if winning means he gets his sister Autumn and her best friend Gwen into a more secure apartment in his building.

It’s up to Gwen to convince him the holidays are fun and she’s more than up to the task.

The first event on the list is a corporate charity event run by the Renagades, Noel’s team. Gwen surprises him right off the bat and the rest of the evening goes off without a hitch and he has to admit he ended up having fun. Gwen does too, and realizes that it was really because of each other. She also recognizes she’s falling for Beck.

Next up is Gwen’s family’s Yule celebration, that one is so much fun, lots of laughter and more!

“Would you all just stop?” Gwen snaps. She’s rigid, stiff underneath all the soft layers of her clothes. “We are getting settled, then we’re finishing our decorations. That’s it. Nothing to see here.”

This is it.

The moment to take this mostly enjoyable gathering and make sure she absolutely doesn’t enjoy herself. I shouldn’t do it, not when this family has been nothing but kind since the moment I climbed out of the car.

But I play to win.

“Hey.” I cup her cheek. “They’re just teasing.” Granted, the Darlings are teasing in a ribald, interfering way, but there’s love under the jokes and gestures. A comfort with each other that makes me miss the days when things were easier between my sister, Mom, and me. We might not have had much—and Mom and I had to work hard to create something special for Autumn—but we made it happen.

Now I have lots, and I wish they’d still let me try.

Gwen’s cheek warms my palm.

“I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable,” she murmurs, gaze luminous and earnest, not resisting my thumb idly stroking her soft skin.

“My team spent many a season learning about inclusive locker-room conduct, but let’s be honest—it’s still eighty percent twig-and-berries related.”

Speaking of berries.

I glance pointedly up at the mistletoe. She grips my arm. “Don’t get any ideas, Beck. I was not kidding about the family legend thing.”

“You don’t want to kiss me?” Her lips part. “I didn’t say that, but—”

I lean down, taking her lips with mine.

Her small gasp is worth the gentle harassment her family dishes out behind us. She tastes like sage, tastes like more. With a hitching breath, she surrenders, rising on her tiptoes, melting into my embrace. I splay my hands on her hips, holding her to me, soaking in the pleasure rippling through my limbs. Building in all the places her soft body is pressing into mine. And I don’t give a shit that we have an audience and we’re just doing this because of silly holiday tradition. All I need to do right now is kiss this woman until it’s time to get back on the ferry and return to the city.

Wind teases my hair and curls around the back of my neck.

She jolts away from me, hands flying to hold down her skirt against the back of her thighs. “Beck. What are you thinking?

Shit, did she think I was going to start groping her or something?

I rock back on my heels, off kilter. I touch my fingers to my tingling lips and lift and eyebrow in what I hope comes across as that was fun and keeps the oh, and it also blew my mind part under wraps. Swallowing hard, I do my best to pretend it was no big thing. “You wanted to show me the magic of the season.”

“Not that kind of magic.” Color spills into her kiss-flushed cheeks. “My skirt flipped up.”

“It was just a draft.” Swiveling my gaze, I check for an open window or door that could have been at fault. But everything seems secure, and it isn’t windy outside, so a sudden breeze makes no sense.

“No such thing as just a draft, Noel,” Rhiannon calls over her shoulder, and I notice she’s ushering the watching family members back outside. “Life and love don’t come with dress rehearsals.”

“Nope.” Stone gives me a clap on the shoulder. “You’re done, son.”

Another inexplicable breeze rushes through the closed window, as if to punctuate the statement. I stare at Gwen, at those perfect lips I’ve just kissed.

All the skepticism in the world doesn’t stop me from wondering if Stone is right. I’ve happily avoided relationships for the past few years.

But I have no idea how to walk away from Gwen.
Holiday Fake-Out: The Holidare – Laurel Greer & Dee Holmes, Kindle Locations (22033-22064).

With everything that is happening between them a hockey game before his family’s Christmas provides even more fun and games.

A fun read with laughter, a few tears and sizzling heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Laurel and Dee!

Marry Christmas

Kat Baxter

She’s the one who got away. The one I’ve never been able to forget. The one who can never forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made. Now, it’s my grandmother’s dying wish to see Maggie and I married. If we can stay married for year, there’s a fortune on the line. But first we have to spend Christmas with my family and convince them we’re in love. For me, that part is easy, because I’ve never gotten over Maggie. But I broke her heart once. Can I convince her that, for me, this isn’t about the money and that I don’t want her for just one year. I want her forever.

Years ago Maggie and Brooks were best friends on the way to becoming more. Brooks’ father put a stop to that and in the process two hearts were broken.

Now Brooks’ grandmother has asked Maggie to visit, she has something to discuss with her. Maggie loves Gran almost as much as her own Nana, the two of them had been best friends. She always meant to visit more often but since her Nana died it’s been difficult. One big surprise Brooks is there as well, and really Maggie doesn’t want to stay, but she does to hear out Gran. Of course she wants the impossible, for her and Brooks to marry. She doesn’t agree right away, having to think this whole thing through.

Not wanting to disappoint Gran, Maggie finally agrees.

This is a favorite scene.

I got the text from Maggie last night shortly before midnight.

Maggie: courthouse tomorrow at noon.

That was all she said, but I, of course, knew what it meant. It’s ten right now and I’m sitting in the conference room at the Sol-Com offices I share with my two partners, Jackson and Cooper. Jackson and his wife, Kaitlyn, who also works here look at me like I’ve grown a second head when I explain my afternoon plans. Cooper, the lucky bastard is home with a sick kiddo.

Jackson shakes his head. “You’re going to have to explain that again.”

“The bottom line is, I’m going to the courthouse at noon and getting married,” I say.

“Have you been dating someone and keeping it a secret?” Kaitlyn asks.

“No. It’s complicated.”

Kaitlyn gives me a side eye, waggling her pointer finger back and forth between Jackson and her. “We’re pretty smart. I think you’ll be able to explain it.”

So much for keeping this on the down low.

I sigh, trying to decide exactly how little information I can dole out. Because I do not want this to be a big thing.

“My grandmother isn’t doing well. It’s her dying wish to see me married.”

Kaitlyn leans forward, her eyes gleaming with mischief. “Oh, this is all very soap-opera-drama-y. Tell me more. Did you hire a stranger on the internet to pretend to be your wife? Because that could end very badly. I think I’ve seen a Dateline with that plot and the guy ended up dead in a ditch.”

“No, Jesus. I’m not marrying a stranger. It’s someone I know.”

“Oh, even better!” She rubs her hands together with Machiavellian glee.

“Better than Brooks ending up dead in a ditch?” Jackson asks, looking at his wife with amusement.

“Obviously.” She leans back in her chair, angling her body towards his so their shoulders brush with easy familiarity and she looks over at him. “They could end up realizing they’re perfect for each other and falling in l—.”

I cut her off with a slice of my hand. “No one is going to fall in love here. It’s not that kind of situation. We’re not you two.” I point at both of them, because they ended up getting together when he went with her to her parent’s house for Thanksgiving one year. I never heard the whole story behind that, and I don’t want to know. “This is just to appease my grandmother. She wants to include Maggie in her will, but she’s afraid my dad will throw a fit and hold everything up in probate. If Maggie and I are married, it simplifies things. That’s it. Now can we get back to—”

“Wait a second.” Jackson sits forward. “Maggie? The Maggie.”


“Yes, her name is Maggie. Maggie Prince.”

“But this is your Maggie?”

Fuck my life.

“No. She’s not my Maggie. She’s just Maggie.”

Kaitlyn, who’s been looking back and forth between us like she’s watching a damn tennis match, gestures wildly. “Will someone please tell me who Maggie is? I’m dying of curiosity over here!”

“Maggie is The One. His one that got away.”

“No, she’s not. I don’t have a one.”

Kaitlyn gives me a shrewd look. “Well, apparently, you do have a one.”

“I really don’t,” I say dryly.

Is Maggie special? Yes. Unforgettable? Yep. But it’s not like she’s the only woman for me.

Just because I haven’t found anyone better in the last twelve years, does not mean she’s The One.

“I think I need more details,” Kaitlyn says. Before I can protest, she shakes her finger at me. “Because I’m not sure I trust you to know whether or not she’s The One.”

Kaitlyn is feisty and tenacious and it’s pretty obvious I’m not getting out of this. So, I stifle a groan and start talking.

“Basically, she’s my childhood best friend. We grew up together and our grandmothers always wanted us to be together. But it wasn’t meant to be. End of story.”

“Obviously, that’s not the end of the story.” Kaitlyn makes a keep-it-coming gesture. “Were you ever together together? How is she the one that got away? Why did you let her go? I need more details.”

“No, we weren’t ever together.”

“Hmmm…” Kaitlyn makes a grumble of obvious suspicion. “So where did it all go wrong?”

“Basically, my dad is an ass and so I never pursued anything with Maggie because I didn’t want him to be horrible to her. And frankly, when I was nineteen, I wasn’t exactly sure that I wasn’t going to grow up and become him. I didn’t want that for her. So I walked away.”
Holiday Fake-Out: Marry Christmas – Kat Baxter, Kindle Locations (26879-26917).

Quite the tangled web here and lots of family drama. The thing is these two really do belong together.

A fun read with laughter, some tears, some anger and some sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Kat!

Mr. Right Under The Mistletoe

Kara Kendrick

I’ve always been a player. A football player, that is. In the dating game, though, I only have eyes for one girl. Sydney Porter, team publicist MVP, all-around hottie…and my ex-girlfriend. Christmas comes early for me and I’m traded back to my home team mid-season. Of course, I run straight into Sydney—and a big problem. See, I never actually told my family we broke up. Now my mom wants the happy couple home for the holidays.

After saving Sydney from a work snafu, she owes me. I sweet talk her into going along with my fake dating plan, but I only have until Christmas. Can I convince her we belong together or will the magic between us disappear forever once the mistletoe comes down?

Nick Milton and Sidney Porter had once been a thing. When he was traded to Arizona, Sidney broke up with him and took a PR job with the team he left.

Sidney was in a meeting with the team’s CMO and her boss when she hears Nick’s voice. She doesn’t want to see him or talk to him. Her feelings really are still raw. Yet when her boss asks about the Gala Nick gets her out of it.

Now he asks the favor he needs in order to survive Christmas with his family.

This is a favorite scene.

“You can’t be serious,” Sydney said, shaking her head as she pushed past me into the bright hallway. “This isn’t anywhere close to a fair deal. The Copley Gala is one night; you’re asking me to go home with you for a week!”

I tagged along beside her down the hall, keeping pace and grinning, pissing her off even more. “Yeah, I hope you can negotiate a better deal with the shoe company.”

She punched my bicep and I pretended to flinch.

“Watch it—these guns are worth a lot to this team.”

“Right, how could I forget? Can’t go injuring the talent.”

“Exactly. C’mon, Syd, please? I know you always stay in the city for Christmas. It would mean a lot to me if you’d do this.” I gave her my best puppy dog eyes, praying she’d agree to the deal.

Sydney rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe I’m even considering doing this with you. We work together now; it’s a huge HR no-no.”

“No one has to know and besides, it’ll be fun. Way better than the Gala.”

She paused, tipping her head to the side before answering. “Fine. Since you just rescued me from a solid twenty-four hours’ worth of work, I’ll go. But it has to be on the DL. I need this job.”

“I get it. I do, too. This is going to be fantastic, though.” I grinned at her, a quick blast of relief flooding through me. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning around nine. That way we can avoid rush hour. Be sure to pack something to wear for Christmas Eve service and the neighborhood party we go to every year.”

“Ugh. I hate you.”

“That’s the Christmas spirit,” I teased.

“One week, Nick. That’s it.” She waved her index finger in my direction as a reminder.

“I hear you. That’s the deal.”

She thrust her hand out and we shook on it.

“See you tomorrow morning,” I said, thrilled I’d actually convinced her to go with me.

Sydney rolled her eyes one more time for dramatic effect, then flounced away. My eyes followed her perfect ass until she stepped into the elevator. I shot her a quick wave as the doors slid shut; she just shook her head at me.

Christmas was coming early for me this year and I intended to make the most of our time together.
Holiday Fake-Out: Mr. Right Under The Mistletoe – Kara Kendrick, Kindle Locations (27799-27814).

Now Sidney has to play the girlfriend he never left and he’s out to win her back.

Another fun read, with laughter some confusion, and just the right amount of sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Kara!

The Billionaire’s Naughty Thief

Cara Carnes

King, aka the King Maker, was destined to rule a secret empire since childhood. He’s terrified world leaders and lorded over the world’s financial and political sectors from the shadows for years. No opportunity is too risky if it’s for Probus’ objective: to balance world power to protect humanity. The centuries old moral code was all that mattered. Until now. In order to save his one childhood friend, he must undertake a dangerous mission—one only one woman can accomplish. He was strong enough to walk away from temptation once. Surely he can do so again.

Joy “Diamond” Winniford was raised in a family of thieves committed to a cause: save humanity from the shadows by stealing whatever intel or asset Probus needs. Few know about her secret life. Only one man has the power to upturn her carefully constructed world. When he reenters her life with a job, she knows turning him down is the safest play. But she’s never played it safe and spending weeks pretending to be the infamous King Maker’s girlfriend is a temptation she can’t refuse. He may have escaped her once, but she’s not about to let him get away again.

As this novella opens we find Probus has a problem, some of their branches are getting out of control. It’s Joy ‘Diamond’ Winniford who brings this to King’s attention. That initial problem has now escalated a bit and it’s time to bring in some outside help, especially since they’re involved.

Joy isn’t happy and doesn’t think anyone could possibly be better than her hacker, Maze. She does agree to work with the King and the outsiders, but only if Maze verifies they are better.

This is a favorite scene for many reasons.

King had faced down presidents and world leaders his entire life, but nothing could have prepared him for this moment. The video image came to life on the screen. His adrenaline surged as an ache radiated in his chest. He rubbed the area and willed his mind to focus.


The young man he’d last seen wasn’t anywhere in the man’s face, nor his stance. He stood behind a blonde woman seated at a conference table. Emotion rushed across Ramon’s face for a second, then vanished beneath a hardness he’d never wanted to see on the only friend he’d ever had.

King’s eyes burned as his breathing quickened.

“I’m Bree,” the blonde said. “This is my friend Zoey, or Zero D. Beside her is Edge. Then Quillery. And I’m sure you know Ramon.” She paused. “And you are?”

“I’m Diamond,” Joy said. “To my left is Bridge. To my right is the King Maker, or King.” She squeezed his shoulder and pushed him into a chair. “We’ve conferenced in a friend of mine, Maze. I’m not sure what King shared with you, but he seems to think you’d be better help for what we need than Maze. I doubt that, but we’re here anyway.”

“Holy shit,” Maze whispered. Her eyes widened as she appeared on a split screen. “Diamond, I’m going to kick your ass when this is over.”

“Maze. What’s wrong?”

“Th-that’s…” The fuchsia-haired woman blinked a couple times. “Fuck. They’re still there. Okay, this is happening. Ease off on the attitude, friend. I can’t do a tenth of what they can.”

Joy didn’t comment. Her hand continued running down King’s back, moving in circles that calmed the shock rolling through him. Seeing Ramon after so long…

He ran a hand down his face and leaned back.

“Why don’t you tell us what you need,” Edge suggested as she leaned forward. “I’m not sure why you think we’d help you with anything, King. We were pretty clear in our last conversation that we didn’t want another.”

King’s gaze cut to Ramon once again. His heart thudded hard in his chest. He had so many questions. None of them involved the job.

“We have roughly three weeks to establish a cover for me as King’s lover so that I can get into a secured Knightwind location and procure intel and anything else they have about your tech. Since it’s my ass on the line here, I think that puts the ball in our court on deciding what we require to help you.” Joy leaned back in her chair. “You’ll be talking with me. King is here as a formality until he decides otherwise.”

Thank fuck. Concern flashed on Bridge’s face when he looked at King.

“This is what you meant with that vague message about a threat you’d handle,” Bree said. “What sort of intel could they possibly have we’d care about?”

“Great question. Given what little we know about your tech, most of what we’re working on are assumptions, but I’ll give you what I can prove.” Joy held up a finger. “First, we came into possession of a destroyed drone several of our U.S. based assets were very interested in. Rather than allow them the access they wanted, King took it upon himself to secure the tech by having me steal it from Cuban authorities who found it in the destroyed wreckage of a facility. Does that sound familiar?”

Joy didn’t give them a chance to answer. She held up a second finger and continued. “A seven-figure contract was put out to secure that asset from King’s possession. Few would dare attempt that job given who we are, yet many have attempted to force my hand.”

“They don’t know you’re Probus,” Quillery said.

“They don’t. My name within the underground is the Queen of Diamonds. There’s no procurement I can’t handle if the pay is good.” She paused once again and glanced over at King. “He has decided to share what happened next.”

He hadn’t, but he wasn’t going to stop her now. She’d taken the initiative for the conversation to cover his freak out.

“Maze helped me look into the job. It took a few not-so-fun intel gathering sessions, but we tracked the source as being someone from within Knightwind,” Joy said. “There was more, which we’ve since cleaned up on our end.”

“You had assets working with them,” Edge said.

“We did,” King said, finding his voice for the first time. “Several of our stateside assets became greedy and wanted to acquire power outside of our arena. Power that went against our Probus mission. As Diamond said, we’ve cleaned house. The drone we have will be returned to you if you wish. I locked it up and no one in Probus has looked at it, other than myself and Bridge.”

“It’s probably not even ours,” Bree said with a shrug. “Carlisle Industries stole old designs of mine and attempted to replicate our tech. Very poorly.”

King grunted. Interesting.

“Let’s assume the intel Knightwind has is worth obtaining,” Quillery said. “What do you want from us?”

“The new leader of Knightwind has invited me to a holiday dinner. Diamond will accompany me as my date. They will vet her thoroughly beforehand, which we will need assistance for.”

“You need a cover, one that will pass their investigation without appearing fake,” Zoey said. She nodded and tapped on her laptop a few moments. “Okay, Joy. Here’s the situation.”

Joy tensed beside him. He’d warned her they were good.

“Yes, we know who you are,” Zoey said. “Just like we know who Maze and Bridge are as well. Congrats, King. You’re the first person HERA can’t trace at all.”

He glared at the women. Keeping his gaze from Ramon made it simpler to focus on what mattered. “Can you help?”

King was used to world leaders cowering before him. He didn’t expect the women to ignore his question as the four chatted amongst themselves as though he wasn’t on the video call. Amused, he listened as they rattled off their thoughts like drunken squirrels. He understood very little of what they said.

“She needs a semi-dirty cover, one that would fit the presumed Probus mold of a lower-level employee,” Maze said amidst their conversation. “They clearly know King is the King Maker. I don’t even understand why they’d invite him, but this isn’t my world, nor do I want it to be. But that’s what I’d do. Make her fit the mold they expect, but not be who she is or what she does.”

“So not a thief, but still Probus.” Zoey nodded. “Smart.”

“We dug into Probus,” Edge said.

King tensed. He’d expected as much from The Arsenal. They weren’t the best in the private paramilitary arena without going the distance.

Those gits he’d taken care of had put Probus on The Arsenal’s radar—a fact he didn’t like.

“And?” King asked.

“Handlers are the lone known position within your organization,” Edge replied. “No one seems to question how you obtain your information or control assets. They should, but they don’t. Which means the safest cover for Diamond would be a handler.”

“Okay,” Joy said.

“Mimicking a known handler’s background would strengthen her cover,” Quillery said. “Is there a woman known to be a handler, yet not recognized when seen?”

“There are several,” King admitted. He glanced over at Bridge. “Who’s known by Knightwind?”

Probus rarely kept people on staff once they were exposed, but a few were necessary. That fell within Bridge’s territory more than King’s, though.

“Seven of Hearts,” Bridge said quickly. “We exposed her three months ago to handle the last of our internal intel issues. She’s still in play and known, but in the shadows.”

“Which means Knightwind knows there is a Seven of Hearts, but not who she is specifically,” King clarified. “Send her record to them.”

Bridge nodded and opened his laptop. Silence descended as he forwarded the asset’s record to The Arsenal.

“I trust what we share will be contained within this specific operation and not used for other reasons,” King said.

“Of course,” Quillery said. “We have no desire to cross your path as long as you stay out of ours.”

“Understood. Maze and Bridge can assist with whatever you need. What is the timetable for having the cover secured?” King asked.

“Two hours,” Zoey said. “Probably less, but I want to build deep enough so Knightwind can crawl all the way down and get lost.”

“She’s very good at what she does,” Edge said. “By the time she’s done, Joy’s cover will be good enough to truly exist.”

Excellent. King’s gaze moved to Ramon once again. “It’s good to see you in a good place, Ramon.”

“Life outside that world is worth living.” He touched Bree’s hair. “Hopefully we can have that ice cream very soon. It’s been too long.”

He remembered. Emotion clogged King’s throat as he blinked back the burning sensation in his eyes. “It has.”

“We’ll be in touch before the dinner,” Edge said. “We can assist from here.”
Holiday Fake-Out: The Billionaire’s Naughty Thief – Cara Carnes, Kindle Locations (25620-25693).

A very interesting relationship that further develops as this story progresses.

This is a fun and suspenseful read with action, family, a reunion, romance and some sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!


Carmen Falcone’s Bio and Links

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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Laura Greer’s Bio and Links

Raised in a small town on Vancouver Island, Laurel grew up skiing and boating by day and reading romances under the covers by flashlight at night. Ever committed to the proper placement of the Canadian “eh,” she loves to write books with snapping sexual tension and second chances. She lives outside Vancouver with her law-talking husband and two daughters, and fills her creative well by continuing to stay up way too late reading, chugging vats of tea, and falling down Pinterest rabbit holes.

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Dee Holmes’ Bio and Links

A Canadian author obsessed with unlikely loves, Dee enjoys creating rich worlds and finding humor in unexpected places. In her other writing life, she explores monsters and their love lives in paranormal romance and urban fantasy—and might have a penchant for zombies. The characters she enjoys don’t sit in some narrow box and do what they’re told. Whether battling an office party or facing fantastical terrain on distant planets, her characters are defying expectations and finding true love.

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Kat Baxter’s Bio and Links
Kat Baxter is the pseudonym for a bestselling historical romance author. She lives in Texas with
her family and a menagerie of animals.

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Kara Kendrick’s Bio and Links

Kara Kendrick writes fun and flirty Contemporary Romance destined to give you all the feels. A reformed English major, she also has a master’s in counseling and was an elementary school counselor in her pre-mom life. She loves the beach, wine, and rock-hard abs, not necessarily in that order. When she’s not dreaming up Happily Ever After’s, you can find her chasing after her boy-girl twins, working out semi-hardish, or walking her adorable Shiba pups with her husband, who’s not too bad himself.

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Cara Carnes’ Bio and Links

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

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Lethal Echo – The Arsenal Book 8 by Cara Carnes

Lethal Echo
The Arsenal Book 8
USA Today Bestselling Author
Cara Carnes


She’s spent her life on the periphery of humanity.

Bree Geissenger lives by one mantra: You’re only as good as your latest creation. Tucked away in laboratories, always wanted for her brains, she’s been safe. Unseen. But the new life she has at The Arsenal has upended her carefully constructed world. Unable to cope with the threats against her friends, she fractured. Determined not to be the weakest link, she fled the safety of The Arsenal compound to heal. Regroup. Hunt.

Those she loves will no longer be prey. She’ll ferret out everyone who’s a threat to those she loves, no matter the cost. There’s no sacrifice too great in war. A smart soldier doesn’t work alone, though, which means she must work with the operative she wants more than anything.

He ran from a past he’s swore to never delve into.

Ramon Zapata escaped the underground, clandestine world his parents deemed his birthright. Military life honed him into the weapon he swore to never become and gave him the only true family he’s ever known. Life at The Arsenal was everything he’d wanted, including the brilliant, beautiful scientist who blew his world wide open. To save his new family and the woman he loves, he must reconcile his past and work with the black ops organization who spent years hunting him like an animal.

Failure isn’t an option.
Never quit.
Never surrender.

NOTE: While this book can be read as a standalone, there are numerous plot threads that continue from previous books. Reading in order will provide a better reading experience.

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This book opens where the last one ends, and quite frankly if you haven’t read this series I suggest you go start at the beginning. You’ll get so much more out of every book.

Bree has been away from the Arsenal for a couple of weeks, she’s working through her issues and guilt, but still doing sessions with Sinclair and talking to Jesse as well. Her brother Lars informs her the alarms she set up were going off. She’d her phone on silent and had a bunch of missed calls from Zoey. Zoey lets her know their friendlies, ‘The Triple Threat’ is coming to retrieve her.

I got a kick out of their reaction to getting stuck because of her new invention, and how they needed to override it.

Safety is everyone’s main concern and Bree agrees her family should come to the Arsenal at least temporarily. She’s more than a little surprised when her Gram didn’t protest at all.

I love Bree’s niece and nephew, Hillary and Luke, the addition of her stories about the superheroes just makes everything more amusing. Especially when all the teams just go along with it.

It isn’t long before alarms go off at the compound, since they now have protected airspace and a helicopter is incoming. The passenger on that plane isn’t really welcome but the Arsenal will hear him out.

This is a favorite scene.

“You have done more in your short life as an elite organization than Knightwind has in decades,” Gavin said. “You’ve become the bar we must all aspire to hit. The new leaders of Knightwind recognize that and are prepared to overhaul their approach for future missions, but that will require your assistance.”

“How so?” Vi asked.

“We lack the advanced tech you have,” Gavin said. “Ours is good, but nothing compared to HERA. If we ramp up our endeavors, we’d need your assistance with information.”

“You’re information powerhouses. You said that earlier,” Bree said.

“Yes, but it’s old school,” Mary said. “They likely have significant delays between data obtainment and disbursement. A few hours or days could translate to immediate mission failure.”

“The older the intel, the deader the team,” Nolan surmised.

“So you want us to agree to an alliance in exchange for a one-time assistance with our current issue,” Marshall said.

“We wouldn’t expect an agreement. Our assistance with your current problem is a gift,” Gavin said. “No strings attached.”

“Bullshit,” Bree said. There was always a string. “What are you really wanting for this? Forget the so-called alliance and all the pretty promises you’re throwing at the wall. It’s not going to stick. What. Are. You. After?” She punctuated every word of the question and willed her breathing to calm.

Ram ran his hand down her back. “Talk it out with us, Bree. You know them better than we do.”

“There’s always a string. A condition. My work was supposed to be a quick, one-month assignment, but they dragged it out, adding parameters that were supposedly integral to my original objective. A month turned into two. Then three. On and on.” She glanced at Addy. “I got a coded message to Addy four months into my so-called one-month contract and begged her to get me out.”

“I don’t know this prick, but whoever’s running Knightwind isn’t trustworthy,” Addy said. “Not based on what we saw when I was extracting Bree.”

“We have a new owner, someone who’s worked hard since then to put Knightwind back on the right path,” Gavin said. “It doesn’t excuse what happened back then, but I assure you we have changed.”

“None of that matters,” Jesse said. “Not now. Answer Bree’s question. What are you after in exchange for your help with our issue? What will those assets you have cost us?”

Gavin’s jaw twitched. “Nothing. If you don’t wish to assist with our request, it won’t be an issue.”

“But there is a request,” Bree said. She shook her head. “You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth and contradicting yourself.”

“When we came under new ownership, there was a significant civil war of sorts within our organization. Some high-up leaders who were about to be terminated betrayed Knightwind,” Gavin said. “Their inside intel gave what our enemy needed to take over a detainment facility we ran.”

Bree held her breath. No. Hell no. She shook her head and focused on the table. She didn’t want to think about that horrible place, the one she’d been forced to make impenetrable. God, this was not happening.

“You want our help to get it back,” Vi said. “Why would we be able to do that if you can’t?”

“We have focused on the informational side of the arena while you’ve already made yourselves known as being formidable in all aspects,” Gavin said. “Only one operative has ever broken into that facility and extracted someone. I have it on good authority she’s now an Arsenal employee.”

Mia. It had to be Mia. Right? Or Addy. No, they would have known if Addy broke into that vile place. She’d gotten Bree out of Knightwind after she’d left that facility.

As if reading her mind, Addy said, “I didn’t break into any detention facility.”

“No. You didn’t.” So it was Mia they were talking about. Damn.

The private paramilitary arena was small. Everyone knew everyone else. Bree had accepted that long ago, but all these horrible pathways converging left her wishing she’d stayed at Grams’ cabin.

“And all the impenetrable defenses of this facility were created by Bree,” Gavin said. “If anyone can break them, it’ll be The Arsenal and whatever tech she’s created for you.”

Damn. Damn. Damn. She hadn’t wanted anyone to know about the work she’d done for Knightwind. Addy hadn’t ever asked. Neither had Mary, Vi, or Rhea.

“No,” Addy said quickly. “She’s not working with you ever again. I’ll personally hunt every last one of you down before that happens.”

That’s why Bree loved Addy. She was the protective big sister. Okay, she was apparently younger than Bree, but still. Vi shut her laptop and glanced at Mary, who shook her head.

“This is your call, Bree,” Mary said.

“How do we know your assets are who we need?” Bree asked. Focusing on The Arsenal’s mission to find the financial backers behind Carlisle Industries kept her brain from spiraling. “We need proof you can help.”

“Fair enough.” Gavin pulled out a thumb drive and tossed it to Vi. “That should be a good start. You’ve been looking into the secretary of defense. We’ve been unable to figure out exactly what is happening with him, but we suspect he’s in trouble. That’s surveillance footage from the past week, taken within his home and office— both of which you’ve been unable to get coverage of so far. No one can.”

The large overhead screens along the walls came to life, as did the monitors on the table’s surface. Images of a bald man with Bob filled the screens.

“We’ve been unable to identify him, but this man has become a daily part of his routine. Our asset only sees the secretary of defense a couple times a day, but this individual is with him often, yet is not part of his official entourage.” Gavin motioned toward the screen. “We suspect your HERA system will find his identity even though we’ve failed to do so.”

“So a test within a gift,” Zoey muttered. She, Vi, and Mary all typed away on their laptops.

Bree heard the distinctive chime of an identity match through the room’s speakers, but no visual appeared. She smiled. They weren’t sharing that HERA had already found out who the asshole with Bob was.

“Will that suffice as proof?” Gavin asked.

“Perhaps,” Mary said. “It’s up to Bree.”

“If we agree to this, Edge and Quillery command your assets. They are solely within their operational governance while this operation takes place,” Bree said. “We will allow one Knight asset to work with our teams, but The Arsenal will have full control of the mission.”

“That’s preposterous,” Gavin argued.

“Take it or leave it,” Vi said.

“What else, Bree?”

Damn. They wanted more. Okay… She took a deep breath. “We have full access to your databases, both those online and those tucked away while we’re working together on this mission. In exchange, we will agree to run facial recognitions through HERA for you, but no more than six. That will include locating the targets, if we choose to do so. We’ll require the full mission debrief on why you’re seeking them, though, since we don’t trust your moral code.”

“If they even have one,” Addy muttered.

Mary grinned.

“In exchange for this mutual cooperation,” Bree said with another deep breath after, “we will review your mission file on Facility Six. Full disclosure on your objective and who you are specifically wanting to extract will be required. We make no promise to assist, but we will review the material you provide, and I will make recommendations on approach regardless of The Arsenal’s decision.”

“Add in recommendations from the operative who’s been successful, and I can make this work with my superiors,” Gavin said. “When did you become such a ballbuster?”

“When you chained me to a wall and told me my work wasn’t done until your bosses said it was,” Bree shot back.

“What the fuck?” Ram stood.

“Sit down,” Gage ordered. He glared across the table. “There’s a room across the hall. Make your call to the people with the balls to make a decision before we change our mind.”
Cara Carnes. Lethal Echo (Kindle Locations 673-738).

Now Bree’s taken on a lot of guilt that really isn’t hers and while she’s still getting herself together she still has bouts of feeling unworthy.

A shortfall of the group is revealed when attempting the plan to get eyes on Bob (the Secretary of Defense), Bree has new tech and she’s hesitant to share. She was very busy while everyone was working on the Russia thing. It’s Ram, Pierce and Doug who notice her tell and calls them out on it. Then Bree finally says something and immediately they recognize what they’d been doing and the apologies start flying. More important is they now have a solution they didn’t know they had.

This whole book is multiple levels, between family, friends, missions, new tech and the simmer to sizzle romance between Bree and Ram, I just couldn’t put it down.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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on Cara’s Website!

Cara Carnes

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

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Fighting For Jen – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Counterstrike Book 5 by Cara Carnes

Fighting For Jen
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Counterstrike Book 5
USA Today Bestselling Author
Cara Carnes


She fights for those who can’t fight back…

Jennifer Davenport vowed to never back down from a fight. Raised in a violent home, she’d survived her share of nightmares and monsters lurking in the shadows. She’s made it her life mission to help all of Counterstrike’s clients start a new life. Her former Delta force brothers get them out, and she paves the way to a better future. Easy, right?

Yeah, no. She’s used to threats, but when they turn deadly, she finds herself turning to mysterious, sexy leader of the local MC. The Scythe MC’s President is everything she shouldn’t want yet can’t resist.

Banner “Razor” Nilon left military service wrongly branded as “dishonorably discharged.” Rather than walk away, he chose to fight within the shadows. The Scythe MC was formed for one purpose: redemption. The goal was simple: operate off the radar and prove he and his club brothers were all innocent.

But the club hit Counterstrike’s radar in a big way and the beautiful, brilliant attorney has shaken his entire world up. Walking away when she’s in trouble isn’t possible, especially when the little spitfire defends his club. Yeah, taking on her war to find whoever wants to kill her might not be the smartest plan, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if it means playing nicely with her protective, billionaire do-gooder big brothers and all their former military operatives. They may not always play by the rules, but Razor’s never met a rule he wouldn’t break.

Banner “Razor” Nilon is President of the Scythe MC, the members are all former military that had in one way or an other been forced out due to political circumstances beyond their control.

When we first meet Razor he’s with his VP Frenzy and his SoA Sandman meeting with Counterstrike’s Ethan, Milo and Jen at Cholo’s restaurant. While the Scythes have kept under the radar, they are also cleaning up the gangs in the area with new rules about what they can and cannot do. If they don’t like it they can leave or face the consequences.

Counterstrike wants to know why they are here and unfortunately even Tex can’t smooth over the tension. The is the first time we see Jen’s reaction to the bad boy biker.

We get to see Jen’s true colors when the Scythes save the day after many Counterstrike personnel have testified in the Guerillo case. The AG wants all the media coverage he can get totally unaware of the danger he’s putting the others in. Jen was truly impressive as she gets the Scythe’s out of handcuffs.

It’s later on as some of those waves have settled that Counterstrike finds itself in need of more operatives. Women having to wait too long for extraction putting them even more at risk. Jen decides to take things in her own hands and goes to meet with Razor alone on his turf.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

Too many people needed their help and wouldn’t get it. She clutched the two folders she’d put together as she made her way toward the back of the small club. If Cholo was right, the higher ups in the Scythes frequented this establishment.

This is so stupid.

Yep. Ethan and Milo would kick her ass if they found out she was here, but someone needed to help these two women. If Counterstrike didn’t have the time, then maybe the Scythes would.

Face it. You just wanted an excuse to see Razor again.

Ugh. She couldn’t deny that part of her brain. She’d become a bit obsessed with the sexy biker. He exuded the same lethal badass vibes as the Counterstrike operatives but, unlike them, he made her entire body heat with an awareness she hadn’t felt in ages. When he looked at her, she felt…


No, she felt like a woman, one stripped bare of her legal persona and overprotective big brother armor. Razor didn’t strike her as a man who’d shy away from going after what he wanted and, unless she’d read him entirely wrong the few times their paths had crossed, he wanted her.

Feminine laughter echoed from the darkened corner she approached. Dread curdled her bravery a few beats. This was a terrible idea. Turn around. Soft shafts of life fractured the darkness when she took another step forward. Long, red hair bobbed up and down as a large hand gripped the curly mass.

“Looking to join in or take her place?” The husky whisper against her ear jolted her half a step forward. Her arms scissored out to prevent a fall, but a firm grip steadied her at the waist. “Sorry, beauty. Couldn’t resist.” A husky sigh rushed warm heat against the shell of her ear. Tingles ignited across her skin. “Fuck, you smell good.”

“Razor.” Her back pressed against a hard chest. “Sorry. They told me you were in the back.”

“Someone’s got a sense of humor. They won’t ever give my location away, but they will send wayward little lambs to my VP or SoA.” Amusement filled his voice as his hand stroked along her hip. “You here looking for an adventure? I doubt your brothers would approve of you dirtying yourself by showing up here all alone.”

Jen gulped. Getting dirtied up sounded a bit fun, thrilling even. “You make that sound like a bad idea.”

“Oh, it isn’t.” He chuckled, bathing the heated skin along her ear with another bout of breath once more. “I’m sure it would be one hell of a ride.”

Images assailed her as the visual cue “ride” took on a life of its own. This wasn’t why she’d come here, but maybe it should’ve been. Face it, Jen. You wanted to see the dirty-minded biker again. Alone. “We need to talk.”

“Is that right?” He huffed and loosened his grip. “If that’s what you want.”

She wanted far more than talk but took a steadying breath and turned to face Razor. Scruff covered his masculine jaw, adding another layer of don’t-fuck-with-me to his already lethal vibe. Would the scratchy whiskers feel good against her skin?

“Keep looking at me like that and we’ll have a problem,” he warned. “There’s talk, and then there’s talk, beauty. You aren’t ready for the kind of conversation I want to have.”

Oh, she was. So ready.

“Come on, little lamb. Let’s go into my lair.” He took her hand. Warmth seeped into her skin as he guided her to an empty booth across from the one the man and the redhead occupied.

Razor steered her into the booth, facing her away from the couple. Amusement broadened his full lips into a grin when their gazes locked. “What can I get you? Whatever you want.”

Jen shivered at the implication and squeezed her thighs together. Focus. Razor reached over the narrow table and ran his hands through her hair, which had lost most of its curl during the day. Warmth spread through her, pooling between her legs as his fingertips glided from the tips of her hair and across to the button just above her cleavage.

Intensity resonated within his dark gaze as he flicked it open. She leaned forward into the feather soft contact as he traced along the exposed skin. Stroking up and down a couple times. His gaze wandered to the newly opened area. Although it was still a modest amount of skin, the fact her cleavage now showed just enough to be scandalous in a work environment quickened her pulse.

“That’s better.” He leaned back in the booth. “What can I do for you?”

So much. Jen shifted against the leather bench. “We have more cases than we can work right now. A few medium priority ones have fallen through the cracks.” She shoved the two folders toward him. “I think these are two the Scythes could handle, if you’re willing.”

She intentionally referenced the Scythes, needing the distance it offered. It’d be too simple to tumble into his sexy gaze and let the sexual attraction between them take over.

Amusement glinted across his handsome face a moment. He opened the first folder. Jaw clinched, he flicked through the papers. “Fuck.” Leaning forward, he slammed the folder shut, then went to the next. “Define handle. My idea of dealing with these fuckwits probably won’t match Counterstrike’s.”

Jen suspected it would. Ethan and Milo never messed around when it came to abusers. None of the operatives did, which was why she was always one of their first calls after they’d addressed an issue. It’d taken a few trips to the county jail to bail a few of them out to find the acceptable line. They couldn’t help people in need if they were in lockup, after all.

“As long as they make the first strike and do enough damage to be photographed afterward, I can explain away reasonable damage on an operative’s part,” she explained. “You are all highly trained. Bruising and some blood are well within the limits. Broken bones and anything requiring a trip to the emergency room before they’re hauled into jail, not so much.”

His mouth upturned into a half-grin. “I’m thinking you could explain away a lot.”

“I can and I have.” She motioned toward the files. “These two women are wanting assistance relocating. They both have family in the area, so this is more of an escort detail than a problematic extraction.”

“The jargon is cute coming from you.”

Cute? She wrestled with the word because it was the last thing she wanted to be when around Razor. Her gaze darted toward the couple still writhing within the shadows. “Travis and the other new operatives he took down to The Arsenal should be returning in a few days. I can see if they can handle these two requests.”

“We’ll handle them. That’ll free them up to take on the other cases you’ve likely set aside for them.” His lips thinned. “How long’s the waiting time between initial contact and action?”

Too long. Even a few hours was too many in Jen’s opinion. “It’s improving. Forty-eight hours if there’s only a minimal threat level. We’re working on securing more safe houses. Anyone in immediate danger is taken to one upon leaving our office. We don’t take risks with their lives.”

“Even though you’re covered over with cases. Tell me you don’t participate in these removals.”

“On occasion I do,” she said. “Never alone, though. I can handle myself.”

“I’m sure you can.” His gaze swept across her. “You shouldn’t have to, though.” He tapped the files and let out an ear-piercing whistle. A wince flashed across his face. “Sorry, should’ve warned you.”

He held the files up as the shadow in the booth across the way surfaced. Frenzy glanced down at her, then directed his attention to the folders.

“Get with Sandman. Organize two groups, one for each file. Roll out in an hour,” Razor ordered. “Make contact with them first.”

Frenzy nodded. He perused each folder’s contents a few moments. His lips thinned.

“Nothing broken. No need for emergency rooms. No physical contact unless they attack first.” Razor glanced up at Frenzy. “Assign a prospect to each final location for forty-eight hours afterward. Phone me once each woman is secured.”

“On it. Gladly.” Frenzy charged through the bar, motioning to tables of Scythes as he went.

“You’ve done this before,” Jen commented. “Or something similar.” The club members reacted too calmly, with precision. They filed out of the bar in an organized fashion, tossing money on the tabletops as they departed.

“We adapt quickly.” He set both hands palms down on the tabletop. “Do your brothers know you’re here?”

“No, but it was the right thing to do.”

“It was.” He leaned forward. “You have any more, let me know. Give me your phone.”

Jen’s hand shook slightly as she offered her phone. He smirked and held it up toward her so it would open with her facial scan. Then he made himself at home as he leaned back and tapped away. Awareness zinged through her as she watched him. His cell chimed. He put hers in her hand, then pulled his out and repeated the process. Hers chimed.

“Call me anytime, beauty.”

Jen nodded. “Thank you.” She stood, pausing long enough for her legs to not wobble. “Have a good night, Razor.”
Cara Carnes. Fighting For Jen (Special Force: Operation Alpha): Counterstrike, Book 5 (Kindle Locations 320-393). Aces Press, LLC.

Things really heat up when a client dies trying to give her husband another chance leaving her son under Counterstrike’s protection.

There’s something weird with the grandparents and the father is charged with murder and Jen becomes even more protective of the child. The Scythe’s are helping with protection and when we least expect it things start to go boom!

I love this series and the slow burn between Jen and Razor is fun to read. There’s plenty of action and we get some awesome surprises as the Arsenal gets involved.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!

Cara Carnes

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

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Breathe – The Arsenal Book 7.5 – Bridge Short Story by Cara Carnes

The Arsenal Book 7.5
Bridge between Hostile Ground and Lethal Echo
Cara Carnes


This is a short, free read bridging Hostile Ground and Lethal Echo.

I love these free short stories between books. We get to see the whole crew in between operations and what they are dealing with at home.

In this one we have several things, Bree is off on her own for a couple of weeks, they’ve cut off communication with the Secretary of Defense their friend Bob, Riley has her first case and so much more. I’m going to just say a bit about Riley’s case since all this goes down while Kamren is in labor.

This case is cooperation with the local police and it’s gonna get a bit hairy even before Riley gets out of the house.

This is a favorite scene.

Riley ran her finger along the scar on her neck. She’d survived her best friend trying to kill her. She could handle anything— assuming she managed to get out of the house. She had six big brothers and a score of other badass commandoes to get through first. Oh, yeah, and none of them knew what tonight’s case was because she and Jud had been sworn to secrecy by the Nomad police department detective in charge of the case. She wasn’t even sure if Kristof knew yet.

Good times.

She grabbed her purse, triple checked that her pepper spray and small .22 were there, then exited the bathroom and made her way downstairs. The temptation to check in on Kamren first rode her hard, but she’d heard Dallas say just moments ago that she was trying to rest a bit.

She was halfway up the stairs when she heard the first “What the fuck?”

She took a deep breath and steeled her spine for the incoming arguments. If the people downstairs, most especially her brothers, knew what she was about to do, they’d lock her up for eternity. The fact they had an entire floor underneath one of the buildings for precisely that purpose didn’t help the unease pricking the back of her neck.

But she was a Mason same as them and she’d be damned if she backed down from a hard case. Jud trusted her to get the job done, and she trusted him to have her back. Too many people would be hurt if she didn’t.

“What the fuck?” The repeated inquiry forced her attention to the third stair from the bottom. Gage Sanderson’s wide eyes and pissed off expression didn’t bode well for how her brothers would react.


“Go change. Now. There’s not enough eye bleach in the world to undo the damage seeing you in that outfit’s going to do to your brothers.”

“What’s going on?” Cord asked. He turned the corner and froze. “Sis. What the hell?”

“Enough.” Riley continued down the stairs. “I’m only saying this once, so you two lummoxes get the hell out of my way so I can get to it.”

“That’s not happening,” Cord said, stepping in her path.

“Move or I’ll make you,” she warned.

“I’d like to see you try.”

Riley sighed and kicked, slamming her stiletto heel into his thigh. Anything higher seemed like an injustice to her future nieces or nephews. “Sorry. I warned you.”

Gage shook his head but remained against the wall where he’d wisely moved. Yep. He was one smart cookie used to dealing with a headstrong woman. Hell, he was surrounded by them on a daily basis just like Cord.

Riley’s mom was thankfully not in the large living room. Neither was Dallas, which meant one less big brother to have an opinion about what she should or shouldn’t do. Her gaze swept the sofas and the walls, where the extra people had propped themselves as the wait to end all waits commenced.

Her gaze locked with Dom’s a moment. Her pulse quickened when his eyes widened, and he shoved off the wall. Raul snagged his left arm and Levi grabbed the other. Again, smart men. Too bad she already knew most of them wouldn’t be quite so wise.

“Are you ready, Jud?” Riley asked, opting for the easier avoidance option.

“Riley,” Marshall thundered. “What are you wearing?”

Okay, so much for the high road. Let the smartass commence in three… two… one.

“It’s called a dress. I realize it’s been a while since you’ve caroused the tri-county, but I assure you that’s exactly what this is.” She looked at Jud and silently hoped that he had her back for the war that was about to ensue.

“I’m thinking we need a debrief on tonight’s case,” Dylan said. “Jud?”

The man’s jaw twitched as he fisted his hands. “It’s confidential. Trust me, I’ve got her back. Kristof and I both do.”

“It’ll take an army to have her back dressed like that, particularly because there is no back. There’s barely a front,” Zoey commented.

“You aren’t helping,” Riley said.

“Sorry, just saying.” Zoey shrugged. “I’ve always got a sister’s back, but this might be a bit too much.”

“Look, I know what this looks like but it’s a simple, quick in and out case.” Riley crossed her arms.

“Quick only because no one seeing you dressed like that could last for more than a minute,” Dom snarled.

Riley gasped. Nolan growled.

“Honey trap?” Mary asked.

“Not exactly,” Jud answered.

“Okay, every male with the last name Mason is on a verbal time out,” Addy said. “You’ve all trusted Jud to have Riley’s back so far. That’s not changing just because of what she’s wearing. And, to add, you also trust your sister to be smart and handle herself.”

Riley took her first deep breath. She seriously loved Addy. The woman was as kickass as they came. Kristof chuckled. Marshall glared at him.

“What? She’s right.” Kristof shoved his hands into his black trousers and smiled. “If it helps, I don’t even know what the case is tonight. Not yet, at least.”

“That’s not helping either,” Jud commented.

“Okay then.” Mary stood. “Here’s the plan.
Cara Carnes. Breathe: An Arsenal free read bridging Hostile Ground and Lethal Echo (Kindle Locations 483-525). Heartscape Publishing, LLC.

Things get a bit crazy with the assignment and it shows once again how this family always has each others back.

There’s a lot packed into this read and it’s got laughter, tears and so much more!

Thank you Cara this was perfect!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Coming Soon!

Check Out These Free Reads
on Cara’s Website!

Cara Carnes

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

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Loving Bea – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Counterstrike Book 4 by Cara Carnes

Loving Bea
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Counterstrike Book 4
Cara Carnes


Winter Blog Blurb

She’s a magnet for trouble…

After they saved her from a violent marriage years before, Bea Stanz made a vow to fix her own problems and not rely so much on her brother and his fellow operatives at Counterstrike. Her newfound independence has been far from easy, but Bea 2.0 is determined to handle whatever comes her way. When a simple errand exposes a dangerous international kidnapping ring, she turns to the one man who’s taken her protection as a personal mission.

He swore to keep her safe…

Joe “Hazard” Santos left military service and joined Counterstrike after they rescued his sister. Protecting innocent women and children is his new mission, one he won’t fail. The beautiful, impulsive, and passionate little sister of a fellow operative is a task—one who blew into his life like a hurricane. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if she doesn’t want his help.

They will need every resource at their disposal to face this threat, but will all of Counterstrike and a Delta team be enough to succeed?

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Bea has been working hard to stand on her own, she’s almost finished her courses to become a paralegal and has a great job. When she’s asked to bring some files to one of her bosses Evaline Cumberland she doesn’t hesitate. What she finds at the gated community disturbs her greatly. Evaline’s reaction to her even more so. The secret pass of of something tells her something was very wrong. Leaving the area the only person she thinks to call is Joe ‘Hazard’ Santos. Hazard has always been there for her and her son Ryan.

Hazard and a Delta force team are testing possible hires for Counterstrike. They need a specific level of expertise to handle dicey situations. They are quickly finding that many can’t make the cut. Bea’s call comes at a time when they are ready to stop for the day. When she arrives they settle in to eat and take a look at what she has.

The results of the data on the USB using HERA has flagged the Arsenal, who is shorthanded at the moment, and Tex is brought in to assist. After gathering as much intel as they can about the situation, Hazard and Bea head home. Well his home, as they’ve decided Bea could be in danger.

This is a favorite scene.

Home turned out to be his house, not hers. They’d swung by her place long enough for her to pack up a few days’ clothes and toiletries. Exhaustion had kept her from arguing too fiercely. And in all honesty, she wanted to see Hazard’s home.

While a part of her expected an apartment rather than a house, she wasn’t surprised when he pulled into the driveway of a small brick home a few blocks from where she lived. “No wonder you always show up so quick when I call.”

Amusement glimmered in his gaze, along with something deeper she didn’t want to think about. “My secret’s out. I don’t fly at the speed of light.”

Bea chuckled. “It’s beautiful.”

“It’s a work in progress. The guys helped me re-floor and paint the place. The kitchen and bathrooms have been redone, but the yard is a mess and I want to redo the bedrooms.” Hazard opened the door and stepped in to deactivate the alarm. “Come in, make yourself at home.”

The pale gray walls offset the dark flooring perfectly. While the colors weren’t standard, they suited Hazard’s taste. Unique and mysterious. Different but spectacular. Dark leather furniture filled the living room.

“Marisol thinks I have something against color,” Hazard said.

“She might be right,” Bea mumbled. Splashes of bold color would go nicely with what he’d done so far. Dark red or maybe blue curtains. Green? Hmm… “You don’t strike me as the type to spend hours looking for the perfect curtains or throw pillows.”

“Throw pillows are useless.”

Hmm… she could think of very interesting ways to use throw pillows where Joseph “Hazard” Santos was concerned, but she didn’t comment. She could count on one hand the times she’d ever been alone with him the past few weeks.

And, yet, here they were alone in his home. His lair. Anticipation flared at the thought. She licked her lips as she wandered into the immaculate kitchen. Stainless steel appliances gleamed beneath the soft lighting overhead, a newer reset model she recognized because she’d hoped to one day install it in her house.

She ran her hand along the light gray marble island. “I love it. The softer hues will coordinate well with anything someone adds. You’d be good at flipping homes, you know.”

“That’s what Field said. He and Patch have flipped a couple places,” Hazard said. “This three-bedroom is a good starter.”

“Do you think you’ll need something bigger?” Bea swallowed. Her pulse quickened when he closed the distance. He braced a hand on the island behind her and leaned forward. “You know, when you settle down and have kids.”

He’d be a great dad. Heck, he was already a great one to Ryan even though he hadn’t ever asked for that. It’d just happened because her boy sucked up every ounce of love and attention he was offered.

“Yeah.” Hazard’s voice turned husky. “The backyard is too small and there’s only one bedroom for kids if the other is an office. I’d want a large, open common area for them to play in together. And my wife would need a bigger master bedroom.”

He caressed her cheek. Her skin tingled from the contact. “You’ve thought a lot about it.”

“I have,” he whispered. “Have you?”

“Yeah. I had Ryan when I was young. I want him to have a little brother, maybe a sister or two. It was just John and I growing up, but I had cousins and always pictured myself having a big family.” Bea wasn’t sure what to do with her hands. She wanted to run them along his muscular chest and enjoy the ripple of hidden contours beneath her touch.

“He’s a great kid.”

“It’s been a community effort.”

“You’re a great mom.” He stroked down her neck. “You know that. Right?”

“Most days I do. Some are more of a challenge,” she admitted. “You’ve been a huge influence on him. I think he might like you more than Ethan and Milo.”

“We’ll keep that a secret.” His voice lowered. The husky tone cast awareness through her. “Hearing that just made my day.”

Intensity registered on his face as he leaned closer and cupped her neck. She grasped his waist and pulled him forward. “I never know where I stand with you, Hazard.”

“Joe. When we’re alone, I’m Joe. I love hearing you say my name.”

“I’ll try. You’ve always been more than what you do to me, but I don’t want to risk you by using the wrong name at the wrong time. Hazard is safer, but you’ve always been Joe to me.”

He feathered his lips across hers, a tentative glide that she felt clear to her toes.

A moan escaped her as she deepened the contact. He took control of the kiss, nipping at her lips and exploring her mouth as though they had all the time in the world. She wrapped her arms around him, relishing the way her body molded against his perfectly.

He severed contact with a groan. “I love the way you taste. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“Twitch will put my head on a pike if I screw this up.” “This isn’t his business. Nor is it Ethan’s or Milo’s or anyone else’s.” Bea licked her lips. “I’m scared, though. I don’t want to lose you. You’re too important to Ryan.” And me.

“You think I’d scrape you off if we didn’t work out.”

Bea shrugged. “It’s a strong possibility. Relationships are hard work and I’ve never done well with them, as you know. I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I can’t afford to make any more.”

“I’m not a bad choice, Bea,” he whispered. “But I think you know that and that’s what has you scared.”

He was right, but she wasn’t ready to voice the truth. She had to be smart about whatever happened between them. The inevitability of him and her had loomed on the horizon for a while now. “I keep thinking there’ll be a perfect time to take that leap and admit I want something more.”

“Is that what you want?” Hazard kissed her jawline. “More?”

“Yes,” she whispered. So much for not voicing the truth.

“Me, too.” He kissed behind her ear. “We’ll go slow and do this the right way because you and Ryan are the most important people in my world, and I won’t do anything to risk losing you.”

God. She loved hearing those words. She’d never felt so…

Cara Carnes. Loving Bea (Special Forces: Operation Alpha): Counterstrike, Book 4 (Kindle Locations 641-692). Aces Press, LLC.

The attraction between these two is off the charts steamy and as this story unfolds that only gets more intense.

With most of Counterstrike involved, the Delta team and Tex this investigation swiftly moves forward. Ethan and Milos are involved as well as Victoria as they identify the key players. Now they have to get everyone involved safe and get rid of the bad guys.

I love the way Cara weaves these stories, they are intense, suspenseful and action-packed as the level of heat between Bea and Hazard escalates.

I really hope Cara continues to contribute to this series, I love seeing Susan’s teams along with the Arsenal’s crew in these Counterstrike tales.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Cara Carnes

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

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Limited Edition – 1001 Dark Nights Short Story Anthology

1001 Dark Nights Press
is excited to present the winners
of the 2020 short story challenge.

1001 Dark Nights Short Story Anthology
Fiona Archer ~ Louisa Bacio ~ Laura M. Baird
Kait Ballenger ~ Asa Maria Bradley ~ Eden Bradley
Boone Brux ~ C.G. Burnette ~ Cara Carnes
Caraway Carter ~ Sierra Cartwright ~ S.A. Clayton
Katana Collins ~ Janie Crouch ~ Patricia D. Eddy
Zoey Ellis ~ Zoe Hill ~ Sara L. Hudson
Tracey Jerald ~ A.D. Justice ~ Terri E. Laine
Michelle Mars ~ Gina L. Maxwell ~ Kayt Miller
Dani René ~ Gen Ryan ~ Blue Saffire
Ella Sheridan ~ Mayra Statham ~ Delancey Stewart
Jen Talty ~ Mary Ting ~ Reina Torres
Magan Vernon ~ Jennifer Woodhull ~ Khloe Wren


When we started 1001 Dark Nights back in 2014, it was with the goal of discovery—creating a way for readers to find new-to-them bestselling authors and fall in love with their stories and their worlds.

This year, we held a contest where romance authors could submit a short story to be included in a 1001 Dark Nights anthology, and we were blown away by the results. We received hundreds of entries, and while we wish we could include everyone, we’re thrilled to introduce you to these thirty-six incredible authors.

We hope you love the stories as much as we do. If so, we encourage you to check out the other books by these wonderful authors. Each and every one is unique and special.

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Free On All Venues!
This anthology will only be available
for three months!

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I am only spotlighting a few of the stories in this AWESOME anthology. It’s huge and I can’t believe it’s free. Every story I’ve read so far is a 5 Purr Read!

Shadow Lover
Louisa Bacio

Toni had joined Carnevale to escape her parents and their choice to be her husband, Zoro. Zoro was the definition of evil, and she’s sure he’s killed all his previous wives. She would not be next.

Marco came to have his cards read by her, when she touches him for a closer look she’s thrown into a vision and throws him out.

The next day they meet up in public and the attraction is still there. For some reason she feels safe with him.

This is a favorite scene.

Hand on his chest, she pressed him into the darkened alleyway, marveling at his crisp features. He placed one hand on her waist, drawing her tightly against him. The other hand wound through her curls, cradling the back of her neck. He cast his eyes down, staring at her lips, and the moment stretched in time. Her breath hitched. Whatever was to come, her future would be forever altered.

Raising on tiptoe, she tilted her head and brushed her lips against his. Mouth against mouth, they let their lives seam together.

A hunger rose between them. Desire flamed from low in her belly and spread throughout. From this kiss, she imagined being with him, celebrating their union of bodies.

Something shifted, and the more they kissed, the more lightheaded she grew. His kisses felt like they possessed the power to suck her energy, along with her good sense. They broke the connection. She swayed.

“Whoa, hold on there.” Marco steadied her. “Maybe we should slow down.”

“Give me a moment.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded drunk, floating in and out of volume.

“It’ll be all right.”

She focused on a point of light and watched as it grew smaller and smaller until everything went black.

And she felt herself falling.
Bacio, Louisa, Shadow Lover. 1001 Dark Nights Short Story Anthology 2020. 1001 Dark Nights Press. Kindle Locations (5706-5716). Kindle Edition.

Marco knows he needs to protect Toni, it’s more than just an urge. It’s something he has to do and is proven when Zoro shows up.

I loved this tale of shadow, light and love.

5 Contented Purrs for Louisa!

Exit Wounds
The Arsenal

Cara Carnes

Callista Yate’s husband Owen was MIA, the company he worked for wouldn’t send in a team to get him out. At her friend Kayla’s insistence, Callista Yates goes to the Arsenal accompanied by Boomer her guard dog. She wasn’t sure what her reception would be but she needed them to get her husband out of wherever he was. Time was running out.

This is a favorite scene.

The door behind Callista opened. Boomer shifted at her feet as a brunette and a tall man resembling Jesse entered. The latter knelt near the dog and smiled.

“Hi there, Boomer. You and I ran a couple of ops together.”

They had? Callista glanced down at the dog, who’d somehow become the focal point since her arrival. Fear clawed its way up her throat. “My husband was Army but left the service so he could be home more.”

For her.

“It’s always about what you want, Callista. What about me?”

“What about you?”

“We keep chipping away on my dreams to make this work between us. I’m not sure how much I have left to give.”

“Don’t say that.”

Owen turned and headed toward his truck. “We’ll talk when I get back. Maybe you’ll pull your head out of your ass by then and see I’m doing the best I can.”

Regret soured her stomach. The argument they’d had before he left for the mission recycled in her brain, an unwanted reminder that she’d put him in this situation. He never would’ve signed on with Jaxsun if she hadn’t demanded he leave the service.

“He contracted with Jaxsun after he left. Are they planning a retrieval?” the woman asked.

“No.” Callista pulled out the crumpled check from her pocket and tossed it on the table as the woman and man sat. “They knocked on my door less than a day after they received word of his capture and offered their condolences, along with this. Five thousand dollars dollars is the going rate for an operative’s life, in case you didn’t know.”

The two men regarded one another. Jesse fisted his hands while the other man cursed. The woman took the folder and shifted through the contents. From what Kayla had said, The Arsenal was the best private paramilitary organization around. They never failed on a mission.

“We have some money in savings, and I can get an emergency mortgage on our house. My friend said she could cover the rest of whatever your fee is.” Her eyes burned as she watched the three people rifle through the scraps of intel she’d accumulated. “Please. You’re his only hope.”

“Your friend is Kayla Dunn? Her father is a colonel.” The woman shut the folder and looked at Callista. “Why didn’t you involve him?”

“He’s plans D through F,” Callista replied.

Amusement flickered across Jesse’s face. “I’m curious to know what these plans were.”

“I’m thinking Callista isn’t leaving without a yes,” the second man commented. “I’m Dylan Mason. My five brothers and I run The Arsenal.”

Two of the five head honchos in the meeting was a good sign. Right? “I’d say it’s good to meet you, but this whole thing is a nightmare.”

Dylan’s gaze cut to the woman at the head of the table. “Is it doable?”

“Anything’s doable with enough time,” the woman answered as she looked to Jesse. “Levi’s team is already nearby. You ran their last op. Are they usable for this?”

Callista’s pulse quickened. Hope bubbled to the surface as she held her breath and awaited an answer. If they said no…

No wasn’t an option. Owen needed them.

She needed them.

“Even if they weren’t, they wouldn’t turn away from this,” Dylan commented. “It cuts too close to the bone for them, and for us.”

Tension thickened the air as the two men regarded one another. The woman broke the silence. “It’s your call, Jesse. I’m only here out of curiosity.”

“They’re mission ready. We’ll need to restock supplies, but that’s doable. Since Lexi’s with them, we’ll have an easier entry and exfil if we commandeer a helo.” Jesse thrummed his fingers on the table and glanced at Callista.

Relief and shock filled her. Was that a yes?

“Which plan is Boomer part of?” Jesse asked.

Damn. They’d put two and two together quickly. “C.”

“I’m missing something,” Dylan said.

“Kayla is on the top of Marshall’s acquisitions list,” the woman said. “I’m Mary, by the way. HERA alerted me when your background flagged her. We’ll do what we can to get Owen home. Maybe when this is over, she’ll finally answer Marshall’s phone calls.”

Tears streamed down Callista’s face. She wiped them away and nodded. “Thank you. I-I can’t say that enough.”

“Before we forget, this one’s on the house. We won’t charge to bring one of our own home.” Jesse stood. “I’ll have Ellie get you situated and show you around.”
Carnes, Cara, Exit Wounds. 1001 Dark Nights Short Story Anthology 2020. 1001 Dark Nights Press. Kindle Locations (1318-1356). Kindle Edition.

This is yet another example of how the Arsenal takes care of not only their own but other former military.

The reunion between Callista and Owen brought tears to my eyes, and I fell in love with Boomer too. He is a very special dog.

Love, Laughter, Tears and a Touch of Sizzle in this quick and satisfying read.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Some Day My Ranger Will Come

Jen Talty

Ella Cane really thought she knew what she was doing when she set out for the Black Park Island campground. Instead of finding it she ends up on a sandbar where Phillip Prince, the Ranger she really wanted to impress, found her.

This is a favorite scene.

The roar of an engine caught her attention. She glanced north and saw him heading her way.

Wonderful. Not how she wanted to see Philip for the first time on this trip. The entire idea had been to impress the hell out of him, not need him to save her. That would only perpetuate the concept that she was a high-maintenance female who only cared about her next mani-pedi.

She glanced at her toes and groaned. She was overdue.

“Looks like you’ve gotten yourself into a little bit of trouble.” Philip sat behind a steering wheel in a watercraft that looked like a blow-up toy with a motor. It reminded her of the tender on her father’s yacht that the deck crew used to taxi them back and forth from anchor to port.

“It’s just a little sandbar type thing. I can get out and push it and jump back in.” Yeah. She’d seen people do that on the private beach by her parents’ place all the time. It shouldn’t be too hard as long as Mr. Sexy Ranger Man stopped staring at her with amusement dancing in his teal-blue eyes.

“Ella, you don’t want to do that.” He shook his head. “The bottom isn’t like the beach. It’s more like quicksand. You’ll sink to your knees.”

She shivered. The only time she wanted to be caked in mud was at the spa.

“The mistake you made, besides passing the campgrounds a half-hour ago, was turning around back there. Had you just backed out, you would have been fine.”

Thanks for the lecture. “What do you suggest I do now? I’m supposed to go live to my followers…”—she glanced at her Apple Watch—“in a little over an hour. I’m doing a whole series on different parks and some of the history they have in our community, along with their great outdoor activities.”

He covered his mouth, and his shoulders moved up and down.

She scowled. “I don’t see what’s so funny.”

“I’m sorry.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve seen some of your YouTube videos, and camping on an island that you won’t be able to get off until the tide comes back in doesn’t seem like your cup of tea. Especially all alone. Unless we had some sort of holistic yoga healing studio with a juice bar.” He pointed to the sky. “And the storm’s rolling in.”

“Well, if you think that, you haven’t been watching enough of my live feeds.” She tilted her head. Dark clouds hovered a few miles away. The weather app mentioned it would most likely rain, but that was all supposed to happen north of Martin County. “That’s all moving out to sea.”

“If you say so,” Philip said. He maneuvered his boat, pushing his bow up against hers. “Hop on.” He held out his hand.

“What about all my stuff? The boat? We can’t just leave it here.”

“We’re not going to.” He patted the bench. “Think you can manage putting this in reverse and hang out in the open water over there while I unstick the rental?”

“Of course.” Instead of taking the help he offered, she stepped from her vessel. “Oh, shit.” She lunged forward, being flung into his arms. She dug her fingernails into his thick shoulders. “Well, hello, there.” He groaned, wrapping one arm around her and stretching out the other as he grabbed the steering wheel. His body twisted as his butt landed with a thud on the bench.
Talty, Jen. Some Day My Ranger Will Come. 1001 Dark Nights Short Story Anthology 2020. 1001 Dark Nights Press. Kindle Locations (3844-3867). Kindle Edition.

Ella struggles with even the simplest things as Phillip watches amused. He’s still wondering why she’s doing this but having seen some of her latest podcasts he wants to get to know the real Ella.

There’s more than one scene that has me laughing out loud and a twist in the weather that had me holding my breath.

A fast and fun read with a couple of twists and a touch of heat.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

Prince of Seattle

Fiona Archer

Kayla met her boss Adam Justice at Gabriel Prince’s home. What she didn’t expect was for him to leave her there to go over the vetting information. She and Gabriel have history and she’s not sure she’s forgiven him for that humiliation so long ago.

Gabriel is more than aware of the mistake he made years ago, he had Adam to thank for her being here today.

This is a favorite scene.

After seeing Adam off, Gabriel closed the front door of his Vashon Island home as a gust of wind sent fallen leaves dancing about in the front circular driveway. On the horizon, heavy gray clouds filled the October sky, bringing with them the chaotic energy of an approaching storm. The atmosphere was charged, prevailing conditions changing at a moment’s notice.

Gabriel shook his head. Not unlike the situation he was in right now.

Kayla was here in his house.

Whatever fates had aligned to make this miracle possible, Gabriel was grateful.

There was one life truth that had been rammed into him over the last few years: If you ever had the chance to right a wrong, grab it—or her—with both hands, and don’t let go.

An unfamiliar tension tightened in his gut. Nervousness? For a man known for conquering any stated goal, the sensation was a sobering reminder of what was now at stake: getting back the woman he loved.

Walking back to his living area, he studied Kayla.

Her blonde hair fell in a thick, sleek sheet past her shoulder blades. Years ago, she often wore her hair up in a ponytail, especially during the summer. Having it down suited her. Her cashmere sweater showcased beautiful full breasts, and the navy skirt her rounded hips. How many times had he dreamed of running his hands over her supple body, undressing her, and discovering what drove her to beg for pleasure?

Gabriel gave a self-derisory snort. Christ, those thoughts were a pathway to hell he should dodge for now.

Kayla looked up, her hazel gaze narrowing and distrust radiating from her.

He deserved no better.

Six years ago, Gabriel had kept his promise to Max. Force Kayla away, keep her safe from the playboy Max had known him to be before he dated Kayla.

He could see Max’s logic. Twenty-two. In his first year working for the family firm. No way could Gabriel guarantee he wouldn’t end up breaking Kayla’s heart.

At the time, Gabriel had believed that, in turning her away, he was doing the right thing.

That decision had become his biggest regret.

“It’s already past eleven. We should get moving here.” A tiny frown creased Kayla’s brow.

His finger itched to smooth the wrinkle away. Instead, he slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “How about some coffee?”

At her hesitation, he reminded her, “We’ve got hours of work in front of us, Kayla.”

She pressed her lips together, as if weighing his suggestion before giving in. “You’re right. Coffee would be good.”

Taking her agreement as a victory, he poured two cups and added cream to hers.

As he set the mug in front of her, she thanked him with no reaction to him remembering how she took her coffee.

He sat opposite her. There was so much he wanted to say, which could set Kayla off like a bomb. For now, sticking to business was safer. “Where do you want to start?”
Archer, Fiona. Prince of Seattle. 1001 Dark Nights Short Story Anthology 2020. 1001 Dark Nights Press. Kindle Locations (2810-2832). Kindle Edition.

By the time they finished going over the files, the weather had changed and now Kayla is stuck in Gabriel’s home overnight. The storm had flooded the ford at the end of his driveway and the back exit was still blocked by fallen trees from the last storm.

Kayla’s boundaries come down and then go back up. Gabriel has much explaining to do if she’ll listen.

A fun and sensuous read.

5 Contented Purrs for Fiona!

Louisa Bacio’s Bio and Links

Louisa Bacio Louisa Bacio

A Southern California native, Louisa Bacio can’t imagine living far away from the ocean. The multi-published author of erotic romance enjoys writing within all realms – from short stories to full-length novels.She shares her household with a supportive husband, two daughters growing “too fast,” and a multitude pet craziness: Two dogs, five fish tanks, an aviary, hamsters, rabbits and hermit crabs. In her other life, she teaches college classes in English, journalism and popular culture.

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Cara Carnes’ Bio and Links

Cara Carnes

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

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Jen Talty’s Bio and Links

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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Fiona Archer’s Bio and Links

Fiona Archer

Fiona Archer is an Aussie author who writes contemporary romance spiced with suspense. Her books feature masterful alpha heroes teamed with sassy heroines who limit their submissive side to the bedroom.

Her favorite hobbies include watching Nathan Fillion on television, shopping for that ever-elusive perfect shade of lipstick, and drinking iced coffee.

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Avenging Victoria – Special Forces: Operation Alpha – Counterstrike Book 3 By Cara Carnes

Avenging Victoria
Special Forces: Operation Alpha
Counterstrike Book 3
Cara Carnes


Law and order is in her blood and she bleeds blue…

FBI Agent Victoria Blevins has devoted her career to upholding the law and never shies away from a challenge. When her latest assignment leaves her wounded, on the run, and alone in a foreign country while investigating a potential leak in the Diaz cartel task force, she puts her trust in one man who can keep her alive—even if he cuts corners and the law. He may not shade within the lines, but he’s dedicated and true…

Billionaire Milo Davenport walked away from his Delta team and founded Counterstrike to help domestic violence victims who needed help fighting people like his own brutal father. A caretaker of an elaborate underground network, he’s vowed to safeguard its existence from everyone, especially governmental authorities like the FBI. But when the one woman he wants most is in danger, he’ll do anything to protect her—even if she’s someone he has no business trusting.

Figuring out who betrayed her is simple. Navigating the secrets between them is a mission neither of them are prepared for but both will do anything to accomplish.

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Another witness is dead and the Agent in Charge wants the name and location of Victoria’s witness. She can’t give up this woman and her child no matter what. Victoria trusts no one as she takes her files and crosses the parking lot to her car. She has a biometric safe in the trunk and as she secures the files she pulls her weapon. She’s being watched. She sends the email regarding her investigation to Milo and the Arsenal, takes out her attackers but has been darted, the drug is starting through her system, meant to get answers not kill. She knows she’s in trouble and calls Milo who patches in Edge.

This is a favorite scene.

It wasn’t a lot of time, but Milo knew the woman worked impossible situations all the time.

Hang on, Tory. I’m coming.

His cell rang. He clicked answer after the first ring when he saw Victoria’s name flash across the screen. “Victoria?”

“Milo.” Her low, slow voice cast dread in his gut. “Someone attacked, hit me with a dart. I got away, but I’m…”

“Victoria, where are you?”


“Pull over. I’m adding Edge to this call. We’ll find a safe place for you to hunker down until I can get down there. Hold on, baby.” He clicked the add button on the screen and patched Edge in without waiting for a response.

His pulse quickened. The vehicle accelerated as Chatter gripped the steering wheel tighter. “Edge. Victoria’s on the call. Someone attacked. She got away, but she was darted.”

“Victoria?” Edge asked. “Are you being followed?”

“I think so. I see headlights. He may not have been alone.”

It’d been years since he’d been in Colombia, but he knew the area around the embassy well. Narrow, windy roads and steep drop offs were a hazard— one an injured, drugged woman shouldn’t be driving, especially if someone was chasing her.

“He?” Milo asked, hating the fear in her voice.

“She sent an image,” Mary, aka the Edge, answered. “He’s a local thug for hire, works mostly with the Diaz cartel from what HERA has pulled.

“Great,” Victoria muttered. “I can’t drive faster. They’re gaining on me.”

“You can’t remain in that vehicle. I have satellite images of the area you’re in pulled up. Speed up so that when you pass the next curve, they can’t see you. Can you do that?”

“Okay. I’m not going to be awake much longer. Get Teresa secure if they take me. I won’t talk. Just keep her safe.”

“That’s not happening,” Milo growled. “They aren’t touching you. Tell me you have a plan, Edge.”

Horrors he’d witnessed while in Delta ricocheted in his brain, each one an unwanted yet potential scenario Victoria could find herself in if she was captured. How many people had he recovered while in the service?

He couldn’t let her endure any of that. There had to be a solution, some way to keep her safe until he could get down there.

“It’s not good, but it’s all we can do for now. Victoria, when you come to the next curve, I need you to jump from the car and let it drive over the cliff.”

Was she serious? What the hell? Milo stifled the rage rumbling through him.

“You’ll need to hide in the overgrown vegetation you find there until they leave.”

“That’s not a plan, it’s suicide,” Milo clipped.

“She’s drugged. If we’re lucky, they’ll assume she passed out and went over the cliff. We’ll be even luckier if the car explodes when it impacts with the ground. Either way, they won’t hang around. I activated the embassy’s alarms and put the van’s information into their system. They’ll be hunting for it.”

Milo didn’t question how the woman had managed all that remotely. He’d learned long ago to never ask questions because the answers were so far above his technical know-how, he never understood them anyway.

Silence descended, followed quickly by pained moans and rustling. Dread clawed his insides as he listened, hoping to hear Victoria’s voice. Heavy breathing and grunts filled the vehicle.

“Airport,” Milo said, glaring over at Chatter, who thankfully offered no argument. “Get the pilot ready. We’re going now. Victoria?”

“I’m here. I’m here.” She repeated the statement several more times before silence descended. “I think I’m hidden. My left foot isn’t doing well.”

“You did good,” Edge said. “Stay still and quiet. I’ll let you know when the van pulls away. Patrol cars are almost there, so they should leave very soon.”

“I can’t trust locals. Or anyone,” Victoria said. “They can’t know I’m here. Someone set me up.”

“Milo is on his way to you. It’ll take a few hours, but he will be there. I’ve already diverted a team to your location. They’ll secure you until he arrives.”

“A team?” Victoria asked.

“They aren’t Arsenal. We didn’t have anyone in the location. I’m cutting some big corners here to get help to you.”

“Corner cutting is good,” Victoria whispered. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” Edge asked.

“I’m sorry I dragged you and Milo into this. I didn’t know who I could trust. I knew he could help Teresa if I got her stateside.” Moans filled gaps between each word she spoke. What other injuries had the brave woman incurred falling out of a moving car after being drugged?

“Hang tight. We’ll get you safe. Then we’ll get some answers,” Edge said. “They’re at the cliff now. The car is on fire but hasn’t exploded. Stay quiet. I’ll let you know when they’re gone.”

Just because they left now didn’t mean she was safe. They’d likely circle back, after the authorities Edge had dispatched were gone. Son of a bitch.

Someone set me up.

They’d pay.

She’d trusted him to help. He wouldn’t fail her.

“Who are you sending, Edge?”

“A Delta team was a couple hours away, heading back to base. Their mission is done. Now they have another one,” Mary said.

“That’s more than a small corner cut.” It was more like a straight carving few could pull off. Milo knew The Arsenal had a huge network, though. Delta.

Milo didn’t know who was on the team but, as a former Delta, he knew they’d keep her safe. Hang on, Tory. I’m coming for you.
Cara Carnes. Avenging Victoria (Special Forces: Operation Alpha): Counterstrike, Book 3 (Kindle Locations 483-530). Aces Press, LLC.

From the moment the Delta Team Edge diverts reaches Tory, things start to heat up. Milo arrives soon after they have Tory secured and then they have to get her witness.

I love the way Edge and her crew managed to get the Delta team diverted and that it was the new Delta team was even more fun. A supercharged game of hide and seek ensues as they keep Tory and her witness safe and the investigation continues.

Plenty of suspense, intrigue, action and a romance that sizzles right from the start.

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Cara Carnes

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

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Hostile Ground – The Arsenal Book 7 by Cara Carnes

Hostile Ground
The Arsenal Book 7
Cara Carnes


Do whatever it takes to survive…

Addy Rugers survived a treacherous, brutal upbringing after her parents died. Trained for death and seduction and forced to work for her brother’s covert ops organization, she learned to rely only on herself and chameleon her way through every mission. With him dead and his organization dismantled, she now has a new life at The Arsenal—one where she can shed her personas and be herself. Now, she must immerse herself in the nightmarish world she fled and trust the one man with the power to destroy her.

To slay a monster, you must become one…

Kristof Lavrov sank into the criminal underworld two decades ago with one objective—revenge. The sacrifices made are only outnumbered by the atrocities he’s committed under the banner of vengeance. What little of his humanity remains is now under fire when he agrees to help the one woman that he’d sacrifice anything to protect. Their lives have intersected more than once, and he’s always had the strength to walk away.

Until now.

They must work together to save those they love, but the real war is one neither of them is prepared to wage.

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In this book we learn all about Addy’s past and her relationship with Kristof. A relationship that goes back to childhood and she never discusses. Her cover is Iriana, Kristof’s Enforcer. This is backed up by her underground fighting which really doesn’t make her team happy.

As her team complains she reminds them that the auction where they will acquire the missiles is only a couple of days away. Of course those days are going to be filled with other things that will surprise everyone. Kristof is sort of an unknown at least to the team, for Addy she still remembers the boy he once was and how they met.

Things get even more complicated as human trafficking gets into the mix. Even thought she’s horrified and pissed Addy keeps her cool as she realizes there’s a lot more going on. The conversation between Kristof and Gavriil has some undercurrents they need to unveil.

Then all hell breaks loose.

This is a favorite scene.

“It was less of a gift than you were going to receive. Don’t let it happen again.”

“It won’t.” Gavriil picked up his drink and took a sip. The brunette offered him a pull of the joint she held up. “I trust you’ll handle the cargo without my involvement.”

“I will, like always.”

“Always? How many times have they handled ‘cargo’? Jesus they make me sick,” Zoey said. “Marshall, you’ll likely have visitors soon.”

“They just pulled up,” someone said.

“Tag that vehicle,” Marshall ordered.

“On it,” someone replied.

Addy shifted in her seat and sipped the drink she held. Conversation on the com continued in her ear. The women were being moved. Then what? Would they be returned to whoever they’d been stolen from? What was Kristof’s definition of handling the situation?

“New targets have a tail,” someone said. “Quarter klick back, south.”

“Roger. Drone has the vehicle,” Zoey said.

A tail? Addy narrowed her gaze. As if sensing her concern, Kristof’s eyebrows rose. Addy pulled out her phone and tapped out a message.

Tail on your cargo crew.

Kristof chuckled and pulled out his cell. He cursed and tapped out a message to someone. Addy would kill to know who, but they’d been unsuccessful in cloning his phone so far— much to Zoey’s chagrin.

“Forgive me. We have an issue with the pickup.”

“Oh?” Gavriil asked.

“It seems I wasn’t trusted to handle the situation,” Kristof said. He slid his cell back into his pocket. “Thank you, Iriana. Your attention to detail is appreciated, as always.”

Interesting. He trusted Gavriil with details she’d expected him to keep quiet. Why?

“Brilliant and beautiful. Careful, friend. Those are the dangerous ones,” Gavriil said with a grin.

“You have no idea,” Kristof muttered.

Addy chuckled. Awareness beaded along her skin as she peered into his intense gaze. Although the scantily clad blonde writhed against him, Kristof ignored the woman altogether and kept his attention fully on Addy.

Her pulse quickened as she severed eye contact and took a long pull from the cocktail. She didn’t know what it was, but it was good and filled with more Vodka than mixer. The alcohol burned the back of her throat with just enough sting to snap her out of the hormonally-charged thoughts.

Amusement glimmered on Kristof’s face as he raised his drink and took a sip. “As much as I’m sure you’re enjoying these beautiful women’s company, we have business to discuss.”

“Of course. Give us a moment, ladies,” Gavriil said to the two women at his sides. Addy and Kristof both stood. Silence descended as the two women shimmied out of the booth and disappeared into the club. “Do we have a problem?”

“My men will take them to your safe house,” Kristof said as he and Addy both sat back down. “They’ll remain there and keep them secure until you can have someone take over.”

“That wasn’t our agreement.” Gavriil leaned forward. “I was under the impression all was forgiven with this transaction.”

“It is.”

“Perhaps I’m not the only one with rebel employees.”

“Sounds like there’s trouble brewing,” Zoey said in the com.

No shit. Addy fought the urge to reposition herself between Kristof and Gavriil. Although Kristof was likely just as good a fighter as her, Iriana was his protector.

“You’ll be compensated,” Kristof said.

“You can’t continue bleeding for this endeavor. It’s an impossible task.”

“No more so than yours was.”

“Perhaps.” Gavriil sighed heavily and leaned back in the booth. “I tire of the cat and mouse game. Who is the cat and who is the mouse and why do I feel like the bait?”

“You aren’t the bait. You’re the trap,” Kristof said. “Or the mouse.”

Gavriil laughed. “That doesn’t ease my concern.”

“It should.” Kristof finished his drink and set the glass on the table. “I’m the dog. The cat stands no chance.”

He stood and motioned for Addy to do the same. Surprised, she complied. They were leaving? Where was the money? And what the heck did the cat and mouse and dog and trap bullshit mean?

“He’s hiding something,” Zoey said.

Yes. And Addy would find out exactly what once they were alone. Bastard.

“Take care, comrade. The cat you hunt is a feral tiger.” Gavriil smiled at Iriana. “I hope we meet again.”

Not likely. Addy coiled her arm around Kristof’s waist and settled at his side as they fell in step toward the exit. Chairs scraped when they passed Ivan’s table. The brute took point and the other three fanned out around Addy and Kristof.

Her gaze swept the exterior of the club as they stepped onto the sidewalk. Situated within a busy nightclub district, people milled about nearby. Laughter filled the area. Music drifted from a street performer down the road.

Ivan moved from his position in front of Kristof and stepped off the curb. The vehicle was parked on a neighboring street. The man fell, his head struck the curb. Addy took a step toward him, but voices shouted in the com.

“Sniper! Get down, Red!” Johnny shouted.

“Shit!” Zoey said at the same time.

Addy took Kristof down with a kick to the back of his legs. He grunted with the impact as she covered him with her body. Her heart thudded wildly in her chest as she drew out her gun from her purse.

Blood coated her hand.

What the fuck? She lifted up, peered into Kristof’s shocked gaze.

“Afraid I zigged and should’ve zagged,” he said.

“Lavrov’s hit,” Addy said.

No. No. No. She tugged his suit jacket open. The Kevlar-like lining had stopped the bulk of the damage, but the bullet had still hit. Blood poured from a wound near his left shoulder. “Shoulder wound. Applying pressure. Someone get me a fucking vehicle!”

She screamed the latter at the idiots that’d been with Ivan. One hid behind a trashcan while the other two tried to save Ivan. Since there was very little left of his face, she suspected it was too late.

“Get the car!” she screamed again.

“Where is he, Z?” Johnny asked. “Bullet came from my direction.”

“Across the street, in the same building you’re in Johnny,” Zoey said.

“Sixteenth, maybe fifteenth floor based on the trajectory HERA drones got,” Jesse said. “Cracker and Beast, close off the exits to that building. Shep, cover Addy and Kristof. Stay out of sight. Repeat, stay out of sight.”

“Stay with me,” Addy said as she pressed down on the bullet wound harder.

A group of men surged from the strip club. Gavriil’s angered shouts boomed through the area as he ordered them to fan out and provide cover. He crouched on Kristof’s other side.

“Let’s get him inside,” the man said.

“No.” Addy shook her head. “The car. Someone went to get it.”

“He’s safer inside with me until more of his men can come.” Anger filled the man’s face. “I won’t argue this with you, Iriana.”

“How the fuck do I know this wasn’t you?” She aimed her weapon at him. “Who else knew he was here?”

“That’s what we’ll find out after we tend to his injury.”
Cara Carnes. Hostile Ground (Kindle Locations 777-839). Heartscape Publishing, Inc.

Everything gets far more complicated with Kristof injured. The auction is almost upon them and now there’s even more to the puzzle.

Addy and Kristof have a lot to resolve, not only business wise but also personally. These two are explosive together and secrets that are revealed just bring them closer.

Plenty of suspense and action, with laughter, tears, interesting twists and a kindle melting relationship.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Check Out These Free Reads
on Cara’s Website!

Cara Carnes

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

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Justice for Angie – Police and Fire: Operation Alpha – Counterstrike Book 2 By Cara Carnes

Justice for Angie
Police and Fire: Operation Alpha
Counterstrike Book 2
Cara Carnes


She’s never met a fight she couldn’t win…
until now.

After brutally murdering someone in Angie Bierman’s dojo, the killer targets her first and then people she cares about to scare her off the investigation. Determined to prevent further tragedy, she does the one thing she can to keep them safe—run.

Six months and ten cities later, she’s financially destitute, emotionally spent, and desperate for help in the relentless fight for her life. One close call too many brings her into contact with an elite organization. Their offer to help is too good to be true. The ruggedly handsome operative promising to put himself between her and the psychopath hunting her may have no intension of mixing business with pleasure, but he’s a temptation she can’t resist.

There’s no line he won’t cross…

John “Twitch” Stanz spent years serving his country and returned home to help his friends run Counterstrike—an organization created to help individuals caught up in impossible situations. Despite all the lives he’s helped save before, the fearless, beautiful woman now in his charge is a danger he’s never faced. She’s tenacious, passionate, and everything he could ever want, but the beast chasing her won’t stop until she’s dead.

Twitch will use every resource at his disposal to keep Angie alive even if that means taking the bullet for her.

Dojo owner and martial arts expert Angie Beirman has left everything behind to keep the people she cares about safe. She had been attacked several times in a short period of time following the brutal murder of a member of her dojo. Angie was looking for some kind of evidence to point to the real murderer, she doesn’t believe that Hannah’s ex Eric was capable of it. She has a suspicion of a wealthy business man but getting the police to investigate isn’t happening. They have Erik and believe the case is closed.

Unfortunately no matter where she goes she is found and attacked. She’s been in Chicago only two days when hired thugs find her again. They don’t have the answer she needs. Injured, she runs yet again and she’s helped by two women who know just who can help her.

The network Zero D (Zoey from the Arsenal) started is the perfect way to help Angie disappear but there’s a problem they don’t know about yet. Counterstrike is the branch that will start the process and the Arsenal steps in to help when necessary.

This is a favorite scene.

Ben pulled out a cell phone. “I’m going to make a call, put it on speaker. Listen to what he says, then we’ll figure out the next step. Okay? I’ve helped a lot of people in trouble thanks to this crew I’m gonna call. They can help.”

Angie wished it was that simple. Rather than argue, she leaned her head back on the pillow and willed the pain away. Ben took her hand and squeezed as the line rang.

“This is Jade.”

“Hey, man. I’ve got someone here who needs help. Angie’s been shot. Looks like there was an altercation of some sort here. A local thug was killed.” Ben paused. “She has evidence of recent injuries.”

“Angie?” The man’s voice boomed through the cell phone. “I’m Jade. I facilitate entry into a network to help people in trouble. The more information you give me, the safer I can make you.”

Angie swallowed. Remained silent.

“Who’s after you?” Jade asked.

When she made no reply, Ben squeezed her hand. “This network has never failed anyone they’ve helped, Angie.”

“Someone’s hunting me,” Angie admitted. “I can’t prove who, but he hires local thugs to capture me wherever I go. Ten cities now. Six months. I’m sorry. You can’t help me with this.”

Silence descended a few heartbeats. Jade sighed heavily. “The shit you call in isn’t ever easy, Ben.”

The man smirked. “You wouldn’t want the simple problems.”

“True that.” Jade paused. “Zero D’s restructured the network. I’m gonna route the call to Counterstrike. They’re an organization that’s helping run things now. If things are bigger than they can handle, Zero tags in her crew. I’ll be honest. There ain’t much Counterstrike can’t handle.”

“Thanks, man,” Ben said. The line went quiet several moments.

Unease pricked Angie’s skin the longer she waited. Every wasted minute increased the risk someone would find her. Exhaustion demanded she give Ben’s contacts the chance to help. Running had gotten her nowhere.

“Angie? My name is Twitch. I’m going to help you get to a secure location.” The man’s gravelly voice boomed from the speaker. “Ben, I understand she’s not alone with you.”

“No. There are three others here. Several more saw her enter this apartment,” Ben said. “She was shot, too injured to move.”

“She’s stable now?”

“As stable as I can get her,” Ben said.

“Okay, good. Can we trust those around to keep quiet about this?” Twitch asked.

“What the fuck?” Isa’s boyfriend shouted. “I ain’t no snitch.”

“I’m more worried about you talking if whoever is after her puts pressure on you,” the man said. “I determine how best to contain the situation.”

“She killed someone in a local thug’s crew,” Ben said. “At least, that’s what we’re assuming based on police activity near where she was.”

“Angie?” Twitch asked.

“I had no choice. They attacked.” She swallowed the revulsion rolling through her. It’d become too commonplace to justify the blood on her hands, the damage she’d done to stay alive. “This wasn’t the first attack, won’t be the last.”

“It will if I have anything to say about it,” Twitch replied. “Ben, someone will be in contact in a few hours. They’ll want the names of everyone there now and as much information as possible on the altercation.”


“Angie, are you strong enough to leave on your own, or do I need to send someone to retrieve you?” Concern softened the man’s words. “I need an honest answer.”

“I’ll manage.” Angie sat up. Dizziness overcame her a moment. She eyed her backpack in the corner of the room, near the door.

“She’s lost a lot of blood,” Ben said.

“I’ll manage,” she repeated, her voice stronger than before.

“Very well. We’ll trust her judgment for now, but you can take her the first few steps until she’s out of Chicago, if you’re okay with the risk. You understand what that means.”

“I do.” The man’s lips thinned. “I’ll get her out safe.”

“Get her out of there. Take us off speaker. I’ll give you instructions once that’s done.”

Angie stood, leaned against Ben. “I can’t let him endanger himself any more than he has. I’ll do it alone.”

“Let him help you, girl,” Vani pleaded as she stood.

“Thank you for saving me.” Angie hugged the woman. Then repeated the action with Isa. “I can’t risk any of you more than I have. I wish I could repay your kindness. Please, let me do this alone. You’ve done enough.”

Silence ticked by a few more moments. Twitch sighed heavily into the phone. “Fine. I’m going to trust that you can do this alone. But the first sign of trouble, and I’m sending someone to help you.”

“Fair enough.” Angie gritted her teeth and ignored the achy throb along her injured side.

“Call me if she gets into trouble,” Ben said.

“I will.” Confidence exuded from Twitch. Angie clicked the speaker off when she took the phone.

Determination kept her standing. She looked down, noted someone had changed her shirt. She picked up her backpack and winced as pain lanced her side. The corridor outside the apartment was empty. Thankful for the lack of witnesses, she exited the building.
Cara Carnes. Justice For Angie (Kindle Locations 328-372). Aces Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Right from the start of her escape with Twitch on the phone with her she somehow picks up a tail. This is going to be an issue, but ever persistent, Twitch gets her to safety and then finally on a plane to him.

This book is intense, suspenseful, page-turning, action-packed, and romantic with some sizzle too.  It is also filled with so many characters I love. It was great meeting Twitch and Angie and seeing the Arsenal folks as well as Cruz and Quint from Susan Stoker’s crew.

I can’t wait to see what Cara has in store for us next!

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

Click the Cover for Buy Links!

Cara Carnes

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

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Impact Zone – The Arsenal Book 6 by Cara Carnes

Impact Zone
The Arsenal Book 6
Cara Carnes


Every action has an equal
and opposite reaction.

Rhea Strathmore creates death. Locked within her laboratory at The Arsenal, she concocts whatever’s necessary to protect those around her. She won’t ever negate her pre-Arsenal deficit, but she’ll try. Her past work now threatens everyone she cares for and exposes secrets she’s kept buried. The mysterious man tasked with keeping her alive is more lethal than anything she’s ever concocted.

Everything has a price.

Fallon Graves defies death with every assignment. He may have traded in his lone operative lifestyle for The Arsenal, but that doesn’t mean he’s a team player. He’s survived his entire life with no one. Why should he change? When Rhea’s past threatens The Arsenal, Fallon is forced to question everything he’s valued. She’s a liability in the field, but he’s not about to let anyone harm the woman who’s more dangerous than any explosive he’s ever created.

Together, Rhea and Fallon are one volatile chemical reaction away from going up in flames.

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From almost the very first page I was holding my breath with this one. Rhea doesn’t go on missions, her comfort zone is her lab. Fallon knows this too, and he isn’t pleased when he’s told she has to go in order to identify bio-chemicals that are hazardous. Chemicals that she had created years ago and not with the intent Carlisle has for them.

They have gone over the plan repeatedly and although she’s ready, Fallon’s still skeptical and confronts Edge one more time, to no avail.

Rhea’s nervous, but Bree also has her back. Unknown to the others she has included a few extra items in Rhea’s backpack, just in case.

This is just one of my favorite scenes.

He listened as Zoey and Cord guided Sanchez through steps to secure the van. Sweat dampened Fallon’s skin by the time he’d placed all the charges and returned to Rhea and Donovan. The two, sans hazmat gear, were in the hallway outside the lab. The animals were each on a cart, which was fully contained within a bubble except for its handles. A secondary protective layer was around each of the sleeping animals. Small oxygen tanks sat on the lower level of the cart. The remainder of the second shelf of each was loaded down with paperwork and the computer.

Donovan grunted as he shouldered a second pack.

“You’re clear for exit,” Edge said.

“I should double-check the unsecured area of the lab, make sure I didn’t overlook anything,” Rhea said. She turned and headed toward the lab.

Fallon grabbed her arm. “We’re done.”


“Let’s go.” Relief filled him when she moved behind him and curled her fingers through his belt loop. Donovan maneuvered both of the carts and fell into position behind Fallon and Rhea as they exited the laboratory.

Two large drones hovered in the center of the long corridor. The large, black objects were larger than any The Arsenal used.

“Shit.” Zoey’s curse quickened Fallon’s pulse as two drones he’d dispatched flew forward to intercept the enemy. “Battle Bots time, Arsenal style.”

“Engage,” Jesse barked over the com.

Fallon aimed his weapon as Donovan did the same. The two fired on the black monstrosities as The Arsenal bots moved to intercept the fiery red projectiles shooting toward them. He turned to get Rhea secured, but she was already curled exactly how he’d told her to if trouble hit.

Relieved, he refocused on the drones.

“Donovan, get her out of here,” Fallon said.

“No!” Bree’s voice pierced the coms. “The drones we have aren’t combat. Drugs won’t take those two down. Rhea, get your backpack open. Pull out the black case inside.”

“What did you do?” Edge asked, her voice quiet on the com.

“I packed a few extra things, just in case,” Bree said.

“And didn’t tell us,” Jesse added.

Fallon hauled himself and Rhea into the nearest room as Donovan fired on the drones. Bullets ricocheted off them. “Armored.”

“Of course they are,” Zoey clipped, her anger evident. “What’s in the case, Bree?”

“Move,” Bree ordered.

“You got them, Rhea?” “Yes.” Fallon crouched beside Rhea as she dragged out a black case and unzipped it. Four round balls sat in holders. Two had red streaks while the other two were coated with yellow stripes. “What now?”

“Roll one of the red ones into the hall and take cover. I’ll handle the rest,” Bree said.

“Care to share with the rest of the class?” Zoey asked.

“Is there another way out of this room?” Fallon asked.

“No,” Jesse answered. “Standby.”

Right. He settled into a protective crouch above Rhea. Donovan positioned himself along her other side. Between the two of them, she’d be safe. He looked over and noted the other man had hauled the animals in.

Fiery red beams shot out and pierced the door they’d slammed shut. Donovan rolled one of the balls into the corridor.

“It’s out,” Donovan said. “Any day now. You know, before we’re dead.”

A concussive boom shook the entire area. Bright light filled the area. What the fuck? Fallon’s ears rang. Disoriented, he blinked and shook his head.

A grenade?

What the fuck?

“Status?” Edge asked.

“You okay?” Fallon asked Rhea. His voice sounded distant, as though he’d entered a tunnel. Shit. Hearing damage was the last problem he needed.

He’d suffered from hearing loss for years. The unwanted byproduct of the life he led had proven problematic only a few times. He’d been on enough missions to know what needed to be done. As long as he kept the com turned to high in his “bad ear”— which was at a solid sixty percent hearing at his last checkup with Logan— he’d hear what the bosses ordered. That left his “good ear” to hear everything around him.

Her lips moved, he heard faint words, but nothing distinctive. Her head nodded. Yes. Rhea repeated the words in a non-ending loop as the three of them rose from their crouched positions. Donovan entered the corridor, weapon drawn.

Shock reflected on his face a moment. Lips thinned in a grim expression, he motioned they were clear.

Rhea pushed one cart in front of her and pulled the other behind her. Though he wanted to leave the animals behind and get the hell out while they could, they’d come too far to abandon the new objective now. He snatched the case and Rhea’s backpack and headed out.

Donovan grabbed the remnants of the bots in the carnage. Relieved the man was already two steps ahead, Fallon willed his breathing to slow. That’d been too close.
Cara Carnes. Impact Zone (Kindle Locations 904-945). Heartscape Publishing.

Taking down Carlisle is a complicated move and the planning has to include several different back-ups.

Throughout everything, Fallon has Rhea’s back and to his surprise she has his. She cares about him and it’s evident on every page.

These two are a bit frustrating in their dance even as the danger and suspense ramps up.

I couldn’t put this book down, the hold your breath action, plenty of suspense, laughter, tears and the romance that is both frustrating and perfect as it makes its way to a sizzle.

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

5 Contented Purrs for Cara!

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Cara Carnes

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

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