Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spotlight: Deep Dark (Tracers #10) by Laura Griffin

Deep Dark
Tracers #10
Laura Griffin
May 24, 2016
Pocket Books

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A gripping new romantic thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin...

The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.

As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.

Reed watched her, and she had that frustrated look in her eyes again. Every time she started to open up to him, he did something to tick her off. She shook her head and glanced away. 
“Laney?” 
“What?” 
“I’m a detective. It’s my job to ask questions. To push.” 
She looked at him again and her expression softened. “No, you’re right.” She glanced down at her beer bottle and picked at the label. “I’m glad she has you.” 
“Who has me?” 
“April. You seem--” She paused, like she was searching for the right word. “--committed.” 
He didn’t answer. It wasn’t really a question, but the way she looked at him gave him the feeling she wanted a response. 
She drained her beer and plunked down the bottle. “I should get home.” She stood up. 
Reed stood, too. He left a tip on the table and followed her through the throng of people. The bar was packed, and the music had gotten louder since they’d first walked in.  
They stepped into the warm, muggy air. It was dusk now, and a neon Lone Star Light sign cast a blue-and-red glow over the sidewalk. As they walked in silence, he thought of what she’d said about her job being meaningful. It was refreshing. Maybe he’d been a cop too long, but he didn’t know anyone who talked about things being meaningful anymore. If they thought about work in those terms, they kept it to themselves.  
Maybe he was jaded. 
No, he definitely was jaded. But it had more to do with his failed marriage than anything he’d seen on the job.
Reed spotted her little white car and felt a twinge of regret. He’d enjoyed talking to her, enjoyed being near her. And he couldn’t remember the last time that had happened with a woman. Having a beer with Laney had been the highlight of his crap week. Hell, the highlight of his month. 
She looked around. “Where are you parked?”  
“Around back.” 
She gazed up at him. He couldn’t read her expression. 
“Thanks for the drink,” she said. 
“You bought it.” 
He couldn’t read her tone either. The thrum of music seeped through the thin walls of the bar as they stood there in the light of the beer sign. 
She stepped closer, and a jolt of heat went through him. She looked up at him with those bottomless brown eyes, and he knew he was in trouble. It was a bad idea to involve this girl in his investigation. Whatever useful info she might have was outweighed by the fact that she was young, and edgy, and he wanted her. And she must have seen something in his face because her eyes sparked.  
She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.

Click HERE to check out
the Tracers series.



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.


Release Blast: Kiss Me That Way (Cottonbloom #1) by Laura Trentham

Kiss Me That Way
Cottonbloom #1
Laura Trentham
May 31, 2016
St. Martin’s Paperbacks


A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?



“You left Cottonbloom without telling me. Without saying good-bye. I want to know why.” Monroe hadn’t meant for the words to come out at all, much less with such vehemence. 
“It was complicated.” Cade broke eye contact. “You were a good kid in a bad situation.” 
“Weren’t you a good kid in a bad situation?” 
He shifted toward her, bracing a hand on the dash and laying his other arm over the back of her seat, invading her space. She didn’t retreat. His intensity spurred her heart rate into an erratic gallop, yet she wasn’t intimidated. Perhaps it was only echoes of the past, but he made her feel safe, even when he was the one she should be scared of. 
“I grew up fast and tough.” His voice contained more than a hint of warning. 
“You were nice to me,” she said softly. 
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking I’m nice. I wasn’t then, and I’m sure as hell not now.” 
He ran a callused finger down her cheek, the rasp igniting her nerve endings like a flint. His hand continued south and wrapped itself in her braid, the slight tug on her scalp sending shivers through her body in spite of the sun bearing down on the truck. Her nipples felt tight, and she hoped her tight sports tank masked her sudden, inexplicable arousal. 
He pulled her braid, forcing her toward him. She didn’t fight him. He dropped his face next to hers, his coarse beard hair caressing her cheek, his mouth close to her ear. “If I see something I want, I go after it and get it by any means necessary.” 
“How very Machiavellian.” She tried a laugh, but it came out more like a stuttering sigh. His scent hooked her even closer, and her lips grazed the outer rim of his ear. 
He pulled back, his green-eyed gaze roving her face. She returned the favor, noting the faint brackets around his mouth, the crinkles at his eyes, the thick beard. A full-grown man. Yet was he so different from the boy she remembered? 
“Ovid.” The movement of his lips jammed the cogs of her brain. The word made no sense. Her confusion must have been obvious, because the mouth she stared at tipped up in the corners, deepening the grooves. “The Greek philosopher Ovid, not Machiavelli, actually wrote: The end justifies the means.” 
“Ovid. Of course.” Apparently, Monroe had slept through that philosophy class at Ole Miss. The fact that high-school dropout Cade Fournette was quoting Ovid made her wonder what other mysteries she might uncover if she went digging. 
Just when she was ready to grab a shovel, he released her braid and slipped away. His limp was less pronounced as he took the stairs holding the cane parallel to the ground. Although he’d physically released her, she felt bound to him in some other fundamental way, incapable of tearing her eyes off him until he disappeared behind Sawyer’s front door. Even then, she sat, unable to drive away for a long minute. 
How could the simple brush of Cade’s finger ignite a fire when other men left her cold? As her arousal ebbed, she realized something else. She’d just been manipulated by a master. He hadn’t explained why he left. 
She spent the evening going through the motions of her life, eating when her stomach growled and heading to bed when her eyes felt heavy. A few short hours ago, her life had been tidy and predictable and boring. Cade Fournette’s return had spun her into chaos.


An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Spotlight: A Daughter's Dream (The Charmed Amish Life #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

A Daughter's Dream
The Charmed Amish Life #2
Shelley Shepard Gray
May 24, 2016
Avon Inspire

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In Shelley Shepard Gray’s second book in her Charmed Amish Life series, a young teacher and farmer discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to healing old wounds from the past…and finding love in one another.

Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.

That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?

Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.

But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness…and true love?

When the last of the students were gone, Rachel turned to Rebecca and smiled. “Danke for helping me today, Rebecca. You were a lifesaver.” 
The praise was as embarrassing as it was unwarranted. “I don’t think that was the case at all, Rachel. I tried my best, but chaos reigned. I don’t know what happened—I was sure I could manage things easily for an hour.” 
She chuckled. “Don’t fret. You did fine. It’s simply in children’s natures to stretch their boundaries. They like to push a bit, just to see when someone will push right back.” 
“Well, they certainly pushed.” They also won. Again, Rebecca wondered how it was possible for her to work so well with hundreds of grown men at the lumber mill but be putty in twenty-five children’s hands. “I see I have a lot to learn about managing a classroom.” 
Rachel waved off her concerns. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Any job takes time to learn. I’m sure I would be a nervous wreck managing things like you do at the mill. Whenever I’ve come to visit Marcus, I’ve seen you at your desk, surrounded by demanding men and ringing telephones.” She shivered dramatically. “Give me children to manage any day.” 
“That’s nothing. All it took was practice.” Hearing her own words, Rebecca grinned. “I guess I just need some more practice with the children.” 
“You do, especially if you are serious about wanting to take on this job one day.” 
“I am serious. But I don’t want your job,” she assured her quickly. “Simply a teaching job at one of the Amish schools in the area.” 
“If that is what you want to do, I’m sure you will succeed just fine,” Rachel said. “I’ve never seen you back down or give up in all the years I’ve known ya.” 
That was a nice compliment. Rebecca hoped Rachel was right in this case. She’d had a dream of being a teacher for years, but had never been able to give it much attention because of the demands of the mill. 
However, after last year’s terrible accident at the lumberyard, which had killed five men, including her father, Rebecca had decided the time had come to stop putting dreams off and start putting them into practice. It was simply too bad that her first opportunity to be in charge of the classroom had gone so badly. 
Not wanting to dwell on herself anymore, she looked at Rachel closely. “Did everything go all right with your appointment?” 
“Jah.” A small, secret smile appeared on Rachel’s face before vanishing. 
Just as Rebecca was about to ask what that smile had been about, a man appeared at the door, his hand resting on the shoulder of a shy-looking thirteen-or fourteen-year-old girl. “Excuse me. Is one of you the teacher?” 
While Rebecca found herself staring rather dumbly at the man who was entirely too handsome to be any teenager’s parent, Rachel lifted one of her hands. “I am,” she said in a sweet voice. “I’m Rachel Mast.” 
“Hi,” the newcomer said with a tentative smile. He was a bit older than Rebecca, and was wearing a long-sleeved light green shirt and heavy boots peeking out from beneath his dark trousers. Rebecca also noticed his mesmerizing green eyes. 
After squeezing the girl’s shoulder once, he dropped his hand. “My name is Jacob Yoder and this here is Lilly,” he said a bit awkwardly. “I need to enroll her in school.”
Rachel smiled at the girl. 
As did Rebecca. Looking at the teenager, Rebecca noticed that she, too, had green eyes. But instead of dark brown hair like Jacob, she had dark auburn. She also seemed to be blessed with skin that tanned instead of freckled. She was a pretty girl who was going to be beautiful one day. 
“Hiya, Lilly,” Rachel said in her sweet way. “Like I said, I’m Rachel Mast, the teacher here at Charm School.” 
“Hi,” Lilly said. She met Rachel’s eyes briefly before looking down at her tennis-shoe-clad feet. 
“Did you just move here?” Rebecca asked. Though she didn’t know every Amish family in Charm, she recognized most. 
“I just arrived here from Florida,” the man said. 
“Welcome to Charm, then,” Rachel said easily. “This is my friend Rebecca Kinsinger. She volunteers here from time to time.” 
Feeling a bit tongue-tied, Rebecca lifted a hand. “Hiya.” 
Jacob glanced her way, then stilled. “Hi. It’s, ah, it’s nice to meet you,” Jacob said. 
Rebecca belatedly realized she was probably smiling so broadly that the dimple in her right cheek was showing. 
When he didn’t add anything else, either about himself or Lilly, Rachel cleared her throat. “Rebecca’s family owns the lumber mill. Do you work there?” 
“Nee. I’m a farmer.” 
Still looking at her feet, Lilly smiled for the first time. 
When Jacob noticed her expression, he laughed. “Lilly’s smiling because I’m currently not much of a farmer. I keep making mistakes right and left. We just moved in with my parents, Lilly’s grandparents. I’m afraid farming is as unfamiliar to me as building houses in the Florida heat would be for most of the men around here.” 
“Someone recently told me to have patience with my wishes and dreams,” Rebecca ventured, unable to keep from smiling at him. “Maybe that would work for you in this case, too?” 
“I hope so.” He smiled back at her. “My daed is counting on my help.” 
“I bet you both will get the hang of things here in Ohio in no time,” Rachel said. “Things are different from Florida, for sure, but the people are just as nice. Everyone helps each other, just like always.” 
“Only he needs to get the hang of things here,” Lilly said, slowly coming out of her shell. “I’ve been living in Ohio. I was just over in Berlin.” 
Just as Rebecca was going to ask why they’d been living in two different places, Rachel said smoothly, “How about the two of you come sit down? I have some paperwork you’ll need to fill out before tomorrow’s class.” 
“What kind of paperwork?” Lilly asked. “Is it a test?” 
“Nothing of the sort,” Rachel said. “I simply need some basic information. We’ll worry about schoolwork and figuring out where you’ll fit in best tomorrow.” 
Jacob nodded. “That sounds like a plan. Now, what time should Lilly get here? Seven thirty? Eight?” 
Feeling like she was in the way, Rebecca gathered her things. “I’ll be seeing you, Rachel. You know where to find me if you need my help.” 
“It was good to meet you, Rebecca,” Jacob said.  
She felt her cheeks heat. Seeking to cover it, she smiled more brightly. “Danke. It was gut to meet the both of you.” 
“See you soon, Becky,” Rachel said before turning her full attention toward the man and the teenager. 
It seemed to be another indication of Rachel’s expertise in the classroom. In less than an hour, Rachel had returned from a doctor’s appointment, taken back control of her class, counseled Rebecca, and was now greeting a new student and her father. She was able to manage multiple tasks easily and accept transitions with hardly a blink of the eye. 
Rebecca, on the other hand, was juggling a dozen questions about the students, asking herself how she could have done things better, and wondering why Lilly hadn’t been living with her father until recently. 
Rebecca stewed on all that had transpired that morning as she walked down the short sidewalk toward Main Street. It was time to go back to Kinsinger Lumber, where she usually worked at the reception desk eight hours of the day. Today it would only be for a few hours, but it was sure to be busy. She’d be lucky to have a minute to grab a cup of coffee.

Click HERE to check out the 1st book in
The Charmed Amish Life series!


Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Hold Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.


Release Blast: Shameless (Playboys in Love #1) by Gina L. Maxwell

Shameless
Playboys in Love #1
Gina L. Maxwell
May 30th, 2016
Entangled: Scorched


People say I’m shameless. They’re right.

I like my work dirty and my sex even dirtier. It takes a hell of a lot to tilt my moral compass, and dancing as a private stripper for horny suburbanites doesn’t even register. Neither does hooking up with them afterward whenever the mood strikes—it’s one of the bennies of the job—but it’s always a one-and-done. I don’t do repeat performances. Ever.

Until I meet the one girl in all of Chicago not interested in dry humping my junk. She’s all I can think about, and that’s a problem, because I made sure she wants nothing to do with me. But I’ve seen her deepest secrets, her darkest fantasies, and they match mine to a fucking T.

I want her. Bad.

Now I need to show her how good it can feel…to be shameless.





Chapter One

Jane

If such a thing as a Landlords of Chicago Convention existed, and said convention had an award for Worst Landlord of a Multi-Unit Building, mine would win by a landslide. A freaking landlord landslide.

Cursing his name for the umpteenth time in the last half hour, I wrap a Band-Aid around the cut in my thumb I’d acquired trying to unclog the pipes under my bathroom sink. God forbid Walter would actually do his job and call a plumber for me.

Since I’d moved into my small apartment in the South Shore area, my hot water heater, oven, and window A/C unit had all taken a crap at one point or another—just a few of the perks of living in a building so old that it predates the invention of the elevator—and each time it had taken Walter weeks to get them fixed.

But I’m nothing if not independent and self-reliant—traits born of being the child of workaholic parents. I’d managed to repair my garbage disposal and replace the tank assembly in my toilet by browsing the almighty Google and ignoring all my girly squeamishness at the ick factor of both. Neither instance had been pretty, but it wasn’t anything a hot shower and the satisfaction of a job well done couldn’t wash away.

Unfortunately, my stupid bathroom sink pipes aren’t going to be added to that list of accomplishments anytime soon. I don’t know if the slip nuts (thank you, Google Images) had been screwed on by the Incredible Hulk or fused in place by the lesser known supervillain Rust Man. Either way, those suckers aren’t budging for a mortal female with minimal experience handling a pipe wrench. (Feel free to insert dirty joke here.)

I glare at the standing water in the sink, hands on my hips, willing it to magically go down. I’m so focused on trying to Jedi-mind-trick the bastard into submission that I jump when my phone rings. Jogging into the living room, I snatch up the cell and answer as I plop onto the couch.

“Hey, you,” I say, greeting my best friend Addison Paige. “Aren’t you supposed to be burning the midnight oil?”

“It’s only seven p.m., but I’m sure I’ll still be here when midnight rolls around,” Addison says wryly. “You writing your paper?”

I laugh. Calling my masters thesis on social work a paper was like calling the Taj Mahal a chapel. I’ve been working on it for two years, and I’m almost—almost—done. Turning it in is the last step in getting my dual degree. Then I can finally get a job in my field and start making some real money instead of the piddly-ass wages I make as an intern and part-time waitress. (And then move.)

“Surprisingly, no,” I say. “I’m still trying to fix the clog in my bathroom sink, but all I’ve managed to do is pinch my thumb. Luckily, I managed to staunch the flow before I bled out all over the floor.”

“Damn good thing, because if you die before I get my fun friend back, I’ll kill you myself.”

“You know what I love about you?” I ask, laying the sarcasm on thick. “It’s that you make complete sense when you threaten me. I think it’s what makes you the best lawyer ever.”

“And I love that you love that about me. And also that you repeatedly tell me I’m the best lawyer ever instead of acknowledging my pathetic peon status. This boys club of a law firm isn’t going to give me my own cases anytime soon.”

“Nonsense. It’s only a matter of time before they see your brilliance and make you a partner,” I say with confidence. “Wait—since when am I not your ‘fun’ friend? I’m fun.”

“Seriously? When was the last time you went out? For fun. Not for school or work or any other life-sucking activity. Like, to a dance club or a bar or a fucking baseball game? I don’t know…anything.”

I open my mouth to respond with a list of all the things I’d done recently that qualified—because surely there is a list—but came up with nothing. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’d gone out to be social. I’ve hung out with Addison, but that was more lunch dates and Netflix than clubbing and cavorting.

“Um…”

“Exactly,” Addison crows.

Okay, so she’s not wrong. It’s been a while since I’ve had a social life and an even longer while since I’ve had a sex life, which makes me grateful she didn’t bring that particular nugget up. My recent hermit status may have slipped my notice, but I’m painfully aware of how long it’s been (for-freaking-ever) since I’ve been satisfied by someone other than myself.

Completing my masters coursework in two years instead of three, and then replacing school hours with work hours, doesn’t leave me with any time to invest in a relationship. I’m all for casual flings or even one-night stands, but the handful of forays hadn’t been worth shaving, much less the Brazilians I’d splurged on. After my last underwhelming sexual rendezvous, I decided that I wouldn’t drop trou for anyone else unless I’m positive it’ll be worth the pain of getting my pubic hair ripped out by the roots by a sadistic woman armed with strips of hot wax. If you’ve ever subjected yourself to that particular brand of cosmetic torture, you know that’s setting the bar for sexual excellence pretty high.

So while I wait for Mr. Mind-Blowing-In-The-Sack, I bought a Hitachi Magic Wand—God bless the misguided man who thought he designed a great neck massager—and became a frequent purveyor of internet porn.

That’s right. I’m a closet porn addict.

Don’t judge me. It gets the job done. With the right video, I can be turned on in minutes. Then, depending on my mood, I’ll either watch several to build the anticipation, or simply dive right in and get myself off in what I call an “express O.” Bing, bam, boom, done.

But like I said, it’s not something I’m ready to share with the class. Not even with Addison. Not because I think she’ll judge me—that girl is all for owning your freak flag and letting it fly—but because I’d inevitably have to answer questions about how often do I watch it (several times a week), and what kind do I like (the rougher, the better), and do I have a favorite porn star (hands down, James Deen). I’d just rather not get into the gory details of how I take the edge off my sexual frustrations, thank you very much.

“What’s it called when the lawyer is being an obnoxious asshat?” I ask my best friend. “Is it contempt? I find you in contempt of court, and I object. Your argument is erroneous. I don’t need a good time right now, I just need someone to fix my pipes.”

“Yeah, your lady pipes,” she jokes. “Things are probably just as rusted shut down there as they are under your sink.”

Actually, since I don’t use a dildo of any kind, it’s highly likely. “Okay, that’s it,” I say, laughing in spite of myself, “I’m hanging up. You need to get back to work, and I need to do anything other than talk to you at the moment.”

Sighing dramatically, Addison acquiesces. “Fine, killjoy. Does this mean you don’t want the number of a handyman who came highly recommended to me?”

I sit up a little straighter, perking up at the words “highly recommended.” Growing up in the digital age as I have, you’d think that I would trust online reviews of products and services. But things on the internet can be bought or faked. I’d much rather take the word of someone I know, and I’m ready to cry “uncle” and be done with this whole situation. “Who recommended him?”

“Rebecca, one of our paralegals. She said he’s worth every cent and more. I believe her exact words were ‘the best ever.’”

That sounds promising, so I grab the pen and pad of paper from the side table. “Okay, what’s the number? I’ll give him a call tomorrow.”

“One sec, I’ve got another call coming in. Hang on.” And with a click the line went silent.

I lean back on the couch, staring at the spidery ceiling paint, following the bigger cracks and admiring how they fan out with reckless abandon. Of course, they probably knew what I knew: no way was I standing on a ladder and painting upside down to fix them. When Addison clicks back over, I tell her, “All right. I’m ready for the number of my miracle plumber.”

“No need,” she replies. “I just called and paid in advance. Consider it an early birthday present. He’ll be there in about an hour.”

“What? It’s too late for anyone to be making house calls on a Friday night.”

“Riiiiight. Because everyone’s shit only breaks between the hours of eight and five on weekdays.” Addison is just as fond of sarcasm as I am. It’s one of the reasons we make such great friends.

“Point taken, but you still shouldn’t have called.” I hate it when she tries to pay for things. Peon or not, she makes a good living as a lawyer and likes to make up dumb reasons why I should let her pick up the tab on stuff. “My birthday’s not even for another six months.”

“So then it’s a half birthday present. Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to look a gift-friend in the mouth? Have some wine, read a book, tweeze your eyebrows. I don’t care, as long as you let the man do what he’s hired for when he gets there, okay?”

“Yes, Mother,” I say with the tone of an audible eye roll. But then I add a sincere, “Thanks, Addie.”

“You’re welcome, babe. Oh, and make sure you call me tomorrow and tell me all the juicy details. Ciao!”

Before I can comment on the ridiculousness of anything involving a middle-aged man with plumber’s crack being “juicy,” she hangs up. Belatedly, I realize I never even got the name of the guy or his business. I almost call her back to ask, but figure it’s not a big deal. The odds of someone showing up coincidentally under false pretenses as a handyman in disguise are pretty much nil.

It’s been a long week, and that glass of wine Addison mentioned is suddenly calling my name.

Blowing out a deep breath, I stand and head to the kitchen where I have an open bottle of red. For once, I’m going to take my friend’s advice: enjoy a glass of wine and a book while I wait for the “best ever handyman” to arrive and do his thing. Now that I know help is on the way, I’m really looking forward to getting my pipes fixed.




Gina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.

When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at Scrabble (and every other game) to her high school sweetheart, doing her best to hang out with their teenagers before they fly the coop, and dreaming about her move to sunny Florida once they do.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Spotlight: Saddle Up (Hot Cowboy Nights #4) by Victoria Vane

Saddle Up
Hot Cowboy Nights #4
Victoria Vane
Sourcebooks Casablanca
June 7, 2016

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Wild Horses Couldn't Bring Them Together...

With exceptional talent and looks, cowboy “horse whisperer” Keith Russo once had the world at his feet — until his career was unwittingly destroyed by an aspiring filmmaker. After being rejected by his family for exploiting his Native American heritage, Keith has no choice but to turn back to his humble beginnings as a wild horse wrangler.

But Maybe Their Passion Can...

Miranda Sutton always dreamed of making films, until wild mustangs captured her heart. But turning her grandmother’s Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary proves harder than she thought. She needs someone who knows wild horses. Keith and the mustangs need each other. And while working together to save the herd, Keith and Miranda discover a passion as wild as the mustangs they love.

“I can’t believe this whole experience,” she said. “It’s like a weird dream. Do people really live like this? With poisonous snakes and horse-eating lions?” 
“Where I come from they do. We coexist with many predators, including wolves and grizzlies. I thought you said your grandparents have a ranch. Didn’t you ever encounter any wildlife there?” 
“It’s actually just my grandma’s now. We rode horses and played around with the cattle, but I never experienced anything like this before.” 
He chuckled. “You aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.” 
“Funny you said that. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite film. I’ve watched it thirteen times, part of which was a twenty-four hour marathon.” 
“I don’t understand you.” He shook his head with a wry smile. “How can you watch the same film over and over when you already know what’s going to happen?” 
“Because every time I watch it I focus on a different character and try to experience the events through his or her eyes. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” 
“Which character do you best identify with?” he asked. 
“Well, usually it’s usually Dorothy, given that we’re both country girls and my experience in L.A. was all too much like hers in Oz, but I have to admit that tonight I’m identifying a lot more with the cowardly lion.” 
“If that’s so, I have something that might help.” He reached beneath his shirt for a leather cord that he pulled over his head. 
“What is it?” she asked, fingering the object that hung from the necklace. 
“A grizzly tooth. It was my boo-ha-gant.” He slipped it over her head. “Now it’s yours.” 
He smiled into her eyes. “It will give you courage, but you must keep it secret, or it’ll lose its powers.” 
“Courage? So this is really how you killed that snake? Won’t you lose your superpowers without it?” 
“No.” He stroked a finger along her collarbone above where the tooth lay nestled between her breasts. “For the record, you have yet to know my true superpowers. We were interrupted before I could demonstrate them to you.” 
Her face flushed. “You do think a lot of yourself, don’t you?” 
He brought his finger back up to her mouth to trace her lips. “Let’s just say I wouldn’t have disappointed you.” 
But disappointment reflected in her eyes. “Well, I guess we’ll never know now, will we?” 
“No,” he replied, regretfully. “We never will.” He wasn’t likely ever to see her again, but in their short time together he’d opened up more with her than he had with anyone else in years. “Are you sorry you came?” he asked. 
She exhaled a soft sigh. “No. Even with all that happened, I’m still glad I came.” 
Maybe her answer shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did. This day had put her mettle to the test, revealing a strength she probably didn’t even know she possessed. She still had so much to learn about herself. He would have enjoyed the chance to watch her journey, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was no point in dwelling on it. The opportunity was lost. Tomorrow they’d find the missing horses and part ways. 
He pulled her head onto his chest and stroked her hair. “Sleep now, Aiwattsi. I’ll keep you safe.”


Old West Trivia with Victoria Vane

Robert Andrew "Clay" Allison was once asked what he did for a living and he replied "I am a shootist."  After a dentist in Cheyenne, Wyoming, drilled on the wrong molar, he forcibly pulled one of the dentist’s teeth. He would have continued pulling the dentists teeth, but the screams of the dentist brought in people from the street.


Click HERE to get more info on
Hot Cowboy Nights series.



Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of the Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers Goodreads group and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. She lives on the east coast of Florida.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Spotlight + Giveaway: To Love a Wolf (SWAT, #4) by Paige Tyler

To Love a Wolf
SWAT, #4
Paige Tyler
Sourcebooks Casablanca
June 6th, 2016

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HE’S FOUND THE ONE…

SWAT officer Landry Cooper is certain Everly Danu is The One. The problem is, she has no idea what Cooper really is. And as much as he wants to trust her, he’s not sure he can share his deepest secret…

When Everly’s family discovers Cooper’s a werewolf, her brothers will do anything to keep them apart—they’ll kill him if they have to. Everly is falling hard for the ridiculously handsome SWAT officer, and she’s not about to let her brothers tell her who she can love… Until Cooper’s secret is exposed and she discovers the man she thought she knew is a monster in disguise.

BUT CAN HE KEEP HER?

Paige Tyler releases TO LOVE A WOLF, the fourth in her high-octane SWAT series, this June. To celebrate, we’re giving you the first SIX chapters to read FOR FREE!

Download the first six chapters HERE.

Outside Samarra City, Iraq, 2009 
Staff Sergeant Landry Cooper moved carefully through the rubble covering the floor of the partially demolished building, inching his way closer to the target. The maze of shattered brick and broken pieces of wood weren’t the biggest reason he was moving slowly, though. That had more to do with the hundred-degree temperature and the seventy-five-pound Kevlar bomb suit he was wearing. He despised the army’s suit with a passion that few people outside the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community could understand. 
It wasn’t simply that it was hot and heavy. No, what he hated most about the suit was the nearly complete sensory deprivation that came with wearing it. Inside the claustrophobic helmet surrounded by a neck gusset designed to keep your head from getting ripped off your body during an explosion, you couldn’t hear much of anything, your line of sight was distorted by the thick, curved face piece, and your peripheral vision was non­existent. Having to make a manual approach—better known in EOD circles as the long walk—on a suspected improvised explosive device, or IED, was bad enough. Doing it when you had an armor-plated pillow wrapped around your head? 
That sucked. 
But he didn’t have a choice. Local construction workers had come in this morning and found a sus­pected IED half buried in the dirt between two build­ings. Cooper and his team had been able to use a robot to drop a small demolition charge near the device, but his disposal charge, combined with a bang from the IED, had caused part of the surrounding buildings to collapse, pissing off the locals and making it impossible to get the robot back in to clear the area. 
If there was one cardinal rule in EOD, it was that you never released an incident location back to the good guys without being one hundred percent sure all hazards had been cleared. That meant doing a manual approach in the bomb suit to make sure there weren’t any explo­sive materials or secondary devices around. 
Cooper wasn’t too worried about walking up to the package he’d just blown in place. While the relation­ship between the city’s Sunni population and ruling Shiite government forces would never be described as anything other than tense, lately things had been better. IED responses were way down, and they hadn’t seen a secondary explosive device, typically planted to target police and other first responders, in months. 
Still, he played everything by the book, keeping the protected front of his suit facing the spot where the IED had been, and using the building’s structure for protec­tion as much as possible. At the same time, he kept his head on a swivel, looking for anything that seemed out of place. 
“I’m about twenty feet from where we blew the IED,” he murmured over his suit’s radio to his team members waiting in the safe area three hundred yards away, and then remembered he was wasting his breath. The damn radio had stopped working about a month ago, and a replacement wasn’t due for weeks. He was on his own. 
Sweat trickled down his nose as he stepped over a low wall and moved toward the crater where the IED had been. He automatically lifted a hand to wipe the sweat from his face and thumped against the plastic face piece. 
“Shit, I hate this suit,” he muttered, forced to make due with wiggling his nose. 
He reached the edge of the shallow crater and looked down. Two feet deep and six across, it looked like a big soup bowl. There were some rusty nails the bomb maker had added for fun, but the IED itself was long gone. Even better, his demo shot hadn’t exposed another one buried underneath. 
Cooper pulled a sharpened fiberglass rod out of his pocket, then jumped into the crater. If there was any­thing here, the blast from the disposal shot would have uncovered it, but it didn’t hurt to check. Unfortunately, the heavy spine protector in the suit that helped keep an EOD tech’s back from being crushed if blown backward against something hard meant he had to squat down like a sumo wrestler to stick the probe into the dirt. He ignored the sweat and aggravation and made it work. 
He’d moved almost all the way around the shot hole and was about to climb out to walk around the rest of the area when his probe hit something hard. He tensed, but then relaxed. He was still here, so it couldn’t be that bad. Dropping to one knee, he used his hand to slowly uncover what he’d found. When a horizontal, cylindri­cal pipe took shape, he assumed it was a water or sewer line. 
They weren’t exactly common in structures as old as this one, but it could have been placed here to supply another building nearby. As he uncovered it, the pipe began to get smaller on one end. His gut clenched as realization dawned on him. He brushed off more dirt, revealing the nose of the 155-millimeter artillery round, as well as the metal electrical conduit extending out of it and running underground. 
Fuck. 
Cooper pushed himself to his feet and backpedaled toward the edge of the crater as fast as he could. An artillery round didn’t usually have a conduit sticking out the end. This one had been booby-trapped so the bomber could set it off manually whenever he wanted. The conduit was there so the IED wouldn’t cut the line if an EOD tech like him destroyed it. And with the conduit there, Cooper couldn’t cut the line either. 
This device was an EOD killer put there because somebody knew a bomb tech would come down and look around before turning the site over to the local police. 
His mind raced. A projectile this size carried fifteen pounds of high explosive. When it went off, even a bomb suit as good as the one he had on was unlikely to stop all the frag that came off it. 
He reached the top of the crater and backed away as fast as he could. He would have been able to run faster if he turned around, but the weakest part of a bomb suit was the rear. If this thing went off when his back was to it, he’d have no chance. 
Time slowed as a thousand thoughts zipped through his head. How he seriously didn’t want to die. How maybe the bomber on the other end of that firing line might have needed to go take a piss, and the 155 wouldn’t go off. How his parents and brothers were going to be crushed when they found out. How he should have gone to the prom with that cute girl in his math class back in high school. How one of the junior members on his team was going to be forced to step up and take over his job. How the new unit lieutenant was going to have to write a condolence letter on his first fucking day on the job. 
Cooper pushed those thoughts away, yanking his hands inside the arms of the suit to keep them from get­ting ripped off in the blast as he focused his attention on moving backward as fast as he could. 
Just get twenty feet away. Then you might have a chance. 
He didn’t make it ten. 
The blast threw him backward before his head even registered the flash of the projectile exploding. Luckily, he was so close that the wave took out the brick wall behind him before he could smash into it. But that luck ran out, and he slammed into the one behind it. 
He felt a sharp stab in his back, then nothing from the middle of his chest down. The suit’s spine support had broken—and so had his back. 
He hit the ground hard, tumbling like a kid’s toy until he came to a sudden stop against a pile of bricks. He felt pain—lots of it—at least from the chest up. He wasn’t sure how he was able to, but he lifted his head enough to look down, and saw long, jagged fragments from the 155 sticking out of him like he was a damn pincushion. 
Cooper let his head drop to the ground and swore long and hard. He was so fucked.
A detached part of his mind noticed that pieces of the building were burning around him. That was interesting, considering how little flammable material was in the area. The flames weren’t too bad, but the smoke would probably choke him to death sooner or later. Not that he was likely to live long enough for that to happen. The frag had penetrated the bomb suit. He’d bleed out fast enough. He’d just be too numb to feel it. 
Then someone was at his side, roughly prying up his face, telling him to hold on. That’s when he realized his ears weren’t working right. He could barely hear the person speaking. No shock there. The blast had blown out his eardrums. 
He opened his eyes, expecting to see one of his junior teammates, and was shocked when he saw that it was Jim Wainwright, a fellow senior team leader and the best friend he’d ever had. Cooper hadn’t even known another team had arrived. 
“Get the hell out of here!” Cooper shouted. Or at least he tried to. The words came out as nothing but a gurgling whisper. “Jim, you know this is stupid. There could be another device down here.” 
Jim didn’t answer, but simply shoved his arms under the bomb suit, as if he thought he could pick up Cooper and carry him out of here. He didn’t bother to tell his friend how stupid that was. Besides all the frag sticking out of his body, making the task of picking him up akin to hugging a porcupine, Cooper and the bomb suit he wore weighed nearly three hundred pounds combined. 
There was no way in hell Jim could pick him up. 
“Go!” he ordered again. “You know I’m done anyway.” 
Jim ignored him. Tears running down his face, he tried grabbing the heavy-duty rescue strap at the suit’s shoulder and dragged him across the rubble. 
“Shit!” Cooper wailed in agony, white-hot fire shooting through his neck and shoulders. 
“Just fucking leave me alone and let me die!” 
Jim disregarded that request too, grunting like a crazy man as he dragged Cooper over, around, and through the obstacles that separated them from the dilapidated building’s exit. Cooper was stunned his friend could actually move him at all. He’d heard of soldiers doing some insane shit in battle to save a buddy, but this had to be the craziest. Too bad he was already a goner. Cooper only hoped Jim would get a medal out of it. Then, at least, one good thing would come out of this day. 
Cooper didn’t get much time to think about what the award write-up would sound like because the pain climbing up his neck like a wave of water drowned him until everything went black.

INTRODUCING SWAT: SPECIAL WOLF ALPHA TEAM

They’re tight.
They’re on target.
They’re as alpha as men can get.

Click HERE to check out
the SWAT series.


Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast. Visit http://paigetylertheauthor.com/.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Spotlight: Test Drive (Body Shop Bad Boys #1) by Marie Harte

Test Drive
Body Shop Bad Boys #1
Marie Harte
Sourcebooks Casablanca
June 7, 2016

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A smokin’ hot new series from Marie Harte featuring tough-guy mechanics and the women who jump-start their hearts.

GET TO KNOW THE BODY SHOP BAD BOYS
Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble mechanics of Webster’s Garage. These reformed bad boys are used to living fast, but it’s the women in their lives who take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.

JOHNNY
Johnny Devlin’s a charmer with a checkered past. He’s had his eye on scorching-hot bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she’s rejected him more than once. That doesn’t mean he won’t come to her aid when some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a no-strings-attached thank you, he can’t say no.  And then he’s saying nothing but hell, yes.

The shift seemed to last forever, and Lara didn’t get to administer the medications or do the intakes she’d been told she’d do today. Instead, she’d been tasked with a lot of clean up and busywork Nurse Guyen didn’t have time for. 
“Honestly, it’s like she’s running a race and losing,” Kelly muttered as they emptied a patient’s bedpan and cleared the sheets. Though housekeeping would be coming up to clean the room, Nurse Guyen had thought the experience of mopping up after a patient would do them good. 
Lara didn’t feel like she was too good to do anything, so it wasn’t the idea of cleaning that bothered her. She’d washed her share of fluids and vomit from overstimulated little girls and the drunks at Ray’s more than a time or two. She just wished she could have spent her time learning more medical procedure, not how to best scrub a floor. 
“Yeah, she’s not my favorite preceptor,” Lara admitted. “You done your paper yet?” 
“I’m presenting my ICU paper in two weeks. The paper is half the battle. It’s the presentation part I hate.” 
“Ugh. Me too. And just think, we’re only into our third week of the term.” 
“Kill me now.” Kelly made a face. 
Nurse Guyen arrived in the doorway and hurried them up. “Come on, ladies. We have a new admission, and I’d like for you to learn something about the process. I’ll be at the desk. Chop-chop.” 
Kelly and Lara shared a pained groan. Time with Nurse Guyen would no doubt feel like an eternity. 
When Lara arrived home that night, she was tired, hungry, and pissed off. Johnny hadn’t texted her all day. Granted, they’d just started hooking up, but he hadn’t responded to her message about Friday night. For once she had two nights off from work, and she had nothing to do for one of them. 
Silly to feel let down just because a guy hadn’t answered a simple text. Yet she had a feeling her disappointment was her own fault. Dating had rules a smart girl followed. Rule number one: stop reading into every damn thing he does. Rule number two: stop caring so much, or your heart will be broken in tiny pieces when he eventually acts like a dumbass, as they all do. 
Groaning at her inability to reason like a mature woman, she deliberately avoided thinking about him. Instead, Lara dressed in her favorite grubby sweats, ate a PB&J for dinner, and washed it down with a glass of milk. She vegged out for an hour, but by eight she was dragging. Just as she’d started to fall asleep on the couch, watching her favorite sitcom, someone knocked on the door. 
She debated ignoring it. Had it been important, someone would have called. 
More door banging. “Hey, it’s Johnny.” 
She woke in the blink of an eye and forced herself to calmly get up and walk, not run, to the door. After checking through the peephole and verifying it was, in fact, the-man-who-didn’t-text, she again took her time answering. 
She opened the door and waited. “Yeah?” 
He held out a bouquet of flowers. “For you.” 
Nonplused, she took them and moved back when he stepped forward. He’d maneuvered himself into her apartment with ease. 
“Smooth, Devlin.” 
“Thanks.” He looked harried, which was unlike him. 
“You okay?” 
“No.” Before she could ask what was wrong, he dragged her into his arms and kissed the breath out of her. “There,” he rasped. “Now I’m better. I’ve been dying to do that for days.” 
She clutched the flowers in one hand, his jacket in another. “Uh, hi.” 
His green eyes deepened as he smiled. “Hi.” Then he did that thing where he caressed her cheek. He cupped her chin and kissed her again, so tenderly and with so much feeling she didn’t know what to think. “I missed you.” 
“You did?” She frowned. “You didn’t answer my text.” 
“Good.” 
“Excuse me?” 
“I had Foley’s phone, and he had mine. I’d be more worried if I’d texted you back, because it would have been Foley being a smart-ass. Don’t worry, I’ll get my phone back tomorrow. As it is, I’ve already spent a lot of time talking with Mrs. Sanders today. Foley’s mom is such a trip.” 
Relieved he hadn’t deliberately ignored her, she perked up. “So what brought you by? You just happened to have a bouquet of flowers on hand with no one to give them to?” 
“Something like that.” 
She left him to put them in water and thought they cheered her dented and dinged dining room table. 
“So did you miss me?” he asked, his hands in his pockets. He’d thrown his jacket over the arm of the couch and wore a plain black T-shirt and jeans. It should have been illegal what the man could do to denim and cotton. The tattoos on his forearm stood out against his golden skin, and she wanted to trace them with her tongue. 
Swallowing hard at the thought, she considered how to answer him. “Did I miss you? Hmm…” 
“A simple yes-or-no question, Ms. Valley.” 
“Well, I missed some parts of you.” 
“Oh?” He grinned. 
“Your charming wit. Your pretty face.” 
“And?” 
“And that awesome tattoo I still haven’t seen all of.” 
“I can remedy that.” He pulled her with him to the couch and sat, then pushed up his sleeve, letting her look him over. “So what else did you miss?” He raised his brows up and down. 
“That’s about it. I’m good.” She held his thick forearm, running her fingers over his ink. A muscle car, snakes, some tribal work, and hearts, of all things. The color pattern had been very well done, the art a thing of beauty. “Did J.T. do this?” 
“Yeah. It’s amazing, right? But don’t tell him. He has a big head already.” Del’s brother could work wonders with ink. And he was a charmer to boot. 
“Well then, I probably shouldn’t tell you how amazing you are either. Your head is melon-sized as it is.” 
“Yeah, and other parts of me are just as big.” He grinned but didn’t pull her into contact with said parts. 
A good thing, because her libido revved way hot way fast around Pretty Johnny. 
She tried to subtly scoot away, but he held her fast. Instead of making a move, he cuddled her close in a hug. His body heat bled through quickly, and she snuggled back with a sigh. “You are so warm.” 
“I think you mean I’m hot. I hear that a lot.” 
She pinched him. “Braggart.” 
“Ow. Why are you always abusing me?” 
She felt him kiss the top of her head and eased even deeper into him. “Because I can.” She moaned when he started rubbing her free shoulder. “I had such a bad day.” Well, except for her lunch, but she doubted Johnny wanted to know about Peter—Pete. She smiled. Her one bright spot had been a male version of Rena. A gossip who’d made her smile and laugh, and he hadn’t been bad to look at either. 
“Tell me all about it, baby. But hurry before the commercial’s done. I love this show.” 
“Wouldn’t want to interrupt prime-time programming,” she said drily. 
“I was kidding. You take your time.” 
She told him about Nurse Guyen around yawns. Then she closed her eyes, just for a minute, and enjoyed the warmth of his body and the joy in his laugh. I could really grow to love this guy… Wonder if that’s covered in the dating rules, was her last thought before sleep overtook her.

Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking or biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. She lives in in Central Oregon.