Friday, September 27, 2013

KAT'S KARMA by Cheryl Dragon

KAT'S KARMA by Cheryl Dragon 

Fantasy Castle Series Book One

Physical therapist Kat doesn’t fall for patients, especially hot younger men. Brody and Sean aren’t giving up and the Fantasy Castle staff is on their side!

Best friends and brothers-in-arms Brody Huxley and Sean Morgan came back from serving overseas with serious injuries. Kat Calvino whipped them into shape again with physical therapy. Despite her attraction and attachment to the sexy younger men, she refused to become romantically involved with either of them.

Even if they can’t have her, the men want to do something nice and reconnect with the hot woman who stole both of their hearts. Done with their service, they’ve built lives but without her nothing feels complete. The Fantasy Castle is the perfect answer complete with luxury and privacy. Her arguments now seem pointless. They’re not her patients anymore and they’re happy to share her in every way.

Even with both men thrilling her sexually, there’s a problem with the arrangement that she can’t fix. Loving them is easy, trusting them to work out the unexpected bump in the road tests the friendship and their future.


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Excerpt:
Copyright © Cheryl Dragon, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Total-E-Bound.

Excerpt From: Kat's Karma

Brody Huxley closed the file drawer and turned back to his desk. Midday sun streamed into the office through the big windows and highlighted the well-worn furniture in the old building. Customers rarely came to the location. The part-time help would be in after lunch, but Brody didn’t mind manning the place solo.

In the quiet moments alone he knew something was missing. The pinch in his knee reminded him of all the things he’d put in the past. He was haunted by the memory of the fighting overseas and an IED that had exploded close to him and his best friend, Sean Morgan. His knee had been replaced, but the muscle and tendon damage seized up occasionally, causing him pain. His fighting days were behind him, but at twenty-seven, his life wasn’t over yet.

As usual, Sean had been right. A desk job had been the safe bet considering Brody’s knee. Pride was something he’d had to let go of back in rehab when he’d fallen for a sexy physical therapist who could knock Brody over with a smile. Needing a little help hadn’t killed him, but when Sean had wanted her as well, things had become complicated.

Kat Calvino had made Brody and Sean work hard to regain their independence. She’d also solved their dilemma by laying down her law of never dating patients. Six months out of rehab and Brody was still hung up on the raven-haired woman nearly ten years older than him.

Behind the desk, Brody dispatched a couple of handymen to new jobs. Sean and his father owned a small construction company that operated a handyman service on the side. In the winter they added snow removal service since construction slowed way down around Chicago. The routine was good, but today something nagged at Brody until he opened the Internet and went to the site for the Fantasy Castle.

Sean walked in and plopped in the guest chair. "I’m done for the morning. Want to grab lunch?"

"Sure." Brody glanced at Sean’s arm. He wore short sleeves and didn’t think twice about the ugly scars trailing up and down his arm. Multiple fractures had meant pins and surgeries for him too.

"What are you staring at? Found naughty pictures of Kat on a website?" Sean rounded the desk eagerly.

Sean wasn’t over Kat either but when neither of you won, did it matter? As much as they’d tempted her to break that rule about dating patients, she was a professional. At thirty-six, she wasn’t playing hard-to-get. She knew what worked for her. All the more reason he admired her.

"Fantasy Castle? What’s that? Some sort of kinky amusement park?" Sean asked.

"No. It’s a resort. You can nominate people who do charitable stuff and good things for others. They get a fantasy week in this castle, if selected." Brody had stumbled on to it trying to find a way to repay Kat. He knew Sean would see right through the plan, but doing something for her felt right. Flowers or some other little trinket wouldn’t be nearly enough for what she did for the waves of injured soldiers coming home.

"If you want to get in touch with Kat, call her. We’ve got her cell number. We haven’t been her patients for months." Sean downplayed his interest, but Brody knew better.

"This isn’t about trying to date her. She gave us that number if we needed a little refresher rehab. Physical therapist is her job, but she doesn’t have to work with the military. She didn’t have to help us through it all beyond the physical injuries." Brody began filling in the form. Kat took care of most of the men like they were her brothers…but their spark was different. Brody could tell she felt something more for him and Sean. She’d had to fight it.

"Fine, so you want her to win a nice vacation. I’m in. What do we need to do?" Sean leaned over and read the requirements. "Four testimonials. I’ll call a couple of the guys. We can write up ours and send them in. Just don’t get your hopes up."

Brody shrugged. "She deserves it. A thank you card won’t cut it."

"If she comes around, we share." Sean held out his fist.

Brody bumped it. They’d never fall out or fight. That pact had been made when they were both pursuing her. Kat was special. They’d tried to get out and date since, but no one felt right. Women their age were either repulsed or turned on by their scars and military service. Most didn’t fully grasp how deep the damage went.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

THE BULL RIDER AND THE BABY by Jeanine McAdam

THE BULL RIDER AND THE BABY by Jeanine McAdam

The Skirts and the Spurs Trilogy #2

Sexy bull rider Caleb Cooper keeps falling off his bull and hitting his head. Smart neuroscience graduate student Carrie Wang is studying him. There’s just one problem, Carrie’s attracted to her broad-shouldered research subject. But she shouldn’t be, because Carrie is pregnant with Charles Winston’s baby. However, that one-night-stand occurred in a beaker closet and Charles wants nothing to do with her or the child....

Besides being handsome in a long-haired, scruffy sort-of-way, Caleb Cooper is kind and quirky. Carrie can’t stop touching him and their unprofessional attraction is mutual. Problems abound when Carrie’s traditional Chinese mother and Charles come to the rodeo. Carrie’s mother wants her to hook a  husband and Charles wants Carrie to give the baby up for adoption. Carrie knows she could never let a stranger raise her child. Can Carrie go against everyone’s wishes and raise the baby on her own? Or could Caleb become a father to this child?
 
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~Excerpt~

Caleb didn’t want to open his eyes. He knew the pregnant woman was sitting beside his bed because he could smell her. It was that same assertive, smart, and extremely sexy smell his sister-in-law Rachel had. Yes, Caleb had a crush on Rachel and yes, he proposed to her when he thought there was a slim chance his brother wasn’t going to take responsibility for his actions.

Holy hell, why did Caleb keep meeting and falling for women knocked up by some other guy. Why couldn’t he be that other guy? Probably the concussion researcher’s ‘Baby Daddy’ was just as smart and successful as she was. Then they’d have the perfect kid to complete their perfect family. Mother of God, Caleb hated perfect families.

“I know you’re awake,” she said in that take-no-prisoners tone of hers. Rachel spoke the same way when she was annoyed at him. For some damn reason, he liked it. “You may as well open your eyes,” she continued.

Sweet Jesus, why couldn’t she and that smell of hers leave him alone? It was jasmine with a hint of vanilla. Nothing overbearing like the buckle bunnies wore. “I’m not awake,” he mumbled as he covered his eyes with the heels of his hands. Yes, he knew what jasmine smelled like because Rachel drank the tea.

“Do you know you have a Grade III concession?” Then she crossed her legs. Caleb knew she did because he could hear her silky skin rub together. Or maybe she was crossing her arms. No, she couldn’t be that mad at him for getting himself knocked out. He laughed sadly. She was knocked up and he was knocked out.

He pulled his hands off his face and opened his eyes. Dammit, she had crossed her arms. “Did you know the rodeo circuit is no place for a pregnant woman?” he countered. Why, oh why did he have to be attracted to her? If only he could get that smell out of his nose, then maybe he could fight this thing.

“My personal life has nothing to do with you.” She moved closer to the bed and put her hand on his forehead. Her touch felt good as she pushed his hair back. Then she pulled his eyebrow up and at the same time flashed a light in his eye. Son of a gun, that didn’t feel good.

“What the hell?” he asked as his hair flopped back. His hair was like that, unruly. His brother had gotten the good hair, along with the good wife. No, Caleb wasn’t dwelling on the fact he wasn’t meeting any women he liked. Kelly Proctor, sister of the famous buckle bunny Kiddy, wasn’t doing it for him even though she kept trying and trying.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

WHEN LUST RULES by Virginia Cavanaugh

WHEN LUST RULES by Virginia Cavanaugh

Lusty dreams of a tall muscular man with long dark hair have filled Julie’s mind for the last few months, leaving her wanting alone in her bed. It would be one thing if he was only a figment of her imagination, but he was flesh and blood, and had even asked for her phone number. But had he called? Hell no.

So when he shows up out of the blue at her job, she really wants to push him away. But there’s something primal and erotic about this man that calls to her.

Luken is reluctant to get involved with a human female, but for some reason he can’t get her out of his head. He has enough on his plate with running his new pack, but the little blonde seductress presents a temptation he can’t resist.

But when Julie’s past catches up to her, Luken is prepared to offer his protection, along with his bite, making her one of his own.

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An Excerpt From: WHEN LUST RULES

Copyright © VIRGINIA CAVANAUGH, 2013

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Chapter One

“Hey, waitress!”

Julie Drake ground her teeth as she tried to block the annoying man calling her. The crowd seemed extra rowdy tonight at Harry’s Bar, and Replacement Waitress Number Three didn’t seem to provide much help. Why in the hell did Tyra have to quit?

A deep breath entered her lungs as she loaded her tray with the drinks from the bar. Little skeleton straws poked out from some of them. Only another hour of this mess until last call. A pang of guilt speared her chest. She knew better than to hold a grudge against Tyra for quitting. People moved on. Some to greater things and others… Well, she just had to look for the silver lining.

“Hey, Jules? You all right?”

Julie looked at the burly bartender, Mark Hinley, who stood in front of a large Happy Halloween sign. Concern flashed in his green eyes as he wiped his meaty fists on a white towel. “Yeah. I’m good. Just hoping the next hour passes quick.”

He gave a curt nod and she picked up her tray, turning from the bar and heading through the pool of bodies. Mark could be a real sweetheart and had even asked her out once. Julie wished she could have said yes, but truth be told there wasn’t any spark when she looked at him. Maybe it would’ve been different if she hadn’t been haunted by fantasy-filled dreams of a man with long dark hair and olive skin. Luken.

All she had was a first a name—no way to even look him up in the telephone book. As if she would. She didn’t want to come across as a desperate woman who couldn’t wait for him to call. But damn, it had been four months since he’d come into the bar and asked for her number. She’d been sure he’d call her. Now with Tyra gone, she didn’t have a way to ask what happened. Hell, she was even curious about what happened between Tyra and the hottie who had been sitting with Luken. But no one had heard from her since she’d quit.

That had been a strange night. The bar had been hopping and Tyra had come in with a glum look on her face, but as the night had progressed she’d started to smile. And not just the I-need-to-make-tips-so-smiles-make-more-than-frowns kind of smile. It had been genuine. But then a really good-looking blond guy had come up to her and it had looked as if her whole world came crumbling down. She’d raced from the bar with him and had never come back.

Julie gasped, seeing the disaster coming, but unable to avoid it. Glass crashed and shattered as various glasses filled with alcohol sloshed and spilled. First one tray hit the floor and then a second. Laughter and applause filled the room at a deafening roar as Julie tried to count to ten, booze dripping from her face and soaking into her clothes. Replacement Number Three apologized profusely as she pulled sopping wet napkins from her own pocket, offering to help clean up the mess. Neither of them had managed to avoid being splattered.

Julie wasn’t mad at her directly. The girl couldn’t help that she was a klutz, but the rude patrons who seemed to get a kick out of her soaked state had pushed her limits of control.

Without a word she shoved past the people who had gathered around to witness her humiliation, and she bolted toward the back door. She just needed a minute—a breath of fresh air. A year’s time had done nothing in making this new lifestyle any easier. Country music blared in the background as she forced yet another person aside who sought a chuckle at her expense. Drunks could be such assholes. Her hands met the door and she plowed through it, seeking refuge.

Cool air danced over her wet skin and she shivered as her arms came up to hug her middle. The metal door swung shut behind her with a thud. Her gaze panned the back lot, not looking for anything particular as she tried to rein in her emotions. The trees swayed lightly in the breeze, dumping more of their golden and red leaves onto the ground.

“The money and ease of my old life isn’t worth it,” she whispered into the night as she squeezed her eyes shut, willing back the tears that made them burn. She knew this would be a better life deep down, but some nights were harder than others in believing that fact. Being the wife of a drug lord had many perks, but it was the other end of the spectrum that turned her stomach.

Her ex-husband Ivan Volkov sat in prison where he belonged. There would be no more deaths in the living room at three in the morning. No more beatings. No more bodies jerking and gasping as they died from too many drugs. And for that peace she could suffer through waiting on drunks. She just wanted to move on.

“Looks like you’re having a bad night.”

Julie whipped her head to the side at the sound of the deep rumbling voice, searching for his frame in the darkened area near the trash Dumpster. She knew that voice. Had she imagined it? Booted feet thumped the pavement a second before he stepped into view. Luken.

His long hair swayed against his broad shoulders. A few dark strands gripped the material of his jacket, freezing in place as the rest of the silken length continued its gentle movement. Kissable lips quirked up in a half smile, pulling the skin of his face just slightly tighter over his high cheek bones. The yellow glow of the security light masked the golden-olive skin she knew covered his body. Native American blood ran thick through his veins. All around, he was such a contrast in looks when compared to Ivan. Whereas Ivan was light and fair, Luken was dark and sensual. Luken stood tall and lean, his muscles toned, but not overly large. He had a very athletic build, and even though she couldn’t see through the V-neck T-shirt he wore, she figured his abs would look like a washboard. Her heart rate quickened as she stared across the space separating them. Desire began to bloom inside her, mixed with excitement. Then irritation took its place. He hadn’t bothered to call her and now he wanted to show up when she looked like a mop? “As if it matters.”

A full smile spread across his mouth as he continued to approach. “Of course it matters.”

She huffed a breath of air and turned, reaching for the handle of the back door. “I’ve got to get back inside.” It was just too much. A suck-ass cherry on her suck-ass night of a sundae. God, why did he have to show up now?

A warm hand clasped her arm before she could grip the door handle. She looked down. Strong fingers encircled her wrist. Warmth radiated into her skin from the contact and her heart rate increased. She turned and looked him in the eye.

“Don’t go yet.”

She sighed, wishing she could ignore the tingling awareness his touch brought. It radiated up her arm and settled in her chest. She recognized the fusion of hope and anticipation. Such a dangerous mix. “I’m working.”

“I meant to call you.”

She gave a halfhearted laugh. “Meant to? But didn’t. I really need to get back inside.”

“I’ve thought about you a lot.”

“Why are you saying these things now? I mean, you could’ve just called.” Damn if she didn’t hate how wounded her words sounded to her own ears. He would probably think her pathetic. She sure as hell thought of herself that way right now.

His lips scrunched into a slight grimace. “Things have been busy.”

“Well, now’s not a good time for me.” She shivered as another gust of air whirled past. According to the weather report a cold front was supposed to be moving in. Her gaze followed his to the front of her soaked T-shirt. Her nipples drew into pebbled peaks, now visible beneath the material. She pulled from his grasp and crossed her arms in front of her chest, glad the ugly yellow lighting wouldn’t show the blush rising in her cheeks.

Luken’s gaze snapped back to her face as he shrugged out of his jacket and swung it around her shoulders. He gripped the lapel and pulled it closed around her. His body heat seeped into her skin as the intoxicating scent of him entered her nose. Cologne like none she’d ever smelled before. Warm summer nights mixed with a hint of spice. Her lower tummy tingled, spreading to that spot between her legs that had her clenching her thighs together.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call.”

She met his gaze. Dark-brown eyes stared down at her. It had been awhile since she’d felt the quickening of desire that now began a slow roll through her. “Why didn’t you?”

“It’s complicated.”

She pulled back, trying to remove the jacket, but he wouldn’t release his hold on the front. “Where I come from, the translation is you have a wife.” Too good to be true as usual.

He gave a tug on the jacket, pulling her closer to his chest. “No. I don’t have a wife. Things have just been…complicated.”

Complicated was definitely something she didn’t need to add to her life right now, even if it came in such a yummy package. “Listen. Why don’t you come find me again when things aren’t so complicated?”

“And what if I want to just keep you where you are right now, complications and all?”

His whispered words fanned hot, sweet breath over her face. She felt herself leaning toward him even though the warning signals in her brain were firing off like mad. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

His head leaned in until his lips hovered above her own. She took in a staggering breath as she wondered if he would kiss her.

“Right now it seems like an excellent idea. I want to taste you.”

She licked her lips, ready for him to close the gap. She had a feeling this would be one hell of a kiss.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

RUNNING SCARED by Anne Kane

RUNNING SCARED by Anne Kane

Mercenaries Series 2

She was a genetic experiment that was never supposed to get out of the lab. If the government finds her they will kill her without hesitation. Her memories of her early life are sketchy but the one clear image she has is of a brother who saved her life, and then disappeared.

Jackson knows what it's like to lose your entire family in one bloody instant, and he vows to help Saralyn find hers. It doesn't hurt that he finds her irresistibly sexy or that the attraction is mutual. They enlist the rest of the mercenary team in a search operation that takes them into the heart of the corrupt government.


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Running Scared (Mercenaries)
Anne Kane
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2013 Anne Kane

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Saralyn ran her hands over the computer's input screen, sorting through the mess of icons with a speed that she knew suggested more than a passing acquaintance with technology.

There! She pulled the icon forward, tapping it gently to open its secrets. Closing her eyes, she splayed her fingers across the screen and let the information flow through the tips of her fingers, gigabytes of info flashing along the web of her nervous system to the storage cells in her brain. Later, she'd sort through the files and isolate the information she needed. Right now she just wanted to get out of here before...

"Looking for something?"

Damn! The overhead lights snapped on, and Saralyn turned to see the man they called Jackson lounging against the doorframe. Bad timing. Five more minutes and she would have been home free. One thing she'd learned at an early age was to hide her differences. Survival depended on blending into the crowd, not letting anyone know just how different she was. Just how much had he seen?

She plastered an innocent smile on her face. "Not really. Just couldn't sleep so I thought I'd see if I could find a game to play." She gestured at the bank of computers behind her. "I looked, but I can't find the game files. Maybe you can show me where they are?"

Jackson lifted one brow, a glimmer of humor shining in the depths of his dark eyes. He had nice eyes. Dark. Dreamy. Right now they seemed to see right through her, and she had to force herself not to squirm. Unfortunately that combination of bedroom eyes and the physique of a Greek god was making it hard for her to think.

Jackson pushed himself upright and sauntered into the room. "That's Trace's computer you were fondling, and frankly, I don't think Trace has ever played a game in his life. But you already knew that. I heard rumors about the government experiments, but I thought they terminated all of you years ago. How come you're still alive?"

My goodness, he was tall! Of course at five feet nothing, she was used to looking up at people. It didn't help that she was finding it harder to concentrate with every step he took toward her. She took a deep breath. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I've lived on the streets as long as I can remember. All the government has ever done for me is chase me away and make it hard to stay alive. And I was not fondling the computer!" At least not much. He obviously had an overactive imagination. "And how would I know anything about Trace's preferences? I thought all you geeky type guys were gamers. I've barely been here a week, and I'm still trying to sort you all out. Which one is Trace?"

He stopped right beside her, forcing her to tilt her neck backward to look up into his eyes. "Trace is our resident bloodhound. Tall, shaggy black hair, resembles a grouchy bear most days? Ring a bell? Set him onto something or someone and he'll follow the faintest of leads until he finally tracks them down. He can pull more info out of those computer banks than a buzzard pulls out of the garbage slews. I'm glad he's on our side, because he's one scary dude. I wonder what he'd find out if I sicced him onto you."

Saralyn did a mental tally of the men on Kaeden's team of mercenaries. Yes, she knew which one was Trace. That description was amazingly accurate. Then again, all of them were scary dudes, although she'd never admit that to them.

Living on the run all these years had taught her that any sign of weakness would bring the predators swarming in for the kill. She highly doubted he would find anything of interest on her, though. Her life, for as long as she could remember, had consisted of an ongoing struggle to stay alive and find enough to eat. It was the second part of the statement that intrigued her. "So this Trace can find stuff? Or people?"

Jackson nodded, his eyes narrowing. "If anyone can find it, Trace can. Why? There something in particular you need to find?"

Saralyn opened her mouth, and was amazed to find herself telling the truth. Trust was a foreign concept and if a person knew what was important to her, they could use it against her...

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IT TAKES TWO by Erin Nicholas


IT TAKES TWO by Erin Nicholas

Counting on Love, Book 2

How do you fall out of love with a man who's all in?

Isabelle Dixon never should have said yes to that first date, but she couldn't resist Shane Kelley's larger-than-life personality. Except now Shane seems determined to make their no-strings fling into something more.

If she thought dating Shane was hard work, breaking up is proving to be much harder. Especially since she's planning on making some major life changes that don't include staying out all night, Jell-O shots, and a sex toy shop punch card. She needs a restful cabin getaway-alone-to gather her thoughts. And the strength to finally end things for good.

Shane has always prided himself on being the good-time guy. Exactly Isabelle's type…or so he thought. Yet ever since he suggested her moving in, she's been pulling back. Thing is, Shane does everything with gusto-including falling in love.

He's not about to let her get away that easily. Even if it means chasing her heart down a crazy road to prove that no matter what life throws at them, they make a damned good team.

Warning: Contains a strange road trip with several weird tourist stops, some hot sex in a car wash, and two people who are just crazy enough to be perfect for one another.

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Copyright © 2013 Erin Nicholas
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication


“You know…” Her gaze went to his lips and she felt the very familiar hot flush of desire. The things he could do with those lips should come with a warning label. “I had specifically planned on not kissing you in here tonight.”

“Is that right?” His hands curled into her hips and his attention focused on her mouth as well. “Why is that?”
“Because it never ends with kissing.”

Even the kissing was enough to make her willing and able to keep the part of her life away from him that she was afraid would turn him off. And the other stuff that the kissing led to… Well, she had no problem understanding why she’d kept up the act.

And if the sex was enough to inspire her fa├žade, then everything else he was and did was enough to convince her she could keep it up long term.
Until she was away from him again.

He was like a drug. When they were together it all felt good and right and doable. When they were apart, she’d remember that this was never going to work long term.
“Do you want it to?”

Her gaze flickered back to his. What were they talking about? Oh, yeah, the kissing thing. “We never just kiss,” she said. “The first night we went out we had sex.”

His voice was a little gruff when he said, “I remember.” He pulled her even closer. “I also remember that you initiated the entire thing.”

She couldn’t deny it. The entire night had felt like foreplay. Which was a little crazy and a lot dangerous. They’d been at Trudy’s. Like they had been dozens of times before. They hadn’t even been there together. He’d asked her, for the third time, if she’d go out with him. She’d said no. Then he’d gotten up on the karaoke stage with Ryan and Cody and sung “Just a Gigolo” by David Lee Roth. There was something about him—the confidence, the big grin, the way he not only had a great time wherever he was but made sure everyone around him had a great time, something—that drew her in. She’d fought it to that point but after he left the stage, she’d asked him to dance. From there she was a goner.
“I remember too,” she admitted.

Shane lifted a hand and traced the neckline of her top, his finger sliding along the top swells of her breasts. “When you pushed me up against the side of my car in the parking lot and laid that first sexy kiss on me I was willing to beg for more on hands and knees. But I wasn’t about to suggest sex on the first date with a classy woman like Isabelle Dixon,” he said.

Classy. She’d quickly shown him her opposite side to that persona. “You didn’t have to suggest it, did you?” she asked, memories shifting through her mind like a kaleidoscope.

He chuckled. “No, I certainly didn’t. And trust me, I was very pleasantly surprised by the dirty mind and mouth behind the polished, sophisticated front you put on.”

Yep, she’d already shown him a little of her talent for switching personalities. And he’d been pleasantly surprised because it had gotten him laid. Well. Three times that night.

He lifted his hand to cup the back of her head and pulled her closer until their lips were a mere millimeter apart. She was a good six inches shorter than him, but she usually wore heels that put her at exactly the right height for things like dancing and kissing and for him to put her up against the wall, hike up her skirt and drive deep.

She wore skirts and thongs a lot when she was with Shane. For those very reasons.

“You want me to just kiss you, Iz? I can be happy with that.”

“You sure?” Her hand slid up the back of his neck and into his hair. He wore it longer than most of the cops, but he didn’t get any crap about it. She loved the way she could thread her fingers through it and grip it when he kissed her—wherever he was kissing her.
“Very sure,” he said softly. Then his mouth met hers.

They’d kissed in every way there was to kiss. Soft and sweet, hot and heavy, long and delicious, all over each other’s body. This was a combination of all of those and then some.

His mouth moved against hers, lip to lip, for a long time. He’d press, then retreat, change angles, open slightly, lick along her bottom lip, then back off and softly kiss the corners of her mouth.

Shane lifted his hands to her cheeks, cupping her face, holding her still. Then he kissed her forehead, her nose, her chin, the side of her neck, then returned to her lips.
Isabelle sighed against his mouth.

“I could do this all night,” he muttered against her lips. “So many places to put my mouth.”

“Thought we were kissing only,” she managed breathlessly.

“Well, French kissing is kissing. And trust me, honey, I can French kiss you in lots and lots of places.”

She started to respond, but then he turned up the heat. He moved one hand to the back of her head, the other to her thigh, lifting it, pulling her close and holding her there, then he opened his mouth on hers, stroking his tongue in possessively.
This time she moaned.

The deep, hot kiss went on and on. Isabelle felt her whole body respond. Wet and hot and tingly. All over. Her scalp prickled, her nipples tightened, her stomach felt warm and everything below that was…all of the above.

She gripped the front of his shirt and arched harder against him, wishing they were naked, wishing she had worn her four-inch heels instead of the two-inch tonight.
God, she needed him.

She slipped a hand between them, running her hand over the hard bulge behind his zipper.
He released her so suddenly she stepped back.

“Whoa girl. I’m tryin’ to be good here. Show you I can do some vanilla kissing.”

That was vanilla kissing? Yeah, right. “I changed my mind,” she said, reaching for him.

He held his hands up and shook his head. “No way, babe. You wanted just kissing. I’m just kissing.”

“I want more than just kissing. Come on, Shane.” She stepped close and grabbed him by the shirt again. “You never say no to me.”

“Until now.” He gripped her wrist gently, but she knew she wouldn’t get her hand free until he let her go. “I’m gonna pass this test, Iz. I’m gonna pass all your tests.” He leaned closer until they were nose to nose. “I want you to move in with me. I want to be with you. I’ll have vanilla sex and play checkers. I’ll keep my hands completely to myself and make dinner for you every night. Or—” he leaned in close again, “—I’ll rock your frickin’ world as often, as hard and as loudly as you’ll let me.” He settled back on his heels. “It’s up to you.”

Isabelle stared at him, her heart pounding, heat swirling through her body. “Yes,” she finally said. “Yes. That last one. Right now.”

He touched his finger to her nose. “I’m gonna do this, Iz. Pretty soon you’ll be moving your panties into the top drawer of my dresser and wondering why you ever even thought to resist.”

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Monday, September 16, 2013

WARNING SHOT by Tim Smith

WARNING SHOT by Tim Smith

Nick Seven Series #3

A former spy and his lover get dragged into a conspiracy involving a political assassination.

Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens left the CIA for the laidback ease of the Florida Keys, leaving behind a life of intrigue. When Nick’s former mentor becomes part of a conspiracy with international repercussions, Nick breaks his self-imposed exile to stop him.

The case throws Nick and Felicia into a juggernaut of espionage, government cover-ups and political assassinations. Will they succeed in stopping the plan in time? Can their relationship survive another unwanted adventure?


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~Excerpt~

  “You just made the trip worthwhile.” He slipped his hand inside his black leather jacket and felt the butt of his Walther PPK out of habit, reassuring himself that it was still there. “How’s Verna?”

“Not bad. I won’t tell her you asked, though. You know how she feels about you.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to spark an argument,” Nick dryly replied. “I still don’t know what I did to make her dislike me so much.”

“Sometimes it doesn’t take much to incur a person’s wrath. You know that. She’s tired of all the moving around. Bombay two years ago, Morocco, then Germany, now stateside. She wants to settle down.”

“Where?”

“She keeps talking about Florida.”

“You gonna get out to keep her happy?”

Gadge looked at him. “With the world going to hell the way it is? You know better. She signed on for the full ride and knew it. Ten, twelve more good years, then maybe I’ll think about it.”

“A company man to the bone,” Nick stated. “Bet when you cut yourself you bleed red, white and blue.” He smiled wistfully. “Actually that isn’t a bad idea. I’ve been thinking about Florida myself.”

“I heard through the grapevine that you’d been talking about getting out.” Gadge hesitated. “Nicholas, I adored that wife of yours and I know you took her death hard, but you kept your graveside promise to avenge her murder. Is that why you want to get out?”

Nick’s eyes narrowed. This isn’t the kind of chatter I wanted to indulge in. I’ve been trying to move on. “It opened my eyes and made me rethink my priorities. Let’s focus on the job.”

Gadge chuckled. “Clickety-clack, clickety-clack. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.”

Gadge quickly shifted his eyes to the brownstone as a man emerged and casually descended the front steps. He nudged Nick with his elbow. “There’s our pigeon.”

“How do you want to work this?”

“You take him on foot. I’ll cruise ahead and box him in.”

Nick quickly eased his tall lean frame out of the car, transferred his gun to his coat pocket, then zipped up his jacket. He shoved his hands in his pockets and crossed the street, taking a position a half-block behind the other man. The subject was in his thirties with brown hair in a shag cut, medium build and decked out in a plaid wool jacket. He kept his hands in his pockets as he strode at a fairly rapid clip down the street.

The man stopped at the next block as Gadge cruised past him. He gave the car a fleeting glance, then crossed the street. Nick maintained his distance while wondering where the man was going. The suspect slowed his pace as he saw the brake lights on Gadge’s car light up when he pulled to the curb. Nick slowed as well, thinking that something was about to go horribly wrong.

The man abruptly turned and pointed a Glock nine millimeter pistol at Nick. Nick stared back with a blank look while slowly withdrawing his gun from his pocket, trying not to spook him. The man glanced in the other direction at Gadge Harmon quickly approaching, then refocused his attention on Nick. He squeezed the trigger twice.

Before Nick could aim his gun he felt the sting of a bullet hitting him in his left arm. He returned fire without perfect aim, missing his target. Nick feinted to his left as the man fired once more. The shot found its way into Nick’s left side.

He crumbled onto the sidewalk, trying to break his fall with his other hand. Nick lay on the cold concrete and lapsed into semi-consciousness, his head swimming with pain. He heard the sound of heavy footsteps running toward him but couldn’t open his eyes. After a moment the feet ran in the same direction the first man had taken.

Nick pushed himself to his feet and breathed deeply. The pain seared in his side and arm. He looked down the block and saw Gadge Harmon chasing the shooter. Nick followed as quickly as he could on wobbly legs with his gun drawn.

Gadge entered an alley on his left with Nick following by a good twenty paces. When he got to the entrance Nick saw the man they were pursuing standing atop a garbage can at the rear of the alley, attempting to scale a fence.

Gadge fired a warning shot over the man’s head. “Halt!”

The man looked around, saw Gadge approaching and raised his hands. He climbed down from the can, tossed his weapon on the ground then stood with his hands in the air. Gadge stopped when he was within three feet, took careful aim and fired two shots in rapid succession. The bullets imbedded themselves in the man’s chest. He cried out, tumbled backwards against the garbage cans and let out a final rush of breath.

What the hell was he thinking? “Gadge!” Nick called out.

Gadge turned in surprise and looked at Nick leaning against the corner of the building, cradling his left arm and rapidly sucking in air. Gadge glanced at the dead man then back at Nick. His eyes were filled with confusion and his mouth was agape.

“I—uh—I…thought he killed you, Nicholas,” he quietly intoned.

Nick slumped against the building and slowly wagged his head. “Aw, Gadge,” he lamented. “No.”

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Friday, September 13, 2013

BENT BOOT ROAD by Lynn Rae

BENT BOOT ROAD by Lynn Rae

Lydia Back has problems; a dead end job cataloging artifacts no one wants to see, an office in a dusty basement storage room, and she’s just discovered that her friend is missing. Adding to her frustration is the arrival of a too charming private investigator who needs her help.

Carter Harris has no problems; he has his own successful business and is enjoying a few days in a scenic southern Ohio town to gather information on a missing professor. But his local contact turns out to be an uncooperative woman who prefers traipsing around in the forest to having a civilized conversation with him.

Together, they begin to uncover some of the secrets that lurk under the surface of other people’s lives and to appreciate each other’s abilities. When danger threatens, both Carter and Lydia realize it will be impossible to survive alone.


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 ~Excerpt~

“I know that my hat looks stupid, but it does keep the ticks from dropping out of the trees right into your hair, like this one must have done.”

Carter had a feeling she was gloating, but the idea of something sucking his blood was so revolting he wasn’t really paying attention to what she was saying. They were back at the Inn, and he was sitting on the toilet as Lydia dispassionately looked at him. He recalled that just the previous evening, he had been taking care of her hands in her bathroom, so it seemed like this was completing the circle. Although he would have rather had cuts and bruises than some bug burrowing into him.

“We seem to be doing this a lot, sitting in bathrooms and administering first aid.” He began to speak, mostly to take his mind off of what she was doing.

“It’s a rough and tumble life.” Lydia started to move the hair on his head to give her access to the tick. He’d felt the bug as they left the Mullins’ house and had almost driven off the side of the road with shock. He felt a slight tug and she grunted. “They must like the taste of you. Do you want to see it?”

“No.”

She tapped the tweezers in a disposable cup and then began to check his scalp for more of the disgusting things. Despite thinking about what might be crawling around on him, he found that as she ran her fingers through his hair he grew more and more relaxed. She was quiet and worked slowly, and his relaxation began to shift in another direction, something more focused and compelling. Which meant he needed to stop it now. So he reached up and caught one of her wrists. “I’ll check, you don’t need to do that.”

Taking a step back, she watched him rub his scalp gingerly. “Anything else?”

“No.”

“Check your skin too, and your back in the mirror.” She backed away and left the bathroom “When are you picking me up for dinner with Reggie?”

“At six.” Carter hadn’t felt any more suspicious bumps, and he was dreading checking the rest of his body in the shower he’d soon be taking. “Hey Back, what about you?”

“What about me?” Her voice floated in from the living room. It sounded like she was almost out in the hallway already.

“Do you want me to check you?”

“Nope, I can take care of myself.” And with that the door closed with a thump and she was gone.

“I can take care of myself too.” Carter grumbled as he began to strip, carefully shaking each article of clothing to see if anything nasty had hitched a ride. He’d actually had a pretty good day so far, the police had opened a missing person file on Dr. Cooper, they had discovered that he had been somewhere on Friday, and he had hopes that the upcoming dinner with Reggie might result in even more useful information. Of course, he had just had a parasite pulled out of his skin by a confusing woman who knew what to do with a machete.

He wasn’t sure what to make of Back. She seemed to alternate between liking him and then rushing to get away from him. As he stepped into the shower and ran the water, he thought about her in a shower and his body began to wake up. Just what he needed to confuse the situation, an attraction to a sarcastic woman who lived in the middle of nowhere. In order to divert himself from speculating on what she looked like beneath that absurd, if practical, overall, he began to run his hands over his skin to check for more ticks. That was not erotic at all. But Back would be doing the same thing as soon as she got to her apartment. He should have offered her a turn in his shower, or they could have shared a shower and he could have helped her check her back. And backside. And now he was getting warmed up again. He had been alone too long if just thinking about a woman he barely knew was enough to get him hard. There was no room in his life for a long-distance relationship, as if he would even want such a thing with an aggravating person like Lydia Back. There were plenty of sweet, kind women in Columbus that he could take a shower with. And in his experience, he hadn’t needed to check them for ticks first.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

SUMMER'S DESIRE by Kathleen Ball

SUMMER'S DESIRE by Kathleen Ball

Cowboy Seasons Book One

 Summer Fitzgerald is a person of interest in the robbery and murder of her former boss. With no resources she is forced to take a job as a nanny. To her surprise the job consists of watching four, almost full grown, cowboys and helping their handsome, older brother Holden O’Leary.

Veterinarian Holden O’Leary moves his family to a Montana ranch for a fresh start. His time is soon consumed rescuing neglected horses and he needs help with his bothers. Despite wishing otherwise, he soon finds that Summer holds his heart.

Will scandals and old secrets keep them from trusting each other or will Summer finally get her desire?



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Excerpt:

He stepped closer until his body barely touched hers. “I see that. Smells good.”

Turning her head slightly, she saw the side of his face as he looked over her shoulder.

“What are you doing?” Matt sounded angry.

Summer instantly straightened, but Holden was extremely slow at stepping back. “Making dinner is all.” Her voice wavered.

As Holden stepped away, she instantly missed his nearness and she knew she was a fool. Who’d want to be with her, the suspected accomplice? Besides he seemed to have his eye on Mindy Sue.

Holden took her hand in his big, strong one. “We’ll talk about the sheriff later.”

She gazed into his eyes trying to read him. He confused her to no end. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Hell, she barely knew him and she needed to get a grip on her wayward emotions. “Fine.”

He let go of her hand and ambled over to Matt. He sat in a chair next to the couch and the two talked in low tones. Neither one looked at her, so she ignored them and concentrated on cooking.

The thought of talking later interfered with her focus. Would she still have a job? It amazed her that she no longer felt the fear of being jobless. Caleb took care of that. It was the power of her feelings for Holden that worried her the most.

Dinner was jovial with the boys all teasing Matt about how much work they have to do with him laid up. Summer did not look at Holden at all. She could feel the heat of his gaze, but she needed to be in self-preservation mode. It was bound to hurt when he told her to leave. In the short time she’d been there she’d grown attached to all of the O’Learys. Who’d want a suspect in their house anyway? Holden needed to do what was best for his family and the best thing would be for her to go.

Yet, he had touched her in the kitchen. Her thoughts whirled as she pushed the food around on her plate. The boys didn’t seem to notice how upset she felt. She gave them half smiles and half answers. The end of the meal couldn’t come fast enough.

***

 Holden opened his big strong arms to her and she gladly stepped into the comfort he offered. It had been so long since anyone had believed her. He did believe her, didn’t he? The need to know outweighed the comfort of his arms. Pulling back, she saw worry and compassion in his dark eyes.

“You believe me?” Someone had told her once not to ask questions you don’t want the answer to. Her body suddenly chilled and her chin wobbled.

“Of course I believe you. You are a victim, Summer, and I don’t understand how everyone knew all the details. There are privacy laws now.”

“Not if your name is Beverly. I think the sheriff has a thing for her. She is always bringing him cakes and pies.”

A smile crossed Holden’s face and he chuckled. “I know it’s not funny but I can’t imagine those two together. The thought gives me nightmares.” He pulled her back into his arms and cradled her head against his chest with his palm. He kissed the top of her head.

Summer gazed up at him. His eyes glittered in the moonlight. The desire she saw was unmistakable. Yearning surged through her. The beating of her heart grew faster as his head inch down until his delectable lips were against hers. She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck as he pulled her flush against him. The kiss grew bolder and she opened for him. His kiss was powerful and she felt weak in the knees.

Suddenly, Holden stepped back and the words unfair and wow came to mind.

“The door just slammed. One of my brothers is around.”

She nodded and smiled at Holden’s shortness of breath. She seemed to have the same effect on him.

Luke walked over toward them and Holden took a big step away from her. “Hey, Luke. What’s up?” Holden gave his brother a smile.

Luke shrugged his shoulder and gave Summer a hard look. “Matt’s asking for you both. Well, either one would probably do.”

“Is something wrong with him?” Guilt washed over her. She should have been in the house taking care of him.

“Don’t rightly know.”

“Thanks for the walk, Holden. You’re right I do need to take more walks.” Summer strode away and hurried to the house. What had she been thinking? Good Lord, how dense could she get? Holden did not need to get mixed up with the likes of her.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

HAZARDOUS UNIONS by Kat Flannery and Alison Bruce

HAZARDOUS UNIONS: Two Tales of a Civil War Christmas by Kat Flannery and Alison Bruce

Twin sisters separated by war, bound by love…...

After the death of their father, twin sisters Maggie and Matty Becker are forced to take positions with officers’ families at a nearby fort. When the southern states secede, the twins are separated, and they find themselves on opposite sides of America’s bloodiest war.

In the south, Maggie travels with the Hamiltons to Bellevue, a plantation in west Tennessee. When Major Hamilton is captured, it is up to Maggie to hold things together and deal with the Union cavalry troop that winters at Bellevue. Racism, politics and a matchmaking stepmother test Maggie’s resourcefulness as she fights for Bellevue, a wounded Confederate officer and the affections of the Union commander.

In the north, Matty discovers an incriminating letter in General Worthington’s office, and soon she is on the run. With no one to turn to for help, she drugs the wealthy Colonel Cole Black and marries him, in hopes of getting the letter to his father, the governor of Michigan. But Cole is not happy about being married, and Matty’s life becomes all about survival.

Two unforgettable stories of courage, strength and honor.


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Excerpts:


MAGGIE by Alison Bruce

Fall 1862.

The Yankees were coming.

We'd seen the signs days ago. News was, most of west Tennessee had fallen under Union control. Thaddeus scouted them out while hunting rabbits in the brush that bordered the plantation's cotton fields. We'd prepared as best we could as fast as we could, and now I was waiting for them on the front veranda of Bellevue.

"Why me?"

"Someone has to meet them, Miss Maggie," Mammy said, setting out tea things as if the neighbors were coming to call. "Mrs. Hamilton hasn't got your nerve and Miss Patience wouldn't be a lick of good even if she would come downstairs."

"I'm just a servant," I objected half-heartedly.

Yeah, like Tad here is just a dumb nigger." Mammy cocked her head to one side and a moment later I heard the faint but shrill whistle of the kettle. She smoothed the skirt of her greying white pinny over her faded grey dress. Eventually, the two garments were going to match. "Watch out for her, boy," she said, before heading around the corner of the wraparound porch toward the kitchen door.

Only Mammy could get away with calling Thaddeus "boy" or "nigger" without coming under the resolute stare of a man who looked like he could have been carved out of a huge block of obsidian. Mammy was his aunt and had raised him, along with Major Hamilton, from nursery age. The boys had been more like brothers than master and slave, Mammy said, until Master Ned was sent off to West Point to be made an officer and a gentleman. It was hard for me to reconcile her picture of Master Ned with the aloof man who had employed me to take care of his wife.

I was barely sixteen when I was hired by the Captain, now Major Hamilton. Some days I felt that I was twice that age now, instead of just a couple of years older. Today, watching the Union contingent approach, I felt like that frightened girl again. I took small comfort in the pair of pistols hidden in the pockets of my crinoline. Knowing that Thaddeus was watching over me from the shadows, armed to the teeth, was more reassuring.

Half a dozen hard looking men approached the house. Four of them spread out, some facing us, some partly turned to keep an eye on the out buildings. Two of them rode up the path towards the porch. I felt like I was being ringed in by a pack of hungry wolves. The leader of the pack rode up to the bottom of the front steps.

Wolfish was a description that fit him. Hard muscled, wary eyes, shaggy dark hair spiking out from his cap, he looked old with experience and young in years. His uniform had seen better days and his beard was untrimmed, but it appeared that he had made some effort to clean up before approaching the house. That was a good sign.

I had also made an effort for appearances sake. Instead of my usual long braid, I had twisted my blonde hair into knot and allowed tendrils to fall free on either side of my face. I was wearing one of the calico dresses Mrs. Hamilton bought me in St. Louis. She wanted to make it clear that I was no mere servant any more. I was using it today for similar reasons.

"Afternoon, ma'am. I'm Captain Seth Stone. I have a cavalry troop under my command that needs to set up quarters for the winter."

"I see." My voice was steady, but I could feel my knees wobble beneath my skirts. "And?"

"And this looks like a good place to stay."

"How many are you expecting us to accommodate?"

I heard a chuckle from one of his men. It was stifled with a sharp look from the grim-faced sergeant behind the captain.

"Not so many as there should be," the Captain said, ignoring the interruption. "If you'd oblige me by asking your man to lay down his arms, maybe we can discuss terms."

“Gott hilf mir,” I prayed, but held my ground. "You have your protectors, Captain. I have mine."

With a hand gesture, he signaled his men and they all dismounted as neatly as if they were on parade. Then he dismounted and held out his reins to the sergeant.

"Thaddeus, would you lead these troopers and their horses to water?"

Thaddeus stepped out of the shadows, empty handed. "Yes, miss."

The two men passed on the stairs. Thaddeus was significantly taller and broader than the Union officer and was doing his best guard dog imitation, but the Captain didn't flinch when they passed. He did keep his eye on Thaddeus until he was in the range of his own men. Then he turned his attention back to me and I lifted my head up to make eye-contact. He may not have been as tall as Thaddeus, but he was not a small man and I am on the short side for a woman.

Having asserted his dominance, he backed up a step.

"I understand this is the Hamilton home. Are you Mrs. Hamilton?"

"No, sir. I am Magrethe Becker, Mrs. Hamilton's companion."

His eyes widened. "Maybe I should be speaking to the lady of the house."

"Mrs. Hamilton is indisposed and asked me to..." I stopped, looking for the right word. Meet with him? That sounded too friendly. Deal with him? Almost rude. "Negotiate terms with you."

He let out a short bark of laughter.

"My terms are simple, Miss Becker. I need to winter seventy men and three officers, plus myself. It'll be tight, but this place looks like it has enough room with the house and out buildings. We'll need food and fodder of course. You can either offer, or I will take."

I shook my head. "No."

He barked out a longer laugh. "What makes you think you're in the position to say no?"

"Twelve wounded union soldiers in our care, Captain Stone."

***

MATTY by Kat Flannery

Fort Wayne, Michigan

December 1862

What had she done? Matty Becker was going to hell, and there'd be no one to save her. A loud snore echoed from the other room. She peeked around the corner and caught a glimpse of Colonel Black's stocking feet. She'd burn for sure. She glanced at the paper she held and groaned. She was a horrible, devious, scheming letch. Maggie wouldn't be pleased. Maggie wasn't here. Another snore blew into the kitchen and she placed her head onto the table banging her forehead twice. There was no turning back now.

Last night she'd pushed aside her conscience and let fear guide her. For her plan to work, she'd have to throw all sense to the dogs, not that she hadn't done so already by following through with the blasted thing. She couldn't fail now. If her family found out what she'd done they'd never forgive her. Worse yet, if Colonel Black found out she'd be locked behind bars, a fate far better than the one that got her in this mess to begin with.

She placed the paper on the table and went into the bedroom. Colonel Black lay on the bed with his clothes stripped off and tossed about the floor. He'd been out for nine hours and would wake any minute. Matty stood, pushed all thoughts of reason from her mind and removed her dress, corset and pantaloons. Her face heated and the room spun. He rolled over and she jumped into the bed next to him, pretending to sleep. She knew the moment he'd woken. The bed stilled and she couldn't breathe the air was so stiff.

"What the hell?" He sat up and she knew the instant he saw her. "Son of a bitch."

She felt his nudge once, twice and now a shove almost knocking her from the bed.

"Wake the hell up," he growled.

She squeezed her eyes closed and willed strength into her soul so she could face the dark Colonel. She rolled over pretending to wipe the sleep from her eyes.

"Who are you?" He placed his head in his hands. She'd bet he had one heck of a headache.

"Your wife," she said.

"The hell you are." He shot out of bed without grabbing the sheet, and she averted her eyes.

"Please cover yourself." She held up the sheet and he ripped it from her hand. "The marriage license is in the kitchen on the table if you do not believe me."

She watched as he grabbed his head and closed his eyes. The heavy dose of laudanum she'd placed in his drink the night before had done the trick and it wasn't but a mere suggestion they marry that the Colonel jumped to the challenge. Soon they were standing in the dining room in front of a preacher. Words were spoken—words she thought to say with someone she loved, someone who'd wanted her. Her stomach lurched and her mouth watered with the urge to vomit.

"How did this happen?" he asked sitting on the end of the bed.

"Mrs. Worthington sent me to see if you needed anything."

"I was drinking." He looked at her. "I was drunk."

She shrugged.

He stood holding the sheet tight to his midsection.

She couldn't help but notice the rippled stomach and defined muscles on his chest.

"We can annul. I had too much to drink. My head wasn't clear."

She shook her head.

He frowned.

"We have consummated." A lie of course but she was desperate.

His mouth fell open. A moment she knew he'd not remember. After the preacher left, she'd taken him to the bedroom where he passed out before hitting the bed.

"Impossible. I'd remember that."

She shook her head again praying he'd buy the fib.

He pulled on his pants and dress shirt. "I don't even know you. Why in hell would I marry you?"

"My name is Matty Beck—Black. I was employed with the Worthington's. You've come to dinner several times."

His brown eyes lit with recognition. "You're the house maid."

"Yes."

"I married a maid?"

The words stung and she turned from him so he wouldn't see the disappointment upon her face.

"Why would you marry me if I was into the spirits?"

"You seemed fine to me."

He took a step toward her. "Why would you marry me at all when you don't even know me?"

She gripped the blanket on the bed. "You…you said kind words, and I…I believed them.

"How desperate are you to marry a stranger?" he yelled. "You found out who my father is. You want money. You tricked me."

Well, he got the last one right, but the first two irritated her. She was not the kind of person to marry for money. Really, who did he think she was?

"Sorry to disappoint you but I refused my inheritance years ago."

"If you mean to say that I could not find myself a suitable husband because I am a maid, then you're wrong."

"That is exactly what I am saying Miss—"

"Black."

"The hell it is."

He went into the kitchen picked up the marriage license and stared at it.

Matty dressed quickly and inched into the room. Confusion pulled at his features and she began to feel sorry for him. This was her fault. She'd planned this. Now she had to continue telling the lie she'd told. She glanced outside and shivered. Boldness, be my tongue. Shakespeare's words echoed in her mind. It was worth it. She'd been living in fear for a week. Colonel Black had been her saviour, and she risked a life full of love and happiness for this—a lie in which she'd speak for the rest of her life. She swallowed back the lump in her throat and willed the tears not to fall.

"Why can't I remember?" He glanced at her. "And why in hell would I marry you?"

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Monday, September 9, 2013

SILLY GIRL by Michel Prince

SILLY GIRL by Michel Prince

Are professional sports just children’s games played by oversized kids?

 With an all-consuming focus Matthias Jessup has sacrificed his body in pursuit of greatness. But while he’s enjoyed the spoils of being an elite athlete, the physical punishment can only be held at bay for so long. He knows his time is running out and he will have to face his future soon.

Sylvia Kinder is obsessed with Matthias' public image. But now that her fantasy has walked into her life, could it possibly lead to a happy ending? She worries if there's any place for her in his world, much less his heart.

 Drawn to each other on a chance meeting, Matthias must look off the court and discover the real world, while Sylvia will have to find the strength of self to not become lost in a world she doesn’t understand. But those who aren’t ready for a life after the game surround Matthias and are willing to do anything to keep him on the court.

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~Excerpt~

Sitting straight up Sylvia looked down the hall to Matthias’ open bedroom door. The motto of loved and lost was dancing around her mind. So what if she became a one-night-stand to Matthias Jessup? It wasn’t like she had a chance to be more. This was her one shot at feeling his body against hers for real. His smooth skin and tight body against hers, surely for him this was happening because of a lack of options, but for Sylvia it would be a dream come true. The memories alone made it worth the hard glare of the morning’s sun.

Mustering up the courage to walk the twenty or so feet to his door, Sylvia stood up, fluffed her hair, and walked straight to the kitchen. Leaning her elbows on the countertop Sylvia buried her head in her hands and fought the angel and devil on her shoulders. As long as Matthias didn’t come out and hear her pro-con list she whispered to herself, she’d be fine.

If you learn how he is in bed all your dreams will be dust—con.

He could be better than your dreams—major pro.

You don’t need sex—lie.

He’ll see your scars—con.

He can make it so you don’t have to spend the next week masturbating more than a teenage boy to get him out of your system—pro…with a little con.

Right now he likes you—pro.

He likes you because he respects you—pro

He could be lying to get you to screw him and really thinks you’re a loser—con

You’ll never respect yourself if you become a one-night-stand to him—con.

You only have one chance to be with him and this is it, it’ll never come again—

Hmm.

Oh Jesus, she thought as her back fell against the wall.

“Come on, Sylvia, ten more feet, and Matthias will be spreading your thighs.” Okay, now Sylvia had truly lost it. She was in the really bad rhyming phase of her delusion. She turned back to the living room when she heard a grunt from his bedroom that stimulated every hormone known to man. That grunt was exertion, that grunt was a man working, that grunt…needed a groan with a purpose.

The hormones raced and Sylvia practically sprinted into Matthias’ bedroom, but didn’t see him. It took a minute for her to find him in the air above his bathroom door. He had a pull-up bar mounted in the doorframe and he was doing dips to strengthen his triceps. Sylvia used the doorjamb to hold herself up as she almost fainted at the sight of his tensed muscles. His shirt was off and there was a light misting of sweat covering his chocolate colored skin.

Matthias had been so focused he hadn’t seen his observer at first, but when he did he dropped to the ground and stood facing Sylvia. The cut of his abdominal muscles had an eight, not six pack, with the beautiful V right at his hips. He was in workout shorts that hung off his ass with such perfection Sylvia began to regret the thought of ripping them from his body. Best of all, the tattoo with Sharee’s name had been removed.

As she let out the air in her lungs her bottom lip trembled and Matthias took a step toward her.

“Did you need another blanket?” he asked as Sylvia forgot how to speak.

Stumbling through her mind she felt like Ralphie asking Santa for a Red-Rider B.B. Gun.

“No…um…I was thinking,” Sylvia began as she tried to control herself enough to not ask if he had a set of handcuffs around. “That…are you the damn model for Batman’s suit?”

“Huh?”

Sylvia composed herself by closing her eyes, but even then she couldn’t help thinking of Matthias’ tight chest and what she could do with a can of whip cream.

“I will probably never see you again after tonight,” Sylvia said as quickly as she could. Strangely, her voice hit about five octaves higher than she was hoping for.

Sylvia looked at Matthias’ face and prayed he would show some glimmer of, oh no, I’m going to bring a priest over in the morning to marry us immediately! Okay, that fantasy wasn’t going to happen, she thought.

Matthias stood steadfast and a little bit confused.

“Okay, so what does it matter if you think I’m a trick, because whether we sleep together or not we’ll never be together after tonight so I might as well…go for it. So to speak.”

Sylvia swallowed hard and nibbled on her lips hoping he didn’t bust out laughing. To her surprise, he looked at her and started to speak, but then stopped. He seemed to be trying to work out something in his mind.

In one giant step he cradled her head in his hand and kissed her in a way that shook her to the core. The passion behind his lips sent her into a frenzy. She wrapped her arms around his neck for support as she tasted the sweetness still on his tongue as it gently stroked hers.

With his other hand he lovingly glided down her back, and when he squeezed her ass she fell against his firm body. She could feel the wet heat building in her core and the groan she wanted to hear from him came out of her instead. He finally released and she held tight to his flexed biceps as she slowly opened her eyes.

“You let me kiss you,” he said with a smile.

“Yeah, I guess I did.”

Matthias released her quivering body causing her to brace herself against the wall to stop from falling over.

“That’s all I wanted.”

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Friday, September 6, 2013

A BURDEN OF CHOICE by Stefan Ellery

A BURDEN OF CHOICE by Stefan Ellery

A Circle of Roses Book One

Amelia liked Lee, liked the way he handled himself with Rod the High School football teams’ captain who kept paying unwanted attention towards her. If she had a chance she would let him hold her in a long embrace. But when she participated in a dare to support her best friend Dana’s involvement with a boy she liked, things changed. If she had known that she would be possessed with a supernatural power she would have stayed home.

Now she is faced with a choice of keeping it or ridding herself of the power. If she makes the wrong choice it could mean her death at the hands of Lee or being used by a group of people who want to control the world.

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Excerpt:
 
Amelia climbed up the stairs to her room. Before she managed to get to the top she heard the front door open. Lee stood in the doorway dressed in black. His dark hair and tanned skin meshed in perfect harmony with his attire. Amelia could not help but feel a thump in her heart seeing the front door light highlight his head making it look like he was ringed by a halo. At that moment she wanted Lee more than ever. The anger still inside her brought her back to her senses allowing her to break away from Lee's angelic image. She remembered how much of a creep he had been in the last week.

She reached the top of the stairs and went into her bedroom to escape the party, and Lee. Amelia turned the lights on. Shutting the door she breathed a sigh of relief. Her relief lasted a brief moment. She found Rod and Tina using her bed as a make out pad. Rod saw Amelia over Tina’s shoulder.

“Tina, Get out!” Rod struggled to remove himself from the press of Tina's body.

“But...”

“Just get out!”

Tina removed herself from Rod, pouting at being told to leave.

“Why the hell don't you get out of my room and out of my home.” The invasion of her privacy sickened her. Tina, seeing the seething expression Amelia held, ran out of the room in fear.

“You too Rod.”

“I don't think so.” Getting up from the bed he moved closer to Amelia.

“You what?” Amelia's eyes went wide with disbelief at Rod’s smugness.

“You heard me.”

“I want you gone and out of my sight. I don't care where just disappear!”

Rod moved closer to Amelia and grabbed her hands. Amelia tried to pull them out of his grasp, but he had a firm grip.

“I told you, you owe me and I'll take my payment any way I can.”

Amelia closed her fists. “I don't owe you a thing. I paid more than enough in that church.”

“Yeah, I heard the screams. What was that about?”

“You wouldn't understand.”

“Wouldn't I?”

Rod pulled Amelia closer. She could smell his breath reeking of alcohol. Her anger started giving in to fear. “Rod, let me go.”

“Or what? Going to give me another black eye? Face it Amelia I have complete control here.” Rod moved his face towards her and kissed her forehead.

“Stop.” Amelia breathed out. Rod continued kissing her, placing his dry lips on her cheeks and then her nose. His smell made her want to vomit. She felt ashamed for letting Rod put her in this position. “Stop!”

When Rod reached her lips, tears welled up in her eyes. Amelia, tasting bitterness from Rod's mouth, was reminded of who she was. Stubborn, a fighter, and never willing to give up. She temporarily let go of her fear and bit hard on his lower lip. Rod pulled away. Amelia, not having enough space to punch Rod, elbowed him in the left eye and kneed him in the groin making him fall to his knees. Rod's face was full of rage and he tried to pounce on Amelia. Instead of finding Amelia at the end of his attack, he struck the edge of the partly open door.

Amelia, already out of the room, ran down the stairs, past Lee, and out of the house.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

SHE RIDES by Adelle Laudan

SHE RIDES by Adelle Laudan

 Missy heads out on her vintage motorcycle for what proves to be a ride of a lifetime.

Every new road brings with it new friends, new experiences and even a sexy romp with a tattoo artist. It's summers' end when Missy rides into the small town of Waverly for Bike Week, and sets sight on the most beautiful man she's ever seen on two wheels.

Tommy marks the beginning of many hot, steamy nights. Is he Missy's 'happy ever after' or is there a twist around the next bend in the road, nobody saw coming?

“This is a book that captures the very essence of life. It may be a work of erotic fiction but my word - what a ride, a true journey through life.” Belt Drive Betty – Busted Knuckle Chronicles

“It's like a Harlequin Romance book on steroids, and is full of intrigue, excitement and hot, steamy sex scenes!” Mary Baker / Shreveport Motorcycle Travel Examiner

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~Excerpt~

Nadia’s warm breath whispered across her bare neck as the needle danced between her shoulder blades. This tattoo experience was nothing like Mikey’s. This tattoo couldn’t be associated with pain at any level, but was more invigorating.

Every breath, in and out, brought a new sensation never experienced. She couldn’t call it arousal, but beyond that, more like discovering a new dimension to her senses.

Her breaths kept in perfect sync with Nadia. The slightest move and her boobs brushed against the towel—her nipples hard and aching to be touched. She tried to make sense of her newfound awareness, but failed miserably.

Nadia’s raven black hair brushed her bare shoulder, sending a shiver. Missy’s breath hitched, and her body tensed upon feeling her lips graze her ear.

“I feel it too.” Her husky Russian accent further heightened Missy’s arousal.

“That should do it.” The cool spray on her back did nothing to extinguish the rising heat within her. “Go take a look in the mirror.”

Slowly, Missy stood, struggling to mask her body’s betrayal from Nadia. Careful to keep her eyes fixed on the floor, she padded across the room to a full-length mirror propped against the wall. Nadia stood behind her and held up a smaller one. The image she saw stole her breath away. It was so much more than just a tattoo, a masterpiece.

Is it possible to be even more lifelike than the portrait on my fender? How did she capture the twinkle in Pops’ eyes reserved only for me?

“I don’t know what to say.” So moved, tears rolled down her cheeks unchecked.

Nadia’s hand appeared from behind her and gently captured a glistening droplet on her fingertip. With slow, measured movement, the artist licked the tear with the very tip of her tongue. In one fluid move, she placed a hand on both shoulders and spun her around. Startled, her towel dropped to the floor.

Nadia held her gaze hostage with her smoldering eyes, the towel forgotten. Missy swallowed hard as Nadia placed a painted nail to her lips. “Hush.” She then trailed soft kisses from her mouth to her neck.

Missy tilted back her head and closed her eyes; the thump of her heart sounded in her ears. She sucked air through clenched teeth as the artist’s lips found the roundness of her breast.

Her body tensed.

“Relax. I promise it won’t hurt.” With a sly smile, Nadia cupped her sensitive breast, stooped to capture one of her throbbing nubs between her teeth and tugged playfully.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A SINFUL EDUCATION by Layna Pimentel

A SINFUL EDUCATION by Layna Pimentel

Pleasure Garden Follies Series Book Two

Who knew an unconventional education could be so sinfully exquisite.

Lord Charles Avonlea has evaded marriage over the last year, but his mother is determined to find him a wife. Far from consenting to any of her choices, he sets his sights on the one woman unavailable to him, his best friend's younger sister. With no regard for the law or her impending nuptials, he is determined to make Lady Emily Thompson his bride. The only trouble is, he’s stumbled upon dangerous information and hopes he can get to her before it’s too late.

Stunned and dismayed at discovering the arrangement between her mother and the Duke of Downsbury, Lady Emily Thompson searches for a way to break the marriage pact with the duke. She longs to be with the only man who indulges her curiosity, yet finds herself in the middle of a scandal that will crush her dreams forever.

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~Excerpt~

How would he perceive her after tonight? Would he deem her the most incorrigible female ever bestowed upon London? Or, would he call her a minx and throw her out of his room? Her only desire was to learn, to educate herself in the ways of pleasure for when her time came to be a wife. To become a wife in name was not an option, nor did she want to play second fiddle to another woman. Yet, the truth be told, Emily desired to get closer with the earl.

Suddenly, the image forever engrained upon her mind of a woman’s mouth wrapped around a manhood seemed more of a challenge. The kind of challenge that would certainly scandalize any respectable female. But she desired to know the intricacies of said intimate moments. Perhaps Charles would find it as pleasurable. Emily shook her head and pulled off her covers.

She rose from the bed and put on her slippers and robe. Using the utmost discretion, she opted to leave behind the candlestick and left her room in the dark, knowing all too well it was only the two of them in this side of the house.

Emily gently closed her chamber door and swept down the hall, pausing outside of his room. The glow of the fireplace danced across the floor under the door, but all was silent. Perhaps he was reading from the privacy of the curtained platform bed or standing in the window, basking in the view the west side of the manor offered.

She quietly opened his door and closed it behind her.

No one stirred, nor made a sound.

She took a step forward, parting her lips to call for him.

A soft moan caught her attention and uncertainty crept up her spine. She should not have proceeded, but went on to appease her curiosity. Stealing further into the room, she paused in the corner.

She caught sight of his lordship through the break of the curtains. Charles’ eyes were closed, chest exposed as his hand moved beneath the sheet barely covering his waist. Lord, he’s a sight to watch, but what exactly is he doing?

Emily moved closer, but could not make head or tails of his motions. That is, until he called out, “Emily.”

He moaned then kicked off his sheets.

Good heavens, the sight of him was impressive. Dark, curly hair dusted his chest. His muscles so refined that the creases begged her to touch them. Dampness settled between her thighs again. What the hell is wrong with me? Did he just moan out my name?

She could see clearly now as he stroked his manhood.

Emily gasped and stepped back, bumping into a chair. Drats!

Avonlea opened his eyes.

She lost all sense of what she had stumbled upon. She should not have been there, no matter how glorious or how beautiful he looked with his eyes closed, or how impressive his body appeared. She would land straight in purgatory for this sin and many others, but she stood at the edge of the platform still.

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