New Release and Giveaway! BOUND TO SERVE by Julie Castle (Dangerous Liasons #1)

 We are so excited to celebrate the release of Bound to Serve by Julie Castle, and Entangled Publishing! Check out all the reviews, excerpts, teasers, and be sure to enter the tour giveaway!

 BOUND TO SERVE
by Julie Castle
Series Name: Dangerous Liaisons
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance/Romantic
Suspense
Publisher: Entangled
Release Date: May 30, 2016

Condor earned his reputation by being Delta Star’s ultimate secret agent. He’s untouchable, unstoppable, and he always nails his targets. But no matter how many times he’s saved the world, he’s a ghost who will never take credit. He works best alone, and to continue to protect his country, he’ll stay alone.

New Delta Star field agent Bridget Jamison is obsessed with capturing Simon Perez, the elusive terrorist responsible for her ex-fiancé’s death. When the Delta Star director hands the case over to Condor, a mesmerizing ghost agent who has the power to make her weak in the knees with one intense look, Bridget agrees to be Condor’s partner so that she’s not dropped from the case and her chance for justice.

Now they’re on a mission to infiltrate a dangerous criminal organization and capture Perez. It’s up to Condor to keep this beautiful, determined agent out of harm’s way, and to keep their explosive passion contained long enough not to risk their cover…and their lives.

Excerpt:

Bridget Jamison’s heart raced as she ran from the computer lab to Bran Frost’s office inside Delta Star headquarters. Maybe this would be the end of her quest. Increased agency chatter said that international terrorist Simon Perez was on the move. All her instincts as a new field agent told her something was going to break soon, and, for her ex-fiancé’s sake, she hungered to be in on the kill. Even though in the end he’d been a lying, cheating bastard, she owed him that much after getting him killed.

She skidded to a halt in the director’s anteroom and breathlessly waited for Thelma, his personal assistant, to buzz her in. She gave herself a once over and—

Shit.

She’d been too busy demonstrating the prototype of her new 3-D system to notice how messy she was getting. Hastily, she smoothed her damp palms over her drab, shapeless but wrinkled business suit, so she wouldn’t be reprimanded for wasting time in the lab. Why couldn’t the director see that the agency would be stronger, smarter, and more effective if the departments combined talents?

She looked down at her boxy suit and sighed. She purposely chose clothing that concealed her too curvy figure, not wanting her sexuality to detract from anyone’s perception of her efficiency. Not that anyone was asking. Lately, her love life was as out of reach as Perez. Sometimes almost close enough to touch, but never actually in hand.

At any rate, cocky, immature agents who thought they were God’s gift to women pissed her off. James may have cheated on her, but at least he hadn’t acted like he was the hottest thing in pants. His modesty had all been an act of course, but she hadn’t learned that until she’d lost him in a bombing. She wouldn’t make the mistake of risking her heart, much less her career, again.

 

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About Julie Castle:

I’m author Julie Castle. I’m a natural born romantic with a modicum of artistic talent that I inherited from my mom and a love for telling tall tales that I got from my dad. I guess that set me up for being a starving artist, the biggest fibber in the world, or a romance author. I’m so glad that I chose the latter.

I’ve always had a love affair with the written word. As a child growing up in a small town I loved visiting the local library, a converted gilded age mansion, and getting lost between the pages of a book. The drafty old mansion could be a spooky place but I still loved it. I enjoyed poking into behind the scenes areas I wasn’t supposed to venture into. I’m still the same way which is why I love writing romance with an edge, paranormal, suspenseful, super sexy, or just laugh your pants off funny I hope you’ll find it in my books.

 

Connect with Julie:

Website:  http://bit.ly/1ZxxfHI

Newsletter:  http://bit.ly/23C43Ap

Twitter:  http://bit.ly/24H1bby

Facebook:  http://bit.ly/1Zxxt1L

Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/1ZxAfUv

 

Giveaway:

 

New Release Review! KISSING THE BRIDE by Tracey Alvarez (Due South #7.5)

Kissing The Bride
by Tracey Alvarez

Synopsis:

The countdown is on to the Wedding of the Year, New Zealand!

It’s seven days until Shaye Harland and Del Westlake finally tie the knot—and it’ll be the most awesomesauce wedding Stewart Island has ever seen if Shaye has anything to do with it. Her All Things Nuptial journal has the big day planned to perfection, but not everything runs like clockwork. While marrying the man of her dreams beats chocolate as an Easter treat, a few mini-catastrophes like Boris the obstinate sea lion threaten to ruin their special day.

Download your copy of KISSING THE BRIDE and dive into the Due South world!
Intended for mature 18+ aged readers.

 

Review:

Such a sweet–and entertaining–story! I loved revisiting Shaye and Del and seeing them tie the knot. The countdown format was a lot of fun (7 days before the Big Day and counting…) and I enjoyed watching them encounter (and defeat, of course!) all the obstacles Ms. Alvarez threw in their way as the big day came closer. Seeing everyone come together to help them prepare and celebrate was like attending a family reunion (but the fun kind, with the side of the family you get along with-not the side with the creepy uncle and annoying cousins). I love seeing favorite characters once again in a slice of life format like that!

Kissing the Bride could probably be read on its own, but it’s going to have a lot more meaning for you if you’ve at least read the first part to Shaye and Del’s story,  Ready to Burn. If you’ve read the entire Due South series, even better!

And now I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment… (subtle hint) 😉

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE LAST PLUS ONE by Ophelia London, Lindsay Emory, and Alexandra Haughton

We’re celebrating the release of THE LAST PLUS ONE by Ophelia London, Lindsay Emory, and Alexandra Haughton!

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THE LAST PLUS ONE 
by Ophelia London, Lindsay Emory, and Alexandra Haugton

Adult Contemporary Romance/Anthology

BLURB:

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the summer…

Do you have your plus one on speed dial?

Senator and Mrs. Ramsey’s youngest daughter is sure to be the loveliest June bride that the exclusive New England compound at Virtue Cove, Maine, has ever seen. But first, there’s a barrage of Wedding Week festivities to endure enjoy. And dogs. So many dogs.

While the bride and groom are basking in their Happily Ever After, behind the scenes are one b*tch of a wedding planner with an old flame that never burned out, a “quid pro quo” business arrangement in serious jeopardy of becoming a more personal partnership, and two best friends who might discover they’re a perfect match.   During bonfires on the beach, sunset yacht cruises, and tortuous wedding toasts, will the wedding magic rub off on the guests and turn someone’s “Mr. Plus One” into “Mr. Right”?

RSVP for three romantic novellas from USA Today Bestselling Author Ophelia London, Lindsay Emory, and Alexandra Haughton.

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Review:

I love the idea behind The Last Plus One–one wedding, three “couples” who aren’t really, but they will be by the end of the weekend. Two are friends-to-lovers stories (one with a touch of sleeping with the boss thrown in for fun) and the last one is a second chance romance. Add to that the fact that it all takes place at one of my favorite places in the world (Maine, in and near Bar Harbor–we spent our honeymoon camping at Acadia National Park, that’s how much I love it!) and there’s puppies involved–a lot of puppies–and yeah, this was definitely going to be a book I was going to be signing up to read.

Bringing Home the Boss by Alexandra Haughton

The first novella was by a new-to-me-author who I’ll definitely be looking for more from in the future. Maggie and Cruz’s story started out strong (I loved when Maggie’s getting her dress unzipped made Cruz fall off his treadmill–LOL), got a little wonky in the middle, but had a great ending. Gotta love it when friends realize that there’s definitely something more there.

Rating: 4 stars / B

Always on My Mind by Ophelia London

I’ve read several stories by Ms. London, and enjoy her writing style. This one won’t ever be my favorite, though it had some very cute parts. It’s another friends-to-lovers story and it involves Maine blueberry pie(!)–two definite things in its favor. I did find it hard to believe that Ashton and Hawk would be able to spend so much time swimming in the 50-60 degree (F) water that’s common to that part of the Atlantic, though (trust me, it’s COLD), without ever mentioning how gosh darn cold it was once. (My husband thought I was exaggerating. He saw the error of his ways right quick, believe me. That was in July, almost a month after this story takes place.)

Rating: 3 stars / C+

When We Were Young by Lindsay Emory

Another new-to-me author who I’ll be looking for more from in the future. At the story’s start, I wasn’t all that crazy about either Claire or Tom–and soon didn’t like Tom at all (WTH was going on with that “prank” he tried pulling on her? Who does that? What vet does that??) but they spent the rest of their story making it up to me. Big time. By the end, I was a great big puddle of I-love-these-guys and was practically in tears over how they’d been thwarted in love years before.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

Overall: 3 1/2 stars / B
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Authors:
Ophelia London USA Today Bestselling Author
Lindsay Emory
Represented by Cassie Hanjian, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency
Alexandra Haughton

 

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DB Michaels, Author of SONG OF THE BLACKBIRD (Albatross Prison Series #1), Talks About How Her Commute Helps Her Write (with a giveaway!)

Join DB Michaels and the Killion Group as we celebrate the release of Song of the Blackbird with this 16 stop Book Tour from June 20th to July 1st. Included in this book tour is exclusive content, guest posts from DB, book reviews, a spotlight of the book, and a giveaway. One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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How My Commute Helped Me Become an Author

by DB Michaels

DB GP

My daily freeway commute route

Like many Americans, I spend an insane amount of time in the car commuting to work every day, an hour back and forth each way. My hours are early, seven am to three pm, which means getting up at five thirty every morning before everyone else does. At first, I dreaded the commute…the leaving the house in the dark, the constant battle with traffic, the stress of moving at a snail’s pace in a sea of red lights.

Then one day, my late father-in-law, someone who used to commute 120 miles a day, told me I needed to busy myself with something to do in the car. With what? I asked him. Well, you can listen to the news, or read an audiobook, or just think about anything you want, he said.

Ah…eight years later, I’m doing exactly that and though not loving my drive, I’ve learned so much along the way, including how to write and publish my first novel!

Here are the top five things I did during my commute to help me develop my novel, Song of the Blackbird:

  1. Listen to audiobooks on how to write. My favorite was Stephen King’s, On Writing, which not only inspired but also taught me a lot about the craft.
  1. Let my mind wander and dream. That commute is my time away from the demands of the outside world. I’ve learned to treasure it as my personal time and space. No interruptions. No phone calls. No checking emails. Simply a time to relax, lean back, and dream. Dream about how two opposite characters can fall in love such as Maxim and Emma did in my novel.
  1. Listen to audiotapes from the RWA National Conference lectures and workshops. Boy, these are worth their weight in gold, teaching not only the craft of writing but also the business of writing and publishing.
  1. Talking to my editor on the phone. Once I wrote my book, I used the commute time to talk with professionals who definitely helped make my book and its launch better.
  1. Listen to audiobooks for fun from my favorite authors. Reading has always been my first love and the more nourishment I get from reading, the happier I become and the better I write.

Though I don’t love my commute, I tolerate it a lot better now and in an odd way, I don’t think I would have written my first novel without having the time and space during my long drive to think, dream, and plan. I’ve recently purchased Dragon Dictation to see if I can dictate parts of my next novel while driving and am very excited to try it out. Has anyone used Dragon and what do you think of it? What do you do in your commute that you’ve found useful and relaxing? Please write back and share your thoughts.

 

About DB Michaels:DB Michaels

DB Michaels is a life-long reader who fell in love with the field of medicine during college. Double boarded in internal medicine and emergency medicine, she enjoys using her skills to help those in need. Working as a doctor in the prison system inspired her to write Song of the Blackbird, the first installment in her Albatross Prison Series. Though the book is entirely fictional, it illustrates the power of love, hope, and second chances.

DB’s first passion has always been books and she is happiest when she is absorbed in a great novel or writing. When she has time off, she likes to watch old movies, dally in the sun, and spend time with her family.

 

Connect with DB: Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

DBMichaels_SongOfTheBlackbird_HR-2

Title: Song of the Blackbird
Series: Albatross Prison Series #1
Author: DB Michaels
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Medical
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: Dream Tower Publishing
Print Length: 331 pages
Format: Digital and Paperback
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9972798-0-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9972798-1-8

 

Synopsis:

Healing must start from within…

Desperate to reconnect with her half-brother, Emma Edwards takes her new medical training and secures a doctor’s job at the prison where he’s serving a sentence. But what she finds there is worse than she ever imagined…tough rules and even tougher men, gangs powered by drug money and corruption. Emma must find a way to keep her brother alive until he’s freed even if that means lying to the one man she should be able to trust…

Unless you find someone to share your pain…

Warden Maxim Chambers doesn’t believe a woman should be working in a penitentiary, especially one like Emma – a woman even a hardened man like him can’t get off his mind. He’s spent too many years building walls around his heart to let himself care about anyone. Yet when Emma is almost hurt in a prison assault, Maxim can’t deny his feelings for her. But what is the connection between Emma and the prisoner named Sam?

And accept your past.

When secrets are revealed, danger and death run through the prison. Only the truth can save Emma and Maxim…if it’s not too late.

Song of the Blackbird immerses you in a whole new world – a gritty, violent world where things you have always believed turn out not to be true. It is a compelling story of sorrow and loss, of hope and second chances, and most of all, of the power of love.

Available Here: Amazon

Excerpt:

Julien began rattling off some names. Thank goodness Sam wasn’t one of them. At least not this time, but had he been ill before? They’d always been close. Something horrible must have happened to him. Maybe he’d been beaten up and lay hurt somewhere all these months. But then Emma remembered the 308-35U. Surely if he was hurt, they wouldn’t have assigned him to a dorm?

One of the side doors to the conference room opened and several inmate workers lifting large boxes entered. One carried two huge boxes. His face was partially obscured but when he turned, her heart almost stopped. That uplifted nose, the frizzy hair, the lanky build. She squeezed her eyes shut and snapped them open again, sure her mind was playing tricks on her. But no. There he was. He turned and suddenly caught her eye. His whole body stiffened. That was it, a momentary tenseness. Nothing else. No smile, no spark of recognition. He put the boxes on the cart and followed the group of inmates out the door.

“Excuse me.” Emma hastily stood. “Sorry. I’ll be right back.”

She rushed to the door, registering Chambers’s and Kaye’s identical expressions of disapproval. But what did it matter? She’d seen Sam. Her darling, beloved Sam. She flung the door open. Where the heck were they? They couldn’t have gone far. She darted down the corridor, turned left, and caught a glimpse of blue going around the next corner. She ran after them. There they were, exiting the building farther down the hall.

Emma rushed outside. The four inmate workers stood in a single line near the locked gate she’d entered with Julien awhile back. Their supervisor opened the gate with his set of keys. They were at least fifty yards away but Emma had no problem identifying Sam. His gait was the same. The usual swing to the arms and the mild dragging of his left foot. Courtesy of his cursed father who’d started this nightmare. Sam never turned around as the group disappeared from sight. Either he was mad at her or maybe he’d lost his memory? Had he had a concussion from some head trauma? He had to know her. There must be a reason for him to ignore her like that.

Suddenly, a blackbird’s call rang in the air. On-ke-kaaangh. On-ke-kaaangh. Then a short pause and another. On-ke-kaaangh. On-ke-kaaangh. Sam’s voice definitely.

Emma’s heart soared. She put her hand to her mouth and prayed she still remembered. “On-ke-kaaangh. On-ke-kaaangh.”

It didn’t come out as polished as when they’d practiced it long ago camping in the woods but it was enough. Dear God, it was enough. Tears rushed behind her eyes as the familiar birdcall echoed back to her. She swallowed several times and wiped the wetness from her cheeks. She’d found her brother at last.

 

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Follow the tour to these participating blogs for new content each day:

6/20/2016

The Recipe Fairy

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

 

6/22/2016

EskieMama Reads

Nicole’s Book Musings

 

6/23/2016

My Book Addiction and More

Mommabear’s Book Blog

 

6/24/2016

Ali – The Dragon Slayer

Becky on Books

Stormy Vixen’s Book Reviews

Underneath the Covers

Yah Gotta Read This

 

6/29/2016

Hart’s Romance Pulse

 

7/1/2016

The Somewhere Library

The Phantom Paragrapher

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A Conversation with Maya Rodale, Author of CHASING LADY AMELIA (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2–with a New Release Review and Giveaway!)

 Enter to Win a print copy of LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY (Keeping up with the Cavendishes Book One)

Welcome, Maya! Tell us about yourself.

I’m a New York City girl who loves to read and write romance novels (12 and counting!). I enjoy Beyoncé dance parties, romantic comedies, and talking about why romance novels matter. The hardest part of my day is staying up past 9pm. I married a great guy who thinks all my books are about him and I have the most fabulous dog who knows everything is all about her (Peek at pictures here!). My website is www.mayarodale.com, check it out!

I read Dangerous Books for Girls in a single day—definitely recommend!
What three things about you might surprise your readers?

  1. I once lived in London for a summer for graduate school and spent much of it researching in the British Library and trekking around to every museum and historical house (and gift shop). It has proven to be tremendously helpful when writing my Regency romances.
  2. I’m very short—4 feet, eleven and three quarter inches, barefoot. Do not forget my three/quarters of an inch.
  3. I keep a list of all the books I read, organized by year, color-coded by month. As one does.

I am infinitely jealous over #1.

 

Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?
I have plenty of stories in my head and even some drafts under the bed that aren’t romance and I would love to write them (read: the muse insists I must write them). One is a Young Adult novel, the others are grown up lady fiction. But all of them will end happily 🙂

Excellent! A happy ending is key.

 

Tell us about CHASING LADY AMELIA.

Lady Amelia Cavendish is sister to a duke and hates it. Alistair Finlay-Jones is heir to a baron who hates him. A series of events involving scandal, laudanum and lost shoes result in these two running away for a perfect day around London, taking in the sights and falling in love. When Amelia finds out Alistair had been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming…will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?

Spoiler alert–yes! But he’s going to have to pay first…

 

Where did the idea for the storyline come from?

The idea for Chasing Lady Amelia came from two distinct, but oddly compatible, stories. The first is Pride & Prejudice, which is the inspiration for book one in the Keeping Up With The Cavendishes, Lady Bridget’s Diary. In both those novels, there’s a runaway sister who definitely needs to have her story told (where did she go!? With whom!? What kind of sexy fun trouble did she get into?!) And then I noticed that the plot of my favorite movie of all time, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, would dovetail perfectly. While her story inspired by that film, Amelia quickly takes over and makes the story uniquely her own.

Ha! I knew it was Roman Holiday! Thank goodness it has a happier ending than the movie, though 🙂

 

What do you think readers will like/love about Alistair and Amelia?
Things to love about Amelia: her irrepressible spirit and love for her family.

Things to love about Alistair: his kindness, determination to do the right thing and the way he pleases Amelia, if you know what I mean 😉

LOL—yes, yes we do.

 

What was your favorite scene from the book?

My favorite scene in Chasing Lady Amelia is a spoiler! (But don’t worry,  no spoilers here).  I’d been having trouble with the ending (I wrote it, oh, three different ways) and over dinner and drinks with my husband we schemed and plotted an alternate ending that is both funny, humorous, plays on the Alistair’s worst fears and gives Amelia a say in her own destiny.  It was a riot to write and is hopefully a delight to read!

It definitely was!
Who are some of your book boyfriends?  What draws you to them?
Not Lord Darcy! I’m much more partial to Gilbert Blythe (If you don’t know who that is, I’m so sorry). But my book boyfriends tend to be the ones I’m writing currently about, so right now they are a hot, hunky Marquess (Lord Fox, of Lady Claire is All That) and a rebellious, American duke (the final book in the Cavendish series). I’m a lucky girl 😉

Wait…there are people out there who don’t know Gilbert Blythe? Inconceivable!
If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be?  (It can be non-alcoholic too)
Something sparkling! Whether it’s champagne (or Prosecco, I’m not picky) or sparkling water with extra limes please thank you very much. Cheers!

Sounds refreshing!
What’s next for you?

I am Keeping Up With The Cavendishes! I’ve just finished up book three in the series, Lady Claire is All That (12/27/16). Readers will see this smart heroine make an unexpectedly perfect match with the hunky “jock” of the haute ton, Lord Fox, in a story that riffs on the rom com She’s All That. Oh, and then I’m writing the duke’s romance…

I’m seeing a movie re-watch in my future! 😉 Can’t wait for James’s story, either…


Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

CHASING LADY AMELIA
Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #2
Maya Rodale
Releasing June 28th, 2016
Avon Books
 
In the second novel of Maya Rodale’s enchanting Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series, an American heiress finds her reputation—and heart—in danger when she travels to London and meets a wickedly tempting rake
 
Terribly Improper

Lady Amelia is fed up with being a proper lady and wishes to explore London, so one night she escapes . . . and finds herself in the company of one Alistair Finlay-Jones. He’s been ordered by his uncle to wed one of the American girls. How lucky, then, that one of them stumbles right into his arms!
Totally Scandalous
Alistair and Amelia have one perfect day to explore London, from Astley’s Amphitheater to Vauxhall Gardens. Inevitably they end up falling in love and making love. If anyone finds out, she will be ruined, but he will win everything he’s ever wanted.
Very Romantic

When Amelia finds out Alistair has been ordered to marry her, he must woo her and win back the angry American girl. But with the threat of scandals, plural, looming . . . will he ever catch up to the woman he loves?
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 Excerpt-Banner

“Ah, Lady Nansen. Lord Nansen!” The duchess and her charges paused before a couple that looked just like all the others Amelia had been introduced to: they were of an indeterminate middle age, decked in an array of brightly colored silks and satins, and honestly, a bit jowly and gray.

“I haven’t yet introduced you to my nephew and nieces.”

“And we have been dying to make their acquaintance,” Lady Nansen said, fanning herself furiously. “The ton has spoken of nothing else.”

The duchess performed the introductions. Upon meeting James, the new duke, fawning ensued.

Everyone fawned over James these days—but then when his back was turned they whispered about how his father was a horse thief and that James had been raised in the stables and how tragic it was that Durham was now in his hands.

“And Lady Claire.”

Amelia watched as they took in Claire’s spectacles and her distracted, impatient demeanor. She had not mastered the slightly vacant look of a simpering miss and with a brain as sharp as hers, never would. Amelia watched as Lady Nansen decided that Claire would never be an “incomparable,” or whatever they called the popular girls of the ton, and flitted her attention to the next sister.

“Lady Bridget.”

Amelia watched as her middle sister glided into an elegant curtsy. The duchess beamed. Lady Nansen judged.

“Your practicing is paying off,” Amelia murmured. She’d caught Bridget curtsying in front of the mirror in the ballroom for an hour last Thursday.

“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said through gritted teeth. Unlike the other Cavendish siblings,

Bridget actually cared about fitting in here. She was obsessed with learning and following the rules.

“And Lady Amelia.” She gave a smile somewhere between gargoyle and simpering miss, but perhaps more on the gargoyle side of the spectrum.

“You must have your hands full, Duchess, trying to make so many matches.”

“It does give one something to do all day,” the duchess replied, with a tight-lipped smile that

Amelia dubbed the One Where I Am Smiling Even Though I Hate What You Just Said. “But I do have every confidence that they will make splendid matches. In fact, I have someone special in mind for Lady Amelia this evening.”

The duchess beamed at her charges, as if they hadn’t been foiling her every effort to marry them off. Amelia began to dread meeting “someone special.”

“I say, Duke,” Lord Nonesuch or whatever began, “do you have an opinion on any of the horses running Ascot?”

The lords always asked James for his opinion on which horse would win a race, so they might win a wager. And then they turned around and made snide remarks about his experience raising and training horses—as if he were beneath them because of this knowledge. Even though he now outranked them.

“I do,” James said, smiling easily.

“Don’t suppose you’d tell a friend who you think will be the winner?” Lord Nansen or Nancy said jovially, with a wink and a nudge.

“I might,” James replied.

This was a conversation he’d had before and Amelia had begged him to do something nefarious, like deliberately suggest a losing horse. But James refused and just smiled like he knew the winner and never said a word.

“I suppose you’re going to build up Durham’s stables,” his lordship said.

“Nansen, he doesn’t have time for horses,” his wife said in that exasperated way of wives. “He must find a bride first.”

The duchess beamed, an I-told-you-so smile.

Then Lady Nansen turned and fixed her attentions on Amelia. Her fan was beating at a furious pace.

“And Lady Amelia, have you found any suitors you care for?”

“After having met nearly all of England’s finest young gentlemen, I can honestly say that no, I have not found any suitors that I could care for,” Amelia said. “But I do have a new appreciation for spinsterhood. In fact, I think it sounds like just the thing.”

Just the thing was a bit of slang she had picked up. Sticking forks in her eye was just the thing (but only with the good silver!). Flustering old matrons with an honest and direct statement was just the thing.

Lady Nansen stared at her a moment, blinking rapidly as she tried to process what Amelia had just said.

“Well your sister seems to have snared the attentions of Darcy’s younger brother,” she said, evidently disregarding Amelia and focusing on Bridget, the one who cared about fitting in and finding suitors.

“Are Lord Darcy and Mr. Wright here tonight?” Bridge asked eagerly. Too eagerly. “I haven’t seen them.”

“It’s not a party without Darcy,” Amelia quipped.

Darcy spent the majority of every social engagement standing against the wall, glowering at the company, refusing to dance, and begging the question of why he even bothered to attend.

But that was neither here nor there and no one deigned to reply to Amelia, so she sighed and lamented her choice in footwear quietly to herself. When Lord and Lady Nansen took their leave and sauntered off, the duchess turned and fixed her cool, blue eyes on Amelia.

“You might endeavor to be a touch more gracious, Lady Amelia.”

The Duchess always said everything in perfectly worded, excruciatingly polite phrases. Translation: Lord above, Amelia, stop acting like a brat.

“I’m just . . . bored.”

And homesick. And unhappy. And dreading the future you have planned for me. And a dozen other feelings one does not mention when one is at a ball.

“Bored?” The duchess arched her brows. “How on earth can you be bored by all this?” She waved her hand elegantly, to indicate everything surrounding them. “Is all the splendor, music, and the company of the best families in the best country not enough for you? I cannot imagine that you had such elegance and luxuries in the provinces.”

Everyone here still referred to her home country as the provinces, or the colonies, or as the remote American backwater plagued by heathens, when Amelia knew that it was a beautiful country full of forthright, spirited people. It was her true home.

They operated under the impression that there was no greater fun to be had than getting overdressed and gossiping with the same old people each night, in crowded ballrooms in a crowded city.

She missed summer nights back home on their farm in Maryland, when she would slip outside at night with a blanket, to look up at the vast, endless expanse of stars.

This, no matter what the duchess said, just did not compare.

Amelia shrugged.

“We already met half these people at the six other balls we have attended this week,” she said. “The other half are crashing bores.”

Crashing bores was a phrase Amelia had read in the gossip columns. The violence of it appealed to her.

“I suppose it would be too much to ask you to pretend to act like an interested and engaging young lady.” Then, turning to Lady Bridget, the duchess said, “I daresay she couldn’t.”

With that, the duchess turned away.

She turned away, leaving the words hanging in the air, floating to the ground, just waiting for

Amelia to pounce on them.

“Well that was a challenge,” Claire said.

“I’m not certain she could manage it.” Bridget sniffed.

Really? Really?

“Is that a dare?” Amelia asked, straightening up. Oh, she would pretend all right. She would pretend so well they’d all be shocked. It would give her something to do at least. “Because I will take that dare.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Bridget replied. Then, muttering under her breath she added, “For once.”

Amelia reddened. Admittedly she hadn’t been taking this whole sister-of-the-duke business seriously. But she would show them. So instead of sticking her tongue out and scowling at Bridget, Amelia stuck her nose right up in the air and turned away.

 

Review-Banner

 

If you’d have told me last February that I was going to loveChasing Lady Amelia (and Lady Amelia) even more than I loved Lady Bridget’s Diary , I’m not sure I would have believed you. Because, Lady Bridget. And Darcy.

But–Lady Amelia. I loved her story. It’s Roman Holiday, but with the happy ending the movie (sadly) never had…and shows a slightly different view of the P&P/BJD story that we got in Bridget (Amelia’s the less-annoying, and ultimately better choice-making Lydia character). I laughed. (A lot.) I cried. (Slightly less, and mostly for happy reasons.) I actually clapped at the end, and at seeing the excerpt for the next book (oldest sister Claire’s! And it’s a She’s All That / My Fair Lady/Pygmalian story! Woot! Even though this means poor James and Miss Green have to wait…) I highlighted the story all over the place. (Thank goodness for ereaders.)

In other words. SO. GOOD.

I loved that the events of this one are happening right along with the events of book one–we get another angle of some of the events, and of course see what Amelia was up to when she “disappeared”. Claire’s book looks to be more of the same–so fun!–and fingers crossed that James’s will too. Fortunately for Josie (AKA the Duchess, their sponsor/aunt), it looks like all of her charges will be spoken for much sooner than she originally thought! (Despaired of? Felt it would be possible to hope for?) In fact, Josie was so awesome by the end of this story, I actually wished I could reach in and give her a hug.

Except I probably wouldn’t. Because she’s still kind of scary. Alistair’s right about that.

Though the events of this one are intertwined with book one, it shouldn’t be a problem to read them out of order if you had to. Amelia’s story probably could be read as a standalone–but I’ve got to warn you, you won’t want to stop with just one.

Once again I loved, loved, loved watching all four of the Cavendishes interact with each other. If it weren’t for the romance (because, Amelia and Alistair! Kissing! and other stuff) I’d almost be tempted to say that it’s my favorite part of the series. I definitely can’t blame poor Alistair for wanting to be a part of it all (though of course he fell in love with Amelia first–her awesome family was just a bonus). Every time they’re all together on the page you’re guaranteed a giggle. Or seven. And probably a tug at your heart while you’re at it.

Have I mentioned I’m anxious for books 3 and 4?

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE DEAL WITH LOVE (One-on-One #3)

About the Book:

When filmmaker Christian Monroe runs into fiery—and frustrating—Elise Templeton at a party, the night quickly becomes the hottest one-night stand of their lives. But then her boss hires Christian to make a publicity film about Elise, and suddenly they’re in each other’s space. All day. Every day. And things are getting hotter…

Outside the bedroom, the two have nothing in common. Elise is focused solely on becoming the NBA’s first female general manager. And Christian learned long ago that being a work-a-holic—or being with one—is a recipe for disaster.

But the more Elise reveals her deepest desires and fears to Christian—something she’s done for no man, ever—the more Christian wonders how much longer he can keep his hands off the infuriating woman who rocked his world…

Excerpt:

“I suppose since I was distracted, you can be forgiven for using the cheesiest pick-up line known to mankind.”

Shifting on the leather seat, she crossed her right leg over her knee. His gaze flickered down briefly to where a slice of her thigh had been revealed, thanks to the split in her dress. She noticed the small flare of heat in his eyes, though quickly banked. What surprised her was the flickering in her body. Lately, she’d been much too busy to think about her physical needs.

The cheesiest?” He wrinkled his nose. “I’m sure if I thought about it for a second, I could come up with something much cheesier.”

She would not chuckle and encourage him. She didn’t have time for any entanglements. Though getting entangled with this guy, whoever he was, between the sheets would almost certainly be no hardship. It was a battle, but she kept the laughter from spilling out. “I’ll take your word for it.”

He grinned again. “As you should.”

She shook her head and studied him, still trying to place him. One of Brady’s childhood buddies, maybe? Had he come to a game?

His eyes narrowed. “You have no clue who I am, do you?”

Elise winced. Oops. Busted. “What’s the best way to answer that without offending you?”

His lips cracked, revealing even, white teeth. “No worries. I’m Christian Monroe.”

That’s right. Caitlin’s brother. A memory tickled her brain. She had met him once briefly, probably after a game. She must have been too busy with work—the story of her life— at the time to pay much attention to him. Which, if she was being honest with herself, was seriously embarrassing because Christian Monroe had “hard man to forget” written all over him.

He looked good. Exceptionally so. But wasn’t a man in a well-tailored suit always a safe bet to capture a woman’s interest? Lord knew the style revved her engines. But it wasn’t only his clothes that gave him an air of hotness. No, the man was handsome. Confident. Two other things she found damn near irresistible. If for the night only.

She nodded. “Of course. Sorry about that. Nice to see you again.”

“Pleasure’s all mine.”

Good Lord. The man’s voice. Deep and rumbly and everything yes. But no, Christian Monroe was off-limits. No matter how much his full lips, dark slashes of eyebrows, muscular thighs, milk-chocolate eyes, and wide shoulders appealed.

 

Review:

Elise is the first female GM to a major league sports team–I loved that! Sure, her father owns the NBA Dallas Stampede, but she’s worked her way up–originally working for another team and then doing time as the assistant GM first. She gets the job, but she’s got a legion of the team’s fans to win over, and worse yet, her dad can’t seem to trust her to do the toughest parts of the job without his “help”.

So, yeah. A guy? she doesn’t have time for this..

But Christian’s not taking “no” for an answer–and when he’s asked to spend a week filming Elise on the job for a documentary at NBA,com, he manages to chip away at Elise’s determination, especially since their one night stand still haunts them both.

I loved Elise! She was a great character, and every time her dad undermined what she was doing just broke my heart. I wasn’t sure how she’d be able to get him to stop. Christian was a bit tougher–he had a tendency to criticize Elise for doing her job (because, yeah–sometimes her GM duties are going to have to come before the career day volunteering she promised to do. She a GM! In the freaking NBA!) and to have a “it’s my way or the highway” mentality that was frustrating to read, let alone how it must have made others feel. He makes up for a lot of his a$$hattery at the end, but still.

This was the third in the series, but it worked just fine as a standalone. It was my first from this author, who I’d definitely read again.

Rating: 3 stars / C

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Deal with Love
Add to Goodreads

Meet Jamie:

Jamie Wesley has been reading romance novels since she was about 12 when her mother left a romance novel, which a friend had given her, on the nightstand. Jamie read it instead, and the rest is history. She started her first manuscript, a contemporary romance, after she graduated from Northwestern University in 2002 and couldn’t find a job. Life got in the way as it often does, i.e. she found a job, and she didn’t finish the story. However, she never forgot about it and finally got serious about completing it in 2009. She’s been writing ever since. Jamie holds a master’s degree in sport management (yes, that’s a real thing 🙂 ) from the University of Texas at Austin, so it probably comes as no surprise that she loves sports and spends an inordinate amount of time rooting for her hometown Dallas’s pro sports teams and her alma maters. She also adores Walt Disney World, shopping, and pop culture. Want to know if your favorite TV show is going to be canceled or what the newest Disney attraction is? Ask Jamie. She’ll probably know the answer.

Connect with Jamie: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:

  • One Winner will receive a $50 Zappos Gift Card
  • One Winner will receive an eBook set of first two books in the One-On-One Series (Tell Me Something Good and Slamdunked By Love)

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New Release and Giveaway! BILLIONAIRE IN WOLF’S CLOTHING by Terry Spear (Billionaire Wolf #1)

9781492621898

Title: Billionaire in Wolf’s Clothing
Series: Billionaire Wolf, #1
Author: Terry Spear
Pubdate: July 5th, 2016
ISBN: 9781492621898

 

First in a BRAND NEW SERIES from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear, queen of shapeshifter romance.

Real estate mogul werewolf Rafe Denali didn’t get where he is in life by being a pushover. When sexy she-wolf Jade Ashton nearly drowns in the surf outside his beach house, he knows better than to bring her into his home and his heart. But there’s something about her that brings out his strongest instincts…

Rafe has good reason to be suspicious. Jade Ashton and her baby son are pawns in an evil wolf’s fatal plan. How can Jade betray the gorgeous man who rescued her? But if she doesn’t, her baby will die, and her own life hangs in the balance…

To get to the truth, Rafe is going to have to gain Jade’s trust. If he can do that, he just might be her last—and best—hope…

 

 

Chapter 1

Jade Ashton had made a lot of mistakes in her life, but returning to her brother’s pack topped the list. She should have known the pack members wouldn’t accept her son, the product of a love affair with a human, despite pretending they were fine with it. She glanced at her three-year-old son, napping on the daybed in her office in her brother’s home where she alternated between sketching new designs for intimate apparel and for a new baby and toddler wear line she had developed when her son was born.

Toby had just fallen asleep, looking angelic with his blond curls resting on his cheek, his dark brown eyes closed as he licked his lips. No way would she ever give him up, despite how everyone in her pack viewed him as a grievous error in judgment.

She felt a little dizzy, probably because she’d been so busy that she hadn’t had anything to drink in hours. She got up from her chair and headed out the door, practically running into her twin brother moving silently down the hall like a wolf. She fell back and gasped softly when he grabbed her arm to steady her.

“We need to talk.” Kenneth started to guide her to the den, his blond hair much darker than hers, his amber eyes focused on her in a way that said he had serious business to discuss.

Did he know she intended to leave the pack, again? Or did he want to tell her he didn’t think her being here was working out? “I need to get some water. And we can’t talk long because Toby will be waking in a half hour or so.”

“This will just take a minute.”

It had better, because she wasn’t going to be drawn into any long-winded discussions with her brother. She hadn’t told him she was leaving first thing in the morning. She wasn’t sure how he’d take it. She had to admit she was afraid he’d try to talk her out of it. But she was determined.

Every time he and the others had looked at her son in judgment, she’d been annoyed. Not only that, but she’d caught Kenneth and the others having secret conversations and then abruptly stopping whenever they saw her approaching. The pack members pretended to tolerate her son, but she saw through the facade. They didn’t like her having a human son who couldn’t shift. They believed he could be a danger to the pack.

Which was one of the reasons she had left just after her son was born. She had also wanted to save his human father from her brother’s wrath. But raising Toby on her own had been tough. When her brother had promised that the pack members wanted her to live with them and have the backup they could provide, she had agreed. She and her son had left southern Texas far behind, so she figured she’d never run into Toby’s father again. And Kenneth had sounded sincere in wanting to ensure her protection—just like a pack leader should. She wanted to be part of a family again. She didn’t have a lone wolf personality.

She didn’t believe Toby would be welcome in any other pack either.

Clearly, the members had changed their minds about having her and her son there. Unless they had never wanted her back and it was all her brother’s idea. He was the pack leader, so ultimately, it was his decision—one he was apparently coming to regret. He was just being stubborn, didn’t want to admit he’d made a mistake, and didn’t want to have to tell her to leave.

Then again, maybe he realized she was planning to leave. Being twins, they sometimes sensed things like that before they really shared with each other. She hadn’t packed anything yet. She planned to tell him in the morning, before he left for work at his auto body shop. She thought it would be easier on all of them that way. She’d call him when she got settled and let him know where she was staying. It was for the best—for her son, for her, and for Kenneth and the pack.

Having detoured from the direction of the den to go to the kitchen so she could get something to drink, Kenneth leaned against the granite counter, his focus on her, his expression still ultra-serious. “I have a job for you.”

She raised her brows, then grabbed a glass from the kitchen cabinet. Between raising Toby and running her own businesses, she didn’t have time for a whole lot else. But if this was something quick that she could do this afternoon, she would, to thank Kenneth for taking her in—and then she was through with the pack.

“It’s simple. And hell, you might get real lucky.”

She snorted, pouring water into the glass and adding crushed ice. “Lucky?” She drank several sips of the water.

The front door shut, and she figured Kenneth’s girlfriend, Lizzie, was running out for something. She was a wolf too, which meant they were sleeping together, but he hadn’t decided to mate her yet so they hadn’t gone all the way. If they did, he’d be stuck with her as his mate for life. Jade didn’t know why the she-wolf put up with her brother. If Jade was in a situation like Lizzie’s, she’d tell the wolf that either they mated or she’d look elsewhere. But Jade supposed Lizzie wanted to be a pack leader’s mate and was sticking around in case Kenneth decided she was it. Total beta wolf.

“You’re living off me so you can put more money into your apparel business that isn’t making enough to really sustain you and your son. So, I need you to do this job and—”

“Like hell my business isn’t making enough money.” She was extremely tight with her money. No fancy food for either of them. No special entertainment. No expensive clothes. Since lupus garous lived so long, she had worked other jobs to help pad her bank account before Toby was born. She wasn’t wealthy, but she got by just fine. As long as she was frugal. “That’s okay. Being here with the pack isn’t working out for Toby and me anyway.”

Kenneth’s eyes widened. “You’re not leaving.”

“Listen, Kenneth, you know no one wants my son here. And they barely tolerate me. You make Lizzie babysit Toby sometimes when I really need someone to watch him so I can work, but it’s not fair to her. The rest of the pack worries about him. I appreciate all you’ve done for me. I really do.”

She shrugged. “But…I know this is the right thing for me to do. And for you and the pack too. I’m leaving tomorrow, and we can get together from time to time…later.” She really didn’t believe that would happen, but she’d make the gesture anyway.

“Like I said, I have a job for you.”

What part of she was leaving did her brother not get? He was so stubborn! Or did he feel it was his place as pack leader to decide if she was leaving? He hadn’t decided things for her since before she left the pack nearly four years earlier, and she wasn’t going to allow him to start now.

Even so, she’d humor him because she was leaving tomorrow, with or without his consent. “What’s the job?”

“Do you remember when that doctor was taking blood samples from us last week?”

“Yeah, Dr. Aidan Denali. He wanted to take some of Toby’s, and I said no. What of it? He’s not asking to take blood samples from Toby again, is he?”

“No, but here’s the thing. I looked into his background, and his brother is Rafe Denali.”

“So?” She’d never heard of the guy. Not that she’d heard of Aidan Denali either before she’d met him at Kenneth’s house. Since Toby wasn’t a shifter, there was no reason for Aidan to take blood from him. Though she hadn’t given the doctor that reason since he hadn’t needed to know.

“Rafe Denali’s a billionaire. Real estate mogul.”

“So?” Her brother was usually much better at getting to the point.

“The good doctor told me he’s close to finding a cure for our longevity issues.”

“Okay. What has this got to do with me? Or you, for that matter?”

“I need you to find out where he’s living. Where he does his research.”

“What?” She narrowed her eyes. “Why?” She was getting really bad vibes about this.

“His brother is ruthless. Hell, he’s the reason our grandparents lost their manufacturing business.”

She closed her gaping mouth. She had never known anything about her grandparents. Since her brother had taken over the pack when their parents died, he’d been the one interested in all things family. She’d been rather a wild card growing up. She’d always known she would never run the pack, so she’d done her own thing. After her son was born, she’d thrown herself into her work and raising him. No room for getting into any further trouble. She was faced with enough already.

“Okay, so I don’t get the connection between what happened with our grandparents and what you want me to do. Or why you want to know where the doctor lives.”

“Rafe is well-known—”

She opened her mouth again to tell Kenneth she had never heard of Rafe, so he couldn’t be that well-known.

“—in financial circles. The kind that you don’t belong to. I know where he lives. He and his brother are close, but Aidan lives somewhere else. I want you to befriend Rafe and learn where Aidan lives.”

“Why would you want to know that? Besides, I don’t run in billionaires’ circles. You already said so yourself.”

“He’s a bachelor wolf. He’s not dating any she-wolves. I’ve checked. If he sees you, and you intrigue him, you can cozy up to him and learn where his brother lives.”

“I’m not interested. Besides, didn’t the doctor give you his business card and tell you to contact him if you have any concerns?”

“It has his phone number. That’s it.”

“Why do you want to know this anyway?”

“I told you. Rafe is ruthless. When he gets hold of a cure for our condition, he’ll sell it to only those who can afford it. What if lupus garous begin to age even more rapidly than we are now? What if we don’t just end up with a human’s life span, but our bodies begin to age rapidly to match all the years we’ve already lived? Hell, your boy would lose you, and he’d have no one to raise him. Think about it.”

She had thought about it. But she wasn’t one to live with a fatalist viewpoint on life. She hadn’t thought her brother was either. Until now.

“If you really want this information, ask Rafe yourself. Or call his brother. You have his phone number.”

“As if either would tell me.”

“Send Lizzie.” Jade turned to leave, and her brother seized her arm. She rounded on him, yanking her arm away from him, and said, “We’re family, Kenneth, but that doesn’t give you the right to make me do things that go against what I believe in. If the worst-case scenario ever comes to pass, I’m sure wolves can unite and make the brothers see the right in this.”

Kenneth folded his arms. “Lizzie isn’t right for the part. She’s not as classy as you.”

“Oh, wow, give me a break. I hope you didn’t tell her that.” Jade started heading back to her office, but she hadn’t taken more than a few steps when her brother cleared his throat.

“I need you to do this. Whatever it takes. After that, you and your son can be on your way. You really don’t have a choice.”

“Nothing would make lying to the Denalis worthwhile, no matter why you want this information. Toby and I will be leaving tonight.” Sooner—once she could get her car packed and Toby ready for the journey. She’d have to plot a course too. Had her brother known about the wolf geneticist before he’d asked her to return to the pack? She whipped around.

“How long have you known about Aidan? Is this why you asked me to return to the pack? So I could be your spy?”

When Kenneth didn’t deny it, she swore under her breath. “I thought you were concerned about me and my son. Or at least me. Thanks for letting me in on the truth.” Furious with her brother, she stalked off toward the office and had nearly reached the doorway when Kenneth let his breath out in a huff.

“You will do this for me, and then you can have your son back.”

His words made her stomach fall and her head spin as she rushed into the room.

Toby and his soft leopard blanket were gone. All that was left on the daybed was his blue rainbow-colored teddy bear.

Lizzie! She must have taken him when Jade heard the front door open. Lizzie was the only one who was close enough to Toby that if she woke him while taking him from his bed, he wouldn’t cry out. He’d settle in her arms and go back to sleep. Kenneth had stalled Jade long enough for Lizzie to gather up Toby and leave.

Shocked at what he had done and angrier than she ever thought she could be, Jade hurried out of the room, ready to kill her brother—but only after he told her where her son was. “Where is he, Kenneth? I swear I’ll—”

“You’ll do this one thing for me, and he’s yours. And then you can damn well leave the pack. But if you ever cause any trouble for our kind, I’ll kill both of you.”

So furious she couldn’t think straight, she beat on her brother’s chest with her fists, cursing at him until he grabbed her wrists and slammed her against the wall. “I’m serious about this, Jade. Do what I say, and your son won’t meet his father’s fate.”

“What?” Tears filled her eyes, but she tried to get a grip on her emotions so he wouldn’t see her as weak. Kenneth had promised he would leave Stewart alone if she left the area before he even knew she was pregnant, and she never had anything more to do with him.

She felt sucker punched. “Why? You said…” It didn’t matter now. All that mattered was Toby’s safety. “Damn you, Kenneth.”

She kneed her brother in the crotch with one good shove as a final comment on how she felt about him taking her son hostage. Kenneth collapsed to his knees, swearing that he’d make her pay if she didn’t do what he said.

Maynard Myer—one of the men who worked in Kenneth’s body shop—interrupted them, red-faced. He was a redheaded bulldog of a man who had brazenly shown his contempt for her and Toby when he dropped by the house. She suspected Maynard didn’t want to intrude on this scene, but the news had to be serious enough for him to do so.

“What?” Kenneth growled at him, still on his knees on the floor and holding his crotch.

“Grayton wants his money now. You’ve got two weeks to pay up or…” Maynard glanced in Jade’s direction.

She didn’t know who Grayton was, although the name sounded like he might be a wolf. If he had loaned Kenneth money, and now her brother was in arrears…

“What are you involved in, Kenneth?” she asked. “Gambling? The horse races? I’ve got money”

“Get out of here, Jade. You want to see your son in one piece, leave and do what I told you to do.”

No matter how angry she was, she knew she didn’t have a choice. She had to get her son back before her brother killed him. She grabbed Toby’s rainbow bear and hurried into her room to pack, praying she could pull this off without getting her son killed. If Grayton was threatening her brother, what if he took out Kenneth’s debt on his closest relations? Her and her son?

What would the Denalis do if they learned what she was up to?

 

***

 

Jade had driven by Rafe Denali’s house numerous times, watching for Rafe to leave so she could run into him wherever he ended up going. Accidentally. The palatial mansion was set back off the road, a long circular drive visible beyond the gates and providing a glimpse of the white stucco house with its ocean view, but not much more.

This was the first time she’d seen him leaving the estate. He was alone, driving a bright blue Maserati with the top down, and she followed him to a farmers market and parked several cars away.

Wearing a pair of blue shorts, sandals, a pale blue T-shirt, and mirrored sunglasses, he climbed out of his car. He didn’t look like he was a billionaire, except he had a hot car, but otherwise, he just blended in with the rest of the shoppers.

She hurried to catch up to him. She couldn’t imagine what he’d be buying. Wouldn’t he have someone else buy his groceries? If she were shopping, she’d get fresh corn and tomatoes.

He stopped at a colorful booth filled with flowers, a bright-red canopy shielding the bouquets and shoppers from the afternoon sun.

In all of the research she had done on Rafe, she hadn’t seen one thing that indicated he had a girlfriend. She let out her breath. Just her luck.

She hesitated, feeling jittery and uptight, but she had to run into him, making it look real and not faked, and then apologize. He’d smell she was a wolf and maybe get interested. God, how she hated this. But she had to do it for her son.

She drew closer, the crowd of shoppers helping to conceal her as she focused on the flowers as if they were her goal and not the hot wolf.

Just as she was getting closer to him, a fair-haired man wearing jeans, sandals, and a black muscle shirt approached Rafe. “Hey, getting something for Consuela?”

“Yeah, Derek. Not sure what else to get her. But I thought she’d like these.” He paid for the bouquet of red and pink roses, and the two men walked off.

Damn. If the breeze had been blowing in her favor, he would have smelled her, turned, and checked her out, at the very least.

She wasn’t going to get anywhere with this while he was with a friend—or whoever Derek was. But since it was the first time she’d seen Rafe leave his place, she decided to wait in her car for him to leave and see where he went next. Or maybe try running into him when Derek left.

She climbed into her car and rolled down the windows, then Googled Rafe on her cell phone. The site that mentioned him the most was written by a photojournalist named LK Marks. He seemed to be obsessed with Rafe’s lifestyle—how Rafe hosted charity events but seemed reclusive otherwise. A number of times, LK Marks mentioned that Rafe was one of California’s most eligible bachelors.

The last posting anyone had made concerning the billionaire was a week ago. So maybe the paparazzi were off chasing someone else for a change and Rafe was old news. Which was good news for her.

An hour passed. The breeze helped keep her cool, but she was annoyed that Rafe was taking so long to return to his car.

Then two hours passed. She left her vehicle and was searching for him when she spied him sitting on the veranda of a Mexican caf?, burritos on his plate and a glass of iced tea beside it. He was talking with Derek, a couple of packages on the table next to the bouquet of roses. So they must have gone shopping. She let her breath out in an irritated huff. She wasn’t cut out for spy work.

Now what? She needed to get Rafe alone. Unless she could take a seat near him and he caught her wolf scent and piqued his interest, but all the tables out on the veranda were full. She asked the hostess how long it would take to get a veranda seat. Approximately an hour. Across the street, there was a sandwich shop. She headed to it, figuring she could get a view of the Mexican caf? from there and watch until he left.

Twenty-minute wait there. Trying not to look obvious that she was watching Rafe, she quickly glanced over the menu and decided on a chicken and provolone sandwich. She was called to her table, and when she walked with the hostess through the restaurant to the outdoor seating, she saw where the woman was leading her. Perfect. Flowers obscured the men’s view of her, but she could peek through to watch them. She took her seat and thanked the hostess, then looked over at the men—but they were gone.

 

***

 

Early in the morning, Rafe Denali perched above the rest of the world, reclining on his poolside lounger and eyeing the aqua-colored Pacific Ocean, the foamy, white waves crashing against the beach with their usual unpredictable rhythm. A rainbow-colored hot-air balloon and a bank of puffy clouds drifted across the bright blue sky, pushed by the ever-present salty sea breeze. Seagulls called out as they soared high above, and long-legged sandpipers ran across the wet beach as the water began to recede, looking for a meal. A few beachgoers had erected colorful umbrellas in blues and yellows and pinks, along with chaise longues or chairs, and were sunbathing or reading. A few were walking the beach. Life couldn’t be better. Rafe had needed a break after making another thirty-million-dollar sale, and what better way to do that than by sipping a mixed-fruit smoothie while visiting with his best friend, Derek Spencer—also one of the filthy rich and, like him, a wolf.

But he couldn’t relax completely. Rafe was certain that different men had been following him for the past week or so, watching his every move. He’d had one of his private investigators trying to learn what was up, but without success.

He knew those following him hadn’t been paparazzi looking to capture shots of him to show to the world, or sexy women looking to catch his attention—he was used to that. After all, he was an extremely eligible bachelor, at least as far as the unknowing public thought. He was certain that if human women knew he was also a wolf, his single, male billionaire status wouldn’t have as much appeal.

The problem was that the men following him were wolves—just as wary and capable of concealment and evasion in their human form as in their wolf coats. What had tipped him off was that the men hadn’t been carrying cameras when following him as humans. And when he’d caught them watching him at various restaurants or stores, they’d quickly looked away. But when he’d tried to track them, they’d always given him the slip. Sometimes, they left a bit of a telltale wolf scent behind, as if they’d used hunter’s spray for concealment but hadn’t quite masked their own unique scent.

Rafe took another sip of his smoothie. This was so different from when he’d lived with the pack of his birth. He had moved on, left that life behind, wanting something more. The power to make things happen in the human world, not just with a pack.

“Has your brother learned anything from the research he’s been conducting?” Derek asked.

“When he’s running his experiments, he doesn’t like to discuss the results—or, I should say, details—with anyone. Certainly not with me, since that’s not my field of expertise. Just like I don’t discuss the details of my real estate ventures with him.”

“I heard he was off to check some other leads besides testing lupus garou blood samples.”

“Yeah. He’s let me in on his other research so I’ll know where he is at all times. He’s studied children with progeria, a premature aging syndrome. He also investigated an eight-year-old girl who still had the physical maturity of an infant, having barely aged in all that time. Another case was that of a forty-year-old man who looked like a ten-year-old boy. A couple others: a twenty-nine-year-old man who appeared to be ten, and a woman who was thirty-four but looked like she was two years old. So the rate of aging was significantly different for each of them.

“Aidan had wondered if any of them were wolves, which was one of the primary reasons he checked into their cases, but he learned none were. Since lupus garous age at the same rate humans do until they are young adults, he really hadn’t believed they were our kind, but he still wanted to determine if any of their conditions were similar to ours.”

Derek finished his smoothie and set the glass on the table. “With all the research he’s doing, I think he needs a bodyguard. Knowing how to return us to our original wolf life spans could be dangerous in the wrong hands.”

“Agreed. I have a man watching his back, even though Aidan wouldn’t approve if he knew. So I haven’t mentioned it to anyone. Aidan doesn’t believe he’s close to learning anything.” Rafe studied a couple of bikini-clad babes running along the beach below his estate. He swore the women were plants, seeking to catch his attention. Most of the wealthy landowners up here were older. Truth be told, he was much older than them. But in human years, he appeared to be thirty. He was also looking for anyone who seemed to be watching him, but he didn’t see anyone like that here today.

What really caught his eye was a woman wearing a pair of white short shorts with what looked like a one-piece bathing suit underneath, though the back plunged so low that all he could see were the royal blue straps. What piqued his curiosity even more was how low the front of the swimsuit was cut. It was funny how sometimes a one-piece and a pair of shorts could be more enticing than a tiny bikini.

When she began wading up to her thighs in the surf, watching the sea, her golden hair whipping about her shoulders in the warm summer breeze, he sighed, reminding himself he couldn’t be interested in a human woman for any kind of permanent relationship.

“Enticed yet?” Derek asked, smiling, his attention focused on the scantily clad bathing beauties jogging along the beach.

Rafe finished his smoothie. “Are they different ones, or the same two who were out here yesterday?”

“Hard to tell. They have all the right curves, the tanned bodies, the skimpy bikinis. I think one was a redhead yesterday though. So you think it’s a ploy to see if one of them would appeal more to you?” Before Rafe could reply, Derek tacked on, “Given a choice, which would?”

“None of them.”

“Not even if she was a wolf?”

Rafe glanced at his lifelong friend. Tall, tanned, and muscular like him, Derek was much fairer, his hair blonder and his eyes amber. They didn’t exactly appear like the billionaire type. Not to mention they had a wolfish wild side to them. Both were wearing board shorts—his green with a blue ocean wave, Derek’s an orange-and-white floral—and they looked more like surfer dudes, except neither of them surfed. As a wolf, Rafe preferred swimming, hiking, running, boating, or climbing—freestyle.

In a gesture of feigned exasperation, Derek threw up his hands. “Okay, so most are interested in our money more than anything. Sometimes it’s important to just have fun.”

Rafe checked out the woman walking deeper into the water. He grew worried when he saw the telltale signs of danger. The surf was flatter there, looking like a road heading out to sea. The color was lighter than the surrounding water, the foam on the surface moving out to sea, instead of being drawn into the shore like the regular breakers. A rip current. Which could imperil the woman.

Instantly, Rafe bolted from his lounger and raced to his private stairs to the beach, wishing like hell he’d noticed the water before. His attention had been solely on the woman the last time he looked.

“Hey, where you going?” Derek asked, jumping up from his lounger and hurrying to catch up as Rafe ran down the stairs.

“To rescue the third woman this month who’s headed for trouble in the surf.” Rafe reached the electronically locked gate, threw it open, then sprinted across the sun-warmed sand.

A summer of storms and hurricanes had altered the landscape of the ocean floor along the Pacific coast, creating more rip currents, which had resulted in more lifeguard rescues in the area. Except they didn’t have any lifeguards here. That meant whenever Rafe took a breather from work and relaxed poolside, he watched the situation in front of his estate as if he were the local lifeguard. He couldn’t help it. If he saw someone in danger, he was compelled to lend a hand.

Rip currents typically flowed faster than any human could swim. If the woman he saw walking into the rip current was caught up in it, she could be pulled out to sea as much as half a mile or more before it ended. It wouldn’t pull its victim under; usually, those who drowned had attempted to swim against the flow, panicking in an effort to return to the shore through the path of the rip current, tiring them to the point of exhaustion. If she was a good swimmer and knew how to navigate horizontally to the beach, or remained calm and treaded water until the rip lost its drive, she should make it just fine.

But he didn’t want to risk her safety.

He raced around the beachgoers soaking up the sun. No one seemed to notice the possible danger.

Rafe reached the incoming waves, bolted through the water, and heard his friend splashing behind him. The woman was up to her shoulders in the surf, and Rafe dove for her just as the current swept her off her feet and pulled them both out to sea.

 

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USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008 Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world and is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Crawford, Texas.

 

 

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S FLING by Eliza Walker (Much Ado About Love #1)

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Fling
Author: Eliza Walker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
On Sale Date: June 21, 2016

 

About the book:

The show must go on, but the price of admission could be her heart.

Sick of her vagabond life in a Broadway touring company, Nicola is ready to settle down. She wants nothing more than to park her suitcase in California, put out feelers for local auditions, and leave her past firmly behind her.

Too bad her past comes knocking on her door her first day home. All six-foot-three, beautiful man of past named Max. Max: the mistake Nicola just can’t seem to stop making.

Even before Nicola—fiery, quick-witted, beautiful Nicola—slams the door in his face, Max is in trouble. She will always be the one who got away. Three times. Which makes convincing her to play Titania to his Oberon a bit…awkward.

Though she has zero desire to re-re-rekindle an old flame, Nicola can’t turn down the chance Max is offering: a lead role with the West Coast’s premiere Shakespeare company. But when their first rehearsal kiss disintegrates into a passionate liplock, she’s questioning her sanity and tempted to jump ship—before Max can break her heart again.

Now it’s up to Max to convince her that the torch he’s been carrying is actually an eternal flame.

 

Opening:

For Nicola Charles, the yellow water was the breaking point.

She had already spent several hours working her way through five years of dust as she sorted all her worldly possessions. With her throat parched from that uncomfortable effort, she’d staggered past her friend Cassie to get a drink from the kitchen sink.

When Nicola turned on the tap, a long pause ensued, followed by several ominous spit-takes from the sink. The faucet finally shot to life with a stream of dark yellow water.

Nicola stared for a long moment, then said to Cassie, conversationally, “I’m moving.” With a firm hand, Nicola flicked off the tap and retreated from the sink.

Want more? Check out the first two chapters here. (Click on the Excerpt tab on the far right of the page.)

 

Review:

Shakespeare, musical theater, and The Princess Bride references? Yes, please!

A Midsummer Night’s Fling is a second- (no, wait–third-…er, make that fourth-) chance romance story set in an absolutely amazing-sounding theater among the cast members of a premier Shakespeare company doing–what else?–A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our main characters, Max and Nic, have tried the whole relationship thing–several times–and now are determined to be just friends.

Friends who are playing Oberon and Titania. And who have to kiss on stage. A lot. This will totally work, right?

And if their never-ended explosive chemistry isn’t enough of an issue for them to deal with, they’ve also got a spiteful, cougar-wannabe co-artistic director; a competitive and resentful fellow actor; see-through and skintight costumes; and potentially painful hair bleach making things even more complicated.

Can the forth time really be the charm? Will they survive the rehearsals and make it to opening night in one piece? Read A Midsummer Night’s Fling to find out!

(I had to take quick reading breaks to watch the videos of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” and “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” and the Henry VSt. Crispin’s Day speech–really, I had no choice! You’ll understand why when you read it ;))

I had a lot of fun reading A Midsummer Night’s Fling. I loved Max, Nic, and the rest of the company and can’t wait to see where the rest of the series will go! (Plus OMG, I really wish that I could go see the version of Henry V that they’re slated to be putting on next, because it sounds absolutely awesome!)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Release Week Blast and Giveaway! EASY KISSES by Kristen Proby (Boudreaux series #4)

Kristen Proby does it again with EASY KISSES, the sexiest new addition to her Boudreaux Series! EASY KISSES is a Contemporary Erotic Romance novel and is the 4th book in Kristen’s New York Times bestselling The Boudreaux Series. This book is available now so be sure to grab your copy today!
Easy Kisses - Available now

 

ABOUT EASY KISSES:

The Boudreaux Series. Sexy. Intriguing. Easy.

Simon Danbury, an internationally sought after motivational speaker, helps women from all walks of life with love, self-esteem, dating and career building skills. Handsome, witty and wealthy, Simon seemingly has everything a man could want.

But appearances can be deceiving.

While Simon may have the answers for millions of women all over the world, when it comes to his own love life, he’s a giant, sexy mess. Divorced, and convinced that he’ll never love again, the very last thing he expects is one Charly Boudreaux.

Charly doesn’t want to be at this seminar in the middle of nowhere, but her sister made her go. She’s the one who has her life together. Great career, amazing family, nice home, and loyal friends. So what if she doesn’t have a man? She doesn’t need one. If she’s learned anything in her almost thirty years, it’s that men are more trouble than they’re worth.

And they have a nasty habit of breaking your heart into a million tiny pieces.

So she’ll sit through all of Simon’s touchy feely crap and go home and get on with her life. Except Simon isn’t really spouting crap, and when he smiles at her, the butterflies are ridiculous.

Never mixing business with pleasure, Simon finds Charly, a bright spot in a universe that’s been dark for too long. But will he be able to resist her?
And why would he want to?Easy Kisses - RDL Teaser 1

Excerpt:

“Tired?” Simon asks with a knowing smile.

“A bit,” I reply with a nod. “And the view is incredible.”

“No kidding,” Shelly says with an annoying giggle, and I realize she thinks I’m talking about Simon.

For fuck sake.

“Actually, I was talking about the mountains,” I add, stifling a laugh when Heidi knocks her knee against mine. “The views here are unreal. When I saw that the conference was to be held in Montana, I just figured we’d be in the boonies, on a dude ranch or something with no wifi and hunting and gathering our food ourselves. I had no idea that this existed.”

“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” Simon replies with one of his insane smiles. Seriously, he smiles and the room lights up. He’s changed into a casual blue T-shirt that hugs his shoulders and reveals the sleeve of tattoos down his left arm. In all of his public appearances, he wears long sleeves, covering the ink. It’s sexy as hell, not to mention the lean muscle there. His dark hair is disheveled from pushing his fingers through it all day, and his eyes look a bit tired, too. “Where are you from, Charly? Is that the South I hear in your voice?”

I grin. “Louisiana,” I confirm. “I’m from New Orleans.”

“Another of my favorite places,” he replies with a wink.

“Oh, I love it there too,” Shelly says. “What do you do there?”

“I own a shoe store.” I grin at the waitress as she fills my water glass.

“Well, that wouldn’t suck,” Heidi says and glances down at my feet. “I admired your shoes all day.”

“Thank you.”

“How long have you done that?” Simon asks, listening intently.

“Six years,” I reply. “But I’ve lived there all my life.”

He nods, and I can see in his eyes that he has more questions, but he shifts the focus to someone else, to my relief.

“And where are you from, Heidi?”

“Arizona,” she replies and begins telling us about her business raising assistance dogs. She pulls her phone out to show us photos, and I melt.

“Aww, what a sweet baby,” I croon when she shows me the yellow lab puppy she’s working with now. “Puppies are the best.”

“I think so too,” Heidi agrees. Dinner is surprisingly fun. We spend the next hour chatting about our homes, what we do, and things that interest us. Simon is funny and charming, easily deflecting Shelly’s blatant flirtations.

He’s professional. I assume he comes down and has dinner with a different group of women from the retreat each night. It’s a nice touch.

I wonder how many he sleeps with.

Easy Kisses - cover
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And don’t forget to grab the first three books in the Boudreaux Series on sale for a limited time only!

Easy Love - cover
EASY LOVE

Easy Charm - cover
EASY CHARM

Easy Melody - cover
EASY MELODY

 

Easy Kisses - RDL Teaser 2

 

 

Author Pic - Kristen ProbyABOUT KRISTEN PROBY:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

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