A Character Profile and Giveaway for THE STAR IN THE MEADOW by Carla Kelly (The Spanish Brand #4)

“A romance in the middle of a really good Western novel.”
– Roundup Magazine

Book Cover

Character Profile: Marco Mondragón

The Spanish brand series was Marco’s story from the beginning, mainly because I “found” him in an obscure footnote in a Spanish borderlands history, which boiled down to this: “In the absence of sufficient law enforcement on the frontier of 18th century New Mexico, a royal colony, the juez de campo [brand inspector] also investigates petty crime.”

In The Double Cross, Marco is a man still bereft, after eight years and the shocking death of his entire family from cholera, while he was away fulfilling his official duties. He is too tired and heartsick to invest himself in finding another wife, which would mean more children, and the pain of possible trauma again. He can’t do it.

Because he is a conscientious man, he remains true to his obligations to the many servants and stockmen on his ranch, the Double Cross. He is afraid to open his heart again, until he meets Paloma Vega, someone who needs his help. When he finally realizes how much he needs her, he’s ready to try again.

All four books follow this dutiful, faithful man through nearly five years of slowly and carefully learning to love again, and slowly and carefully finding a way to nudge the colony toward a peace treaty with their most dangerous neighbors, the Kwahadi Comanche. Time and again he is forced to shove his own fears aside as he leads, cajoles, and at time forcefully moves toward the goal of peace.

Marco is a single-minded man dedicated to God, his colony, his duty to the Crown, his servants, and his second wife. In Paloma Vega he has found the right woman to share his trials and understand his trauma. She has her own fears; he has his. Together they forge a bond as strong as his ties to king, country and God.

Marco is a man of his times. Hardship is all he knows, but he finds solace in his religion. It fuels him when nothing else can. He depends upon Paloma, and later, Toshua, a former Comanche slave who becomes a valuable friend, and a connection to the fierce Kwahadi that he needs, if he is to fulfill the governor’s aim of peace.

Marco’s patient rebuilding of married live, love, children and home is challenged to the breaking point in The Star in the Meadow. He must decide whether to search for his missing wife or go with his Comanche friend to cement a century-long quest for peace. What he will discover is that the workers have been his stewardship through the years have their own code of loyalty.

Marco Mondragon has been a fascinating character to create and write. I’ll miss him and his colonial world.

About Carla Kelly:Author Pic

A well-known veteran of the romance writing field, Carla Kelly is the author of thirty-seven novels and three non-fiction works, as well as numerous short stories and articles for various publications. Carla’s interest in historical fiction is a byproduct of her lifelong study of history. She has a BA in Latin American History from Brigham Young University and an MA in Indian Wars History from University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Social media links (Camel Press Books): Facebook | Twitter

THE STAR IN THE MEADOW
by Carla Kelly

Series: The Spanish Brand, Book 4
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Will Marco choose love or duty?
Marco Mondragón and his wife Paloma are living hectic but happy lives at the Double Cross, on the edge of Comanchería. Five years after the death of Comanche leader Cuerno Verde, cautious diplomacy between the tribe and the colonists is underway to end Comanche raids into New Mexico. Paloma’s time has been fully consumed by her two toddlers and newborn son and Marco’s by spring planting.
The Seven Year Audit of 1784 arrives and with it comes auditor Fernando Ygnacio. After years of incarceration for a crime he did not commit, Señor Ygnacio is a broken man. Although his daughter Catalina is bitter about his mistreatment by his superiors, her storytelling abilities captivate the household, including a frequent visitor from the nearby presidio, El Teniente Joaquim Gasca, who has been undergoing his own reformation from rascal to leader.
Unknown to him, Marco has peculiar enemies plotting his downfall. When Paloma and Catalina set out on a visit to Marco’s sister, meant to give Paloma relief from her busy life, the women are kidnapped. Devastated, Marco is torn between love and duty. He yearns to search for his wife, but feels bound by colonial duties to accompany his friend Toshua to Río Napestle, where Comanches have gathered to debate the region’s fragile peace. In his absence from the Double Cross, will Joaquim Gasca and Toshua’s wife Eckapeta be able to find the missing women?
Excerpt:

 

“It’s hard for me to even imagine a peaceful room with no one barging in, demanding this and that.”

“I think you can imagine it quite well!” Catalina teased. “Start now by taking a nap.”

Paloma yawned and close her eyes. “I’ll never get to sleep this way,” she murmured, just moments before she did precisely that.

Catalina closed her eyes, too, thinking of years of smarts and slights and rudeness. For some reason she had turned to them for nourishment, letting the sourness of unfair treatment fill her belly. Maybe she lashed out first to keep meanness at bay. She took the idea one logical step forward; it might be time to stop. With a sigh of her own, she relaxed and rested her head against the side of the carriage.

She had no sense of time passing until she felt the spring sun high overhead. But that wasn’t what woke her.

The carriage had come to an abrupt halt. Catalina opened her eyes to see Chato the coachman through the small opening, but only dimly, because the overhang of the carriage roof was in shadow.

The shadow moved and she saw a knife sticking out of Chato’s neck. The shadow moved again and she saw a horseman, the cause of the shadow, beside the carriage now. She put her hand just above Paloma’s mouth and patted her arm.

“Something is happening,” she whispered.

Paloma opened her eyes and her own hand went immediately to her sleeping son in his cradle at her feet. She sat up carefully and sucked in her breath when she saw how the coachman leaned.

Both women clung together when the carriage door slammed open and a bearded man with dead eyes leaned inside. To their astonishment, he opened his mouth wide and his eyes wider and slammed the door shut. They listened to shouts of “Idiot! Fool! A mistake!”

Juanito began to stir and whimper. Paloma picked him up and hastily unbuttoned her camisa, nursing him to keep him silent.

“Eckapeta and I … we train the little ones not to cry,” she whispered, her blue eyes huge in her pale face. “Juanito is too young for such a lesson.” She bowed her head over her child, trying to feed him and protect him at the same time.

The pitiful gesture went straight to Catalina’s heart and shoved back her own fears. She reached for Paloma, as vulnerable now as a woman could ever be, and patted her shoulder.

“I’m going to find out what’s going on,” Catalina whispered, as she wondered at her sudden wellspring of bravery.

With amazing clarity, she knew someone had to protect Paloma and her baby, and there wasn’t anyone else around except her. For years her father had depended on her—perhaps too much—but that was nothing compared to this need, growing stronger by the second, to help someone even more vulnerable.

“I do this for you, Marco,” Catalina whispered under her breath.

Carla Kelly’s writing is masterful, and I can wholeheartedly recommend this whole series, and I believe you would enjoy each book more if you read them all. STAR IN THE MEADOW is a stellar conclusion which will reside on my keeper shelf.
– Roses Are Blue Blog
I love this series… Carla Kelly is my favorite modern author… She writes from accurate historical research and facts…plus the lady knows how to weave romance into her stories for my girly-side!”
– Patti, Goodreads Reviewer

Purchase Links

Other Books by the Author:

Don’t miss the other books in The Spanish Brand series by Carla Kelly.

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THE DOUBLE CROSS
Series: The Spanish Brand, Book 1
In the royal colony of New Mexico, 1780, Marco Mondragón is a brand inspector living next to the fierce Comanche. On a trip to Santa Fe, he meets Paloma Vega and rescues her from cruel relatives. He vows to find out if they stole the brand belonging to her parents.
“Carla Kelly’s vivid storytelling plunges the reader into a tense, hypnotic tale of love and courage in The Double Cross.”
– Diane Farr, bestselling author, Regency Romance and Young Adult fiction

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MARCO AND THE DEVIL’S BARGAIN
Series: The Spanish Brand, Book 2
Marco and his wife Paloma fight the scourge of smallpox by bravely venturing onto the Staked Plains, stronghold of the Comanche. As part of a devil’s bargain, they must put themselves at the mercy of these dangerous enemies and try to inoculate them.
“Though I didn’t read The Double Cross first, I still managed to fall head over heels for Marco and Paloma. That is a good testament to Ms. Kelly’s amazing writing.”
– Alexandra Anderson, All About Romance

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PALOMA AND THE HORSE TRADERS
Series: The Spanish Brand, Book 3
At the end of the 18th century in the Spanish Colony of New Mexico, Marco and Paloma face a new threat to their ranch. To defeat Great Owl, a renegade Comanche, they form a ragtag army that includes a ghost from Paloma’s past.
“This book will take one’s breath away with the deep, emotional romance and highly likable characters.”
– RT Reviews

Giveaway

WIN
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Be one of three lucky winners:
$15 Gift Card (Amazon or Barnes & Noble)
2 x print copy of The Star in the Meadow
Contest runs from May 16 – June 5, 2017.

Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from May 16 – June 5, 2017.
Get sneak peaks, excerpts, fun facts and other never-before-published info on The Star in the Meadow.
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A Guest Post from T.K. Rapp, Author of THE UPSIDE OF REGRET (with a giveaway!)

What inspired me to write my book:

My daughters and I talk a lot. I don’t there are any subjects that are off-limits. That’s how both of my YA stories came to fruition. My YA stories are sort of my “advice” to my girls, in a way. I suppose it’s my way of letting them know what’s out “there” and preparing them should they ever face something like that in the real world.

 

Believe it or not, the strangest place I’ve ever gotten inspiration for a book/ series/ character/ plot point was…

…a conversation with my husband. My 5th book was Fumbled, a football story. We were watching the Texans one night and we’re both huge fans of JJ Watt. We started talking about how it must suck to be him because he doesn’t know which women want him for “him” and which are out for fame. So I wrote Fumbled where my “JT” finds love despite his fame. It was a really fun story to write.

 

And finally, a day in the life of an author:

LOL! Get ready…it’s SUPER exciting.
1. Wake up at 6:00am
2. Take the kids to school
3. Go to work (remodeling on the side)
4. Lunch
5. Work a little more
6. Pick up the kids
7. Dinner??
8. Chauffeur the Kids (soccer & swim)
9. Around 10pm – try to write.

 

About the author:

TK Rapp is an author living in Houston, Texas with her husband and two daughters.

Prior to writing, she spent over ten years as a photographer and photo editor, specializing in wedding album design. She left photography to pursue her dream of writing a story and it was in 2013, she self-published her first novel, Being There. It was a standalone story about long-lost friends finding each other. She has since written both contemporary and young adult novels.

Rapp grew up in Texas, but has lived in California, South Carolina, and Virginia, all of which serve as inspiration for her writing. With several more works in queue, she doesn’t anticipate stepping away from the computer anytime soon, especially since she makes friends with all of her characters.

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |Google+ | Goodreads

The Upside of Regret
by T.K. Rapp

Publication Date:  May 17, 2017

Brighton and Leah have been the best of friends since seventh grade. Where Brighton is the quiet one who is focused on school, Leah is the bold and daring one who craves the adoration of an audience. It’s always worked for them, until now.

Heading into their senior year, Brighton is challenged with an opportunity that can change the course of her future. The only problem? She just might have to step out of her best friend’s shadow.

But when Leah doesn’t support the choices she makes, Brighton is forced to reevaluate what true friendship is.

Brighton is changing and exciting doors are opening. A new world of music, friends, and even love are falling at her feet. But it’s hard to enjoy it when Leah’s life is spiraling out of control.

Now Brighton must try to not only save her friendship, but also her friend, before it’s too late.

Purchase Links:
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5 Things Readers Should Know About Dawn Alteri, Author of BURN (with a new release review and giveaway!)

5 Things Readers Should Know About Author Dawn Alteri

  1. I’ve been writing romance since I was way too young to be writing romance. When I was barely a teenager, I started scribbling age-inappropriate stories in notebooks and in three ring binders, then I’d borrow my dad’s typewriter (I’m showing my age–we didn’t have a computer yet!) to type them up in the hopes of getting them published. I never submitted them anywhere. Looking back on them now, it was probably for the best.

 

  1. I love chocolate. Like, REALLY love chocolate. From M&Ms to Godiva dark chocolate raspberry truffles to chocolate mousse, chocolate cake and even chocolate tea. There’s a chocolatier in Denmark who makes a 70% Valrhona cacao dark chocolate truffle with a French black truffle inside. It sells for $250. I’m saving up for a dozen.

 

  1. I volunteer as an animal rescue transporter, moving animals from high-kill shelters to foster homes and safe adoption centers. Although I don’t have time to do nearly as much as I’d like to, it is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. These animals know they’ve finally found a haven after facing a devastatingly uncertain future, and they look up at you with such gratitude in their eyes, it truly warms your heart. Ugh. I’m getting all weepy just thinking about it!

 

  1. I may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with Charlie Hunnam. Specifically, Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy, Season 4, Episode 10. He was the inspiration for Ryan Monroe, the hero in my debut novel Burn, with his shaggy/spikey dirty blond hair, his blue-gray eyes, his fiercely protective nature concerning the woman he loved… And now I have to go watch it again.

 

  1. I’m really mad at myself for taking this long to start writing seriously! But the saying is true, better late than never. And now, I’m really, REALLY glad I finally did it.

 

Meet the Author:

A lifelong resident of northern New Jersey, Dawn Altieri has been scribbling stories practically since birth. After reaching a milestone birthday (she won’t say which one), she figured it was about time she took a shot at writing professionally.

With an overactive imagination and a slightly twisted mind, she enjoys reading dark and dangerous tales almost as much as writing them. When she’s not curled up on the sofa with her laptop, her latest story, a box of chocolates and a cup of tea (or a glass of wine, depending on the time of day), she can be found volunteering in the world of animal rescue. She shares her home with her husband and daughter, and a menagerie of rescued fur-babies.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

About the Book:

 

Chloe Addison is on the verge of a promising career in real estate development until an explosion destroys her first major project and casts suspicion on her in an arson investigation. Her career is suddenly at risk—and possibly her life.

Firefighter Ryan Monroe wants a spot on the arson team, and getting close to Chloe might be the best way to solve his first investigation. Despite a painful past of his own, Ryan has dedicated himself to saving people, and when he realizes Chloe is in danger, she’s no exception. He just might be the perfect guy to rescue her, but their attraction could bring them both down in flames.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Review:

Burn is a solid first effort. The suspense is decent–I definitely didn’t know the whole time who was behind the fires, and there’s a few red herrings thrown in to keep it interesting–and the romance is sweet, if a bit on the instalove side. I especially enjoyed the first 60% if the book–a hunky firefighter with a protective streak a mile wide? What’s not to love? 😉 It lost me a little bit after that point, though, with the continued secret keeping and Chloe and Ryan only revealing select parts of their pasts to each other but then holding the exact thing they themselves did against the other person when the truth came out–very frustrating. The climax is suitably suspenseful and dramatic, though, and the ending is cute despite it’s being rushed. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this author in the future.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Giveaway:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card

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Juliet Lyons, Author of DATING THE UNDEAD Reveals 10 Ways to Tell if Your Date is Actually a Vampire (with a giveaway)

10 Ways to Tell if Your Date is Actually a Vampire:

  1. They only want to meet at night, using the excuse that they’re not ‘a morning person’.
  2. On a date to the beach, you catch them harassing the lady in the mini mart to check the stock room for Hawaiian Tropics factor
  3. When you get a papercut, they’re oddly excited.
  4. They’re still not over their ex. Even though the latter has been dead for two hundred years.
  5. Every time you mention a church wedding they recoil in horror*.
  6. They often refer to Eric from True Blood as someone who ‘has their shit together.’
  7. They drink a lot of red wine, but never seem drunk. Wait—is that actually wine?
  8. They have pale, flawless skin despite the fact you’ve never once seen them cleanse and/or moisturise.
  9. When watching any kind of sporting event, they constantly scoff and sneer at the athletes. ‘Please! Is that the best they can do?’
  10. They are particularly keen to remind you that the neck is a top five erogenous zone…

*Does not necessarily mean they are a vampire. Mortals—particularly males—are also prone to behaving in this way.

About the author:

JULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family. Visit: www.julietlyons.co.uk

Social Networking Links:

Website: https://www.julietlyons.co.uk/
Twitter: @WriterJLyons
Facebooks: https://www.facebook.com/WriterJLyons
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15118466.Juliet_Lyons
Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/julietlyons

Title: Dating the Undead
Author: Juliet Lyons
Series: Undead Dating Service, #1
ISBN: 9781492645306
Pub date: May 2, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance

 

WOMAN SEEKING VAMPIRE:

Likes to keep things casual

Absolutely no poetry

Zero romance required.

Silver Harris is over clingy men—maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she wonders if maybe it’s human men she’s fed up with. Silver turns to the popular vampire dating site, V-Date, only to discover that vampire men are just as unimpressive as their mortal counterparts. And her mysterious hottie? He’s nowhere to be found.

Can’t a girl catch a break?

Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead—or that kiss!—out of his head. When his boss assigns him to spy on V-Date, he meets Silver again. Turns out, the police are recruiting humans to snitch on vampires through the dating site. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan deepen. But, when old demons resurface—literally—Logan isn’t sure he can shield either of them from the dangers that have been lying in wait for centuries.

Excerpt:

I freeze in terror. What a waste of Dad’s money those self-defense classes turned out to be.

“Silver, it’s just me,” a lilting Irish voice says at my ear, the hand dropping from my shoulder.

I turn around to find myself nose to nose with my vampire from New Year’s Eve, his bright green eyes piercing mine.

I’m struck by several conflicting emotions all at once—anger, relief, and in a tiny measure—happiness. Anger wins out. On impulse, I slap him hard across the face, pointing with a white, clenched hand to the garden I’ve just sprinted across.

“I thought I was about to be murdered, asshole,” I hiss through my teeth. “I ripped my coat. My heels are ruined. All because you thought it might be fun to follow me home.”

He smirks, nonplussed, sliding his hands into the deep pockets of his navy pea coat. “I wasn’t following you,” he says, eyes twinkling.

“Oh, that’s right,” I say, voice dripping with sarcasm. “You were just walking me home again. Except this time from fifty yards behind and without me knowing.”

Before he has a chance to reply, the front door flies open and my landlady Vera emerges in a long, silky, oriental dressing gown. She is wigless for once, a Pucci scarf twisted into a makeshift turban covering her head. In her right hand, she holds a meat cleaver.

“Step away, you rapist bastard!” she yells, holding the large knife shakily aloft.

I glare at the vampire, expecting him to either throw his hands in the air or take a step backwards. Instead his brows knit together and his mouth drops open. “Etta Marlow?” he asks, staring at her as if she just walked on water.

The meat cleaver lowers a fraction. “What’s it to you?” Vera demands, her voice losing some of its previous menace.

I roll my eyes. Of course he remembers her. He’s probably seen all her films.

“It is you!” he erupts, wagging a finger in her direction. “You’re Etta Marlow! You played Susie De Sousa in Girl Uptown with Gregor Lane. I love that movie.”

The meat cleaver drops, forgotten, to her side as she pats her turban, eyelashes fluttering. “Fancy you recognizing me,” she mutters happily.

“Excuse me, Vera,” I interject, “but there’s still a potential rapist on your doorstep here.”

Vera looks back to the vampire, who shakes his head, smiling. “A misunderstanding, Etta. I was making sure Silver here made it home safely. She got the wrong end of the stick.”

Vera, or Etta as she was once known, glances over at me. “Do you know this charming fellow, dear?”

I scowl at them both. “Well, yes, but— “

“Well then, you must come in, dear boy. I could show you my Oscar, if you like?”

The Vampire looks as if he’s about to pee himself with excitement. “You mean the one you got for Days Like These with Vic Stevens?”

She holds out a thin hand towards him, gold bangles jangling on her wrist. “The very one, dear. Come, come in.”

I watch, stunned, as he takes her hand, green eyes lit up in excitement.

Before stepping through the door, he hangs back. “Ms. Marlow, I’m afraid it’s only courteous to let you know before I enter that I’m not human. I’m a vampire.”

Vera’s tinkly laugh echoes around the street like a bicycle bell. “Oh, you’re so sweet. Didn’t you know I’ve met dozens of vampires? They’re two a penny in Hollywood, darling.”

Following her across the threshold, he flashes the cockiest of grins. “Coming, Silver?”

My jaw drops in disgust. I’m tempted to sulk off to my basement flat, but instead, I trail after them and slam the door.

We follow Vera along an elegant gold and cream hallway into her immaculate, monochrome front room. Even though I’ve been here on numerous occasions, I’m always mesmerized by the sheer extravagance of the place—buttery white leather sofas, cream fur rugs, one wall is painted black and white to resemble piano keys. It should look tacky, but somehow, it works.

“You two make yourselves at home whilst I go and make myself presentable.” Vera says. “Then I’ll dig out that old Oscar of mine.”

I know, of course, the Oscar will not have to be ‘dug’ out of anywhere. It’s always on display in the den, alongside her film stills and other memorabilia.

“I didn’t catch your name,” she croons to the vampire before she leaves.

He puts a hand on his chest. “Forgive me, I should have introduced myself. Between the meat cleaver threat and getting slapped by Silver here, I seem to have forgotten my manners. I’m Logan. Logan Byrne.”

For strange and unfathomable reasons, my stomach flips. Logan. It suits him.

“Charming,” Vera says. “Don’t you go anywhere, Mr. Byrne.”

As soon as Vera disappears from the room, Logan collapses into one of the white leather arm chairs and puts his crossed feet onto the cut glass coffee table.

I’m still standing, one brow arched, arms folded across my chest. “So, Logan,” I hiss. “What the hell is this?”

He grins, dimples putting in their first appearance of the night as he gazes up at me. “Did anyone ever tell you, you’re particularly beautiful when you’re angry?”

“Oh, cut the crap,” I say,  ignoring the hot flush climbing my neck. “Why did you follow me?”

“Like I told Etta, I wanted to make sure you got home safely, that’s all. Though I’m a little confused as to why you have three houses.” He holds up fingers to count. “The one I left you at on New Year’s, the one Nathaniel dropped you at, and now this—cohabiting with an aged 1940’s screen siren.”

“It’s none of your business,” I say, chin in the air. “And anyway, how do you know Nathaniel?”

He shrugs. “I know most of the vampires in London.”

I humpth. “I bet you do.”

In the blink of an eye, he is towering over me, face inches from mine. I inhale his clean, masculine scent like a drowning person coming up for air, and as he leans closer, I find myself gravitating towards him—a flower reaching for sunlight.

He pulls the collar of my coat aside and peers into the gap. As his fingers brush my jaw, an uncontrollable shiver zings through me. I disguise it by stepping out of reach and batting his hand away.

“He did a messy job on your neck,” he says, in a low voice.

“What’s it to you?” I snap.

Before I realize what’s happening, he closes the gap between us. One hand cupping my cheek, he bends over, lips brushing the place Nathaniel bit me, tongue gently swiping the puncture holes.

“That should stop the bleeding,” he says, pulling away. “But you’ll still have a bruise in the morning.”

I rub my neck and look at my fingers. No blood. “So, you can heal wounds? Just another of your unique skills along with beating up drunk men and following young women home for kicks?”

He sinks back into the armchair. “You’re a sexy girl, Silver. I’m glad we’ve met again.”

I snort incredulously, trying, without success, to forget the warmth of his hand on my face. “Well, you certainly made sure we did.”

“And of course,” he continues, pretending to examine a photo on the coffee table. “I’m hugely flattered I’ve managed to turn your head towards my kind.”

“You didn’t turn anything,” I say tartly.

He cocks a brow, gaze burning through my clothes like a laser. I feel a sharp twitch between my legs, as though he’s controlling my private areas by some invisible string. “Are you sure about that?”

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Samanthe Beck, Author of EMERGENCY ATTRACTION (Love Emergency #3) Talks About Romantic Grand Gestures

Samanthe Beck is back, and she’s quoting one of my most favoritest (that’s for you, Mom. Yep, I was an English teacher!) grand gestures EVER. Read on!

Hello, and huge THANK YOU to Becky for having me back on her blog. As usual, I have nothing helpful to say about quilts, (other than I could easily spend an entire day wrapped in one), so I’m going to stick to books.

I feel like the meet-cute has gotten a lot of attention lately, and I do loves me a good meet-cute, but I’d like to shine the spotlight on the grand gesture…the grovel…the point just before the happy-ever-after, where someone says and/or does just the right thing to win the other person’s heart. When I write, I aim to make the grand gesture the most satisfying moment in the romance. A simple goal, but trust me, it’s not always easy.  If you’re familiar with ‘80’s movies, I’ll show you what I mean.

Ever encountered a story where the grand gesture comes from the wrong character?  No matter how amazing it is, you can’t get behind it because you’re really thinking, “No fair! Why is she rushing after him, when he’s the one who acted like a jerk and pushed her away? He should be chasing after her!” You’ve seen “Pretty in Pink.” You know what I’m talking about.

Same problem if the gesture just isn’t…grand. They’re together. The right character has made the effort and put herself out there. Sort-of. Sometimes it feels like big issues just poofed away in a magical cloud of I-love-you’s, and you’re like, “Um, did she choose him over her disapproving father, or is he basically the guy she turned to now that dad’s incarcerated? “Say Anything”? Amirite?

But when the author gets everything perfect, that grand gesture will deliver all the feels before it melts your heart into a big puddle of “awwwww.” Go watch “When Harry Met Sally.” Okay, I’ll summarize. He runs into the New Year’s Eve party, kisses her senseless, and tells her he loves her. It might have been too pat. Too easy. Another example of a not grand enough gesture, but she calls him on it, and this is what happens:

***

SALLY: I’m sorry Harry, I know it’s New Year’s Eve, I know you’re feeling lonely, but you just can’t show up here, tell me you love me and expect that to make everything alright. It doesn’t work this way.

HARRY: Well how does it work?

SALLY: I don’t know but not this way.

HARRY: Well how about this way. I love that you get cold when it’s seventy one degrees out, I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts, I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Years Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.

***

Daaayum!

In my latest book, Emergency Attraction, my hero and heroine have both made mistakes with each other in the past. My hero, reformed bad-boy Shane, wants a second chance with the girl that got away, but my heroine, Sinclair, is sticking firm to her “Been there, done that, got the scars to prove it” position. She’s not up for risking her heart on him again. Shane’s in win-her-back mode for most of the story, and he’s got his work cut out for him. His grand gesture has to be BIG!

Does he pull it off? You’ll have to be the judge, but all I’m saying is he’s ready to move heaven and earth—or in Sinclair’s case, bricks and boards—to earn her heart, and he makes sure she knows it.  And if yours melts into a puddle at that scene, hey, I warned you!

Do you know where we can get a copy of EMERGENCY ATTRACTION? I hear it’s a must-read! Maybe we could ask that guy hiding over in personal growth…?

Author Bio:

Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering but extremely adorable husband and their turbo-son. Throw in a furry ninja named Kitty and Bebe the trash talking Chihuahua and you get the whole, chaotic picture.

When not dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters to happily-ever-after, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.

Website: www.samanthebeck.com
Twitter: @SamantheBeck1
Facebook: www.facebook/samanthebeckwriter/
Instagram: samanthebeck

 I reviewed EMERGENCY ATTRACTION here, in case you missed it 🙂

Synopsis:

Ten years ago when Shane Maguire chose the Marines as his escape from some trouble of his own making, he only regretted one thing—leaving Sinclair Smith behind. Despite his best intentions, she ended up as the one that got away. Now he’s back, determined to reclaim everything he gave up, including Sinclair.

Sinclair is immune to Shane’s charms. She’s immune to stolen kisses behind the gym. And she’s definitely immune to that maneuver he did in the back seat of his car… Okay, maybe her hormones are susceptible, but she has absolutely no desire to risk anything on the bad boy who broke all his promises.

When a little emergency lands her at his mercy, he offers her a deal she can’t refuse. And this time, she’ll show Shane what it means to be left wanting…

Victoria Scott, Author of the Upcoming VIOLET GRENADE, Shares the Top 5 New Releases of 2017 She Can’t Wait For!

Top 5 Upcoming 2017 Releases

While it’s so exciting that Violet Grenade is releasing next month(!!!), there are more outstanding books I’m anticipating that release this year, too. So I thought I’d share a few with you guys!

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

A cool, fun, badass sci-fi adventure? Sign me up!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I NEED at least one cute contemporary to look forward to, and I’ve heard glowing things about this one!

A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

I, like a rather large portion of the book community, need this book like I need air.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

If it’s by Leigh Bardugo, it’s sure to be fantastic — but a collection of stories in the Grisha world based off of fairytales? YES, PLEASE.

The November Girl by Lydia Kang

This book is right up my alley — it looks intense and incredible — and I need it in my hands now.

 

…And there are many more amazing books releasing this year (like If There’s No Tomorrow and The First to Know and The Glass Spare) but I’m going to hold myself to five 😉

What upcoming releases are you excited for?

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight books for young adults. Her most recent release, Titans, received two starred reviews, and Fire & Flood is a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program book. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen different countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from across the world. You can find her online at VictoriaScott.com.

Violet Grenade Info:

DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

Kieran Scott, Author of PRETTY FIERCE, Talks About Kickbutt Heroines (with a giveaway!)

I reviewed PRETTY FIERCE here, in case you missed it 🙂

One of my favorite things about writing PRETTY FIERCE was trying to figure out what Kaia would do next. I don’t consider myself to be particularly brave—except for the fact that I don’t mind public speaking which is one of those things that keeps people awake at night. But I imagine that if I were ever in a situation like Kaia is in—being pursued by bad guys, hunted down at every turn, forced to try to protect the man I loved—I’d probably end up a ball of blubbering mush in a corner. So when I was writing her, I would try to imagine the exact opposite of what I would do in a given situation, and then write that. More often than not, it ended up being the thing that I wish I would have the guts to do, but really just couldn’t imagine myself doing. And that’s what I think makes a great kick-butt heroine—someone who allows us to see the possibilities of what we could do—what we could be—if we could find that deep well of courage within ourselves.

Here is one of my favorite kick-butt heroines:

Veronica Mars – Veronica Mars:

Veronica’s best kick-butt quality was her ability to slay with her tongue. That girl could cut down a redwood tree with one well-placed and sarcastically delivered barb—no roundhouse kicking or right-hook punching necessary. She was also constantly putting herself in dangerous situations in order to help others, never much caring for her own safety—and then she’d talk her way out of them whenever she was caught. The talent Veronica had was to say the thing you wished you’d said in the moment, but only thought of an hour later. She always had it ready to go.

 

KIERAN SCOTT is the author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including the Non-Blonde Cheerleader trilogy, the He’s So/She’s So trilogy, and Geek Magnet. She also wrote the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Private and Privilege series under the pen name Kate Brian. She is a senior editor at Disney/Hyperion and resides in New Jersey with her family. Visit kieranscott.net.

 

Title: Pretty Fierce
Author: Kieran Scott
Pub Date: April 4, 2017

An action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel about a teen who, when backed into a corner, fights back, from the author of What Waits in the Woods

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger—and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she’s attacked by someone from her mother’s past and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees the small town, taking Oliver with her. Stalked at every turn, Oliver and Kaia must protect each other…or die trying.

Excerpt:

KAIA

I turned on the speed, caught up to the van, and jumped off my board. It rolled ahead and bumped to a stop at a sewer drain next to the curb.

“Oliver!” I tried the door, but it didn’t budge. I pounded on it so hard my fists stung. Oliver shouted, but I couldn’t make out the words.

“Let him go!” I screeched. “He has nothing to do with this!”

The light turned green and they were off again. I groaned, grabbed my board, and followed. As I maneuvered Sophia around an ancient manhole cover I memorized the license plate.

Illinois 851 BCG.

Illinois 851 BCG.

Illinois 851 BCG.

My breath was short, and I honestly felt as if my heart was about to overload. I couldn’t keep up this pace much longer. Up ahead, a police car idled in front of a coffee shop. As I rolled closer I could see two men in blue through the plate glass window, sucking on coffee and laughing.

Would they help me? If I got the cops involved, they’d want my ID. And while I had a fake passport on me, I couldn’t risk it being entered in some database and possibly alerting the authorities of my whereabouts. Even more importantly, if the police got Oliver, they’d send him right back to South Carolina, to Robin, to that hell. I couldn’t let that happen. Anonymity was key. We really were in this together.

I pressed as hard as I could, almost biffing on some roadkill and hopping the larger cracks in the road. At each light, I closed the distance between us, and I nearly got close enough to grab the back fender, but then the van took off and changed lanes, and I lost my advantage. Then the kidnappers hooked a left onto a residential street, and I made it across the main drag seconds before the light turned green. A motorcycle zoomed past me, so close I swore the driver’s leather jacket brushed the back of my backpack.

I turned onto the street and didn’t see the van anywhere. It must have pulled into a driveway or a garage. I gave myself ten seconds, gasping for breath as I leaned against a wrought iron fence post, then kept moving.

The street was quiet, aside from dance music playing somewhere in the distance, the repetitive thump of the bass keeping time with my pulse. I hopped off Sophia and ducked down the first driveway on foot, thinking it would be better to stay away from the glare of the streetlights. For a second I crouched next to a busted wood fence and strapped Sophia to my backpack, then cut across a backyard with unkempt grass and a stone barbecue pit at its center.

The garages on the street were all detached and sat at the end of long driveways near the back corner of each property. I paused and took out my Beretta. The steel felt cool against my palm, and I prayed no one would give me a reason to use it. But I would if I had to. I would for Oliver.

At the next house, I peeked inside the foggy garage window and saw nothing but piles of boxes.

The dance music was getting louder. The next garage housed a small car covered by a brown tarp. The third was another mess of storage. At the fourth house, I was close enough to the music to hear the laughter and raised voices that went along with it. I had to scale a fence to get to this garage and when I came down on the other side, I nearly slammed my head against a pile of old kegs. The scent of stale beer hung in the air, and there were cigarette butts everywhere. Lovely.

I brushed myself off and righted my backpack. Cars packed the driveway, and the house was entirely lit up. Two girls hung out on the back porch, smoking and sipping from red cups. Over their heads, propped up on the porch roof, were three illuminated letters. BBΓ. And at the very edge of the driveway, hanging over onto the sidewalk, was a big, white, van.

What the hell?

A chorus of cheers went up inside the house. My eyes narrowed as I shoved my short, sweaty hair behind my ears. Suddenly, I wasn’t in such a huge rush. I pushed the gun into the back waistband of my jeans and made sure my jacket covered it.

Stepping out of the shadows, I cut across the lawn and walked up the steps to the rear porch where the two girls sat. They eyed me as I strode past and opened the back door.

“Ladies,” I said.

One of them scoffed, but neither made a move to stop me. Inside, I found myself in a huge, brightly lit, mostly white kitchen packed with dozens upon dozens of miniskirt-sporting, overly made-up girls with straightened hair. The dance music was deafening. Everyone was drinking, laughing, shrieking. And in the center of it all was my boyfriend, shirtless, leaning his head back while two buxom babes poured alcohol from two bottles directly down his throat.

“Um, Oliver?” I said.

He brought his chin down too fast and spit brown liquid everywhere. A few drops even landed on my cheek.

“Ew!” the girls chorused.

Oliver wiped the back of his hand across his lips and widened his eyes at me. “They made me do it!”

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iTunes | Indiebound

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A Few Words from Jeff Strand, Author of STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED (with a giveaway!)

Hello. I’m author Jeff Strand. If you tolerated A Bad Day For Voodoo, were ambivalent toward I Have a Bad Feeling About This, and had little or no opinion regarding The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, I’m pleased to announced that you’ll be equally unenthused about my latest YA novel, Stranger Things Have Happened.

It’s an extremely silly comedy about 15-year-old Marcus Millian III, who aspires to be a legendary magician like his great-grandfather, Zachary the Stupendous. The problem (well, the first problem of many) is that he suffers from paralyzing stage fright. That’s a bit of an issue when you want to be a stage magician.

Some stuff happens, and Marcus finds himself part of a bet between Grandpa Zachary and his arch-nemesis Bernard. Marcus has to invent and perform a ridiculously amazing illusion that will astound the audience at Bernard’s theater. Yeah, this is going to be a challenge, but at least he’s got Grandpa Zachary to help him. Until Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.

So now Marcus is on his own. Well, not entirely. He’s got his neighbor (and secret crush) Kimberly to help out, along with the very socially awkward and heavily bullied new kid, Peter, who has…secrets. Together they will work to create the ultimate illusion, one that may or may not involve making a shark disappear from a tank in front of a live audience.

Also, there’s a really evil guy named Sinister Seamus. Watch out for him.

Readers who are into magic (of the Penn & Teller variety, not Harry Potter) should enjoy this book because that’s kind of what the whole thing is about. Readers who are into books that are filled with silly (some might even say stupid) jokes should also enjoy it. It’s also about overcoming obstacles and following your dreams, if that’s the angle you want to play.


JEFF STRAND lives in Tampa, Florida. He is the author of A Bad Day for Voodoo, I Have a Bad Feeling About This, and The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. Explore his website at jeffstrand.com.

 

Title: Stranger Things Have Happened
Author: Jeff Strand
Pub Date: April 4, 2017

 

You can’t always believe what you see in this hilarious coming of age novel from the author of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever and I Have a Bad Feeling About This

Harry Houdini. Penn and Teller. David Copperfield. Marcus Millian the Third.

Okay, so Marcus isn’t a famous magician. He may not even be a great magician. But his great-grandfather, the once-legendary and long-retired Zachary the Stupendous, insists Marcus has true talent. And when Grandpa Zachary boasts that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish, Marcus wishes he could make himself disappear.

The problem? Marcus also has stage fright—in spades. It’s one thing to perform elaborate card tricks in front of his best friend, Kimberly, but it’s an entirely different feat to perform in front of an audience.

Then Grandpa Zachary dies in his sleep.

To uphold his great-grandfather’s honor, the show must go on. It would take a true sorcerer to pull off the trick Marcus has planned. But maybe he’s the next best thing…

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iTunes  | Indiebound

 

Excerpt:

“What is this slop?” asked Grandpa Zachary.

“Shhhh,” Mom hushed.

“Marcus, do your magic. Turn this food into something edible—wait. No magician has that much talent.”

Marcus was with his family at a fund-raiser potluck for a local animal shelter. Since his retirement, Grandpa Zachary had focused his attention on raising money for charitable causes, although he had trouble sticking with any particular cause for very long. Last month he’d been saving the red-tailed hawk, which he later discovered was nowhere close to being an endangered species.

“I wouldn’t feed this slop to the dogs we’re trying to help,” said Grandpa Zachary.

“Shhhh,” Mom repeated.

“I’m speaking at a very low volume. The people who brought this vile gunk won’t hear.”

There were about fifty people in the park. Admission was five dollars. Plus you were supposed to bring your own dish of food to share. Grandpa Zachary didn’t gener­ate a lot of money for his causes, but he did give most of his free time.

Grandpa Zachary dipped a pretzel stick into the trans­lucent goo and popped it into his mouth. “Actually, that’s infinitely better than it looks. I withdraw my criticism.” He snapped off the end of his pretzel so he wouldn’t be accused of double dipping. (Grandpa Zachary hated double dippers.) Then he plunged the pretzel into the sludge again. “Marcus Three, do me a favor. Find me a paper bowl so we can take this home with us. It’s delicious.”

Marcus went off in search of a bowl, grabbing an oatmeal raisin cookie along the way. The band, which had arrived half an hour late, was finally set up and ready to perform. The lead singer was wearing sweatpants, a white hat, and nothing else. He had dark circles under his eyes and looked like his latest shower was a distant memory.

“Good evening, everybody,” the singer said into the micro­phone. He held onto the stand as if to keep himself upright. “We’re Banjo Dan and the Wham Zaps. We’ve been drinking since nine-thirty this morning. Enjoy the show.”

He plucked a few strings on his instrument, which Marcus was pretty sure was a ukulele and not a banjo.

“This is a benefit for an animal shelter, right? So here’s a little song we wrote called ‘Your Wife Is Uglier than a Dog’.”

“Nope, nope, nope, we won’t be hearing that,” said Grandpa Zachary, hurrying up to the stage. For an eighty-nine-year-old, the man could move.

Still, he wasn’t fast enough to get there before Banjo Dan passed out. The other two members of the band just stood there, staring awkwardly at their fallen leader.

“What other songs do you know?” Grandpa Zachary asked them.

“Uhhhh…we actually just stand here and pretend to play.”

“Begone!” cried Grandpa Zachary. “Take your snookered friend with you. Shame, shame, shame!”

The Wham Zaps dragged Banjo Dan away.

Grandpa Zachary picked up the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for that crass spectacle. What a disgrace.” He shook his head and started to scan the audience. “But the show will go on. Let us amuse you with a different act.”

Marcus suddenly felt sick to his stomach. He began to sweat. It was hard to breathe. His feet hurt, even though he couldn’t explain why.

Grandpa Zachary’s gaze fell on him, and Marcus started to tremble. He loved to perform tricks for Kimberly. Loved to perform tricks for his great-grandfather. Loved to perform tricks for his parents. But he was terrified of performing in front of an audience. He’d never done it before.

It was a fear he knew he’d have to overcome to pursue his dream of being a famous magician, but he sure wasn’t over it yet.

Grandpa Zachary cleared his throat. “Ladies and gentle­men, please put your hands together in a warm welcome for Marcus!”

 

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5 Things You Don’t Know About Meredith Molloney of Aileen Erin’s SHATTERED PACK (Alpha Girls #6–with a giveaway!)

5 Things You Don’t Know About Meredith

  1. Meredith is a member of the American Wayfarer Pack.

The world is divided up among packs, but Meredith’s is different, mostly made up of Cazadores. When big bads start acting up—vampires, feys gone murderous, leprechauns running amuck—they fly in to save the day. That’s why Meredith is a super awesome fighter. She was trained by her herd of brothers—not to mention the rest of her pack—since she could walk.

 

  1. Meredith’s pack was against her going to St. Ailbe’s Academy.

Annoying as it is, women in the packs don’t have a ton of independence. Especially in the Wayfarer pack. (Don’t worry. Tessa and Meredith are going to change all that. 😉 ) There are only a few women in the Wayfarer Pack. Meredith, her mother, and her nanny Ciara. Which is why Meredith wanted to get out so badly. But the Cazadores wanted to protect her. How could they do that if she wasn’t with them? And don’t get them started about Luciana cursing her… That would never have happened with them watching over her. But even with all the craziness, Meredith was glad she left. She made some amazing friends, learned a lot about other supernaturals, and most importantly, she never would have met Donovan if she hadn’t been at St. Ailbe’s. Who could regret that?

 

  1. Meredith’s nanny, Ciara, is more like her mom than her bio mom.

Meredith and her mother have never seen eye to eye. So, when Ciara sought refuge with the Wayfarers from the Irish Pack, Meredith clung to her. Now that Meredith is going to be joining Donovan’s notoriously cliquish Irish Pack, she’s going to need Ciara more than ever.

 

  1. For a while, Meredith thought about leaving the packs behind, going to a human college, and getting a job.

Sure, she was cursed to stay in her human for during that time. Since she couldn’t shift, she was basically human anyhow! Why not give it a shot? Seemed like a real chance at freedom from her overpowering pack. And when everything is going crazy, she still things about it. If she were human, what would she be doing? It’s nice to dream.

 

  1. Meredith is obsessed with reality TV.

Having never been integrated with humans, she finds it unendingly fascinating. Especially Finding Bigfoot. But really, she’ll watch any of it. She also thinks the fact that E! cancelled The Soup to be one of the biggest tragedies of her lifetime so far. When she’s busy at school, she can’t keep up with it all. The Soup was her way to keep up to date with human pop culture in 30 minutes. If anyone can fix this crime against society, she’d been in their debt. And having a Were like Meredith on your side is a very good thing. So, any takers?

Shattered Pack
(Alpha Girl #6)
by Aileen Erin
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Ink Monster Books

Summary:

Meredith Molloney never thought she’d find a mate, let alone someone like Donovan Murry—one of the most powerful Alphas alive. Now that she’s no longer cursed and the evil Luciana Alvarez has been taken care of, she thinks life will finally settle down. Boy, has she never been so wrong.

In the middle of the night, Donovan gets a call telling him that his pack has gone to pieces. The news that his second in command has been found brutally murdered has Donovan packing his bags for Ireland, but the last thing Meredith wants to do is leave Texas. She’s heard about how the Celtic Pack are with outsiders. And Donovan has more than a few exes in the pack that will be less than friendly.

Meredith’s never let a few angry wolves stop her, and she’s not about to start now. She’s faced down much worse the past few months. But when she gets there, she finds that it’s not just a few exes who stand in the way between her and her Full Moon Ceremony with Donovan.

Meredith is thrust in to a deadly game of pack politics, one the fey have happily joined in on. When the dust settles, she knows she’ll either have everything that she wants or lose it all.

Add to Goodreads

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Becoming Alpha (Alpha Girl #1) on Goodreads

Avoiding Alpha (Alpha Girl #2) on Goodreads

Alpha Divided (Alpha Girl #3) on Goodreads

Bruja (Alpha Girl #4) on Goodreads

Alpha Unleashed (Alpha Girl #5) on Goodreads

Enter the giveaway here!

A Little Known Fact (and Giveaway!) About HER TRUE MATCH Paige Tyler (X-OPS #6)

A Little Known Fact from Her True Match . . .

The DCO wants Dreya to work for them, using her unique abilities to help people instead of stealing from them. She’s not so sure about that idea. She’s spent most of her adult life hiding her secret and looking out for number one. She has no interest in being someone’s superhero. But working with Braden is starting to look better and better by the day. The DCO brings him into the fold when they decide it would be good to have a person who understands how Dreya thinks. Braden goes along with the plan. Yeah, he wants to make sure she doesn’t get away from him again, but he also has the craziest urge to keep an eye on her for a whole other reason—to keep her safe. He has no idea where that urge comes from, but maybe Dreya is growing on him?

Title: Her True Match
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: X-Ops, #6
ISBN: 9781492625926
Pubdate: March 7, 2017
Genre: Paranormal

FORCED TOGETHER

When feline shifter Dreya Clark is escorted from the police interrogation by two secret agents, she thinks she’s dodged a bullet. That sexy detective Braden Hayes caught her stealing red-handed. When she finds out what she has to do to stay out of jail, suddenly she’s missing the hot cop with the piercing gaze. She’s being recruited for her shifter abilities by the Department of Covert Operations.

WILL DANGER RIP THEM APART?

Braden has been chasing the smart-mouthed cat burglar for years. But when Dreya’s taken away, he knows their game of cat and mouse has turned deadly-serious. There’s no way he’ll let her go off alone. Fur flies and temperatures flare as Braden realizes Dreya is much more than she appears. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, this unlikely pair will have to rely on each other to make it out alive.

 

Excerpt:

“How do you know I wasn’t testing the security system?” Dreya asked, her lips curving into a coy smile.

Braden sat across from the beautiful thief in one of the burglary section’s interrogation rooms, working hard to keep from smiling back at her. Even though he knew her record backward and forward, he was still having a hell of a time maintaining a professional detachment. He was good in the interrogation room, but Dreya was better. She charmed, she flirted, and she controlled where she wanted the conversation to go. Braden had already been forced to toss Mick out of the room. His partner had come damn close to asking their suspect out on a date, even though she was sitting at the table wearing a pair of handcuffs.

Though Braden had to admit she made the cuffs look good. Even now, she was sitting at the table with her long, blond hair cascading around her shoulders, talking animatedly with her hands as if the heavy stainless steel cuffs were a fashion accessory. He wasn’t even sure when she’d gotten her hair out of the braid it had been in before, but he had the crazy urge to run his fingers through it. He resisted—barely. Dreya had been saying since they’d brought her in that this was all a big misunderstanding and that she could straighten this out if she could talk privately with the owner of the art piece they seemed to think she’d stolen. Like that was going to happen. Something told Braden that putting her in the same room with some rich playboy would be an incredibly bad idea. All she had to do was bat those hazel-green eyes at him a few times and tousle her hair with her fingers, and the guy would agree with anything she said. Hell, the guy would probably give her the silly blue balloon dog thing sitting on the table between them as a gift.

“If we’re going to talk about security systems, Dreya, let’s start with how you managed to climb the wall of that apartment on the south side of M Street. Because I gotta tell you, that was damn impressive.”

He expected her to deny it had been her—or beam with pride at the compliment—but her eyes widened in shock. For the first time that night, there was fear on her face.

“You saw that?” She darted a nervous glance at the one-way glass mirror to her left, the one Mick was standing behind.

He nodded. “Sure did. In fact, we have it all on video. The climb, the walk across the cable, the jump you made to the balcony.”

On the other side of the table, her face went pale. Shit, was she starting to hyperventilate?

“How many people have seen the video?” she demanded.

Braden frowned. Why the hell was a second-story thief worried about how many cops had seen her display her talents? That made no sense.

“Just my partner and me,” he assured her. “But while the video is amazing, it doesn’t explain how you were able to scale that wall. Were you using something on your hands to get a grip? I searched your bag but didn’t find anything.”

Dreya swallowed hard. In all of the previous occasions he’d questioned her, she’d been confident and posed, but suddenly it was like she’d been hit by lightning. She seemed off balance…lost.

“You can’t let anyone else see the video,” she said.

He shrugged. “That’s not really up to me.”

She stared at her cuffed wrists, her shoulders slumping in a defeat he hadn’t seen coming. “What if I confess?”

She said it so softly he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly. “What?”

Dreya lifted her head to look at him, that usual glimmer missing from her eyes now. “If I confess right now, will you destroy the video?”

Braden hoped to hell his mouth wasn’t hanging open. Being interrogated by the cops could make people say strange stuff, but Dreya had to know that even with the evidence they had on her, a woman with her background and clean record could likely get a case like this whittled down from the standard five to seven to less than two years. Why would she agree to a written confession? What the hell was on that video she was so terrified of letting anyone see?

He knew he needed to be careful, but right then it was hard to think of Dreya as the hardened criminal he’d always believed. He was smart enough to know she wasn’t a saint, but there was something going on here. She was so terrified she was on the verge of tears.

The sudden aura of vulnerability had his heart beating hard and fast. The urge to protect her from whatever was freaking her out was impossible to ignore. Part of the reason he’d become a cop was to help people in trouble, and Dreya definitely seemed to be in trouble.

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About the author:

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

Social Networking Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter: @PaigeTyler
Goodreads

 

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