New Release Review and Giveaway! VIABLE THREAT by Julie Rowe (Outbreak Task Force #1)

About the Book:

Special Forces soldier and medic Walter River would give anything to snatch more than a few seconds of down time to see if he can rattle the no-nonsense and incredibly hot Dr. Lloyd he’s protecting, but dodging explosions, snipers, and student radicals who’ve unleashed a lethal bio-engineered microorganism have made that almost impossible. Maybe he’ll get a chance—if he can figure out how to keep them both alive.

CDC microbiologist Ava Lloyd races to find a cure for a bio-terrorism organism sweeping El Paso. The few stolen moments with her very hunky bodyguard River have been explosive, but no matter how alluring he is, she can’t afford to get distracted. The clock is ticking, people are dying by the hundreds, and once this crisis is solved, they’ll both be off on their next assignment, thousands of miles apart.

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Excerpt:

She rested her head against the back of the seat and gave him a strange sort of sad smile. “You know what I’d like to do right now?”

He grunted and wagged his index finger. “That is a trick question.”

She laughed. “Yeah, I guess it is.”

He liked seeing the smile on her face. He liked seeing her face, period. “Tell me, Mouse, what would you like to do right now?”

She waved him closer, and he leaned toward her. She did it again, then put a hand on his shoulder and pulled herself up so she could whisper in his ear, “I’d like to take that respirator off you and kiss you, silly.”

She let go of him and resumed her previous position on the seat. He sat perfectly still. It took just about everything in him to not rip the mask off and grant her wish.

“I’m sorry,” she said, with as close to soundless as a voice could get. “I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”

He looked at her and realized she thought he was embarrassed or some shit like that.

“I’m uncomfortable,” he murmured. “Because I’ve had a damned hard-on since I bandaged you up.” Her pupils widened, and her mouth dropped open. “When this is over, you can kiss any part of me you want for as long as you like, just as long as I can return the favor.”

“Oh,” she breathed out. When her tongue licked over her lips, he had to chain his hands to his sides to keep from grabbing her.

Though a blush heated her cheeks, tears filled her eyes until they spilled over and tracked down her face. “Chances are, that’s just a dream.”

It just about killed him to see her so sad. “Hey.” He couldn’t keep the growl out of his voice. “No Negative Nancys allowed on this trip.”

“I’ve got a headache, River. A fever can’t be far behind.”

“That happy bastard Henry is going to come up with some kind of magic potion that will kick this bug’s ass.”

“If that were possible, we’d know.”

“We’ve been so busy blowing shit up, we might not have been told.”

She slanted a disbelieving glance at him. “You just spoke with our boss. I think she would have mentioned any magic potions, if they’d been available.”

He ran his hands through his hair. “Could you work with me, Mouse? We’ve got a mass murderer to catch, and I need you ready and able to help reel in the son-of-a-bitch.”

“Ah, I see what you’re doing. Trying to put me in a good mood.”

“Jesus fuck, woman, you think I’d tell you how much I want you just to put you in a good mood?” He leaned down, grabbing the top of the seat on either side of her head. “Do I look like a motivational speaker?”

She studied him, her gaze flicking across his face and uniform. Covered in dirt, debris, and blood, he looked like a walking nightmare. “You look like a soldier on a mission.”

“That’s true, but not all of it.” He whispered, “I’ve got another mission. A personal one. You.”

Review:
Whoa–open up this book and hold on tight, because it’ll take you on one heck of a ride!

Seriously, Viable Threat is pretty much a disaster movie in book form–non-stop action. And the back-and-forth between Ava and River really added to the action-movie feel–their relationship was a whole lot of fun.

“Any idiot can go through life without making enemies,” River said cheerfully. “Congratulations. It takes character and intelligence to make people want to kill you.”

Truer words were never spoken, unless you count these:

“Just because a girl has an ugly cry doesn’t mean she isn’t busy plotting to kill you. In fact, if you’re the cause of the ugky cry, she probably is plotting to kill you.”

Okay, so that last one wasn’t actually directed at River, but at several points in the book, it certainly could have been!

I had so much fun reading this book–the characters, the non-stop action, the fact that I absolutely did not know who was behind it all until the characters figured it out–all good things. I can’t wait to see what the next book in the series brings!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Meet the Author:

Full-time author, freelance writer and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s debut novel, Icebound, was released by Carina Press on Nov 14, 2011. Ten novels and eight anthologies have followed. Her most recent titles are the MEN OF ACTION boxed set and VIRAL JUSTICE book #3 of the Biological Response Team series. Julie’s articles and short stories have appeared in numerous magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living. Julie facilitates business writing and communication workshops at Keyano College in her home city, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. She’s also a strong supporter of life long learning and moderates a free announcement loop for the promotion of online classes, workshops and webinars

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Giveaway:

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New Release Review and Giveaway! ROGUE by Brynley Blake (Phoenix Rising #1)

Today we have the blog tour for Rogue by Brynley Blake! Check out this fantastic new contemporary romance and grab your copy today!

About Rogue:

Reeling from the death of her daring Navy SEAL brother, reserved McKenzie Prescott decides to honor him in the only way she can think of–by finishing his bucket list. Suddenly, she’s doing things she’s never dreamed of–like jumping off waterfalls…and inviting the intoxicating stranger she meets in Las Vegas to help her with some of the more racy items on the list…

Noah Payne used to be a Navy SEAL…until his job cost him his family. Now he wants revenge, and he’s not above playing dirty to get it. His current mission—to find a missing shipment of guns—is the last piece of the puzzle. But his only lead is Liam Prescott’s bucket list. Noah figures that by getting close to Liam’s sister, McKenzie, he’ll soon get his hands on the list. Only keeping his hands off a suddenly sexy McKenzie is turning out to be the real challenge!


Grab your copy TODAY!
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Review:

Looking for a hot, steamy romance? Look no further–because Rogue‘s got hot steaminess in spades, with an undercurrent of romantic suspense. Don’t look too closely into the story’s details, though–the romance is a bit instalove, and the suspense brings up more questions than it answers. Still, it’s a quick read, and the underlying story is going to continue into the second book in the series, so if you’re planning on reading that one, you really should start with Rogue first.

Rating: 3 stars / C

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About Brynley Blake:

A lifelong reader with a taste for adventure, Brynley Blake writes the writes the kind of books she likes to read: steamy contemporary romances featuring smart, sassy heroines with a sense of humor and strong, dominant alpha males who love their women a little feisty. She lives in Texas with her family and an assortment of pets, and loves rainy days, hot coffee, cold beer, red wine, traveling, and spending time with her family. She writes contemporary and erotic romance as Brynley Blake and Brynley Bush.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! CASK STRENGTH by Layla Reyne (Irish & Whiskey #2)

Title: CASK STRENGTH
Author: Layla Reyne
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: Agents Irish & Whiskey
Genres: M/M Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 61,000
Format: Digital
ISBN: 9781488024399

 

Synopsis:

The heart’s a resilient beast…

Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.

Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.

As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.

Find out more at: Carina Press | Amazon | Google Play | Kobo | iTunes | B&N | Goodreads

Excerpt:

“I know our schedule’s fucked, but that face of yours is awfully grim.”

Startling at the full-blast Irish accent, Jamie’s head shot up and the phone slipped from his fingers, clattering to the ground. Pick it up, some instinct ordered, but he was too busy losing the rest of his fucking mind. The veneer of calm shattered and any hope of patience took a flying leap out the window.

Because standing in front of him was his stylishly dressed partner, a messenger bag over one shoulder, a coat tossed over the other, and silver-rimmed aviators nestled in waves of auburn hair. More times than he could count, Jamie had imagined Aidan with his natural hair color, and damn if the reality didn’t surpass each and every one of his fantasies.

Mouth dry, heart racing, cheeks burning, Jamie’s fingers twitched with the urge to weave through the long red strands. Reaching down instead, he grabbed his phone, held it between his palms, and wedged his clasped hands between his knees, forestalling his impulse. He tried to force out a “hello,” but his brain refused to cooperate, all the blood in his body having raced south where his jeans became painfully tight.

Fuck.

He was gone. So far gone. Past casual, past a crush, past simple attraction.

This was Aidan, sans disguises, and Jamie wanted him more than he’d ever wanted anything.

“Is it that bad a dye job?” Aidan asked, interrupting his mental breakdown.

“Ai—” he started, only to be corrected with a brogue-laced, “Ian.”

Jamie blinked, reminded that this was a disguise. It sure as hell didn’t feel like one. “I wasn’t expecting this.” His eyes raked over Aidan again, taking it all in. Dressed in jeans and a navy V-neck sweater, the dark blues set off his pale skin, the freckles, his autumn eyes, that hair…

“Fuck,” he muttered out loud.

Aidan shifted on his feet in front of him. “I said I was making a few more changes.”

“Yeah, but this—” he spread his arms wide, the motion totally inadequate “—is more than a fucking few.”

Their gazes locked, heat sparking. “Problem, Jamie?” Aidan’s eyes flickered down to the very obvious problem.

“You gotta stop that.”

He dropped his messenger bag and shrugged the coat off his shoulder. “Stop what?”

“Saying my name in that accent.”

“Mr. Walker, then,” he said with a smirk.

Way too smooth.

Jamie propped his elbows on this knees and covered his face with his hands. “God no,” he groaned. “Not that either.”

Aidan laughed as the buzzer went off on the conveyor behind them.

Leather smacked the backs of Jamie’s hands, and he snagged Aidan’s coat before it hit the ground.

Leather?

“Cover that up,” Aidan said, eyeing his crotch. “And get yourself together. Debrief in the car.” Turning, he headed for the spinning luggage carousel, giving Jamie a prime view of his sinfully fitted jeans.

Get himself together…

Yeah, right.

Copyright © 2017 Layla Reyne

Review:

I enjoyed the suspense of Cask Strength–definitely had me on the edge of my seat, especially for the last 20% or so–couldn’t put it down! Though Irish and Whiskey are mainly dealing with their new undercover case here, a major plot thread from book one ( Single Malt ) is also still a pretty big deal (and continues to be into the next book) so if you haven’t read the first book, you’re definitely going to be behind. I liked both Jamie (Whiskey) and Aidan (Irish) a lot and loved them together, though Aidan’s behavior for much of the book was pretty frustrating. It was more understandable when we saw things from his POV, but still…hopefully they’ll manage to stay in the place they are at the end of this book and not make a backward slide relationship-wise like they did between 1 and 2.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other books in the Agents Irish & Whiskey series:

 

SINGLE MALT

Available Now: Carina Press | Amazon | Google Play | Kobo | iTunes | B&N| Goodreads

“Sexy, smart and suspenseful – this book has it all.”—HelenKay Dimon, author of MR. & MR. SMITH

 

“SINGLE MALT is full of explosive chemistry, captivating characters, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. A must read for any romantic suspense fan!”—Megan Erickson, USA Today Bestselling Author

 

BARREL PROOF

On Sale August 7, 2017: Carina Press | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play | Goodreads

 

About Layla Reyne:

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Connect with Layla: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

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New Release Review! BREAKING FREE by Adirenne Giordano (Steele Ridge #5)

Breaking Free
by Adrienne Giordano

Synopsis:

As the black sheep of the Steele brood, Micki Steele craves one thing: the love of her family. Working as a hacker for a ruthless fixer, Micki has done things she’ll never be proud of. When she flees Vegas and returns to her hometown, she brings along her boss’s secrets and plenty of danger. At least until he arrives in Steele Ridge, intent on hauling her back to Vegas—or burying her in North Carolina.

Former Green Beret and family friend Gage Barber has been Mr. Fix-It his entire life, but now a war wound leaves him struggling with simple tasks. And when the mysterious and sexy Micki shows up and pulls him into the middle of her family drama, his loyalty to the Steele family is tested. Although he’s sworn off his need to play hero, his undeniable attraction to Micki leaves him with only one option—convincing her to break free of her ruthless boss.

Torn over protecting the man she’s falling in love with and her yearning for a normal life, Micki must choose between staying trapped in Vegas or a life of freedom in Steele Ridge. Even if breaking free leads straight to heartbreak…and prison.

Review:

I am loving this series!

Ms. Giordano had me at “Captain America”–I did have to keep pausing to picture Chris Evans while I read about Gabe, but it was totally worth it. 😉

Micki’s (the first Steele sister to get her own HEA–but not the last, surely? *cough* Evie *cough* Subtle. Hint) story was a real page turner. Needing to know how in the world Micki managed to get involved in the job she did and how she’d get herself extricated from that nightmare without her or anyone she loved getting hurt had me on the edge of my seat. (Schoolwork? What schoolwork? ;))

Gabe (did I mention Captain America? Yes? ;)) is a fantastic hero–he sees Micki in a way her brothers don’t–can’t, really–and OMG are these two ever amazing together. I loved his voice here just as much as I did Micki’s, and really look forward to seeing more of him in the other series books.

Though this is the fifth book in the series, Micki’s been gone for the others, and so this one would work fine as a standalone. Fair warning, though–you see exactly enough of all four of her brothers here to ensure that you absolutely need to read their stories too!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


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Review:

 

 

New Release and Giveaway! UNSTOPPABLE by Cindy Skaggs (Untouchables #3)


UNSTOPPABLE
by Cindy Skaggs
Untouchables, #3
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Ignite, Romantic Suspense

SYNOPSIS:

Bad boy Mick Donovan has dedicated his life to avenging his brother’s death, even aligning himself with an FBI Task Force to achieve his ends. Which leads him to the mess he’s in now–undercover as the husband of the woman he’s been fantasizing about, despite knowing how off-limits she is, to protect an innocent child.

After an ambush, Destiny Harper is on the run and out of places to hide from a ruthless drug lord hellbent on claiming his son. Charged with protecting the boy, Dez lands in the mountains on a collision course with Mick, a blizzard, and a past she’d rather forget. But even as the close quarters ignites the passion between her and the sexy biker, she knows there’s no future with him. Mick will sacrifice everything for revenge—even her.

 

BUY:

Excerpt:

Mick released her wrists to settle his large hands at her waist. “Put your hands on me, Destiny. I’ve dreamed about it long enough.”

Nerves fluttered through her chest like hummingbird wings. Had he really dreamed of this? Of them? Knowing he wanted her—had fantasized about her—grabbed her by the throat. She tilted her head to look him in the eye. His eyes were varying shades of amber, like a polished piece of tiger’s eye. Hard, like the stone, but with hidden pockets of dark and light. How had she never noticed before? How had he never drawn her in with the mesmerizing depth? The pupils were enlarged with desire and his lids dropped low. He licked his lips and her body clenched in response.

Screw it. Sometimes on a mission you had to improvise.

Decision made, she made the first tentative swipe across velvet skin. Muscle bunched and twitched beneath her fingertips. The Celtic sleeve wrapped around his shoulder and swooped down to circle one side of his massive chest. The dark ink lifted the skin slightly like reading braille. Dez paused, rubbed her thumb over the dips and ridges. It was exactly like reading braille. Mick’s emotions were literally on his sleeve, penetrating his skin like an ancient text. The man didn’t talk much, but his body art spoke for him. He had untapped depths which drew her as much as the muscles and the ink.

His body was every girl’s wet dream, but his heart was raw emotion. The tattoo was intricate, symbolic, showing anyone who dared to look close enough the soul of this interesting, complex man. She trailed her hands down his sides; let her thumbs smooth across his abs. They jumped beneath her caress, feeding a compulsion she couldn’t deny. Her hands weren’t enough. She wanted to climb inside his skin; wanted him under her skin, inside her in every way she could take him.

Drawn, she leaned close and pressed her lips to the tattoo that knotted over his heart. The heavy beat of his pulse thumped under his skin, against her lips, jumping to a faster tune as she tasted and explored. His hands skated under her sweater to brush bare skin. The touch was light, a contrast to such a hard, rough man. The caress moved up her sides, down her spine, to repeat, each sweep grazing closer to her breasts, building want like a hunger inside her. Her tongue grew more demanding against his flesh, until she nipped the skin and his muscles jerked in response.

It was heady stuff for such a strong man to quiver at her touch. Intoxicated by the power, she grew bolder; clamped her lips around his nipple and pulled. He sucked in a breath and yanked her close so his erection flexed against her stomach. In a swift move, he yanked the sweater over her head, had her bra off before she’d registered the cool air against her back.

ABOUT CINDY SKAGGS:

Most of those stories were even true. She has ten siblings, some of whom are older than her mother, has nieces and nephews older than her, and once went to a horse auction with John Wayne. Well, with him in the sense that he was there, and she was also… there. She was the munchkin in line for his autograph with tangled hair and bruised knees that liked to dance on her daddy’s dusty cowboy boots and listen to his tall tales.

With her love of storytelling and heroes, it’s no wonder she turned to books and stories after her father died. She skipped most of the eighth grade to bury herself in books while hidden in her closet, because she was still looking for the perfect story and the last honest man. Her search took her around the world with the Air Force as well as around the world with her education. She’s visited more countries than she can remember, nearly every state in the U.S., and has more degrees than the Tin Man.

As a single mom, she’s still gambling, betting on herself for the first time in her life, turning her lifelong love of storytelling into the one thing she can’t live without: writing. She writes 10,000 words a week in cafes and coffee shops, and some of those 10,000 words are even worth reading. She has an MA in Creative Writing, is working towards her Master of Fine Arts, and has three jobs, two kids, a Pushcart Nomination, more pets than she can possibly handle, and more works in progress than the crew filling potholes after a long Colorado winter.

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New Release Review! PRETTY FIERCE by Kieran Scott

Kieran Scott stopped by earlier this weekend to chat about kickbutt heroines. Check out her post here. (Plus, there’s a giveaway!)


Pretty Fierce

by Kieran Scott

Synopsis:

Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows true 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 or more special than her boyfriend, Oliver.

But when she’s jumped by a hit man, 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. With professional killers stalking their every move, can Oliver and Kaia protect each other long enough to uncover the mysteries of her past?

 

Review:

A non-stop, rollercoaster ride of a read! Pretty Fierce was a lot of fun, if not 100% realistic and believable at all times 🙂 Still, Kaia and Oliver were easy to root for, and needing to see them through to the last page–they’d get an HEA, surely?–kept me reading this one until late in the night. Who was after them? Why? What had happened to Kaia’s parents, and was her relationship with Oliver just too good to be true?

Thank goodness this was a standalone, because if I had had to finish this one not knowing stuff, it wouldn’t have been pretty 😉

This was my first book from Ms. Scott, but probably not my last!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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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!”

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New Release and Giveaway! HIS LAST DEFENSE by Karen Rock (Uniformly HOT!)

Semper Paratus. Always ready.  

Describe yourself in five words or less.

Romantic dreamer and complete dork.

 

Can you tell us a little about your book?

This is a high-stakes, action-packed second-chance romance that takes place on Alaska’s most deadly waters: The Bering Sea. Nolee Arnauyq is a crab fishing boat captain who’s determined to make her own way in a man’s world after growing up dependent on others’ charity. She doesn’t want to be rescued, least of all by the ex that broke her heart, USCG rescue swimmer Dylan Holt who plucks her from her sinking vessel after he’s been assigned back to his old hometown in Alaska. Out on the most dangerous waters in the world, where a tumble overboard will stop your heart in five seconds, Dylan’s greatest worry is his returning feelings for Nolee, a woman who’s never left his heart or thoughts, no matter how far he’s traveled for his coast guard work. He plans to transfer stateside as soon as possible, and leave the stifling hometown that holds bad memories, but Nolee’s proving to be one sizzling temptation his body, and heart, can’t resist.

 

How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

I’m addicted to Discovery Channel’s hit show THE DEADLIEST CATCH! I knew I wanted to set a book in this extreme setting but needed the right, high-octane story. When I saw an episode where a USCG Air and Sea Rescue team rescues a crab fishing crew from a sinking vessel, I imagined the ultimate sexy alpha hero- a fearless rescue swimmer daring and determined enough to fling himself into most dangerous waters in the world to save others. Of course, then I needed a heroine strong enough to go toe-to-toe with such a tough guy and who better than a headstrong, fearless crab fishing boat captain whose staked her claim in this testosterone-charged world. I wanted them to be second-chance lovers with lots to lose by risking their hearts with each other again. Putting them on a boat together in a life-and-death adventure, where they can’t resist their sizzling chemistry, made this one of my favorite sexy romances to write of all time.

 

What gave you the most trouble with this story?

My biggest challenge was the painstaking research I undertook to ensure that I created an authentic experience for the readers in the unique world of crab fishing on Alaska’s Bering Sea. In addition to watching lots of THE DEADLIEST CATCH episodes and videos of USCG Air and Sea rescues, I fact checked with USCG Commander Bill Friday, a Jayhawk pilot who was stationed for several years in Kodiak, Alaska and one of THE DEADLIEST CATCH’S captain’s THE TIME BANDIT’S Jonathan Hillstrand. He provided the kind of insider details that helped me convey an unforgettably sexy romance set on treacherous waters.

 

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

My cell phone! I’d feel lost if I couldn’t connect to my family and friends via social media, email and texts. The downside is that it’s also next to me as I write and even though I mute it, and turn it upside down, I still find myself checking it way too much.

 

Name three things on your desk right now.

Since my “desk” is really an easy chair where I write with my laptop, the following three things are on it: a can of lemon-flavored seltzer water wedged between me and the arm rest, Post-It notes stuck to the edges of my laptop reminding me of appointments, changes to make to my MS, reminders for contests and grocery lists, and my puppy, Zoey, who takes her job as “author assistant” very seriously by laying at the end of my chair, her head resting on my ankle, as I write.

 

Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? Most importantly, what one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle? 😉

Nolee Arnauyq has a white father, who abandoned her before she was born, and an Inuit mother who struggled to provide for them due to her serious health issues. Growing up dependent on others’ charity has made Nolee fiercely independent and determined to make her way in the world- even in a man’s world- like becoming a crab fishing boat captain. This high risk job also comes with huge rewards and she’s willing to gamble all, even her life, to never be dependent on anyone else again, and to provide for her mother. It surprised me just how easy it was to insert a female character into such a macho world. The crew men accept her as their leader and look up to her because she’s good at her job and keeps them safe while pulling lots of crab to fatten their bank accounts. She can also transform from tough as nails captain to an irresistible temptress when she decides to make the most of her time with her ex, gorgeous USCG rescue swimmer Dylan Holt. If stranded on a deserted isle, the one thing she’d need to have with her would be a fishing pole since she’s an expert fisherman and could feed herself with it.

Dylan Holt grew up in Kodiak Alaska. He’s the youngest son of a father he could never please, especially when he refused to join the family business to join the Coast Guard as a rescue swimmer. He’s tough, fearless and gorgeous with a sense of humor that’s disarming and so sexy. He’s also loyal and passionate and he’s never forgotten his first love, Nolee Arnauyq, who crushed his heart years ago. He vowed never to return to Alaska, but can’t avoid confronting his past when he rescues Nolee off her sinking crab fishing vessel when he’s transferred to the USCG Kodiak Air Station. Dylan is a talented swimmer and exceptional athlete. If he were stranded on a deserted isle, he’d need to have his swim gear (snorkel, mask and fins) so that he could deep dive for crab and other fish to feed himself, and possibly swim to safety. If anyone could cross an ocean in fins- it’d be Dylan.

 

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Military and law enforcement heroes are the ultimate sexy alpha male romantic hero. They’re strong, commanding, passionate, fearless and are smoking hot in those uniforms! I love personal courage and conviction and plan to write many more books featuring them. I’m drawn to stories with lots of edgy action and am currently working on a high-stakes suspense series set in a Dallas male strip club that will feature under cover law enforcement. Book One- Dangerous Moves- will be released with Kensington Press in 2018. For updates about my new releases and giveaways, follow my Amazon author page at http://amzn.to/1NSRVrT , follow me on Goodreads on http://www.goodreads.com/karenrockauthor or drop by my website at http://www.karenrock.com

 

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at her website.

HIS LAST DEFENSE
Uniformly HOT!
Karen Rock
Released March 21, 2017
Harlequin Blaze

Semper Paratus. Always ready.  
 
Years ago, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Dylan Holt left Kodiak, Alaska, with his heart in pieces. He thought Nolee Arnauyq and her mouthwatering curves were behind him—until he’s sent to rescue the crew of a capsizing boat…including Nolee. And Dylan is definitely not ready for the too-familiar way his body aches at seeing her again.
Nolee’s always gone after what she wanted, and to hell with the risks. Now she’s a rookie ship captain taking on the deadly waters of the Bering Sea. But out on these treacherous waters, there’s no way to avoid the sizzling sexual tension between them—or the dangerous pull of emotions that could leave both their hearts lost at sea…

 

“It’s getting nautical out here,” Nolee muttered as she strove to harness her crippled boat. Beneath them, the ship bucked and rolled her way through the waves, groaning with the effort. “With one engine, she’s going to do what she wants.”

Twenty-two feet.

Several minutes ticked by. A half hour. Forty-five minutes. Time was marked only by the pounding of the seas, the periodic sounding of the depth reader, the incessant clanging of the metal chains outside.

The boat pitched violently. “This is getting worse the shallower we go,” he said, widening his stance to keep his footing.

“A real washing machine,” Nolee affirmed without looking up from the fathometer.

Twenty feet. The number blinked lower and lower. Eighteen feet. Seventeen.

“It’s just going down,” she gasped.

A channel marker loomed yards off the bow, catching his eye. His pulse slammed. The ship barreled right at it. “Are we making the turn on the track here?” He pointed at it then whipped his head around to study her sharp profile.

“I’m trying.” Her strained voice emerged through clenched teeth. She jimmied the thruster and peered up from her monitors and out the window. The Pacific Dawn churned forward.

“She’s just driving straight. She’s not fucking turning.” Shit.

“Hang in there, Nolee,” he urged. Helplessness crashed over him. He wasn’t in control. Couldn’t rescue everyone, including the ship and the catch. Couldn’t get them all to safety. A damned unfamiliar feeling. But not entirely uncomfortable.

Why?

Because you trust her, came the sudden, unexpected thought. In fact, when push came to shove, he couldn’t think of anyone else he’d rather have by his side in a situation like this than Nolee.

Could that extend to other parts of his life?

Dylan shifted his balance expertly as the floor rose beneath him and spray obliterated the view from the window. His gaze swung to the fathometer as it began beeping loudly.

Fifteen and a half feet.

Beeping. Thirteen.

Nolee shoved to her feet and snatched her walkie-talkie.

Ten feet.

Ten feet!

New Release Excerpt! LEI’D WITH CUPCAKES by Bethany Lopez

LEI’D WITH CUPCAKES by Bethany Lopez is now LIVE!

Blurb:

Everybody dreams of a Hawaiian Vacation…

They sell you on the drinks with little umbrella’s, dolphin watching, and long walks on the beach. Which probably happens, if you’re that lucky schmuck living out your dream with your destination wedding, but if you’re a fish out of water PI like me, there’s no time for relaxing because trouble is never far behind.

Instead of cocktails, I ended up dealing with the seedy underbelly of The Big Island.
And, I didn’t see one damn dolphin while undercover on a boat which was spilling over with drug dealers, Kingpins, and Pedophiles.

Elin and Elena think Cade’s family are the coolest people outside of Snapchat, but it’s hard to meet the parents when your boyfriend is in his late thirties and has never had a serious relationship.

I’d never missed my girls so much in my life, but Amy May, Bea, and Carmen are all dealing with issues of their own, and can’t come to my rescue.

The only thing that may help me with this “vacation” is if I could get Lei’d with Cupcakes.

WARNING: THIS BOOK CONTAINS FOUL LANGUAGE, SEX, SOME VIOLENCE, AND SHENANIGANS. IF NONE OF THAT BOTHERS YOU, GRAB A CUPCAKE AND READ ON!

Excerpt:

“This is your room?” I asked, even though it was pretty obvious.

“Yeah.”

“I’m in here with you?” I asked, my eyes darting back out into the hall.

“Yeah.”

I dropped my bag by the bed and walked up to Cade, lowering my voice to say, “I can’t sleep with you in your parents’ house.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Cade asked as he took out his rubber band and pulled his hair back to secure it again.

“We can’t have sex in your parents’ house.”

Cade turned his face toward me, eyebrows raised.

“Lila, I’m thirty-eight years old, I’m pretty sure they know I fuck.”

My eyes widened and my face went red.

“Don’t talk like that, My God… Just because they assume, doesn’t mean it should happen in their house. It’s rude.”

Cade chuckled and replied, “All right, Darlin’, I’ll keep my hands to myself, in the house, and we’ll see if you can do the same.”

————-
Special Release Week Price – $2.99

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Sign up for my Newsletter for more information about my writing: http://eepurl.com/Rcmrn

Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She’s a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.

———-

New Release and Giveaway! BOTTOM OF THE SKY by Shae Ross

Title: Bottom of the Sky
Author: Shae Ross
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Format: Digital, Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Tragedy set his course for revenge. One woman stands in his way.

John

The last thing I need is to be saddled with the on-the-run niece of the family I’m about to take down. Gianna Silva wants me to help her find her missing mother. But I’ve got bigger fish to fry—namely, her cousins Stefano and Santos Silva. I’m working on the inside, feeding information to the FBI, and I’m about to drop the net on their ring of counterfeiters. To keep Gianna out of my way, I’ve agreed to help her but under one condition: What I say goes. No questions. No pushback. I make the rules.

The problem is Gianna Silva doesn’t know the meaning of the word “rule” and she’s on to me. For two years, I’ve hidden my true identity behind a wall built from stone-cold revenge. I thought it was indestructible—especially against someone with the last name of Silva—the family I’ve vowed to destroy…

Gianna

If I could find my missing mom by myself I would, but the only enemies she’s ever had are my dead father and his powerful family. Confronting the Silvas alone is too dangerous. I need an insider who knows how to play their game. John Rossi, with his cool, bad-boy confidence and access to the family is my best hope. I’ve bargained away the last dollar in my savings account in exchange for his help, but I’m beginning to think I made a deal with the devil.

I didn’t expect his rules to include sharing a cabin—and a bedroom with him—northwest of Nowheresville. I don’t trust him, or my attraction to him. But to find my mom, I’ll break every one of his damn rules, regardless of the consequences…

Find out more at: Goodreads | Amazon

Excerpt:

“Gianna…it’s just a dream.” He’s lying on his side, drawing me out with the soothing voice and steady gaze.

The breathless squeeze in my lungs eases. Awareness dawns, and I become conscious of how close our bodies are. Warmth slips from under the splayed fingers, spreading slowly, travelling lower and weighing down my belly. I should turn away, but a part of me wants to pick up his hand, roll onto my side, and pull him over me like a cape. If only I could.

Reality returns in a blink: Who he is, who I am and what this is all about. My mom. My family. The nightmare’s not real, but reality seems worse.

“You’re all right, Gia. I’ve got you. Right here.”

His fingers move, stroking my bare skin gently, and his tone is filled with resolute assurance. Flecks of amber swim in the moonlit green irises.

I force a dry swallow then turn before my face cracks. “Gia” is the other nickname my uncle used. I squeeze my lids, nodding as if I agree. But I don’t. Tightness builds in my chest, moving into my throat. His words are just a hollow reminder.

Nobody has me. Nobody’s ever had me.

 

Author Bio:

Shae Ross grew up in Ferndale, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University and continued her education at Detroit College of Law. Prior to 2014, she spent the majority of her career practicing corporate law and engaged in entrepreneurial ventures.

After having too many stressful days at the office, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and published her first romance novel in January of 2015. She loves strong heroines and sexy, alpha heroes who deliver stories filled with sass, smarts and sizzle.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

 

Follow the tour and #enter to #win a $25 Amazon GC and a Shae Ross digital library
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