You’ve done a bad thing. She has you in her sights. Now you’re going to pay.
Meet Camilla Black: an affluent, respected, influential fashion magazine editor, who lives it up in her beautiful Mayfair apartment. But Camilla’s glamorous life is a lie. Behind her poised exterior beats the cold dark heart of a vigilante killer, a murderer hell-bent on wreaking vengeance upon bad men.
Camilla expects to get away with murder. She’s careful. And anyway, it’s worth the risk. She’s making the world a better place with each predator she kills. But when one of her victims’ bodies is unexpectedly found, his gruesome death is splashed all over the papers.
To make matters worse, she’s now being pursued by Detective Wheelan, a new addition to the Met with laser-sharp focus and a worrying habit of solving impossible crimes…
She knows she should stop, but she can’t. Some men just deserve to die. Will Camilla’s insatiable appetite for justice be her downfall, or can she outsmart the police?
Revised edition: Previously published as Predator, this edition of Pretty Evil includes editorial revisions.
Excerpt #3 Julian and I shuffle along, one step at a time, until finally we arrive at a row of garages. The ninth one along, with the peeling burgundy door, is mine. Julian looks around, perplexed. He mumbles something but I ignore it. We walk towards my garage. I reach into my jacket pocket and retrieve my key. I changed my outfit during our date, swapping the Chloé dress I was wearing for a pair of leggings, a hoodie, a puffer jacket – all black, all from H&M. I’ll dispose of them later. Julian didn’t notice my outfit change either. He was probably too busy picturing me naked to have even remembered what I was wearing in the first place.
‘Wha . . . ?’ he slurs as I insert the key into the garage door and unlock it.
‘Just sit down. I need to get something. Some sex toys,’ I explain, trying not to smile.
Julian flops down on to the tarmac as I pull up the creaking garage door.
This garage is where the real me lives. It’s where I keep everything I need for my dark pastimes: a wide selection of the sharpest knives and cleavers, a few choice tools I keep as torture implements (a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a mini saw, rusty nails, a corkscrew), an axe, a vat of acid, latex gloves, cable ties, a hammer, rope, drugs, bin bags, a few more wigs, a few more hats. Stuff like that. I have a bunch of ill-fitting men’s shoes I picked up in Primark and a load of socks that I layer on when I wear them. Better that the footprints I leave at crime scenes resemble those of a size ten or eleven man than a size six woman.
I’ve also got a bin bag full of bits and pieces I’ve stolen from various rapists, wife beaters and paedophiles who’ve been on my radar for a while. According to forensic science theory – Locard’s exchange principle – the perpetrator of a crime will always bring something to a crime scene and leave with something from it, and both can be used as evidence. But what if the perpetrator leaves a ton of red herrings? What if the perpetrator leaves five people’s DNA? Then what? Then who’s the perpetrator? I like thinking of the police, following a million different pointless leads, spinning their wheels, getting nowhere. Or, best-case scenario, they bang up a paedophile rapist piece of shit for my crimes, while I slip through the net, undetected. It makes me smile.
I like fucking with people, if you hadn’t guessed already.
The only furniture in my garage is an old armchair that smells of damp, and a cheap, nasty chest of drawers. The top drawer contains my burner phones. Ones with pay-as-you-go SIMs that I use for getting up to no good, like ordering roofies online or going Tinder-hunting. The middle drawer’s full of random crap – crime novels, newspaper clippings, a few notebooks where I jot down thoughts and add to my hit list.
The bottom drawer is my favourite. Like every serial killer, it’s where I keep a box of trinkets, souvenirs from my kills. I know, I’m that clichéd. Like something from a movie. I always thought I’d be tough enough to resist that particular trope – after all, I do hate clutter – but I couldn’t help myself. I guess I’m just a sentimental old schmuck like all the rest. I wanted tokens too. Mementoes. I keep them inside an old aluminium box sealed with a padlock, the combination of which is the one I used for my bike lock back when I was eleven. Imagine if that girl could see me now. God no, she’d have nightmares.
I look over at Julian, passed out on the ground. Perfect. I hook my forearms under his armpits and pull him inside. He slumps on to the floor. I yank the garage door shut and flick on a camping lamp.
I feel like having a little meander down memory lane. I find my box of mementoes and kick off my trainers before settling, cross-legged, in my skanky old armchair. I place it on my lap and click through the dials of the lock, entering the combination: three, eight, two, four. The padlock springs open. I slide it off and open the box.
Author Zoe Rosi
About the AuthorZoe Rosi has a background in journalism and copywriting. She worked as a reporter for local and national newspapers before moving into the fashion industry as a copywriter. Zoe had four romantic comedies published before writing her debut thriller, Pretty Evil. Working in fashion sparked the idea for the book, which Zoe describes as ‘The Devil Wears Prada meets American Psycho’. Someone’s Watching Me is Zoe’s second thriller.
Welcome to the book blitz for DEFY THE STARS, a standalone young adult fantasy by Cathrina Constantine. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Growing up within the grind of the enchanted Circus Faire, Crew’s unique talents have blossomed. Though, he’s been warned that the King of Hawkswing is determined to eradicate a certain species, and for his own sake Crew must keep his formidable gifts under wraps.
Relations between interspecies caused an imbalance of power and now are strictly forbidden. Dolorans, like Sage and her sister, are being hunted and persecuted because of their intense powers, leaving them no choice but to run to escape the genocide of their kind.
She possesses a forceful energy for good and evil.
His untapped powers are growing stronger by the day.
Survival will demand they rely on each other.
When Crew learns a dark wizard is holding his brother captive, he enters into a deal with him in hopes of getting close enough to free those he has imprisoned. Yet, what he uncovers is far more sinister than Crew could ever imagine. Can Crew harness the strength within him to save his brother and Sage and all those in the wizard’s clutches? Or will he be trapped by the wizard’s wicked plan?
Excerpt #3 Crew spun at the sound of her voice. The hag in all her ungodly glory, a decrepit example of a woman, materialized a mere yard from him. Short in stature, her hunchbacked-frame leaned on the staff for support, and up close, her cat-eyes glared at him. Folds of wrinkles poured down her face, but what drew his sight was a cambered bone piercing the septum of her nose. “I’m too tired to play your games, woman.” He fingered the ring on his pinkie.
“No!” Her robed arm shot out, hands gaunt. “I know your ancestry. Intrigued, are you not? I feel it, in the racing of your heart, the flow of your blood.”
He left the ring on, turning it.
“Boy—I am your grandmother.” Her smile looked painful on her face. “Many generations removed.” Attempting a snicker, it came out as a wheeze. “I am Queen Esta. Sovereign Ruler of Misbegottens. Souls conceived by the mightiest, indomitable beings of creation. Our kinfolks were feared and revered by everyone, great and small.” With each spoken word the hag’s stooped vertebrae realigned. Chink by chink, her backbone straightened.
“This is your world, then.” Crew took a gander at Griggan, who was trimming his clawed nails with the tip of his sword. “You are a witch, a sorcerer—a deceiver? Am I supposed to be impressed, reverent even, to be in your presence? This is my ancestry, my inheritance? Well I think I’ll go back to being a grunt in the—”
“You profane, insolent shit.” The planes of her face changed, as if a potter’s fingers were molding, reshaping her skin. Stretching and tightening it over the bones of her face. The hood slipped off her head, bunching on her shoulders. Bedraggled locks were replenished with a growth of satiny snow-white hair. Her cat eyes flashed him a silvery wink. “Don’t trifle with me, boy.”
Author Cathrina Constantine
About the Author I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I’m devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.
Welcome to the book blitz for ANNIHILATION ARCHETYPES, the first book in the adult fantasy series, Annihilation Archetypes, by M.M. Gargiulo. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
ANNIHILATION ARCHETYPES (Annihilation Archetypes Series #1) by M.M. Gargiulo
Synopsis Born to siren humans to their watery graves, Nefertiti feels trapped in her life of violence. She leaves her home to venture on shore and falls in love with humans. Her duty brings her back to the sea, and fate tightens its hold on her from an unexpected source.
Excerpt: The next day Evgenís was eager to talk about my training. I was evasive, trying not to make eye contact with her. I thought the details of my night were too embarrassing to share with my proud sister, and I had no wish to relive them. I did not know if other huntresses took so long to learn how to walk, but Diana made it seem like they did not.
“Okay, you do not want to talk about it,” she sighed after a few minutes of this ensued. “Tell me this, did you learn something?”
I looked up into her beautiful blue eyes and found myself both comforted and sad. I wished I was better at walking, but Evgenís would still love me even if I was a terrible huntress.
“Yes, I absolutely learned lots of things yesterday.” I smiled at her, forcing myself to look excited and happy.
“Interesting,” she murmured under her breath. “I am glad,” she said at full volume.
“Okay, well do you have anything you would like to do today?” she asked me, her voice bright and cheerful.
“I think I am to meet with someone today.” Guilt washed over me again. Evgenís had given up living with me to come and live here, in isolation.
“Oh, no matter, I am sure I can find something to do while you are busy. Perhaps we can pick a night soon and go to our favorite wreck?” Her hopeful tone had me agreeing before I thought it over.
“I’d love to!” The wreck was a smallish fishing boat that had sunk off the coast of a tropical island. Many species of fish lived inside it, and coral grew off the outside of it. I was particularly in love with the spot because of the bright white sand. It seemed to be made of thousands and thousands of tiny corals, smashed and rounded by the tide and the wind. It was one of our favorite places to go. Evgenís always found it difficult to find fish while we were there. I had many happy memories of the two of us laughing and relaxing in the sand.
Evgenís smiled at my enthusiasm and kissed me on the cheek, excited at our prospective time together.
We ate some kelp together that apparently someone had dropped off in excessive amount while we slept. Things almost felt back to normal, despite our vastly different surroundings. I felt as though removing my tail somehow made me less of a mermaid than Evgenís.
When we were done eating, I bid Evgenís farewell and started to swim through the caverns and tunnels toward the surface to an area similar to the one where I met Diana. If my new teacher was anything like Diana, she would show up near the surface. I watched the moon move in the sky for hours, feeling my anxiety rise. Maybe I was supposed to go somewhere specific, but Diana forgot to mention it.
I was just starting to swim back and forth when I heard a voice.
“Nefertiti! How are you?” Santiago was swimming by, with two others.
“I am well, thank you.” My eyes drifted to the two others with him. One was a beautiful fair blonde female, the other a dark-complexioned male.
“Oh, this is Kane,” he said, gesturing toward the male merman. “And this is Danica.”
“Pleasure to meet the both of you.” I nodded my head in their direction. Kane bent at the waist in my direction.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Huntress.” His deep dark eyes met mine.
“Lovely to meet you as well,” Danica said.
“We were going to visit a reef down in the tropics,” Santiago said. “Would you care to join us?”
“Thank you, but I am supposed to be meeting someone,” I said. I took note of Kane’s and Santiago’s eyes that seemed to linger, and Danica’s, which seemed full of contempt.
“Next time, perhaps.” Kane’s eyes were still locked on me.
“I would love to.” I smiled at Kane, and could feel Santiago stir slightly next to him.
“Farewell then, Nefertiti.” Santiago nodded his head, and the three of them turned and began to swim away. I watched them go with a pang of loneliness and wondered if there would ever be a time where I did not feel so isolated from my own kind. My thoughts turned to Evgenís, who probably had an even harder time with it than I did. Guilt flashed through me at the idea of Evgenís leaving everyone she knew to raise me on her own.
I watched the stars turn in the sky and thought about their stark and naked beauty. Not unlike our people, but less dangerous. I imagined the answers to all of my questions were up there, winking at me in some code I could not understand. I wished I could speak their language of light. I wondered if the Gods were there, Evgenís had told me they lived up in the clouds.
When the sky began to lighten, I gave up my quest. Perhaps my next mentor had forgotten about the time. Maybe Diana gave her the wrong name. I started to swim toward the castle, taking one last look back at the sky. Suddenly a massive hammerhead shark emerged from the haze in the distance. I paused on my journey back home to watch the magnificent creature swim. His gait was the most elegant thing I had ever seen. The way he swam back and forth was reminiscent of how the sea seemed to part for the king himself. I loved the movement of his tail fin.
The shark seemed to notice me as soon as I noticed him. He adjusted his path slightly so he was headed straight toward me. I reached my hand forward, not in the slightest bit frightened of him. He was the hunter equivalent to myself. Even his skin was made of the tiniest teeth. I would probably grow to be more dangerous than he was. At the last second he turned his giant head, swimming by me to allow my outreached arm to pet the length of him as he swam by.
I felt my heart stir at the scars that decorated his side. He was a beautiful creature, full of an ancient sadness. I wondered how anyone could ever hurt such a creature. My hand ran the length of him, ten times my own size, and I felt the rough, textured body under my delicate soft hand.
He circled me once, clearly as eager as I was to remain closely connected, even if it was for a short while. When he came by me a second time, I grabbed onto his dorsal fin and let the length of me rest on top of his body. He seemed pleased by the attention and slowed his pace, allowing me to feel the gentle sway of the giant beast as he moved his tail back and forth. My own body swayed with his movements, and I felt as though we were one. I traced the deep gashes of scars on his back with my fingers, wondering what had caused them. I rode atop him for longer than I should have, the sun starting to really shine on the top of the sea.
He circled back after quite some time of me lying on top of him and swam with dignity back to where he had first found me. I turned my head to kiss the top of his back, my hair swirling around my face.
“Goodbye friend, I hope to see you again soon.” I watched him turn and be swallowed up by the dark sea. Maybe I would never get to play with the other merpeople, but at least I would have shark friends. I turned tail, and made my way back to the cave, exhausted from lack of sleep the previous night. Just before I approached the entrance to the first tunnel, I was startled by a stunning woman waiting by the entrance to the hall.
She had waist length red and silver hair (I gathered she was a huntress), a green tail fin, and a fair complexion. Her giant blue eyes were staring, unblinkingly, at me. I assumed she was older due to the streaks of silver in her bright red hair, but it was difficult to tell, there were no lines on her face.
“Nefertiti.” It was not a question, and I tried to figure out if I had met this woman before.
“Yes, that is I.” I smiled at her, hoping she was less crass than Diana. “I apologize, have we met?”
“We have not, although I have heard tell of you.”
“Well it is truly a pleasure to be acquainted with you.” I nodded my head in her direction.
“Yes, it is, but there is no need to be so formal with me.” She tossed back her hair, and it shimmered out behind her with such finesse I felt a ping of envy. I wondered if I would grow up to be so beautiful. “I am Arianna.”
“Arianna.” Her name sounded like a story I had long forgotten.
“Come, let us go for a swim.” She smiled at me, and I noticed her teeth were not sharpened, but similar to Evgenís’s. Maybe she wasn’t a huntress after all. She reached out her tiny soft hand, and I put mine into hers.
“I am here to teach you the ways of those on land,” Arianna stated. “Much has changed since I walked up there, but I have the best understanding of humankind. I am one of those who brought the best of the land back to the sea.”
Welcome to the blog tour for DOC SHOWMANCE, a standalone adult contemporary romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Zoe Forward. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis From USA Today bestselling author Zoe Forward comes a new enemies-to-lovers veterinary RomCom.
I would say Dr. Ian Todd is my archenemy. But that would require us acknowledging each other, which we haven’t done since we graduated veterinary school.
He’s famous. As in, he’s the world’s “Sexiest Veterinarian Alive” with his own wildlife TV show and a string of glamorous girlfriends.
I’m infamous as a reality TV emergency veterinarian with a snark mouth, take-no-crap attitude, and zero dating life.
When asked to fake a romance with him on TV to boost my ER show’s ratings, I want to say no-way, but the extra money will pay off my brother’s loan shark debt. Even though Ian broke my heart, playing his love interest shouldn’t be hard, especially if it means getting to watch him squirm.
Lines get blurred when the TV setups stop feeling fake. Can I chance this might be real love?
Excerpt #3 “Amber,” I said slow. “I’ve been giving you space, but I’m not giving up this time. I know we weren’t good for each other in the past.”
She dropped her head. “Don’t do this, Ian.”
I stepped in front of her so we were facing each other. I brushed a knuckle over her cheek and pulled her hair back behind her shoulder. “I’m not at this clinic for the job. I’m here for you. To have a second chance. Or, really, a first chance since we never gave ourselves a chance before.”
Would she see my words as real or bullshit for the camera? This wasn’t rehearsed. This wasn’t something I was told to say. I meant it. I could’ve walked away from the baloney of this show at any time. Sure, I wanted my own show back on TV, and I never wanted to hear about what happened in Colombia again, but I could survive without being on TV. My vlog was still wildly hot. I stayed here to see her again.
“Ian,” she said, breathless. “I don’t think—”
“What do you want me to do?” I asked, bending so our mouths were lined up so close but not touching. “What does a man like me do when the woman he wants more than anything won’t forgive him for a mistake when he was younger and stupid?”
She closed her eyes and held completely still, but I hadn’t missed the pain and uncertainty brewing in her hazel gaze. Then she moved out of my grasp. “I have to see an appointment.”
As she exited the office, the cameraman lowered his camera and said, “That was masterful, Dr. Todd.”
Her head swiveled. The vicious scowl communicated she’d throttle me if she could. Any hint that was real—because it had been—was now shattered.
Author Zoe Forward
About the Author Zoe Forward might admit to you she’s almost prepared for the zombie apocalypse before the fact she writes contemporary and paranormal romances. Her novels have won numerous awards including the Prism, Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence, Golden Quill, Carolyn Readers Choice Award, and the Booksellers’ Best Award. She’s best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud Keepers of the Veil series, which has won numerous awards. She’s a board-certified veterinarian. You can find her residing in the South with the love of her life, a menagerie of four-legged beasts and two wild kids.
Welcome to the book blitz for A CROWN FORGED BY VICTORY’S CONSEQUENCE, the first book in the adult fantasy series, The Blackened Tablet, by Aaryanna Abbott and Marlayna James. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
A CROWN FORGED BY VICTORY’S CONSEQUENCE (The Blackened Tablet Series #1) by Aaryanna Abbott and Marlayna James
Synopsis Three hundred years ago, the sacred tablet granted by their god, Jezabet, turned black, and eight kingdoms broke free, plummeting into the bottomless sea. There was no warning, and no one knows why.
Now, a strange illness plagues Aldersward. Crowned Prince Aedyn’s sisters, Achelle and Annora, his father, and countrymen are desperate and grief-stricken. All hope is lost…
Until someone dreams, and Aedyn leaves behind his mistress and his betrothed to cure their nation. He enlists his friends; a brazen playboy, a gentle strongman, and an ancient mentor. Together, they set out on a perilous journey—few believe they will survive.
This isn’t a fairy tale—s3x becomes currency, murder is ordinary, and love doesn’t conquer all.
Everyone loves a hero—good triumphs evil. But few dare to question how victory ripples into consequences. Explore this exciting concept in the Blackened Tablet Series.
Excerpt #2 As the sun rose, Aedyn and four groups rowed onto the beach. Two groups would swap out every day, providing all a reprieve from the vessel’s confinement. Women responsible for the horses’ care would utilise an assembled tent next to a makeshift paddock. The men saddled the mounts and rode out, following a Slay guide. Aedyn rode mid procession as they navigated the grassy land toward Slaysfold castle.
“It’s monotonous. I see nay trees, merely a mix of grasses and flowers with the odd shrub. Not even around that lake.” Bennet surveyed the landscape.
“The meadows appear dead, scorched, and yet the sun is cooler here than home.” Aron included himself in the conversation.
Aedyn, puzzled, glanced around. “Where’s Auren?”
“His pouch made quite the racket this morning when he disembarked. He was speaking to a woman as we headed out. He must travel behind.” Asa twisted, not seeing Auren amongst them.
Hundreds of vibrant blue birds, the colour of the Aldersward blue lagoon, landed playfully nearby, then took flight moments later, seeming to play a childhood game of chase. In the distance, a herd of heavy-framed, large beasts with shaggy coats and hunched backs observed the men’s movements. Their heads were wide with a set of horns and bearded chins. Not creatures the Alders recognised.
After a couple of hours, Auren galloped upon them with a wide grin. “This feels much like home. The women here also demand my attention.”
“You make a dreadful lead. Remind me to dismiss you once we return home.” Aedyn ridiculed as the others chuckled.
He feigned an indignant tone. “I was gaining intelligence. It was strategic.”
Amused, Bennet asked. “Strategic?”
He boasted. “While they were busy exercising me, they couldn’t kill Prince Aedyn, could they? Furthermore, you’re welcome.”
They all laughed, aware that Auren’s vulnerability was women and someday, not a magical creature, but a woman would be his demise. Emissary Aron poked Asa, then pointed to Auren’s purse, which sounded considerably less noisy than it had earlier.
“Did ye learn anything of value during yer, um,” Bennet slicked back his hair, “visit?”
“King Sumner executed his father, the last king, and sexually enslaved his mother. They sounded disgusted. They also spoke of another imprisoned slave the king has. Apparently, the king brutalised her until she was unrecognisable and contorted. They were very forthcoming.” Auren explained, knowing his information was valuable.
“His people should be disgusted. I imagine we all will be, but let’s keep it hidden. It’s none of our business. I’m not here to create enemies.” Aedyn advised. “Did the women say anything else useful?”
“Trees are rare now and the king has taken the few remaining, planted them together, and now protects them.” Auren grinned. “Otherwise, they moaned, cried, and pleaded for me to continue my skilled invasion. I’ll spare you your jealousy.”
Author Aaryanna Abbott
About the Authors Aaryanna Abbot is another of my pen names. For every pen name, I use a different part of who I am. I imagine this is how she looks. What’s this part of me like? I was a daddy’s girl. The very epitome of spoilt.
I love to be wild and crazy—experience everything the world has to offer. I’m adventurous and my carefree disposition is contagious. I’m loyal to a fault and don’t care what expectations or labels society has bestowed upon me. I believe one’s truth is more valuable than anyone’s perception.
This part of me writes for escapism—to be free of my mundane day to day and live in a magical world almost as real to me as earth. Except in my imaginary world, I control all things and it pleases me to no end. Do you know how happy you would be living there?
Author Marlayna James
Marlayna lives in Canada where she writes romance, erotica, women’s fiction, and fantasy. She loves video games, TV, reading, and writing.
Welcome to the book blitz for HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER, the first book in the adult contemporary romance series, Six Gems, by Yahrah St. John. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
HER BEST FRIEND’S BROTHER (Six Gems Series #1+) by Yahrah St. John
Childhood friends become forbidden lovers in this sexy start to the Six Gems series from Yahrah St. John.
Their fiery affair fulfills her fantasies…
And puts everything at risk.
When travel blogger Wynter Barrington’s wealthy, disapproving family cuts her off, she finds comfort in a passionate chance encounter with Riley Davis, her best friend’s brother. He’s hot as hell…and totally off-limits.
And when they meet again months later, they begin a sizzling affair. Wynter knows Riley doesn’t do love and marriage, but her youthful crush is feeling more and more like a real relationship. If she’s not careful, Wynter may put more than her relationship with her best friend on the line. Can she survive falling in love with the one man she was never supposed to touch?
Excerpt #1 Riley led Wynter out of the restaurant and to the passenger side of his Bentley, waiting at the curb, and then came round to the driver’s side. Before turning on the car, he turned to her. “Are you sure about this, Wynter? Because if we do this, you need to understand that it’s only for one night. I don’t do commitments or relationships. Besides which, I just became partner at my law firm. I have no room in my life for personal entanglements.”
She understood, because she wasn’t looking for more than tonight. Her world was already topsy-turvy. Spending the night with Riley would be her choice, something she could control. She was owning her feminine power and taking what she wanted. “Yes, I’m sure. I want you, Riley, but if the feeling isn’t mutual…”
He snorted. And before she knew it, Riley’s mouth came down hard and demanding on hers. Desire rushed through Wynter as her arms slid around his neck. She returned the kiss and gave him everything. Riley growled against her mouth as he plundered its depths. His tongue mated with hers in an erotic dance that made her belly swoop and dive like a flight of doves taking off. Wynter’s mind became frenzied with a blur of sensations. If they didn’t stop, she was afraid of what she might let him do right there in the car. Slowly, she pulled away.
He frowned. “Did I come on too strong?”
She shook her head. “Not at all. You were just right, but unless you want to get cited for indecent exposure, I think it might be a good idea for us to take this back to your place.”
Riley grinned. “I think you’re right.” After giving her a heated stare, he turned on the ignition and eased the car out of the parking lot.
Author Yahrah St. John
About the Author Yahrah St. John is the International author of forty books. She became a writer at the age of twelve when she wrote her first novella after secretly reading a Harlequin romance. Throughout her teens, she penned a total of twenty novellas. Her love of the craft continued into adulthood. She’s the proud author of thirty-nine books with Arabesque, Kimani Romance and Harlequin Desire as well as her own indie works.
When she’s not at home crafting one of her spicy romances with compelling heroes and feisty heroines with a dash of family drama, she is gourmet cooking or traveling the globe seeking out her next adventure. For more info:www.yahrahstjohn.com or find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bookbub or Goodreads.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, The First Three Dates Matchmakers, by Frieda J. Downing. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS (The First Three Dates Matchmakers Series #1) by Frieda J. Downing
About the Book – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited Title: THE MATCHMAKER’S ROYAL MESS Series: The First Three Dates Matchmakers Series #1 Author:Frieda J. Downing Publisher: Pinkies High Publishing Release Date: November 22, 2022
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | Amazon IT | Amazon FR
Synopsis She’d rather give a mountain lion a bikini wax than mess with love again.
Been there, went viral, never going back. Hattie Montague’s life as a backcountry guide for the spoiled and famous suits her just fine, thanks. It’s the only place she feels completely safe being herself. So what if she has nightmares that she can only speak squirrel and craves pine cones for breakfast? It beats leaving yourself vulnerable to humans. Fine, all of them aren’t bad. She likes probably three, so when one needs her help, she drags herself back to civilization. If she can navigate white water rapids, she can babysit a matchmaking office for a weekend. It’s not like she’ll have to deal with people or, you know, be nice. Ew.
Alexander Greye ruined her life ten years ago. Not his proudest moment. Known as the Winter Warlocke, he’s a man born and raised to lead a country with logical precision. Yet around her, he can’t seem to think rationally. He’s never met anyone who dives into the unknown like she does or tames chaos like she can. In a world as perfectly controlled as his, that makes her irresistible and utterly dangerous. And he’s willing to risk it all to thaw his frozen heart.
It’s half past too late when he realizes his carefully laid plans to win her over covered everything except the theft of the Crown Jewels, an abandoned mine where they’d have to face their deepest fears, and the betrayal that forces them to let go.Quite literally.
Warning: Not for the faint of heart. Sassy romantic adventure, with instances of chaos, misunderstandings, and feels. Oh, and the occasional sheep. Sparks will fly, it’s gonna get awkward, and the Happily-Ever-After will be well-earned.
Excerpt #2 Since the office doesn’t have a bathtub, I get resourceful. The closet, unfortunately, is a disaster of pillow guts and shelving covered in sheep-sized bite marks. No one would confuse me for a sheep expert, but I always thought it was goats that chewed everything to pieces. Maybe Calambity is part goat. Thankfully, the blue pillow tub is in one piece.
I carry it to the kitchenette and place it on the tile next to the sink. Once I have it situated, I pull the large plastic dustpan off the broom and place the wide bit under the faucet of the tiny sink with the narrow handle hanging off the side. When I crank the hot water, I watch the makeshift waterfall begin to fill my soon-to-be luxurious bath. I shut the curtains in Zoe’s office, then lay out the single towel I had packed. After I strip down, I test the water one more time. A quick soak to freshen up, then I’ll curl up with my pizza and catch up on some Netflix until CataXanderclysm shows.
I snort, rather pleased with myself for that one, then put some tunes on my phone. A summery, reggae sounding track fills the office. With arms overhead, I dance over to Zoe’s desk and snag the bath bomb I found earlier when I was looking for printer ink. Since Zoe said help yourself to anything, I’m doing just that. I’ll replace it tomorrow, along with everything else.
At long last, I get the thin, clingy plastic off the blue ball and, lifting it in a toast to the peace and quiet, I ease myself into the oversized bucket. If I were a tall girl, this could’ve been problematic. As it is, I have to bend my legs all the way for them to fit. It mostly works; only my knees poke out of the water. Despite that, it’s pure bliss. I drop the bright bath bomb in with a satisfying bloop. Tiny bubbles escape and an indigo cloud disperses. To my delight, it also appears to be a low-powered bubble bath. It doesn’t produce heaping mounds of fluff, but it’s enough to cover the surface with bluish white foam and fill my nose with the tantalizing fragrance of cupcakes. I close my eyes, inhale, and settle in as far as my coiled up appendages will let me. I savor the warmth and scent as they wrap around me. Since I don’t know the upbeat song playing, I make up words so I can sing along my way.
I can feel my hair still sticking up in all directions, so I tip first to one side, then the other to wet it down. However, I can’t get the middle strip, so I take a scoop of bubbles and form the remaining dry hair into a floppy fauxhawk. After that, I splash some of the scented water across my face. In the midst of one of those scrubbing sessions, the door to the office opens. Surprised, I suck in bath water and spend a solid ten seconds coughing and sputtering.
Lo-and-behold, my Personal Pain in the Stuff Sack leans against the doorjamb with his arms folded across his chest, one ankle casually crossed over the other. Too bad GQ isn’t here with cameras because Xander is cover model material in the flesh. The navy, single button suit he wears looks more expensive than most of the furniture in this office. Unfortunately, it also sets off his stormy eyes, making it practically impossible to notice anything but him.A smug grin creeps over his arrogant mug. “You look a little crazy right now.”
I scowl and hug my arms to my chest, doing my best to hide my panic. Natalie’s reminder to lock the door chooses that moment to waft through my brain, taunting me. “Why thank you. I owe it all to you. What on earth are you doing here?”
His grin grows. “I love what you’re wearing for our date.”
I hunker down deeper in the plastic storage tub and pull my knees a little tighter to my breasts. My heart’s pounding so hard it may be enough to churn more bubbles all by itself. How can he just stand there and flirt? “You act like you’ve never seen a woman having a bath before. Do us a favor and grow up.”
His lips twitch. “I’ve never seen you having a bath before. There’s a very important difference. Also, in all fairness, I’ve never seen any woman bathe in a storage bin, nor turn herself blue doing so.”
“Blue?” I glance down, then hiss. “Son of a cupcake scented bath bomb.”
Author Frieda J. Downing
About the Author Nice to meet you. I’m Frieda. I write sweet contemporary romance as well as romantic adventure.
I blame it on my childhood babysitters. For some reason they thought I shouldn’t ride our family’s buffalo. Believe me, I was just as shocked as you. Though I never did get that buffalo ride, I found plenty of other creative outlets for my adventure needs. Some were good clean fun, some got me kicked out of various and sundry events, and others ended with me getting lost in catacombs. (Not metaphorically speaking. Somewhere there’s an Austrian catacomb caretaker? guy whom I owe dinner and a large apology.)
I like to think I’ve gotten a tiny bit wiser.
I married my best friend and dove head first into the magnificent cyclone known as raising kids. I mountain bike every chance I get, lose my coffee cup daily, and bake a mean lemon merengue pie, if I do say so myself. I may indulge in shenanigans on a regular basis, but I plead the fifth every time.
I suppose it’s important to me that you know how very much I love us crazy, broken humans. We dream so big. We try so hard. Yet somehow, so often, things just go terribly, horribly wrong.
That’s where my books begin… because that’s where the real love story’s found. I hope you enjoy reading them. Most of all, I wish you adventure, joy, and more love than you knew was possible.
Welcome to the book blitz for WINTER DRAGON, the second book in the adult fantasy romance series, Season’s War, by Olena Nikitin. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
WINTER DRAGON (Season’s War Series #2) by Olena Nikitin
Synopsis “When a Chaos mage fights, only blood and scorched earth remain.”
Mage War Chronicles
Some victories are more costly than others, and Ina was the one that paid the price.
Determined to rescue her dragon, the newly appointed royal witch embarks on a gruelling journey through the wintery Grey Mountains. The weather is not her only obstacle, as the enemy forces gathered in the kobold mines have only one goal.
To capture the Chaos mage and deliver her to the heart of the mountain.
With the help of Sa’Ren, Ina arrives at Castle Liath almost unscathed, but her joy is short-lived, as its granite walls hide a shocking revelation.
With blossoming love shattered by a possessive dragon’s claim and an impossible mission to fulfil, will the mysterious Blessing of the Mountain help or hinder her efforts to protect Cornovii?
Immerse yourself in the second book of Season’s War, where passion mix with cruelty and the world-changing power is buried deep in the ancient tomb guarded by the stern Mountain God.
Excerpt They charged again, but Ina was prepared, and she released her vipers, one wrapping around her sword, another coiling around her, acting as a shield. Mar and Ren exchanged grins and attacked. The clash of steel from Ina’s sword parrying Mar’s attack was a sharp counterpoint to the hiss of magic as Ren’s strike was repelled by the viper protecting her body. Her protagonists instinctively controlled their assault, allowing Ina to learn how to fight, but she was soon sweating and panting from wielding both magic and sword in combat. Too proud to stop, Ina fought on, despite waves of dizziness and nausea, barely hearing the cheers from their audience. Just on the brink of fainting, a sudden commotion interrupted the sparring.
‘My chickens! A beast is eating my chickens!’
A serf from the household ran onto the training field and pleaded with Alleron.
‘My lord, help us. A beast is eating the chickens.’
Ina was trying to catch her breath, and the servant’s words made little sense, but she followed everyone as they followed the lord of Liath and the distraught woman.
As they arrived at the kitchen garden, Ina skidded to a halt, eyes wide in shock at the sight of her horse, perched on the poultry house like an animated gargoyle, watching the panicked chickens run around, occasionally snatching one when it came too close, consuming it messily and with great enthusiasm. Before she could collect her thoughts, two soldiers approached the horse and tried to grab its reins, but with a disdainful shake of her head, Zjawa twisted around and leapt over their heads, trotting happily over to Ina to beg for a cuddle.
Ina looked at her ‘horse’, who dropped a half-eaten chicken at her feet, shook her mane, and whinnied happily. The witch sighed deeply and looked down. As her gaze rested on Zjawa’s feet, Ina frowned, perplexed, watching her mount pawing at the ground. Her horse had five toes where a hoof should be, each ending with a sharp talon that easily tore through the grass underneath. Ina looked at the other feet, studying the bunched fingers, their claws almost like a normal hoof.
‘What the hell are you?’ the witch asked, looking at the horse, her question met with an amused animal stare.
‘She is an orein.’ Ina heard Alleron’s mournful voice behind her and turned around to look at him. The witch noticed Ayni heading in their direction with an unreadable facial expression.
The dragon nodded respectfully to the horse, taking a long look at the mare before turning to Ina.
‘Care to tell us how a mere human earned the blessing of the mountains?’ Ina’s head snapped up at those words, and a chill ran down her spine when her gaze met the assessing stare of the dragoness.
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About the Authors Olena Nikitin is our pen name. We are an enthusiastic couple of writers who are fascinated by the fantasy/paranormal romance genre and decided to write a book we would love to read.
Behind the Pen name:
Olga – is Polish, armed with a wicked sense of humour and typical Slavic pessimism she is the wicked witch from the East. She has written stories since childhood, initially mostly about her work. As an emergency physician, she always has a story to tell and often not much time to write.
Mark is a typical English gentleman whose charm, refined taste and an impressive collection of books were tempting enough to make Olga leave her homeland. Don’t tease him too much; this man has an impressive sword collection and he knows how to use it. He also can fix everything, including Polish syntax in English writing.
Welcome to the book blitz for NATURAL DISASTER, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic suspense series, Deserted Island, by New York Times bestselling author, Skye Warren and USA Today bestselling author, Amelia Wilde. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
NATURAL DISASTER (Deserted Island Series #1) by Amelia Wilde and Skye Warren
Synopsis Carter Morelli had a plan when he left London: deliver the wildlife photographer and then complete his secret mission. Except a lethal enemy has watched their every move. They tampered with the plane, leaving them stranded on a deserted island.
And they kidnapped June Porter, the innocent photographer.
In order to save her, Carter must confront the mysterious man in the jungle.
Who is he? Savior or betrayer?
He has no choice but to face the greatest enemy of all: the powerful feelings that draw him toward both June and the man in the jungle. Those feelings might kill them all.
Welcome to the Midnight Dynasty… The warring Morelli and Constantine families have enough bad blood to fill an ocean, and their brand new stories will be told by your favorite dangerous romance authors.
WARNING: This book is intended for readers eighteen years old and over. It contains material that some readers could find disturbing. Enter at your own risk…
A shadow stands up from the sand.
One shadow. Theo.
He’s standing in sand that has been thoroughly fucked up by a plane landing on it, and that motherfucker, that green-eyed innocent who needed encouragement to fuck June, is alone. What happened to her? He looks rough, but not particularly beaten. Not shot. The relief is threaded through with stark cold fear. Where the hell is June?
I’m running before I realize it.
Before I’ve had time to catch my breath and assess the situation. Doesn’t matter at all that I’ve just run through the jungle. I could run forever, but I don’t have to. It’s against mission protocol to drop my entire backpack on the ground, but I shrug it off and let it fall.
Theo turns at the sound.
I have two strides to notice his black eye—he has a black eye, someone hit him—and then I’m on top of him. “Where is she? Where the fuck is she?”
He’s just strong enough to stay upright when my fists collide with his chest. His shirt pulls tight in my fists. The crash of the ocean is loud in my ears, or maybe it’s my pulse. “Don’t.”
I want him to tell me she went for a swim. That she’s hiding behind the goddamn jungle leaves. That she’s building a fucking sandcastle.
Anything to disprove the desolation in his beautiful dark eyes.
Don’t. That one word is my worst nightmare.
“What did you do with her?” I shout into his face.
His cheeks are red with the fight and the bruise under his eye is going a deep purple already. It speaks to the force of the hit. I want to brush it with my fingertips, want to demand to know who did it so I can kill them, and that would be the wrong fucking thing, because he’s here and June’s not and her absence strikes me as offensively wrong.
I’ve gone wrong. I’ve gone so fucking wrong.
I shouldn’t want her here at all, but I do. I shouldn’t be relieved that he’s here, but I am. I shouldn’t want to punch him and kiss him at the same time.
“I’m sorry,” he says, his voice hoarse.
A heartbeat passes, maybe two, and I back him up toward nothing, toward more sand, and drag him in closer. I make my voice dangerously soft. “Sorry about what, Theo?”
He doesn’t make any move to touch me.
He doesn’t lift his hands to shove me off.
He just…looks away. “I didn’t want to ruin her, Carter. We were touching her. Kissing her.”
“We fucked her six ways to Sunday. I know that. What did you do?”
“I saved her the only way I could. By sending her away.”
About Skye Warrent SkyeWarren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
“ESCORT is perfection only Skye Warren can deliver—a poetically erotic tale of exquisitely damaged characters, devastating secrets, revenge and redemption.” – Samanthe Beck, USA Today bestselling author
“Hypnotically romantic…this book reads like a sensual dream and I didn’t want to wake up.” – Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author
About Amelia Wilde Amelia Wilde is a USA TODAY bestselling author of steamy contemporary romance and loves it a little too much. She lives in Michigan with her husband and daughters. She spends most of her time typing furiously on an iPad and appreciating the natural splendor of her home state from where she likes it best: inside.
Amelia is a USA Today best selling author from northern Michigan. Be her friend!
Welcome to the book blitz for CONFESSIONS OF A FANGIRL, the first book in the adult contemporary romantic comedy series, Her Confessions, by Kirsten S. Blacketer. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
CONFESSIONS OF A FANGIRL (Her Confessions Series #1) by Kirsten S. Blacketer
Synopsis Life is good. I have a plush job, supportive friends, and a close-knit family. When the new hottie at the office asks me out on a date, I think I just won the jackpot.
Until movie night with the girls leads me down a dark rabbit hole. Who is he? An innocent Google search about a handsome actor has my imagination spinning. Now I’m drowning, and I don’t want salvation. I want him.
But I already have the perfect man. This obsession might just ruin my life.
Excerpt: Between the alcohol simmering in my blood, the heated glances and gentle brushes of his fingertips against my skin have me teetering on the edge during the entire trip back to my apartment.
As I fumble with the key in the lock, Shaun’s hands settle on my hips. His mouth ghosts across my neck. I nearly drop the keys.
“If you keep it up, we won’t make it inside.” My throat is hoarse and the words tangle together in a jumbled, breathy exhale.
His hand covers mine, taking the key. In two seconds, he has the door open and pushes me through it. It slams behind us with a force that shakes the building. Shaun pins me against it and covers my mouth with his.
I’m drowning in sensations. He deepens the kiss, darting his tongue between my lips. I’m completely at his mercy. I’ve wanted this, him, for weeks. But until this moment, I wasn’t able to give in to the temptation. My own insecurities, maybe. Truth is, I’m still terrified this will change everything. Sex always does, and not always for the best.
He slides his hands beneath my jacket and under the silk top. The press of his hot fingertips against my skin drives my need higher. When he rocks his hips against me, I groan.
“You taste so good.” His words make my face warm. “You drive me crazy. Do you know how hard it is to see you at work and not touch you?”
“It’s torture.” I rest my hand against his chest. “I know.”
“I’ve been tempted to call you into my office a few times,” he whispers against my throat.
“That would definitely cause some talk.” I release him so he can slide my coat down over my arms. It drops to the floor.
“Maybe the rest of the women in the office would stop hitting on me if they knew I had my hands full already.” A wicked grin curves his lips as he grabs my ass with both hands.
Need courses through me, and I know if he touches me, he’ll see exactly how much I want him. I’ve never been so wet. His teasing words set me on fire.
“Shaun…” I stumble over his name because his hands are on a mission to distract me from everything but the heat building between us.
“Do you want me to stop?” He pulls back but doesn’t stop touching me.
“No. Don’t stop.” I grab a fistful of his shirt and push his coat over his shoulders.
He shrugs it off and tosses it aside. We stumble back and start pulling clothing off. He slips the green silk top over my head. I grab his belt and unfasten it. He rips off his sweater and the shirt beneath in one fluid motion. On it goes until both of us are standing in my living room in our underwear panting.
Shaun tugs me by the hand and motions toward the couch. I turn to the door on my right leading to my bedroom, but he stops me with a tug of my hand. When I turn back, he wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me against him. His cock is hard against my stomach.
Shit, it’s been so damn long since I got laid. I don’t remember it being this scattered like I can’t find direction in an open sea. I focus instead on the man holding me. His gaze penetrates the haze clouding my floundering mind.
“What do you need, baby?” His hands never stop moving. They caress my spine, my hips, sliding beneath the fabric of my panties.
“My bed. In there.” I sound like a babbling idiot.
He grins. “Is that where you keep all your toys?”
I blink at him in disbelief. “Toys?” I don’t think of myself as a prude. I have a vibrator, yes, but do I keep a treasure trove of sex toys hidden in my bedroom? Hell no. I wouldn’t know where to start with that whole…lifestyle.
His throaty laugh sends a pang of lust straight to my core. “I’m teasing you, Jen.”
“Are you into that…kind of stuff?” I swallow the lump in my throat.
“Not really.” His sexy smirk tells a different story. “I’ve dabbled, but honestly, life is complicated enough. I like to keep sex simple.”
“Simple?” I gape at him as he slowly backs me toward my bedroom. “Like casual or like vanilla?”
Shaun cocks his head. “Which worries you more? That sex with me will be boring or that everything will change afterward.”
My heart stops. How the fuck did he know? “I…uh.” I drop my gaze.
He hooks a finger beneath my chin and forces me to meet his intense whiskey stare. “I get it. This is new for me too. I gave you time and space because I didn’t want to ruin this.”
About the Author Kirsten Blacketer writes the stories she’s dying to read. She likes mystery and intrigue, handsome heroes, sassy heroines, and a chance to break the rules. She lives for sexual tension and loves kissing scenes. There’s no way she can write in just one era, so don’t be surprised if you see her jumping from medieval Scotland to prohibition on the Mississippi River to late Victorian London then onto contemporary Brooklyn. She follows wherever the muse leads her.
The KSB Guarantee: A Steamy Getaway and Always a HEA!
Welcome to the blog tour for FEARLESS and FEARLESS ENCORE, from the adult contemporary rockstar romance series, Less Than Zero, by Kaylene Winter. See below for information on the books and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
FEARLESS (Less Than Zero Series #3) by Kaylene Winter
Family is everything, I protect mine with my life..
Connor McGloughlin had it all, a great family, a college scholarship and music. Tragedy forced him to grow up too fast. When his life finally is on track, Ronni Miller appears like a dream. Kindred spirits in the most unlikely of circumstances. There’s only one thing in the way— Her dark past he’s determined to protect her from.
When your innocence is stolen, trust is a precious gift..
Actress Ronni Miller tasted fame at a young age. But her path to stardom was riddled with tragedy. She never imagined falling for Connor McGloughlin, a rogue, Irish rock star. The thing is? Ronni’s got revenge on her mind. Regardless of the risk or the consequences. Or losing the one thing in her life that makes her feel alive.
Connor has only ever asked Ronni for one thing: her heart. But when her bravery is couched in lies? She risks losing the man who would do anything for her. Unless she finally realizes being fearless means placing your trust in true love.
FEARLESS ENCORE (Less Than Zero Series #7) by Kaylene Winter
“When your innocence is stolen, trust is a precious gift…”
Actress Ronni Miller tasted fame at a young age. Her path to stardom was riddled with tragedy. She never imagined falling for Connor McLoughlin, a rogue, Irish rock star.
The thing is? Ronni’s got revenge on her mind. Regardless of the risk or the consequences— Or losing the one thing in her life that makes her feel alive. Connor has only ever asked Ronni for one thing: her heart. She risks losing the man who would do anything for her.
What happens when Ronni’s bravery is couched in lies?
When your future has been tainted by innocence lost, learning to trust is an uphill battle.
For Connor & Ronni, the fight for true love is FEARLESS.
Excerpt #2 Sun streams through the filmy blinds when I wake up.
My mouth is incredibly dry. I reach for my bottle of pineapple Hint water on the nightstand. Drink what’s left and set the empty down. A couple of yawns later, I pat the bed next to me.
It’s a devastating pattern. Missing time with my husband. My family. Then again, my work schedule is mostly to blame. The past couple of weeks, I’ve crawled into bed hours after Connor and he’s up long before me to take care of the boys.
I pad across the plush carpet to the bathroom. Pee. Pull on joggers and my favorite old LTZ sweatshirt and head down the hallway. I hear little giggles and Connor’s deep voice coming from the nursery. I lean against the doorway and watch for a minute. My husband is beaming at Torin and Tristan, who are standing on their own. Assisted by the denim sofa they both cling to in order to keep themselves upright.
“Wow, they’re both standing.” I cross the room to sit next to Connor, who’s freshly showered and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. My boys squeal when they see me and fling themselves into my arms. I smother them with snuggles and kisses.
He pulls me and the boys to him. “Morning, love. I let you sleep in; it seemed like you needed it.”
Tristan plops himself in my lap. Mama’s boy through and through. I smooth his reddish-brown wisps around his ears. “They’re at such a critical age. I feel like I miss something every day.”
“It’s temporary. I’m happy to step up,” he reassures me. I know he’s trying to be supportive, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.
Connor plucks Torin up and sets him next to his brother. Then stands and strides to the door. “Why don’t you spend some quality time with them this morning? I’ll go check to see if Yolanda has their breakfast ready.”
“Stay.” It comes out shriller than I’d intended.
He stops and turns. “Okay.” He closes the door behind him, pads back over and crouches so he’s at my level. “What’s up?”
“Nothing. I just miss my family. And my life’s about to get busier.” I kiss the tops of my boys’ heads.
Connor drops to the ground opposite me and encloses us all with his long legs. “You’ve worked ridiculously hard to get here. Once you see these projects through, they’ll be plenty of time to reassess. All of this was in motion before you got pregnant.”
About the Author When she was only 15, Kaylene Winter wrote her first rocker romance novel starring a fictionalized version of herself, her friends and their gorgeous rocker boyfriends. After living her own rockstar life as a band manager, music promoter and mover and shaker in Seattle during the early 1990’s, Kaylene became a digital media legal strategist helping bring movies, television and music online. Throughout her busy career, Kaylene lost herself in romance novels across all genres inspiring her to realize her life-long dream to be a published author. She lives in Seattle with her amazing husband and dog. She loves to travel, throw lavish dinner parties and support charitable causes supporting arts and animals.
Welcome to the book blitz for COPPER WATERS, the fourth book in the adult crime mystery series, Annalisse, by Marlene M. Bell. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
COPPER WATERS (Annalisse Series #4) by Marlene M. Bell
Synopsis A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.
Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos are at an impasse in their relationship when Alec refuses to clear up a paternity issue with an ex-lover.
Frustrated with his avoidance when their future is at stake, Annalisse accepts an invitation from an acquaintance to fly to New Zealand—hoping to escape the recent turbulence in her life.
But even Annalisse’s cottage idyll on the family sheep farm isn’t immune to intrigue.
Alec sends a mutual friend and detective, Bill Drake, to follow her, and a local resident who accompanies them from the Christchurch airport dies mysteriously soon after. A second violent death finds Annalisse and Bill at odds with the official investigations.
The local police want to close both cases as quickly as possible—without unearthing the town’s dirty secrets.
As she and Bill pursue their own leads at serious cost, the dual mysteries force Annalisse to question everything she thought she knew about family ties, politics, and the art of small-town betrayal.
Excerpt #2: Today we’re on the way to Woolcombe Station and in livestock country big time. I’ve researched the current sheep population at almost thirty million, at a rate of about five sheep for every person in New Zealand. Sheep and lamb numbers continue to drop due to loss of the land needed to produce meat and wool. Raising vineyards for wine grapes has become popular, and many farmers have turned to dairy farms, not to mention the urban development to house an increase in the country’s overall population. In the past twenty years, New Zealand has gained two million residents. What began as seventy million sheep in 1982 has rapidly been on the decline.
The animal kingdom still dominates this nation. From the moment we hop in our SUV and hit the main route toward Woolcombe Station, the hillsides’ deep crevices spill into miles upon miles of rocky pastures less suitable for humans but more to grazing animals like sheep and crossbred cattle. I don’t recognize any single cattle breed except perhaps black Angus. Cows of mixed colors and shapes, some with horns, most without, support a hearty gene pool of four-legged critters, with ancestors that made ship voyages as far back as the 1800s. In addition to the one hundred thousand indigenous Māori population, first New Zealand settlers were convicts from penal colonies in Australia, or they traveled over three months on the ocean, seeking seals and whales for fur, fat, and lamp oil.
Out my window, red-roofed homesteads nestle at the base of taller peaks, surrounded by large, natural Totara shade trees, owner-operator granaries, woolsheds, and cooking stations. Bunkhouses for workers and shearers are rough and unpainted, broken down from age—a throwback from the war years when the world began to hum back to life in the 1970s after Vietnam. Those wars include Aussies and Kiwis fighting alongside the United States against aggressors pushing communism on a gullible public.
Bill and I drive past a smaller station, paddocks and chutes sporting little white bodies awaiting the shearers. I hope Bill will get to see how shearing is undertaken while we’re visiting, or Ethan can show us another station with shearers at work. I’d like to photograph them in action.
“This is going to sound like a stupid question, but what exactly is a sheep station?” Bill asks. “We have farmers raising sheep in our country, but I’ve never heard anyone call them stations. What am I missing?”
I smile. “Kate says there’s no such thing as a stupid question, and she’s right. A sheep station is their terminology for sheep farms in Australia and New Zealand. We’re going to see how farmers and ranchers make a living in rough, mountainous country. Their livelihoods depend totally on their sheep and cattle management.”
“With sheep, there’s more labor involved because of the shearing. Most breeds grow fleece that have to be shorn at least once a year. A few breeds in the US no longer grow fleece because the farmer wants to concentrate on a meat market. They’re called hair sheep. Small amounts of wool grow but shed off on their own, leaving hair on the hides. In the US, we don’t wear as much wool clothing as we did in the 1700s and 1800s. Our founders raised sheep because woolens were in demand for warmth and military uniforms. The price for wool was high back then because it was needed in society.”
“If there’s wool in the cloth, I run the other way. It’s too scratchy for me,” Bill says.
“Mills have an answer to that. It’s called worsted wool. It’s stronger, finer, and smoother than regular wool that’s rough and scratchy. Men’s and women’s suits are usually made with worsted wool because it has a softer feel. Your short lesson on wool for today.” I laugh softly. “New Zealand sheep stations take the all-of-the-above approach. Stations employ sheep shearers and rouseabouts, sell the wool, and raise lambs for meat. Much of that is exported around the world.” I change the subject. “Are you okay with going to the police station first? If you think it’s better that we go in together, I can put off the station visit until this afternoon.”
I have a guilty conscience about sending Bill Drake to the wolves once he takes me to the station.
“It’s best that I test the water with the police. See Ethan and meet his family.”
About the Author Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News, to name a few.
Her catalog Ewephoric began in 1985 out of her desire to locate personalized sheep stationery. She rarely found sheep products through catalogs and set out to design them herself. Ewephoric gifts may be ordered online or request a catalog at TexasSheep.com.
Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma guard dog named, Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo and Squeaks, the cats that believe they rule the household—and do.
Welcome to the book blitz for A FOREST OF STOLEN MEMORIES, the first book in the young adult fantasy romance series, Backward Fairy Tales, by Callie Thomas. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
A FOREST OF STOLEN MEMORIES (Backward Fairy Tales Series #1) by Callie ThomasA FOREST OF STOLEN MEMORIES (Backward Fairy Tales Series #1) by Callie Thomas
Synopsis A royal wedding turns to disaster when a curse goes awry.
A victim of the Sorcerer’s prophecy, Roselyn’s memories are instantly erased, leaving her panicked at the altar. Confused, she flees to the place her prince fears most—the enchanted Mistbrooke Forest. Danger lurks closer than she can imagine, forcing her to seek help from a dark stranger who may be the key to recovering her lost memories.
Can she break the curse without breaking her heart?
Excerpt #4: Could my life be altered after one kiss? My body craved it more than my next ragged breath.
“Do you feel it?” He traced his thumb across my lip. “Tell me you feel it.”
The tingle on my lips? The heat of his words? The intense desire to curl up in the safety of his arms forever?
I do, I thought since my mouth could barely function.
“How could you think this is magic?” he asked. “Nothing could duplicate this.”
I wanted to brand his words to my soul so that not even a curse could steal the memory of this moment away. My eyes fluttered closed and I waited, hoping.
“Don’t ask this of me,” he begged, his voice raspy. “One kiss could ruin everything.”
Author Callie Thomas
About the Author Callie Thomas was born in California but moved away immediately after, living in more places in the United States than she can remember. Even now, she can’t stay in one spot too long, but you can usually find her on the sandy shores of someplace tropical, possibly with a coconut drink in her hand. Callie has been writing since middle school when her teacher caught her writing stories instead of vocabulary words in her 7th grade English class. Plagued by doubt, she went in a completely different direction and graduated college at George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic and Web Design. But the stories never stopped. Older and wiser (she hopes), she is finally ready to take a leap of faith with her writing. She recently published her first Vella series, A Forest of Stolen Memories, and is currently writing her first novel, The Captain’s Daughter.
Welcome to the book blitz for THE DAREDEVIL, the second book in the adult contemporary romance series, WaterFyre Rising, by Nadia Han. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
THE DAREDEVIL (WaterFyre Rising Series #2) by Nadia Han
Synopsis Loving her is his biggest risk . . . and also his biggest reward.
Daring, clever, and gorgeous, Royce Viktorsson is a volcanologist who lives life on the edge between the thrill and the pulsing calm before the storm. His unsteady lifestyle masks the man who is seeking to heal the hole in his heart. Nothing has offered him resolve . . . until her.
The lightning that illuminates his soul.
The thunder that stirs his heart.
The lava that ignites his blood.
Thoughtful, alluring, and guarded, travel blogger Michelle Yates is emotionally unavailable thanks to the monster in her closet. Traveling allows her to see the beauty in the world, making her forget the ugliness in her life. One man yanks on that closet door and helps her claim back her self-worth.
The friend who becomes her lover.
The hero who defeats her monster.
The savior who defines her destiny.
As their romance churns, danger erupts, whipping out secrets that demand the truth, but the daredevil is willing to risk everything to defend those important to him.
The Daredevil is a friends-to-lovers, fake-dating, forced proximity, destined moments, billionaire hero, and a suspenseful contemporary romance. It is Book Two in the WaterFyre Rising series but can be read as a standalone.
Excerpt: In a blink, he pounced on me, pushing me back onto the couch with his body covering mine. He gripped my wrists and lifted them above my head. Heat spread all over my body as I sensed the bulge pressing into me.
“You cheated, and that calls for a punishment.” His eyes pinned me, while a mischievous smirk slid onto his face.
“I didn’t cheat,” I breathed as my nipples pebbled under my thin bra. “There weren’t any rules about fake injuries. I just maneuvered around you.”
“You manipulated my concern for you. We’re going to set hard rules for next time.” He shifted his body, pushing one of my thighs up with one hand while still gripping my wrists with the other. I was at his mercy, and there was something sexy about that.
“Not my intention—”
His hand ran over my thigh and squeezed my buttock. “Oh, it was your intention, just like this is my intention.” His free hand slipped under my ass, pushing my core into his hard cock.
I let out a moan as his cock throbbed against me, trying to punish me with need. God, I wanted him so badly. Grinding my hips against him, I studied his face.
He growled with satisfaction. Did he realize we were starting a new game?
“I should’ve known you’re a she-devil. All this wild hair and the wicked glint in your eyes should have given me a clue.” He pressed his face into my hair and inhaled. “I love the way you smell.”
The need to touch and feel him surged in me. With my legs, I squeezed his ass, making my claim. “A she-devil is the perfect match for a daredevil, don’t you think?”
“You’re driving me crazy, Michelle. What game are we playing now? How to seduce Royce?”
How had he known? A wild guess? It didn’t matter.
His eyes had darkened to a gorgeous mossy color. “Seduce away, angel. You know how to turn me on.”
Royce swallowed, and the movement of his Adam’s apple increased the need in me. I’d always considered a man’s shoulders to be the feature I couldn’t resist, but right now, his Adam’s apple became the switch that lit me up.
I pressed my lips to the masculine bump on his throat and kissed it.
He crooned. “I’ll accept this defeat.”
“Willingly? You had no choice. You lost.” My voice vibrated against his throat.
He veered back, creating a slight distance between my lips. “I love that you wanted to win so badly.”
I needed to win because I wanted to know what he feared. That desire trumped everything else. “I like to win.”
“So do I.” His eyes flashed with heat. “Since l lost, I have to either answer a tough question or do something that frightens me.” His body shifted, opening my thighs wider, not acting like someone who had been defeated.
About the Author Nadia Han is a dreamer, a visionary, and a believer in karma and kindness. She lives in New England with her family and spends most of her time crafting stories. When she’s not writing, she practices yoga, reads, explores nature, and eats all kinds of foods.
Welcome to the blog tour for ILLUMINATED, a standalone young adult, coming-of-age, fantasy thriller, by Iris Marsh. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
Synopsis In this coming-of-age YA contemporary fantasy, a teenage girl has her life turned upside down when her family is breaking apart, and she discovers her supernatural powers. There’s no time to deal with it, however, as she’s targeted by a dangerous power-siphoner.
Nikki Chase, a 16-year-old striver, feels like her life is falling apart around her. Her parents’ marriage seems in trouble, her best friend prefers to spend time with the popular girl, and she’s quite certain she’s on the verge of a psychosis. After all, normal people don’t see colors around people or hear voices, right?
When a volunteering assignment leads her to a mental hospital, Nikki is determined to figure out what’s going on with her—and if perhaps she belongs in that facility. What she discovers is nothing she expected: Lorene, a volunteer, tells Nikki she’s not crazy but, in fact, has the power to influence people’s thoughts and beliefs. However, someone has been sucking the power out of people just like her, leaving them behind as an empty shell. Desperate for help and someone to trust, Nikki teams up with Lorene to discover who is behind the siphoning. But can she stop them before she becomes a victim? And can she do so without becoming addicted to the power herself?
Fans of suspenseful contemporary fantasy will love this YA coming-of-age fantasy thriller book about coping with difficult emotions, navigating relationships with family and friends, and the addictive quality of power.
Excerpt #1 I need more time.
Molly stared out of the window, a finger tapping on her kitchen table, the TV on only to provide background noise to drown out the silence. Only a sliver of the moon was visible through the dense clouds. The darkness was pressing. She could almost feel the pressure in the air like a storm brewing.
She eyed the sizeable antique clock standing against the wall, an old family heirloom, the cast corners faded and chipped.
The witching hour.
She snorted—it wasn’t far off. Granted, what she could do wasn’t exactly witchcraft, but it certainly came close.
Scraping her chair back, she stood up, her legs feeling too restless, too agitated, too much like a wind-up feather ready to uncoil.
She needed more time.
Images flashed through her mind as if she was fast-forwarding a show on TV. All the times she’d failed her mentor… All the times she’d been punished, given those sickening sensations of despair, pain, and darkness. Always that suppressing darkness.
Molly walked to her kitchen, grabbed a half-empty bottle of red wine, filled half her tea mug, and took a swig. The warmth and slightly tangy flavor rolled over her tongue and into her throat, an aroma of earth and fruit surrounding her like a comforting blanket on a chilly day.
Her nerves settled a little. Good. Another sip.
Time was up.
Molly jumped, a splash of the red wine falling on her burgundy blouse. Cursing, she walked to the door; she’d have to remember to clean it with some soda later.
She opened the door and shivered, both from the cold wind and the person standing in front of her.
“Come in,” she said, stepping aside.
The figure in front of her strode past her, not taking off their dark, hooded cloak. There was something wrong with the image; it was pixelated and fuzzy, like a picture taken with the wrong settings. Try as she might, Molly couldn’t get a clear image of the figure in front of her.
How was that possible?
“Some wine?” Molly asked.
In her hand, the wine trembled. She put the glass on the table, her knuckles turning white.
“Yes, thank you,” the figure answered in an equally distorted voice.
It was almost as if she was watching one of those legal shows, where they blurred the face and distorted the voice.
But why? Why wasn’t she allowed to look at her mentor? Was this a dream after all?
Molly returned to the kitchen, fetched a crystal wineglass—the only expensive one she owned—and poured the red liquid until just underneath the bulge of the glass. Walking back, she placed it in front of the figure, immediately pulling her hands away and wrapping them around her mug.
“Did you get the documents?” the figure asked.
Molly swallowed and closed her eyes briefly. “Almost.” Her voice cracked.
Molly’s palms started sweating. “I retraced them back to the Romero’s. I only need to identify the correct family—find out what last name they have now. They’ll have the ritual.”
“Hm. Romero, eh?” The figure took a sip of the wine. “I suppose that’s something. But we’re starting to run out of time. I needed those papers yesterday.”
The darkness circled and slithered around Molly, surrounding her—big, sticky, and oily. It weighed on her, even with her mental barriers up. With her mentor, mental barriers were pretty useless, anyway. How often had she tried to keep the darkness out and actually succeeded?
“I know, I’m sorry.” Molly looked down, scratching the back of her hand.
“I know you are.”
Author Iris Marsh
About the Author Iris Marsh is a behavioral researcher turned writer. As such, she focuses on her character’s journeys as well as the plot. Her YA fantasy debut novel Illuminated is no exception: it’s both suspenseful and heavy on character development. Currently, she lives in the Netherlands with her partner and cat.
She would be overjoyed if you visited her website IrisMarsh.com and would love it if you followed her journey on Instagram.
Welcome to the book blitz for HUNTED, the first book in the young adult paranormal series, Dhampyr, by V.M. Nelson. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Tasi, an eighteen-year-old, head-strong, blood-drinking, dhampyr, has been hidden away in a small town in Maine since the death of her parents. Though she had trained to fight and kill vampires, she never believed those skills would be useful in her mundane life. That’s where she’s wrong.
In one moment, her life changes forever, and her aunt’s final words ring in her head.
They want your blood.
Now orphaned and charged with protecting her sister, Emily—a sister who doesn’t know what they are or that she’s about to endure a life-threatening change—Tasi has no other choice but to follow directions left for her. She is to find an ally who lives in New York City. This is the only way Tasi will figure out why she and Emily are being hunted before they end up drained of their blood.
Excerpt #2: South Station was bustling with people. The building had high ceilings, lots of shops, and from the aroma swirling through the air, some tasty eateries. Chatter filled the atmosphere, and as we approached the lower platform, horns blared from trains pulling in and out. Announcers over the loudspeaker called out train numbers and destinations. Emily had said little to me all morning, knowing I was still beating myself up over last night. She knew how stubborn I was and that I might snap if provoked. It’s not one of my best attributes. But when I was ready to talk, she would know.
I glanced over at my sister. She gave me a small, knowing smile. Her voice echoed in my head. We’re both alive. I knew I was acting stupid. As long as that was a onetime mistake and I didn’t put Emily at risk again, I had to let it go.
Emily shifted her weight. Her lips were tightly pressed together as she wrinkled and unwrinkled her freckled nose. I bumped her with my elbow, then turned to her, extending my arm. “Hi, I’m Tasi, and I’m done being stupid and feeling sorry for myself.”
She let out a giggle. “Finally.” She ignored my arm and gave me an enormous hug. I leaned my cheek against her forehead. “If I had to sit on a train in silence until we reached New York, I think I would have lost my freaking mind.”
“Yeah, me too.” The tightness in my stomach lifted.
Our embrace ended as they announced our train. We headed for the back and found some empty seats together. The seats were arranged in fours, which could be an issue, depending on who filled the seats facing us. I hoped no one would sit there, or at least would leave us alone if they did.
While we waited, I watched the hordes of people filing onto the train. Some whispering to each other, dressed in casual attire. Others with their suits on, storing briefcases overhead. The murmurs grew louder as more people boarded the train car. My body was tense, and it became hard to separate the oblivious people from the ones who may be threats.
“If we have time, can we go to the giant toy store in Times Square?” Emily asked. “It has an indoor Ferris wheel!”
“Yes, once we find Sonya. I want to make sure we find a place to stay before we start sightseeing.”
“Okay.” She clasped her hands together.
As we continued talking, a girl not much older than me stopped in front of us. Her hair was a thick golden blonde. It was pulled back in a half ponytail, and the curls bounced with her slightest of movements. Her lips were narrow and cheekbones high.
Sickness stirred in my gut, and the hairs on the back of my neck sought refuge.
“Are these two seats open? My friend is running late, which is so typical. It’s hard to find a good traveling partner these days. So annoying.” Her emerald eyes sparkled like gems.
“Sure.” Prickles coated my skin as she eyed me.
She sat down across from Emily. “I like the window seat. I hope you don’t mind.” She directed that to my sister.
“No . . . no, it’s fine.” Emily gave her a small smile and focused back on me. She saw what I had.
Our seats were in a section too close to other travelers for either of us to do anything. We were safe for the time being. However, my first thought was to lead the girl somewhere private so I could kill her.
She sat still as she looked out the window, her flawless complexion hard as stone. Yup, she was one of them, but did she know who we were? The train jerked forward, reminding me we were in this for the long haul. The trip was about four hours; that was four long hours with a filthy vampire sitting across from us. That’s the problem with big cities. These large transportation centers provided enough shelter so vampires could hide out there during the day.
“So, are you guys headed to the city? Business or pleasure?” She studied my eyes, as if waiting for me to stumble or hesitate.
“A little of both.” I showed no fear as I locked my eyes on hers. “You?”
“Business, mostly. I hope my friend made it. It’d be such a shame if he had to catch a later train. Plus, our boss would be really unhappy with him if we screwed up our task.”
Great. I hoped he missed the train, because if it was a friend of hers, I didn’t want to meet him.
Turning to Emily, I noticed her apprehension. She was readying herself for the worst. Part of me wished I hadn’t given her those stakes. Our eyes met, and I hoped she deciphered my visual message to relax. Still feeling a little rebellious, I pressed my luck. “So, what kind of business, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Her ringlets fell off her shoulders as she leaned closer, showing me her venomous fangs. “Pest extermination.” She scowled.
Author V.M. Nelson
About the Author V. M. Nelson is the author of The Dhampyr Series. She writes upper young adult paranormal, urban fantasy with a touch of romance thrown in. When she isn’t writing, you can find her playing video games.
Virginia resides in Minnesota with her partner and three children. She has always had an obsession for myths, legends, and fairytales. If asked, she would prefer to live in an alternate universe with vampires and fairies.
Welcome to the cover reveal for CHILD OF PROPHECY, the third book in the adult fantasy series, Titanlord, by M.G. Darwish, releasing March 7, 2023. See below for information on the book and series and a link to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
CHILD OF PROPHECY (Titanlord Series #3) by M.G. Darwish
About the Book – Preorder Now! Title: CHILD OF PROPHECY Series: Titanland Series #3 Author: M.G. Darwish Genre: Adult Fantasy Release Date: March 7, 2023 Links: Goodreads
Synopsis From the award-winning author of The Long Night, an enthralling novel that will captivate you with tales, myths and legends as it brings an epic conclusion to the Titanlord Series.
“Beware when victors win, as they often become the demons they vanquish.”
Griffyn Haikrou has become Titanlord. Ever since he journeyed from his village with nothing but a sword and a few friends, he has overcome one obstacle and another in pursuit of avenging a world that was doomed to crumble at destined prophecies. He avenged his friends; he mourned, fought, lost, and won.
The sky turned red. For the hour has come.
Now, he must test his mettle against the prophecy that he set out to fulfill in the first place. Rumors and whispers still linger wherever he goes, so he turns to the one truth he knows: the world must be saved… no matter the cost.
Get Caught Up on the Series – Read for Free with Kindle Unlimited
About the Author M.G. Darwish is an award nominated author who writes dark, twisted and action-packed fiction. He tries his best not to base his characters on anyone he knows in real life to avoid that extra weird conversation about how they were brutalized and killed in the book. Oh and he’s terrified of a penguin uprising more than ghosts and demons.
He is best known for his Secret of the Moonlight which was featured on Wattpad.
Welcome to the book blitz for STRIPES, the twelfth book in the adult contemporary romance series, Devil’s Boneyard MC, by Harley Wylde. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
STRIPES (Devil’s Boneyard MC Series #12) by Harley Wylde
Melina Men have never given me a reason to trust them. The Bratva taught me men are brutal. Selfish. And take what they want. Death would be better than tying myself to one ever again. Then a Russian biker swoops in to save me. As much as I want to believe everything he says, how can I? I’ve only known pain at the hands of men. I want him to be different… but any hope I had died long ago.
Stripes She thinks she’s broken. I see a survivor. A strong woman who’s still standing despite what’s been done to her. It will take time, but I’ll help her heal. Prove not all men are evil. I’ll give her a reason to keep living. Never again will someone cause her pain. If they do, they’ll answer to me. My hands are already stained with blood. What’s a little more?
WARNING: Recommended for readers 18+ due to language, violence, and adult situations. Stripes is part of the Devil’s Boneyard MC series and contains darker content some readers may find objectionable. Stripes can be read as a stand-alone story, even though it’s part of a series.
Excerpt #2: Stripes
“What intel did Wire send us?” I asked.
Gator shrugged, which meant he’d been as pissed as me and hadn’t paid close attention. We’d parked about a block away and observed the place from a distance. I leaned against a building, smoking a cigarette, in the hopes people wouldn’t be suspicious. So far, we’d seen a few customers go in and come out not too long afterward. I highly doubted they were getting their money’s worth.
“I wish Specter would show the fuck up,” I grumbled.
“We’ll be lucky if he does.” Gator scanned the area. “Can I ask you something?”
“If I say no, will it stop you?”
He snorted and shook his head. As I figured. I motioned for him to go ahead.
“Why did you agree to this? Breaking the woman out of there, I understand. But letting them marry the two of you? Why the fuck would you take a whore as your wife?”
I fought for control, knowing he was genuinely curious and didn’t mean it the way it sounded. Otherwise, I’d have already put my fist through his face. I took my time, trying to figure out how I could word it.
“The woman in there didn’t agree to become a whore. They beat her. Raped her. Forced her into that way of life. If we don’t get her out, she’ll only suffer more. Grimm and the Dixie Reapers are concerned the Bratva will try to take her back. Marriage is the only way to protect her.”
Gator stared a moment before giving a slight nod. “Fine. As long as they did not coerce you into this shit. I know how big your heart is, Stripes, even if others don’t always realize it.”
I grinned and put out my cigarette. “Let’s get this out of the way. If Specter shows, great. If not, we’ll handle it.”
Breaking into a brothel wasn’t exactly difficult. I’d expected security, but I hadn’t seen a single man watching over the place. If they’d had electronic surveillance, I knew one of the hackers would have disabled it by now. We walked through the front doors and a woman, most likely the madam, smiled at us broadly.
“Gentlemen, what’s your pleasure today? We can cater to any and all of your needs.”
I curled my fingers into a fist, fighting to maintain control. I wanted to rip this place to pieces with my bare hands. Instead, I took in my surroundings. At a quick glance, I saw the frightened women nearby, a few who looked completely destroyed. They no longer cared what happened to them, and the woman in front of me was the deadest of them all. Despite her smile, her eyes were vacant. She was little more than a puppet. I doubted she had any real control. The Bratva owned her, same as the other women here. Her greeting us only meant she’d been here the longest. They’d broken her long ago and had no reason to doubt she’d do exactly as they commanded.
I didn’t think any of these women came here voluntarily. Someone had possibly trafficked them. At the very least, they were being disciplined like Melina. I didn’t want them to get hurt, which meant I needed to be careful. And yet, I’d have to get my point across. The thought of scaring them soured my stomach. But fear and pain would be the only way to get their attention. At first, anyway.
“Do you want easy way or hard way?” I folded my arms. I didn’t need them to know I was a pushover when it came to a damsel in distress. With my accent, they might even think I had Bratva ties. And I knew it was thicker than usual right now. Even I could hear the difference. “I want Melina Romanov.”
The woman slightly flinched. So, she at least knew who I’d come for. The question was whether she’d hand her over, or if I’d have to destroy the place searching for her. I noticed Gator eyeing the women huddled together in the corner. Something told me Gator would prefer it if we took more than Melina with us. However, the Bratva was going to be pissed as fuck if we did, but I knew how he felt. I didn’t want to leave these women here, either. Hell, some of them didn’t look old enough to be legal. But Melina was my priority.
Shit. She’d said they catered to all needs. Did it mean those girls were underage? It made me want to throw up, but I needed to keep my cool at least a little longer.
No one came forward or gave up Melina’s location. Reaching for a vase on a table nearby, I threw it against the wall, watching it shatter all over the floor. The madam flinched again, but still didn’t give in. The others seemed frightened, and I hated being an asshole to them. But there were times it couldn’t be helped.
Next, I picked up the table itself and hurled it against the wall. The plaster cracked, and the table broke before it fell to the ground. Someone nearby whimpered. The madam only pressed her lips together and still refused to speak. This bitch wasn’t going to crack easily. I really didn’t want to fucking hit her.
I took a step forward and raised my hand, bracing myself to deliver a slap I knew I’d feel all the way to my soul. A soft voice stopped me.
“She’s downstairs,” one of the women said. “There are rooms in the basement. That’s where she is.”
Author Harley Wylde
About the Author Harley Wylde is the International Bestselling Author of the Dixie Reapers MC, Devil’s Boneyard MC, and Hades Abyss MC series.
When Harley’s writing, her motto is the hotter the better — off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place. She doesn’t shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what they deserve.
The times Harley isn’t writing, she’s thinking up naughty things to do to her husband, drinking copious amounts of Starbucks, and reading. She loves to read and devours a book a day, sometimes more. She’s also fond of TV shows and movies from the 1980’s, as well as paranormal shows from the 1990’s to today, even though she’d much rather be reading or writing.
You can find out more about Harley or enter her monthly giveaway on her website. Be sure to join her newsletter while you’re there to learn more about discounts, signing events, and other goodies!
Welcome to the blog tour for NEVER PLAY FAIR, the second book in the adult thriller series, Sydney Evans Mysteries, by Leah Cupp. See below for information on the book and series, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on their giveaway.
NEVER PLAY FAIR (Sydney Evans Mystery Series #2) by Leah Cupps
Can Sydney find her FBI boyfriend in time, or will this gamble be here last?
Instagram Influencer Sydney Evans has seen and lived her share of photo-worthy experiences, but now, she’s found herself entangled in a situation she never saw coming.
After her FBI agent boyfriend, Alex, disappears while working a case involving a notorious Latin gangster, Vincent Estavez, the Department of Defense is forced to change tactics. Determined to bring down Estavez and the illegal online casino crime ring he’s been running by any means necessary, the FBI orchestrates an operation to infiltrate the gangster’s stronghold.
But Sydney only has one motivation for her own investigation: find Alex before he becomes collateral damage.
Desperate to locate her boyfriend in time, she flies to Costa Rica and is forced to seek help from an unlikely ally: her criminal ex-husband, Jack. He may be the last person she wants to see, but she’ll do whatever it takes to find Alex alive.
But Sydney isn’t the only one with a motivation against Vincent Estavez.
Never Play Fair is a fast-paced standalone thriller. If you like real-world issues, lavish socialite parties, and electrifying twists and turns, then you’ll love Leah Cupps’ provocative cozy mystery.
NEVER PLAY FAIR is the second book in the Sydney Evans Mystery Series and can be read as a standalone.
Excerpt #1 Why am I still alive?
The question had been tumbling through Ethan Evans’ mind for months. He stared at the concrete brick wall in front of him, which was the color of stained teeth. Nothing was bright in this place, and little of it was clean. He had been left alone, sitting in a small room, waiting for his transport out of ADX Florence, a maximum-security prison in the Rockies.
Pale gray light dropped in from a small window near the ceiling, highlighting the specks of dust that hung in the stale air. The chill of the room bit through his thin clothing.
Under normal circumstances, he would fetch himself a jacket, but he didn’t have the freedom these days. The thought made him nervously wriggle his wrists inside the cold, steel cuffs.
Although his clothes were ill-fitted on his six-foot-two frame. But, he didn’t miss the abrasive fabric of the orange jumpsuit he’d been wearing earlier that day. It was one of the many discomforts of prison, less painful than others, though it branded him as one of the lost souls who needed redemption. Today, he had been given a pair of slacks and a button-up shirt from his old life. Even they didn’t feel as comfortable as they once had. At this point, Ethan was used to being uncomfortable, yet he had found a fortitude within himself he didn’t know he had. He was a survivor.
Surviving the mind-numbing routine of imprisonment had given Ethan plenty of time to ruminate over his feelings; the main one had been anger. It had been three months since he had been placed in a high-security facility to face the consequences of his decisions in Jamaica. Months to think about how his brother had betrayed him.
He had also felt fear. Fear that left him drenched in sweat every night, not knowing if he’d live to see the dawn of another day. When the cell block grew quiet, he still heard sounds and movement. And he would wonder.
Is today the day? The day he will send someone to kill me?
He knew Vincente Estavez would never let him live after learning Ethan had worked with the FBI. Estavez was still a free man, but the upcoming trial could change that rather quickly. From what little Inspector Sam O’Connell had shared with him during their interviews, the FBI had been working tirelessly to put an airtight case together to bring Estavez down.
Then again, nothing was nothing was guaranteed. Ethan was acutely aware of that little issue.
About the Author Leah Cupps is an entrepreneur and author. She writes Middle Grade Mystery Adventure Books as well as Thriller, Mystery, Suspense for Adults.
Leah’s novels are fast-paced mysteries that will keep you up at night as you can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter.
Leah lives in Indiana with her husband, three young children and three dogs. When she isn’t losing sleep writing her next novel or scaling her next business, she enjoys reading, golfing working out and spending time with her family.
Welcome to the book blitz for WHISKEY ON OUR SHOES, a standalone new adult contemporary romance by Tonya Preece. See below for information on the book, buy links, an exclusive excerpt, and details on her giveaway.
Synopsis Eva dodges the fans, media, and gossip that follow her supermodel mom and rock star family members by wearing disguises. After an aimless gap year, she struggles to figure out what she wants from life. She moves in with her famous guitar god brother in Austin while he recovers from a drunken stage stunt accident and tries to stay sober. When a hot Texas cowboy named Alex takes Eva by surprise, she risks her safety and security of anonymity by letting him into her unconventional life.
Alex is captivated by Eva and promises to protect her privacy. Yet he has a secret of his own—the fling he had with an older woman is fraught with scandalous potential for him and now Eva. He broke free of that mistake months ago, or so he thought. As things heat up with Eva, his old flame returns and won’t leave him alone.
Just when Alex thinks he has the reins on the situation, his ex teams up with a gossip reporter hell-bent on invading Eva’s privacy. The resulting exposé, with a sly spin on a recent encounter with his ex, is Alex’s worst nightmare, and Eva’s unsure what to believe. Can she face the world with Alex at her side or will she return into hiding?
Excerpt #2 I drive to the house, and she’s on the porch wearing shorts and a tank top. The sight of her does my heart good. She runs to me as soon as I leave my truck. I pick her up and love the way she wraps her arms and legs around me.
I laugh. “What’s got you in such a good mood?”
“You’re here.” Her bare legs squeeze my hips, and she kisses me. I could become real used to this, with her breasts mashed against my chest and my hands cupped under her butt.
“Come on.” She slides down my body—oh damn, that was hot—and takes my hand. “Hector’s teaching me to cook. We’re making salmon with roasted red pepper pesto.”
In the kitchen, Hector’s setting out ingredients and cookware. “Hello, Alex. Eva wants to learn to cook. Any idea what that’s about?”
“No idea.” I grin, appreciating the Wonder Woman apron Eva’s putting on.
“You like it?” She strikes a pose.
“I love it.” I pull her to me and kiss her, long and hard.
Hector clears his throat—loudly. “Are we cooking here, or what?”
“Sorry, Boss.” Eva laughs, and I move to the other side of the bar.
A pen and notepad call to me, begging me to draw the scene. In my sketch, I nickname Hector “Honcho,” as in head honcho. I draw Eva in a Wonder Woman costume. She and Hector put the salmon in the oven, and she heads over to sit down by me at the bar when he orders her to the sink. “These dishes aren’t washing themselves.”
“Sir, yes sir!” She salutes him. “Show me what to do.”
He explains what needs to be washed by hand and what can be put in the dishwasher, like it’s the first time she’s done this. How strange and different from me. I’ve been washing dishes since I was five years old. Mom had me stand on a chair to reach the sink.
Hector throws together a rice and vegetable side dish.
Once everything’s ready, Eva and I carry our plates to the theater room.
“Have you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” she asks.
“Yeah, it’s good. Cassidi and I watched the whole series a few years ago.”
“I’m up to the ninth episode.”
By the end of the show, we’ve finished eating and share the after-dinner mints she brought from the kitchen. She shuts off the lights. We get comfy in the oversized theater seats and play the next episode. It’s about nightmares coming true in an alternate reality. One of them involves a character being chased by a scary clown.
Eva switches the lights back on and shudders. “I hate clowns.”
“I’m sorry, I forgot that part of this episode. We can skip it if you want.”
“No, I wanna see the end, but can I sit on your lap?” She laughs. “Wow, how cheesy.”
“I like cheese,” I joke. And of course, she’s welcome to sit on my lap anytime she wants.
She leans against my chest, and I put my arms around her. She smells delicious. It’s the usual vanilla but with a hint of something else. Peaches?
The rest of the show is lost on me. I concentrate on having her close.
As the episode ends, she nestles her head between my neck and shoulder and our fingers entwine. Can she hear how fast she makes my heart race?
I press my nose to the top of her head. “You smell like peaches and cream.”
She looks up at me with those beautiful green eyes. “Is that a good thing?”
“It’s a very good thing.” I kiss her, and she shifts on my lap, pushing the button to recline my seat back. Soon, she’s lying on top of me.
Author Tonya Preece
About the Author Tonya Preece writes romance and contemporary young adult fiction and incorporates music into all her books in one way or another. She lives near Austin, TX where she’s a small business manager for a forensic engineering firm. She and her husband enjoy traveling, live music, wine, and spoiling their fur babies.
As an active SCBWI member since 2015, Tonya has volunteered for several conferences and has served as a critique group facilitator. She joined the Writer’s League of Texas and The Author’s Guild in 2021. She’s serving as the 2022 WriteOnCon Financial Administrator and Critique Boutique Coordinator.
Tonya’s 2022 debut, Whiskey on Our Shoes, was selected for the 2019 #WriteMentor program. One of her YA novels, THE MISSING MEMORIES OF CORDY O’REILLY, earned her a 2020 scholarship/mentorship with Austin SCBWI and was a finalist at the 2018 Houston SCBWI conference.
An avid consumer of written stories, Tonya reads and/or listens to an average of 75 books a year. Some of her favorite YA authors include Jeff Zentner, Julie Buxbaum, Sarah Dessen, and Robin Benway. In adult romance – Kate Clayborn, Christina Lauren, Helena Hunting, Emily Henry, and Abby Jimenez. Series she tries to keep up to date on: Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. Recent mainstream faves are Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Five Fun Facts about Tonya that aren’t reading or writing related:
1. She volunteers at a local food pantry, where she’s enjoyed serving weekly since 2017.
2. Her travel bucket list includes Italy, Ireland, and Bora Bora. Australia would be awesome, too!
3. She loves ziplining, indoor skydiving, and rollercoasters.
4. She’s a fan of bands like With Confidence, Broadside, All Time Low, State Champs, Sleeping with Sirens, and As It Is.
5. In her free time, she can be found indulging a jigsaw puzzle habit and/or binging shows like Outer Banks, Never Have I Ever, Downton Abbey, Bridgerton, Good Girls, Veronica Mars, and iZombie.