Category Archives: August

[Review] After The Kiss by Lauren Layne

After The Kiss  by Lauren Layne

Publication date: August 26, 2013
Publisher: Loveswept

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Sex, Love & Stiletto Series # 1
Pages: 230

Back of the book

 
Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.

Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants. 



Order After The Kiss

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My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – After The Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto Series # 1 series)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Lauren. This book includes drama, passion, betrayal and romance throughout the entire story.

Julie Greene needs to write an article for the magazine about a relationship.  So after talking with her best girlfriends they decide that she needs to go undercover and fake date a man to get the info.  They know just the man. 

Mitchell Forbes has just broken up with a long term girlfriend. At a get together his co-worker bets Mitchell that he can’t have a fling with a woman without falling for her and thinking of marriage. He accepts the bet and his co-worker points out Julie. 

With Julie and Mitchell dating each other both of them keep the secret of why they are dating from each other.  The more dates they go on the closer they grow.  Now how are they going to back out of the article and the bet with the co-worker? 

Will they be able to make the right decision?  Will they be able to forgive each other when the truth comes out?
 
You can feel the chemistry between the two throughout the book.  You also feel there conflict as the days go on and their feelings for each other grow.
 

 
 
Look forward to the next book in this series.

Love the One You’re With : Sex, Love & Stiletto Series #2  – Due out December 09, 2013

About Lauren Layne
 
 
 
Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Layne moved to New York City, where she now writes full-time. She lives with her husband and their plus-size pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.

Connect with Lauren: Facebook | Twitter | Website
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Filed under 2013, August, Lauren Layne, Love Sex & Stiletto Series, Loveswept, Review, Romance, Sex

[Review] His Instant Heir by Katherine Garbera

His Instant Heir  by Katherine Garbera

Publication date: August 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Desire

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Baby Business # 1
Pages: 187

Back of the book

 
In her Baby Business trilogy, USA TODAY bestselling author Katherine Garbera starts with just one night…

Cari Chandler can’t forget Declan Montrose. Their baby is a living reminder. The baby she hasn’t told him about. The no-commitment billionaire—and her family’s sworn enemy—walked out of her life the morning after. But now he’s back…with a vengeance!

Taking over her company is the last step to victory in their families’ long feud. But Cari’s more than collateral damage to Dec. He wants—needs—to seduce her again and again. Until he finds out she’s hidden something more precious than her company. His son. And Dec intends to claim him… no matter the cost. 

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My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – His Instant Heir (Baby Business # 1 series)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Katherine.  This book includes drama, passion, laughs, heartache, and betrayal.


Cari Chandler and Declan “Dec” Montrose had a one-night stand 18 months ago which resulted in a baby boy named DJ “Declan Junior”.  Cari decided not to tell Declan when she found out she was pregnant as he ran out on her after that one night and never contacted her. 

Dec was sent in by his cousins to get rid of the Chandlers and dismantle there company as they are the enemy of the Montrose from a long ago feud between the grandfathers of the two families. 

Dec has not stopped wanting Cari since he left her in the hotel so many months ago.  He decides he will have her and they can be together for the next 6 weeks that he is there. 

When Cari tells Dec he has a son things change.  He realizes that he wants his son and Cari too.  Now he must figure out how he can have them and also do what his cousins want him to do also.

Will he be able to make the right decision?  Will he have any family left in the end after he makes that choice?

You can feel the chemistry between the two throughout the book. 
You also feel Dec’s conflict as he is being pulled by family in a different direction then he wants to go with Cari.
 


 
Look forward to the next book in this series.


Coming Soon

Contact Info for Katherine Garbera

 

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About Katherine:

USA Today best-selling author with more than 3 million books in print, Katherine Garbera is a native Floridian who spent most of her childhood outside day-dreaming and making up stories to amuse her younger sisters.  Growing up on the edge of the Green Swamp with an orange grove for a playground fed her creative juices.

Katherine’s first published novel THE BACHELOR NEXT DOOR, sold to Silhouette Desire in 1996. The book immediately set the bar for the titles to follow since the editors selected her as a Woman to Watch.  Katherine hasn’t let them or her readers down, publishing more than 50 books since then.

She has broadened her writing skills to include writing for Harlequin Blaze, Harlequin NASCAR and the short-lived but much acclaimed Silhouette Bombshell (a series which featured strong heroines who both got the guy and saved the day).  She’s a two time winner of the prestigious Maggie Award for Excellence and multiple RT Bookclub award nominee.

Garbera started making up stories for her own benefit when she was on a competitive swim team in high school.  Though she went to State and usually medaled at swim meets, Katherine says her heart wasn’t in swimming but rather in the stories she created as she swam laps at practice.

She worked for The Walt Disney World Company for 15 years and did everything from being a hostess on It’s a Small World, to saving swimmers at the Grand Floridian Resort, to touring around VIPs such as Jack Valenti at the Disney-MGM Studios and being a production page on the New Mickey Mouse Club–yes, it might be possible that Britney, Justine and Christina owe her a nod of thanks for keeping all those kids who had to go to the bathroom from interrupting their performances.

In 2005 with the publication of BODY HEAT, Katherine made the jump to single-title romantic suspense  The nine books she wrote for Kensington Brava were known for their tight suspense, complex emotions and sultry sexuality. 

2007 saw the launch of her highly acclaimed mercenary series THE SAVAGE SEVEN.  THE PIRATE caught the attention of the editors at Cosmo and it was selected as a Red Hot Read in 2010. The story is ripped from the headlines and features a group of pirates who attack a tanker off the coast of Somalia.

Her books have been featured in magazines such as REDBOOK (11/98) and have even been displayed on the large JumboTron in Times Square, and excerpted in COSMO (7/10).

Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors.  She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who’ll listen.

Read an Excerpt

Cari Chandler paused in the doorway of the conference room. On the far wall was a portrait of her grandfather looking very young and very determined. Since he’d never been a “happy” man, she hardly noticed that he wasn’t smiling. He certainly wouldn’t be convivial at this moment when the grandson of his most-hated enemy was in his stronghold.

Since the late ’70s the Chandlers and the Montroses had been feuding and trying to cut each other out of the video-game market. Her grandfather had won that long-ago skirmish by making a deal with a Japanese company, cutting Thomas Montrose out, but none of that mattered today as the Montrose heirs and their Playtone Games had just delivered the feudending blow with their hostile takeover of Infinity Games. And leaving Cari and her sisters, Emma and Jessi, to pick up the wreckage and try to forge some sort of deal that would save their jobs and their legacy.

But Cari as COO was the one who’d been chosen to deal with Declan Montrose. It made sense, since operations were her area, but the secret she’d been harboring for too long suddenly felt like it had a choke hold on her, and she wished she’d confided in her sisters so that maybe she wouldn’t have to deal with Dec today.

The conference table was long and made of dark wood, and the chairs positioned around it were leather. She focused on the details of the room instead of the man she saw standing by the window. He hadn’t changed much in the eighteen months since she’d last seen him.

From the back she could see his reddish-brown hair was a little longer than it had been before, but was still thick and curly where it hit his collar. His shoulders were still as broad, tapering to a narrow waist and that whipcord-lean frame that she’d remembered pressed against her as he’d held her. A shiver of sensual awareness coursed through her.

Don’t. Don’t think of any of that, she warned herself. Focus on the takeover. One problem at a time.

“Dec.” She called his name. Her voice sounded strong, which pleased her since inside she was quaking. “I didn’t think I’d see you again.”

“I’m sure it’s a pleasant surprise,” he said with a sardonic grin as he left the window and walked over to stand not more than six inches from her.

The familiar smell of his spicy, outdoorsy aftershave surrounded her, and she closed her eyes as she remembered how strongly the scent had lingered on his skin right at the base of his neck. Then she forced herself to get it together, crossing her arms over her chest and remembering he was here for business. The knock at the door provided her with the distraction she needed. “Come in,” she called.

Ally, her assistant, entered with two Infinity Games logo mugs, handing one to Dec and giving the other to Cari. Cari walked around to the head of the table, already feeling more in control now that Dec was on the other side of it from her. She was aware of Ally asking if Dec needed anything in his coffee and him answering he took it black, and then Ally was gone.

“Please sit down,” she invited, gesturing to the chair across from hers.

“I don’t remember you being so formal,” he said as he pulled out a chair and took his seat.

She ignored that remark. Really, what could she say? From the moment she’d first seen him she’d been attracted to him. Even after she’d learned he was a Mon-trose and technically her family’s enemy, she’d still wanted him.

“I assume you’re here to talk about moving assets around in my company,” she said.

He nodded. “I’ll be spending the next six weeks doing an assessment of the assets in the company and on this campus here. I understand you have three different gaming divisions?”

Wow. She should have been prepared for it, but he’d just completely shut off his emotions and switched to business. She wanted to be able to do the same, but she’d never been that good at hiding what she felt. Cyborg, she’d heard him called. He lived up to that moniker today.

He looked over at her and she realized she was just staring at him. This wasn’t going to work. She’d call Emma, her oldest sister and the chief executive officer of Infinity, as soon as he left and tell her that she or Jessi would have to work with Dec. Though to be fair, as chief marketing officer, Jessi wasn’t really the one who should be handling Dec.

“Cari?”

“Sorry. Yes, they all report to me—online, console and mobile.”

“I will need to set up meetings with everyone in the company. The way this will work is that each person will be assessed and rated, and then I will give a presentation to our combined board of directors with my recommendations.”

“No problem. Emma mentioned you wanted to talk to the staff. Do you think you’ll just be here one or two days a week?” she asked, mentally crossing her fingers.

“No. I want to set up an office so I can be here in the thick of things,” he said, leaning forward. “Is that going to be a problem?”

“Not at all,” she said with the only smile she could muster. She’d rather not see him ever again, but that wasn’t going to happen and she was mature so she could deal with it. She knew her smile must have looked forced when he laughed.

“You were never good at hiding your feelings,” he said.

She shook her head. Though his statement was true, it wasn’t something that he could know from personal experience. They’d had a one-night stand, not a relationship. “Don’t say it like that. You don’t know me at all. We only had one date and one night together.”

“I think I got a fairly good impression of you,” he said.

“Really?” she asked. She told herself to let it go and just concentrate on the business end of things, but that was going to be impossible. “Then why’d you leave me alone in that hotel room?”

He leaned back in his chair and took a long swallow of his coffee before standing up to pace around the room to her side of the table. He leaned back against the table and stared down at her, and she was tempted to stand up so he wasn’t towering over her. But she didn’t want him to think he intimated her.

“I’m not really a man for attachments,” he said at last. “And though you think I don’t know you, Cari Chandler, I’d have to be a blind fool not to see that you care too much.”

She wanted to deny it, but the truth was she was the bleeding heart of the Chandler family. She volunteered, donated time and money to charities and causes and she’d fallen for more than one sob story at work. Emma had been furious at first, until she realized it made their employees loyal because they felt that the executive management cared.

“I wasn’t going to cling to you and profess undying love, Dec,” she said. She barely knew him after one sex-filled night. She might have been interested in seeing him again and getting to know him better, but she’d learned all she needed to know when he’d left her. “It was only one night.”

“It was a fabulous night, Cari,” he said, putting his hand on the back of her chair and spinning her around to face him. “Maybe I should remind you of how good we are together.”

She pushed the chair back, standing up. It was time for her to take control of this meeting. “Not necessary. While I remember the details of the night, it’s really the morning after that stuck with me.”

“That’s why I left,” he said in that wry way of his. “I’m not good at dealing with the aftermath.”

“Aftermath?” she asked.

“You know, the emotional stuff women usually bring up,” he said. “The clingy things.”

She shook her head. It was clear that a one-night stand was all that Dec intended for her to be. With her secret looming in her mind, she knew she had to say something about their night together, but for now she wasn’t going to. She would focus on the business and try to figure out a way to save her family’s legacy from being dismantled and destroyed.

Though she had to admit hearing Dec talk made her sad because she wanted better for herself. She had wanted to hear him say he wished he hadn’t left and that he’d thought of her every day… Probably what he would term emotionally clingy stuff.

“Disappointed?” he asked.

“I guess I know why an eligible billionaire like you is still single,” she said, trying not to be disenchanted that he was exactly like she’d thought he was. She’d hoped she’d just caught him on a bad day.

“Maybe the right girl just hasn’t tried hard enough to change me,” he said with a cocky half grin.

“Oh, you don’t seem like the sort of man who can be changed,” she said.

“Touche. I’m happy with my life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to appreciate a woman like you when our paths cross.”

She wanted to stay angry with him, but he was honest and she couldn’t fault him there. Even though she’d hoped for longer with Dec, she’d known from the moment they’d gone to dinner that all he wanted was an affair.

“I think I’d have more luck changing the direction of the Santa Ana winds,” she said.

“Have dinner with me and we can find out,” he said.

“Would you be willing to discuss Playtone Games being a silent partner in Infinity?”

He laughed. “Not happening.”

“Then neither is dinner.” No matter how much he cajoled she needed distance and a chance to really think before she just jumped back into something foolish with him.

“We have to work together, so I don’t think us spending time together outside the office would be wise,” she said at last. She used to be more impulsive, but wasn’t anymore. Her one-night stand with this man had reminded her there were consequences for acting without thinking.

“The Cari I know doesn’t make decisions with only her head.”

“I’ve changed,” she said bluntly. Maybe if she hadn’t fallen for his smooth-talking ways and blunt sexuality. What?

“I like it,” he said slickly.

Cari knew she had to face facts that the man she’d had a one-night stand with was back in town. And it was becoming abundantly clear that a corporate takeover was the least of her problems. She was going to have to tell him about her son…his son.

Their son.

And she had no idea how to do that.

Cari had changed. That was easy to see even for a guy who’d spent only one night in her company. Dec knew things between them had always seemed complicated. Never more so than now. Their families were hated enemies of each other and his cousin, Keller Montrose, the CEO of Playtone Games, wasn’t going to be happy unless Infinity was completely broken apart so that nothing of Gregory Chandler’s legacy remained.

And this pretty blonde woman standing before him was going to be nothing more than collateral damage.

Dec had never been able to see her as his hated enemy. From the first moment he’d laid eyes on her he’d wanted to know more about her—and not so he could figure out how to use that information to take over her company.

Being adopted, Dec never truly felt like a real Mon-trose and was always striving to prove he was as loyal as both Kell and their other cousin, Allan McKinney.

Being back in California, conveniently with Cari, seemed his chance to do his job and continue to prove his worth to the Montrose family, as well as hopefully reconnect with the woman he hadn’t been able to forget. With her thick blond hair that fell in smooth waves past her shoulders and her pretty cornflower-blue eyes, she’d haunted him. He couldn’t forget the way she’d looked up at him as he’d held her in his arms.

Now that he had the chance to get a proper look at her, he could see the year and a half they’d been apart had added a quiet confidence to her. He started at her tiny feet in those pretty brown two-inch heels and moved upward. Her ankles were still trim, but her calves seemed more muscular. The hem of her skirt kept him from seeing any more of her legs but her hips seemed fuller…more pronounced. Her waist was still impossibly small, he noted, as the button on her jacket flaunted. Her breasts—whoa, they were a lot larger. She’d been slim and small but she was much—

“Eyes up here, buddy,” she said, pointing to her baby blues.

He shrugged and then smiled at her. “I can see that you have changed a lot in the past year. Your figure is much fuller than before, but I like that.”

He walked toward her with a long, languid stride and she backed up until there was nowhere for her to go. She put her hand up to stop him, keeping him an arm’s length away. He stood there, staring down into her eyes, and had to admit there was something different about her. It was in her eyes. She watched him more closely than she had before.

She looked tired and he thought, well, duh, Playtone had finally gotten the upper hand on Infinity Games and she was more than likely worried about her job.

He backed away from her. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to come on too strong. I’m sure losing your company to us was a shock.”

“That’s a bit of an understatement.”

He smiled at the way she said it. “I’m a little jetlagged still.”

“Jet-lagged? I wasn’t aware that there was a time zone between the Infinity Games campus and the Play-tone offices,” she said.

She gave up nothing. And he wondered how he could have missed this side to Cari eighteen months ago. But then he’d been in full-on lust and it was safe to say his brain hadn’t been controlling him.

“I’ve been in Australia for a little over a year managing our takeover of Kanga Games.”

“You let them keep their corporate identity,” she said.

“They didn’t screw our grandfather over.”

“My sisters and I didn’t either. We’ve always dealt with you and your cousins fairly.”

“I’m afraid that doesn’t matter when it comes to revenge,” he said.

“Surely profit matters.”

“It does.”

She nodded and moved back to her chair. He sat down and so did she. She steepled her fingers together and he noticed she wore a ring on her right hand now that she hadn’t before. It was a platinum band of hearts with a row of diamonds in the center. It seemed the kind of ring a lover would have given her. Was she involved with someone now?

Maybe that was where her new confidence stemmed from. She had a lover now. Well, he could be happy for her. Even though he regretted that he might not ever get to kiss her again.

“When did you get back from Australia?” she asked as she toyed with the ring. Those little gestures seemed to indicate her nervousness, though the rest of her body language didn’t support that.

“Saturday, but I’m still adjusting. And seeing you again surprised me,” he admitted, reaching for his briefcase, which he’d stowed next to his chair, and putting it on the table. He had his computer and the files he’d already started studying on the takeover.

“How did it surprise you? I knew you’d be here this morning,” she said. “Didn’t you know it would be me?”

“Yes, Emma informed me via email,” he said. He wasn’t about to tell her that he’d never expected to react so strongly to her presence. Not now. He’d thought since they’d slept together all the chemistry would be gone…but he’d been wrong.

The mystery of her body had been revealed to him. There wasn’t an inch of it he didn’t remember, though he realized now, with the flesh-and-blood woman standing before him, that those memories were a pale imitation of the real thing. 

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Filed under 2013, August, Baby Business, Desire, Harlequin, Katherine Garbera, Review, Romance

[Review] TURN AND BURN by Lorelei James

TURN AND BURN by Lorelei James

Publication date: August 6, 2013

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Publisher: NAL Trade
A Blacktop Cowboys Series #5
Pages: 368

About TURN AND BURN

 

Tanna Barker is a world champion barrel racer. But her personal life has been less of a success, and she’s feeling adrift. After her mother’s unexpected death, her father has remarried, and sold the Texas ranch she called home. Now a rodeo injury has left the restless spitfire holed up in Muddy Gap, unsure what her next move should be.

Until she meets her match in a wild, wild cowboy

Veterinarian August Fletcher has always put his job first. He’s never found a woman who could handle his on-the-road lifestyle. But when sassy, sexy Tanna blows into town, he finally finds the woman of his fantasies. And there’s something between them, but she claims she’s been burned by love ’em and leave ’em road dogs before. How can Fletch prove that he’s in it for the long haul, and that their sizzling relationship is better than winning any rodeo medal? It’ll take some sweet persuasion to convince Tanna that Muddy Gap is where she belongs.

Links to Buy:
 

Barnes and Noble


 

Blacktop Cowboys Series Reading order:


Corralled (Blacktop Cowboys Series #1)

Saddled and Spurred (Blacktop Cowboys Series #2)

Wrangled and Tangled (Blacktop Cowboys Series #3)

One Night Rodeo (Blacktop Cowboys Series #4)

 

 


My Review:


4.5 Star Review – A Blacktop Cowboys Novel # 5 

I recommend this book.
I enjoyed this book by Lorelei. This book includes Erotic fun, passion, laughs, heartache and healing romance throughout the entire story.

If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books first.
Corralled (Blacktop Cowboys Series #1)
Saddled and Spurred (Blacktop Cowboys Series #2)
Wrangled and Tangled (Blacktop Cowboys Series #3)
One Night Rodeo (Blacktop Cowboys Series #4)


Tanna Barker a world champion barrel racer and August Fletcher a veterinarian come together in this erotic novel. They are both strong and funny characters. They play off each other’s moods.

I don’t think Fletch was ready for Tanna when he met her. He kind of blew away by her. She was broken and he helps her heal.

Love the Mud Lilies there funny way of telling you like it is it totally cracked me up.

So bottom line is I really LOVE this book. I think I laughed more in this one then all the others in this series. Great Job Lorelei.

I think in a way we all need our own Fletch just saying!! 

It was a really great book you are going to love it.


A few parts of the book that made me laugh:

Tobin laughed. “Easy for you to say when you’re getting laid all the time.”

“You’re not?” Fletch gave him a lewd once-over. “You ain’t that bad lookin’. You packing a peanut or something?”
 
The crazy woman erased the distance between them and sniffed his shirt. Twice. She wrinkled her nose before breaking into a smirk. “Relax. You don’t smell. I’d be more offended if you doused yourself in Axe body spray. Now that shit is really rank.”
 
“I’m pretty sure that you hot stare alone isn’t enough to burn her clothes off,” Miz Maybelle said.
Why haven’t you asked her to dance yet?” She paused, giving him ample time to answer. When he didn’t, she tossed off, “As I live and breathe, I think the big, tough doctor…is just plain chicken.”
 Contact Info for Lorelei James

About Lorelei:

Lorelei James is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary erotic western romances set in the modern day Wild West and also contemporary erotic romances. Lorelei’s books have been nominated for and won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s choice Award, as well as the CAPA Award. Lorelei lives in western South Dakota with her family…and a whole closet full of cow girl boots.

Why do I have a particular fondness for all things western? Well, I’m a fourth generation South Dakotan, living in the Black Hills, which is chock-full of interesting characters, including cowboys, Indians, ranchers, and bikers. The geographical diversity of the surrounding area showcases mountains, plains, and badlands. Living in and writing about rural settings gives me a unique perspective, especially since I’m not writing historical westerns. Through my fictional world, I can show the ideals and the cowboy way of life are still very much alive.

 

 
Excerpt

Tanna glanced up at the man.

Oh, hello, sweet darlin’.

How hadn’t she noticed this giant? At least six feet five, he easily cast her five feet three inches in shadow. And holy frijoles was this guy hot. Like, really hot. After being approached by wannabe cowboys all night, there was no doubt this guy was the real deal. So she shamelessly took in his banging body, from his summer-weight cowboy hat to the tips of his dusty boots—and every inch in between.

His age looked to be mid-thirties. In this part of the country his reddish gold complexion had to be from Native American ancestry. Her avid gaze took in his angular features. A high forehead not marred by a single wrinkle. A slash of dark eyebrows arched over eyes the color of warm topaz. His cheekbones were prominent in a wide-set face. A thin blade of nose. The corners of his lips turned up in an indulgent smile. And check out that ridiculously strong-looking, chiseled jawline. His thick neck tapered into shoulders so wide it appeared he wore football pads, until she realized this hunky man couldn’t hide bulky equipment under his skintight T-shirt.

“You done looking your fill? Or did you want me to turn around so you can ogle my ass too?”

“Better to know up front that I’m staring at your package, and not considering the size of your wallet, doncha think?” Tanna retorted with saccharine sweetness.

He laughed. A deep, sexy rumble that caused a little flip in her belly. “So will you let me buy you a beer if I pull out my wallet?”

“If you’re sure you wanna spend money on an ex-con.”

“You’re not an ex-con by any stretch of your imagination.” He waved down the bartender. “But I am interested to hear which lie I’ll rate.” He shot her a grin. “I’m hoping you’ll claim to be a secret agent.”

Tanna leaned across the bar. “Got a Bond girl fantasy you wanna tell me about, ace?”

“I’m more of a fan of Lara Croft or Sydney Bristow. Chicks who kick ass turn my crank.”

“Hot women who know how to kill and how to dress to kill are the ultimate asset.”

“Oh, those women ain’t got nothin’ on you in the asset department.” His gaze dipped to the deep V of her cleavage.

It didn’t bother her that he was blatantly checking out her rack. When he finally dragged his gaze to hers again, the unbridled lust in his eyes sent a wave of liquid heat through her.

“You are trouble,” she murmured, unable to look away from him. Something about this man pulled her in and revved her up.

“No more trouble than you are, spy girl.” He held out a twenty for the bartender without breaking eye contact. “You wanna grab us a booth and we’ll talk about what kinda trouble we can get into together?”

She nodded. Just as she stepped back, a man jockeying for her spot at the bar jostled her, sending her off balance. Her tall, dark and handsome stranger kept her from falling by using a firm arm to pull her forward. Her breasts met the hard wall of his chest and all the air left her lungs in a rush. Good God was he solid.

He sucked in a sharp breath at the sudden intimate contact.

The side of her face smashed against his pectorals. She remained like that, inhaling his scent until he tugged on her hair to get her attention. She glanced up into his eyes, feeling a blast of pure sexual heat.

“Might be dangerous to keep looking at me like that,” he said softly.

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Filed under 2013, A Blacktop Cowboy Series, August, Erotica, Excerpt, Lorelei James, NAL Trade, Review, Romance

[Review] DEATHWATCH by Dana Marton

DEATHWATCH by Dana Marton

Publication date: August 19, 2013

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Broslin Creek #1
Pages: 156

About DEATHWATCH

 

The only person who can identify the most notorious hit man in the country, Kate Bridges is running for her life. Murphy Dolan is in the Army Reserves, returning from his 2nd tour of duty, only to find a stranger hiding in his house. She’s scared spitless. He’s completely burned-out on violence. Neither of them has any trust left to give.

If the FBI’s best can’t protect her from the country’s most notorious assassin, does a burned-out, small town cop have a prayer?


Link to Buy:
 



Broslin Creek Reading Order


DEATHWATCH (Broslin Creek, Book 1)
DEATSCAPE (Broslin Creek, Book 2)
DEATHTRAP (Broslin Creek, Book 3)

 

 



My Review:


4.0 Star Review – Broslin Creek Series

I recommend this book.

As always I enjoyed the book by Dana she combines suspense with humor very nicely. This book includes drama, passion, kidnapping, gunfire, betrayal and romance throughout the entire story. 
 
Look forward to the next book in this series Due out in December 2013:
 

DEATHBLOW



If the FBI’s best can’t protect her from the country’s most notorious assassin, does a burned-out, small town cop have a prayer?

Kate Bridges is running for her life after witnessing a murder. A sting was set up at her funeral so they could capture a killer and it all went wrong. She is currently hiding out in Broslin, Pennsylvania working as a waitress and renting a house. She has been running for the last 18 month on her own.  
Murphy Dolan is returning home from his 2nd tour of duty with the Army Reserves, to find Kate in his house and in his bed.

He can tell she is running from something. Not that she wants to admit it. He is suffering his own issues. Can try trust each other enough help each other out?

This was another awesome book in the Broslin creek series. I can’t wait for the next book in this series.

*****I was gifted an ARC of this and enjoyed every second of this book. *******

It was a really great book you are going to love it.


 
To find out the answers to the below pick up the book:

Who is after Kate?

What happened to Murphy?

 

A few of my favorite parts of the book:

You’re going to tell me what you’re so scared of?”

Her shoulders immediately snapped straight, a tough chick expression coming over her face—incredibly sexy, even if she was faking it. Or maybe because of that. He found the contrast in her, between the woman she really was and who she wanted him to think she was, intriguing.

Her chin came up. “I’m not afraid of anything.”

“Which is why you sleep with a loaded gun.”

“It’s not much use unloaded.”

Okay, he had to give her that.

“If you’re in trouble, maybe I could help.”

“Because you’re a cop?” Her tone turned derisive.

“That and other reasons.”

No thanks. I’m a small town waitress who’s renting your house. End of story. If you’re looking for intrigue, go back to work.”

All right, so she put him in his place. Fine, rescuing damsels in distress wasn’t in his short term plans anyway. For all he knew, she was a bank robber on the lam. That brought a few interesting thoughts.

He didn’t want to be intrigued by her, dammit. He’d come home for peace and quiet. But while he sipped his coffee and looked at her through the steam as she walked away from him, he had a strong premonition that ship had already sailed, been set on fire by pirates and sunk into the sea.

 
 Murph reached for a cookie, smiling his thanks to Leila. “Can’t complain. Found a sexy redhead in my bed when I got in last night.”

“Shit like that never happens to me,” Chase mumbled. “Can I have her?”

Murph flashed him an as-if look as he chewed. “Find your own woman.”

“It’s easier for you. You have that whole returning warrior thing going.”

“Don’t let me stop you.” Murph laughed. “I’d be happy to hook you up with my recruiting officer.” He grabbed another cookie. “Caught the Tractor Trio Gang yet?”

Since he wore nothing on top, just sweatpants, she could see his muscles relax degree by slow degree. She knelt next to the sofa, onto the blanket that he’d kicked off. She was glad she’d set aside her skimpy nightgown and slept in her yoga pants and shirt. “Want to talk about it?” 

“Hell, no.”

“You have nightmares like this a lot?”

“Only when I sleep.”  

“And if he doesn’t hit at home?”

“He normally does. I checked what information I could find on his work. He doesn’t like an audience. He fancies himself to be invisible. Smoke. But just in case.” He jerked his thumb toward the back seat, the bulletproof vest he’d grabbed from the station. “I want you to wear the Kevlar under your clothes at all times. It’s the latest technology, not too thick. It’s winter anyway, everybody’s bulky.”

She raised a pointed eyebrow at him.

“Not you.” He backpedaled immediately. “Even in the thickest sweater you’re as slim as a monk’s chance for getting laid.”

She laughed out loud. “Nice save.”


Contact Info for Dana Marton

About Dana:

 
Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.
She would love to hear from her readers.

Okay, the above version is the glamour version for press releases. The truth is that my path to publication was nothing but unglamorous. I wrote for 13 years and completed 4 books (as well as having others in various stages of completion) before I finally received a call from a Harlequin editor. I was beginning to wonder if I was being tenacious or just too dense to know when to quit. But it all worked out at the end! J I love, love, love writing and would spend all day in front of the computer if I could just break my family of the habit of wanting to eat and wear clean clothes. What’s up with that? But I must get up from the desk now and then, if only because my Internet connection goes down or my ancient PC overheats. Then I do enjoy cooking, knitting, hunting for treasures at the flea market, our Beagle, Peanut the Destroyer, and gardening.

I’d love it if you picked up one of my books and emailed me to tell me what you thought of it. I’ve been known to name characters after readers. Just ask Princess Judi. 

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Filed under 2013, August, Broslin Creek Series, Dana Marton, Review, Romance

Disconnected Release Day

Disconnected by Bethany Daniel

Release date: August 12, 2013

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Series: Connected #2

Blurb:  
This is the retelling of Reconnected from Liam’s POV, however it CAN be read as a standalone.
Find Reconnected here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C…

A Fast Paced Love Story!

Liam and Katy were high school sweethearts. Shortly after they graduated they ran off to Vegas to get married. Liam does theater acting and it’s there that he is discovered by Excite Entertainment and flown to L.A.

Once he’s in L.A his marriage takes the backseat to rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s biggest and brightest. One night Liam throws a big party and Katy comes into their house filled with half dressed women. When Katy says she’s going to leave, Liam doesn’t believe her until he comes home from filming and finds a note that tears him apart.

Four years later, he’s tried to move on but never let go of the love he has in his heart for his Katy. It’s in a little town they are filming in that their paths cross again and Liam has to try and convince Katy that their love is worth fighting for.


Links to Buy Reconnected:





Links to Buy Disconnected:





My Review: – previously posted see link below

 http://reneeentress.blogspot.com/2013/07/arc-review-disconnected-by-bethany.html

 

Contact Info for Bethany Daniel


 

Facebook
Twitter
Website
GoodReads
Pinterest
Amazon Author Page


About Bethany:

 

Bethany Daniel is a new Contemporary Romance Author. Her first book is Reconnected, a story about Liam and Katy Warren. Her second book, Disconnected, that is the story from Liam’s POV is set to release August 12th. She’s currently writing Krista and Scott’s story. She lives in Texas with her husband and 2 sons and enjoys reading, photography, spending time with her hubby and chasing after her boys!

Prologue

A party ruined my life. It was supposed to be all about making a name for myself and showing everyone that I was the new kid on the block, but my wife was in the background and she left me.

When I got home from shooting the day after the party, I thought she would be there waiting for me with a home cooked meal like always. She had told me she wanted to keep something normal while everything else was so make-believe. But when I came in, all that was there was a note:

 

“I’m leaving. I hope you have all the successes you’ve ever wanted. I won’t be along for this crazy ride. Goodbye.

 

 Love, Katy”

 

I didn’t believe her when she said she would leave. I thought she was just mad about all the girls in the house. I never thought she could really just be gone.

 After I read that note, I tore the house apart. I ran through every room yelling her name and then I grabbed the phone and tried to call her over and over again. When she didn’t answer, I called her parents. All Mrs. Parker would tell me was that she was safe and really upset. She said she was sure we could work things out, this was just the first of many fights married couples have. But she was wrong. Katy never came back home to me.

So I started drinking. I drank and drank until I could hardly move anymore. Mitchell Fallon said he was going to fire me if I didn’t get over it because she’s “only a girl” and there’s plenty more where she came from. But he never got it. She’s still more than just another girl to me, she’s everything. And I blew it.

One morning I woke up and made myself think with a clear head. I was going to find her. Filming was on a break, so I took a few days and I drove home to my parents’ house first.

“Sweetie, are you sure you’re alright?” my mom asked me for the hundredth time after I got there.

“Yes. Because I’m going to find her, Mom. I have to. I’m going to go talk to Mr. and Mrs. Parker and make them understand that I need her! I’ll apologize and Katy will come home with me.”

My parents exchanged a look and I sighed with frustration. “Look, I’ll be back later.”

I walked out, hopped into my car, and sped down the route I knew by heart until I got to Katy’s child hood home. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel until I had the courage to get out and walk up to the door and knock.

A few moments later, Mr. Parker opened the door and crossed his arms as he looked at me. “Liam.”

“Mr. Parker, I need to know where Katy is.” I wanted to sound like I meant business but it came out more as a plea.

He shook his head looking down at the ground. “I’m sorry son, I can’t tell you that.”

I glared at him. “She is my wife! I have every right to know where she is!”

He glared right back at me and stepped closer. “And she is my daughter. Do you have any idea what you put her through when you took her to that city? All you did was party and you forgot all about the wife you had that was right there with you!” He yelled through clenched teeth.

 

I flinched and stepped back as Mrs. Parker came around the corner to see what was going on.

She crossed her arms and came to stand next to her husband. “Hello, Liam.”

“Please–please Mr. and Mrs. Parker. Tell me where she is so I can fix this,” I pleaded with them.

Mrs. Parker looked at me sadly as she stepped forward and took my hand. “Liam, sweetheart, she needs her time.” She turned to look at her husband. “Katelyn’s not in Nevada anymore.”

My eyes widened and I had to bite my lip to keep from yelling and getting hit by Katy’s dad. “She left the state? Just up and left?” I shouted, frustrated, and started pacing.

I couldn’t believe this was really happening. If she wanted to teach me a lesson, well, she did.

“Where did she go? You have family all over the place! Who did she go to?” I yelled, and stormed back towards the door.

“Son, I think it’s best if you get in your car and leave. Now.” Mr. Parker glared at me. “You’re just going to cause a scene, and I doubt that’s real great for your… what do they call it in Hollywood? Image?” He shook his head. “Go on back.  If Kate wants to come back, she will.”

“And what if she doesn’t? What if I already screwed this up too bad?” I gulped and looked down at my simple black wedding band. When we ran off to Vegas to get married right after graduation, our parents were furious. But we were in love and this was supposed to be forever.

 Maybe forever isn’t forever when you live in Hollywood.

 

The whole drive back to L.A I started making a plan in my head. Any free days I got, I was going to spend contacting Katy’s friends and family that I had information on. One of them was bound to know exactly where she was. Or maybe Katy’s parents would slip up when they were talking to my parents. They’re best friends. My parents are practically Katy and her brother Derek’s other family. They couldn’t keep her away from me. I just had to hope she’d come around. “We’ve known each other our whole lives, she has to know how much she means to me,” I thought as I smacked my fist against the steering wheel and turned into our very empty home.

There I saw the car of my new friend, Scott Adams, another up-and-coming actor that Excite had taken on. We got along good, and he liked to hang out– especially since everything that had happened with Katy.

“Hey man, how’s it going?” he asked as I got out of the car.

I shook my head and leaned against the door. “Not good. She’s not even back home. She left the state. Her parents won’t even tell me where the heck she went!” I kicked some rocks from the driveway into the grass.

“So now what?”

“Every chance I get, I’m going to contact all the people I know connected to her and figure out where the heck she is.” I shrugged. “I really screwed up.”

“I’ll tell ya what, I’ll help you.” Scott smiled at me as we walked inside. “You really love her don’t you?”

 

I plopped down on my very expensive leather couch and nodded. “I do. This city makes me different. I’m not the Liam that came from a theater in Nevada anymore. Here I’m Liam Warren, movie star, and I feel like I need to act the part.” I ran both hands through my hair and squeezed them into fists. “I just forgot to stop acting when I came back home.”

 ************************************************************************

A year later, I was still no closer to figuring out where she might be. Hope was slowly slipping away of ever getting another shot at things.

After yet another dead end phone call to a friend, I threw my phone across the room and watched it hit a wall.

“What was that about?” Scott asked as he came around the corner. He’d taken up residence here. I’d figured he might as well.

“The same freaking answers over and over and over again.” I gritted my teeth. “I don’t….I don’t know what else to do Scott.” I slipped into a chair and covered my face. “If she was going to forgive me, she would be back already.”

Scott came and sat on the coffee table in front of me. “You need to let go. I know you don’t want to,” he added in when I gave him a look, but he just shrugged. “Come out with me tonight. Mingle with some of Hollywood’s newest and brightest. You have noticed your co-star, Alexia right?” He raised an eyebrow at me.

I shrugged. “What about her?”

“She’s beautiful. And she wants you. It’s in her eyes every time you guys are near each other. Marriage or not, she’ll make you forget the hurt you’re feeling right now.”

 

 “I don’t know, man. I don’t think going out partying is good for me right now.”

“So don’t think, get changed and come to the new club everyone’s been talking about. A bunch of people will be there, you won’t think about Katy and that mess at all. We’ll just relax and have a good time.”

After some internal arguing, I finally gave in to Scott. Having a good time wouldn’t kill me, and a little bit of distraction was welcome.

I quickly got changed into some dress slacks and a button-up white shirt and just ran some gel through my hair before I walked down the stairs to where Scott was waiting.

“Ready to go?”

I nodded. “I guess so.”

He patted my shoulder as we both went out the door and I slipped behind the wheel of my little sports car. “I’ll try to have fun, I promise.”

Scott smiled and nodded as he turned the radio on. “Good, that’s all I ask.”

A little bit later we drove up to a large building that had a line wrapped around the side. There were strobe lights going, masking the camera flashes of paparazzi that were just waiting for people like us to drive up.

 

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I asked Scott, looking at the long line before we got out of the car.

 

He smirked at me. “Our pictures are all over the place right now, we can just bypass all this,” he motioned to the lines. “You know what Mitch always says about the paps. Any publicity from them is good as long as we don’t destroy anything.” He shruged and pulled me up to the front of the line by the bouncer.

“Oh my God, Liam Warren and Scott Adams!” a redheaded girl that was flirting with the bouncer squealed when she saw us. “I can’t believe I’m standing right beside you!”

The bouncer shook his head as he looked us over. “You’re both legal, right?”

“Yep.” Scott answered for the both of us and grinned as the bouncer stepped back and let us in easily.

“See? No problems.” He smiled over at me and directed me to a barricaded section where there were two different bouncers blocking the area.

“Names?” one of the guys asked us.

“I’m Liam Warren. This is Scott Adams.” I pointed in his direction.

The other bouncer looked over his list, nodded and let us go by. Immediately we were handed drinks, and I took a quick glance to see that it was beer before taking a swig and following behind Scott to a table in the back. Sitting there was Alexia Dalton and another actress I can’t remember the name of.

Alexia looked up at me with a big grin. “Liam! I’m so happy you decided to come!” She jumped up and hugged me before I realized what she was doing.

“Um yeah.” I ran a hand through my hair and sat down.

The actress I can’t remember looked over at me and smiled shyly. “I’m Josie.” She reached her hand out and I shook it. “I’m an extra on the movie you’re working on right now.”

“Oh, right.” I nodded. “That’s why you look a little familiar.”

She smiled a little bigger and nodded. “Yep. Alexia is showing me all the fun stuff to do around L.A.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t be here if I could help it. I’m kind of being forced.” I looked over in Scott’s direction. “He says I need to get out more.”

“Getting out can be good,” she shrugged.

I shook my head and glanced around until I noticed Alexia had her eyes glued on me.

“So Liam, how do you like L.A?” she asked as she crossed her legs and sent the hem of her dress riding up.

“It’s alright, I guess. It would be even better if my wife was still here with me.”

She pouted as she set her chin on her hand. “I heard about that.” She reached her hand across to pat mine. “I’m so sorry. Some people just aren’t cut out for this life.”

I narrowed my eyes and pulled my hand away from her as Scott brought another round of drinks over.

 

“Everyone know everyone?” he asked, taking a drink of his beer.

“Yep.” Alexia smiled and looked me up and down again. “You know Liam; our characters get very cozy over the next couple days.”

I just shrugged. “Great,” I replied dryly.

Scott kicked my foot under the table and sent me a glare. I just took another drink and sighed.

Over the next few hours the four of us ended up downing drink after drink, and Scott was right. I forgot why I was so mad and hurting in the first place. Alexia had scooted herself closer to me and I didn’t even mind her rubbing her fingers up and down my arm.

“So, Liam,” she whispered by my ear, and I looked down at her.

“Hmm?”

“How about we get out of here and get to know each other really well?” She raised an eyebrow at me suggestively and leaned in a little closer, until she had pressed her lips to mine and for a minute, I froze. But the alcohol was flowing through me, and it had been a whole year since I’d had the comfort of my wife, and I need this; I deserved this. I could find another way to be happy. I let myself kiss her back and smiled flirtatiously as I pulled her up out of her chair. “Let’s go.”

 

 But the next morning when I tried to roll over and was stopped by arms and legs draped all over me… it was then that everything came crashing down. I slept with Alexia, I betrayed Katy. Oh God, what had I done?

 

 

 Chapter 1

 

3 Years Later

            Disconnected, that’s how I’ve felt the last four years since Katy walked out of my life. I admit, when I found myself in Hollywood back then, I let it get to my head. There was just so much out there, and it gave me culture shock.

            Unfortunately, I took it out on Katy– the one person who saw past all that crap and still loved me for just being Liam. That party that Mitchell Fallon and the other Excite execs talked me into having to “rub elbows” with Hollywood’s elite cost me my marriage. I haven’t been able to forgive myself ever since.

           Now I’m on a plane to Georgia with my best friend, Scott Adams. We’ve been in this whirlwind together. He was picked up by Excite around the same time I was. 

            “Ready to find us some Georgia peaches, man?” Scott asks from beside me in our first class seats.

            I just roll my eyes and run a hand through my hair. “I don’t know man, doesn’t it ever get old?”

            He looks at me like I’ve lost my mind as he puts his hand against my forehead. “Are you sick, Liam?”

            I shove his hand away and sigh. “I’m just thinking about everything, ya know?” I shrug and look down at the floor.

            “You have to let her go sometime,” Scott tells me in a whisper. “I know you still love your wife, but she left you, man. You have to focus on your future. You’re the big man now! You can walk into any building and have every woman in the place throwing themselves at you. Maybe there’s someone you’re really meant to be with out there.”

            I just shrug, “Yeah, maybe.”

 

            The next morning, Scott and I are heading over to a local college. Excite wants it to be a PR opportunity, show we are all about education or something. 

            As soon as we step into the Dean’s building, there are at least 40 girls that suddenly need to be in that building for something, of course.

            “Liam! Scott! Could you please–please autograph something for me?” a girl stammers as she grabs some paper and a marker out of her bag and lunges at us with bugged out eyes.

            “Sure.” I flash a grin at her. “Who should we write it out to?”

            “Laney,” she breathes, and after both Scott and I  have signed she squeals and runs into the group of girls, who then join her in squealing.

            “I’m so sorry for that.” A secretary shoots a look over at the girls. “Dean Paul is ready to meet with you in his office.”

            We nod and follow her down the hall where there’s a plaque with “Dean Paul” in golden letters. As we enter, he quickly stands and smoothes down his suit. “Mr. Adams, Mr.  Warren,” he reaches his arm out to shake our hands, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Would you like a tour of our school grounds?”

            “Sure,” Scott pops in with a smile. I bet he has pictures of college girls rolling through his head. “We’d love to.”

 

            While we’re walking through the grounds, Dean Paul goes on and on about the history of the place and I halfway tune out.  Anywhere I go, if I catch a glimpse of a girl with long brown hair, I always stop to see if maybe–just maybe–it’s Katy. I know it’s a really long shot, but I’ve never stopped looking. She’s always in my thoughts and I can’t ever just forget her like she seems to have forgotten me. 

            We walk into the middle of the courtyard area and as the Dean is sweeping his arms around, I see someone that walks just like Katy, with a small bounce in her step and a habit of tucking her hair behind her ears. She’s holding onto the hand of a tall guy with cropped brown hair.  She has the same hairstyle as Katy, too… the same one she’s had her whole life, since she always refused to cut it much shorter or dye it. My heart is pounding. There’s no way, right? Here in Georgia on some itty bitty college campus?

            Without realizing it, I step away from the Dean, Scott, and the bodyguard and move closer.  My eyes are glued on the girl, and then she looks directly at me before continuing the conversation with the boy she’s talking with. It’s Katy. My Katy.

            “Oh my God, Katy?”  I can’t hold in. It’s her. It’s really 100%, honest to God, my Katy. Right there, walking with another guy.

 

            All the anger I felt that day four years ago bubbles up inside me and I take off in a run to where she is. “Katelyn Marie Warren!”  I yell at her and notice her flinch.

            The guy I saw her with pulls her behind him. “Dude, I don’t know what your problem is but you have the wrong girl. Her name is Kate Parker, not–whatever you just said,” he says with a shake of his head.

            I couldn’t help but laugh, albeit humorlessly at that. “Oh, really? And who exactly are you?” I ask him as I cross my arms and steal a glance at Katy. She hasn’t told this guy a thing. He has no idea she’s a married woman.

 

            Then she shoves in front of the guy and crosses her own arms as she steels herself to confront me. “He’s my boyfriend,” she replies with a glare, and I can’t help but smirk across at her; she’s so cute when she thinks she’s being mean.

            I step closer and reach my hand out. “Well, boyfriend, I’m the husband.”

            The shock of that registers in his eyes as he shoves my hand away, “What? What is he talking about, Kate?” he turns around and asks Katy.

            She grits her teeth before she replies, “Husband in name only. We were young and stupid. He got discovered, ran off to L.A., and had his pick of every beautiful woman that wanted to come fill his bed.”

            She really wants to piss me off. “I NEVER cheated on you, Katy!” I yell as Scott wanders over with the bodyguard. Perfect timing, guys, I think as I look over my shoulder at them.

            Then she’s laughing. Freaking laughing at me! “Maybe you didn’t then, but since then? I’ve seen all your magazine covers, Liam! How many “girlfriends” or, hell, just one night stands, have you had in the last four years? I’m not Katy Warren anymore. I’m just normal Kate Parker again. And I’ve moved on and just want to forget that I was ever married to someone like you!” she yells back at me.

            Katy grabs hold of the boyfriend guy and turns to go, but I’m too mad to let her. I run over and grab her elbow and turn her back around to me.  “How many men have you had, Katy? How many have you dated or had flings with since we’ve been separated? And a guy like this?” I point at her boyfriend and shake my head. “You know your Mama must be so disappointed. You could do so much better.”

            Before I even know what she’s doing, I feel my cheek burn as Katy slaps me. “Shut up!” she yells at me angrily. All I can do is stand there, tense, as I feel all kinds of emotions rolling through me. “Lucas is great, thank you very much. He’s never hurt me like you did. The only one my Mama has ever been disappointed in is you! So please,” she says as she starts to storm away again, “do me a favor and stay on your side of the country in L.A.” 

            Katy still doesn’t want me.  I just keep standing there, watching her in shock, unable to move.  “By the way,” I hear her yell over her shoulder as she and the boyfriend–Lucas, apparently–take off, “I want a divorce!” 

            She has a boyfriend, she just freaking slapped me in public, and she says she wants a divorce? Oh there is no way that is happening, because seeing her in person just reminded me even more how much I love her, even if she hates me.

            “What the heck was all that?” Scott asks as he comes up to me. “Who was that?”

            I turn towards him and take a deep breath to pull myself together. “That was Katy, Scott.”

            His eyes bug out. “Katy? Like, your wife, Katy?”

            I nod and look in the direction she just left in.

            “Whoa. Are you ok?”

            “I will be,” I say, “because I’m going to win her back.”

 

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Filed under 2013, August, Bethany Daniel, Connected, Release Day, Review, Romance

[ARC Review] Master Undone by Lisa Renee Jones

Master Undone by Lisa Renee Jones

Release date: August 12, 2013

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>

Blurb: 

 
*** The Master Undoneis a part of the Inside Outtrilogy, and is told from his POV. ***

I told him goodbye, and I will not call him. I know if I do, it will be my undoing, and I’ll once again be caught up in his spell. I will once again be…lost.

In her private journals, Rebecca laid bare her soul, revealing her obsession for the one man whose erotic demands captivated her imagination–and enslaved her forever. Now, with Rebecca no longer in his life he is lost, questioning everything he thought he knew about himself and about control he holds in such high regard. One women will reach out to heal him and then turn away, leaving him haunted. She is nothing he thought he wanted and somehow everything he needs. He tells himself to forget her but he cannot escape his desire for her. He has to have more…


Pre-Order Master Undone out August 12th 

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My Review: 
5 Star Review – Master Undone

I highly recommend this book.

As always I enjoyed this book by Lisa. 

Note: If you have NOT read BEING ME, do not read this novella until after you have read BEING ME.

This review and book contains spoilers for Being Me.
This book is written in Mark’s POV.  We met Mark before and learned a little about him.  Some things were good and some not so good.  But this book you learn more about what he feels. 

Mark’s story picks up right from where BEING ME ended.  With him trying to deal with what happened to Rebecca.  He is wounded inside.  He is busy questioning how he felt about Rebecca and if he is capable of love. 
He decides he must stay away from woman.  He has decided he cannot have sex and that is his normal drug of choice and that is what got him in trouble in the first place. 

He is on his way to see his mother who has Stage 3 Breast Cancer.  She needs surgery so he must fly to New Your to see her through it.  When his plane lands the new head of sales, Crystal Smith, is there to meet him.  His is intrigued by her and she pushes all of his buttons. 

She disobeys almost every one of his commands.  She calls him Mark when normally he makes everyone call him “Mr. Compton”.  Will she send him on a downward spiral that will make him lose all control?
 
*** Received an Advanced copy from NetGalley***
 
Reading Order:
 

 



 

About The Author!
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which has sold to more than ten countries for translation with negotiations in process for more, and has now been optioned by STARZ Network for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland).

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 30 books with publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Avon, Kensington, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley and Elloras Cave, as well as crafting a successful indie career. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website and she is active on twitter and Facebook daily.

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Filed under 2013, ARC, August, Inside Out Trilogy, Lisa Renee Jones, Novella, Review

[ARC Review] Disconnected by Bethany Daniel

Disconnected by Bethany Daniel

Release date: August 12, 2013

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Series: Connected #2

Blurb:  
This is the retelling of Reconnected from Liam’s POV, however it CAN be read as a standalone.

Find Reconnected here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C…

A Fast Paced Love Story!

Liam and Katy were high school sweethearts. Shortly after they graduated they ran off to Vegas to get married. Liam does theater acting and it’s there that he is discovered by Excite Entertainment and flown to L.A.

Once he’s in L.A his marriage takes the backseat to rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s biggest and brightest. One night Liam throws a big party and Katy comes into their house filled with half dressed women. When Katy says she’s going to leave, Liam doesn’t believe her until he comes home from filming and finds a note that tears him apart.

Four years later, he’s tried to move on but never let go of the love he has in his heart for his Katy. It’s in a little town they are filming in that their paths cross again and Liam has to try and convince Katy that their love is worth fighting for

My Review: 
4.0 Star Review –

I recommend this book.

This book is a retelling of Reconnected written in Liam’s POV. 

If you have not read “Reconnected” I would recommend reading it first.  If not you might be confused about really how Katy is feeling.

Liam Warren and Katy Parker high school sweethearts eloped to Vegas very young at 18.  Liam is acting in a local theater when he is discovered.  As Liam is making a named for himself he doesn’t realize that he is pushing Katy away.  One night Katy tells him she is leaving but he doesn’t believe her.  The next day he goes about his day working on set.  When he gets home he finds her note that states she has left him.  He looks all over for her at the house and at their hometown but cannot find her.


Months after she left he has a drunken encounter with a co-star and regrets it right away as he feels as if he cheated on Katy.  The co-star does not believe he does not want her.  She continues to bother him for years.


4 years later—-


Liam and his best friend Scott are sharing a house.  Scott tries to get Liam to date and attend parties but they end up leaving the parties early and playing video games.  Everywhere Liam goes he looks for Katy.  He doesn’t want someone new he just wants his Katy back. 

They go to Georgia to shoot a film and while on the college campus he sees Katy.  He chases her down and introduces himself to her boyfriend as her husband.   After stating she wants a divorce she runs off.

Liam spends time while not shooting trying to get Katy to take him back.  He tries to prove he has changed and the only person he wants to be with is Katy.  Liam and Scott take Katy and her best friend Krista out on a double date that gets cut short.

As he continues to film his movie Katy is freaked out when the pap take photos of her and her best friend Krista.  Liam and Scott decide to hire bodyguards for the girls.

But Liam’s co-star Alexia is really beginning to become a problem as every chance she gets she touches him.  She also thinks Liam will be with her if Katy was not around.

When Alexia has a meltdown and runs Katy, Krista, and Lucas off the road. Liam blames himself, for the accident and the fact Alexia thinks if she got rid of Katy he would be with her.

As the book goes on you really get a feel for Liam. In the first book at time he seemed a little stiff and at other times cocky I was not sure if I even liked him. But by the end of this book I really liked him.

 

***ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review***

 

Contact Info for Bethany Daniel


 

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About Bethany:

 

Bethany Daniel is a new Contemporary Romance Author. Her first book is Reconnected, a story about Liam and Katy Warren. Her second book, Disconnected, that is the story from Liam’s POV is set to release August 12th. She’s currently writing Krista and Scott’s story. She lives in Texas with her husband and 2 sons and enjoys reading, photography, spending time with her hubby and chasing after her boys!

 

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Filed under 2013, ARC, August, Bethany Daniel, Connected, Review, Romance

[Review] Smoky Ridge Curse by Paula Graves

Smoky Ridge Curse  by Paula Graves

Publication date: August 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Bitterwood P.D. #3
Pages: 217

Back of the book

 
Two former partners find their feelings rekindled when they’re forced to uncover the truth in Paula Graves’s Bitterwood P.D. trilogy! 

Assistant FBI director Adam Brand is out of time. His attempt to expose a domestic terrorist hiding in plain sight has left him with more questions than answers. Still, asking his former FBI subordinate Delilah Hammond for help is even more dangerous.
Once before, the unexpected heat between them drove her back to her mountain hometown-and Adam to the heights of the Bureau. And now, as a new sheriff, Delilah has much more to lose…even as her skills and determination leave Adam breathless all over again. Staying two steps ahead of their ruthless quarry reignites a desire neither can resist. But as Delilah puts herself on the line to set a lethal trap, will they survive to explore the future neither has given up on?



My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – Bitterwood P.D. series

I recommend this book.


As always I enjoyed this book by Paula.  Have yet to be disappointed by Paula as she adds plenty of drama, passion, and romance.  She captures the small town feel and you really feel as if the characters in her books are real.  Look forward to the next book in this series.

I can’t wait for the next book in the Bitterwood P.D. series due out in 2014.
Delilah Hammond starts her new job as detective on the Bitterwood Police department in a week. Before starting the job she is trying to keep her mother from drinking. Her mother has tried to stop drinking for years but has not been able to stop.
Special Agent Adam Brand is on the run from the FBI who thinks he is a traitor. He has been framed for espionage and murder. He has run to his former protégée, Delilah. She is former FBI but left after Brand and her had one night of passion. They both had their own reasons for not fighting for more than one night.      
As they decide what to do about Brand’s predicament someone goes after Delilah’s brother Seth. They rescue Seth and Rachel from danger and get them hidden away while they try to get Brands name cleared.
As they work together on putting the pieces of the puzzle in order the passion that is below the surface overflows.  
They are working against the clock and Delilah assumes once Adam’s name is cleared he will go back to the FBI and she will be picking up the pieces of her heart once again. 
Once they think they have the main player in the frame up. They decide to confront them in a roundabout way. Delilah decides to meet the man and play as if Adam has left her and she will give him up. But there is an explosion and Adam is wondering if Delilah is even alive.
As they uncover the players of the frame up a few of them come as surprises.  You reconnect with a few characters from the Cooper Justice Cold Case Investigation and the Cooper Security series.  If you want to get technical you also get one of the characters from the forbidden series.    

You can feel the chemistry between the two throughout the book.

To find out the answers to the below pick up the book:

Who is behind the framing of Adam?
Who does Adam see who everyone believes died years before?
What happened to Delilah and why?

 

A few of my favorite parts of the book:

He laid his hands on her cheeks, studying her face. “You have to know you’re brilliant and capable.”

“I do know,” she admitted with another little laugh. ”But I’ve never heard anyone else say it.”

He laughed in response, pressing his lips against her forehead. “I never knew you needed anyone to say it.” He pulled away, smiling down at her. “You walked into my office like you owned the place and told me what you intended to do and how I was going to help you make it happen, remember?”

She nodded, cringing a little at the memory. “That’s what you fancy educated people call bravado. I was scared out of my gourd but I didn’t dare let anyone know it. So I pretended I was a big ol’ bitch on wheels who wasn’t going to let anyone tell me no. I kept hoping that if I did that long enough and loud enough, one day I might believe it myself.”

 

“We can set up something really high-tech. We know the stuff to get. Maybe a button mike with a remote receiver. He’d never spot it.”

“This is my mess, Delilah, not yours.”

She stared at him, frustrated. “You called me Delilah.”

“It’s your name.”

 “You only call me Delilah when you’re putting your foot down.”

“It’s too dangerous.”

“No. Quinn’s bought a big building in Purgatory, Tennessee.  Turns out that’s where the old bastard grew up.”
“He wasn’t spawned, fully grown, from some alien space pod?”
Brand gave her hip a little slap.
 

 

Contact Info for Paula Graves

 

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About Paula:


Down here in the American South, we don’t hide our crazy people. We showcase them. I’ve always thought it was because eccentric people make for the best stories, and we Southerners love our stories. Faulkner, McCullers, O’Connor, Porter—these are our chroniclers, writers steeped in the slow, steady pulse of the South’s pride, suffering, honor, madness, venality and redemption. I grew up in Alabama, the heart of the South, and live here still. The need to tell stories has been a driving force in my life from a very young age.

When I was younger, my favorite books were Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries and Harlequin Romances. When I realized there were books that featured both romance and mystery, I knew I’d found my calling. Now I write for Harlequin Intrigue, where I get to play both matchmaker and murderer and get paid for it.  I’ve also recently self-published a couple of romantic suspense ebooks, available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Smashwords.

I work a full-time day job at a Birmingham ad agency, where I’m a copywriter and graphic designer, a background that comes in handy when it’s time to redesign my website and create promotional materials for my books. I’m also known among certain circles as the Cat Whisperer, but that’s a whole other story. I love to hear from readers, so please click the contact button and tell me what you think about my books.


 
 

Read an Excerpt

Winter had come to Bitterwood, Tennessee, roaring in on a cold, damp wind that poured down the mountain passes and shook the remnants of browning leaves from the sugar maples, sweet gums and dogwoods growing at the middle elevations. Delilah Hammond remembered well from childhood the sharp bite of an Appalachian November and dressed warmly when she headed up the winding mountain road to her mother’s place on Smoky Ridge.

Reesa Hammond was on day three of her latest hop on the sobriety wagon, and withdrawal had hit her hard, killing her appetite and leaving her shaking, angry and suffering from a persistent headache no amount of ibuprofen seemed to relieve. Frankly, Delilah was surprised her mother had bothered trying to stop drinking at all at this point, since her previous eight attempts at sobriety had all ended the same way, five fingers deep in a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

Delilah didn’t kid herself that this time Reesa would win the battle with the bottle. But Reesa had taken a hell of a lot of abuse trying to protect Delilah and her brother, Seth, from their sick creep of a sperm donor, so a little barley soup and a few minutes of company wasn’t too much to offer, was it?

Her cell phone beeped as she turned her Camaro into a tight curve. She waited until the road straightened to answer, aware of how dangerous the mountain roads could be, especially at night with rain starting to mix with sleet. “Hammond.”

“Just checking to make sure you hadn’t changed your mind.” The gruff voice on the other end of the line belonged to a former leatherneck named Jesse Cooper, the man who’d been her boss for the past few years, until she’d given her notice two weeks earlier.

“I haven’t,” she answered, tamping down the doubts that had harassed her ever since she’d quit the best job she’d ever had.

“You’re overqualified.”

“I know.”

“You’re no good at small-town politics.”

“I know that, too.”

“You should have held out for chief of police, at least.”

She grinned at that. “Talk about small-town politics.”

“I can keep the job open for a month or two, but that’s it. Our caseload’s growing, and I can’t afford to work shorthanded.”

“I know. I appreciate the vote of confidence in me, but I’m ready for a change.” She tried not to dwell on just how drastic a change she’d made in the past two weeks. Going from a global security and threat assessment firm to a detective on one of Tennessee’s tiniest police forces was turning out to be a shock to the system even she hadn’t anticipated.

She still wasn’t sure why, exactly, she’d decided to stick around Bitterwood, Tennessee, after so many years away. She only knew that a few weeks ago, when the time had come to go back to work in Alabama after an extended assignment in her old hometown, her feet had planted firmly in the rocky Tennessee soil and refused to budge. She’d returned to Maybridge just long enough to work out her two-week notice, talk her landlord into letting her break her long-term lease, and gather up her sparse belongings. Two days ago, she’d moved into a rental house off Vesper Road at the foot of Smoky Ridge. In a week, she’d start her new job with the Bitterwood Police Department.

“I don’t suppose you’ve heard anything else about Adam Brand?” she added as the silence between her and her former boss lingered past comfort.

“Nothing yet. We have feelers out. I know you’re worried.”

“Not worried,” she denied, though it was a lie. “More confused than anything. Going AWOL is not an Adam Brand kind of thing to do. And there’s no way in hell he’s a traitor to this country. It’s not in his DNA.”

“Your brother still won’t tell you anything more about the work he did for Brand?”

“I don’t think Seth knows anything more,” Delilah said. “He didn’t ask a lot of questions, and Brand’s not one to shoot off his mouth.” Even when a few well-chosen words might do him a world of good, she added silently.

“Isabel and Ben have both been trying to reach him, but they’re not having much luck. They didn’t keep in close touch with Brand after leaving the bureau.”

“It happens.” Delilah ignored the stinging pain in the center of her chest. “I’ve got to go. I’m taking soup and sympathy to my mom. She’s on the wagon again.”

“Oh.” She could tell by Jesse’s careful tone that he wanted to say something encouraging, but he’d been around for three or four of her mother’s last brief flirtations with sobriety and knew better than to dish out false hope. “I hope she makes it this time.”

“Yeah, me, too. Say hi to everyone. And call me if you get any news about Brand. I don’t think this Davenport case is really over yet, and he seems to know something about it.”

“Will do.” Jesse hung up.

The Davenport case was at least part of the reason she’d stuck around Bitterwood. Two months earlier, the murders had started—four women found stabbed to death in their beds, though they’d clearly been killed elsewhere. A Bitterwood P.D. detective named Ivy Hawkins had made the first clear connection between the murders—all four women had been friends with a woman named Rachel Davenport, whose dying father owned Davenport Trucking in Maryville, Tennessee, a town twenty minutes from Bitterwood.

When Ivy had caught the murderer, he’d admitted he’d been hired to kill the women. With his cryptic dying words, he’d hinted the killings had everything to do with Rachel Davenport, as Ivy had suspected. Someone had wanted to torment Rachel until she broke, and only after several close calls had the police discovered a struggle for control of Davenport Trucking was at the heart of the campaign of emotional torture. 

If there was anything good to come out of the whole mess, it was that Delilah’s black sheep of a brother, Seth, had ended up a hero and even won the girl—he and Rachel Davenport were already talking rings and wedding dates, which seemed pretty quick to Delilah. Then again, she was thirty-four and single. Some might say she was a little too cautious about affairs of the heart.

Her mother’s house was a small cabin near the summit of Smoky Ridge, prone to power outages when the winter storms rolled in. But she had a large fireplace in the front room and a smaller woodstove to warm her bedroom, both of which seemed to be working based on the twin columns of smoke rising over the fir trees surrounding the small cabin.

A thin layer of sleet had started to form on the hard surface of the narrow driveway next to the cabin, crunching under Delilah’s boots as she crossed the tiny concrete patio to the kitchen entrance. She had to bend into the wind as it gusted past her, slapping the screen door against the wall of the cabin.

It swung back as she passed, crashing into her with an aluminum rattle.

She stopped short, skidding on the icy pellets underfoot, and stared at the offending screen door. It hung sideways, still flapping in the cold wind, as if someone had tried to rip it from its hinges.

Moving slowly, she stepped back and reached into her pocket for her keychain, where she kept a small flashlight attached to the ring. She snapped it on and ran the narrow beam across the patio beneath the door.

Dark red splotches, still wet and glistening beneath the thin layer of sleet, marred the concrete surface. Another streak of red stained the aluminum frame of the broken door.

Her first thought was that her mother had gone back on the bottle, taken a spill, and was laid up inside somewhere, drunkenly trying to patch herself up. It was the most logical assumption.

But a lot of bad things had been happening in Bitterwood in the last couple of months. And between her FBI training and her years working for Cooper Security, Delilah always assumed the worst.

Setting the bag of takeout soup on the patio table, she pulled her Sig Sauer P229 from the pancake holster behind her back and tried the back doorknob. Unlocked.

She eased the door open. Heat blasted her, a welcome contrast to the icy breeze prickling the exposed skin of her neck. Somewhere in the house, a vacuum cleaner was running on high, its whine almost drowning out the whistle of the wind across the eaves.

She shut the door quietly. Keeping her eyes and ears open, she moved as silently as she could, checking each room as she went. If there had been blood splotches inside the house, they’d been cleaned up already. The rough wood floor beneath her feet was worn but spotless.

In the den at the front of the house, the sound of the vacuum cleaner roared with full force. Reesa Hammond was running an upright vacuum with cheerful energy, dancing to whatever tune she was singing beneath the noise of the cleaner.

She swirled the cleaner around in the opposite direction and jumped when she saw Delilah standing in the doorway, weapon in hand.

Reesa shut off the vacuum cleaner and put her hand over her chest. “Good lord, Dee Dee, you scared me out of my wits!”

“Are you okay?”

Reesa’s brow furrowed. “I’m fine. Are you okay?”

After a pause, Delilah reholstered her Sig Sauer. “Did you know the screen door to the kitchen’s been nearly ripped off its hinges?”

“Really?” Reesa looked surprised. “It was fine when I got back from the mailbox this afternoon. I guess the wind’s stronger out there than I thought.”

“I don’t think it was the wind,” Delilah murmured, remembering the blood on the patio. “You didn’t hear anything?”

“I was in the shower for a little while, then running the hair dryer, and I’ve been vacuuming the place ever since. I reckon half the mountain could have come down out there and I wouldn’t have heard it.” She cocked her head. “You look tired.”

Delilah gazed back at her mother through narrowed eyes. “I thought you were feeling bad.”

Reesa looked sheepish. “I was, this morning. But when you called and said you were coming over, I didn’t want you to see what a mess the place was, so I started cleaning up. And before I knew it, my headache was gone and I was feeling so much like my old self, I thought maybe I’d surprise you by having dinner ready for you when you got here.” She sighed. “But you’re early. I haven’t put the casserole in the oven yet.”

“I brought barley soup from Ledbetter’s Café.” And left it out in the cold, she realized, where it had probably reached refrigerator temperature by now

“And I’ve ruined it for you by feeling better.” Reesa patted her cheek. “I’m sorry. I know I must seem such a mess to you.”

Unexpected tears burned Delilah’s eyes. She blinked them away. “I’m just glad you’re feeling better.”

Reesa’s smile faded. “This is the farthest I’ve gotten, you know? I’ve never reached the point where I actually feel better not drinking. It’s a surprise, I have to say!”

“Well, good.” Delilah couldn’t keep a hint of caution out of her voice. She could tell her mother didn’t miss the inflection, for Reesa’s green eyes darkened with shame for a moment.

But she lifted her chin and smiled at her daughter. “I think it’s havin’ my kids around me again. I’ve missed you both so much.”

“Seth’s been by?” Delilah asked as her mother unplugged the vacuum cleaner and started looping the cord around the hooks in the back.

“He stopped in with Rachel earlier today.” Reesa slanted a quick look at Delilah. “She’s good for him.”

“She’s great for him,” Delilah agreed. “She’s crazy about him, too. Go figure.”

“What about you?” Putting the vacuum cleaner away in the living room closet, Reesa paused to look over her shoulder. “Met anyone you like?”

“Not recently,” Delilah answered. Actually, she’d met her share of men over the course of working for Cooper Security, but none who’d interested her enough to keep seeing him long-term.

There was only one man she’d ever really wanted, and though he’d never be hers, she still seemed to measure every man she met against him.

“Maybe you’ll meet someone when you start work.”

“Maybe,” Delilah agreed in order to end this particular topic of conversation. She’d already met everyone in the Bitterwood Police Department without a single spark flying. Most were married, and of those who weren’t, only Antoine Parsons was remotely interesting. But he was seeing someone in Maryville, and Delilah had never been a poacher.

Even when the man she wanted was married to his career.

“I can put the casserole in the freezer and make it some other time, since you brought soup.” Reesa nudged Delilah down the hall to the kitchen.

“No, the soup will keep in the fridge. I’m curious to see this casserole you’ve cooked up.” Delilah spotted a foil-covered glass casserole dish sitting by the refrigerator. She sneaked a peek under the foil, recognizing green beans, carrots, chicken chunks and whole-kernel yellow corn, topped with cheese and fried onions. “You made pantry casserole!” She turned to her mother, a smile playing at her lips.

“I didn’t have much in the pantry, but I thought it would be nice to fix something for you.” Reesa’s smile held a hint of apology. “Maybe next time you come, I’ll go shopping first and make something from scratch instead of out of cans.”

Impulsively, Delilah hugged her mother. “Pantry casserole is my favorite. I make it at home all the time.”

Reese’s thin arms tightened around Delilah’s back. “You do?”

“I do. Can’t go wrong—”

“With a casserole,” Reesa finished in unison with her.

“I’ll go outside and get the soup. You get that in the oven and then we can talk while it’s cooking.” Delilah let go of her mother and opened the back door. “Mom, you need to start locking your door.”

“Nobody ever bothers me up here.”

“Famous last words,” Delilah muttered as she stepped out onto the sleet-pebbled patio to fetch the soup.

But the paper bag was gone.

Delilah froze, scanning the area behind the house for any sign of an intruder. Visibility wasn’t great, between the steady needling of sleet and the cold mist swallowing the top of the mountain. Seeing nothing out of place, she pulled out her flashlight and checked the ground around the patio table. No sign of the bag of takeout soup, but the layer of sleet on the patio had been disturbed.

She couldn’t say the streaks of bare patio were definitely footsteps—she supposed it was more likely that a hungry raccoon or opossum had grabbed himself a ready-made meal—but a thin film of blood on the edge of the table was troubling enough to send her reaching for her Sig again.

“Hello?” she called, loudly enough that a faint echo of her voice rang back to her from deep in the woods.

No answer.

The cabin door opened behind her, making her jump. “Dee Dee, is something wrong?”

“The soup is gone.”

“Oh.” Reesa looked nonplussed.

“Probably a raccoon or something.”

“Hope it’s not a bear.” Reesa shuddered. “Pam Colby said she saw a black bear in her backyard just last week, looking for a place to nest for the winter. She shooed it off by banging some pots together.”

“I don’t think it’s a bear.” Delilah’s gaze settled on the film of blood. “I’m going to take a look around, okay? I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“It’s freezing out there. I’m sure it was just an animal, Dee. Why don’t you come back in here where it’s warm? Let the raccoon have the soup. He probably needs it more than we do.”

“I’m just going to walk the perimeter. There’s some blood on the table—maybe it’s injured and needs help.”

“Oh, poor thing. Okay, but hurry up. The temperature’s dropping like crazy out here. They’re talking about maybe our first snow of the season.” Reesa backed into the house, closing the door behind her.

Stamping her feet to get some of the feeling back into her cold toes, Delilah headed out into the yard, keeping the beam of the flashlight moving in a slow, thorough arc in front of her.

She discovered more blood, spattered on the grass in a weaving line toward the tree line. Following the trail, she spotted a white birch tree with a dark streak of red marring its papery bark about four feet up. The mark seemed to form a long fingerprint.

She paused and checked the magazine of her pistol, reassuring herself that the Sig was loaded, with a round already chambered. If her mother was right and their intruder was a bear, she didn’t want to face it unarmed.

Though she listened carefully for any sounds that might reveal an animal or other intruder nearby, all she heard was the moan of the icy wind through the trees. But she felt something else there. Something living and watching, waiting for her to turn around and leave.

What would happen if she did just that? Would the watcher let her go? Or would he pounce the second she turned her back? Not caring to find out, she backed toward the clearing with slow, steady steps. She kept her eyes on the woods, trying to see past the moonless blackness outside the narrow, weakening beam of her flashlight.

Only the faintest of snapping sounds behind her gave her any warning at all.

It wasn’t enough.

She hit a solid wall of heat. One large arm curled around her, pulling her flush against that heat, while a hand closed over her mouth.

“Don’t scream,” he growled.

She didn’t.
 
But he did.

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Filed under 2013, August, Bitterwood P.D., Harlequin, Intrigue, Paula Graves, Review, Romance, Suspense