Category Archives: October

[COVER REVEAL] Yearning Absolution by Rachael Orman

Yearning Absolution          by Rachael Orman
Release Date – October 14, 2013
Cover done by Rebecca at http://www.pdpexclusives.com/


~Synopsis~

Gwen has finally landed her first fashion design job, working under her amazing boyfriend, Cole. While her girlfriend, McKayla, is busy with her modeling job, things start to shift in their unique relationship.

Unexpected surprises cause a whirlwind of change to sweep through their once happy lives.


As the people around her change, so do their relationships… When all is said and done sometimes only heartbreak is left.


Just when Gwen thought life was good, she is thrust into one catastrophe after another.

Will Gwen’s life be able to withstand even more turmoil, tears and blood?

Can she fulfill the dreams she has held onto for so long, while accepting new dreams that she never knew she had? Or will everything come crashing down on her

 

 

 

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Contact Info for Rachael 

 
 
Rachael is a stay at home mom with 2 young daughters and a husband that keep her constantly on her toes. She lives in the extremely hot state of Arizona, where she reads and writes away the blistering heat outside.

She is a cancer survivor with a quirky personality. She’s been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and been writing since she was in high school. Her hopes of being a writer were crushed when she was young but one day she decided she was going to do what makes her happy and that was to write.

Connect with Rachael:

 

Excerpt:


“I knew that tonight would be just us so I wanted it to be special.” Cole rubbed his hands up her arms to rest on her shoulders. “Now, let’s do something about the sticky mess that drink left behind.”

 

Cole bent down and scooped her up in his arms. Gwen let out a short laugh as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. He carried her into the bedroom. There were white rose petals scattered all over the bed and floor along with more candles lighting the room. Cole didn’t seem to notice though as he carried her into the bathroom. Again candles covered nearly every surface in the spacious bathroom. He set her gently down on the vanity chair before moving to turn on the bathwater and adding in some bubbles from a dispenser on the side of the tub. He turned to her with a soft smile on his handsome face as he took a slow step towards her.

 

“I think this will do.” His eyes never left Gwen’s as he slipped the coat off his shoulders then laid it on the floor next to the chair she was sitting on. He tugged on his tie, leaving it hanging around his neck before sinking to his knees in front of her. Lifting one of her feet, he kissed slowly down from her knee to her ankle while his fingers tenderly took off her shoe. Setting her foot on the ground, he repeated the same treatment to the other leg and shoe before setting the heels off to the side. “I might have a slight addiction to your heels, but tonight I want you as relaxed as possible.” Cole murmured as leaned up and planted a soft kiss on Gwen’s lips.

 

 


 

 

 
 
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Filed under 2013, Cover Reveal, Excerpt, October, Rachael Orman, Synopsis

[Review & Giveaway] All Of Her Men by Lourdes Bernabe

 
 
All Of Her Men by Lourdes Bernabe

Releasing October 1st

Blurb:

18 + Due to Strong Sexual Content, Extreme Violence, and Drug Use

Jolene is no ordinary woman. She’s young, vivacious, and oh so dangerous. Burdened by her uncontrollable urges, Jolene struggles to live with a sexual dysfunction so harsh it consumes her entirely. 

But when she starts receiving strange letters she suspects the worst. Someone saw her in a compromising situation. But what did they see? And what do they want? And how the hell did they find her?






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My Review: 

4.3 Star Review – All Of Her Men

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Lourdes.  This book includes passion, heartache, murder and a kidnapping.

Jolene is forced to do evil deeds that she tried desperately to suppress.  When she can’t suppress them she needs to spend a lot of time primping, getting her makeup, outfit, hair, and shoes just right to be noticed immediately but forgotten just as quickly.

She is going out to hunt.  To hunt what you ask? A man is what she will hunt.  She needs to kill while she is having an orgasm to suppress her dark side.  For this particular hunt she has chosen Paul.  Little does he know he might leave the bar with the prettiest girl but really one he shouldn’t have picked up in the first place!  He thinks he can take her to the beach and show her off to his friends.  Too bad he doesn’t get the chance.       

Only when her sexual appetite and a killing are performed together does it feed the darkness inside her.  Since she brings a kill kit with her to every kill she always cleans up swiftly.  The killings don’t just involve the kill you have to get rid of the body.  She carries a meat cleaver for breaking down the body easily.  She has many ways of disposing of the bodies.  Which way will she pick for Paul? 

In reality she has been killing for over 20 years.  Her first kill was a girl while on a field trip with the school.  They were both 6 years old.  The girl would not stop yapping and being a bully to the other kids.  So Jolene snapped her neck. 
 
She learned throughout her years that if she killed during sex she quelled the thirst that consumed her.  After every kill there is a calm that comes over Jolene that she loves. 

She has a boyfriend but does not consider all the sexual killing that she does as cheating.  Since she does not love those men she can have sex and kill them without cheating.  She does love her boyfriend so he is safe from being killed so far.

The only problem is with this last kill is someone saw and is now leaving creepy notes on her door.    Black paper notes with weird messages on them.   Who could be leaving the note and are they friend or foe?  When she gets a dated note and a knife she thinks she has an admirer.

At a gentlemen’s club one night she meets Bill a well-dressed man who sometimes scares her and other times her dark side wants her to sleep with him and kill him.  What will she do?  Is Bill so special that he gets to live?  Or will she listen to her dark side that wants her to bed him and kill him?

After a weird incident with her best friend and two guys at a spa she now has thoughts of killing her best friend.  She starts avoiding her but when that does not work what will she do?  Can she really kill her best friend?

Someone else in the town is killing good looking men and it’s all over the news.  Who could it be and how can she stop them from killing her men?  As the killings get closer to her area will they kill someone she knows or cares about?


Just to let you know this book has a “to be continued…..” ending so look for the second book.

The darkness that surrounds Jolene is explosive.  The killings don’t go into a lot of gory details. You feel at times in the book that Jolene’s mind is confused and it makes the reader confused.  I almost thought she was dreaming at certain parts when she was not.  You almost wonder how the hell she was able to kill the first girl by breaking her neck.  Had a hard time believing that could happen.  But you never know right? I still found the book to be a good read.

 

  Contact Info for Lourdes Bernabe

 
 
 
 
 About Lourdes:

I am a 25 year old first time author from New Jersey. I currently reside in New Jersey where I have lived and worked all of my life. I have always been passionate about reading but only recently discovered that I wanted to try my hand at writing. Working most of my adult life bar tending in New Jersey’s Strip Clubs, I decided to take a chance, leaving that world behind to pursue a literary career. I am currently working on my second book due for release later this year.

Connect with Lourdes  Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Facebook AllOfHerMen 

Excerpt:

Lying down on the bed, I ignored Eric and slowly started to rub my clitoris. I kept my eyes on the threesome on screen. The bud helped to get things moving and I wanted Eric to join me. “Baby come eat my pussy,” I whispered over to him. He got up from the bed and come over to my side but he held something in his hand. As he came closer it gleamed and shock ran through me. It was a knife.

It wasn’t my usual knife but it was THE knife. The one I received just recently. “Jolene, what is this?” he asked.

What could I say? I didn’t have an answer that would satisfy his question. I felt clueless as to how to respond. I was panic stricken and I wondered how much of it he was able to pick up on. I pulled myself up to a sitting position on the bed and quickly grabbed it from his hand.

“How did you find this?” I asked wielding the knife. The sharp edge of the knife glimmered in his direction. I was stalling, unsure of my next move.

“I was looking for a movie in your bookshelf. I saw a box and opened it. Why the fuck do you have this? When did you get it?” Confusion contorted his facial features. His thoughts began to settle and I saw fear. And that fear tormented me. The last thing I ever wanted was for Eric to be afraid of me. I enjoyed toying with him sexually, yes. But I could never hurt Eric in any way.

“We’ll talk about this later,” I dismissed his questions. I knew what I had to do.

I laid back down into the bed slowly. I opened my legs as I stared directly into Eric’s eyes. With knife in hand, I pointed at my pussy. Bringing the knife down gently, I carefully nicked the black thong and it flung open to reveal just how aroused I had become.

“Eat my pussy,” I repeated. However, this time, it was a command.

Eric’s eyebrow popped up and his neck twisted to the side as if he’d taken offense to my words. His green eyes shot back and forth between my face and my pussy. Still confused about the knife, I could see the questions mounting on his face. But still, none of that was enough to stop the blood rushing to his dick. He climbed into the bed and put his face directly in front of my open legs. He stopped to enjoy the scenery for a moment or two and then dove right in.

Dear Jesus. I laid back to enjoy the view of Eric devouring me in the form of The Last Supper. His passion to serve me was unquestionable. The ruffled hair atop his head was all I could see as his face was lost in the world between my thighs. My palm squeezed the all powerful knife in my right hand and the surge of carnal bliss threw me into a state of pleasurable despair. I needed more and I couldn’t wait. I tapped the tip of the blade on Eric’s head motioning for him to come up.

Eric pulled his weight forward. His face came up to meet mine and then he grabbed my head with a powerful grip and forced his mouth onto mine. I could taste myself on his tongue. Delicious. Still I wanted more. I shifted down a bit and shoved his hips into mine. I was lost in carnal bliss.

The sounds of heavy breathing were the only sounds escaping from Eric’s mouth. Still, Blondie continued to suck those cocks on screen. They put her to work. Hopefully, Eric wouldn’t take note of the movie’s slight distraction. His thrusts slowly increased in speed and pressure. I was almost there. Mandingo continued to fuck Blondie viciously while Eric continued to pound away at me. I squeezed the knife once more.

My thoughts began to take a starker turn. The knife was right here, nestled in my firm grasp. Brand new, having never been used; I felt it calling upon me. Using the knife on Eric right here would make the perfect maiden voyage for such a beautifully crafted knife? My own thoughts bewildered me. I knew I didn’t want to kill Eric. Yet, suddenly I felt as if I had to.

My instincts were comparable to that of a praying mantis. There were certainly times when I could withhold myself from killing an innocent partner. I’d hoped that part of me, the part that didn’t need to kill, would show up and save me from my own self. But I could feel myself coming. “Harder baby!” I screamed. Containment was no longer a possibility. My eyes squeezed shut and my neck curled back. The knife in my hand came up and sliced across Eric’s neck as my body convulsed in harsh waves of pleasure.

Then I felt the quiet. Everything stood still as I regained control of my breathing. Moments passed by before my eyes fluttered open to see that I had not indeed killed my precious Eric. I’d wanted to. But I hadn’t. Thank God. My imagination had simply gone too far. Better it be my imagination than my actions.

Eric disengaged and I remained in the same position for a while longer. I couldn’t move. I could have moved had I tried, I simply lacked the motivation to do so. I just wanted to be. Droopy lids shaded half my eyes as I stared into the ceiling while both my body and mind recovered from the aftershocks of a pulsating orgasm. I rested blissfully for a few short moments and then I shot up out of bed like a canon.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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[Review] Expired Regrets by Megan C. Smith

 
 
Expired Regrets by Megan C. Smith

Released October 4th, 2013

 

 

~Synopsis~

On your dying breath, what regrets will you wish you could re-do?

Rose was your average girl just trying to get done with high school so she could escape her overbearing mother and move to Tallahassee. Then she met Bryant, a guy who moved to her barn and made her body sizzle in appreciation. Bryant was determined to avoid Rose, but as much as he pushed her away he pulled her closer too. Finally ready to be together their relationship is thrown an insurmountable obstacle sending Rose fleeing for Tallahassee and away from Bryant. Four years later Rose has to come home, and is dreading running in to Bryant again. Both of them are forced to face their regrets as they wish they could have done things differently, but is it too late for them to find love again?

Note: this is a new adult novel and contains sex and graphic language. This is not intended for young adult readers.

      

Buy Link:



My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – Expired Regrets


I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Megan.  This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, pain, jealousy, and betrayal.  The book will suck you right in and have you engrossed so you are reading the end before you know it.  Some parts are really heartbreaking so pack your tissues you might just need them.   

The beginning of this book is told in Rose’s POV but in a few chapters near the end it changes to Bryant’s POV and then back to Rose’s POV.

This book started out right after a horrific car accident scene which has the feel of Rose dying.

You are then transformed back 4 years to Rose’s senior year of high school when she meets a new guy named Bryant Matthews.  After witnessing her best friend Leslie flirting with him she gets jealous and ends up leaving her friend behind at the barn where they rides horses every day. 

She avoids her friend for a while until her friend calls multiple times in a row.  Leslie explains that Bryant was asking all about her and has no interest in Leslie.  Rose feels so guilty about avoiding her friend.  Once again Rose and Leslie are fine.

Rose decides she will seek out Bryant and he tells her she is too young for him as he is a senior in college.  They live in two different worlds and it would never work.  Rose is broken hearted. 

The next day Rose takes a fall off her horse and ends up hurting herself.  Bryant witnesses the fall and comes over to help her out.  After wrapping her wrist he steals a kiss.  They begin spending time together at the barn where they ride and store there horses.  As Rose falls more in love with Bryant everyday she wonders what he feels.

All the kids that store there horses at the barn have to work at an annual Harvest Festival.  When Bryant shows up with his friends she does not even introduce them to Rose.  She feels rejected so when one of the guys that came with Bryant named Jordan shows her attention she is torn.  She loves Bryant but Jordan is so easy to be around. 

As the days follow both Bryant and Jordan both try to win over Rose.  They even come to blows over her.  As they both tell her they love her who will she pick?  Will she pick the right one?  Will they last? 

Who will win?  Bryant who is always rejecting her and making her heart hurt with the way he treats her?   Or will she pick Jordan who is sweet, always protecting her, and easy to be with? 

Rose has a tragic past that made her shutdown and not date for a long time.  What new tragic things are in store for her?

What team are you on Jordan or Bryant!

 

 Contact Info for Megan C. Smith

 

 

Megan Smith was born and raised in beautiful Tampa, Florida where she spent her days falling in love with fictional characters from a very young age. After marrying her best friend she relocated to North Carolina to support her husband’s career as a U.S. Marine. During her time in North Carolina Megan was blessed with 3 beautiful children who have kept her constantly busy chasing after them and enjoying the daily routine of motherhood. Most recently Megan and her family have relocated to St. Petersburg, Florida where she has spent the past few months achieving her lifelong dream of publishing her very first novel; as well as continuing to submerge herself in some of her favorite books while appreciating a glass of wine and her favorite, salted pretzel Milanos.

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[COVER REVEAL] Adrenaline Rush by Cindy M. Hogan

Adrenaline Rush by Cindy M. Hogan
Publication date: October 2013
Genres: Suspense, Young Adult
 

 

~Synopsis~

A madman with a mission is kidnapping groups of thrill-seeking high school seniors across the country, and it’s up to Christy to stop him.

To do so, she must take on a fearless alter ego and infiltrate a group of adrenaline junkies bent on pushing life to the limit. Death-defying stunts are only the beginning: two groups fit the profile, and Christy must discover the real target before it’s too late.

If she chooses the wrong group, more people will disappear. But choosing right puts her as the prime target—with no guarantee that she’ll get out alive.
  

Pre-order:

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About The Author!

 
 

Cindy M. Hogan graduated with a secondary education teaching degree and enjoys spending time with unpredictable teenagers. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. She loves to bake, garden and be outdoors doing a myriad of activities.


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Filed under 2013, Cindy M. Hogan, October, Suspense, Synopsis, Xpresso Book Tours, Young Adult

[Review] My Spy by Dana Marton

My Spy by Dana Marton

Publication date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Series: HQ: Texas
Pages: 440

Back of the book

2 Complete Novels for 1 Price!  

The stakes are higher and the danger is bigger in Dana Marton’s HQ: Texas miniseries. 


A mission gone wrong forced injured soldier Jamie Cassidy to start anew…and run right into the path of deputy sheriff Bree Tridle. The sassy, sexy Texan was as determined to uncover a local money-laundering scheme as Jamie was to keep her safe from the stalker hot on her trail. But Jamie, now an undercover operative, was also on a covert mission of his own: track smugglers threatening to bring terrorists into the U.S. Could Jamie’s and Bree’s cases be related? When a deadly attack on Bree’s home escalates the danger and their attraction, Jamie and Bree must face their enemies together to save not only their country, but their one chance at love. 
 

2 books in 1! Last Spy Standing also included in this book!

 


 

 

 

Pre-order My Spy


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HQ: Texas series reading order


LAST SPY STANDING

SPY HARD

THE SPY WORE SPURS

MOST ELIGIBLE SPY

MY SPY

SPY IN THE SADDLE

    


My Review: 

5.0 Star Review – My Spy (HQ: Texas # 5)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Dana.  This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, a stalker, murder, handicapped characters and a bomb.

If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books first from “HQ: Texas” series.

LAST SPY STANDING – this is included in this book 

SPY HARD

THE SPY WORE SPURS

MOST ELIGIBLE SPY

 


Jamie Cassidy, an undercover operative, is working a case on tracking smugglers.  He has to reveal his job when he almost gets arrested for spending a counterfeit bill he got from the bank on a book. 

Brianna ‘Bree’ Tridle, former beauty queen, now deputy sheriff takes him in custody.  She is working on a money-laundering case that could be related to Jamie’s case.

After Jamie is told to work with Bree he discovers that she is being stalked.  As their investigations continue the leads they get point back to each of their cases. 

As the stalker escalates the danger to Bree has Jamie in knots over his feelings and protectiveness to her and her sister. 

What is happening to the man who decided he never needed a woman?  As Bree is drawn closer to Jamie she is wondering if he will want her to choose between him and her sister.  

         
The chemistry between these two is explosive.  Bree is a cheerful sarcastic woman who is trying to keep her town free of crime and take care of her sister.  I love how Dana wrote Jamie’s character I totally love him.  The storyline in the bank where Jamie opens up a little about his feelings and his loss just about breaks your heart.  As tragic as Jamie’s back story is you can get an understanding of his feelings and concerns from it.  She totally cracked me up with him getting busted with the counterfeit bill while buying a book.  Well played Dana well played. Very good read.  


 
Look forward to the next book in this series.


Spy In The Saddle – Due out in November 2013

A few of my favorite parts:

 “I assume you didn’t go get stiches because you don’t have time, not because you’re scared of the needle?”
He shot her a dark look. He did that so well. Must have been part of his training.
“Why don’t I slap on some butterfly bandages, as long as we’re both here. Then you won’t have to go see a doc. You’ll save a ton of time that you could use to glare at people. I’d hate to see you slip off schedule.”
His eyes remained stoic, but the corner of his sculpted mouth twitched. “Make it quick.”


“I’m not asking. I’m telling you. Don’t involve yourself. Forget everything we’ve talked about earlier.”
“Or what?” A laugh escaped her and trilled along his nerve endings. “You’ll spank me? For heaven’s sake. I’m an officer of the law. I’m trained to handle myself.”
The visual of the spanking bit left him both speechless and breathless for a second.


“You know, we do have a public-indecency ordinance in place.  You seem to have a habit of going pant-less in public,” she remarked as she stood and squeezed water out of her hair and clothes. 
He glanced back as he got to his feet. “You going to arrest me for that?”
She sighed. “I kind of like it. Does that make me shallow?”
Surprise crossed his face, then a half smile formed. “You’re not what I expected.”

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. 
 

Read an Excerpt

He had two weeks to gain the information he needed to stop terrorists with weapons of mass destruction from entering the country. But everything his six-man team had done so far had been a bust.

Undercover operative Jamie Cassidy sat with his back to the wall in the far corner at the Yellow Armadillo, a seedy, small-town bar on the backstreets of Pebble Creek, Texas. Country music streamed from overhead speakers; the place was dark and dingy, the food was fried within an inch of its life. But the beer was cold, the only nice thing that could be said about the joint.

“So you have no idea who the new boss is?” he asked the scrawny farmhand across the table.

Billy Brunswik fingered the rim of the tattered Stetson on his lap, his eyes on his empty glass. A cowboy tan left the top of his forehead white, the rest of his face several shades darker. His checkered blue shirt was wrinkled and smudged with dirt, as if he’d been wearing it for more than a day or two. He silently shook his head.

Jamie had his own cowboy hat and jeans and shirt to fit in, a far cry from his usual commando gear. In a place like this—a known hangout for smugglers—being spotted as a government man could quickly earn you a bullet in the back.

He waved the perky blonde waitress over for another round for Billy but didn’t return her flirty smile. His attention was on the man across the table. “It’s tough. Believe me, I know.” He waited until the waitress left. “In this economy, and they cut off work. Hell, what are you supposed to do? Who do you go to now?”

“Nobody knows nuthin’.” Billy set his empty glass down and wiped his upper lip with the back of his calloused hand, then pulled out a tin of chewing tobacco and tucked a pinch between gum and cheek. “I can barely buy groceries for the girlfriend and me, I’ll tell you that.”

Jamie watched him for a few seconds, then slid three twenties across the table. “I know how it is.”

Billy was on the cash like a duck on a june bug, the bills disappearing in a flat second. He looked around nervously, licking his crooked yellow front teeth. “I ain’t no snitch.”

Jamie gave a sympathetic nod. “A man has to live. And I ain’t asking for nothing that would get you in trouble. Just need enough to show the boss I’ve been working.” He shrugged, playing the halfhearted customs agent role.

Billy hung his head. “I do work a little,” he admitted. “When nobody’s lookin’. Just some weed.”

“Who do you kick up to?”

“Ain’t nobody there since Kenny.”

And no matter how hard Jamie pushed the down-on-his-luck farmhand after that, Billy didn’t give up anything. Although he did promise to get in touch if things changed.

Developing an asset was a slow and careful business.

Jamie left the man and strode across the bar, looking for familiar faces as he passed the rows of tables. The two border towns his team watched, Hullett and Pebble Creek, had their share of smugglers, most of them lying low these days. He didn’t recognize anyone here today.

He paid the waitress at the bar, stepped outside into the scorching heat then shoved his hat on his head and rubbed his eyes. He’d spent the night on border patrol, then most of the morning running down leads. His legs hurt. The doc at Walter Reed called it phantom-limb pain.

He resisted the urge to reach down and rub his prosthetic limbs. It did nothing for the pain, and he hated the feel of the cold steel where his legs should have been.

He strode up to Main Street, came out by the bank and drew a hundred out of the ATM while he was here, since Billy had cleaned him out. Then his gaze caught on the bookstore across the street. Maybe a good read would help him fall asleep. When on duty, his mind focused on work. But when he rested, memories of his dark past pushed their way back into his head. Sleep had a way of eluding him.

He cut across traffic and pushed inside the small indie bookstore, into the welcoming cool of air-conditioning, and strode straight to the mystery section. He picked out a hard-boiled detective story, then turned on his heels and came face-to-face with the woman of his dreams.

Okay, the woman of every red-blooded man’s dreams.

She was tall and curvy, with long blond hair swinging in a ponytail, startling blue eyes that held laughter and a mouth to kill or die for, depending on what she wished.

His mind went completely blank for a second, while his body sat up and took serious notice.

When his dreams weren’t filled with blood and torture and killing, they were filled with sex. He could still do the act—one thing his injury hadn’t taken away from him. But he didn’t allow himself. He didn’t want pity. Foreplay shouldn’t start with him taking off his prosthetics—the ultimate mood killer. And he definitely didn’t want the questions.

Hell, even he hated touching the damn things. Who wouldn’t? He wasn’t going to put himself through that humiliation. Wasn’t going to put a woman in a position where she’d have to start pretending.

But he dreamed, and his imagination made it good. The woman of his dreams was always the same, an amalgamation of pinup girls that had been burned into his brain during his adolescent years from various magazines he and his brothers had snuck into the house.

And now she was standing in front of him.

The pure, molten-lava lust that shot through his gut nearly knocked him off his feet. And aggravated the hell out of him. He’d spent considerable time suppressing his physical needs so they wouldn’t blindside him like this.

“Howdy,” she said with a happy, peppy grin that smoothed out the little crease in her full bottom lip. She had a great mouth, crease or no crease. Made a man think about his lips on hers and going lower.

He narrowed his eyes. Then he pushed by her with a dark look, keeping his face and body language discouraging. Who the hell was she to upset his hard-achieved balance?

He strode up to the counter and paid with cash because he didn’t want to waste time punching buttons on the card reader. He didn’t want to spend another second in a place where he could be ambushed like this. The awareness of her back somewhere among the rows of books still tingled all across his skin.

“I’m sorry.” The elderly man behind the counter handed back the twenty-dollar bill. “I can’t take this.” He flashed an apologetic smile as he pushed up his horn-rimmed glasses, then tugged down his denim shirt in a nervous gesture. “The scanner kicked it back.”

“I just got it from the bank across the street,” Jamie argued, not in the mood for delay.

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“Everything okay, Fred?” The woman he’d tried to pretend didn’t exist came up behind Jamie.

Her voice was as smooth as the kind of top-shelf whiskey the Yellow Armadillo couldn’t afford to carry. Its sexy timbre tickled something behind his breastbone. He kept his back to her, against enormous temptation to turn, hoping she’d get the hint to mind her own business.

Then he had to turn, anyway, because next thing he knew she was talking to him.

“I’d be happy to help. How about we go next door and I’ll help you figure this out?”

The police station stood next door. All he wanted was to go home and see if he could catch a few winks before his next shift. “I don’t think so.” He peeled off another twenty, which went through the scanner without trouble. Next thing he knew, Fred was handing back his change.

“I really think we should,” the woman insisted.

Apparently, she had trouble with the concept of minding her own business. He shot her a look of disapproval, hoping she’d take the hint.

He tried to look at nothing but her eyes, but all that sparkling blue was doing things to him. Hell, another minute, and if she asked him to eat the damned twenty, he would have probably done it. He caught that thought, pushed back hard.

“Who the hell are you?” He kept his tone at a level of surly that had taken years to perfect.

The cheerleader smile never even wavered as she pulled her badge from her pocket and flashed it at him. “Brianna Tridle. Deputy sheriff.”

Oh, hell.

He looked her over more thoroughly: the sexy snake-skin boots, the hip-hugging jeans, the checkered shirt open at the neck, giving a hint of the top curve of her breasts. His palms itched for a feel. If there was such a thing as physical perfection, she was it.

Any guy who had two brain cells to rub together would have gone absolutely anywhere with her.

Except Jamie Cassidy.

“I’m in a hurry.”

“Won’t take but a minute.” She tilted her head, exposing the creamy skin of her neck just enough to bamboozle him. “I’ve been having a hard time with counterfeit bills turning up in town lately. I’d really appreciate the help. I’ll keep it as quick as possible, I promise.” The smile widened enough to reveal some pearly white teeth.

Teeth a man wouldn’t have minded running his tongue along before kissing her silly.

Another man.

Certainly not Jamie.

Okay, so she was the deputy sheriff. The sheriff, Kenny Davis, had been killed recently. He’d been part of the smuggling operation Jamie’s team was investigating. A major player, actually.

After that, Ryder McKay, Jamie’s team leader, had looked pretty closely at the Pebble Creek police department. The rest of them came up squeaky clean. A shame, really. Jamie definitely felt like his world would be safer with Brianna Tridle locked away somewhere far from him.

She was too chirpy by half.

He didn’t like chirpy.

But if she wasn’t a suspect, she could be an ally—if he played his cards right. Although poker wasn’t the first thing to spring to mind when he thought about playing with her. He could no longer feel the air-conditioning. In fact, it seemed the AC might have broken since he’d come in. The place felt warm suddenly. Hot, even.

He loosened the neck of his shirt. “Fine. Five minutes.”

He held the door for her, regretting it as she flashed another gut punch of a smile. She better not read anything into that basic courtesy. He’d been raised right, that was all. He couldn’t help it. He wasn’t falling for her charms, no way, he thought as she walked in front of him, hips swinging.

The gentle sway held him mesmerized for a minute. Then he blinked hard as he finally focused on one specific spot. Was that a small firearm tucked under her waistband, covered by her shirt? Hard to tell with his eyes trying to slide lower.

He looked more carefully. Damn if the slight bulge wasn’t a weapon. She’d been armed the entire time and he’d never noticed. He was seriously losing it.

He drew in a slow breath as they walked into the station. On second thought, forget developing her as an asset. Working with her would probably be more trouble than it was worth.

He was going to tell Brianna Tridle where, when and exactly how he’d come into possession of the stupid twenty-dollar bill in question. Then he was walking out and not looking back. If he had even a smidgen of luck coming to him, he’d never see her again.

“I really appreciate this.” Bree measured up the cowboy with the bad attitude.

Not a real Texas cowboy, actually. He was missing the Texas twang, his general accent making it difficult to pin down from where he hailed. And he wore combat boots with his jeans. It threw off his cowboy swagger. He had shadows all around him, his aura a mixture of dangerous and sexy. He was hot enough to give women heart palpitations on his worst day.

Not that that sort of thing affected her. She was a seasoned law enforcement officer. “And your name is?”

“Jamie Cassidy.” He didn’t offer his hand, or even a hint of a smile as he scanned the station.

She’d bet good money he didn’t miss many details.

Fine. She was proud of the place, clean and organized. The dozen people working there were the finest in South Texas. She would trust each and every one of them to have her back.

While he examined her station, she examined him.

He stood tall, well built, his dirty-blond hair slightly mussed as he took his hat off. When he ran his fingers through it in an impatient gesture, Bree’s own fingertips tingled.

He had the face of a tortured angel, all angles and masculine beauty. His chocolate-brown eyes seemed permanently narrowed and displeased. Especially as he took in the metal detectors she’d had installed just last week.

Lena, the rookie officer manning the scanner, held out a gray plastic tray for him.

Bree offered a smile. “We just upped our security. If you could hand over anything metal in your pockets and walk through, I’d appreciate it.”

She was in charge of the station until the new sheriff was elected. They’d had an incident recently with a drunk housewife who’d come in to file a complaint against her husband, then ended up shooting a full clip into the ceiling to make sure they believed her when she said she would shoot the bastard if he came into her new double-wide one more time with muddy boots.

She’d been a bundle of booze and wild emotions—the very opposite of Jamie Cassidy, who seemed the epitome of cold and measured.

He scowled as he dropped his cell phone, handful of change and car keys into the small plastic tray. “I’m going to set the alarm off.” He tapped his leg. “Prosthesis.”

That was it, then, Bree thought as she watched him. The reason why his walk had been off a smidgen. “Not a problem, Lena,” she told the rookie, who was staring at him with dreamy eyes. “I’ll pat him down.”

“No.” His face darkened as his gaze cut to hers.

They did a long moment of the staring-each-other-down thing. Then his lips narrowed as he fished around in his shirt pocket and pulled out a CBP badge.

Customs and Border Protection. And the plot thickens. She tilted her head as she considered him. Why not show the badge sooner?

Maybe it was a fake. She’d worked pretty closely with CBP for the past couple of years. She’d never seen him before. If she had, she would have definitely remembered him.

She widened her smile. Defusing tension in a bad situation always worked better than escalating it. “I need to check you just the same. New procedure. Sorry.”

For a second he looked like he might refuse and simply walk away from her. She kept her hand near her firearm at her back, ready to stop him. She preferred to do things the easy way, but she could do it the hard way if needed. Up to him.

But then he seemed to change his mind and held out his arms to the side. She wondered if he knew that his smoldering look of resentment only made him look sexier.

“It’ll only take a second.” She ran her fingers along his arms first, lightly. Plenty of muscle. If he did change his mind and began causing trouble, she would definitely need her service weapon.

She moved her hands to his torso and found more impressive muscles there. She could feel the heat of his body through his shirt and went faster when her fingertips began to tingle again, a first for her during pat down. What on earth was wrong with her today? She tried to focus on what she was doing. Okay, no shoulder holster, no sidearm here.

“Almost done.” She squatted as she moved down his legs, pausing at the sharp transition where the living flesh gave way to rigid metal. Bothof his legs were missing. Her gaze flew up to his.

He looked back down at her with something close to hate—a proud man who didn’t like his weaknesses seen.

“Enough.” He stepped back.

But she stepped after him. “One more second.”

Awareness tingled down her spine as she pulled up and reached around his waist, almost as if she were hugging him. And there, tucked behind his belt, she found a small, concealed weapon.

She removed the firearm carefully, pointing it down, making sure her fingers didn’t come near the trigger. “When were you going to tell me about this?” She checked the safety. On. Okay.

 

Side Note this book also contains the below book:

 

Last Spy Standing by Dana Marton

Publication date: Jan 1, 2011

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div> This is the First book in the HQ: Texas SeriesPublished by Harlequin
Pages: 224

Back of the Book

 

Black ops specialist Mitch Mendoza had thought this South American rescue mission would be routine. But the jungle held unexpected dangers: deadly snakes, armed drug runners and Megan Cassidy. The undercover CIA agent had legs for miles and a hidden agenda–one that interfered with Mitch’s plans. So though he was a lone wolf, he had to keep her close, or risk letting his mission fail. After years of working alone, Mitch found himself distracted by Megan’s steely resolve and her soft curves. And he couldn’t afford that. Not if he wanted this assignment to be a success…and get both of them out of the jungle alive.

 

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Filed under 2013, Dana Marton, Harlequin, HQ: Texas, Intrigue, October, Review, Romance, Suspense

[Review] Yuletide Baby Surprise by Catherine Mann

Yuletide Baby Surprise  by Catherine Mann

Publication date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Desire

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Series: Billionaire and Babies
Series: The Alpha Brotherhood # 4
Pages: 185

Back of the book

 
In this Billionaires & Babies novel, USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine Mann gives new meaning to the words “Merry Christmas, Baby”

‘Tis the season to be jolly? It isn’t for Dr. Rowan Boothe when a princess on the run from the photo-hungry press invades his hotel room. He and Mariama Mandara had their professional clashes in the past, and Rowan has no desire to become involved in her latest predicament—until they discover an abandoned baby. Now he needs Mari’s help and soon discovers she’s no pampered royal but a desirable woman. Yet how long can their Christmas escape really last?
 



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My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – Yuletide Baby Surprise (Billionaires and Babies | The Alpha Brotherhood # 4 series)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Catherine.  This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, and an abandoned baby.

If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books first from “The Alpha Brotherhood” series.

An Inconvenient Affair

All or Nothing

Playing for Keeps


Princess Dr. Mariama “Mari” Mandara is on the run from royal fans.  She needs to find a way to escape the fans and fast.  That is when she comes across a room service tray.  She decides to pretend to deliver the tray to the assigned room.

Dr. Rowan Boothe is in town for a conference and is awaiting his evening meal.  When his meal arrives he realizes that the delivery person is non-other than his professional nemesis Dr. Mandara. 

Under the room service cart they find an abandoned baby.  As Rowan has wanted Mari for a while he decides to keep her close any way he can.  His plan is they will take care of the baby together so she is not in the system and sent to a group home.  In order to care for the baby Mari should share his suite and they should take care of the baby as a couple.

Now they must learn to get along with each other without becoming attached to the baby.  As they try to track down the mother with the help of resources from friends and the Royal fans they learn more about each other and develop feelings for each other.    

Will they be able to set aside their work differences to come together and take care of this baby?  What is going to happen when the mother is found?  Where will that leave them?

The chemistry between these two is awesome.  Love both the characters was a little mad about how the baby situation ended up.  Rowan and Mari really draw you into the story. 


 
Look forward to the next book in this series.


For the Sake of Their SonDue out in January 2014

A few of my favorite parts:

 “Ah, you said ‘if.'” He flicked a loose strand of hair over her shoulder, just barely skimming his knuckles across her skin. “Princess, that means we’re already halfway to naked.”


“If you were a good friend you would let me continue with my denial.”


“Crush? Good God, man. I’m not in junior high.”


She dug her fingers into his amazing tush. “Could you quit being so damn admirable? I’m very clearly propositioning you. I am an adult, a very smart adult, totally sober, and completely turned on by you. If’s that not clear enough for you, then how about this? Take me to bed or to the couch, but take me now.”

Contact Info for Catherine Mann

 
                               
 
 

 

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About Catherine:


USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann resides on a sunny Florida beach with her military flyboy husband and their four children. Although after nine moves in twenty years, she hasn’t given away her winter gear! Now a RITA Award winner, Catherine writes action-packed military suspense for Berkley and Sourcebooks, and steamy romances for Harlequin Desire. With over two million books in print in more than twenty countries, she has also celebrated five RITA finals, three Maggie Award of Excellence finals and a Bookseller’s Best win. A former theater school director and university teacher, she holds a Master’s degree in Theater from UNC-Greensboro and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (with minors in both English and Education) from the College of Charleston. Catherine enjoys hearing from readers and chatting on her message board – thanks to the wonders of the wireless internet that allows her to cyber-network with her laptop by the water! Catherine and her family are also active volunteers in animal rescue, having fostered more than fifty puppies and special needs dogs for their local shelter. FMI on the latest news, upcoming releases and contests, check out her facebook page.

 

Read an Excerpt

Dr. Mariama Mandara had always been the last picked for a team in gym class. With good reason. Athletics? Not her thing. But when it came to spelling bees, debate squads and math competitions, she’d racked up requests by the dozens.

Too bad her academic skills couldn’t help her sprint faster down the posh hotel corridor.

More than ever, she needed speed to escape the royal watchers tracking her at the Cape Verde beachside resort off the coast of West Africa, which was like a North Atlantic Hawaii, a horseshoe grouping of ten islands. They were staying on the largest island, Santiago.

No matter where she hid, determined legions were all too eager for a photo with a princess. Why couldn’t they accept she was here for a business conference, not socializing?

Panting, Mari braced a hand against the wall as she stumbled past a potted areca silk palm strung with twinkling Christmas lights. Evading relentless pursuers wasn’t as easy as it appeared in the movies, especially if you weren’t inclined to blow things up or leap from windows. The nearest stairwell door was blocked by two tourists poring over some sightseeing pamphlet. A cleaning cart blocked another escape route. She could only keep moving forward.

Regaining her balance, she power-walked, since running would draw even more attention or send her tripping over her own feet. Her low-heeled pumps thud-thud-thudded along the plush carpet in time with a poly-rhythmic version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” wafting from the sound system. She just wanted to finish this medical conference and return to her research lab, where she could ride out the holiday madness in peace, crunching data rather than candy canes.
 
For most people, Christmas meant love, joy and family. But for her, the “season to be jolly” brought epic family battles even twenty years after her parents’ divorce. If her mom and dad had lived next door to each other—or even on the same continent—the holidays would not have been so painful. But they’d played transcontinental tug-of-war over their only child for decades. Growing up, she’d spent more time in the Atlanta airport and on planes with her nanny than actually celebrating by a fireside with cocoa. She’d even spent one Christmas in a hotel, her connecting flight canceled for snow.

The occasional cart in the hall now reminded her of that year’s room-service Christmas meal. Call her crazy, but once she had gained more control over her world, she preferred a simpler Christmas.

Although simple wasn’t always possible for someone born into royalty. Her mother had crumbled under the pressure of the constant spotlight, divorced her Prince Charming in Western Africa and returned to her Atlanta, Georgia, home. Mari, however, couldn’t divorce herself from her heritage.

If only her father and his subjects understood she could best serve their small region through her research at the university lab using her clinical brain, rather than smiling endlessly through the status quo of ribbon-cutting ceremonies. She craved her comfy, shapeless clothes, instead of worrying about keeping herself neat as a pin for photo ops.

Finally, she spotted an unguarded stairwell. Peering inside, she found it empty but for the echo of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” segueing into “Away in a Manger.” She just needed to make it from the ground level to her fifth-floor room, where she could hole up for the night before facing the rest of the week’s symposiums. Exhausted from a fourteen-hour day of presentations about her research on antiviral medications, she was a rumpled mess and just didn’t have it in her to smile pretty for the camera or field questions that would be captured on video phone. Especially since anything she said could gain a life of its own on the internet in seconds these days.

She grasped the rail and all but hauled herself up step after step. Urgency pumped her pulse in her ears. Gasping, she paused for a second at the third floor to catch her breath before trudging up the last flights. Shoving through the fifth-floor door, she almost slammed into a mother and teenage daughter leaving their room. The teen did a double take and Mari turned away quickly, adrenaline surging through her exhaustion and powering her down the hall. Except now she was going in the opposite direction, damn it.

Simply strolling back into the hall wasn’t an option until she could be sure the path was clear. But she couldn’t simply stand here indefinitely, either. If only she had a disguise, something to throw people off the scent. Head tucked down, she searched the hall through her eyelashes, taking in a brass luggage rack and monstrously big pots of African feather grass.

Her gaze landed on the perfect answer—a room-service cart. Apparently abandoned. She scanned for anyone in a hotel uniform, but saw only the retreating back of a woman walking away quickly, a cell phone pressed to her ear. Mari chewed her lip for half a second then sprinted forward and stopped just short of the cloth-draped trolley.

She peeked under the silver tray. The mouth-watering scent of saffron-braised karoo lamb made her stomach rumble. And the tiramisu particularly tempted her to find the nearest closet and feast after a long day of talking without a break for more than coffee and water. She shook off indulgent thoughts. The sooner she worked her way back to her room, the sooner she could end this crazy day with a hot shower, her own tray of food and a soft bed.

Delivering the room-service cart now offered her best means of disguise. A hotel jacket was even draped over the handle and a slip of paper clearly listed Suite 5A as the recipient.

The sound of the elevator doors opening spurred her into action.

Mari shrugged the voluminous forest-green jacket over her rumpled black suit. A red Father Christmas hat slipped from underneath the hotel uniform. All the better for extra camouflaging. She yanked on the hat over her upswept hair and started pushing the heavily laden cart toward the suite at the end of the hall, just as voices swelled behind her.

“Do you see her?” a female teen asked in Portuguese, her squeaky tones drifting down the corridor. “I thought you said she ran up the stairs to the fifth floor.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t the fourth?” another high-pitched girl answered.

“I’m certain,” a third voice snapped. “Get your phone ready. We can sell these for a fortune.”

Not a chance.

Mari shoved the cart. China rattled and the wheels creaked. Damn, this thing was heavier than it looked. She dug her heels in deeper and pushed harder. Step by step, past carved masks and a pottery elephant planter, she walked closer to suite 5A.

The conspiring trio drew closer. “Maybe we can ask that lady with the cart if she’s seen her…”

Apprehension lifted the hair on the back of Mari’s neck. The photos would be all the more mortifying if they caught her in this disguise. She needed to get inside suite 5A. Now. The numbered brass plaque told her she was at the right place.

Mari jabbed the buzzer, twice, fast.

“Room service,” she called, keeping her head low.
 
Seconds ticked by. The risk of stepping inside and hiding her identity from one person seemed far less daunting than hanging out here with the determined group and heaven only knew who else.
 
Just when she started to panic that time would run out, the door opened, thank God. She rushed past, her arms straining at the weight of the cart and her nose catching a whiff of manly soap. Her favorite scent—clean and crisp rather than cloying and obvious. Her feet tangled for a second.
 
Tripping over her own feet as she shoved the cart was far from dignified. But she’d always been too gangly to be a glamour girl. She was more of a cerebral type, a proud nerd, much to the frustration of her family’s press secretary, who expected her to present herself in a more dignified manner.
 
Still, even in her rush to get inside, curiosity nipped at her. What type of man would choose such a simple smell while staying in such opulence? But she didn’t dare risk a peek at him.
 
She eyed the suite for other occupants, even though the room-service cart only held one meal. One very weighty meal. She shoved the rattling cart past a teak lion. The room appeared empty, the lighting low. Fat leather sofas and a thick wooden table filled the main space. Floor-to-ceiling shutters had been slid aside to reveal the moonlit beach outside a panoramic window. Lights from stars and yachts dotted the horizon. Palms and fruit trees with lanterns illuminated the shore. On a distant islet, a stone church perched on a hill.
 
She cleared her throat and started toward the table by the window. “I’ll set everything up on the table for you.”
 
“Thanks,” rumbled a hauntingly familiar voice that froze her in her tracks. “But you can just leave it there by the fireplace.”
 
Her brain needed less than a second to identify those deep bass tones. Ice trickled down her spine as if snow had hit her African Christmas after all.
 
She didn’t have to turn around to confirm that fate was having a big laugh at her expense. She’d run from an irritation straight into a major frustration. Out of all the hotel suites she could have entered, somehow she’d landed in the room of Dr. Rowan Boothe. Her professional nemesis.
 
A physician whose inventions she’d all but ridiculed in public.
 
What the hell was he doing here? She’d reviewed the entire program of speakers and she could have sworn he wasn’t listed on the docket until the end of the week.
 
The door clicked shut behind her. The tread of his footsteps closed in, steady, deliberate, bringing the scent of him drifting her way. She kept her face down, studying his loafers and the well-washed hem of his faded jeans.
 
She held on to the hope that he wouldn’t recognize her. “I’ll leave your meal right here then,” she said softly. “Have a nice evening.”

His tall, solid body blocked her path. God, she was caught between a rock and a hard place. Her eyes skated to his chest.

A very hard, muscle-bound place encased in a white button-down with the sleeves rolled up and the tail untucked. She remembered well every muscular—annoying—inch of him.
 
She just prayed he wouldn’t recognize her from their last encounter five months ago at a conference in London. Already the heat of embarrassment flamed over her.
 
Even with her face averted, she didn’t need to look further to refresh her memory of that too handsome face of his. Weathered by the sun, his Brad Pitt-level good looks only increased. His sandy blond hair would have been too shaggy for any other medical professional to carry off. But somehow he simply appeared too immersed in philanthropic deeds to be bothered with anything as mundane as a trip to the barber.
 
The world thought he was Dr. Hot Perfection but she simply couldn’t condone the way he circumvented rules.
 
“Ma’am,” he said, ducking his head as if to catch her attention, “is there a problem?”
 
Just keep calm. There was no way for him to identify her from the back. She would rather brave a few pictures in the press than face this man while she wore a flipping Santa Claus hat.
 
A broad hand slid into view with cash folded over into a tip. “Merry Christmas.”
 
If she didn’t take the money, that would appear suspicious. She pinched the edge of the folded bills, doing her best to avoid touching him. She plucked the cash free and made a mental note to donate the tip to charity. “Thank you for your generosity.”
 
“You’re very welcome.” His smooth bass was too appealing coming from such an obnoxiously perfect man.
 
Exhaling hard, she angled past him. Almost home free. Her hand closed around the cool brass door handle.
 
“Dr. Mandara, are you really going so soon?” he asked with unmistakable sarcasm. He’d recognized her. Damn. He was probably smirking, too, the bastard.
 
He took a step closer, the heat of his breath caressing her cheek. “And here I thought you’d gone to all this trouble to sneak into my room so you could seduce me.”
 
Dr. Rowan Boothe waited for his words to sink in, the possibility of sparring with the sexy princess/ research scientist already pumping excitement through his veins. He didn’t know what it was about Mariama Mandara that turned him inside out, but he’d given up analyzing the why of it long ago. His attraction to Mari was simply a fact of life now.
 
Her disdain for him was an equally undeniable fact, and to be honest, it was quite possibly part of her allure.
 
He grew weary with the whole notion of the world painting him as some kind of saint just because he’d rejected the offer of a lucrative practice in North Carolina and opened a clinic in Africa. These days, he had money to burn after his invention of a computerized medical diagnostics program—a program Mari missed no opportunity to dismiss as faux, shortcut medicine. Funding the clinic hadn’t even put a dent in his portfolio so he didn’t see it as worthy of hoopla. Real philanthropy involved sacrifice. And he wasn’t particularly adept at denying himself things he wanted.
 
Right now, he wanted Mari.
 
Although from the look of horror on her face, his half-joking come-on line hadn’t struck gold.
 
She opened and closed her mouth twice, for once at a loss for words. Fine by him. He was cool with just soaking up the sight of her. He leaned back against the wet bar, taking in her long, elegant lines. Others might miss the fine-boned grace beneath the bulky clothes she wore, but he’d studied her often enough to catch the brush of every subtle curve. He could almost feel her, ached to peel her clothes away and taste every inch of her cafe-au-lait skin.
 
Some of the heat must have shown on his face because she snapped out of her shock. “You have got to be joking. You can’t honestly believe I would ever make a move on you, much less one so incredibly blatant.”
 
Damn, but her indignation was so sexy and yeah, even cute with the incongruity of that Santa hat perched on her head. He couldn’t stop himself from grinning.
 
She stomped her foot. “Don’t you dare laugh at me.”
 
He tapped his head lightly. “Nice hat.”
 
Growling, she flung aside the hat and shrugged out of the hotel jacket. “Believe me, if I’d known you were in here, I wouldn’t have chosen this room to hide out.”
 
“Hide out?” he said absently, half following her words.

As she pulled her arms free of the jacket to review a rumpled black suit, the tug of her white business shirt against her breasts sent an unwelcome surge of arousal through him. He’d been fighting a damned inconvenient arousal around this woman for more than two years, ever since she’d stepped behind a podium in front of an auditorium full of people and proceeded to shoot holes in his work. She thought his computerized diagnostics tool was too simplistic. She’d accused him of taking the human element out of medicine. His jaw flexed, any urge to smile fading.

If anyone was too impersonal, it was her. And, God, how he ached to rattle her composure, to see her tawny eyes go sleepy with all-consuming passion.
 
Crap.
 
He was five seconds away from an obvious erection. He reined himself in and faced the problem at hand—the woman—as a more likely reason for her arrival smoked through his brain. “Is this some sort of professional espionage?”
 
“What in the hell are you talking about?” She fidgeted with the loose waistband on her tweedy skirt.

Who would have thought tweed would turn him inside out? Yet he found himself fantasizing about pulling those practical clunky shoes off her feet. He would kiss his way up under her skirt, discover the silken inside of her calf… 
 

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Filed under 2013, Billionaire and Babies, Catherine Mann, Desire, Harlequin, October, Review, Romance, The Alpha Brotherhood

[Review] Flirting with Destiny by Christyne Butler

Flirting with Destiny  by Christyne Butler

Publication date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Welcome to Destiny # 6
Pages: 217

Back of the book

 
USA TODAY bestselling author Christyne Butler presents this story of healing, hope and love in her Welcome to Destiny series

It’s a tough road to recovery for Devlin Murphy after a helicopter accident leaves scars that are more than skin-deep. But there’s a new girl in Destiny, Wyoming, who’s got the healing touch. Sure, Tanya Reeves’s approach—acupuncture, anyone?—makes Dev’s eyes roll. The woman also makes his heart rev up like no other.

For her part, Tanya can’t believe it when she first runs into this fling from her past. Dev doesn’t even recognize her! Even crazier—history is repeating itself with this irresistible man. And Tanya has to ask herself: Who’s healing whom?



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My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – Flirting with Destiny (Welcome to Destiny # 6 series)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Christyne.  This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, pain, and betrayal.

If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books first.

The Cowboy’s Second Chance by Christyne Butler

The Sheriff’s Secret Wife by Christyne Butler

A Daddy for Jacoby by Christyne Butler

Welcome Home, Bobby Winslow by Christyne Butler

Having Adam’s Baby by Christyne Butler

Devlin “Dev” Murphy was in a helicopter accident with his brother that leaves him blaming himself for the entire event as he was the pilot.  He was hurt and feels the entire accident was his fault.  He is feeling so guilty that he is not participating in his physical therapy as he should.  His friend Mac who is also his sponsor for Alcoholics Anonymous for the last 6 years introduces him to his granddaughter Tanya Reeves.  She is in town for 6 weeks and then leaves to go to a school.  He wants Devlin to try acupuncture. Only problem is Dev is deathly afraid of needles. 

What Dev does not know is that he has already met Tanya but does not remember as it was before he was sober.  Tanya finally tells him about meeting before and he is embarrassed about how they met and knew each other. 

His brothers are keeping something from him and when he finds out if is really upset and feels betrayed.  After they explain the situation he is still not happy but has to deal with the hurt that they kept it from him.

As they work together to heal Dev’s body and mind they grow closer and start to fall for each other.  But Tanya is leaving how can they still be together when Dev is afraid to fly and she is going overseas?  He would never make her choose so what is he to do?

 The chemistry between these two is great.  Love both the characters. 


Look forward to the next book in this series.

 Coming Soon

Contact Info for Christyne Butler

 

 

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About Christyne:

Thanks to an aunt’s love of genealogy, Christyne discovered both Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe are members in her extended family tree on her mother’s side, so she firmly believes her love of writing has always been her destiny.

Her father served in the Air Force for twenty years which resulted in her birth in Taipei, Taiwan and she spent her youth growing up all over the world before her family settled in New Hampshire in time for her to attend high school. She followed in her family’s rich military history and joined the United States Navy where she fell in love with romance novels after someone remembered women were serving aboard seagoing vessels and sent a box full of paperback romances to her ship, the USS VULCAN AR-5.

She started pursuing her own writing in 2002, sold her first ever ‘finished’ manuscript in 2006 and made her first sale to Harlequin Special Edition two years later! She writes contemporary romances full of life, love, a hint of laughter and perhaps a dash of danger too. Christyne loves the challenge of the boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back and the journey of joy and hardship two people go through. And there has to be a ‘happily ever after’ or she’s just not satisfied.

When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting for treasures at yard sales and antique fairs to add to her collection of memorabilia of women who served in the military, watching classic romantic movies and the great movie musicals of the 40′s and 50′s, and reading books by her favorite authors.

She lives in central Massachusetts with her family, a four-footed double-pawed black cat who rules the house and a shelter-saved pup named Harley (short for Harlequin) who really thinks he’s a cat too! Christyne loves to hear from her readers.

 

Read an Excerpt

“Hey, cowboy.” The blonde barmaid leaned across the three-foot expanse of aged wood. “I know just what you need to make your day complete.”

Devlin Murphy glanced up from his mouthwatering burger and thick-cut fries, the house specialty here in the Blue Creek Saloon. He wasn’t really a cowboy, despite the black Stetson perched on his head. She must be new and it’d been a while since he’d been in here.

Eight long months to be exact.

His brothers had tried to coax him to his old stomping grounds a few times since he’d gotten his feet back under him—literally. Devlin just hadn’t been ready.

But spring had come early in Destiny, Wyoming, and on this warm, late April afternoon, Dev decided it was past time to rejoin the world of the living.

He bumped up the brim of his hat and offered what he hoped was more of his old prowler grin than his recent pain-filled grimace. Not an easy feat thanks to the familiar white-hot fire crawling down both shoulders toward his elbows.

“Oh, yeah? What’s that?”

“Just one minute.” She offered a quick wink and then turned away.

That simple gesture did nothing for him. Not anymore.

This time last year he would’ve been all over that suggestive sign, making sure he left with her phone number, if not the lady herself.

Now? Not interested.

And wasn’t that just another kick in the ass to go along with the butt whipping he’d taken since the helicopter crash that had left him and his eldest brother, Adam, stranded for three days in the Grand Tetons National Forest.

A helicopter he’d been piloting.

Thankfully Adam had come out with just a few bruises and scratches. Dev had been the one who’d spent five months in the hospital dealing with a broken leg and two broken arms. His recovery had been slow and painful, and while he could finally take care of himself again, he’d hit a brick wall with his physical therapy. When he bothered to go, the weekly sessions were painful, without any lasting results to show for his efforts.

Of course, sitting at a bar with a straight-on view of the rows of bottles waiting to be mixed and poured for the saloon’s patrons probably wasn’t the smartest thing to be doing right now. Not with three of his former best friends staring back at him.

Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker.

Yes, he and the boys went way back. Back to before he could even drive. But the four of them hadn’t pulled an all-nighter in six years.

That didn’t mean the desire had left him.

No, that stayed with him every day.

Just then the barmaid returned and placed a frosty mug of freshly poured beer in front of him.

Every pain-filled muscle in Devlin’s body froze.

“Here you go.” She offered a toothy grin. “You look like a man who’s earned a tall, cold one.”

Dev kept his gaze glued to the glass, the golden color calling to him like buried treasure to a weary pirate. White frothy foam lapped against the rim while beads of condensation chased one another down the length of the mug until they soaked the paper napkin below.

He swallowed, his forearms pressing hard into the rolled edge of the bar as his fingers curled into tight fists. A deep inhale through his nose caused the yeasty, bitter flavor he still remembered to come alive again inside his mouth.

Damn, coming here had been a bad idea.

“Uh.” He paused and blinked hard, breaking the hypnotic hold the beer had over him. After clearing his throat, Dev looked up at the barmaid and tried to summon the courage to set her straight. “I don’t—”

“Lisa, why don’t you take care of the crew at the end of the bar?” A strong feminine voice cut him off. “I’ll take over here.”

The blonde turned and looked at her boss, Racy Steele, the fiery redhead whose personality matched her name even though she was happily married to the town’s sheriff and was the mother of twins.

“But I’m talking to— I mean, I’m helping…”

Dev sat silently as the two women stared each other down. He knew who would win, and sure enough, when Racy tilted her head slightly, the barmaid shrugged and turned away.

With the ease of experience, Racy made the beer disappear, replacing it with a tall glass of ice water. “Sorry about that. She’s new.”

Dev nodded, releasing a deep breath.

“It’s good to see you up and on your feet again,” Racy continued, offering an easy smile. “You’ve been away from the Blue Creek for too long.”

“Been away from everything too long.”

“Of course, when you are here you usually don’t sit at the bar.”

Another defense mechanism.

When he’d decided to give up the booze, he refused to give up the friendships or the fun. Somehow sitting in one of the booths or the tables scattered around the large dance floor made the ongoing battle easier to fight.

“Yeah, I know.” He grabbed a fry and popped it into his mouth.

“And you rarely come in alone.”

He’d waved to a couple of familiar faces when he’d first come inside, but purposely kept walking until he reached the bar, determined to do this by himself.

“Everyone’s working,” he finally said. “You know, being how it’s Wednesday.”

Racy braced her elbows on the bar, leveling a familiar stare that told him she wasn’t buying his flimsy excuse. A move she’d probably perfected over the years from dealing with Blue Creek customers. “Except you?”

“No, I’m back behind the desk at the family business.”

Finally. Only whenever he sat for longer than an hour in front of the bank of computers that he used to design the home security systems sold by Murphy Mountain Log Homes, his shoulders started to pulsate, sending electric shocks into his elbows and making his fingers numb.

“Just decided to get some fresh air.”

“Inside a bar? At two in the afternoon?”

“I had a craving.” Damn, that didn’t sound right. “For a burger.”

“Do you need me to call anyone?”

Her softly spoken question caused Dev’s back to stiffen, his hands falling to his lap. He rubbed at the front pocket of his jeans, searching for and finding the bronze Alcoholics Anonymous medallion he always carried with him. A reminder of what he had achieved over the last six years.

“Someone like the good sheriff of Destiny?” he asked, an edge to his words.

“If you need to talk to Gage, he’ll come. As a friend.” Compassion filled Racy’s brown eyes. “You know that, right?”

The fight disappeared as quickly as it came.

Hell, he and Gage had a history that went back to playing football together in high school. He was also the one who took Dev to his first AA meeting. “Yeah, I know.”

“Or maybe there’s someone else you’d like to talk to?”

Meaning his sponsor.

Mac had been there for Dev from the very beginning. They’d met at a local meeting, bonding over a shared love of flying, and soon Dev had asked the older man to be the one person he could turn to, anytime day or night, the one person who’d understand the fight Dev faced as he struggled for sanity, for sobriety.

For his life.

Dev pulled in a deep breath, and then slowly released it. The crisis had passed. He’d faced temptation before and would again. Recognizing the want and walking away was something he’d done on a daily basis, especially over the last few months. “No, thanks. I’m good.”

There was that head tilt again.

“I mean it, Racy. Just let me enjoy my meal.” He paused, searching for a way to lighten the mood. His gaze flicked to the end of the bar. “And the view.”

Racy grinned. “Forget it, Murphy. She’s only twentythree.”

“Ouch. Now, you’re making me feel old.”

“You’re not old.” Racy fiddled with something behind the bar out of his sight. “She’s just too young.”

Dev reached for his burger. “Doesn’t look that way from here.”

“She was still in elementary school when you were going to fraternity parties at the University of Wyoming.”

“Thanks a lot.” Okay, that was too young even if he had been interested. Dev took a bite of his burger, chewed and then swallowed, watching as Racy hovered nearby. “You don’t have to babysit me.”

“I’m not babysitting.” She wiped down the already clean areas on either side of him. “I’m working.”

“Yeah, right.”

“You do realize the Blue Creek belongs to me, right? That means I get to decide where and when—”

A buzzing noise had Racy dropping the rag and reaching for the cell phone tucked into a rear pocket. Her face lit up with a big smile as she hit a button and pressed the phone to her ear.

“Hey, honey. How’s the world’s sexiest sheriff?” She offered Dev a quick wink, then laughed. “Yes, I can feel you blushing from here.”

Devlin just shook his head as Racy stepped away to have a private conversation with her husband. Sometimes it still amazed him that Racy and Gage, two people as different as night and day, had fallen in love and married, but he’d stood up for them at their wedding.

Something he hadn’t been able to do for Adam and Fay.

His sister-in-law had been almost four months pregnant by the time she and Adam had worked out their issues last summer, and they hadn’t wanted to wait any longer to get married.

He’d ended up watching a video of their September wedding from his hospital bed, unable to keep his promise to be his eldest brother’s best man.

At least he’d been back on his feet, sort of, when the newest member of the Murphy family, Adam Alistair Murphy Jr., A.J. for short, had arrived back in February.

“How about a fresh piece of apple pie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert?”

Racy’s question pulled Dev from his thoughts, and he realized she’d finished her call and had cleared away his empty plate. “No, thanks.”

He climbed off the bar stool, leaning heavily against the bar as he dug for his wallet. Damn, his leg felt like jelly and he’d left the cane his physical therapist insisted he still needed in his Jeep.

“Time for me to head back to work.”

She smiled and gave his hand a quick squeeze after taking his money. “You plan to stop by the firehouse on your way?”

That question caught him by surprise. “No. Why?”

“No reason. It’s just that your name comes up whenever any of the team is here. I thought they’d like to know one of their best and brightest volunteers is up and around.”

Yeah, up and around, but nowhere close to being able to rejoin the department. If ever. No, he wasn’t ready to face his former coworkers yet.

Dev shoved his wallet back in his pocket and offered a quick prayer he wouldn’t fall on his face when he turned around. “See you later, Racy. Thanks for the great meal.”

“Say hi to your family.”

Dev acknowledged her words with a wave, hating the ever-present limp that marked his walk as he headed out. His family said the slight hitch in his step wasn’t as noticeable as Dev thought, but it was just another reminder of how much his life had changed in the last year.

Making his way across the gravel parking lot, he opened the door to his Jeep and climbed inside, trying to ignore the fresh round of pain racing through his veins.

Maybe this hadn’t been such a great idea.

As wonderful as his family had been since the accident, Dev had been desperate to get out on his own again. Lord knew he hadn’t had a moment to himself in the last four months except when he was in bed at night. Even then, either one of his parents or Liam—the only brother who still lived in the log mansion that was the family home—would check in.

He appreciated all they’d done for him. Hell, with two broken arms he’d been like a baby, relying on his family for everything from his meals to bathing. It’d been three months since the casts were removed and still everyone hovered.

He needed space to think, to breathe.

And despite his father’s offer to replace the four-wheel drive Wrangler with something that made it easier to get behind the wheel, Dev had insisted on keeping it—it was the vehicle he’d bought the day he kicked his drinking habit.

“But why the Blue Creek?” he asked his reflection in the rearview mirror as he turned over the engine and backed out of the parking space. “Why not go to Sherry’s Diner? Or grab a sandwich at Doucette’s Bakery?”

He didn’t have an answer, or didn’t want to come up with one, so he cranked up the radio as he slowed to a stop at the parking lot exit, waiting for the chance to pull onto the street.

Diagonally across from him was White’s Liquors, a red brick building with a faded red, white and blue advertisement from the 1940s to buy war bonds still visible on the side.

When old man White had been alive, he’d had the ad repainted every five years in honor of the two brothers he’d lost during the war, but his kids owned the place now and the anniversary of the repainting had come and gone last fall without being touched up.

The traffic had cleared, but Dev still sat there, staring at the building, wondering about the ad and realizing he hadn’t stepped foot inside the building in the last six years.

Hadn’t needed to. Hadn’t wanted to.

Until this very moment.

His grip was so tight on the steering wheel that his knuckles turned white. Pulling in a deep breath, he let go and put the Jeep in gear. Once he was on the street, he grabbed his cell phone and hit the button that connected him directly to Mac. Three rings later a buzzing noise filled his ear as Mac answered.

“Dev?”

Mac’s voice came through, but the reception was terrible. Dev released the pent-up breath with one whoosh. “Yeah, it’s me. Can you talk?”

“At…airport.”

Dev’s heart lurched. That was the last place he wanted to go. Okay, the second to last place.

“Heading…home…meet you there.”

Every other word of Mac’s was indecipherable, but Dev breathed a sigh of relief. “On my way.”

“Dev…need to…arrived yesterday.”

Circling the town square, Dev headed toward the sheriff’s office and the fire station. His gaze firmly on the road ahead, he didn’t allow even his peripheral vision to stray toward the open bays where a few of the firefighters were washing down the engine and the light-duty rescue truck.

“Mac, you’re breaking up. This connection sucks.” The tightness in Dev’s chest eased as he headed out of town. “You can tell me when you see me. I’ll be waiting on the front porch.”

Moments later, Dev drove past the entrance to his family’s ranch and the turnoff to his brother Adam’s place, and kept going until he saw the road to Mac’s farm. The land had been in his friend’s family for generations, much like the land the Murphy M7 Ranch sat on, but it hadn’t been a working farm for years.

Turning into the driveway, he started to slow to a stop near the two-story farmhouse, but noticed a car parked down near the metal hangar out back. When a storm had destroyed the unused barn almost a dozen years ago, Mac had it torn down and erected a steel structure that housed his baby, a 1929 Travel Air 4000 biplane.

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Filed under 2013, Christyne Butler, Harlequin, October, Review, Romance, Special Edition, Welcome to Destiny

[Review] Marrying Dr. Maverick by Karen Rose Smith

Marrying Dr. Maverick  by Karen Rose Smith

Publication date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys # 4
Pages: 219

Back of the book

 
Hitched for love—or business? Find out as Karen Rose Smith returns to Rust Creek Falls in the latest installment of the Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys!

Rust Creek Ramblings

It seems as if all we’ve been hearing about these days in Rust Creek Falls is folks falling in love and getting engaged. But this latest one tops them all. Dr. Brooks Smith, our favorite veterinarian, the most confirmed bachelor in all of Montana, is taking himself a bride!

The fact that he has chosen Jasmine “Jazzy” Cates, his new assistant, a visitor from Thunder Canyon, is only fueling speculation. Rumors are this “love match” is really just a business proposition, but sweet Jazzy may have something more in mind. Can she turn her convenient husband’s wedding fever into a lifelong condition? 

Pre-order Marrying Dr. Maverick

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My Review: 

4.5 Star Review – Marrying Dr. Maverick (Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys # 4 series)

I recommend this book.

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

If you have not read the below I would recommend reading those books first.


Marooned with the Maverick by Christine Rimmer

The Maverick’s Summer Love by Christyne Butler

The Maverick & the Manhattanite by Leanne Banks



Dr. Brooks Smith a veterinarian is frustrated as his Dad is exhausted and will not let him help with the work load at his practice until he settles down and gets a wife.  He decides instead to open another practice in the town to lighten the load on his father.  


Jasmine “Jazzy” Cates, his new assistant is really helping out Brooks with all the organizing and getting to word out about the new practice.    


When his father is sick Brooks decides they should have a marriage of convenience so his father will let him take over the practice.  But what seemed at the time a good idea might not really be a good idea.  When feelings start getting in the way will they be headed for heartbreak or happily ever after?  With Brooks being a confirmed bachelor before they were married is Jazzy in for a fight in making him fall in love?

 

The chemistry between these two is great.  Love both the characters and you really feel them draw you into the story. 


 
Look forward to the next book in this series.


A Maverick under the Mistletoe by Brenda Harlen – Due out in November

Contact Info for Karen Rose Smith

 
 

 

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About Karen:


Karen Rose Smith’s plots are all about emotion. She began writing when she listened to music and created stories to accompany the songs. After expressing feelings in poetry, earning a degree in English and French, completing short stories that became too long to find a market, she turned to her love of relationships in romance. This award-winning best-selling author has sold 75 books since 1991 and has published with Silhouette, Harlequin, Kensington and Meteor/Kismet. Her awards include the Golden Leaf in short contemporary romance, the Golden Quill in traditional romance, cataromance.com’s award for Best Special Edition and Romance Review’s Today’s Best series romance award. Jane Bowers of Romance Reviews Today states: “Karen Rose Smith’s storeyworlds are complete and realistic and lovely places to visit and revisit. She excels at stories that feature couples brought together by infants and children, and she handles her plots and characters with sublime sensitivity.”

Karen is well-known for writing emotion. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books—Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamed of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from, seven children in her mom’s family and ten in her dad’s. On weekends she was often surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as part of everyday living. She believes universal emotions unite us all and that is the reason she uses them to propel her plots.

 

Read an Excerpt

Brooks Smith rapped firmly on the ranch-house door, scanning the all-too-familiar property in the dusk.

His dad didn’t answer right away, and Brooks thought about going around back to the veterinary clinic, but then he heard footsteps and waited, bracing himself for this conversation.

After his father opened the door, he looked Brooks over, from the beard stubble that seemed to be ever present since the flood to his mud-covered boots. Tending to large animals required trekking through fields sometimes.

“You don’t usually come calling on a Tuesday night. Run into a problem you need me for?”

Barrett Smith was a barrel-chested man with gray hair and ruddy cheeks. At six-two, Brooks topped him by a couple of inches. The elder Smith had put on another ten pounds over the past year, and Brooks realized he should have been concerned about that before today.

There was challenge in his dad’s tone as there had been since they’d parted ways. But as a doctor with four years of practice under his belt, Brooks didn’t ask for his dad’s advice on animal care or frankly anything else these days.

“Can I come in?”

“Sure.”

Brooks entered the living room where he’d played as a child. The Navajo rugs were worn now, the floor scuffed.

“I only have a few minutes,” his father warned him. “I haven’t fed the horses yet.”

“I’ll get straight to the point, then.” Brooks swiped off his Stetson and ran his hand through his hair, knowing this conversation was going to get sticky. “I ran into Charlie Hartzell at the General Store.”

His father avoided his gaze. “So?”

“He told me that when he stopped by over the weekend, you weren’t doing too well.”

“I don’t know what he’s talking about,” his dad muttered, not meeting Brooks’s eyes.

“He said you carried a pail of oats to the barn and you were looking winded and pale. You dropped the bucket and almost passed out.”

“Anybody can have an accident. After I drank a little water, I was fine.”

Not so true according to Charlie, Brooks thought. His dad’s longtime friend had stayed another hour to make sure Barrett wasn’t going to keel over.

“You’re working too hard,” Brooks insisted. “If you’d let me take over the practice, you could retire, take care of the horses in the barn and help out as you want.”

“Nothing has changed,” Barrett said angrily. “You still show no sign of settling down.”

This was an old argument, one that had started after Lynnette had broken their engagement right before Brooks had earned his degree in veterinary medicine from Colorado State. That long-ago night, his father had wanted to discuss it with him, but with Brooks’s pride stinging, he’d asked his dad to drop it. Barrett hadn’t. Frustrated, his father had blown his top, which wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was his warning and threat—he’d never retire and turn his practice over to Brooks until his son found a woman who would stick by him and build a house on the land his grandmother had left him.

Sure enough…

“Your grandmama’s land is still sitting there with no signs of a foundation,” his dad went on. “She wanted you to have roots, too. That’s why she left it to you. Until you get married and at least thinkabout having kids, I can handle my own practice just fine. And you should butt out.”

He could rise to the bait. He could argue with his father as he’d done before. But he didn’t want his dad’s blood pressure to go any higher so he stuck to being reasonable. “You can issue an ultimatum if you want, but this isn’t about me. It’s about you. You can’t keep working the hours you’ve been working since the flood. You’re probably not eating properly, grabbing donuts at Daisy’s and potato chips at the General Store.”

“Are you keeping track of what I buy where?”

“Of course not. I’m worried about you.”

“Well, don’t be. Worry about yourself. Worry about the life you don’t have.”

“I have a life, Dad. I’m living it my way.”

“Yeah, well, twenty years from now you just tell me how that went. I’m going out back. You can see yourself out.”

As his father turned to leave, Brooks knew this conversation had been useless. He knew he probably shouldn’t even have come. He had to find a way to make his father wake up to the reality of his deteriorating health. He would…one way or another.

Jasmine Cates—”Jazzy” to her friends and family—stood outside the Ace in the Hole, Rust Creek Falls’ lone bar, staring up at the wood-burned sign. She glanced around at the almost deserted street, hoping she’d catch sight of her friend Cecilia, who was tied up at a community meeting. They were supposed to meet here.

On the north side of town, the Ace in the Hole hadn’t been touched by the devastating July flood, but Jazzy didn’t know if she felt comfortable walking into the place alone. It was a rough and rowdy cowboy hangout, a place single guys gathered to relax. But when they relaxed, all hell could break loose. She’d heard about occasional rumbles and bar fights here.

Feeling as if she’d scrubbed herself raw from her shower at Strickland’s Boarding House, attempting to wash off the mud from a disastrous date, she passed the old-fashioned hitching post out front and stared up at the oversize playing card—an ace of hearts—that blinked in red neon over the door. After she climbed two rough-hewn wooden steps, Jazzy opened the old screen door with its rusty hinges and let it slap behind her. A country tune poured from a jukebox. Booths lined the outer walls while wooden tables with ladder-back chairs were scattered across the plank flooring around a small dance floor. Jazzy glimpsed pool tables in the far back. Old West photos as well as those from local ranches hung on the walls. A wooden bar was situated on the right side of the establishment crowded with about a dozen bar stools, and a mirrored wall reflected the rows of glass bottles.

Cowboys and ranch hands filled the tables, and a few gave her glances that said they might be interested in talking…or more. Jazzy quickly glanced toward the bar. There was one bar stool open and it was next to—

Wasn’t that Dr. Brooks Smith? She hadn’t officially met him, but in her volunteer work, helping ranch owners clean up, paint and repair, she’d caught sight of him now and then as he tended to their animals. She’d liked the way he’d handled a horse that’d been injured. He’d been respectful of the animal and downright kind.

Decision made, she crossed to the bar and settled on the stool beside him. Brooks had that sexy, scruffy look tonight. He was tall and lean and broad-shouldered. Usually he wore a smile for anyone he came in contact with, but now his expression was granitelike, and his hands were balled into fists. It didn’t even look like he’d touched his beer.

As if sensing her regard, and maybe her curiosity, he turned toward her. Their gazes met and there was intensity in his brown eyes that told her he’d been thinking about something very serious. His gaze swept over her blond hair, snap-button blouse and jeans, and that intensity shifted into male appreciation.

“You might need a bodyguard tonight,” he drawled. “You’re the only woman in the place.”

He could be her bodyguard anytime. She quickly banished that thought. Hadn’t she heard somewhere that he didn’t date much? Love gone wrong in his romantic history?

“I’m meeting a friend.” She stuck out her hand. “You’re Brooks Smith. I’m Jazzy Cates. I’ve seen you around the ranches.”

He studied her again. “You’re one of the volunteers from Thunder Canyon.”

“I am,” she said with a smile, glad he’d recognized her.

When he took her hand to shake it, she felt tingles up her arm. That couldn’t be, could it? She’d almost been engaged to a man and hadn’t felt tingles like that. Brooks’s grip was strong and firm, his hand warm, and when he took it away, she felt…odd.

“Everyone in town appreciates the help,” he said.

“Rust Creek Falls is a tight-knit community. I heard stories about what happened after the flood. Everyone shared what was in their freezers so no one would go hungry.”

Brooks nodded. “The community spirit was stoked by Collin Traub and the way he pulled everyone together.”

“I heard about his proposal to Willa Christensen on Main Street but I didn’t see it myself.”

Brooks’s eyes darkened at her mention of a proposal, and she wondered why.

“He and Willa seem happy” was all Brooks said.

So the man didn’t gossip. She liked that. She liked a lot about him. Compared to the cowboy she’d been out with earlier tonight—

A highenergy country tune played on the jukebox and snagged their attention for a moment. Jazzy asked, “Do you come here often?”

“Living and mostly working in Kalispell, I don’t usually have the time. But I’ll meet a friend here now and then.”

Kalispell was about twenty miles away, the go-to town for everything anyone in Rust Creek Falls needed and couldn’t find in their small town. “So you have a practice in Kalispell?”

“I work with a group practice there. We were called in to help here because my dad couldn’t handle it all.”

She’d heard Brooks’s father had a practice in Rust Creek Falls and had assumed father and son worked together. Her curiosity was aroused. She certainly knew about family complications. “I guess you’re not needed here as much now since the town’s getting back on its feet.”

“Not as much. But there are still animals recovering from injuries during the flood and afterward. How about you? Are you still cleaning out mud from homes that had water damage?”

“Yep, but I’m working at the elementary school, too.”

“That’s right, I remember now. You came with Dean Pritchett’s group.”

“Dean’s been a friend of our family for years. He was one of the first to volunteer to help.”

“How long can you be away from Thunder Canyon?”

“I’m not sure.” Because Brooks was a stranger, she found herself saying what she couldn’t to those closest to her. “My job was…static. I need a business degree to get a promotion and I’ve been saving for that. I came here to help, but I also came to escape my family. And.I needed a change.”

“I can understand that,” Brooks said with a nod. “But surely they miss you back home, and a woman like you—”

“A woman like me?”

“I’d think you’d have someone special back there.”

She thought about Griff Wellington and the proposal he’d wanted to make and the proposal she’d avoided by breaking off their relationship. Her family had tried to convince her she should marry him, but something inside her had told her she’d known better. Griff had been hurt and she hated that. But she couldn’t tie them both to a relationship she’d known wasn’t right.

Maybe it was Brooks’s easy way; maybe it was the interest in his eyes; maybe it was the way he listened, but she admitted, “No one special. In fact, I had a date tonight before I ended up here.”

“Something about that doesn’t sound right. If you had a date, why isn’t he here with you?”

“He’s a calf roper.”

Brooks leaned a little closer to hear her above the music. His shoulder brushed hers and she felt heat other places besides there. “What does that have to do with your date?”

“That was the date.”

Brooks pushed his Stetson higher on his head with his forefinger. “What?”

“Calf-roping. He thought it would be fun if he showed me how he did it. That would have been fine, but then he wanted me to do it. Yes, I ride. Yes, I love horses. But I’d never calf-roped before and so I tried it.

There was mud all over the place and I slipped and fell and I was covered with mud from head to toe.”

Brooks was laughing by then, a deep, hearty laugh that seemed to echo through her. She liked the fact she could make him laugh. Genially, she bumped his arm. “It wasn’t so funny when it was happening.”

He gave her a crooked smile that said he was a little bit sorry he laughed, but not much. “Whatever gave him the impression you’d like to try that out?”

“I have no clue, except I did tell him I like horses. I did try to be interested in what he did, and I asked him questions about it.”

“This was a first date?” Brooks guessed.

“It was the last date,” Jazzy responded.

“Not the last date ever!”

She sighed. “Probably not.”

Was he thinking of asking her out? Or were they just flirting? With that twinkle in his eyes, she imagined he could flirt with the best of them if he really wanted to.

“So you came here to meet a friend and hash out everything that’s happened,” he concluded.

“My gosh, a guy who understands women!”

He laughed again. “No, not so well.”

She wondered what that meant. “When I’m at home, sometimes I talk it all out with my sisters.”

“How many do you have?”

“I have four sisters, a brother and parents who think they know what’s best for me.”

“You’re lucky,” Brooks said.

“Lucky?”

“Yep. I’m the only one. And I lost my mom a long time ago.”

“I’m sorry.”

He shrugged. “Water under the bridge.” But something in his tone said that it wasn’t, so she asked, “Are you close to your dad?”

“He’s the reason I stopped in here tonight.”

“To meet him?”

“Nope.” He hesitated, then added, “We had another argument.”

“Another?”

Brooks paused again before saying, “My dad’s not taking care of himself, and I can’t give him what he wants most.”

In her family, Jazzy usually said what she thought, and most of the time, no one heard her. But now she asked, “And what’s that?”

“He wants me to marry, and I’ll never do that.”

Whoa! She wanted to ask that all-important question—why?—but they’d just officially met and she knew better than to probe too much. She hated when her family did that.

Her questions must have led Brooks to think he could ask some of his own because he leaned toward her again. This time his face was very close to hers as he inquired, “So what was the job you left?”

After a heavy sigh, she admitted, “I was a glorified secretary.”

“A secretary,” he murmured, studying her. “How long are you staying in Rust Creek Falls?”

“I’ve already been in town for a while, so I guess I’ll have to go back soon. I work for Thunder Canyon Resort. I’m in the pool of assistants who handle everything to do about skiing. I had a lot of vacation time built up but that’s gone now. I don’t want to use all my savings because I want to earn my degree. Someday I’m going to own a ranch and run a non-profit organization to rescue horses.”

Brooks leaned away again and really assessed her as if he was trying to read every thought in her head, as if he was trying to decide if what she’d told him was really true. Of course it was true. A rescue ranch had been a burning goal for a while.

“How did you get involved in rescuing horses?”

“I help out a friend who does it.”

Finally, Brooks took a few long swigs of his beer and then set down his glass. He looked at it and then grimaced. “I didn’t even offer to buy you a drink. What would you like?”

“A beer would be fine.”

Brooks waved down the bartender and soon Jazzy was rolling her finger around the foam on the rim of her glass. This felt like a date, though it wasn’t. This felt…nice.

The music on the jukebox had stopped for the moment, and she listened to the chatter of voices, the clink of glasses and bang of a dish as a waitress set a burger in front of a cowboy.

Finally, as if Brooks had come to some conclusion, he swiveled on his stool and faced her. “If you had a job in Rust Creek Falls, would you stay longer?”

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Filed under 2013, Harlequin, Karen Rose Smith, Montana Mavericks: Rust Creek Cowboys, October, Review, Romance, Special Edition

[COVER REVEAL] Twins Under The Christmas Tree by Marin Thomas

Twins Under The Christmas Tree
By Marin Thomas
Series – The Cash Brothers # 2
Harlequin American
ISBN: 978-0373754731
Publisher: Harlequin LTD
October 1, 2013
 

Cowboy Up, Daddy!

Conway Cash is finally ready to settle down, and he has the perfect woman in his sights. The only thing is, he’s dead set against being a father—and Isi Lopez has twin four-year-old boys. When he finds himself roped into babysitting for them, life starts getting complicated!

Kids or no, Conway soon discovers he and Isi make a great couple. And hanging around with her kids isn’t so bad—that is, until they beg him to be their new daddy. The pressure is piling up for this formerly footloose cowboy…but with some luck, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit, Conway just may find himself in the center of his own ready-made family!

 
 
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About Marin:
Marin Thomas grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. She left the Midwest to attend college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a B.A. in Radio-TV. Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historical Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the years she and her family have lived in seven different states but have now come full circle and returned to Arizona where the rugged desert and breathtaking sunsets provide plenty of inspiration for Marin’s cowboy books.
 
Excerpt:

Conway Twitty Cash had only one rule when it came to women—never date one with kids. Period. No exceptions. Not even if the woman sent dirty text photos of her hooters and her coochie-coo.

Friday afternoon at the Midway Arizona Cowboy Rodeo Days, Conway had been the recipient of a sexy text from a buckle bunny he’d met earlier in the day. Once his eyes had quit bugging out at Bridget’s voluptuous tatas, he’d noticed a child’s Batman cape draped over a chair in the background of the photo. Alarmed, he’d asked his rodeo competitors about Bridget and had learned she was a single mom. When they’d first met, he’d asked if she’d had kids, and she’d said no.

Too upset to focus on his ride, the bronc had tossed him on his head as soon as he cleared the chute. Afterward, Conway had made a bee-line for the parking lot—he hadn’t been about to wait for Bridget to catch up to.

Miffed, ticked off and whole lotta pissing mad, he pulled into the Border Town Bar & Grill in Yuma—the employer of his good friend and pseudo-therapist Isadora Lopez. Two years ago when he’d first met Isi, he’d been drawn to her dark brown eyes and girl-next-door prettiness. He’d turned on the charm and she’d rewarded his flirting with fleeting touches, accidental bumps and sultry looks. Then he’d asked her to dance during her break and when their bodies had come in contact, a zap of electricity had shot through him. He’d been sure the night would end in Isi’s bed, until she’d mentioned that she was a single mother of twin boys.

He’d told Isi that he had nothing against kids, but had no intention of ever being a father. From that day on, they’d settled into a comfortable friendship where Isi listened to him whine and offered advice about how to find the perfect woman—one who didn’t want children.

The bar was packed on this late September afternoon. The crowd sitting in front of the big-screen TV watched a college football game between state rivals the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Conway slid onto a stool and waved to the barkeep. Red was a mountain of a man—six-feet-seven inches—and bald with a crimson beard that ended in the middle of his chest.

After handing a pitcher of margaritas to a waitress named Sasha, Red brought Conway a bottle of his favorite beer. “You rodeo today?”

“Got bucked off.”

“Too bad.”

“Where’s Isi?” Conway asked.

“In class.” Red checked his watch. “She should be here any minute.” Isi was working toward a two-year business degree from the local community college.

Red went to fill a drink order and Conway picked at the paper label on his beer bottle and silently cursed Bridget. Why was it so difficult to find a woman who didn’t want children? After he’d discovered he came from a long line of deadbeat dads, he’d decided he didn’t want to follow in their footsteps, but unlike his father, grandfather and great-grandfather Conway wasn’t opposed to marriage. He yearned for the emotional closeness of a committed relationship.

He wasn’t a braggart, but the face he saw in the mirror each morning had garnered his fair share of female attention. At twenty-eight he’d thought for sure he’d have found the one by now, but every time he began thinking happy-ever-after, the one decided she’d like to have children after all.

Maybe he should take a break from his search. Now that he was responsible for managing the family pecan farm, he had plenty of work to keep his mind off his miserable love life. He lifted the beer bottle to his mouth and knocked his front tooth against the rim when a hand slapped his back. Startled, he spun and came face-to-face with Bridget’s tatas.

How the hell had she known where to find him?

She planted her fists on her hips and glared. “Why’d you leave the rodeo after your ride? I thought we were going out on a date.”

A date? He’d ended their conversation with “Goodbye” not “see you later”.

“Howdy, Conway.” Sasha winked as she passed him with an empty drink tray.

“Is she special to you?” Bridget dipped her head toward Sasha.

“No.”

“Hey, Conway.” Isi strolled into the bar, backpack slung over her shoulder.

“What about her?” Bridget asked.

Isi stopped next to the bar and glanced between Conway and Bridget. “What about me what?”

Bridget glared. “Are you and Conway dating?”

“Heck, no.”

Conway wasn’t sure if he was offended or amused by Isi’s fervent denial. It was true they were just friends, but she didn’t have to act as if he was the last man on earth she’d consider going out with.

“You’re not his type.” Bridget gave Isi the once-over.

“Don’t insult her,” Conway said. Isi might not have been blessed with Bridget’s bust size, but her long silky hair and exotic eyes were sexy as hell.

Squinting, Bridget asked, “Are you sure there’s nothing going on between you two?”

“Positive.” Isi and Conway spoke simultaneously.

“And Conway isn’t dating Sasha, because Sasha’s a lesbian,” Isi said, her eyes sparkling with mischief.

“Then why’d you stand me up at the rodeo?” Bridget asked.

“I didn’t stand you up,” Conway said.

Bridget planted her hands on her hips. “You gave me your phone number.”

“He gives all the ladies his number,” Isi said.

Conway sent his therapist an I-don’t-need-your-help glare.

“You acted like you wanted to see me again.” Bridget stuck out her lower lip in a pout.

“I don’t date women with children,” he said. “Never. Ever. No exceptions.”

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Filed under 2013, American Romance, Cover Reveal, Harlequin, Marin Thomas, October, Romance, The Cash Brothers

[COVER REVEAL] HEATING UP THE HOLIDAYS by Lisa Renee Jones, Mary Ann Rivers, Serena Bell

HEATING UP THE HOLIDAYS
3-Story Bundle (Play with Me, Snowfall, After Midnight)
Lisa Renee Jones, Mary Ann Rivers, Serena Bell
Published by Loveswept
On Sale October 28, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8041-7840-2

HEATING UP THE HOLIDAYS features three sexy holiday novellas, each one centered on a different holiday: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. With stories from bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, the popular Mary Ann Rivers, and Loveswept debut author Serena Bell, HEATING UP THE HOLIDAYS is the perfect anthology to keep the romance going throughout the holiday season! 

 

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ABOUT LISA RENEE JONES (Play with Me): 
Connect with Lisa Renee Jones: Facebook | Twitter | Website
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES which has sold to more than twelve 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.

 
ABOUT MARY ANN RIVERS (Snowfall)
Connect with Mary Ann Rivers: Facebook | Twitter | Website
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.

 
ABOUT SERENA BELL (After Midnight)
Connect with Serena Bell: Facebook | Twitter |  Website
Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people do stupid things sometimes, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two school-age children.

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Filed under 2013, Cover Reveal, Lisa Renee Jones, Loveswept, Mary Ann Rivers, October, Romance, Serena Bell