Category Archives: Romantic Suspense

[Review Tour & Giveaway] Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye
Hard Ink #1
Genre – Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Release Date – November 26, 2013


Tall, dark, and lethal…

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome–pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge…


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My Review: 
4.7 Star Review – Hard As It Gets

I recommend this book.

This book is a rollercoaster ride of action and passion.  You get a missing person, a failed kidnapping, two tossed houses and old military buddies who are packed full of testosterone. 

Nick is sex on a stick.  Becca is a feisty ball of trouble.

Becca needs Nick’s help finding her brother.  She tracks him down to Hard Ink.  He turns her away because of something her father did to him and his team in the past.  He decides to follow her for a few days anyway to make sure she is safe.  After following her for a few days he sees someone in her house and chases them off. 

He is going to help her but he still doesn’t want to.  The more they investigate the more trouble seems to find them.

After someone tries to kidnap Becca, Nick realizes that he needs to call in his old brothers in arms.   There is a lot of anger, pain, and hurt between these guys.  Can they over come the past and work together to find and bring Beeca’s brother home?  Who has Becca’s brother?  Does it have anything to do with her father?  Will Nick tell her why he hates her father?

I love the characters in this book.  You get a feel for all of them.  Together all the guys are freaking hilarious.

Conversion between Nick and Shane:

“You seriously do ink?” Shane asked, hiking Becca’s medic kit on his shoulder.

Rixey braced.  Oh, goody, something else for him to ride me about. “Yeah I seriously do.  Occasionally.” He shrugged.

“You any good?”

“Bare some skin and find out.”

Shane grinned, his expression making it clear he enjoyed harassing Nick, “If you wanna get me out of my clothes, lovah boy, you gotta wine and dine me first.”

It was maybe the first smile Nick had cracked around Shane since the guy had arrived yesterday. And, damn, it felt good. Normal. Like before. “Asshole.”

“That’s southern fried asshole, to you.”

Very hot and sexy read!!  Can’t wait for Laura’s next book. 

Which is out in February 2015 Hard As You Can: A Hard Ink Novel –> Pre Order AMAZON this is Shane and Crystal’s story make sure you pre-order it!!

About Laura Kaye:


Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.


Excerpt ~ Chapter 11, just after Becca has survived a kidnapping attempt:

Becca’s insides nearly vibrated with the need to know what the hell Nick wasn’t telling her. She’d hit the edge of her tolerance for any more mystery, even of the tall, dark, and achingly handsome kind.

His lips pressed into a grim line and his eyes flashed. “Becca, let’s just—”

“No.” She stepped right into his space and jabbed a finger into the granite of his chest. “Don’t put me off anymore. I deserve to know. I need to know,” she said, hating the strained pitch of her voice.

His expression went dark and his jaw ticked. She saw it in his eyes the minute he made the decision to spill. Her stomach plummeted to the floor. It was bad. He didn’t need to tell her that much. Everything inside her braced for the onslaught of bad news.

When he spoke, the words were even, straightforward, factual. “Someone ransacked your house. Picked the back door lock again. Went through just about every room.”

The brick walls bent and warped around her, but she shook off the dizziness and forced herself to focus on Nick’s face. His presence was the only thing grounding her. “Why would they do that? Could you tell if anything was missing?”

He shook his head. “The why of it I intend to figure out. I promise you. But the place was too much of a mess to—”

“Take me.” Becca pushed past him and hit the handle on the door.

Arms wrapped around her from behind. “Becca, we—”

“No!” She threw off the hold and scrambled away, her back coming up hard against the wall.

Nick’s expression was a roiling sea of emotion. Surprise. Fear. Anger. Concern. “I’m sorry. What just—”

“That was how he grabbed me.” She swallowed hard and shuddered at the remembered press of the man’s flesh against hers. “I’m sorry,” she rasped, embarrassment heating her face, despair and exhaustion sucking the fight out of her.

He came forward slowly. “Don’t apologize,” he said, his voice cranked tight. “And don’t cry.” His thumb swiped under her eye, once, twice, and then his knuckles caressed her cheekbone. The little touches were comforting, sweet, and she thought maybe he needed to give them as much as she needed to feel them. He tucked the loose strands of her destroyed ponytail behind her ear.

“I’m not crying,” she said despite the wetness plain on her face. She shook her aching head, then pressed her cheek into his hand. “I’m not.”

“I know.”

Peering up at him, her breath caught. The moment their gazes connected, his expression shifted from sympathetic concern to uncontrollable desire. His mouth fell open. His chest rose and fell against hers. His fingers burrowed into her hair.

Becca went hot all over, like the sun had hung itself in the stairwell above them.

He leaned closer, closer, his free arm bracing on the wall above her shoulder. The warm puff of his breath caressed her lips as his gaze bore into hers. She couldn’t move, couldn’t blink, couldn’t breathe.

He kissed her on a groan so needful it made her dizzy and wet. His mouth devoured hers, his big hand cupped the back of her head, his body completely surrounded and trapped hers against the bricks. It was a full-body onslaught, with every part of him engaged in the act of claiming and seducing.

Becca clutched at his coat, his shoulders, his back, his hair. Anything to bring him closer, deeper. His lips pulled and tugged, his tongue stroked and twisted. He smelled of leather and mint and tasted like sin.

The harder he came at her, the more her conscious mind let go. Her aches, the stitches, her house, even Charlie—for a few minutes, just a few precious minutes, Becca let it all go.

The surrender was euphoric. It rushed through her blood and sent her flying.

“That was so close, Becca. Too close,” he rasped, kissing her jaw, her ear, her neck, and sending her heart flying. His fingers stroked down over her breasts and found the hem of her shirt. And then those warm, calloused hands snaked up her stomach, pulled down the cups of her bra, and caressed her breasts skin to skin. He massaged her, teased her with roughened fingertips, and tormented her until she was panting.

She gripped the collar of his coat, half afraid her knees would go soft and give out. Nick pulled his body away just enough to tear the coat off his arms and throw it to the floor. Geez, the gun holster was sexy hugging tight over his shirt, but he slipped out of it, too, and eased it to the floor with a thunk. Then his hands were back on her breasts and his tongue was back in her mouth, stealing her breath and convincing her she could live without it.

God, this kiss. It was the kind she’d remember forever, that would invade her dreams and haunt her in quiet moments. The kind her older self could look back on and know, once, she’d really lived. The kind that, no matter what, she could never, ever regret. And it made a part of herself bloom with affection for the man who’d made her feel that way.

She snaked her hands under his shirt, moaning when her palm smoothed over the hard planes and muscled ridges of his abdomen, his sides, his chest. Her fingers swirled through the light covering of hair on his chest and swiped light, teasing brushes over his nipples. The low growls he released into the kiss as they explored each other thrilled her, made her yearn for the opportunity to bring a man as powerful and deadly as him to his knees in ecstasy.

“Closer,” he ground out. With one arm, he ripped the cotton over his head, revealing a body that was no doubt capable of inflicting pleasure and pain in equal measure. Desire roared off his skin and his hands were everywhere, massaging her breasts, kneading at the swell of her ass, pulling them harder together.

The heat of his demanding touches ripped through her and settled a pressing ache low in her abdomen. She squeezed her thighs together in response, emphasizing her arousal against her panties.

“I want you, Becca. I’m not gonna lie.” He spoke in low tones against her cheek, but pulled back to meet her gaze. “But I think—”

She placed three fingers over his mouth. “Don’t think.”


Did you have a favorite line from the excerpt?

Thanks for reading! ~Laura


“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”

~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets


About Hard As It Gets:

Five dishonored soldiers.

Former Special Forces.

One last mission.

These are the men of Hard Ink.


Tall, dark, and lethal…

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome–pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge…


Read an Extended Excerpt of Hard As It Gets


Terms & Conditions
The Kindle Paperwhite 3G giveaway is international unless excluded.  If your country is not on the list that Amazon delivers to, you will not be eligible win this prize.
Author Laura Kaye is not responsible for damage to the Kindle in transit.  All issues regarding this must be addressed to Amazon.
All accessories for the Kindle Paperwhite 3G must be purchased by the winner – the prize is the Kindle Paperwhite 3G only.
Entrants must be 18 or over.



Filed under Contemporary, Excerpt, Giveaway, Hard Ink, Laura Kaye, Review, Romantic Suspense, Synopsis

[Book Spotlight & Review] Hard Target by Kay Thomas



Hard Target by Kay Thomas
Publisher – Avon Books

Elite Ops, #1   
Genre – Romantic Suspense
Release Date – November 12, 2013


The first installment in the Elite Ops series, featuring sexy ex-military men … and the women who rescue their hearts.

Former DEA agent Leland Hollis wasn’t planning on being a hero. Recovering from an injury sustained during a drug bust gone wrong and with more personal demons than he cares to admit, he wants nothing more than peace and a chance to rebuild his life. But when Anna Mercado’s crazy ex shows up wielding a baseball bat, Leland can’t ignore his instinct to help. And after her son is kidnapped, Leland agrees to deliver the ransom into dangerous territory south of the border.

Anna has no choice but to go with this stranger she’s just met if she ever wants to see her son again. But getting the boy out of a violent cartel region involves risking everything. And for that Leland will have to convince Anna to do the scariest thing of all … open her heart and trust him.

Pre-order Hard Target


My Review: 

4.7 Star Review – Hard Target (Elite Ops # 1)

I recommend this book.

I enjoyed this book by Kay.  This book includes passion, laughs, heartache, kidnappings, murder, betrayal and a few gun fights.

Anna Mercado is on vacation with her husband and son when she overhears her husband planning her murder and her son’s kidnapping.  She goes on the run and is hiding in a hotel when he tracks her down.  Leland is staying at the hotel and comes to her aid and saves her.  When her son is kidnapped they team up.  He is going to protect her no matter what as he thinks he might be the reason they took her son. 

Anna is slowly falling apart and is trying her hardest to keep it together.  When they find out exactly what the kidnapper wants Leland is furious.  He gets even more furious when Anna agrees.  No way is he letting her give the kidnapper what he wants.  How is he going to save everyone and get them all out of this mess. 
Grab the book to find out.

Leland is a strong willed man.  He has issues of his own but is determined to save Anna and her son no matter what.  Even if they both hate him after.  Anna has had to be strong for a while but she is slowly unraveling.  Can she really trust Leland to get her son back?  Does she even have a choice.

A very good read.  Kay delivers a suspense fueled love story like no other.  You know at the end of the day people are going to be furious about the steps that were taken for the outcome to be good.  They will just have to learn to deal with it.

Contact Info for Kay Thomas

About Kay:

I didn’t grow up burning to be a writer. As a child I wasn’t even much of a reader until fourth grade. That’s when I was stuck at home with the flu and my big sister read THE BLACK STALLION aloud to me. For hours I was enthralled—shipwrecked in a foreign land and riding an untamed horse across the hot desert sand. Then tragedy struck. My sister lost her voice. (I think she caught my flu.) But I couldn’t wait to hear what happened to Alec Ramsey—so I picked up that book, finished reading it by myself, and went in search of more adventures at the local library. Today I live in Dallas with my husband, our two children, and a shockingly-spoiled Boston terrier.

My next novel will be published with Avon Impulse in November 2013. HARD TARGET is the first installment in a three-book romantic suspense series titled ELITE OPS, featuring sexy ex-military men…and the women who rescue their hearts. For excerpts, book trailers, and more—visit my website.

Connect with Kay:

Read an Excerpt

“Take Zach from the party before the guests arrive. We won’t dump her body until the designated time. It’s all been arranged.”

Anna stopped in the doorway of the Presidential suite, her husband’s words abruptly penetrating her lust-fogged brain.

“No, I’m not worried. Haven’t you heard? Mexico is the land of vicious drug cartels and random violence. My wife will be a sad statistic.”

Was this a dream?

She felt the cold Italian marble beneath her bare feet and recognized Max’s voice in the adjoining room, but she didn’t wake up. The seductive words he had whispered moments earlier on the beach still resonated in her head.

The only thing I want you to wrap yourself around is me.

She’d come up immediately when Julia had volunteered to get Zach and the cousins’ meals from the hotel’s beach grill. But on the way to the room she’d been calling herself all kinds of a fool. She and Max were on the verge of officially separating even though they’d been living apart for several months. The counseling wasn’t working. Having sex was a terrible idea. Even comfort sex.

Yet he’d been so attentive, so different on this trip. So anxious to please her, while keeping his temper completely in check. Last week she’d been considering which attorney to use in a divorce. Now she was just grateful she was standing here overhearing his phone conversation in the next room.

Her thoughts raced and her blood chilled, but her feet were glued to the imported floor. She stared across the opulent suite’s living room to the open balcony doors. The heir to the Mercado Tequila fortune settled for nothing less than the finest, even when planning his family’s demise.

An ocean breeze blew through the room, ruffling her hair like a playful lover. The Gulf of Mexico was just as blue as it had been ten minutes ago when Max kissed her on the sand, yet everything had changed. She was listening to her husband order their son’s kidnapping and her murder.

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Filed under Avon Books, Book Summary, Elite Ops, Excerpt, Kay Thomas, Review, Romantic Suspense, Sinfully Sexy

[Blitz Post & Giveaway] In Kelly’s Corner by Roxie Rivera

In Kelly’s Corner by Roxie Rivera
Fighting Connolly’s #1
Publication date: September 27th 2013

Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense



After a stalker breaks into her home, internet entrepreneur Bee Langston decides Kelly Connolly is the only man who can help her—but  seeking help from the former Marine isn’t easy, especially after she made a spectacular fool of herself trying to kiss the sinfully sexy bodyguard.

When Kelly spots Bee weaving her way through the Houston nightspot where he’s working security, all those feelings he’s desperately tried to deny for his best friend’s sister come flooding to the surface. He’ll do anything to keep her safe, even if means getting up close and personal with the one woman he simply can’t have.

Soon, Bee’s stalker isn’t his only problem. His gambling addict father is tangled in a mess of debts to two of Houston’s toughest loan sharks. With the family gym on the line, there’s only one way for Kelly to make everything right. He agrees to fight for the Albanian mob in an underground bare-knuckle fighting tournament.

But winning the tournament and saving his family’s legacy comes at a high price—one that just might cost Bee her life.

Buy Links:

Contact Info for Roxie Rivera



 About Roxie

I like to write super sexy romances and naughty erotica that make your pulse pound. You can get updates on new releases by visiting my website (, signing up for my newsletter ( or liking my author page on Facebook.
I also write erotic romances as Lolita Lopez including the red-hot GRABBED series for Ellora’s Cave and the upcoming Dragon Heat series from Forever Yours/Grand Central..

Connect with Roxie:


“Where is Winn?”

Kelly’s gruff, rumbling voice caught me by surprise. I whirled around to find him standing a few steps behind me. Wearing only shorts and sneakers, he wiped at his ridiculously sexy chest with a white gym towel before slinging it over his shoulder. The sight of his tanned, toned chest and the tattoos accentuating the rippling bulges of muscle left me momentarily speechless.


Shaking myself from my lust-induced stupor, I said, “He’s in the restroom. I sort of busted his nose.”

He looked taken aback and then smiled proudly. “Way to go, sweetheart.”

“Um…not exactly. It was an accident.”

“An accident?”

“Well, it tickled and I started laughing—”

Eyes narrowed, he asked, “What tickled?”

“Winn’s hold on me.”

“I see.” His lips twitched, and I knew he wasn’t angry at all. Touching my cheek, he murmured, “I’ll have to keep that in mind…for later.”

At the mention of later, I trembled with anticipation. “Oh?”

“We’ll practice some of the holds Jack showed you.”

“Holds, huh?” I daringly traced his navel and delighted in the way he inhaled sharply. Thinking of the moves I had just learned, I considered whether or not I could take Kelly down. He was a foot taller than me and nearly twice as heavy. Could I catch him off-guard?

Deciding there was no time like the present, I hastily planned my attack. Kelly reached out to stroke my face, but I kicked out my leg to hook his knee. The expression on his face was comical as the realization that I was attacking him registered—but his lightning fast reflexes, honed by years at war, snapped into action.

I gasped as he snatched my ankle mid-air and jerked hard enough to pull me off my feet. The thick mat cushioned my fall. Kelly followed me down to the floor, attempting to trap me, but I twisted my hips and narrowly evaded him. My brief victory didn’t last. He grabbed my wrists in one big paw and pinned them overhead before insinuating himself between my thighs.

Remembering Jack’s lessons, I arched up onto my shoulders and tried to squeeze his ribs with my knees. Kelly shifted, and I ended up wrapping my legs around his waist. Our bodies locked together in such an intimate way. Suddenly my failed attack started to feel like foreplay.

Changing tactics, I hooked my ankles at the small of Kelly’s back and rocked my body against his. His low groan sounded almost pained. Eyes flashing with need, he lowered his face and warningly growled, “Bee.”

Breathless and shaking with desire, I whispered, “Kiss me.”

He capitulated to my request and brushed his mouth against mine. Refusing to be denied what I wanted most, I thrust my aching breasts against his hot, hard chest and dipped my tongue between his lips. A rumbling noise emanated from his throat, vibrating against my lips and sending white-hot shivers through my core.

A loudly cleared throat interrupted our steamy kiss. Tearing away from each other, we glanced in the direction of the noise and discovered Jack standing a few feet away and watching us with amusement. The rest of the room was empty except for Winn, who seemed to have gotten his bloody nose under control.

Jack rubbed his jaw as if thinking. “You know, I’m pretty sure that’s not a self-defense technique I teach.”

Not the least bit embarrassed, I simply shrugged. “You’d have a hell of a lot more signups for your classes if you did.”



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Filed under Adult, Excerpt, Fighting Connolly’s, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense, Roxie Rivera, Synopsis

[Cover Reveal] Something Wicked by Angela Campbell

Something Wicked  by Angela Campbell
(The Psychic Detectives Series #2) – Can be read as a stand-alonePublished by: Harper Impulse
Publication date: October 31st 2013
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense


Psychic medium Alexandra King is sick of being pestered by her boss’s dead mother demanding help to reunite her two estranged sons. Determined to get some peace and quiet again, Alexandra follows a lead in finding the younger Collins brother to Charleston, South Carolina, where she immediately meets the hottest man she’s ever laid eyes on and finds herself a willing participant in seduction. Of course, her one-night-stand turns out to be none other than Dylan Collins — her boss’s younger brother and a homicide detective who believes psychics are a complete waste of time.

All Dylan wants is a few hours of pleasure to take his mind off of the case haunting him. A serial killer is stalking the streets of The Holy City — a killer who calls himself The Grim Reaper. When the woman he’d just spent the night with turns up and offers her services as a psychic consultant on the case, his ardor quickly cools. Last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a con artist.

It doesn’t take long for Dylan to realize Alexandra is the real deal – and the killer’s next target. Dylan’s protective instincts battle his reluctance to get too involved with a woman he isn’t sure he can trust. As they get closer to finding the killer, they also grow closer to one another, but will Alexandra’s secret agenda destroy their chance at happiness — if the killer doesn’t strike first?




Contact Info for Angela Campbell
 About Angela Campbell:
Author Angela Campbell is an overachiever with a soft spot for men who dress funny. Superman, Charlie Chaplin, Dracula, Doctor Who, Elvis – those are her kind of heroes. An eclectic reader who loves almost every genre, Angela read her first romance novel at 16 and immediately endeavored to write one, too. Many offbeat attempts (and a couple of decades) later, she published her first novel through Carina Press. Her new romantic suspense series is being published by Harper Impulse. With every story she pens, Angela aims to build in a paranormal element to a contemporary and recognizable world with characters who find love in oftentimes humorous and extraordinary situations.
A mild-mannered reporter with almost 15 years experience as a general assignment reporter, features editor and graphic designer, Angela has also worked as a production assistant in TV and film. Learn more about her books at
Connect with Angela Campbell:


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Filed under Adult, Angela Campbell, Harper Impulse, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Synopsis, The Psychic Detectives Series

[Review] The Missing Colton by Loreth Anne White

The Missing Colton  by Loreth Anne White

Publication date: September 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Romantic Suspense

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>The Coltons of Wyoming# 3
Pages: 288

Back of the book

A gripping Coltons of Wyoming mystery unfolds from award-winning author Loreth Anne White

The dark mystery of a Colton child’s disappearance has haunted Dead River Ranch for thirty years. Solving the crime is foreign correspondent Jagger McKnight’s last chance to put his war-ravaged past to rest. But his undercover mission leaves him the victim of an attack. And he wakes up to discover that beautiful infirmary nurse Mia Sanders believes he’s the missing Colton.

Now the real danger begins. An unknown enemy has Jagger—and Mia—in sight. For survival and the sake of his story, he must lie to the woman he’ll do anything to protect. But when deception turns deadly, can love save them both?


My Review: 

4.0 Star Review – The Coltons of Wyoming # 3 series

I recommend this book.

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

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

The Colton Ransom by Marie Ferrarella

Colton by Blood by Melissa Cutler

Jagger McKnight is a foreign correspondent who is trying to solve the 30 year old crime of the missing Cole Colton baby.  After getting attacked on the way to the Colton Ranch everyone believes that he is Cole as he has items that only Cole should have.  Since he is injured and does not remember who he is he goes along with the belief that he is Cole. 

Mia Sanders found him and is nursing him back to health.  She knows that he has secrets and he is too much like her ex for her to get involved but boy does she want to get involved.

After they are both almost killed they must figure out who is after them as the police are not really helping with the crimes around or on the ranch.  They need to figure out who is trying to kill off Jagger to make it seem like Cole died.  


As they investigate the crimes they are drawn together even more until a secret has the potential to rip them apart. You can feel the chemistry between the two throughout the book.

Must say I really like Jagger and fell for him a little myself.

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

Who is after Jagger and who set him up?

What is the secret Jagger is keeping from Mia?
Why are the police not solving any of the crimes at the ranch?

Look forward to the next books in this series listed below.

The Colton Bride by Carla Cassidy – Due out in October

The Colton Heir by Colleen Thompson – Due out in November

Contact Info for Loreth Anne White




About Loreth:

Loreth Anne White was born and raised in southern Africa, but now lives in Whistler, a ski resort in the moody British Columbian Coast Mountain range. It’s a place of vast, wild and often dangerous mountains, larger-than-life characters, epic adventure, and romance — the perfect place to escape reality.

It’s no wonder it was here she was inspired to abandon a 16-year career as a reporter, features writer, and editor (under the name Loreth Beswetherick) to escape into a world of romantic fiction filled with dangerous men and adventurous women.

When she’s not writing you will find her long-distance running, biking or skiing on the trails with her Black Dog, and generally trying to avoid the bears – albeit not very successfully. She calls this work, because it’s when the best ideas come.

Loreth has won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s choice award, is a double Romantic Times Reviewers’ choice award finalist, a double Rita finalist, a double Daphne Du Maurier finalist, and multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ choice winner.

Read an Excerpt

Clouds of dust swirled down Dead River’s main street as the small Wyoming town hunkered against the early fall winds sweeping across this vast, drought-ravaged region of cattle-ranch country. A wet front had helped quell the wildfires and brought a dusting of snow to the distant Lara-mie peaks. But rain had done little to quench the parched ranchlands, and the wind easily cast exposed topsoil adrift.

Jagger McKnight blinked against the blowing grit as he pushed open the door of the Dead River Diner. He was greeted by a blast of warm air and the smell of fried food–yet another greasy spoon, like so many he’d frequented over the past twelve months as he’d drifted aimlessly across the United States. But it was almost 6:00 p.m.–he was cold and famished. He also had questions. A local diner was as good a place as any to start.

Choosing the empty booth closest to the door, Jagger hefted his kit bag onto the red vinyl seat and scooted it toward the grime-streaked window. He removed his jacket, then his cowboy hat. But as his fingers brushed against the ragged scar under his hairline, Jagger stilled, instantly disoriented. A soft panic began to lick through his stomach.

No. Not now…

He concentrated on breathing in slowly and folded his tall frame into the booth beside his gear. Pressing both hands down hard on the table, Jagger focused on the view of the parking lot outside the dirty window. He mentally cataloged what he saw–the gusts of sand piling into soft yellow drifts against a wall. The cracked wall, peeling plaster. Like the bunker.

Tongues of panic licked again, a little deeper, faster. And for a white-hot instant he could no longer see the parking lot. He was back. Trapped. Golangal Valley. A desert windstorm, the sound of blowing Afghan sand like screaming banshees as it funneled through rocks. They were surrounded by heavily armed insurgents in the hills. An invisible enemy. Dark was coming.

A pot banged suddenly in the diner kitchen and Jagger jumped, his pulse spiking as his brain scrambled to translate the noise into mortar fire, explosions.

Enough! You can stop this…

He turned his concentration back to the present, to the two Harleys parked out front of the diner. Across the parking lot, two eighteen-wheeler semis were angled for an easy exit. On the opposite side of the street, a young woman pushed a covered stroller as she bent into the wind, a scarf protecting her face. Civilian. Semis. Harleys.

No grenades hidden in scarves, or the folds of a burka or clutched in the small brown hands of a liquid-eyed child. No tanks. No guerillas around the side of the wall. If Jagger wanted, he could simply stand up, step out the diner door, hit the road. He was free. Free to go.

A tumbleweed bounced past the semis, driven by the vagaries of wind, en route to nowhere in particular. Just like he’d been–drifting. Seeking to numb his nightmares with too many beers, too many late nights, too many one-night stands with women whose names he couldn’t even begin to remember. A shrink would have a field day with him, but Jagger had walked away from all that medical crap. He had to do this himself.

And now, at least, he had a small hook on which to hang a future, however tenuous.

It had come to him Tuesday night, almost nine weeks ago–something to grab on to, something he could use to claw back a semblance of his life, and he’d grabbed it like a lifeline.

Maybe the timing had just been right. Maybe it was destiny. Maybe blind folly or sheer desperation. Hell knew. But on that Tuesday night, Jagger had been nursing a warm beer in a dive bar on…


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Filed under 2013, Harlequin, Loreth Anne White, Review, Romance, Romantic Suspense, September, The Coltons of Wyoming

[Review] Confessing To The Cowboy by Carla Cassidy

Confessing To The Cowboy by Carla Cassidy

Publication date: June 1, 2013

<div style=”font-size:11px”>Publication date: 05/01/2013</div>Cowboy Cafe #4
Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense 
Pages: 280

Back of the Book


The Price of Deadly Secrets…

Someone is killing waitresses at the Cowboy Café. Three women are dead, and Sheriff Cameron Evans means to find out why. But as he works to solve the case, the hunky sheriff must push beyond his feelings for the café’s owner. There’s a murderer on the loose. Passion has no place here.

For Mary Mathis, the crime is personal. Not only are the victims her employees, they may be a sign of something deeper. Eight years ago she came to Grady Gulch fleeing a violent past that has scarred her for life. Now she has to discover if that history is dooming the women who work for her. She already knows it has made new love impossible—no matter what she may secretly desire.


Read an Excerpt

Sheriff Cameron Evans was tired of finding women dead in their beds. He stood in the doorway of Dorothy Blake’s small bedroom and took in the tragic scene before him. It was definitely a bad start to a new week.

A light breeze fluttered the blue-flowered curtains hanging at the open window, blowing in the cold November early morning air.

Dorothy was clad in a pale pink nightgown and covered by a blue bedspread. Blood stained the spread around her neck but without that telltale sign it would appear that Dorothy slept peacefully. Her eyes were closed and her features showed no sign of stress.

Cameron tightened his hands into fists as two of his men wearing paper booties moved in to collect any evidence that might lead to a clue to the killer. He had little hope that they’d find anything. Two previous deaths in the same manner had yielded nothing. The murderer was smart and meticulous in his efficiency. Get in, slit the throat of a sleeping woman and then get out, leaving nothing behind for law enforcement to work with.

The window appeared to be intact, suggesting that it had been unlocked and had provided easy access. Cameron’s frustration grew as he thought of the town hall meeting where he’d cautioned all women living alone to make sure their windows and doors were locked at all times. Apparently there had been some at the meeting who weren’t paying attention.

“Where’s the kid?” Cameron asked. He’d been told before he’d arrived on scene that the body had been discovered by a teenage kid.

“In the kitchen with the dog,” Deputy Adam Benson said from behind Cameron. “He’s pretty freaked out.”

“I can imagine,” Cameron replied. He moved past Adam and headed down the hallway to the kitchen. There was nothing more he could do in the bedroom. His team was well trained and the coroner stood by to move in after the crime-scene team had taken their photos and done their work. In the meantime he had to speak to Jeffrey Lawrence, the young man who had found Dorothy an hour earlier.

Dorothy’s kitchen was painted a cheerful bright yellow, with white and yellow gingham curtains hanging at the window. Despite the day’s chill the sunshine streamed into the windows with welcome heat that battled with the cold air drifting down the hallway from the bedroom.

Jeff Lawrence sat at the small, wooden kitchen table, his blue eyes red-rimmed as he hugged a wiggly, small furry mutt close to his chest.

“I can’t get the picture of her out of my head,” he said as he swallowed hard in an obvious effort not to cry. “It’s like burned in my brain…all that blood and the smell.”

“I’m sorry you had to experience that. What were you doing here so early in the morning?” Cameron took the seat opposite the young man at the table.

“It’s my job…to walk Twinkie every morning before I go to school. I’m a senior and trying to save up some extra money for college.” Twinkie whined at the sound of her name and licked the underside of Jeff’s pointy chin.

“How long have you had this arrangement with Dorothy?”

“Since the beginning of summer. She and my mom are good friends and that’s how I know…knew Dorothy.” His eyes welled up with tears once again. “My mom is going to be so upset about all of this.”

Cameron waited a minute for the kid to get himself back under control and then continued, “How did you enter the house this morning?”

“I have my own key. Sometimes Dorothy worked the night shift at the Cowboy Cafe and she’d sleep in late in the mornings. If she didn’t answer when I knocked, then I used my key to come in and usually found Twinkie on the foot of her bed. Whenever Twinkie saw me she’d jump down and we’d go for our morning walk.”

“Is that what happened this morning?”

Jeff’s head bobbed like one of those big-headed dolls people put on their dashboards or desks. “Everything was the same as usual. I knocked on the door and when Dorothy didn’t answer I went ahead and let myself in. I walked down the hallway to her bedroom and Twinkie was curled up at her feet, just like usual. But this morning Twinkie didn’t jump off the bed when she saw me. She just whined and whined and I thought maybe she was hurt. So, I walked over to her and that’s when I noticed the blood…and the smell. I didn’t touch Dorothy, I knew she was dead. I just grabbed Twinkie and left the room and then called 911.”

“You did the right thing,” Cameron replied. There was no way Jeff was involved in the crime, at least not at the moment. The kid had the green cast of somebody on the verge of puking. He petted the dog as if the silky fur were the only thing holding him together.

“What’s going to happen to Twinkie? Dorothy doesn’t have any family, and I can’t take her. We already have a big dog, Zeus, who would eat this little girl for lunch.” Jeff looked distraught. “Twinkie is a great dog, friendly and well trained. I mean, I’m sorry about Dorothy, but you need to find a good home for Twinkie.” Jeff looked at him pleadingly.

Great, Cameron thought. Not only did he have another murder to try to solve, he also had the faith of a softhearted kid depending on him to find a tragically orphaned mutt a good home.

“Gather up all her doggie stuff, and I’ll see what I can do,” Cameron said. “Then go home. We’ll probably have more questions for you later, but right now I’d prefer you not talk to anyone about this crime except with your parents.”

Jeff nodded and got up from the table. As he began to gather up all things Twinkie, Cameron went back down the hallway where he met the coroner, who told him what he already suspected.

Time of death was between one and three in the morning, cause of death was a quick, clean slice across the throat. Dorothy’s hearing aids were on the night-stand. She’d never heard her screen being removed and the unlocked window sliding open. She’d never heard her killer’s approach.

“It’s just like the other two,” Deputy Benson said. “Three women killed in their beds, their throats cut.”

“And all three worked as waitresses at the Cowboy Cafe,” Cameron added. He frowned, thinking of how this latest murder would affect Mary Mathis, the owner of the cafe.

He couldn’t help the way his heart softened as he thought of her. He’d had a thing for Mary since she’d taken over ownership of the cafe five years before and for the three years prior when she’d worked as a waitress there…unfortunately it was an unrequited thing.

He couldn’t think about that now. He had plenty of other tasks ahead of him to find this killer who was tormenting his town.

Throughout the afternoon, his men canvassed the neighborhood to find anyone who had witnessed anything unusual, but Grady Gulch was a typical small Oklahoma town where most people were in their beds and sleeping in the wee hours of the morning.

Twinkie spent part of the day either snoozing on the rug in the living room or being walked by one of the deputies on scene. Cameron had already decided he’d take the pooch home with him for now and in his spare time try to find her a good home.

As Cameron attended to his duties overseeing the crime scene and directing his deputies, he couldn’t help but think of the other two victims. Candy Bailey had been a young woman killed in her bed in a small cottage behind the Cowboy Cafe. Shirley Cook had been a middle-aged woman murdered in her bed in her home.

Now Dorothy, sixty-four years old and looking to retire and putter in her garden after years of waiting on other people, was instead murdered while she slept.

He tamped down the unexpected rage that threatened to build inside him, a rage directed at the killer, who moved like a shadow in the night, who sought out the vulnerable and killed them without remorse and left no clues behind.

Who was this person? A native of Grady Gulch or one of the new members of town who had brought with them a dark soul and an evil directed at the waitresses of the popular cafe?

Before the night was over he needed to have a sit-down with Mary. It was something he dreaded, first telling her that another of her waitresses had been killed, although by the time he got to her she probably would have already heard. But he wanted to pick her brain as to why somebody might be targeting these women who worked for her.

The fact that the first two murdered women had worked at the cafe he might have written off as a strange coincidence, but three dead waitresses made a definite pattern that had to be explored. A serial killer, just what he needed, some creep who had chosen this place—his town—to play out some murderous fantasy or whatever darkness was in his mind.

He stepped outside on the front porch and looked around the neighborhood. It was late afternoon and everything that could be done here had been done.

Despite the grimness of the situation he couldn’t help the small smile that curved his lips as he watched Adam Benson holding Twinkie’s leash and heading toward him up the sidewalk.

Cameron had a feeling when Adam joined the force a month ago he hadn’t considered that one of his official duties would be walking a dainty little dog named Twinkie.

The Benson family had been to hell and back in the past two years. Adam’s sister Cherry had been killed in a car accident, his eldest brother Sam had tried to kill a woman and remained in jail awaiting trial on attempted murder charges. Adam’s youngest brother Nick had left town soon after Cherry’s death, leaving Adam alone to deal with the family ranch and emotional baggage that had sent Adam into the bottom of a bottle for a brief period of time.

Nick had come home and reunited with his girlfriend, Courtney, and their child, Garrett, and Adam had moved into a rented room upstairs in a house owned by a wheelchair-bound woman who he’d eventually fallen in love with.

The Benson men, except Sam, who remained in jail charged with attempted murder, had found love and were in the process of building lives with the women who had captured their hearts.

Adam had shown himself to have all the qualities of a good lawman when Melanie Brooks, his handicapped girlfriend, had been kidnapped by one of his own deputies. That man was in jail and Cameron had offered Adam a job on his team. In the month that he’d been working for Cameron, Cameron had never questioned his decision to hire Adam. He’d proven himself to be intelligent, hard-working and detail meticulous.

“As I recall this wasn’t in my job description,” Adam said good-naturedly as he approached where Cameron stood. “Have you figured out what you’re going to do with the little pup?”

Cameron released a sigh as he looked at the tiny dog that appeared to be smiling up at him. “I suppose I’ll take her to my place for now until I can find a suitable home for her, unless.”

“Oh, no,” Adam quickly protested. “Melanie would kill me. We’re in the middle of planning a wedding and we’ve already decided that pets are out of the question for us.” He handed Cameron the leash as if he couldn’t get rid of it fast enough.

“Guess I’ll run her by my place and then head to the cafe. I need to talk to Mary. There’s got to be a reason this guy is killing her waitresses.”

“And if we can figure out the ‘why,’ maybe we can identify the ‘who,'” Adam replied.

“Exactly,” Cameron said. “For now I want you to find out the names of all of Dorothy’s friends and set up interviews. I’ll be back in the office later this evening to check on progress.” He leaned down and picked up Twinkie in his arms. The friendly little beast snuggled against him as if she were already home.

Minutes later Cameron was in his car and headed to his place. Home was a comfortable ranch house on five acres of land. He had a couple of horses, but no cattle. The horses were strictly for riding and not for business.

It was a nice place but also a lonely place for Cameron who at thirty-five had assumed by now it would be filled with a wife and a couple of kids.

Unfortunately the minute he’d seen Mary Mathis in the cafe, he’d also seen her in his mind as the woman who belonged in his home. Equally as unfortunate, Mary had made it clear that she didn’t belong in his home, on a date or in any other space with him beyond friendship.

By now Mary probably would have heard that she’d lost another waitress. The grapevine in Grady Gulch was strong and healthy and it had been hours since Dorothy’s body had been discovered.

A frustrating part about these crimes was that Cameron didn’t know how to anticipate who might be next. He didn’t know what to do to keep other women safe.

After the last murder he’d held a press conference and warned women who lived alone to make sure they kept their doors and windows closed and locked, to be aware of their surroundings and if they felt threatened at all to call 911.

He had a feeling that nobody in town had taken his warnings seriously. Candy Bailey had been a young woman and initially her boyfriend, Kevin Naperson, had looked good for the murder. Cameron still had his eye on the young man, but couldn’t tie him to Shirley Cook’s murder.

If Cameron was perfectly honest with himself he’d admit that he had no viable suspects for any of the murders. He had a couple persons of interest, but nobody who popped to the top of the pathetic list.

Several tall trees stood sentry on either side of his house and a nice-sized pond glittered in the not-so-far distance. The barn was located behind the house and the entire back acreage was fenced to keep the three horses where they belonged.

Once he was in the house it didn’t take him long to set up space for Twinkie in the laundry room. The dog not only had her own little wardrobe, but also food and water bowls and a tiny four-poster bed that appeared to have never been slept in.

With the dog settled, Cameron left the house once again and headed toward the Cowboy Cafe and a talk with Mary. As always when he drove toward the cafe, myriad emotions filled his head.

My Review:

5/5 – Since I don’t have a 4.3 rating I am giving a 5 but feel it should be 4.3

I recommend this book.

As always I enjoyed the book by Carla.  She adds plenty of drama and romance and you really get a feel for the characters of her books.  I really enjoyed all the books in this series.  Look forward for a new book/series to start.


If you have not read “Her Cowboy Distraction”, & “The Cowboy’s Claim”, & “Cowboy With A Cause” I would recommend reading those books first.


Mary Mathis owns the Cowboy Café where for the last few months waitresses have been murdered in the town of Grady Gulch, Oklahoma.   Why are the waitresses being murdered and who has it out for the town or is it just Mary?

Mary has a ten year old son named Matt.  She has told the entire town that her husband died before she came to town.   She has been in town for the last 8 years.

The Sheriff Cameron Evans has been trying to solve the murders but with no clues how will that happen.

After a card and a package arrive for Mary and Matt that cause Mary to believe that the killer is really just after her.   She believes that the killer is toying with her.

She has to figure out how to tell the Cameron her deepest darkest secret.  Will they still be friends after or will he look at Mary differently?

As the killer gets closer can she really fully trust Cameron to protect her?  Or should she push him away so he doesn’t get hurt or killed?


In the end will we find out the below?
What really Happened to Mary and how will Cameron handle it?
Who is the killer and why is he trying to kill Mary?



A few of my favorite part of the book:

“Hey, Sheriff Evans,” Matt greeted with a friendly grin.

“Hey, yourself,” Cameron replied affectionately. He’d told Matt a dozen times that he could call him Cameron, but Mary insisted her son use Cameron’s official title. “I just heard that your mom spent the day at school with you. That must have been weird.”

Mary Laughed, the sound twisting softness around Cameron’s heart. “I think embarrassing would be first on the page if I was listing adjectives.”

“Nah, you didn’t embarrass me,” Matt replied. “At least you didn’t call me honey pie like Billy Morton’s mom did.” Matt stifled a snicker.

“True, although I did consider calling you honey pooh bear a couple of times.”

Matt looked horrified at the very thought, and Mary laughed.

“You wouldn’t do that to me,” Matt said.

“Probably not,” Mary agreed.


“That’s my plan, George.”

“Yeah, well, my plan is to marry some twenty-three-year-old hottie who thinks I hung the moon, but that ain’t happening anytime soon. Hope your plan works out better than mine. You know I take most of my meals at the café. What will I do, where will I eat if this creep manages to kill all the waitresses and Mary has to close down?”

Leave it to George to think about his own creature comforts rather than the loss of the three women. “Mary isn’t going to close down the café and we’re going to catch whoever is responsible for these crimes,” Cameron said with confidence that didn’t quite make it into his heart.

George’s scowl deepened. “Well you’d better hurry up about it,” he said as he moved past Cameron and headed in the opposite direction down the sidewalk.


He needed to find a home for Twinkie.

She was getting under his skin with her tiny kisses and happy dances. Whenever he sat anywhere in the house she managed to get into his lap and curl up with a contented sign. He’d actually dressed her in a little furry leopard print dress this morning, worried that she might get too cold in the drafty old farm house where he lived.

He should have a bulldog or a German shepherd, if he was going to have a dog. Not some designer diva who already thought she owned not just his house, but him, as well.


Before Cameron could stand, his father’s hand came to rest heavily on his right shoulder.  Cameron closed his eyes and held his breath, reveling in the simple touch from a man who had scarcely even acknowledges his existence sine Bobby’s tragic death.

“You’re a good man, Cameron,” his father said softly. “I don’t tell you that often enough.”

“Every night that I turned that Open sign in the window to Closed it was with the anticipation that you were going to show up for that last cup of coffee. I loved the intimacy of sharing that time alone with you, talking about our day, our lives, our dreams. That’s when I realized we’ve been dating almost every night for the past eight years and that’s when I realized I could trust what I feel for you.”

 George Wilton slid into the chair next to Cameron, his plate heaping with a little bit of all the food that the Thanksgiving feast had to offer. “Why do you have that dopey grin on your face?” the old man asked.

Cameron widened the smile he hadn’t even realized had been on his lips. “In the words of a very bright young boy, I’ve got a lot of stuff to be thankful for this year, George.”

George huffed. “And I’m still waiting for that sexy young thing to show up in my life to rock my world.” 

Cameron laughed and in that moment knew that all was right in the world, or at least in the Cowboy Café in the small town of Grady Gulch, Oklahoma.

Contact Info for Carla Cassidy

Twitter – @CarlaCassidy2


About Carla:

Carla Cassidy lives in the Midwest with her husband, Frank .  Although she always loved to write, initially her dream was to be a dancer and actress.

She was a cheerleader for the Kansas City Chiefs football team and worked in local theater productions before packing her bags and leaving for New York City.

 There she got a job as a singer/dancer in a band that traveled the east coast.  It was during those travels that she met her hero and married him.

While her children were small she remembered her love of writing and in 1988 sold her first book, a young adult romance.  In 1991 she sold her first adult romance to Silhouette and since that time has written over eighty books for Silhouette and Harlequin.

In 2004 she sold her first romantic suspense novel to New American Library.

She now writes for Silhouette, Harlequin and NAL Signet.

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Filed under Carla Cassidy, Harlequin, Review, Romance, Romantic Suspense