Category Archives: Mystery/Suspense

New Release! Necessary Risk (Bodyguard #1) by Tara Wyatt *Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Necessary Risk (Bodyguard #1)
by Tara Wyatt

A Suspenseful Romance
From Forever
Released February 23rd 2016

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Trained to protect against all danger, a professional bodyguard can provide all the muscle a woman needs. But when their hearts are on the line, love is the riskiest business…

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME
Former child star Sierra Blake is making a stunning Hollywood comeback—and attracting a scary amount of attention. When her home is vandalized and her safety threatened, she knows it’s time to bring in the professionals. But from the moment she sets eyes on her indecently sexy new bodyguard, Sean Owens, Sierra’s thoughts are anything but professional…

Few things in this world scare Sean—until he realizes he’s in serious danger of losing his heart to his new client. No matter how much he wants to, Sean won’t let his feelings for the smart and gorgeous Sierra get in the way of doing his job. Because as the attacks against her escalate, crossing the line between business and pleasure could get them both killed.

 

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Excerpt

“Do you want to know what I’d planned for later tonight?”

She looked up at him, her eyes bright. “God, yes. Tell me.”

He stroked a hand up and down her back, letting his hand dip a bit lower on each trip down. As his fingers grazed the top of her ass, her eyes fluttered closed for a second, her fingers digging into him.

He lowered his head, his lips brushing the shell of her ear. “I’d planned on giving Ian the rest of the night off so we could have the house to ourselves. So many possibilities with an empty house,” he said, trailing his fingers over her exposed nape.

“Mmm,” she sighed. “And then what?”

“I’d pull this zipper down,” he said, tracing his fingers over the zipper along the back of her dress, “and watch your dress fall to the floor. And then I would spend the next several hours exploring your beautiful body. I wonder how many times I could make you come? Three? Four?”

She trembled in his arms, and he smiled.

“I’d planned on making you mine tonight. On burying myself inside you as many times as you’ll let me.”

“Oh, sweet hell,” she half whispered, half gasped. “But you’re not still planning all of that? You keep saying had, as though it’s not going to happen.”

“Oh, it’s going to happen. But I don’t think I can wait until after the gala. Do you have any idea what you do to me?” He pressed his hips against her, his cock rubbing against her hip. “I am fucking desperate to get inside you, sweetheart.”

She let out a soft moan. “Then let’s go find somewhere to get desperate together. Please.”

He smiled and stroked her back again. “That’s my girl. I like the way you say please.” He tipped her chin up to him. “Tell me what you want.”

She licked her lips as her eyes met his. “You. Now. Please.”

 

Praise for Necessary Risk

​”If you love tough guys with a side of sweet, strong heroines with a hint of wild, and suspense with a spark of humor, this is definitely the book for you. Every woman should be lucky enough to have a man like Sean Owens guarding her body. Tara Wyatt has created a swoonworthy bodyguard series with primal passion, unexpected twists, and surprising laughs!”―New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti

“Necessary Risk is a winner!”–RT Book Reviews Magazine, 4 star review

​”A compelling read.”–​Publishers Weekly (full review here)

​”A remarkable debut…Endlessly swoony.”–Brenna Mills, author of ​Last Chance Season

​”A tour de force of emotional complexity and striking depth.” ​–Bitten By Love

“A fun and sexy read.”​–Smexy Books

 

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About the Author

WyattNECESSARYRISKTara
Tara Wyatt is a contemporary romance author who’s been making up love stories ever since she fell head over heels for the Backstreet Boys almost twenty years ago. Not content with merely daydreaming about Nick Carter, she grabbed a notebook and wrote what she now realizes was Backstreet Boy fan fiction.

After outgrowing her boy band obsession and obtaining an Honours B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from McMaster University, her love of books and reading led her to pursue a Masters’ degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. Currently, she works for a large public library system, where she has the arduous task of selecting books for children and young adults for the library’s collection.

Winner of the Unpublished Winter Rose Award, Linda Howard Award of Excellence and the Heart of the West Award, Tara lives in Hamilton, Ontario with the cutest dog in the world and a husband that makes all of her heroes look like chumps.

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New Release! Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson *Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Against the Wall
by Jill Sorenson

A Contemporary Romantic Suspense
From Loveswept
Released February 2nd 2016

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Fans of Katie McGarry, Simone Elkeles, and Tammara Webber will love Against the Wall! As teenagers, they fell for each other despite the odds. But now that Eric and Meghan are all grown up, they’re reunited by fierce passion and dangerous secrets.
 
Eric Hernandez is the bad boy of every schoolgirl’s fantasies—and every mother’s nightmares. But after serving time for manslaughter, he’s ready to turn his life around. He just needs a chance to prove himself as a professional tattoo artist. The one thing that keeps him going is the memory of the innocent beauty he loved and left behind.

Meghan Young’s world isn’t as perfect as it looks. The preacher’s daughter is living a lie, especially now that Eric is back. Tougher, harder, and sexier than ever, he might be the only person she can trust. But there’s no telling what he’ll do to protect her if he learns the truth, and that’s a risk Meghan won’t let him take. And yet, back in the arms of the troubled boy with the artist’s soul, Meghan can’t help surrendering to the man he’s become.

 

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Excerpt

Noah exchanges a glance with April and takes Jenny into the kitchen. It’s awkward, being on his turf. I don’t belong here. I belong in Castle Park, the down-and-out neighborhood where I used to live with my grandma. Now she’s in Mexico with the rest of my family, and I have nowhere else to go. Nowhere safe, that is. I’m supposed to stay in a stable environment, and I can’t leave San Diego. It’s one of the conditions of my parole.

“Let’s get you settled,” April says brightly.

I grab my backpack and follow her. On the phone she told me I could sleep in the den. It looks sort of like an office with a small bed in the corner. I spot a vintage desk and an old-school record player I recognize as Meghan’s.

I’m struck by memories of the last day I spent with her. She had a room upstairs back then. When we first met, it was just Meghan and Noah living here. She put on some music and I laid her down on her bed. I took everything she had to offer and then some. I can’t even bring myself to regret it. That memory, more than any other, has sustained me on lonely nights in my cell. I’ve jerked off to a thousand variations of it.

I know that Meghan moved out a few months ago, but I imagine her lingering presence. The smell of her hair on the pillows.

“This was Meghan’s room?” I say, my voice hoarse.

April opens the closet, which is half-full of girl clothes. “I can ask her to move her stuff.”

“No,” I say. I don’t need the space; everything I own fits inside a backpack.

“Are you sure?”

I sit on the bed, nodding. This arrangement is temporary, anyway. “Which room are you going to use for the nursery?”

April waves her hand in the air. “I want the crib in my room. You can stay here as long as you like.”

I wonder if Noah is on board with this. He can’t be thrilled about having an ex-con under the same roof with his pregnant wife and stepdaughter. He got promoted to the homicide division, but money might be tight. I should cut out as soon as possible. I’m not a charity case, and even though Meghan’s not here, it doesn’t feel right to inhabit her space.

It feels . . . dangerous. Tempting.

I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her I didn’t want her. She stared at me with soft blue eyes and trembling lips, pale from shock. Hardest fucking lie I ever told—and I’m an accomplished liar. But I couldn’t let her waste three years on me. I couldn’t let myself wish for something that far beyond my reach. I had to be cruel to be kind.

At least, that was how I justified my actions three years ago. Looking back, maybe I just wanted to be a dick. Getting locked up has that effect. It touches every raw nerve and stirs every violent tendency. It stokes prejudices and festers resentments. The only acceptable outlet for male prisoners is rage.

“When you’re ready, come out to the backyard. Noah’s grilling some carne asada.”

My stomach rumbles loud enough for her to hear. Smiling, she slips out the door and down the hall. She looks happy. That’s the difference in her, along with her rounded belly and fuller curves. She’s not exhausted anymore. Noah takes care of her. Or she takes care of him.

They take care of each other.

April hooked up with Noah around the same time I started seeing Meghan. He interviewed her about the murder of one of her coworkers, a waitress at Club Suave. Cops aren’t supposed to date anyone involved in their investigations, but apparently he couldn’t resist. They fell in love before I went to prison and got married shortly after.

Noah has been good to April and Jenny. Much better than Raul was. Even so, my urge to leave grows stronger. I don’t want to cause problems or be a burden to anyone. I’ve never been part of a nice family. I don’t know how to act civilized anymore.

This isn’t my scene.

I glance around, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans. There’s a nightstand by the bed. I open the first drawer and peer inside. Unlike the closet, it’s empty. I close it in mild disappointment. I’m not sure what I expected to find in there. Some random girl stuff, like makeup and perfume.

I remove the clothes from my backpack and toss them into the empty drawer. I have three shirts, an extra pair of pants, and some basketball shorts. Then I bring out my prized possession: my portfolio.

I like art. I can draw almost anything from memory. My favorite medium is spray paint on a fresh concrete wall, but in prison the materials are limited. Most of my drawings are ink on lined paper.

I also do ink on skin. It’s how I survived in the joint.

I was only twenty when I went in. I’m about five foot ten, not the biggest guy on the block. I’ve got muscles and I’m strong, but I’ll never be huge. I have a lean build and features they call handsome. To say that I needed protection is an understatement. Despite my unlucky size and face, I had three things going for me when I went in. First, I was down for CVL, my local clique. The Chula Vista Locos pay dues to the Mexican Mafia, also known as La Eme. So I was already connected to a powerful prison gang.

The second advantage I had was my best friend, Junior. We both got locked up at the same time and sent to the same prison. It’s not unusual for San Diego criminals to do sentences in Chino or San Quentin—they’re the two largest correctional facilities in the state. Junior wasn’t in my cellblock, but we saw each other in the yard. He became a captain for La Eme. If anyone fucked with me, Junior made them pay.

The third advantage was my talent for art. I can hold my own in a fight, but I didn’t want to earn my keep that way. I didn’t want to be anyone’s bitch, either. Instead of offering those services, I sold drawings and tattoos. I was the best in my block.

Tattooing has been the only bright spot in my life. Without my art, and my best friend, I’d probably be dead.

 

About the Author

jillsorenson

Jill Sorenson is the RITA-nominated author of more than a dozen romantic-suspense novels. She has a degree in literature and writing from California State University. Her books have been selected as Red-Hot Reads byCosmopolitan magazine, and have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Sorenson currently lives in the San Diego area with her family. She’s a soccer mom who loves nature, coffee, reading, Twitter, and reality TV.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

 

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Tour! Extreme Honor (True Heroes #1) by Piper J. Drake *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Extreme Honor (True Heroes #1)
by Piper J. Drake

A Suspenseful Romance
From Forever
Released January 26th 2016

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Hot military heroes, the women who love them, and the dogs that always have their backs. EXTREME HONOR is the first book in a high adrenaline contemporary suspense series from Piper J. Drake.

HONOR, LOYALTY, LOVE

David Cruz is good at two things: war and training dogs. The ex-soldier’s toughest case is Atlas, a Belgian Malinois whose handler died in combat. Nobody at Hope’s Crossing kennel can break through the animal’s grief. That is, until dog whisperer Evelyn Jones walks into the facility… and into Atlas’s heart. David hates to admit that the curvy blonde’s mesmerizing effect isn’t limited to canines. But when Lyn’s work with Atlas puts her in danger, David will do anything to protect her.

Lyn realizes that David’s own battle scars make him uniquely qualified for his job as a trainer. Tough as nails yet gentle when it counts, he’s gotten closer to Atlas than anyone else-and he’s willing to put his hard-wired suspicion aside to let her do the same. But someone desperate enough to kill doesn’t want Lyn working with Atlas. Now only teamwork, trust, and courage can save two troubled hearts and the dog who loves them both…

 

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Review

3-stars

Evelyn Jones arrives at Hope’s Crossing Kennel to assist in the rehabilitation of a military dog who’s having trouble adjusting after his handler’s death. She’s an experienced trainer whose focus is more on the psychological aspects of the dog’s behavior rather than the physical or tactical. She’s excited with the prospect of working with a dog of this type and hopes the success of the case helps to further her career.

David Cruz works as a dog trainer along with his former-military buddies at Hope Crossing’s Kennel. He is Atlas’s primary trainer. He is determined to help Atlas through his funk and get to the bottom of his buddy’s death and doesn’t appreciate having another trainer in the case. Especially a civilian who has never worked with military dogs. However, after witnessing Atlas’ reaction to Lyn he decides to give her a chance to work with the dog. It doesn’t help the case that he’s insanely attracted to the woman or that her presence awakens his every protective instinct.

The very first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover and my anticipation only grew as I read the blurb. The concept of ‘Hot military heroes, the women who love them, and the dogs that always have their backs” sold me on the story and I couldn’t wait to get started. Sadly, the book didn’t fully live up to my expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, the concept was interesting and the author went to great lengths to bring that to the page. I enjoyed Atlas and everything that pertained to him and/or his rehabilitation. I just believe that the romance got lost among the other elements that were introduced.

The premise was intriguing and kept my interest throughout. I enjoyed the added mystery of who was after Lyn and the truth surrounding the death of Atlas’ handler. I admit, I got somewhat lost among the twists and turns the author brought forth, but I enjoyed the process and the added suspense it brought to the page.

Unfortunately, the romance left me wanting and not in a good way. Lyn and David shared an instant attraction, but their chemistry lacked in intensity and their connection never made it fully into the page. I felt like I was just riding along without any chance of investing myself in these characters’ lives. Mainly, I didn’t get a a full picture of who Lyn and David were as individuals. In truth, we mostly got to know Lyn and how her relationship with her stepfather has impacted her life and not much more. And sadly, we got to learn even less about David. This is turn prevented me from connecting with the character’s on a deeper level. It didn’t help that I couldn’t see more than a thread of a connection between them. I would have preferred less self-analysis on Lyn’s side and more personal interaction between Lyn and David.

As the first book in a series, Extreme Honor worked well. The author did a good job of introducing the main players in the series while giving the readers an inside look into Hope Crossing’s Kennel. It also delivered a bit of intrigued and gave the reader an idea of what to expect in books to come.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

Her heart rate had picked up, fluttering at the pulse point under his touch.

“Yeah?” The urge to slide has hands over more delicate areas grew and he couldn’t help running his thumb along the inside of her arm.

Awareness grew in her gaze and she bit her lip as she nodded.

He leaned toward her, focused on her plump lip caught under her teeth.

“What else do you like?”

She opened her mouth to answer but he didn’t plan to let her get a word out. Maybe later. He bent his head to capture her lips.

And seventy five pounds of fur jumped up on his side.

“The hell?”

Lyn gasped. “Atlas!”

Af.” Mindful of the dog’s injury, Cruz gave Atlas a gentle shove.

The dog dropped back to all fours, his tongue lolling. Looking from him to Lyn and back again, Atlas lay back down on his belly.

Jealous. Damn dog was jealous.

***

Be real. Every dog recognizes a fake. And good men can see through it too.

“I’d really like to help.” Honest. Simple. All the other reasons paled in comparison to this.

“Whatever is going on, you know more about it than I do.” She licked her lips, her mouth gone dry.

His gaze dipped, focusing on her mouth. “I might. I know something. I’m not sure it’s related. But this next question is important.”

Can I kiss you?

Doubtful that was the question he was going to ask. But the moment was drawing out and she very much wanted for him to ask it. “Okay.”

“Do you think I would hurt you?”

“No!” It popped out before she had time to think about it. Anger burned up from her chest and spread outward. She scowled. “Of course n—”

He kissed her.

 

7

 

Coming Soon!

Book_2_UltimateCourage
Available July 26, 2016
Ultimate Courage (True Heroes, #2)
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About the Author

Piper_TH
Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal  romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | GoodReads| Youtube

 

 

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New Release Tour! Kill Without Mercy (ARES Security #1) by Alexandra Ivy *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Kill Without Mercy (ARES Security #1)
by Alexandra Ivy

A Romantic Suspense Thriller
From Zebra
Released December 29, 2015

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From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.

Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he’s eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can’t just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…

There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.

 

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Review

4 stars

4.25

Rafe Vargas is getting ready to open ARES Security firm when he’s required to travel to Ohio to pack up his grandfather’s house now that it found a buyer. He’s not thrilled to take care of it, but the sooner he gets it done the sooner he’ll be back to Texas and his friends. What he wasn’t expecting was to be thrown into a missing person’s case and find love along the way.

Haunted by visions of women running for their lives, Annie White decides to return to the town she left behind as a child when her father was arrested and murdered in jail. Her foster parents have been wonderful in taking care of her and is torn between leaving them behind and finding the meaning behind the visions. But once she arrives in town, she’s surprised to find that the women are starting to go missing again which leads her to believe her visions and the missing women are somehow related to the past she left behind. Having Rafe determined to protect her and falling for him is not something she was counting on, but it’s also something she can’t help but be drawn to.

When I first read the blurb I was drawn to the characters. Both Rafe and Annie had a rough past they were coming to terms with and I wanted to see how the author would work around their issues to bring them together. Although I was a bit disappointed that this was more of an insta-love scenario, I have to hand it to the author because she managed to bring a viable romance to the page while still keeping the reader intrigued when it came to the conflict that arises when Annie arrives in Ohio.

This is my first book by this author and I’m glad I gave her a chance. The writing was precise and not over-embellished, with all the elements working together well. I enjoyed the intrigue, the action and the twists and turns as they appeared just as much as the range of emotions and the cast of characters. Criminal Minds in ebook form! I enjoyed it thoroughly.

While the chemistry between Rafe and Annie was slow in coming it was always present and ready to be brought to the surface. I wished I would have gotten more of a chance to see their connection grow. But taking into consideration the circumstances they found themselves in, I could understand how the emotional connection would develop but not be as fully explored until later in the story, which it was.

Thankfully, Alexandra Ivy delivered in other fronts, which kept my interest constant throughout. I enjoyed getting to know the men of ARES Security and find myself curious to find more about them. I enjoyed wondering who was behind the missing women and watching as the clues fell into place.

As the first in a series, Kill Without Mercy served its purpose well and left me wanting more. All in all, an intriguing romance that paved the way for more stories in the series.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

Her thought was interrupted as she kicked a small object that had been left in the middle of the floor.

Automatically glancing down she came to a sharp halt, her breath locked in her chest as she leaned over to pick up the small doll with the mass of tangled blond hair.

Britney Spears.

It was covered in dust, and the clothes were rumpled, but Annie had a vivid memory of dancing through the house with the doll clutched in her hand.

The sun had been shining and her father was laughing as he watched her silly antics.

“Annie?”

The sound of Rafe’s deep voice broke her out of the past, although the precious feelings of childish joy refused to be completely dismissed.

“This house should be a place of horror, but I had such good memories,” she muttered, her attention locked on the doll that looked as lost and broken as she felt since returning to Newton.

He moved to stand next to her, his hands clenching as if he was battling the urge to reach out and touch her. “You loved your father?”

“Very much,” she admitted without hesitation, lifting her head to meet his searching gaze. “I know you must think it’s twisted, but he was always kind and patient and funny when we were together.”

“I don’t think it’s twisted at all,” he protested. “Tell me about him.” He held up a hand when she frowned. “I mean, tell me about him as your father.”

Expecting the usual condemnation, Annie was caught off guard by his gentle question.

No one had ever asked her about Don White as something other than the psycho serial killer.

Tentatively she allowed herself to return to the past, the doll unconsciously pressed to her chest. “He always had two Oreo cookies and a glass of milk waiting for me on that table when I came home from school.” She nodded toward the shrouded piece of furniture situated near the door. She hadn’t eaten an Oreo cookie since she’d left Newton. “And he went with me to the movies on Saturday afternoon just because I said I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. And every Sunday morning he took me to the restaurant for pancakes.” Bittersweet pain sliced through her heart. “I don’t understand how the same man could be so evil.”

“He was sick, Annie, not evil,” Rafe murmured.

She hunched a shoulder. “Is there a difference?”

“Yes. I’ve seen men in battle,” he said, a hard edge in his voice hinting at memories that were as dark and painful as her own. “Some are just naturally cruel. They enjoy causing pain because it’s a basic part of their nature.” His jaw clenched. “And there are others who’ve been ruined. By life. By war. By . . . fate. They do what they do because they can’t help themselves.”

Annie studied the lean, fiercely handsome face. How did he do it? How did he always know exactly what to say?

It was freaky.

“Thank you,” she breathed.

He cocked a brow. “For what?”

“Most people don’t want to think the Newton Slayer could have any redeeming qualities,” she said, having learned from the second she’d been rescued that her father was public enemy number one. “I usually feel guilty for not hating him.

He destroyed so many lives.”

He brushed a hand over her tangled curls, careful to keep

his touch light. “He was your father.”

“Yes.” He’d been more than that. He’d been her entire family. She gave another shiver. “We should go.” He dropped his hand and nodded, keeping a small distance between them as she headed out the door and across the

rickety porch.

“My truck is at the end of the drive,” he murmured as they reached the overgrown yard. “I’ll tell Teagan to join us at the motel.”

She had a vague impression of a large man who appeared from the shadows to speak with Rafe before he was jogging toward her Jeep, but her concentration centered on keeping her feet moving forward.

Christ, she was tired.

Rafe was back at her side by the time she reached the edge of the road, opening the door to his truck and helping her to climb into the seat before he was rounding the hood and taking his place behind the steering wheel.

In silence he started the engine, flipping the heater on high before performing a U-turn. There was a brief stop as he waited for his friend to approach the truck holding her purse that he’d obviously retrieved from her Jeep. Then, placing the bag in her lap, he shoved the truck in gear and headed back to town at a pace far slower than the one she’d used to get to the house.

Annie clutched her purse, only vaguely aware of her surroundings. She had the impression of genuine leather and a dashboard that had all the bells and whistles. The sort of truck that would be functional for work around a ranch but no doubt cost more than she made in a year. But her gaze remained glued to the dark, chiseled profile of her companion.

Safely tucked in his car with the warm air beginning to ease her shivers, there was nothing to distract her from Rafe’s sheer male beauty.

It was . . . nice.

Almost as if she was a normal girl being driven home by a man who she found intensely attractive.

A damned shame her brief daydream didn’t last for long.

All too soon they were back in town and he was turning into the drive of the motel. Rafe pulled to a halt in the center of the parking lot and glanced in her direction.

“Do you remember where you lived before coming to Newton?”

She froze at the abrupt question, too startled to tell him it was none of his damned business.

“Most of my memories from my early childhood are fuzzy. I think my dad said that we lived overseas, but it’s really just a blur,” she admitted.

It was weird. She had such a clear recollection of her time in Newton. Time with her father. Her friends at the school she’d attended. Climbing on top of the house so she could see her father in the distant fields.

But she never could capture any memories of her days before coming to Newton or the days after she’d been found tied and blindfolded in the bomb shelter.

“Why do you ask?”

“I thought you might have some family who could come to give you support,” he smoothly explained.

Her gaze narrowed. She sensed there was more to his question than he was admitting, but she was too tired to try and search for any hidden meanings.

“There are just my foster parents, and I don’t want to worry them,” she said.

He reached into his rear pocket, pulling out his wallet.

“Then I want your promise you’ll call me if you need anything,” he commanded, handing her a small business card.

She took the card with a frown, asking the question that had been bothering her from the moment their paths had crossed.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you so determined to help me?” she demanded. “I’m a stranger.”

He held her wary gaze. “It’s what I do.”

“A hero?”

“Something like that.” He pointed toward the business card. “My private cell number is printed on the back. Call me . . . any time, for any reason.”

Tucking the card in her purse, she crawled out of the truck and hurried to her motel room.

 

About the Author

AlexandraIvy

Alexandra Ivy graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com.

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Katie Ruggle’s HOLD YOUR BREATH Pre-Order Campaign!

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Sourcebooks is releasing a sexy new Search & Rescue romantic suspense series this spring by debut author Katie Ruggle!

To give you a taste, they have just released a free prequel novella titled On His Watch. It’s available today on all e-tailers.

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On His Watch (Search and Rescue 0.5)
Released January 5th 2016

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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

Ice rescue diver Derek Warner never meant to be a hero. But when two little girls go missing, he’s the first in line to bring them home-even if that means scouring the wilderness with the woman he once loved and lost, Artemis Rey.

Artemis has never stopped wanting Derek. Now, racing to find the girls before it’s too late, minutes turn to hours. Night falls. Old flames rekindle. And a danger grows in the darkest wilderness that may be more than even the Search and Rescue brotherhood can hope to face…

On His Watch is the pulse-pounding prequel to the riveting Search & Rescue series by Katie Ruggle.

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The first book in the series, Hold Your Breath, comes out on April 5th. If you pre-order it (Kindle currently has a special pre-order price) they will send you a Search & Rescue book light and you will be entered in to win a Winter Reading Gourmet Gift Basket from Le Chocolat!

 

holdyourbreath
Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue, #1)
Expected for Release April 5th 2016

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In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou—and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

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New Release Tour: Forged in Fire (Delos #3) by Lindsay McKenna *Giveaway*

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Forged in Fire (Delos #3)
by Lindsay McKenna

A Romanctic Suspense
From Blue Turtle Publishing
Releasing December 3, 2015

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Pediatrician Dara McKinley loves her job. So how could she say no when her sister asks her to come to Kabul for a few weeks to offer medical assistance at a local orphanage? Terrified of the dangers surrounding her, Dara finds unexpected solace in the protective arms of Sergeant Matt Culver. Transfixed by the warrior with the exotic gold eyes, can Dara overcome her fears?

Matt, a Delta Force operator, has always listened to his instincts, and they have yet to steer him wrong. So when he sees the alluring blond belly dancer at Bagram’s annual holiday show, he knows without a doubt that she’s “the one.” Now he just has to convince her to take a chance on him…and love. If they survive…

 

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About the Author

small jpeg Eileen Nauman aka Lindsay McKenna 4.5 x 7 copy

Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write: romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.

Because she went into the military, this experience became the backbone of her writing—she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive of Fate, 1983, Silhouette Special Edition) and has created a thriving sub-genre within the romance field! As a New York Times Best Selling author, she has sold 23 million books and in 32 foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!

Lindsay has gone Indie in 2015 and has created a new family saga on par with Morgan’s Mercenaries It is known as the DELOS SERIES. There will be paperback and eBooks created under Blue Turtle Publishing, her company for her fans. Readers who love Morgan and his family are bound to fall in love with the Culver family. Delos is romantic suspense, which Lindsay is well known for. It took her five years to create and bring DELOS to her readers. It was worth the wait, but we’ll let you decide that.

Lindsay loves to hear from her readers and loves to know what they’d like to see her write next. Stay up with the latest on the Delos Series here. Please visit her Web site at www.lindsaymckenna.com. And be sure to sign up for her free quarterly newsletter. It contains exclusive content found nowhere else on the Net. Plus, giveaways and other surprises, to her loyal and faithful subscribers!

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Spotlight Tour: In the Company of Wolves (SWAT, #3) by Paige Tyler *Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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In the Company of Wolves (SWAT, #3)
by Paige Tyler

A Paranormal Romance
From Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released Decembert 1st 2015

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He opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she’d robbed him of the ability to speak. Shooting her wasn’t an option, though. And the idea of arresting her didn’t make him feel any better.

There’s a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters.

In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team.

Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she’s glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart.

So what’s a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who’s a police officer?

 

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Paige Tyler’s Favorite Fun Loving Hero!

This December, Paige Tyler releases the third in her action-packed SWAT series, IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES. To celebrate the release of IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, Paige Tyler stopped by to tell us about one of her favorite fun loving heroes in pop culture and to share an excerpt showcasing her own hero’s fun loving side!

Paige Tyler: Everyone loves reading about alpha males, right? But of course, you can’t have a single dimensional character that’s just hardcore alpha all the time. It comes off as flat or just plain irritating. Most of the time you want to let your alpha have a lighter side, just to keep things interesting. One of my favorite fun loving heroes from popular culture is Dean Winchester!

Jensen Ackles plays a monster-hunting bad boy along with his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) on my favorite long-running television series Supernatural. Both brothers are incredibly hot, but Dean is the one more likely to crack jokes and live in the moment in contrast to Sam, who can be a little moody sometimes. He’s lived through so much violence and pain—every friend and family member has been killed during the eleven season run of this series—but he can still appreciate an attractive woman or a big cheeseburger. I mean, the first thing he went for after spending a year in hell was a burger. One really funny tidbit about Dean is that the original developer of the story (Eric Kripke) based the character of Dean on—you guessed it—Han Solo, because he wanted him to have that swagger that Solo was able to pull off with ease. One of the things I love about Dean is the bond he has with Sam. It’s what gets them both through the day even when facing monsters, angels, and demons that are way out of their league.

An Excerpt

One of the Albanians shouted something from the front of the store in his own language, following it up with an order to the omegas to stop wasting time and get the damn safe open. Becker ground his teeth. He should have simply kidnapped Jayna and her entire pack. Then he could have just walked into the loft and shot every one of these idiots—twice.

“Watch them,” he told Jayna, motioning to the security guard and two women. Turning, he left the break room and jogged down the hallway toward the back of the building.

“Get them back on the safe!” the Albanian driver shouted at him from the front room.

Oh yeah, sure. Stop two morons from raping a woman and get them back on task. What the hell was he—a daycare worker for omega werewolves?

Shit. If this was how criminals behaved, it was no wonder he and his SWAT teammates took so many of them down. They were too stupid to live. Then again, maybe this was how Gage felt some days. The SWAT pack could occasionally be a little stupid too. Becker’s current predicament was a shining example of that.

The omega standing guard in the hallway outside the manager’s office glared at him. “We got this. Go back and babysit the old folks.”

What a complete ass, Becker thought as he walked up and punched the guy in the face. The werewolf flew backward and bounced off the wall, bleeding like crazy from a broken nose as he fell to the floor in a dazed heap. He was still moving around though, reminding Becker that it was as hard to knock out an omega as it was to knock out an alpha. He’d have to remember that.

Becker strode into the office to find the store manager on the floor beside her desk, the other omega—the one who liked to play with his platinum medallion—leaning over her menacingly. He’d torn her blouse and was telling her all the horrible things he planned to do to her if she didn’t open the safe. The idiot was so intent on threatening her that he didn’t realize Becker was there until he yanked the guy to his feet and spun him around, then smashed the back of his head into the nearest hard object he could find—the safe panel. Becker pounded his head into the safe a few times before letting him fall to the floor. The asshole was definitely out cold.

Becker turned and looked at the shop manager. She cringed away from him, terror in her eyes as she tried to hold the tatters of her blouse together. He really wished he could pull up his ski mask. Seeing him like this definitely wasn’t helping.

Do you have an alarm button in this room?” he asked in his softest, least intimidating voice.

The woman stared at him for a moment like he was insane, then motioned under the desk with a shaking hand.

“Would you mind pushing it for me?” he asked.

Now she looked really confused. But she slowly reached under the desk and poked around until a loud alarm started ringing.

“Thanks.” Becker bent down to take the platinum medallion out of the omega’s vest and slip it into his pocket. “By the way, that diamond merchant you bought from in New York sold you out to a really bad guy. You probably don’t want to buy from him anymore.” Turning, he jogged out of the room and down the hallway to the front of the store. “Time to leave. Moron hit the alarm.”

Jayna was heading his way in a flash, the two Albanians right behind her.

“What about the safe?” the driver asked.

Becker shook his head. “It’s a no-go. Our guy smashed the keypad.”

The Albanians muttered something in their native language and shook their heads, as if they’d seen this coming. They stepped over the omega who was still rolling around in a daze on the floor in the hallway and raced out the back door. In the distance, sirens echoed in the air. About damn time. Becker motioned Jayna out.

“What about him?” she asked, jerking her head at the werewolf still trying to get to his knees.

Becker nudged the omega with his boot, pushing him back down. The guy looked like he really didn’t want to bother getting up this time.

“What about him?” Becker said, holding the door open for her.

 

SWAT Series

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Hungry Like the Wolf (SWAT, #1)
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Wolf Trouble (SWAT, #2)
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About the Author

Paige Tyler is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

 

 

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Sample Tour: Target Engaged (Delta Force #1) by M.L. Buchman *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

This December starts off with a bang as M.L. Buchman releases TARGET ENGAGED, the first in his brand new (and action-packed) Delta Force series! To celebrate his new release, Sourcebooks Casablanca is sharing the first six chapters of Target Engaged for FREE! Click here to download the first six chapters and check out a special note from M.L. Buchman below.

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Target Engaged (Delta Force #1)
by M.L. Buchman

A Suspenseful Romance
From Sourcebooks Casablanca
Releasing December 1st 2015

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Book 1 in M.L. Buchman’s thrilling NEW Delta Force series

Delta Force: The most dangerous elite counter-terrorism force on the planet

  • The deadliest shooters
  • The most out-of-the-box thinkers in any military
  • Will die to get the mission done

Sergeant Kyle Reeves: The premier soldier of the new recruits

Sergeant Carla Anderson: The first woman of Delta Force

If the training doesn’t kill them, their passion may—but Kyle Reeves and Carla Anderson blast right in. Show no fear. Have no fear. Then they get the call. The most powerful drug-smuggling ring in Venezuela needs a takedown, and Delta’s newest team leaps into the deep jungle to deliver. Giving their all? Not a problem. Giving their hearts? That takes a new level of courage.

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A Note from M.L. Buchman

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my newest series: the first women of Delta Force. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun this was to write.

Most of us know little more about Delta Force than the Chuck Norris movies (which leave a lot to be desired) or perhaps we only know the name. In researching my Night Stalkers series, I kept running into these guys. They are the elite of Special Operations Forces. They are at a level of SEAL Team 6, and most would argue they were even beyond that. They are the ghost and shadow warriors who helped take down drug lord Pablo Escobar, capture Noriega, were undoubtedly behind the locating of Saddam Hussein, and are the main reason that Al-Qaeda abruptly stopped being a topic in the Iraq War when over three thousand of their leaders were swept off the board.

Yet the Pentagon states that they don’t exist. Fascinating.

And while they often work with undercover female operatives, no woman has yet managed to kick in the front door on one of the most arduous selection programs in the military.

I decided to change that.

Carla Anderson stepped forward to take the challenge. She is a not a woman out to prove she can match any man, she’s out to prove that she can beat them at their own game. And that was the first thing that I loved about writing this series.

In the Night Stalkers, the women were strong, excellent, and determined.

To be a Delta Force woman, Carla had to add enough attitude and drive to plow through all obstacles which just made her so much fun. Nothing was off the table when it came to her attitude or her actions.

And that was the second thing I came to love about this series launcher, Target Engaged. Being Delta Force, they really do operate outside so many bounds. They are sent to do the tasks that no one else can. To that I added the additional challenge that Robert Ludlum gave to Jason Bourne (though I’m quoting the movie): “I don’t send you to kill. I send you to be invisible. I send you because you don’t exist.” I’m pretty convinced that this is part of Delta’s mission.

It is occasionally said by retired Delta Force operators (as the on-duty ones never speak): “If we’d been sent in to take down bin Laden, you still wouldn’t know how it was done.” To bring that to life gave me a permission as a writer to run my characters into hard and strange places and be just a little gonzo doing it.

But writing is a give and take, and I can’t begin to tell you how much the characters I created shaped my telling of this story. I like to think that they had as much fun as I did bringing this story to life.

I hope that you enjoy the reading even half as much as I enjoyed the writing!

M.L. Buchman (the Oregon Coast, November 2015)

Get to know the Carla, and the entire Delta Force team by reading the first SIX chapters of TARGET ENGAGED for free! Just click here to download them! To get you started, we’ve included the first few pages below:

 

Review

5-stars

Carla Anderson is not only a woman, she’s a warrior. And one determined to make it as a Delta Force. Smart, strong-headed and confident in her abilities, Carla is not intimidated by the big alpha males she encounters during the elimination process. Not even Kyle Reeves, the man ahead of the herd at every turn.

Kyle Reeves has always trained to be the best. He has also worked alongside the best. But never has he been as intrigued by a fellow soldier as he has been about Carla. It’s no wonder he wants her–on his team and on his bed. It seems she has it all–fantastic looks, great stamina and a kick-ass attitude that has carried her to the top of the pack.

But with training over, they find themselves deeply immersed in their first mission. Soon Carla and Kyle will learn that none of the training they endured to become a Delta will come in handy when it comes to guarding their hearts.

I have to say, it’s been a while since I’ve read a book of this magnitude. As this was the first book I’ve read by this author, I didn’t know what to expect from the story. I’ve read my share of suspenseful romances, so I came into the story with some expectations and I am happy to say that this book surpassed them all.

Action-packed scenes, detailed training exercises and missions, intriguing characters and one hell of an intense romance has made Target Engaged one of my favorite read of the year.

As the first book in a series, Target Engaged served its purpose to the max. The author spared no expense in immersing the reader in what it takes to be a part of Delta Force. Although I found the book riveting through its entirety, I count the first half of the book as the most enjoyable, since it details the training exercises the candidates must complete to progress in the program. Not only did I get to know Kyle and Carla and what drove them, I got to see an exceptional group of individuals give their very best. So when they went into their first mission, I was already invested in these individuals. I wanted to see them in action, see what set them apart and revel in their success.

I also enjoyed how the author went about bringing the romance element to the page. Yes, the chemistry between Kyle and Carla was intense and jumped off the page, but to my surprise that wasn’t what kept me glued to my tablet. I was fascinated by the intricacies of the mission and the way the author went out of his way to make me a part of it. But although the romance took a back seat to the rest of the story, I appreciated the way Buchman presented Kyle and Carla’s struggles in coming to terms with their emotions as the mission ran its course.

All in all, a fantastic start to a series. I will definitely be looking for more from this author!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

Matt Buchman_3
M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the Year,” nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews, and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year” placing two of his titles on their “The 101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.

 

 

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Tour: Hidden Impact (Safeguard #1) by Piper J. Drake *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Hidden Impact (Safeguard #1)
by Piper J. Drake

A Suspenseful Romantic Novel
From Carina Press
Released November 9th 2015

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He’s not the hero she’s looking for…

As part of the elite Centurion Corporation team, military-veteran-turned-mercenary Gabriel Diaz is a natural defender. He’ll do anything to ensure a mission is successful. Anything but get emotionally invested—he learned the hard way that can be deadly. Easy bodyguard jobs in between the more challenging missions are all he’s interested in now.

Maylin Cheng is desperate and running out of time. Her younger sister has gone missing but no one seems to take her concern seriously. Her last hope lies in asking an aloof bodyguard for help. He dismisses her outright, but all that changes when she is almost killed in a not-so-accidental hit-and-run right before his eyes.

As Maylin leans on Gabriel, she begins to rely on him for more than just her safety. But as their attraction grows, so does the danger surrounding them. When the elaborate web they’re trapped in unravels, Gabriel will do anything to protect them. Even if that means putting his heart in the crosshairs.

 

HiddenImpact

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Review

4 stars

Gabriel is biding his time while he and his team recover from their latest mission. Acting as a bodyguard is not exactly what he signed up for, but keeping busy makes the time go by faster. During one of these events he’s approached by a beautiful woman asking him to consider a missing person’s case. Sadly, Gabe doesn’t like to take these ’emotion-driven’ type of cases and firmly refused. In any case, the higher ups in Centurion have the last word on which type of assignment they’ll take on so he doesn’t give the woman or her missing sister another thought. Until he realizes the woman’s life is in danger.

Maylin is determined to find her sister and she will go to any lengths to seek help in her search. But when the opportunity arises to seek help from Centurion, she’s not expecting for her request for help to be turned down flat by the agent she approached. Maylin’s outlook does not seem to be improving either since it appears someone is after her.

If nothing else, the hit and run attempt catches the attention of the very man who refused to help her, driving them both to seek answers amidst a tangled web that involves major players and their own personal emotions.

What I enjoyed the most about this story was that the author kept me intrigued throughout. It’s not often that I find myself clueless as to what the hell is going on. I enjoyed the twist and turns in regards to the missing person’s case as well as seeing the romance between Gabe and Maylin develop.

Betrayal. Passion. Lies. Heartbreak. Danger. Every single element the author brought to the page flowed seamlessly to bring forth a captivating, riveting read full of ‘Awww’-inducing moments with some added heat to make it more than worth my while.

I enjoyed watching as the connection between Gabe and Maylin grew and strengthened as the story progressed. Although theirs was a lust at first sight kind of pairing, Piper Drake made sure that their connection made it to the page too. Sure, their chemistry was undeniable but it was those candid moments spent over a meal, the fleeting touches and honest interactions that ultimately had me cheering them on.

As a first book in the series, Hidden Impact was a success. Not only did the author provided us with Maylin and Gabe’s story, she also introduced various key players and set the stage for other books to come.

All in all, an action-packed, intriguing romance.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

2

 

Excerpt

“What you need to do is hear me out.” Steel edged her voice now, and maybe a bit of desperation.

It was the former, not the latter, that made him take a real look at her.

Her eyes caught him first. Deep emerald green. Shocking, actually, set in a delicate Asian face framed by a cascade of hair so black the lighting caught blue highlights. Her features were naturally beautiful, accented with a minimal amount of makeup. Very different from the majority of the people in attendance, regardless of gender.

Color leached from her face as she must have realized she had his full attention. But she didn’t back away or break eye contact. Good for her. Lesser men had balked when Gabe had stared them down.

“My little sister is missing.” The edge was gone from her words but the desperation was still there.

Anger washed away. Damn. “I’m sorry, miss. But the police are the people to contact.”

Political targets, reporters and prisoners of war were the kidnap victims private military might be contracted to locate and retrieve. The kind of people held for ransom in places so far off the radar, even sunlight might not find them. And those weren’t his team’s specialty.

The woman in front of him was a normal civilian. Willowy, slender. The thought of a little sister conjured up images of some tiny waiflike kid. He and his partners were heavy hitters, not the kind of people you sent in to do anything but cause strategic destruction. They went into hot spots overseas and did the things politicians didn’t admit to knowing about at these glitzy events, things a US uniform wouldn’t be doing. Delicate, gentle—the sort of handling a traumatized girl retrieved from a kidnapping situation would need—was not their forte.

The older sister shook her head. “I’ve spoken to the police and the US Embassy. No one will do anything, not yet. And by the time they believe something’s actually wrong, I might never find her.”

Missing persons cases were tough. She was right about the time crunch. There was only a short window before the abducted was more than likely dead. Considering what could have already happened, death might not be the worst thing either.

Definitely not going to add to what this woman was already imagining. Hopefully she didn’t know what could happen.

“You’d do better hiring a private investigator.” He drew his eyebrows together, tried not to let the urge to squirm under her very direct stare show. Damn. Give him vapid groupies and a clueless entourage and he had no problem staring them down. This woman, it was like she could see straight through him and know how much he didn’t want to cause a scene at this very moment. There was nothing good he could do for her.

 

1

 

About the Author

Piper_TH
Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal  romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

Now, PJ is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense, incorporating her interests in mixed martial arts and the military into her writing.

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New Release! Last True Hero (Battle Scars #1) by Diana Gardin *Review and Excerpt*

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Last True Hero (Battle Scars #1)
by Diana Gardin

A Contemporary Romance
From Forever Yours
Released November 10th 2015

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Army Ranger Dare Conners has been through hell. He’s left combat behind, yet the memories that refuse to fade are proving just as dangerous. Ordered to take R&R, he joins his buddy for beaches, beers, and babes-if that can’t cure him, nothing will. But when he meets Berkeley, a woman who affects him like no one else, a new kind of battle begins . . .

An Admiral’s daughter, Berkeley knows her life has been planned since birth. The right school, the right boyfriend-and now that she’s graduated-the right marriage. But after years of being right, Berkeley is ready to be a little wrong. And Dare Conners has wrong written all over him. The sexy soldier has a body built for sin and secrets he won’t share. What starts as a fling quickly grows into something more. But summer can’t last forever, and when the truth comes out, both Berkeley and Dare could be in for quite a fall.

 

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Review

4 stars

Dare Conners is looking for a place to settle down after years in the military so he decides to take his friend’s offer to spend time at his place in Lone Sands. As soon as he arrives, he feels like he made the right decision. Especially after he meets Berkeley.

Berkeley knows all too well what being a military wife is all about and she wants nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, her father has other plans–he already has her marrying her best friend Grisham, an officer in the Navy. Determined to keep her independence, Berkeley keeps working as a waitress at a restaurant where soon she will meet Dare, the very man that will turn her life upside down.

I was drawn into the story from the very beginning. I loved Dare and enjoyed his voice. He was driven and smart with a no nonsense attitude. He was also loyal and protective of his loved ones and determined to fight for what he wanted.

I didn’t care much for Berkeley at the beginning. She complained about her family situation, but I didn’t see her actively working to distance herself from them or their plans for her. It wasn’t until almost the end of the story that she grew some backbone and stood up for herself and what she wanted. Too little too late if you ask me.

In any case, I liked Berkeley with Dare. He had a way of bringing the softer, flirty side of her that complemented his easy going personality. I enjoyed their interactions and the way the author brought their connection to the page. Their chemistry was instant and easily palpable from the moment they met, but it was their connection and how I watched it grow and strengthen throughout that made the difference for me.

This is my first book by this author, but it certainly won’t be the last. Diana Gardin’s writing was precise and her use of emotions spot-on. I enjoyed the conflict and its resolution and the way she brought it all together without taking away from the romance.

As the first book in the series, Last True Hero served its purpose and more. Not only did we get Berkeley and Dare’s story, we also got to meet some intriguing key characters and a pretty good idea of what to expect from upcoming books.

All in all, a great start to a series.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

I had wondered myself why someone like her would be working as a waitress. Hell, I would never knock someone’s job options or choices, and I don’t look down on any profession. Everyone has to make ends meet. But for Berkeley to be waiting tables when she drives an Escalade, I had to wonder. Now, seeing how put-together and affluent her parents look, I’m wondering even harder.

What makes this girl do the things she does?

And that question sets off a spark of intense interest in my brain. My brain is interested in Berkeley now, not just my body.

The tigress sends her parents packing, and by the time she makes it back to my booth, I’m chuckling. I rub a hand over the stubble on my chin and meet her eyes.

“That was interesting,” I remark, giving nothing away.

“Trust me, Dare. You want no part of my parents right now. I don’t introduce them to guys I date.”

“No? Never?”

“Never. They’re more trouble than they’re worth.” She blows out a frustrated breath, which sends that cute stray strand of hair hanging over her eye flying skyward.

“I’m going to want to know more about that at some point. But what do you want to do tonight?”

“Honestly?” She puts out a hand and pulls me to my feet.

I reach out and brush the stray strand behind her ear. Just the small amount of contact sends heat coursing through my body, landing with an aching twitch in my groin. “I always want honesty from you, Berkeley.”

I’ve been preparing myself for this all day. I’m ready to take her to see a movie, or to some swanky-ass wine bar on the oceanfront.

“Okay.” A mischievous gleam enters her eyes. “I worked a double today, and my feet kind of hurt. All I really want to do tonight is kick off my shoes and drink a beer. And look at the stars.”

I reach up and pull on my earlobe a few times, wanting to make sure my ears are functioning properly. She wants to…what the fuck? Finally, I speak. “For real?”

She nods firmly. “Absolutely.”

I grab her hand and begin pulling her quickly out the door.

“What are you doing?” Her question is blurred by giggles and squeals. All of which I like.

“I’m getting you out of here fast, before you change your mind and tell me that what you actually want to do is go wine tasting or see a chick flick.”

I stop in my tracks as I survey the tiny gravel lot. Cars are spilling out onto the street beyond. “Where’s your car?”

When I look at her, she’s smiling a coy smile that lets me know my guess earlier about her being an evil vixen siren was correct. “I had my friend Mea drop me off. I’m with you tonight, soldier.”

It’s way too soon for a first kiss. It’s way too soon for a first kiss. This is my mantra as I stare at her, my eyes wandering from her eyes, to her amazingly sexy hair, to her lips, to her cute button nose, back to her lips…

When she pulls the bottom one into her mouth, my gaze is stuck to that spot. I’m telling myself that if I kiss her right now, I’ll scare her away and ruin everything I suddenly want to build. I manage to tear my eyes away from the succulent lip and take her hand again.

“My truck is this way.”

I’m not a small guy, around six feet, three inches. Berkeley is about a foot shorter than I am. Rather than watch her struggle to simply make it up the step rail, I grip her around the waist and lift her up into her seat. Her eyes meet mine as she settles into the leather, and we remain locked as I pull her seat belt and cross it over her torso, sliding it into the buckle on the other side of her. When I pull back, I swear I see a trail of sparks that follow. Heat explodes in my gut, and I can’t remember the last time a woman made me feel like I needed to douse myself with cold water from a mere graze of skin. I close her door and take a deep breath as I walk around to my side of the truck.

When I’m seated with the engine running, I ask her where I should go. “To the 7-Eleven for our beer, and then…where do you live? Is it on the beach, by any chance?”

I smile and pull out of the lot. “It’s pretty damn close.”

“Perfect. Let’s go to your place.”

I drive. As I pull into the 7-Eleven parking lot, I glance at her. She’s lounging in her seat, perfectly at home in my truck. I swallow thickly, trying to dispel the ball of instant attraction still stuck somewhere between my chest and my dick.

This girl might be the slow, epically painful death of me. But damn, what a way to go.

 

About Diana Gardin

Diana Gardin is a wife of one and a mom of two. Writing is her second full time job to that, and she loves it! Diana writes contemporary romance in the Young Adult and New Adult categories. She’s also a former Elementary school teacher. She loves steak, sugar cookies, and Coke and hates working out.

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