Book Nerds! Check out this excerpt & giveaway for A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR by Loretta Chase! #HistoricalRomance

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

About the Book

A Duke In Shining Armor
by Loretta Chase

Series
Difficult Dukes

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
November 28, 2017

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Excerpt

Prologue
London
Early morning of 11 June 1833

The Duke of Ashmont was not a very good duke—rather an awful one, actually. And so nobody could be in the least surprised to see him, drunk as an emperor—that was to say, ten times as drunk as a lord—staggering down the steps of Crockford’s Club on the arm of one of his two best friends.

This one was Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley. Where Ashmont was fair-haired, blue-eyed, and angelic-­looking, Ripley was dark. Unlike Ashmont, he did not appear to be spun of dreams and gossamer, and women did not follow his movements with the moonstruck expressions they accorded His Grace with the Angel Face.

On a good day, someone had said once, Ripley’s face resembled that of a wolf who’d been in too many fights.
Furthermore, though his slightly older title ranked him a notch or two higher in precedence than Ashmont, Ripley was merely as drunk as a lord. He could still distinguish up from down. When, therefore, His Grace of Ashmont showed an inclination to stumble in the downhill direction, toward St. James’s Palace, Ripley hauled him about.

“This way,” he said. “Hackney stand up ahead.” “Right,” Ashmont said. “Can’t miss the wedding.

Not this one. It’s me doing it. Me and Olympia. Have to be there. Promised.”

“You will be,” Ripley said as he led his friend across the street. The wedding had been news to him, the choice of bride a shock: Lady Olympia Hightower, of all women. She was the last girl on earth he’d thought would marry Ashmont—or any of them, for that matter.

Not that Ripley knew her very well. Or at all. They’d been introduced, yes, years ago. That was in the days when respectable persons still introduced Ripley and his two friends to innocent girls. But those were not the kinds of girls the ducal trio wanted. Gently bred maidens were for marrying, and marriage was sup-posed to be years away, sometime in the dim, distant future.

Apparently, the future had arrived while Ripley wasn’t looking.

First the Duke of Blackwood, the other of his two boon companions, had married Ripley’s sister over a year ago, a few days before Ripley left for the Conti-nent. Now Ashmont was doing it. Ripley had heard the happy news mere hours after his return to London yesterday.

No, he’d returned the day before, because today was yesterday now. He’d come to Crockford’s because he wanted a decent meal, and Crockford’s Ude was the next best thing to Ripley’s own chef, Chardot, who’d come down with a foul cold sometime during the Channel crossing.

Chardot went with him everywhere because he was amply paid to do so, and Ripley liked his comfort. Having been forced, for no sane reason, to live like a pauper during his boyhood, he lived like a king now.

Ripley was debating with himself whether, on the whole, he’d better have stayed abroad, when four men spilled out of a narrow court, one crashing into Ash-mont, with force enough to dislodge him from Ripley’s light grasp and push him into a shop front.

Ashmont bounced back with surprising energy. “You clumsy, bleeding, half-­wit! I have to get married, you bloody arsehole!” At the same moment, he drove his fist at the fellow’s face.

One of the man’s friends tried to butt in. With a sigh, Ripley grabbed him by the back of the collar. The fel-low swung at him, obliging Ripley to knock him into the gutter.

What happened after that was what often happened when Ashmont was about: a lot of filthy language and filthy fighting, and men rushing out of the clubs, shout-ing bets, and a female or two screaming somewhere.

Then it was over. Their foes lay strewn about the pavement. Ripley didn’t wait to count or identify them. He collected Ashmont from the railing he’d slumped against and trudged to the corner with him. He sig-naled, and the first in line of the hackneys plodded their way. He threw Ashmont into the decrepit coach and directed the driver to Ashmont House.

Servants waited up, as they were accustomed to do, for Ashmont. They bore him up the stairs to his bed-room and undressed and washed him without fuss.

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR, we’re giving away one paperback copy of the book. Enter now for your chance to win!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of A Duke In Shining Armor by Loretta Chase.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 12/5/2017 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER! 

 

About Loretta Chase

Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the streets-as a meter maid-and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early 19th century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s Rita. For more about her past, her books, and what she does and doesn’t do on social media, please visit her website http://www.LorettaChase.com.

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Book Nerds! Check out IT’S HARD OUT HERE FOR A DUKE by Maya Rodale! #HistoricalRomance #Giveaway #Excerpt

Some Mistakes…

When American-born James Cavendish arrives in London tomorrow, he’ll become the Duke of Durham. Some might be ecstatic at the opportunity. Not James. He’s a simple man, fond of simple pleasures. And right now, nothing could be more pleasurable than spending his last night of freedom with a beautiful stranger.

Are Far Too Good…

One wild night, Meredith Green, companion to the dowager Duchess of Durham, said yes to a man she thought she’d never see again. Suddenly, they’re living under the same roof, where Meredith is expected to teach James how to be a duke-while trying not to surrender to temptation a second time.

To Be Forgotten.

For a duke and a commoner, marriage would be pure scandal. Yet nothing has ever felt as right as having Meredith in his arms…and in his bed. Soon he must choose-between a duty he never desired, and a woman he longs for, body and soul…

About the Book

It’s Hard Out Here For A Duke
by Maya Rodale

Series
Keeping Up With The Cavendishes

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
November 28, 2017

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Excerpt

Though Miss Meredith Green lacked birth, or wealth, or many other qualifications one would assume of a gently bred lady, she had been raised to be one. She could curtsy with the best of them, expertly arrange both flowers and seating arrangements for dinner parties, and could recite pages from Debrett’s Book of the Peerage. These were just a few of her accomplishments.

As such, she should not be here, in the public room of the Queen’s Head Tavern and Coaching Inn. Especially not alone and especially not at night, where any old ruffian might think he could take a liberty with her, to put it nicely.

Which is why she should not have allowed the barmaid to add a generous splash of whiskey to her tea.

Which is probably why she was encouraging the ocular advances of a handsome man with whom she was not acquainted.

Meredith had noticed him the moment he walked in, tall and lanky but strong, with unfashionably long brown hair that fell rakishly in his eyes. What color were they, she wondered? She didn’t need to know. There was nothing she could do with this information. There was absolutely no point to her knowing.

She badly wanted to know.

So she dared one glance, then another.

Do not look. Do not look. Do not look.

Her better judgment was roundly ignored. Before she knew it they were somehow flirting from opposite sides of the room without even saying a word.

It was the sort of thing that made a girl’s heart beat giddily and her toes start to tap under her skirts. Thanks to years of training, she kept her posture poised and her movements elegant, but under her skirts, her toes were tapping.

This, this was what she need tonight: a distraction. The past few months had been trying, and the next few promised to be challenging as well, albeit in a different way. She had only tonight to live for herself.

She darted another look in his direction.

He was watching her. This truth elicited a slight smile from her lips. But she shouldn’t take pleasure in this.

She ducked her head.

But her heart beat quickly and she wondered: Would he come over?

He shouldn’t. He really should not. She absolutely should not encourage him. But life was full of should-nots, and tonight Meredith wanted to say yes.

It had been a bit of a day—on top of quite a week, and one hell of a month. Or two or three. Her visit to her ailing mother in Hampshire revealed a dispiriting truth: the life choices of Miss Meredith Green were few, and less than thrilling. Nevertheless, she had made her choice to return to London and live the restrained and dignified life of a lady’s companion.

Emphasis on restrained. When one relied on one’s spotless reputation for her very existence, one comported herself accordingly. One did not give or receive heated glances across crowded rooms.

But Meredith embarked on a little whiskey-infused rationalization: until she stepped foot in London, she could afford to live a little loosely. For one night, she might indulge in the sort of wicked behavior—and passion—that she’d have to refuse forevermore.

That was just the splash of whiskey talking, she told herself. It was just the strain of recent events wreaking havoc with her common sense. It was her mother’s bad influence. She’d had the great luck to be raised to be A Lady. She oughtn’t forget that.

Do not look. Do not look. Do not look.

She looked. Oh, she looked.

His gaze sparkled. Like he knew what inner turmoil and rationalization his glances inspired. This time, she didn’t look away.

Oh, goodness, he was coming over. Her heart beat faster and faster as his long strides brought him closer and closer until he was standing beside her, leaning casually against the bar.

Gentlemen did not lean.

“What is a beautiful woman like you doing alone in a place like this?”

 

Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the first three books in the Keeping Up With the Cavendishes series by Maya Rodale.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 12/12/2017 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About Maya Rodale

MAYA RODALE began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the bestselling and award winning author smart and sassy romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.

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Book Nerds! Check out THE CHARMER’S GAMBIT by Lexi C. Foss! #ContemoraryRomance #KindleUnlimited

He set his sights on the wrong girl.  Me.
Law school taught me a lot of things, but nothing prepared me to deal with this determined, hotter-than-Hell millionaire. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered. But resisting Will Mershano is harder than passing the bar.  He’s everything: sexy, confident, intelligent. And he wants me.
When he hires my firm to represent Mershano Vineyards, I’m left with no choice but to work right alongside him—or forfeit my job. There’s only one problem. He doesn’t know about my past or how it stalks me at every turn. All he wants is a little flirtatious fun, but Will’s playing a dangerous game.
And there’s more at stake than just my heart. . .

About the Book

The Charmer’s Gambit
by Lexi C. Foss

Series
Merhsano Empire #2

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Ninja Newt Publishing, LLC

Publication Date
December 5, 2017

   

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About Lexi C Foss

Lexi C. Foss is a writer lost in the IT world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and their furry children. When not writing, she’s busy crossing items off her travel bucket list. Many of the places she’s visited can be seen in her writing, including the mythical world of Hydria which is based on Hydra in the Greek islands. She’s quirky, consumes way too much coffee, and loves to swim.

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Book Nerds! Check out BEYOND THE SHADOWS by Amber Lynn Natusch! Plus, a giveaway!

Another day, another problem for Piper Jones and her eclectic mix of allies.

And so far, her pack of vampire enforcers, werewolves, and her warlock mentor have come through it all unscathed. But when a rogue assassin starts killing off Knox’s crew, she’s got more to worry about than the faint blue scar on her chest and her failing powers.

Now she must race against time to heal her broken magic, if she wants to save the wolves she’s grown to love.

About the Book

Beyond the Shadows
by Amber Lynn Natusch

Series
Force of Nature #3

Genre
Adult
Paranormal Romance
Urban Fantasy

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
December 4, 2017

Series Available On

The FORCE OF NATURE Series

    

 

FORCE OF NATURE Bundle Giveaway

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Giveaway open to US and Canada shipping addresses only.  Giveaway ends Monday December 11, 2017 at 11:59pm EST.  One winner will be chosen.  By entering, you are subscribing to two newsletters – the Pure Textuality PR reader newsletter and Amber Lynn Natusch’s newsletter – and are agreeing to receive occasional emails from both.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About Amber Lynn Natusch

Amber Lynn Natusch is the author of the bestselling Caged, as well as the Light and Shadow series with Shannon Morton. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, and speaks sarcasm fluently because of her Canadian roots. She loves to dance and sing in her kitchen—much to the detriment of those near her—but spends most of her time running a practice with her husband, raising two small children, and attempting to write when she can lock herself in the bathroom for ten minutes of peace and quiet. She has many hidden talents, most of which should not be mentioned but include putting her foot in her mouth, acting inappropriately when nervous, swearing like a sailor when provoked, and not listening when she should. She’s obsessed with home renovation shows, should never be caffeinated, and loves snow. Amber has a deep-seated fear of clowns and deep water…especially clowns swimming in deep water.

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Book Nerds! Check out UNDER TWILIGHT by Debbie Cassidy! #KindleUnlimited

Nothing ever truly dies…

With the throne finally in her power, Kenna Carter should be able to relax. But with the threat of a Twilight invasion looming and the fate of her people, both djinn and human, at stake, there are several tough decisions to be made. It doesn’t help that her Fearless instincts contradict her monarch duties at every turn, throwing her into the path of danger again and again. When the threat they’re facing turns out to be much bigger than they could ever have imagined, Kenna is faced with her biggest challenge yet. A challenge that may end up being her last.

An urban fantasy saturated with adrenaline pumping action, core melting romance, and all the feels.

 

About the Book

Under Twilight
by Debbie Cassidy

Series
Fearless Destiny #3

Genre
Adult
Urban Fantasy

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 30, 2017

  

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The Fearless Destiny Series
    

About Debbie Cassidy

Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Debbie also writes dark, diverse Urban Fantasy fiction, under the pen name Amos Cassidy, with her best friend Richard Amos.

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Book Nerds! Check out this excerpt and giveaway for WRONG TO NEED YOU by Alisha Rai! #ContemporaryRomance

Alisha Rai returns with the second novel in her sizzling Forbidden Hearts series!

He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past…and step into a future together.

About the Book

Wrong To Need You
by Alisha Rai

Series
Forbidden Hearts #2

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
November 28, 2017

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

Some women were seduced by a voice or a touch or a look. For Sadia Ahmed, it was hands.
Or, at least . . . His hands.
They were big, the perfect size to grasp her ass and grip her tight. Or to wrap around her neck while his thumbs settled into the hollow at the base of her throat. Or to cup her breast and lift it to his mouth.
Sadia picked up a glass and started drying it, her actions precise and unhurried. She was certain her face didn’t give away the fact she was fantasizing about sex with a patron sitting in the dive bar. Her libido might be hot, but her facade was stone- cold. She was a mother, a widow. To a lot of people, she’d discovered, those two titles took precedence over being a woman.
She didn’t mind letting people keep their illusions. It made her life easier and she wasn’t a disruptive person by nature. Someone else could shock the world, so long as she could dream about what she pleased.
Out of the corner of her eye, she contemplated what she could see of the anonymous man’s hands. He wore a baseball cap pulled low, and the bar was dark, so his body was all she had to moon over. His body was enough.
His fingers were long and elegant. They were big enough to fill her up with one, but she’d demand two. Hidden under the soft cotton of her shirt, her stomach clenched. He could play her like a violin, which was appropriate. He had the hands of an artist. Attached to a body that belonged to a fighter. Her gaze drifted over what she could see of the rest of him. Wide chest, broad shoulders, thighs like tree trunks, biceps like whoa.
Unf.
Sadia carefully replaced the dry glass and picked up another one. Over the past week, she’d gotten really good at surreptitiously peeking at her mystery man during each of her shifts. On Monday she’d noticed him for the first time, sitting in a darkened booth in a far corner. On Wednesday he’d chosen a seat which was better lit, enough for her to grow obsessed with thoughts of his fingers on her and in her.
Though it had been busy earlier tonight, she’d consciously kept an eye out for him. Once the Thursday crowd had thinned out, her gaze had been drawn to him like a magnet to a metal. An- other dark booth, another dark cap pulled low to hide his face. Alone, nursing the ginger ale he’d ordered. His quiet stillness set him apart from the rowdy people who usually filled this bar.
“Hey, Sadia.”
Sadia started. She regrouped quickly and gave her boss a cheerful grin which hopefully masked the filthy thoughts in her head. “Hey, what’s up?” Michael had owned O’Killian’s for at least as long as she’d been working here, off and on since her twenty-first birthday.
“I wanted to thank you again for picking up so many shifts this week.”
She tossed her towel over her shoulder. “No problem. You know I’ll take the hours.” The tips were good. With a young son, she could always use extra money. She wanted to keep her bartending skills sharp.
Those were all the reasons she told people when they asked her why she was still tending bar when she had her hands full with the café she’d inherited from her husband. They weren’t false.
They weren’t completely true either, but the whole truth would cause more than a few raised eyebrows.
My husband had debts he didn’t tell me about. The tips give me grocery money.
I’m terrified the cafe will go bankrupt on my watch. I need a fallback career.
And there was one other good reason, but she really couldn’t share that one with anyone. That reason was her secret.

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of WRONG TO NEED YOU, we’re giving away one paperback copy of HATE TO WANT YOU, the first book in the Forbidden Hearts series by Alisha Rai. Enter your information below for your chance to win!

TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 12/8/2017 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai pens award-winning sexy contemporary romances and is the first author to have an indie-published book appear on The Washington Post’s annual Best Books list. She spends most of her time dreaming up sexy heroes and heroines, traveling, and tweeting. To find out more about her books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit http://www.alisharai.com

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Book Nerds! Check out CAJUN CRAZY by Sandra Hill! #Excerpt #Giveaway #ContemporaryRomance

Welcome back to New York Times bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where love heats up the Louisiana bayou . . .

Former Chicago cop Simone LeDeux is back home in the bayou, sharing a double wide in the Pearly Gates trailer park to help her mama recover from surgery. Her one rule: no Cajun men. Loved and left by too many double-crossing Cajuns, Simone puts bad experience to good use by opening Legal Belles: an agency that uncovers cheating spouses.

Suddenly she’s confronting a two-timer about to swindle his wife out of millions and antagonizing New Orleans bigwigs over an illegal sex club. Adam Lanier learns of the dangerous game Simone is playing . . . and the sexy single dad comes to her aid. Known as a rogue in the courtroom and a player in the bedroom, the ragin’ Cajun has Simone triply on guard.

With their crazy chemistry, danger on their trail, and infamous LeDeux relative Tante Lulu working her magical matchmaking, the bayou has never been this steamy.

About the Book

Cajun Crazy
by Sandra Hill

Series
Cajun Series

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
November 28, 2017

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Excerpt

“I’ve been attracted to you from the first moment we met.”
“I’m surprised that you would admit that. Kind of lessens your odds.”
“You’re assuming this is a game. I’m too old to play games. Actually, they never interested me
much. How about you?”
“Oh, games can be fun sometimes.”
“Tease!” Adam said with a chuckle and nipped her on the chin with his teeth.
It wasn’t a kiss or a bite, but she felt it all the way down to “Red-dy and Willing,” the color of her toenail polish.
Simone remembered her bad history with Cajun men and her resolution to avoid them in the future.
“Um, I think it’s time to cut this flower in the bud. I am not going to do this again.”
“Do what, darlin’?”
That damn “darlin’ ” again! “Get involved with another Cajun man.”
“You’re going to give me the boot just because
I’m Cajun?”
She nodded.
“Well, lucky you, babe, because I’m only half Cajun.”

Giveaway

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Cajun Crazy by Sandra Hill.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 12/5/2017 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Sandra Hill

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than ten years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories.

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Book Nerds! Check out MAGICALLY BOUND by Rachel Medhurst! #KindleUnlimited

Witch, Warlock, Whatever…

My name’s Devon Jinx, and, yes, I’m half warlock, half witch. But I couldn’t care less about which kind of magic is better. All I want to do is keep my head down and get on with my new job as an investigator at the Hunted Witch Agency.

A recent, shall we say, mistake, has put me in place to inherit the leadership of the warlocks. Which means only one thing. I have a choice to make: Leave behind my life of witchery to become a warlock, or lose my warlock magic forever.

Complicating my choice is the fact that someone is trying to destroy the warlock coven. If I don’t stop them, the warlocks will be annihilated. The task seems impossible until Gerard Freshwater, a distractingly handsome witch, explodes into my life. He’s determined to make me see that being a witch isn’t just the best option, but the only option.

About the Book

Magically Bound
by Rachel Medhurst

Series
Hunted Witch Agency #1

Genre
Adult
Urban Fantasy

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 28, 2017

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About Rachel Medhurst

Rachel grew up in South East England. She learnt at a young age that life can be hard work. She now believes that whatever happens to you, you can overcome it.

She writes to help others see that no matter where you come from, you can still achieve your dreams. As a teenager she would never have dreamed of becoming an author.

However, in her twenties, she realised that she was allowing her past to dictate her future. She decided to accept and forgive everything that had happened to her, everyone that had hurt or upset her and she even forgave herself for allowing life to bring her down.

In early 2014 after writing The Deadliners, Rachel decided to self publish. It was one of the best things she’s ever done. Since then, she’s released a series called Avoidables and a novella called Choice! (October 2014) which is part of the Modern Dreams series published by Salt Publishing.

Rachel will always remember where she came from, but only to see how far she has come.

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Book Nerds! Check out HOW TO WOO A WALLFLOWER by Christy Carlyle! #HistoricalRomance

An Unconventional Wallflower…

Clarissa Ruthven was born to be a proper lady, but she’s never wanted to live up to the expectations her late father set. Determined to use her inheritance to help the less fortunate women of London, she’s devastated to learn that she won’t be inheriting anything until she marries, a fate she has no interest in. Unwilling to let go of her plans, Clary works at Ruthven Publishing for Gabriel Adamson, a man who’s always hated her. She’s always returned the feeling, but as she begins to turn her family’s publishing company upside down, she finds herself unable to forget her handsome boss.

Never Follows the Rules…

Gabriel Adamson believes in order. He certainly doesn’t believe Clary should be sticking her nose in the publishing company, and she definitely has no business invading his every thought. But Gabe soon finds he can’t resist Clary’s sense of freedom or her passionate kisses and he starts to crave everything she’s willing to give him.

Especially When It Comes to Love…

When Gabe’s dark past comes back to haunt him, he’ll do anything to make sure that Clary isn’t hurt…even if it means giving up the only woman he’s ever loved.

About the Book

How To Woo A Wallflower
by Christy Carlyle

Series
n/a; standalone

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
November 14, 2017

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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

 

“Don’t assume every young lady is in need of rescue. Some of us wish to be a heroine who fights her own battles.”

—Journal of Clary Ruthven

London, 1899

Whitechapel repulsed Gabriel Adamson.

 

Grime and smoke hung so thick in the air that he could taste grit on his tongue. Narrow lanes conspired to trap the neighborhood’s fetid stench, and its tenements loomed above his head as if they’d crush him under the weight of their cramped, miserable inhabitants.

Now that he could afford proper togs for the first time in his life, he took care selecting the finest fabrics for his tailored suits and shirts. Today, he feared every stitch he’d donned would reek from the East End’s noxious stew of ash and muck.

The rain had been on and off and on all morning, but the heavens showed no mercy in a place like this. The sky opened the moment he alighted from the hansom cab, fat drops pelting his hat like the clatter of horses’ hooves on cobblestones.

Tugging up his fur-lined collar, he lengthened his stride and ducked under the awning of a grimy-windowed shop. He stared across the lane at Number 12 Doncaster.

The building slouched toward the street, its wooden frame worn by time and eaten away by moisture. The brick buildings buttressing each side were smart and modern by comparison, though their red bricks had been smoked to an oily black too.

As he gazed up at the house, echoes rang in his head. Raging shouts and desperate cries. The thud of fists on flesh. Bone meeting bone.

Peg Delaney was a cruel woman, but she was nobody’s fool. Gabe doubted she’d still be eking out a living in the last place he’d seen her. This venture was a fool’s errand.

He drew in a ragged breath, biting back a curse.

At least he’d had the good sense not to tell Sara of his trip. He couldn’t bear to dash his sister’s hopes, nor could he stand watching her fret over their mother’s fate when she should be focusing on her future and finally securing a bit of long-delayed happiness.

When the rain slowed to a sparse patter, he dashed across the narrow lane and knocked at the door. No answer came, and he suspected the landlord was far in his cups by this hour. The man had always been a wastrel. Trying the latch, he found the door unlocked and stepped into the dark, musty vestibule, choking on memories and stale air.

A discordant strain of music—a bow scratching at violin strings—echoed from upstairs. Gabe started up the worn slats. The wood creaked under his weight.

His mother’s door stood ajar, and nausea clawed its way up his throat when he caught a hint of her cheap perfume on the air. Bracing a gloved fist against the wood, he pushed inside and held his breath. Amid dried leaves and a cascade of cobwebs, the stench of rot turned his gut inside out.

Except for a single overturned chair, the room contained no furniture. Nothing hung on the walls. No personal effects decorated the space. She’d abandoned this place long ago, and no one had given a damn about the miserable lodging room since. Water ran down the walls, leaking from loose roof tiles.

Gabe strode to the back of the room and gripped a moldy edge of loosened wallpaper. Peeling back the paper revealed a gaping hole in the plaster. Reaching inside, he scraped his fingers around in the dust and dark until he felt a rounded shape. He tugged the object forward, grasping the tiny horse head in his hand.

Years ago, he’d found the knight chess piece in the gutter and had squirreled it away like a treasure. Even now, the chiseled quartz glinted in the weak light from the room’s single, cracked window.

“Wot you after?” A woman’s gruff bark sounded from the threshold, and Gabe turned, fists balled, muscles tensed.

“Mrs. Niven.” She’d been wrinkled and gray when Gabe was young. Now his old neighbor had the aspect of a wizened crone. If wizened crones wielded a violin bow in one hand and a revolver in the other.

Squinting until her eyelids were little more than creased slits, she shuffled forward. “Is it you?”

Gabe’s pulse slowed as he watched the old woman’s drooping mouth curl up in a toothless smile.

“Ragin’ Boy.” She drew close, reeking of smoke and soiled wool. “Never fought I’d see those eyes of yours lookin’ back at me again. ’Ow many years gone now, child? Five? Ten?”

Nine and a half years. He’d left Whitechapel at sixteen and never looked back. Never intended to step foot in the godforsaken place again either.

Tipping her chin, Mrs. Niven examined Gabe down the length of her bulbous nose. “Judgin’ by those fine togs you’re sportin’, I’d wager you’re not frowin’ punches for your supper these days, are ya boy?”

“Where is she?” He wasn’t here for small talk.

“Peg? ’Aven’t seen ’er in ages, boy.”

Gabe flexed his fingers. He fought the urge to throttle the old woman every time she called him boy. Mrs. Niven was thinking of another person. A child discarded long ago. An imp who woke angry every morning and spent his days fighting, striking out at anyone, anything that stood in his way. Bloodthirsty men had once had a use for him, betting on his skills in the ring. But he’d escaped. Taken a new name. Made a new life. Never looked back.

Until now.

“You’ve no idea where she’s gone?” He couldn’t lose sight of why he’d come. If he thought of anything else, the memories would break in, and he’d lose control. Control was how he survived. Imposing order on chaos had been his salvation.

“Not a clue.” Mrs. Niven choked before bursting into a racking, hollow cough. “Wot you need ’er for?”

“I don’t need ’er at all.” Neither did Sara. This ridiculous venture was what happened when he gave in to sentiment. He needed to stop making that mistake. Reaching into his coat pocket, he extracted a silver sixpence. The woman’s rheumy eyes widened, nearly bursting from their sockets, when Gabe deposited the coin in her grimy palm. “Don’t drink it all at once, Mrs. Niven.”

He started across the leaf-strewn floor, stopped, and turned back. After extracting a calling card from his waistcoat pocket, he offered the cream rectangle to her. “Send word if you hear anything of my mother.”

Mrs. Niven was decidedly less eager to claim the slip of paper than she’d been to take his money, but she finally hobbled forward and retrieved the card from his fingers.

Gabe didn’t look back as he descended the stairs and made his way onto the rain-drenched street.

Let his mother find them if she wished. Nothing would ever compel him to return to this godforsaken place.

The downpour had diminished to a drizzle as he started down the lane, heading for the busier cross street, praying for a stray cab rattling by in search of a fare. Strangely, this area of Whitechapel had begun to transform. Run-down buildings had been replaced by newer brick structures, and a few thriving shops lined the streets. Outside of a tea room, the pavement had been painted in whitewash, and chairs were arranged outside, awaiting diners and a drier, sunnier day. If he’d possessed no memory of these streets from a decade before, he could almost be lulled into believing the neighborhood a respectable one.

At the precise moment such hopeful nonsense teased at his thoughts, a screech rent the air. A rowdy brothel had once thrived around the corner, but the sound echoing in the narrow lane wasn’t one of pleasure. More like agony. A man’s bleat emerged again, high-pitched and pained.

Gabe’s body responded like a soldier’s on the eve of battle—muscles taut, instincts sharp, pulse throbbing in his ears.

“You bloody bitch!” the man squeaked.

Gabe rolled his shoulders and tugged off his gloves. Whoever the man was, he’d chosen to menace the fairer sex, and Gabe never had been able to stomach a bully. Too many times as a child, he’d watched helplessly as his mother cowered on the losing side of a man’s fists.

Until he was old and strong enough to beat them off himself.

Rounding the corner, he expected to find a man overpowering a woman with his height and strength. A sight he’d seen a thousand times in these streets. Instead, he spotted a man bent at the waist, clutching his groin, glaring toward the entrance of the Fisk Academy for Girls, according to the sign above the door.

“I’ll smash that pretty face of yours,” the wounded blighter cried.

“I don’t think you will,” a feminine voice countered. “And don’t let me see you darken this doorstep ever again.”

A croquet mallet emerged through the doorway first, the cylinder of wood painted with jaunty blue stripes around the edges. Purple ruffles came next, the edge of a skirt kicking up as a diminutive woman stomped out to face the wounded man.

Gabe rushed forward to assist her and jerked to a dead stop.

Clarissa Ruthven.

Pert nose. Guinea-gold hair. Wavy strands glinting in a beam of afternoon sun that managed to break through the clouds.

He recognized her, yet he squinted, unwilling to believe the evidence of his eyes. Queen Victoria parading down the sodden streets of Whitechapel wouldn’t have shocked him more. What business could the young woman have in this soot-smeared place?

She was a country girl. Gently bred. And on the occasion of her twenty-first birthday, the little hellion would become his employer. Though when Leopold Ruthven entrusted Gabe with the running of his publishing enterprise, he never imagined answering to the man’s children one day.

Clarissa Ruthven couldn’t see him here. She wasn’t privy to his history, and if he had his way, she would never know he hailed from these grimy streets.

As surefooted as he’d been as child when he’d served as lookout to a notorious housebreaker, he retreated. One boot placed silently behind the other.

Then the bullying fool made an awful choice. Tucking his head, he hunched his shoulder forward and heaved toward Miss Ruthven. She lifted her mallet for a defensive swing, but the man moved quicker.

Gabe surged forward, one boot slamming down to break the man’s his stride. With a muffled yelp, the fool pitched forward, striking the wet pavement with a satisfying thud.

Clarissa’s mallet whisked through the air, and Gabe arched back just in time to keep the bloody thing from breaking his nose.

“Mr. Adamson?”

Ignoring her dumbfounded query, he pulled her nemesis to his feet. “Is this wretch troubling you, Miss Ruthven?” He didn’t glance at her, couldn’t bear to meet her inquisitive gaze.

“He’s infatuated with one of our students.” Her bodice brushed Gabe’s coat sleeve as she leaned toward her attacker. “And Sally has no interest in receiving your attentions, as she’s made clear on multiple occasions,” she barked, seemingly undeterred by the man’s murderous glare.

“Go,” Gabe said more succinctly, emphasizing his point by squeezing the man’s shirt front in his fist, twisting and tightening until the scalawag began to gasp. “Never come back.” When he released the bastard, the man stumbled forward, clutching at his neck and casting them a withering scowl before limping up the lane.

Gabe was intensely aware of Miss Ruthven’s perusal. He would have preferred to don a mask and disappear into the fog, like Spring-heeled Jack or one of the other characters in the penny dreadfuls he’d read as a child. When he finally met her gaze, her face puckered in a frown.

“What is it?” He should have spared a thought for what damage might have been done before he arrived on the scene. “Did he hurt you?”

“No,” she assured, though she continued to study him closely.

He swept a hand across his head and pulled at the lapels of his coat to straighten them. Dust and muck had soiled his pristine cuffs. He shoved his hands behind his back to conceal them.

“I’ve never seen you with a hair out of place,” she mused. “Dishevelment quite transforms you, Mr. Adamson.” From her expression, he couldn’t determine if she intended to praise or insult. “Thank you,” she finally said, waving her hand in the direction her assailant had gone.

Her clipped tone and taut expression didn’t surprise Gabe. Offering him gratitude must have galled her. The one fact he knew for certain about Clarissa Ruthven was that the young woman loathed him. On the few occasions they’d met, she’d refused all his attempts at gentlemanly civility—whether opening a door or pulling out her chair.

He suspected she was the last woman who’d wish to play the role of damsel in need of saving.

“You’re welcome, Miss Ruthven.” He spoke slowly, enunciating each syllable, taking care not to lapse into the Cockney accent he’d used with Mrs. Nivens. “Though I’m sure your mallet would have been an effective deterrent.”

She glanced down at the sporting equipment, more suited to a posh lawn party than fending off an East End thug, then narrowed an eye. “Why are you here?” Balling a fist at the swell of her hip, she demanded, “Did my brother send you to spy on me?”

“Of course not.” Like a match to dry tinder, his irritation sparked into flame. “Today I am master of my own hours.”

How dare she look down her pert little nose at him? As if he were some lackey sent on her brother’s errands. He’d been running her family’s business for years, keeping the income flowing so that she could afford her fine dresses decorated with satin ribbons.

He stared at the unfastened length of ribbon at her neck, the cleft in her chin, and the tremor in her full, flushed lips. Then he found himself caught in the glare of violet eyes.

She was irritatingly pretty, with pale freckled skin, peach-plump cheeks, and a thick fringe of dark lashes over those unique lavender-hued eyes. He might be a ruffian playing at being gentleman, but he never lied to himself. Both the Ruthven sisters were lovely, but the younger Miss Ruthven stood out. If only because she was the most vexing female he’d ever met in his life.

Ridiculously independent in her views and behavior, she fully embodied the “New Woman” London newspapers lambasted with glee. Strident in her opinions about politics, society, and everything in between, she took special delight in discomfiting him—whether it was her annoying habit of leaving flowers, ribbons, or some scribbled scrap of paper in her wake, interrupting his sentences, or laughing at his need for order.

Beyond her beauty, she was precisely the sort of woman who held no appeal. What man wished to spend his life distracted by the mere sight of his wife? Or vexed by her quirks and odd habits? When he married, he wanted what he’d never had—peace and simplicity. Give him a plain woman with domestic inclinations and impeccable behavior any day of the week over a reform-minded harridan.

“What are you doing here, Miss Ruthven?” Gabe shoved his fingers into his gloves and scanned the streets for any sign of a cab. “Does your family know you spend your days fending off brutes in Whitechapel?”

“I’m not a child in need of a minder, Mr. Adamson. Kit and Sophia are aware of my charitable work.” She folded her arms over her chest and pursed her mouth. She’d make the worst sort of gambler. Her lying tells were far too obvious.

“But do they know where? This is hardly the place for a lady to spend her spare hours.”

She huffed at him and pivoted on her boot heel, not bothering to favor him with a reply.

He noted the mesmeric swish of her purple skirt and the wavy strands of gold hair escaping a messy bun at the back of her head. She spun to face him, catching his perusal. Heat infused his skin.

“Well? Don’t you wish to see how I pass my Saturday afternoon?”

From the first moment he’d set foot in Whitechapel, he’d wanted to depart. Yet he was curious to see the enterprise that brought a well-bred young lady to these streets.

A milling group of girls greeted them on the threshold, eyes wide, mouths agape.

“Shoulda landed him a facer,” one mumbled as he passed.

“All right, ladies. Mr. Keene has gone. I don’t think he’ll trouble us anymore.” Miss Ruthven clapped her hands together lightly. “Everyone back to your lessons.”

They scattered like dandelion fluff, floating off in different directions. Each girl seemed to know where she belonged, and they resumed their tasks swiftly.

“There are twenty girls here now,” Miss Ruthven informed him, her voice ringing with pride. “We hope to admit at least five more if we can convince the landlord to rent us every floor in the building.”

Gabe had been responsible for the welfare of his older sister for years. The notion of being responsible for twenty young women made his skin itch.

“Seems an enormous enterprise to take upon yourself.” The ragged school he’d attended as a child hadn’t provided lodgings, and only a handful of boys had been admitted.

“Oh, I don’t administer the school, nor did I start the enterprise. I was recruited as a volunteer and patron by one of my friends at college.” She turned and called over her shoulder. “Helen?”

A tall, spindly-limbed young woman stepped forward, assessing Gabe over the top of metal-rimmed glasses. “I heard Clary call you Mr. Adamson. Thank you for scaring Mr. Keene away. He’s a menace we’re glad to see the back of.” She offered him her hand in greeting.

“Welcome to Fisk Academy. As you can see, our young ladies keep busy here. Most attend for the day, though two are parentless and lodge at the school. They’re also the oldest and will be graduating soon. We’ll miss them.” She cast him a sad glance, as if expecting him to offer sympathy. “Oh goodness, I almost forgot to say, I’m Helen Fisk.” The lady spoke in a rapid-fire patter, as if she needed to impart as much information as quickly as she could. When she finally stopped, her breath whooshed out in a gust and color splotched her cheeks.

As he examined the schoolroom, he sensed her gaze on him. He turned back to find her watching him, as most women did. With a glint of interest in her pale green eyes.

Most women, that is, aside from Clarissa Ruthven.

“The school seems to be . . . thriving,” he said, attempting politeness, despite the chaos around him.

Unlike the dusty, unadorned rooms of the ragged school where he’d taken lessons as a child, Fisk Academy sported a riot of colors. There was far too much noise in the overcrowded room. Even the tables were oddly arranged, some pressed close together, others set apart, as if they’d been placed at students’ whims. Several girls bent over desks, but a cluster of others stood in a corner, working at canvases, applying seemingly random washes of paint. In another corner, three girls sat with their backs to him, carefully printing letters in cursive script. Another trio crouched at a low table with test tubes, a tiny gas burner, and a boiling liquid that smelled of metal and rotting sewage. They all chattered to each other as they worked.

He appreciated the efforts of Miss Ruthven, Miss Fisk, and other charitable ladies of their ilk. However, they desperately needed the input of someone with a sense of structure and efficiency to impose a bit of order.

“We ensure the girls are kept busy and challenged with a variety of tasks throughout the day.” Miss Fisk beamed beside him as she took in the disorganized mess. “I teach mathematics and composition. Miss Ruthven guides the girls in art.” She pointed merrily to the trio concocting God knew what over an open flame. “And sometimes chemistry.”

“Every lesson at once, apparently.” He cast her a dubious glance. “Why not one task at a time and then the next? In an orderly fashion.”

She frowned, and her glasses scooted up to meet the line of her brow. “Every student has her own unique aptitudes, Mr. Adamson. Not every task suits every girl.”

Gabe nearly choked on the chuckle tickling in his throat. Miss Fisk’s sincerity was almost as amusing as her naïveté.

He preferred to deal in reality, not fantasy.

“If you’ll excuse me, Miss Fisk, I have a prior engagement in the city.” He’d had enough. Of chaotic spaces. Of prim ladies and their charitable urges. Of rotting wood and the potent memories lurking around every corner.

Miss Fisk looked worried she might have caused offense, and Gabe sketched a gentlemanly bow to assuage her feelings. She managed a tight smile before he spun on his heel and headed for the door.

Being in Whitechapel again reminded him of how hard he’d worked to escape. To embrace a new life. One day he’d marry, have a home and business venture of his own. One day he’d forget the pit he’d dragged himself out of.

Halfway to the door, Clarissa Ruthven stopped him in his tracks. “I’m heading back too, Mr. Adamson. Shall we share a cab and save on fare?”

Her voice sent a strange shudder of awareness down his spine. She was, as the sister of his employer, a young lady he could not deny. Yet every instinct told him being near her would bring no end of trouble his way.

Turning back, he forced down the ire that came naturally and practiced the polite civility he’d spent years struggling to master.

“Very well, Miss Ruthven.” He lifted his arm as he’d been taught a gentleman should when escorting ladies. “Shall we set off?”

She raised her chin, eschewed his gesture, and swept past, as if determined to show him that a woman could and should lead the way.

About Christy Carlyle

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

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Book Nerds! Check out EMBRACING MAGICK by Debbie Cassidy! #KindleUnlimited

Something is here. Something otherworldly, something alien, and its intentions are far from amicable.

Families are going missing in the city, and investigative operative Carmella Hunter has been tasked to find them. With the public eye on her every move, Carmella must work against a ticking clock to locate the missing humans. When the evidence begins to point to an entirely alien and sinister plot, the government agency Carmella works for is forced to change strategy. Now Carmella and her friends must go undercover in the hopes of becoming the next victims. But will the kidnapper take the bait? And if he does, will Carmella and her friends make it out alive?

Escape into an urban fantasy world filled with adrenaline pumping action, pulse pounding romance, super hot djinn, and sexy dragon demi-gods.

About the Book

Embracing Magick
by Debbie Cassidy

Series
Witch Blood Chronicles #3

Genre
New Adult
Urban Fantasy

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 16, 2017

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About Debbie Cassidy

Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. Debbie also writes dark, diverse Urban Fantasy fiction, under the pen name Amos Cassidy, with her best friend Richard Amos.

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Book Nerds! Check out THE NEGOTIATOR by HelenKay Dimon! #ContemporaryRomance

Lauren Gallagher’s life changed almost three years ago. After her husband disappeared at sea, she was left with a failing pleasure boat company and more than a few secrets. Now, after years spent rebuilding the business and paying off the pile of debts, she finally feels in control. But when she finds her husband, actually dead, on the floor, she becomes the leading suspect in his murder investigation.

Garrett McGrath wants Lauren in his bed, not his heart. He doesn’t do emotions, but every time he sees her, holding himself back gets harder and harder. When Lauren comes under suspicion for killing her previously presumed-dead husband, he knows he has to help her, any way he can.

But as the danger becomes more intense and Garret and Lauren grow closer than either planned, they’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts.

About the Book

The Negotiator
by HelenKay Dimon

Series
A Games People Play Christmas Novella

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
November 14, 2017

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Excerpt

Chapter One

He rose from the dead.

Lauren Gallagher couldn’t come up with any other explanation. Her once-dead husband was very much alive and standing on the other side of her front door . . . and she felt nothing but numbness spreading inside her.

For a man who supposedly washed overboard in the middle of a violent storm, he looked pretty healthy. Big smile. Bright white teeth. Khaki pants and deck shoes. She’d forgotten how much she hated the deck shoes.

The wattage on his supersmile dimmed a bit as he shifted his weight from foot to foot and rubbed his hands up and down his arms. “Aren’t you going to let me in?”

Her mind went blank. The world flipped sideways on her and her stomach rolled. The whole time she could hear him talking but the words didn’t make sense. None of this made sense. She opened her mouth but nothing came out but a tiny gasping sound. That’s all she could muster as she blinked, trying to process what she was seeing.

“Lauren? Why are you just standing there? Open this door.”

An order. The sharp smack in his voice sounded far too familiar. That quickly it brought her crashing back to reality.

She really wanted to say no to his command. Not that she hadn’t mourned him. Even with the dysfunctional state of their faltering marriage at the time he disappeared, she had. She’d grieved for what could have been and the dreams that fizzled out early in their time together. She grieved for his loss as she would an old friend, not as a person she viewed as her soulmate, if there even was such a thing.

That was less than three years ago. The police had arrived and she’d dropped to her knees feeling sick and hollow at the idea of Carl gasping for breath as the water he loved so much overtook him.

Months had passed slowly after that. She’d been locked in a perpetual state of shock, topped off with a wallop of guilt because she’d visited a divorce attorney for the first time just before he disappeared. With him gone she’d found out about the lies. His hidden debts and how he’d taken their business to the brink of bankruptcy, all while showing her fake bank statements he’d manufactured. He’d gone to a lot of trouble to carry on the ruse of pretending their finances were fine.

And then things had gotten even worse. All those whispers about Maryanne, the girlfriend who seemed to be an open secret to everyone except Lauren. The one who, unlike Lauren, did not have any debts or an unpaid mortgage or a business on the verge of bankruptcy. Maryanne Lightwood, the same woman who’d mysteriously walked out on her rent and left town right as Carl’s boat disappeared.

Lauren prided herself on being practical. She was skeptical of coincidences and not stupid, so confusion had turned to fury in record time. As the cool December wind blew in the front door of the small cottage now, she realized the fury still simmered inside her.

She lived far enough from the water that the breeze wasn’t frigid, but it carried a bite. For the past few years early winter in Annapolis, Maryland, had meant an unwelcome amount of snow. This year had been mild. As someone who ran a pleasure boat and fishing tour business and depended on tourists, she thought she might get lucky this year and only have to survive a short off-season.

Apparently, her luck had just run out.

“Lauren, honey?” Carl pulled on the handle of the screen door. When it didn’t immediately open, he shook it, rattling it in the door frame. Still, it didn’t move.

She’d never been so grateful for her lock-the-door paranoia. He should be happy, too, because the thin screen might be all that was saving his sorry lying ass right now.

Under the numbness and shock lurked a layer of bubbling resentment and rage. She’d kept up the outward farce of being fine for so long that she’d started to believe it. Now the mask slipped. She wanted to throw open the door and pound on his chest and make him apologize for every wrong.

But Carl had never taken responsibility for anything in his life. Even now he had the nerve to stand there with a stupid look on his stupid face, as if she were the unreasonable one for not welcoming him home with a big hug. So, yeah, the door stayed closed for his protection because she knew once she unleashed her temper she would not stop.

“Hey, what is this?” Carl’s hand dropped to his side as he frowned at her through the mesh screen. “Honey, I’m back.”

Honey? What kind of man checked out of his life for almost three years and expected to step right back into it, no questions asked? It was as if he were empty inside, without a conscience. And he was so close to getting a kick in his junk.

“Yeah, I can see that.” She tried to swallow but couldn’t choke down the lump of anger racing up her throat. “Tell me, where have you’ve been?”

“Lauren, Jesus. It’s freezing out here. Let me in.” He pulled on the handle again as if he expected a different result than last time. The door made a thumping sound as it hit the frame. “What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it.”

He kept up that tone. Short, dismissive, demanding. The only time he hadn’t been obnoxious was during the years when she thought he was dead. Even then . . .

That’s all it took. Something inside her snapped and wave after wave of uncontrolled, boiling-hot rage raced through her. He wasn’t the only one who could throw his attitude and his I’m-done tone around. “Where the hell have you been, Carl? You don’t contact me at all and then you just stroll up to my door. You ripped my life, my work—my everything—apart and now act as if you’ve only been gone for an afternoon. What is wrong with you? What happened?”

“I was left for dead.” His surfer-boy good looks faded a bit as his eyes narrowed. “Thanks in part to you.” Wherever he’d been he must have forgotten how locks worked because he rattled the door one more time. “Now open this.”

He was blaming her. Of course he was. She was likely at fault for the fact his hair wasn’t the same sunny blond it once was and for the few wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. He was forty-one, having celebrated two birthdays while he was gone. She doubted he was taking the transition out of his thirties all that well.

She’d been thirty-three and inching very close to thirty-four when he went missing and even back then he’d mentioned “hip spread” more than once. Hers, of course. Not his. She’d expected him to battle aging as fiercely as he’d fought to be the only one in charge of handling the bills. Now she knew why . . . because he hadn’t bothered to actually pay any debt with her name on it.

“You disappeared.” Right there, in that moment, she kind of wished he’d do it again and had to push back the wave of guilt that came with that realization. She’d had no idea how much hate had festered inside her until he popped up again. The frowning, his ridiculous summer shoes in winter, that voice—it all worked on her nerves and it had been less than ten minutes.

“A wave hit the boat. It tipped and I went overboard.” He shrugged. “Are you satisfied now?”

Not even close. A hundred questions filled her head. “Who could be satisfied with that? What’s the rest of the story?”

His body language and easy dismissal of how his terrible choices impacted her life only made her more determined to understand what his days looked like during the last few years. Then maybe she’d let him in, but probably not.

He waved her off. “None of that matters now.”

“It does to me.” His short nonanswers ticked her off even more, and she wouldn’t have said that was possible. “I deserve an explanation. A real one. All of the facts, not just pieces.”

He leaned in closer as his jaw tightened. “I said later.”

Wariness surged through her. She wasn’t afraid. No, scared wasn’t the right word. Carl had never been violent, never raised a hand or threatened her. But near the end he’d been distant and that had turned into flashes of meanness. Snide comments about how he’d married a woman but got stuck with a fisherman. Sudden outbursts of blaming her for the fact that they weren’t making more money in the boating business.

So much confusion swirled around him and his stories and all that deception. She’d convinced herself he ran off with his girlfriend. Not that she ever admitted that to anyone or said the words out loud. No, there had been too much at risk.

To save her house and business she’d needed the life insurance and a final judgment from the court about Carl’s fate. A confirmation that he was legally dead. She had to pretend to believe it. It had taken her almost two years to persuade the court and wrestle the business and house away from the legal no-man’s-land it had wound up in when he disappeared. The life insurance company had refused to pay on the claim. That meant she’d had to salvage what she could with him gone.

Now he was back, and as much as she hated it, they needed to talk. She tried, even as her brain screamed for her to slam the door. “I think we should—”

“I can’t believe you’re being a pain in the ass.”

Her head snapped back at the fury lacing his voice. “Me?”

“Jake warned me you’d gone from grieving to stone cold in a matter of months.” Carl shook his head. “I didn’t believe it. Not after everything we’d been through.”

She lost the thread of the conversation as soon as Carl mentioned his brother. “Jake?”

“That’s where I’ll be. At his house.” Carl started to shift away from the door. “But get your act together and do it fast, Lauren. I plan on being in this house and back at work by Christmas.”

“That’s two weeks away.”

“I’ll be back tomorrow.” He made a face that suggested he was sick of her again already. “Be over your shock and ready to talk by then.”

Lauren watched Carl walk back down the path to the car parked on the street. She recognized the dark sedan. It belonged to Carl’s brother, which meant Carl had gone there first.

Her mind spun with questions about where he’d been and why he was back. She had no idea how he planned to explain and argue his way out of this . . . or why he thought he could walk back into her life now without any real explanation or sign of remorse.

A gust of cold air got her moving. She slammed the front door closed and rested her palm on it. Tried to breathe in, to think.

Her usual calm detachment abandoned her. Jumbled thoughts crashed into her brain. Panic rose in her chest, threatening to swamp her. Finding a lost husband should be a good thing. For her, it amounted to a nightmare. Everything was upside down and all she wanted was to right it again.

Help. She never asked anyone for help. Not ever. She’d learned long ago that needing someone, depending on them, led to heartache and disappointment. But Garrett McGrath’s face kept flashing in her mind. Sarcastic, charming, sinfully handsome Garrett. They’d met in the summer and he’d asked her out for two months. Hanging around, texting, insisting he’d wait for her to be ready to date again.

The guy had honed his tall-dark-and-smoldering look and for some reason he’d decided to aim it full force at her. Probably had something to do with the thrill of the chase. That was the only answer she could come up with. Because once he knew her, really knew her, he’d back off. Any sane person would.

But right now, as the walls closed in and she struggled to hold on to a coherent thought, all she could do was think of his face. The dark brown hair and those big green eyes. That firm chin . . . and his uncanny ability to solve complex problems while making a joke and without breaking a sweat.

She glanced around her cottage. It had a beachy vibe with weathered white beadboard walls and overstuffed blue furniture. It consisted of two small bedrooms, a bathroom and a joint living and eating area. Her refuge. The place she’d rented when she lost everything else. The same place Carl for some reason thought he had a right to live in.

She grabbed her cell off the couch and dialed the number Garrett had put in there when they first met. The phone rang and his deep voice came on the line. Voice mail.

She waited a few moments. Gave herself a bit of a pep talk and mentally insisted she could handle this, just like she handled everything else.

Instead of leaving a message she texted him. She tried to think of the right thing to say. She went with the only words that made sense to her . . . You were right. Carl is not dead.

 

 

Garrett stared at the text message. It had come in a half hour ago. He’d missed it while he was parking his car in the airport lot. His flight to San Francisco left in an hour. He would have enough time to maneuver his way through security, grab a coffee and get to the gate, and even that was pushing it. Now this.

He’d been trying to win Lauren’s trust for months. With Christmas coming and her refusing to commit to seeing him, Garrett had booked a last-minute flight to visit with the only family he had left. His aunt and cousin, Lotti. The goal was to see his aunt before she left on a cruise then annoy Lotti for a few days before taking off on his own. That was about all the family time he could muster for this holiday.

His parents had died in a car crash exactly one month after he turned nineteen. Christmas Eve almost twelve years ago. He’d been in college and orphaned in a matter of minutes. Too much alcohol had accompanied what many suspected was a fight that had started at his dad’s work party and continued into the car . . . and then they were gone.

The devastation had lingered for so much longer than Garrett had expected. He was an adult when it happened, or almost. He knew he’d grieve but he’d thought that would end and then he’d move on. Being alone wouldn’t matter because he wasn’t a kid. He would be fine. But his aunt had known better and explained that type of mourning was a forever process. She’d wrapped him in a blanket of love and given him an extended family, and his cousin had become the little sister he never had.

They were expecting him. He’d promised to come out for a week before the holidays and maybe again after. They didn’t want him to be alone on the anniversary of his parents’ death, but he’d long ago learned that he operated better on his own that day. Quiet and still, wondering what could have been if his father had just called a cab.

For once December had rolled around and he wasn’t thinking only of his parents. He hadn’t buried himself in work to battle back the memories. That had been the plan, but now he had Lauren’s text.

You were right. Carl is not dead.

The clipped sentences fit Lauren. She wasn’t the flowery type. She was practical and beautiful and smart. She never volunteered information, except to insist their more than five-year age difference mattered. When he refused to accept that as an excuse for not going out with him because it was ridiculous, she informed him that she was a mess and that he could do better.

If she’d said she wasn’t interested, he would have walked away disappointed, but he would have gone. Not having dinner because of some perceived failing she had about herself? That part he couldn’t agree to.

For the first time since he’d met Lauren, she needed him. He hated the idea of her being targeted by a con man ex, but he loved that he was the one she had on speed dial for anything.

Yeah, his family trip could wait. They’d understand because that’s what they did. They were bone-deep decent. They gave him room and reeled him in now and then when he failed to call often enough. Lotti would give him shit for picking a woman over them, so he decided to keep that information quiet for now. He’d call this a work problem. He could almost see Lotti rolling her eyes at that one.

He dialed his aunt as he turned around and headed back to his car. A shot of anxiety surged through him, making him speed up the pace with each step. He had the sudden need to race to Annapolis.

Carl Gallagher’s being alive made Garrett want to kill him.

About Helenkay Dimon

HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a…divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin, Samhain and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College.

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Book Nerds! Check out HEAD COACH by Lia Riley! PLUS a GIVEAWAY!

Neve Angel’s life is all work and no play, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.  One of Denver’s top sports reporters, she’s fought hard to make it in a male-dominated world, and she won’t back down from a fight with anyone–not even the Hellions’ gruff head coach, Tor Gunnar. Her hostile relationship with the icy Scandinavian is the stuff of local legend.

Tor Gunnar hates dealing with the media; at best, they are a nuisance and at worst, a distraction. And no one distracts him more than the scrappy, sexy reporter who gets him hot under the collar. When he wins a not-so-friendly bet with Neve, he decides it’s high time they either kiss or kill each other, and invites her as a date to an out-of-town wedding.

But what happens when enemies become lovers? Will they be able to smother their sizzling attraction, or is it time to start playing for keeps?

About the Book

Head Coach
by Lia Riley

Series
Hellions Angels

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
November 21, 2017

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Excerpt

Chapter One

Stuck in a Rut?

The billboard’s tacky font splashed across the image of a blonde woman dressed in a corset, high-waist underpants and garter belt. Neve Angel scowled through her windshield at the rest of the tagline.

Shimmy into a Whole New You!

BEGINNER Burlesque Classes at The Twirling Tassels

“Humph.” Neve tucked an escaped strand of hair back into her bun. Ms. Blondie could pop an egg in her perfect pout and suck it. Since quitting figure skating at the age of eighteen, she had developed an allergy to glitz and glamor, favoring low-key personal grooming.

Fake lashes were out.

Foundation contouring? Negative.

Waxing? Please. She wasn’t a masochist.

These days the word pragmatic carried far more value for her than pretty, thanks very much. Flicking on the radio, she relaxed her shoulders as a familiar guitar riff filled her ’78 wood-paneled Jeep Wagoneer. She had an unabashed love for classic cars and classic rock, and Tom Cochrane was a guy who knew his stuff. Life was a highway, except forget the part about driving it “all night long.”

Or driving anywhere for that matter. Satan would ice-skate through hell before this insane gridlock budged.

A silver Prius inched forward until it practically dry-humped her bumper.

Meep! The driver leaned on a wimpy-sounding horn.

Honking under these conditions was a ballsy move, akin to sitting in the last row of an airplane and standing when the cabin crew disarmed the doors—a good way to tempt ordinary citizens to commit murder.

The driver beeped again.

“Use your eyes. There’s nowhere for me to go!” Neve glanced to the rearview mirror and gazed at the distinctive red cursive on the Prius’s license plate.

A California driver. Surprise, surprise. She’d bet the loose change in the bottom of her purse that this chick was a Bay Area transplant, relocating her traffic problems to Denver along with skyrocketing home prices. The whole West was getting Californicated, from Nevada to Montana, Texas to Colorado.

The horn beeped a third time. She fisted her insulated travel mug and then took a careful sip. Madam Prius better thank her astrological chart that Neve had hot coffee within arm’s reach because otherwise things could get ugly.

A minute passed.

Two.

Blessed silence reigned.

After blowing up her bangs, she pulled an everything bagel from the flimsy paper bag on the dashboard, cramming it into her mouth. In a parallel universe, Alter-Neve woke with ample time to prepare a nutritious breakfast, perhaps an acai bowl topped by sliced bananas and kiwi fruit or Greek yogurt and granola, Instagram-worthy concoctions bursting with enough omegas and fiber to make any Prius driver water their home herb garden with organic tears.

But in this world, Einstein Bros. and a dark roast had to do the job.

She brushed stray poppy seeds and flecks of dried garlic off her charcoal pants with a muffled sigh. Charcoal, i.e., dark grey . . . not black. Her somber closet palette might be as cheerful as a funeral home, but it never required expending mental energy at seven a.m. trying to coordinate funky colors or mix and match patterns.

From her roadside perch, the burlesque model appeared amused, as if she knew Neve ate the same humdrum breakfast day in, day out and dressed in the same humdrum wardrobe. Or that while she might have an impressive LinkedIn profile, that didn’t translate to a social life worth posting over.

Neve poked out her tongue at the model’s image. This low-maintenance duckling had grown up to be . . . if not a preening swan, a confident duck.

She had a good—scratch that, great—career as a sports columnist for the Denver Age covering the hockey beat, and her life was too consumed by deadlines to bother with extra fuss. Work was the priority, and as for her biological clock . . . well, it could keep right on ticking. She had another baby to grow, her side hustle, a podcast—Sports Heaven—that kept climbing iTunes rankings; she had even been featured in their New and Noteworthy section last month.

Rut-shmut. By any measure, Neve was doing great in her career and living her best life. Except her smirk faded as she glanced to the console clock. She’d risk missing the puck drop if traffic didn’t improve soon.

Hopefully, the Hellions would get a much-needed win tonight. After their recent back-to-back championships, it appeared the team’s days in the sun had fallen into one serious shadow. The roster had been shaken ever since the unexpected retirement of captain Jed West last summer. This season had started as a big disappointment for Denver fans, and worse, whispers of NHL labor disputes were gaining traction. For the past few weeks, trusted sources had even uttered the dreaded term lockout—a word that kept her up at night restless and fretting.

Fingers—and toes—crossed that the powers that be would navigate through the negotiations and get the league back on track. During the 04–05 lockout, the whole season was cancelled—the worst possible outcome. Stadiums sat empty. Fans grumbled. Refs and arena workers forwent paychecks.

She shuddered, mentally elbowing away the terrible idea. Hopefully this time around, cooler heads would prevail.

And as for the Hellions, there was another place where cooler heads needed to prevail. Maybe if their goalie would practice a little Zen meditation and quit getting players sent to the penalty box every damn ga—

Meep! Meeeeeeeeep! Madam Prius hit the horn as if she’d face-planted on the steering wheel and died.

Tension migrated from Neve’s neck, making the slow climb to her temples. The first throbs of a headache emerged. Between lockout worries and this racket, she might spontaneously combust. To release steam, she rolled down the window and flipped the Prius the bird before grabbing her phone off the passenger seat.

Ignoring the new—and so far unlistened-to—mindfulness podcast her friend Margot had recommended, she clicked on Byways, the popular navigation app that relied on community-sourced traffic updates to create the fastest routes. It needed to get her moving before she found herself arrested for disorderly conduct.

She plugged in the Hellions stadium address and an avatar of a pitchfork blinked from a quarter mile ahead. Her tummy performed a flawless triple-axel jump.

Rovhal30.

She took a deep breath and issued herself a stern reminder. There had never been any official confirmation that Rovhal30 was even male, but in her mind, he was six feet of strapping sexiness, lounging behind the wheel of a black Subaru Outback—a ginger-haired Ewan McGregor doppelgänger. Not Trainspotting Ewan either. Not even Moulin Rouge! Ewan. No . . . straight-up Obi-Wan Kenobi Attack of the Clones Ewan, with the shaggy hair and delicious beard.

One thing was for certain, the pitchfork avatar meant that Rovhal30 was a Hellions hockey fan.

Or a devil worshiper who lives in his mom’s basement hand-feeding his pet bull pythons.

The pitchfork didn’t budge. Rovhal30 was stuck in this traffic too. She sucked in her lower lip, debating: To message or not to message? That was the question.

No point glancing to Burlesque Blondie for advice. The model would just shimmy her tassels in a “you go, guuuurl” affirmation.

Eenie, meanie, miny . . . ugh. Fine. She was doing this.

Tour Wide Giveaway

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Three winners will receive an ebook copy of Mister Hockey.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 12/1/2017 @ 1159pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Lia Riley

After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

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Book Nerds! Check out ONLY YOU by Tmonique Stephens! PLUS, a giveaway!

Banned from Heaven. Escaped from Hell. They are UnHallowed.

As the looming battle between the demon hordes and the UnHallowed intensifies, so does Amaya’s feelings for Bane. She wasn’t supposed to fall in love with an UnHallowed, but the attraction is undeniable…as is the danger. Good thing he keeps pushing her away, underestimating her at every turn, which fuels her resolve and strengthens her to do what she must—save the world.

The world be damned. For millennia, Bane’s one purpose was to reclaim his grace and his place in the Celestial Army. Then he met Amaya. Created for one purpose, she is the key to defeating their enemies, but the cost is too great if it places her life in danger. He will do whatever is necessary to protect her, because nothing else matters.

Time is closing in. The balance of power is shifting. Amaya and Bane can either unleash their spiraling passions and fortify their bond, or lead themselves and all the UnHallowed to utter destruction.

About the Series

Only You
by Tmonique Stephens

Series
Unhallowed # 2.0

Genre
Adult
Paranormal Romance
Urban Fantasy

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 20, 2017

  

The UnHallowed Series

    

Giveaway!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About Tmonique Stephens

I wrote my first novel about a reporter and a hockey player after the U.S. hockey team won gold in the 1980 Olympics. I love writing flawed characters who reflect the emotional baggage we all carry. I write complicated stories for complicated people. Paranormal romances and fantasy novels are my favorite genre. I’ll read anything about fairies, demons, or angels, but I also enjoy Stephen King and Preston and Childs.

I’m hooked on Lucifer, The Backlist, The Strain, Vikings, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and BlindSpot. I can’t get enough of these shows!

I was born in St. Thomas USVI, but grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. I love SyFy, the History channels, and Asian cuisine. But my heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean.

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Book Nerds! Check out ASHES OF A SINNER by S.L. Hebert!

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Homicide Detective Logan St. Martin buries herself in her work during the day, and finds herself trying to drink her haunted past away at night. But when a series of horrific murders rocks her small town deep in the bayous of Louisiana, she finds herself on a on a path of discovery into a sadistic killer’s mind.

Their beauty was in the ashes, and they all died alone.

Repentance was the killer’s way, and damnation became his weapon. Detective St. Martin and her partner, Detective Grasso, are in pursuit of a twisted soul who is leaving bodies in his wake. It’s a race against time when Logan realizes the killer has turned his sights on her.

Everything changes when you are the one being hunted.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ashes of a Sinner
by S.L. Hebert

Series
The Case Files of Logan St. Martin #1

Genre
Adult
Murder Mystery
Suspense/Thriller

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 16, 2017

  

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EXCERPT

Chapter Eleven

The Sinner

Monday Dooms Day

As I sit stone cold in silence watching the local news, I feel the rage building inside me. Never did I think that he would take her away from me. I was saving her. She wasn’t beyond redemption. I just needed a little longer for her to see the error of her ways. Suddenly, I’m unable to control the tears now falling down my face, feeling the overwhelming need to get out and get some fresh air. But where? Where can I go? I can’t afford for anyone to see me in this condition.

As I find myself pacing the floor, I think back to how this all got started, remembering that she was trying to leave me. I thought she loved me. Why would she want to sin and take off? She had lost her way, and I was trying to help her find it. Now I realize I’d had her. She had not yet repented, but I still had her. It was you, Lord! It was you who took her away from me, damn you!

Feeling my knees buckling me, I fall to the floor, unable to stop the ranting that flows out of my mouth.

“Lord, I fall upon my knees, begging for some understanding. Why? Why are you punishing me? I just needed a little more time, Lord. She would have repented for her sins. I was doing your will, Lord. I could have made her see the light.

“Answer me! I have spent my entire life living by the Word, God. Your words! I followed your commandments, casting aside the laws of the flesh, and still you snuffed her out from under me, not even allowing her soul to be saved. Damning her into eternal hell!  I’m begging for a sign! It’s as though you have turned your back on me.

“I’ll never understand your need to take my angel from me. She was a lost soul in this world—a world that we have walked all alone.  It was supposed to be me! I was supposed to go first. I am the one who has always endured all the pain and hurt. You are not a merciful god. You are cruel and heartless, no different than any human. I know now the liar you really are, and the man I really am. I will no longer walk this earth blinded by your lies.”

*

Tuesday Day of Reckoning

As I find myself still lying on the cold floor from last night, I feel alone. Never have I felt so empty. Pulling myself up onto my knees, the tears begin to fall again. God has left me alone. I try to pray, but the words just won’t come out. The anger I feel is too much to hold in. The vivid images of my dark dreams start to surface. Knowing now that it’s time to let go, to release myself from the life I once knew. I start beating on my flesh with my bare hands. Every slap across my face, and every scratch down my chest relinquishes a sensation—the feeling of power and release of all the pain.

“I’m constantly reminded of your sin, Lord. The one that can’t be undone, do you hear me? I’m talking to you! Where are you? I was doing your work, thinking you would guide me through. I don’t understand, are you not proud of me as a man? I committed the greatest sacrifice. That should’ve left you with no doubt. I was your faithful servant, always living without.

“The demons are calling me, Lord. They keep saying, ‘Let us bring you home.’ There’s no turning back. I’m ready for this fight. The devil’s pulling me by the strings into the darkness of night. I’ll no longer kneel before you because you’re no longer my Holy Savior. You are just a man.

“I will rise from these ashes that are now made of stone and go down a path I know to be my own. Let the pain and destruction now speak for themselves. No self-proclamations are needed, for my pain will be felt. I will not promise to make it through the Valley of Death, Lord, for you are now breathing on dry bones. The beauty is now in their ashes, and they will die alone.

“The demons are calling for me, Lord. I now have to go. Don’t try to find me, for I no longer have a soul. The dark man has come. He says I am free, and that all the power now belongs to me.”

ABOUT S.L. HEBERT

S.L. Hebert was raised in the heart of Cajun Country, in South Louisiana. She was brought up appreciating family, the outdoors, and a great cup of coffee. She is a dedicated wife and mother of two. Having been an All-American athlete in her youth, she often volunteers to coach her two children’s baseball, softball, and volleyball teams.

In the last year, she’s discovered a passion for writing. Drawing on her military and law enforcement background, she takes her readers on a thrilling journey of mystery, suspense, and even a little romance. She has the gift of leaving them always wanting more.

 

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Book Nerds! Check out THE SCOT’S SECRET by Cecelia Mecca! #KindleUnlimited #HistoricalRomance

A clan’s greatest warrior. An Englishwoman in disguise.

Can their love survive her secret?

The Scot

When his brother foists an English squire upon him, Alex Kerr is completely disinterested in training the lad—until he discovers that his new recruit is not a lad at all. “Alfred” is a beautiful Englishwoman in disguise, hiding a horrible secret. Determined to uncover the truth about Clara’s past, Alex agrees to take her with him on a journey across the Scottish border into England. Passion flares between them, but as Alex gets closer and closer to discovering Clara’s secret, their future seems ever more uncertain.

The Secret

For six years, Lady Clara has lived as “Alfred”—a squire who talks little and trusts no one. But everything changes when she agrees to squire for Alex Kerr. Her feelings for him are far from those of master and apprentice. He makes her long to leave her disguise behind. . . except to do so is to risk the lives of everyone she cares about. Will her secret doom the unlikely pair before they have a chance at love?

 

About the Book

The Scot’s Secret
by Cecelia Mecca

Series
Border Series #4

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 14, 2017

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About Cecelia Mecca

Cecelia Mecca is the author of medieval romance including the Border Series.

Born and raised in Northeast, Pennsylvania, Cecelia spent fifteen years as an 8th grade ELA teacher and currently works as a curriculum specialist by day, small business owner by night and romance author when most people are sleeping. She has always loved both romance and all things medieval, so when introduced to the likes of Kathleen Woodiwiss and Jude Devereux, it was the start of a 20+ year love affair.

Although she began a manuscript in college, it would be a degree in Education/English, two children, a PhD in Curriculum, two jobs and a marketing business later before she resumed the story which became The Thief’s Countess. The Border Series is a labor of love which she’s excited to share with historical romance readers.

An unapologetic fantasy geek, she discovered Frodo in middle school and is still awed by Tolkien’s talent. When not reading romance she is learning the fate of Rand al’Thor and waiting anxiously for Winds of Winter. On a typical day, Cecelia is immersed either in the world of Waryn (Border Series) or is scoping out the next epic historical on Netflix.

 

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Book Nerds! Check out this excerpt for HOLIDAY WISHES by Jill Shalvis!

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

About the Book

Holiday Wishes
by Jill Shalvis

Series
Heartbreaker Bay

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
November 7, 2017

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Excerpt

At the empathetic tone in Sean’s voice, Lotti’s heart and stomach and head all clenched in unison. “What do you mean you can’t give me what I want?” she asked. “All you have to do is walk away.”
“Tried that already,” he said. “And it was the biggest mistake of my life.” He brought her hand up to his mouth and met her gaze over their entwined hands.
He was looking at her like . . . well, she wasn’t sure what was going on in his head, but her thoughts were racing along with her pulse.
“You’re incredible, Lotti. I hope you know that.” Very slowly, clearly giving her time to object, he pulled her into him.
Her breath caught at the connection and his eyes heated in response as he slid a hand up her spine and then back down again, pressing her in tight to him from chest to thighs and everywhere in between. His nose was cold at the crook of her neck, but his breath was warm against her skin. She felt his lips press against the sensitive spot just behind her ear and she shivered. “You’re trembling,” he said, his voice low. “Are you cold?”
“No,” she whispered. Try the opposite of cold . . .
“Nervous?”
“No.” Not even close. The way his mouth moved across her skin was making her warm all over. Not that she could articulate that with his body pressed to hers and his fingers dancing over her skin. She was literally quivering as the memories of what it felt like to be touched by him washed over her, as if no time at all had gone by.
Yes, she’d let him think that their time together had sucked for her. But it hadn’t. Not even close. That long-ago night he’d evoked feelings and a hunger in her that she’d never forgotten. “I’ve just had a long day,” she said.
“I know. I’m going to make it better.” He pressed a kiss at the juncture of her jaw and ear before he made his way to her lips for a slow, hot kiss, his mouth both familiar and yet somehow brand-new. She was so far gone that when he pulled back she protested with a moan, but he held her tight, staring down at her with heated eyes. “Just checking,” he murmured.
“Checking what?”
“That you want this as badly as I do.”

 

About Jill Shalvis

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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Book Nerds! Check out GRAPHIC NOVELTIES by M. Sembera! Just $0.99!

Mabelle Maxwell is a sarcastic introvert who is focused on making a name for herself in her beloved comic book community.

Nolan Cross is a headstrong country boy who insists the only thing he needs in life is to work his very own piece of land.

When a mutually beneficial arrangement presents itself, neither can resist, even if it means temporarily living under the same roof.

Mabelle knows better than to fall for a smooth talking cowboy.

Nolan has never been one to back down from a challenge.

In the small southern town of Wild Peach, country is more than just a state of mind. It’s a way of life and sometimes, listening to your heart can turn everything inside out.

About the Book

Graphic Novelties
by M. Sembera

Series
Inside Out Novella

Genre
New Adult
Contemporary Romance
Romantic Comedy

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
November 7, 2017

Available Now For Just $0.99!
Amazon  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble

 

About M. Sembera

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I now live in Brazoria, Texas with My Husband, Three Kids, Three Dogs and Two Cats. I wrote my first short story when I was in high school and instantly fell in love with writing. However, life sometimes gets in the way of aspirations and it wasn’t until years later, when my life calmed down, I was able to start writing again.

For me, each new book I write or character I create feels like the first time and I find myself falling in love with writing all over again.

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Book Nerds! Check out RIDE WILD by Laura Kaye & Enter to Win a Raven Riders Paperback Set!

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders…

Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.

Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.

Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.

About the Book

Ride Wild
by Laura Kaye

Series
Raven Riders #3

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Romance

Publication Date
October 31, 2017

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TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY!

About Laura Kaye

Laura Kaye is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary romance and romantic suspense with over a million books sold. Her Hard Ink series novel, Hard As You Can, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Romance Suspense of 2014. Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. A former college history professor, Laura also writes bestselling historical women’s fiction as Laura Kamoie. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day. Learn more at LauraKayeAuthor.com

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Book Nerds! Check out HOLIDAY WISHES by Jill Shalvis! Coming Tomorrow!

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

About the Book

Holiday Wishes
by Jill Shalvis

Series
Heartbreaker Bay

Genre
Adult
Contemporary Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
November 7, 2017

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Holiday Wishes Excerpt

At the empathetic tone in Sean’s voice, Lotti’s heart and stomach and head all clenched in unison. “What do you mean you can’t give me what I want?” she asked. “All you have to do is walk away.”

“Tried that already,” he said. “And it was the biggest mistake of my life.” He brought her hand up to his mouth and met her gaze over their entwined hands.

He was looking at her like . . . well, she wasn’t sure what was going on in his head, but her thoughts were racing along with her pulse.

“You’re incredible, Lotti. I hope you know that.” Very slowly, clearly giving her time to object, he pulled her into him.

Her breath caught at the connection and his eyes heated in response as he slid a hand up her spine and then back down again, pressing her in tight to him from chest to thighs and everywhere in between. His nose was cold at the crook of her neck, but his breath was warm against her skin. She felt his lips press against the sensitive spot just behind her ear and she shivered. “You’re trembling,” he said, his voice low. “Are you cold?”

“No,” she whispered. Try the opposite of cold . . .

“Nervous?”

“No.” Not even close. The way his mouth moved across her skin was making her warm all over. Not that she could articulate that with his body pressed to hers and his fingers dancing over her skin. She was literally quivering as the memories of what it felt like to be touched by him washed over her, as if no time at all had gone by.

Yes, she’d let him think that their time together had sucked for her. But it hadn’t. Not even close. That long-ago night he’d evoked feelings and a hunger in her that she’d never forgotten. “I’ve just had a long day,” she said.

“I know. I’m going to make it better.” He pressed a kiss at the juncture of her jaw and ear before he made his way to her lips for a slow, hot kiss, his mouth both familiar and yet somehow brand-new. She was so far gone that when he pulled back she protested with a moan, but he held her tight, staring down at her with heated eyes. “Just checking,” he murmured.

“Checking what?”

“That you want this as badly as I do.”

About Jill Shalvis

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Author Links

website facebook twitter goodreads Amazon icon

 

 

 

 

 

This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality PR.
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