Tag: Excerpts

Sunday Spotlight: Rafael by Laurell K. Hamilton

Posted February 7, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Rafael by Laurell K. HamiltonRafael by Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake #28
Also in this series: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, The Killing Dance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 272
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Series Rating: four-stars

Rafael, king of the wererats, must fight to the death to defend his crown. He wants Anita Blake, one of his closest allies, with him as he faces an opponent unlike any he’s faced before. He will ask Anita to risk everything to be at his side.…

But some of the wererats fear that Rafael depends too much on Anita and her ties to the vampires. They believe that there is only room in America for one supernatural king, and Rafael will turn them into nothing more than food for the bloodsuckers.

Among his enemies, a new challenger has arisen who is younger, hungrier, and has dark secrets that could destroy both the wererats and the vampires. Rafael will go into the magical heart of his people to find the power and violence that he needs to save them all or die trying.

Excerpt

Excerpt from RAFAEL by Laurell K. Hamilton.

I’d killed the Mother of All Darkness by absorbing her essence while she tried to take over my body and use it for herself. It had been sort of the immovable object meeting the unstoppable force, and most people had been betting on her. She had been the very first vampire, maybe, so old that her original body had been lost and the last body she’d had had been one that she’d successfully possessed. That body had been blown up by a group of mercenaries hired to assassinate her, but all they’d done was destroy the body that had been trapped for a thousand years. They had freed her from her prison to wander like a nightmare to try and find a new body. She’d wanted mine.

Rafael stroked my hair and murmured, “She is dead and gone, Anita. You do not need to fear her.”

I moved out of the circle of his arms. “You never had her try to take over your dreams, or your body.”

“You are quite right,” he said; his face was closed down, reasonable, and blank, hiding what he was feeling and thinking.

“I feel like I should apologize to you, but I don’t know what for,” I said.

He gave a very small smile, but it left his eyes sad. “If I were truly a gentleman we would shower separately and I would prepare for tonight’s battle, but I want to be with you too much to play such games.”

“I want you, too, Rafael,” I said, because that’s what you’re supposed to say when someone declares that kind of attraction. It’s like when someone says I love you; you’re supposed to say it back if it’s even remotely true, unless you’re willing to have that most awkward of modern dating talks, the one where you try to explain that it’s not about love.

“I can only take your words at face value, search your face to see if it matches them, because I cannot read your mind, feel your emotions.”

“You can smell my emotions on my skin, all shapeshifters can,” I said.

“In this moment I know you are not feeling lust, because you are right, I would smell it on you.”

I fought not to look embarrassed or even uncomfortable. I looked at the floor and then forced myself to look up and meet his gaze. “I can’t smell your emotions, but I can read your face and you’re not feeling very lustful either.”

“I cannot disagree, and if this were any other day I would let you go to shower in the room where you shower with your other men, or perhaps that huge bathtub that Jean-Claude has in his rooms, but it is not any other day. I want you as a man wants a woman, but I also want you to feed the ardeur on me.”

“Won’t that weaken you for the fight tonight?”

“If you fed off only me, perhaps, but you will feed off the strength of all who call me king. If it is to be the last time, I want you to take as much power from us as possible for Jean-Claude to share among your people.”

I touched his arm, studying his face trying to read him. “I asked if you thought you would win tonight, and you said yes. Am I missing something? Am I not asking the right questions?”

“He is me thirty years ago, Anita. He has less to lose and more to gain. I have far more to lose and nothing to gain except his death, which I do not want. I think he believes that you will enslave us all, you and Jean-Claude. He is righteous in his goal to tear me from the throne. I am defending what is mine and I am decades too late for that righteous surety of youth.”

“I don’t understand what that means.”

He smiled down at me, putting his bigger hand along the side of my face so that I could rub my face in against the weight and warmth of his hand. “Of course, you don’t, you still have that righteous surety.”

I moved away from his hand, frowning. “Not as much as I used to have.”

“You are starting to grow into the next stage of your life, Anita. Your job as a vampire executioner and now as a marshal has aged your attitude faster. Hector knows nothing but his clan. He has risen as high as he can within the local clan, so he sets his sight on the highest seat among my kind.”

“You said he’s you thirty years ago.”

“Very much so.”

“So how old is he?”

“Are you asking how old I am?”

I stared up at his raven-black hair, the unlined face. If I hadn’t looked into the wisdom and patience in his eyes, I’d have put him at no more than thirty, but his eyes gave it away almost like some of the vampires did. They were ageless, but their eyes could show an echo of the great weight of all those years, as if there were ways to grow old that had nothing to do with the body.

From RAFAEL published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Laurell K. Hamilton.

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

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Sunday Spotlight: February 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Laurell K. Hamilton

Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American multi-genre writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry.

Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her New York Times-bestselling Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.

Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.

Laurell was born in rural Arkansas but grew up in northern Indiana with her grandmother. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion College (now called Indiana Wesleyan University).


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Sunday Spotlight: A Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan

Posted November 8, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: A Reunion of Rivals by Reese RyanA Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan
Series: The Bourbon Brothers #4
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: June 11, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 173
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Sparks in the boardroom

and the bedroom…

She can’t let anything derail her passion project,

Not even a second chance with the sexiest man alive…

The deal that could bring Quinn Bazemore’s career back from the brink has one catch: she must partner up with her ex-lover Max Abbott. Quinn can’t forget the pleasure-filled summer they shared. But now she’s butting heads over business strategy with the mouthwatering marketing VP, even as their reawakened desire threatens to expose her deepest secrets…

Excerpt

Excerpt, A REUNION OF RIVALS by Reese Ryan

“Morning, Max.” A wide smile spread across Dixon Bazemore’s face as they both rose to their feet and shook hands. The old man had been the owner of Bazemore Orchards longer than Max had been alive. “Good to see you, young man.”

“You, too, Mr. B.” Molly’s instincts about the reason for the meeting had been right. Why else would Dixon Bazemore be here? Still, he asked, “What brings you to see us today?”

“We’ll go over everything during the meeting,” Max’s father interjected. “We’re waiting for one more person.”

Max glanced around the table. All of the members of the executive committee were present. His grand-father and father. His brothers Blake and Parker, the operations VP and CFO, respectively. Blake’s wife, Savannah—the company’s events manager. Zora, him and his father’s admin, Lianna, who was there to take notes.

“Who are we—”

“I’m sorry. I got a little turned around finding my way back here from the parking lot. But I’ve got your portfolio, Grandad.”

Max snapped his attention in the direction of the familiar voice. He hadn’t heard it in more than a dcade, but he would never, ever forget it. His mouth went dry, and his heart thudded so loudly he was sure his sister could hear it.

“Peaches?” He scanned the brown eyes that stared back at him through narrowed slits.

“Quinn.” She was gorgeous, despite the slightly irritated flare of her nostrils and the stiff smile that barely revealed her dimples.

“Hello, Max.”

The good to see you was notably absent. But what should he expect? It was his fault they hadn’t parted on the best of terms.
Quinn settled into the empty seat beside her grandfather. She handed the old man a worn leather portfolio, then squeezed his arm. The genuine smile that lit her brown eyes and activated those killer dimples was firmly in place again.

Max had been the cause of that magnificent smile nearly every day that summer between his junior and senior years of college when he’d interned at Bazemore Orchards.

The Bourbon Brothers

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: November 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Reese Ryan

Reese Ryan Author Photo

Reese Ryan is the author of eight published works of romantic fiction, with five more hitting shelves in 2018. Her stories feature complex, deliciously-flawed characters. She presents her characters with family and career drama, challenging love interests, and life-changing secrets while treating readers to an emotional love story with unexpected twists.

Past president of her local Romance Writers of America chapter and a panelist at the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Reese is an advocate for the romance genre and diversity in fiction.


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Sunday Spotlight: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted May 31, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 0 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I seriously love this series and I really, really love this book. We’re all reading this series right now and loving it so we’re flooding the blog with lots of Kate Daniels content and this week’s Sunday Spotlight features just one of the many reasons I love this series. Kate and Curran have amazing chemistry and they’re such a kick ass couple right now but man did I enjoy them together even before they started dating. Gah, this short excerpt from Magic Strikes showcases the kind of humor between them that I freaking love.

If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it. Start at book 1, obviously, but don’t worry by the time book 3 rolls around, you’ll be hooked!

Sunday Spotlight: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsMagic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
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Series Rating: four-half-stars

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community…

Excerpt

“As he passed me, he leaned to Curran and handed him a paper fan folded from some sort of flyer.

Curran looked at the fan. “What?”

“An emergency precaution, Your Majesty. In case the lady faints.”

Curran just stared at him.

Raphael strode toward the Pit, turned, flexed a bit, and winked at me.

“Give me that,” I told Curran. “I need to fan myself.”

“No, you don’t.”

Kate Daniels

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: May 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Ilona Andrews

“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

They have co-authored four NYT and USAT bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels, rustic fantasy of the Edge, paranormal romance of Hidden Legacy, and Innkeeper Chronicles, which they post as a free weekly serial. For complete list of their books, fun extras, and Innkeeper installments, please visit their website at Ilona-andrews.com.


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Sunday Spotlight: Sure Shot by Sarina Bowen

Posted May 17, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Another Brooklyn Bruiser book? Yes, please! I really like that Bowen has connected her True North and Brooklyn Bruisers series. In this book, we’re getting Dave Berringer from Bountiful’s sister’s book and she falls in love with a Brooklyn Bruiser so yippy skippy, I can’t wait to read this one! I’m super stoked to be featuring an excerpt from this book for this weeks Sunday Spotlight. Check it out.

Sunday Spotlight: Sure Shot by Sarina BowenSure Shot by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #9
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter , Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Brooklynaire, Rookie Move, Overnight Sensation, Superfan , Superfan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 307
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

A new stand-alone hockey romance from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, sports agent Bess Beringer is ready to make some changes. Armed with a five-year plan—indexed and color coded—she’ll tackle her personal life with the same zeal that she brings to her successful agency.

A big, tall, ripped hunk of hockey player who’s just been traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers is not a part of that plan. Mark “Tank” Tankiewicz has a lot of baggage. He’s a ride-or-die loner with a bad reputation. He’s on the rebound. He’s also the sexiest thing on two legs, and for some crazy reason it’s Bess that he wants.

She knows better. But then she falls stupid in love with him anyway. And for a while it seems like maybe he’ll do the same.

Until she asks him for the one thing he can never give her…

Excerpt

“Hey, Rebecca!” another player says, grabbing the owner’s attention. He’s not just any player. Eric Bayer is one of the veterans I was meant to replace. Bayer is only a year or two older than I am, but he retired last season after one too many knee surgeries. “Did you happen to see… Oh, there it is!” Eric Bayer reaches under the caterer’s table and emerges with a tote bag. It’s covered in bright pink bunny rabbits. He pulls a baby’s bottle out of the sack and begins to shake it. “Just in time,” he says.

I search my brain, trying to remember if I ever met his wife. But I come up blank. I thought he was single.

“Do you need to heat that up?” Becca offers.

“Nope. The little miss likes it cool or warm or any temperature at all.” He pops the protective top off. “Here she comes now.”

I glance toward the half flight of stairs to the house, and my heart fails. Because it’s Bess who’s carrying a chubby little baby girl out into the yard. The baby is propped snugly on her hip and clutches a lock of Bess’s striking red hair in her tiny hand.

Bess is too distracted by the baby to look at me, which is a good thing because I know there’s shock written all over my face.

“Wow, Rookie,” she says to Eric. “That’s a very manly diaper bag you have there.”

“You shut up,” he says with a smile. “Thanks for the free babysitting.”

“Who says it was free?” Bess asks, handing the baby over.

That’s when I remember to breathe. Because Bess isn’t Eric’s wife, and that’s not her baby. Not that I should care. It doesn’t have a thing to do with me.

What the heck is wrong with me? Back in the day, Bess and I weren’t even serious. We had a wonderful, physical fling.

Before she broke it off, without telling me why.

Brooklyn Bruisers

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: May 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestseller's list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.

Sarina Bowen is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.

Sarina's books are published in a dozen languages on four continents. In 2016, The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with a RITA award for Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.


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Sunday Spotlight: (im)Perfectly Happy by Sharina Harris

Posted April 26, 2020 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sharina Harris contacted us a couple of months ago and brought her book to my attention. After reading through her email and then checking out her book, I knew that I was going to read it. I’m a big fan of books that feature a strong set of female friendships and (im)Perfectly Happy looks like it fit the bill. This book comes out on Tuesday so you don’t have a long wait but check out an excerpt from the book.

Sunday Spotlight: (im)Perfectly Happy by Sharina HarrisImperfectly Happy by Sharina Harris
Publisher: Davina
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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When four college friends formed the Brown Sugarettes Mastermind Group, they had very different goals--but matched each other in ambition. Yet ten years later they can't help wondering what happened to the hopeful, confident, driven women they used to be--and how to get them back . . .

Radio personality Raina, known as "the black Delilah," hates the wholesome persona that's made her a success. Doling out syrupy versions of her grandma's wisdom feels worlds away from the sarcastic, tell-it-like-it-is woman Raina really is.

Kara Jones was sure she'd be a master sommelier by thirty. Life and loss interfered with that plan. Now she has one more chance--but it's taking a toll on her self-esteem and her marriage.

Nikki Grayson hardly recognizes the stay-at-home mom she's become. When her band signed a record deal, she swapped the limelight for a minivan and a sensible 'do. Now she's wishing she had followed her heart. Instead, she's drowning her regret in alcohol.

Public defender Sienna Njeri willingly put her city council aspirations aside to support her fiance's bid for office--and now she's wondering if her loyalty is misplaced.
Longing for the support, advice, and tough love they once shared, all four resolve to start meeting up again. After all, their dreams may still be within reach. But are they worth the price they'll pay to achieve them?

Excerpt

What in the hell have I gotten myself into? My palms were a soupy mess, I wiped them on my shorts, while my heart pounded against my chest. The screechy squawks of packing tape being ripped off cardboard and the sound of occasional grunts coming from Cameron, who was unpacking boxes and shifting furniture, forced tendrils of guilt down my spine.

He was grinding away getting things done while I sat motionless, alternating between Disney Princess happy and trembling like a frightened kitten. My phone buzzed, and I grabbed it from the pocket of my cutoffs. Nikki’s name flashed across the screen. I pressed the answer button, but before I could greet her, she said, “How’s your scary ass doing?”

“I’m good. Just getting things organized.” I lied easily to my best friend from college. And like all best friends, she knew I was full of shit.

“You’re a damn lie.”

“What’s up, Nik?” My annoyance was clear in my tone. “You know I’m busy.”

“The girls and I were talking . . . and anyway, I volunteered as tribute.” The girls she was referring to were my two other best friends from college, Sienna and Kara. We were always up in each other’s business, so I wasn’t surprised they’d gotten together to discuss God knows what.

“Volunteered for what?”

“Volunteered to talk some sense into you. We know you have cold feet about moving in with Cam.”

What did they think I would do—run away from home? I squelched down the flare of irritation that prickled my skin. My friends meant well, but I wasn’t in the mood for the all men aren’t like your daddy lecture. I knew that already. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing a bunch of domestic shit like buying mulch and analyzing a dozen gray paint samples with stupid names like Mole’s Breath. A roll of sweat trickled from my neck onto my chest. I used my hand as a fan. I was pretty sure the sweat was from the heat, not anxiety.

“Hellooooo, Raina? You still there?”

“Yes.” I modulated my tone to my late-night radio personality I used for my job. “I’m perfectly fine.”

“Sure you aren’t. And don’t take on that bougie-ass radio therapist tone with me. You’re talking to a friend, not a caller from your show.” She smacked her lips. “Anyway, can you talk?”

I looked at my guy, who was whistling as he drilled studs above the fireplace to mount our big screen TV. “Not right now,” I whispered.

“Good. You can just listen. Cam is a great guy, and this is a good step. You’ve been together for six years, and he’s been more than patient with your crazy ass. Who else would propose three times, get rejected, and then buy a house with you?”

“First of all—” I stopped myself when I caught Cameron’s attention. His eyebrows crinkled, and his eyes scanned me. I knew he was checking to see if everything was good. I gave him a smile and thumbs-up. “It’s Nikki. She’s just wishing us good luck.”

“No, I’m not. I’m convincing your crazy-ass girlfriend to calm down,” Nikki yelled over the phone line.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: April 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Sharina Harris

Sharina Harris earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia State University. After college, she pursued a career in digital marketing and public relations. Although her profession required writing, she decided to pursue a career in writing in 2012.

Sharina’s contemporary romance series under the pen name, Rina Gray, was named Book Riot’s 100 Must‑Read Romantic Comedies. When Sharina’s not writing, she can be found with her head stuck in a book, rooting for her favorite NBA teams, and spending time with friends and family.

Sharina resides in Atlanta with her husband and son. Visit her at SharinaHarris.com.


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