Tag: Excerpts

Sunday Spotlight: Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh

Posted December 16, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 5 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

Dare to Love a Duke is the third book in Eva Leigh’s London Underground series. It features Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield and Lucia, the owner of the Orchid Club, also known as Amina. This story looks pretty good with secret identities and masked Dukes in secret clubs.

We’re pleased to be featuring an excerpt from this book so read on to check it out…

Sunday Spotlight: Dare to Love a Duke by Eva LeighDare to Love a Duke (The London Underground, #3) by Eva Leigh
Series: The London Underground #3
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 24, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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For a dashing duke and the proprietress of a secret, sensual club in the London Underground, passion could lead to love… if they dare

Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more dueling, or carousing, or frequenting masked parties where Londoners indulge their wildest desires. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet. The club is an escape, a place where he can forget about society and the weight of his title… and see her, the woman he’s wanted forever.

Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. But for Lucia, it’s strictly business, profitable enough to finance her dream: a home for the lost girls of the streets. Surrounded by lovers, she only observes, unwilling risk her future for any man. No member has ever intrigued her...until him, the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, they dare to give in to temptation…

But the late duke’s legacy comes with a shocking secret, and the scandal threatens to destroy everything Tom loves… his family, the Orchid Club, and even Lucia.

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Excerpt

Tom took a glass of wine from a passing footman, then sipped as he surveyed the room. He took his usual place by the window. The moment a woman in a red dress began approaching him, he moved on. Over the course of the year, he’d fielded many offers of sex from interested parties, but he’d never accepted. That wasn’t why he came to the Orchid Club.

He crossed the threshold of the ballroom. This was where he’d first met Amina, a night he’d never forgotten. As always, the notes of a waltz drifted from the musicians as the guests on the dance floor surrendered to the seductive air of unfiltered desire. This was not sanctioned London. It was the secret, dark side. The place where people of all walks of life came for release, to cavort and be free.

He sensed a charge like unheard music, a subtle threading of awareness moving invisibly through his
body. Despite being engaged in watching the unfolding action, Tom became conscious of a new presence
in the room.

Amina had arrived.

She glided through the chamber, calm and assured, a small, unreadable smile playing about her lips as she stopped to chat with guests, making certain they had everything they needed. Tonight, her mask was emerald green, embroidered all over with gold thread and tiny pearls. The mask matched her richly hued gown, which hugged her curved body.

Tonight, her thick black hair was pinned up, though small brilliants seemed to twinkle in the dark waves. But it could have been his imagination. For surely whenever she was near, he had eyes for no one but her.

Riveted, Tom watched her glide through the ballroom, expertly weaving through the crowd. She kept that slightly removed smile on her face as she talked with the celebrants. Occasionally, she waved over a servant to provide more refreshments to the guests.

She checked with the musicians and adjusted the position of a candelabra on a table. This is my realm, she seemed to silently declare. The ruler of Bloomsbury. The empress of the Orchid Club. Regal and confident, her head held high, her shoulders back.

She caught sight of him, and he straightened to his fullest height. A thrum of excitement pulsed through him, all the way to his bones, as she approached. The lingering clouds of his unease lifted the nearer she came. This close, he could see the deep brown of her eyes shining behind her disguise. Her pupils were large, fathomless.

“Rogue,” Amina said when she stood before him.

“You chide me baselessly.” His heart took up double time to have her so close and to hear her low, throaty voice again. Every now and again, he caught a hint of an unknown accent in her words, yet he could never ask after her origins.

She had to be from somewhere warm, a place where, beneath a gleaming sun, dark-eyed beauties felt temperate breezes caress their tawny skin. The thought of all Amina’s flesh bared to the sunlight
made his mouth water.

“I’m not a capricious creature,” she said crisply. “I do nothing without reason.”

“If you are my judge, I’m entitled to know the offense for which I am accused.”

She clicked her tongue. “Even worse that you don’t know.” At his mystified silence, she explained, “Six weeks. It’s been six weeks since I’ve last seen you within these chambers. I thought you’d enlisted or run off to Argentina.”

He smiled to himself. “You think me an adventurer?”

“I think you dreadfully rude to have disappeared,” she said coolly.

He bowed. “Family obligations, unfortunately, have kept me away.”

A corner of her mouth lifted. “I forget, sometimes, that people have families.”

Despite her wry smile, a note of melancholy tinged her voice, making him contemplate her kin. Did she
have any, and did they know what she did to earn her bread?

Then, she said more lightly, “You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”

“Thinking of this night has been a balm to me these past weeks,” he said candidly. There was no need to dissemble or tell flattering half-truths. Not here. Not with her.

“If you’ve been troubled, I am sorry for it.” Sincerity firmed her words. Perhaps he was, to her, more than another masked guest, something beyond a means to keep a roof over her head. God knew she held greater significance to him than her role as manager of this establishment.

He bowed. “I’ll find my way through my difficulties.” Or so he hoped. Every step put him deeper and
deeper into unknown, perilous territory. “Good,” she said. “It would pain me to think of you
in distress.”

The London Underground

Giveaway Alert

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Sunday Spotlight: December 2018

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Sunday Spotlight: The Duke I Marry by Cathy Maxwell

Posted December 2, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 5 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

The Duke I Marry is the third book in Cathy Maxwell’s Spinster Heiresses series and it promises to be another historical adventure into the romance pairing of Miss Willa Reverly and Matthew Addison, the new Duke of Camberly. We’re stoked to be sharing a super cute excerpt from the book today so check it out…

Sunday Spotlight: The Duke I Marry by Cathy MaxwellThe Duke That I Marry (Spinster Heiresses, #3) by Cathy Maxwell
Series: Spinster Heiresses #3
Also in this series: If Ever I Should Love You, A Match Made in Bed (Spinster Heiresses #2)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as "the Spinster Heiresses"...

Is it wrong for a woman to want more?

Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be "sold" to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.

When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?

Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn't have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as "love." Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both.

Could it be that in running from danger they might be racing headlong into a truly unexpected fate: falling in love?

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Excerpt

The time had come.

The moment everyone had gossiped about. Willa was going to let Camberly have her because he was her husband. Giving in to him was her duty. She wasn’t truly his duchess unless they did the deed.

She experienced a pang of regret that she’d overheard his words to his sister about not loving her. Willa was practical. In spite of the marriage vows, she wouldn’t even have thought of love if it hadn’t been for Kate’s words.

Now, it seemed all she could think about. Love. Having a husband who loved her. Just as Soren loved Cassandra, and Leonie’s husband, Rochdale, all but worshipped her.

And yet, everyone envied Willa. Matt was a prize. She had become a duchess. The point game had gone to her.

So why did she feel sad?

It might have to do with the kiss in the coach. Her first kiss. She hadn’t known what she was about, but he had apparently liked it because he hadn’t stopped touching her since she’d kissed him. For most of the afternoon, when she had been with him, his hand had been at her arm or her waist, guiding her and moving her along until he’d swept her up and carried her to his bed. Willa sat up on the mattress. His bedroom furnishings were dark brown against ivory walls. The bed itself had been made for a giant. It had a massive headboard that was almost black with age. The bedclothes were a dull gold. Someone, most likely Annie or Matt’s valet, had turned down the covers.

Rather bravely, she said, “What do you want me to do?”

He’d tossed his jacket onto a nearby chair and was tugging on the knot in his neck cloth when her question gave him pause. An uncertain look came into his eye, as if he, too, was feeling his way. And then he answered, “Let me take down your hair.”

The request was unexpected—and she couldn’t imagine anything she would more dearly love. The weight of it had added to her building anxieties. “Yes, please.”

He smiled and pulled his neck cloth free to join his jacket before offering his hand. “Well then, stand.” She thought he meant the floor until he helped her balance on the mattress. This way, she was taller than he was. He wasn’t so intimidating this way. Was that his intent?

He began removing the pearl­tipped pins.

She held out her hand to receive them just as she did with Annie. The familiar arrangement helped her relax. “There are plain pins in there as well.”

“I will find them.” His touch was gentle, his expression intent. He reminded her of a sculptor she’d once observed working on his art. The ten­ sion between Willa’s shoulders and neck began to unwind. “I’ve wanted to see your hair down since the moment we first met,” he said.

“I have too much of it.” He smiled. “We shall see.”

Her gaze took in the room. This was obviously his domain. Just as she noticed when she’d visited Mayfield several months ago, there were signs of neglect and wear. A huge wardrobe took up a good portion of one wall. There was a washstand, a desk, chairs—all the usual items in a bedroom, including a privacy screen in one corner.

However, Willa’s personal effects were here. She was surprised. She had assumed she would have her own room. In fact, beyond his shaving gear, there seemed to be nothing else of Matt’s in this room. What brushes and small boxes and bottles were on the washstand belonged to her.

He had collected all the pearl pins and was now searching for the plain ones.

“I was thinking this was your room,” she said, “but my things are here.”

“This is our room.”

She looked down at him. “We’ll share the same room?” She had never heard of such a thing. Her parents had separate suites of rooms.

“You are my wife, Willa. You sleep by my side.”

“Forever?”

“As long as our natural lives.” He pulled the last pin from her hair. It was as if that last pin held it all in place. Her hair tumbled down around her shoulders, flowing almost to her waist.

It was pure pleasure to have the weight of it off her neck. As she did every night when she took her hair down, she rotated her shoulders—and then stopped. Her breasts were at his eye level and they had his attention.

A warmth roiled deep in her lower belly and a curiosity in her mind.

His eyes had darkened with interest. He rested his hand on her waist. He raised his gaze to her. It was almost a sin for a man to have such dark lashes or such sparkling blue eyes.

“I want you, Willa. Do you understand exactly what that means?”

In this moment, it was as if they were the only two people in the world.

“I’m told to do what you tell me.” Her mother’s instruction didn’t seem daunting at all right now. “And I will, although I don’t know how good I will be at counting backward from a hundred.”

If she had popped him in the nose, he couldn’t appear more startled. “Count backward?”

Willa nodded, sinking down on the bed. She removed her kid slippers. It had bothered her to stand on the coverlet in them. “Mother suggested it. She said that way it will be all over before I know it.”

Matt burst out laughing. He sat on the bed beside her as if it was the most natural thing in the world. “Count backward?”

Willa wasn’t certain what was so funny. Should she not have told him? She nodded warily.

He caught her mood. “Please, I’m not laughing at you. I’m just . . .” He paused as if looking for a word and found it. “Charmed. I’m charmed to hear you say that. Your honesty, Willa, is a gift.” He leaned back, resting on one arm, and gently pulled her with him. “You were told to count to a hundred?”

“Backward,” Willa added. She caught her hair and pulled it over one shoulder so it wasn’t beneath her. His gaze met hers. He sobered. “My hope is that you are enjoying yourself so much, you can’t remember how to count.”

Her mother had not said anything about enjoyment. However, Cassandra had. “Is that why everyone claims you are a good lover?” An hour earlier she wouldn’t have dared to say such a thing. However, being with him—like this— seemed completely right. Why, they both were still dressed.

“Now the pressure is on,” he said in mock dismay followed by a self­deprecating smile. “That ‘lover’ gossip is stuff and nonsense. They prattle on like that because they have nothing else to talk about. The only opinion I am interested in is yours and, together, we’ll find what pleases us both.”

That was a very nice promise. Especially the word “together.”

He stroked her hair, watching it flow through his fingers. “So lovely,” he murmured before lifting his gaze to meet hers. “Willa, kiss me the way you did in the coach.”

How could she refuse such a simple request? Willa leaned toward him. Their lips met.

And she was kissing him.

Spinster Heiresses Series

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: December 2018

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 Cathy Maxwell

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the mystery of life and the secret to happiness.

She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.


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Sunday Spotlight: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

Posted November 25, 2018 by Holly in Features | 3 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

Sunday Spotlight: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie BowmanKiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides, #10) by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #10
Also in this series: The Right Kind of Rogue
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 299
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A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

I’m generally anti-Christmas until after American Thanksgiving, but I make an exception every year for holiday romances. I start stockpiling them in October. I’m a sucker for them. This is book 10 in the series, but I’m told it can stand alone well. There’s something really satisfying about historical holiday romances, don’t you think?

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Excerpt

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

“But Daffin, it’s been days and there’s been no sign of anyone,” Nicole insisted the next morning. She was lying on the sofa in the middle of the green salon, her hand resting on her forehead, one foot rocking back & forth. “I cannot stay inside a moment longer or I’ll go mad. I merely want to have a short jaunt around the meadow on my horse. I need some fresh air. Desperately. Please, it’s Christmas Eve.”

Regina sat across from Daffin, nodding vigorously. “Yes, I agree. Please, may we go for a ride?”

“Should you be riding in your condition?” Daffin countered, addressing Nicole. His booted foot was crossed over his knee and he was eyeing her with a mixture of suspicion and tolerance.

“Racing, no,” Nicole replied, her voice still pleading. “But a quick jaunt will hardly hurt me, and Atalanta is a perfectly trained horse.”

“Grimaldi wouldn’t want either of you to go,” Daffin replied.

Regina paused and set the embroidery in her lap. She contemplated the question for a moment. “Yes, but in all these days, you’ve found no evidence we were followed here. I say it’s safe to believe the man who tried to hurt me is still in London.”

Daffin groaned and rubbed a hand across his face. His gaze bounced between the two ladies. “I have a feeling I’m going to regret this, but very well. I insist upon accompanying you, however.”

“I never doubted it,” Nicole said with a smug smile. She hoisted herself from the sofa and headed toward the door. “I’m off to dress in my riding habit.”

Less than an hour later, outfitted in his own riding gear, Daffin accompanied Regina and Nicole out the back of the manor house. As they set out on the path to the stables, Daffin glanced around uneasily. He didn’t like the idea of Regina being out in the open. It was true that he had seen no evidence of an intruder since they’d been here, but he didn’t like to take chances.

Nicole spun in a circle and sucked in lungsful of air. “It’s so good to be outside. I don’t even care that it’s so cold.”

Regina laughed. “I agree. It’s been positively stifling in that house.”

He was barely listening. He was focused on keeping his eyes and ears sharp, attuned to any noise or movement. The usual servants bustled about. He’d got to know them all over the last several days. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.

“Honestly, Daffin, you cannot think the shooter could be here of all places. We’d see him coming a field’s length away,” Nicole said.

Daffin continued to scan the countryside. The meadow was clear and packed with untouched snow. Beyond it, a copse of trees. Nicole was right. No one could approach the house without being seen, and he’d had the footmen and groomsmen on watch round the clock. He stood watch daily himself. “Until we have a better idea who he is, I don’t know what he’s capable of, which means if you’re outside, you’re potentially in danger.”

They entered the stables and the smell of fresh hay, leather, and horses met their nostrils. Nicole waved to one of the groomsmen. “Good morning, Jacob. Did you saddle Atalanta?” They’d sent a footman to ask the groomsman to saddle the horses.

“Yes, my lady,” the groomsman replied. “She’s right there in the stall.”

“And Excalibur?” Regina added.

Daffin’s head snapped to the side to face her. He arched a brow. “Your horse is named Excalibur?”

“And she’s a girl,” Regina said with a nod. “I was a bit grandiose as a child.”

Daffin shook his head and grinned at her.

“Let me go greet my girl,” Regina said, on her way toward the stall. “I’ve missed her so much.”

Now that they were in the confines of the stable, Daffin relaxed a bit, but his guard remained up. They were about to ride through open fields, and that would be dangerous. Jacob should come with them for added protection. It couldn’t hurt to have another set of eyes. He turned to speak to the groomsman.

A gasp from Regina made him swivel. She stood by her horse’s stall, her hand over her mouth.

“What is it?” Daffin asked, quickly making his way to join her.

Regina pointed toward the saddle. Daffin turned his gaze in the direction she’d indicated. He narrowed his eyes. There was a small card sticking up between the saddle and the horse’s back.

He leaned closer and snatched up the card. Only five words were scrawled on it in a messy hand.

I’m watching you, Lady Regina.

Playful Brides

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: November 2018

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 Valerie Bowman

Valerie Bowman Headshot

Valerie Bowman’s debut novel was published in 2012. Since then, her books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She’s been an RT Reviewers’ Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction.

Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English Language and Literature with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzers, Huckleberry and Violet. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.


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Excerpt: Once Upon a Cowboy by Stina Lindenblatt

Posted November 20, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 0 Comments

Once upon a time, I used to love the heck out of western romances. I haven’t read one in ages but when this book was brought to my attention, I perked right up. This series sounds like a good one and Once Upon a Cowboy, the second book in the Copper Creek series released last week so it can be yours today for the low price of $3.99!!

Excerpt: Once Upon a Cowboy by Stina LindenblattOnce Upon a Cowboy (Copper Creek, #2) by Stina Lindenblatt
Series: Copper Creek #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 14, 2018
Format: eBook
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 297
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Cinderella's fairy godmother just turned hot. And male. Very, very male.

Sexy cowboy Jake Daniels has three priorities in his life: his horse ranch that he manages with his brother, his family, and Sophie West. Sophie is the ranch’s horse trainer and his close friend. The one thing he doesn’t have time for is a girlfriend. And he especially doesn’t have time for a relationship with an employee. Mixing business with pleasure never ends well. Been there. Done that. Had it branded on his ass.

Not a problem—until Sophie asks for his help. She’s tired of being single. She’s ready to find her soul mate—or at least a nice man. The issue? She’s socially awkward around guys she’s interested in. The solution? Recruit Jake to be her “fairy godfather” and help her be more confident, especially around the new veterinarian who just moved into town.

Great plan, except Sophie's no naive Cinderella and Jake realizes if anyone's going to be her Prince Charming, he wants it to be him. If only he didn't have to put his heart on the line to win hers.

We are very fortunate to be sharing an excerpt from the book today so please, check it out!

Order the Book:

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Excerpt

“So will you do it?” she asks.

I’m about to say “Hell, yes.” Of course I’d be more than happy to give her all the orgasms she can handle…and then some. But a voice in my head points out that I’m a dumbass. That’s not what she’s talking about.

“Will you be like my fairy godmother? You know, the one who turns Cinderella’s rags into a ball gown and a pumpkin into a sparkly coach?”

Here’s the thing about men. Half the time we have no idea what women are talking about. What might seem highly logical to the woman is miles from there for the man.

This is one of those times.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Soph. For one, I’m a man. Two—while I might not know anything about the movie, I’m pretty sure the fairy godmother performs some sort of magical spell. Unfortunately, my business degree didn’t include any courses along those lines.”

Chuckling, she pats my arm. “That doesn’t matter. It’s like the Cinderella trope in romances. A friend—sometimes a female and sometimes a gay guy—turns the dull, kind of ugly heroine into a beautiful swan. Then the prince—or whoever the guy might be—falls in love with her.”

“One—you’re already beautiful. You don’t need help with that. And two—are you telling me you think I’m gay?” I slap my hand against my chest, the move as genuine as veneer is to wood.

She laughs. “I’m aware that you’re one hundred percent heterosexual man, which is why I need your help. Who better to teach me to be more comfortable around guys I’m interested in than you?”

Even though the words are coated with syrup to sweeten the blow, they’re a sucker punch to the gut.

One.

Two.

Three…you’re out.

I must have misheard her. That has to be it. There’s no way she just asked me to help her land a boyfriend.

“Please, Jake. You’re my only hope.” The pleading in her voice is like going for another round with a heavyweight champ. You’re already weakened from the first blow and now more likely to go down for the final count.

“Except I have no idea how to teach you something like that. It’s not a skill I’ve ever had to think about.”

She reaches up and kisses my cheek. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

An electrical hum vibrates from the spot where her lips touched me, and I resist the urge to cover it with my fingers.

Remember how I said I would do anything for her?

Now I’m wishing that wasn’t true.

But Ryan is a nice guy. Is he damaged after finding out his fiancée cheated on him?

Possibly.

Sophie deserves to be with someone who makes her happy. She deserves for all her dreams to come true.

Ryan could be that guy…if he gives her a chance.

You really are an idiot, my heart says.

I ignore it.

“All right,” I say. “I’ll help you. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, because I’m guessing this isn’t something I can Google to find the answer. But somehow I’ll help you win your man.”

The bright side?

Once she and Ryan are headed toward their own happily ever after, I can finally move on.

I can finally stop lusting after my best friend.

She flings her arms around my shoulders. Her sweet scent of strawberries and cream teases me. Not helping me, Soph. “Thank you so much, Jake. I owe you big-time.”

My arms automatically go around her and I hold her close. Closer than I should, given we’re just friends and I promised to help her with her love life.

Even with our jackets on, I can feel her heat sinking into my body. It fuels my heart rate,
causing it to kick up a notch.

This isn’t the first time I’ve hugged her.

But it is the first time it’s felt this way. This amazing.

Shit.

Copper Creek

About Stina Lindenblatt

I’m a traditionally and indie published romance author. My traditional books are heavy on heart and emotion. My indie books are on the light and hilarious side of things. But either way, my stories are full of sexy times. I love to travel, and have lived in England, the US, Canada, and Finland. In my free time, I enjoy photography, especially the close-up variety.


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Excerpt Spotlight: Too Far Gone by Allison Brennan

Posted November 19, 2018 by Rowena in Promotions | 1 Comment

Too Far Gone is the fourteenth book in the Lucy Kincaid series by Allison Brennan and it promises to keep your blood pumping with suspense and I’ve been in the mood for more suspense in my novels so I’m mighty interested in this one.

I don’t read too many romantic suspense books but after reading the blurb for this book, I was curious. Allison Brennan must be doing something right if she’s writing the fourteenth book in this series and it sounds like a good one so I’m thrilled to be spotlighting it here on Book Binge.

Excerpt Spotlight: Too Far Gone by Allison BrennanToo Far Gone (Lucy Kincaid, #14) by Allison Brennan
Series: Lucy Kincaid #14
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 496
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The next intense installment in Allison Brennan's New York Times bestselling Lucy Kincaid series.

Things finally seem to be going well for FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid. She's just finished training for Hostage Rescue, her husband's relationship with his son is back on track, and her tense relationship with her boss, Rachel Vaughn, has become much more bearable. That is, until her first hostage case throws everything off track.

When a man who appears under the influence and mentally unstable holds a group of people hostage and dies in a shootout with the FBI, Lucy is assigned to investigate what happened. His descent doesn't make any sense - he was an upstanding citizen a year ago and only started declining after a series of blackouts and strange occurrences. Even his autopsy seems suspicious, and the body has been cremated without the proper approval. As Lucy investigates, she realizes that this story may be more complicated than she thinks, and that her own life might be in danger.

 

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Excerpt

CHAPTER TWO

FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid geared up in the back of the SWAT van and followed team leader Leo Proctor to the staging area kitty-corner to the coffeehouse that was currently under control of a gunman. Lucy wasn’t part of the SWAT team. She was the newest trained hostage negotiator, though she would be second to Proctor for a minimum of six months. She wouldn’t be talking to the suspect today; she was tagging along on her first official outing after completing Hostage and Crisis Response Training at Quantico.

As soon as she stepped out of the air-conditioned van and into the hot Texas humidity, she began to sweat. Fortunately, she wasn’t decked out with an extra twenty- five pounds of SWAT gear; she was only required to wear her Kevlar vest and sidearm.

The FBI was here to back up the SAPD, who were taking lead in the hostage situation at Java Antonio, a small but popular independent coffee shop in downtown San Antonio.

Lucy followed Leo from the van while the rest of the team checked their weapons and gear.

“Lieutenant, sit-rep?” Leo said to the man clearly in charge who was directing personnel from the back of a police communications van. There were a dozen city and county vehicles filling all four streets that led to the intersection, which now held a tactical truck. Each street had been blocked off, and all businesses in a two-block radius evacuated or locked down.

“Proctor. Glad you’re here.” He glanced at Lucy. “Agent Kincaid, hostage negotiator. Kincaid, Lieutenant Jordan Young.”

They shook hands. Young was forty and had the aura of former military officer, and it was clear by how his officers spoke to him that he garnered respect from his men and women.

“I need you to negotiate, Leo—I’ve already set up a command, I’m the highest-ranking officer here.”

“My people are your people,” Proctor said. “Kincaid’s my second.”

Being second essentially meant backing up the primary negotiator. Listening to all communication, taking notes, passing along information between the negotiator and command and vice versa.

Generally, the individual in charge of the scene was not the same person negotiating with the suspect. That SAPD and the SA-FBI worked well together was a testament to the men and women who led each department and the teams who cross-trained together.

“I have two snipers, one on each corner building,” Young said, gesturing. “Two men in the back. If you can spare a pair I’d like to have them tag up with my team in the alley, and if you have a sniper we can use one back there. The rear is the only exit other than the front door.” Proctor said in his radio, “Dunning, take your team and secure the back with SAPD; Ramirez, find a roost with clear line of sight to the emergency exit. From here on out, Lieutenant Young is in command of this operation and you’ll take direction from him, primary emergency channel.”

“Roger,” the team leader said over the radio. “Suspect?” Proctor asked.

Young shook his head. “Working on an ID. No cameras inside, but we have a description from one of the hostages who escaped during the initial confusion. In fact, a dozen people got out before the shooter locked down. From preliminary statements, the guy was talking to himself and acting ‘off’—weird was the word most used. He was wearing a thick windbreaker and it’s over ninety degrees and humid as hell. When the manager confronted him, he snapped—per a witness. Another witness said he acted like he was quote, ‘off his meds.’”

Unfortunately, Lucy knew that mental illness was one of the leading causes of spontaneous hostage situations. But generally, if the individual was mentally ill, they took people they knew hostage—family or friends—in a residence. This situation was distinctly different.

Young continued. “He fired two shots. Per witnesses, they both went into the ceiling. No one saw anyone injured inside. There are conflicting statements as to how many guns he has and what kind, though I’m going with one of the witnesses who stated he’s a gun owner and identified a nine-millimeter in the shooter’s hand, standard-capacity magazine, and a second handgun in his waistband, also a semi-auto—either a nine-mil or a forty-five.”

“Number of hostages?”

“Best guess is fourteen. Do you have thermal imaging in your truck? Fire can set up as well, but they’re still en route.”

“We got it,” Proctor said. “My tech just needs a minute.”

“Good. We need to know where he is, get some sense as to what’s going on in there.”

“Is this personal?” Proctor asked. “Target an employee? Customer?”

“Don’t know. We asked the witnesses for the basics, everyone said that he was alone and didn’t appear to know anyone. They are all sequestered down the street, my people are working to get more information. He hasn’t called out or made demands, but this whole thing started less than an hour ago. I need you to make contact, develop a rapport as we gather additional information. We need to de-escalate this as fast as possible.”

Proctor listened to his com then said, “Roger, hold positions.” He said to Young, “My team is in place, Ramirez has one hundred percent visual of the rear door.”

“Excellent.” Young handed him the bullhorn. “Work your magic, Leo. Godspeed.”

Proctor took a breath, visibly relaxed, then turned on the bullhorn.

“This is Leo Proctor of the FBI. I will be calling into the coffee shop. I’d like you to answer, just to talk. Just see how you’re doing, how the other people are doing.”

He then nodded to Young’s assistant, a uniform by the name of Jones, who handed him a phone already set to dial into the Java Antonio main number and record the conversation.

They let the phone ring more than thirty times. There was no answer and Proctor ended the call.

“Lieutenant,” Jones said after listening to his radio, “we have an ID. Charles James McMahon, forty-six, address in Helotes per DMV. Two deputies are on their way now.”

“Married? Kids? Employer?” “Unknown, we’re working on it.”

“Work faster. Something triggered him, we need to know what so no one gets hurt.”

“Yes, sir,” Jones said, already on his phone.

Proctor got on the bullhorn again. “Mr. McMahon— Charles—this is Leo Proctor. I really need you to pick up the phone. I know you don’t want to hurt anyone. We need to talk. You and me. We can work this out, but I’m sure you don’t like shouting through a bullhorn any more than I do.”

He dialed again, waited. No answer. He hung up. He didn’t show any frustration, any rush. “As long as he’s calm, we can get out of this,” he said almost to himself. “Lucy, get Yancey out here. We need eyes in.”

Lucy briskly walked to the tactical van. Tim Yancey was a technology analyst in their office and in charge of the equipment during tactical operations. He was a bit high-strung, skinny, and sharp on his feet.

“I know, I know,” Tim said before Lucy could speak. “It’s almost calibrated. Okay, okay,” he said to himself and followed Lucy over to the staging area which had a direct line of sight to the coffee shop.

“I need to expand the range,” he said as he walked up and put the thermal imaging camera on a table next to the SAPD tactical van. “Okay, okay,” he mumbled again and pressed a few buttons to expand the field.

A blob of orange quickly took on distinct human shapes. Most were on the floor. Young immediately pointed to one on the left that was moving and had another shape close to him. “That’s our guy. He’s holding a hostage. I count . . . fifteen plus the gunman?”

“I concur,” Proctor said.

Young asked Tim, “Why are these three shapes faded?”

“They’re in another room,” Tim said. “Probably the storage room, a bathroom—I don’t have the exact lay- out.”

Young motioned at one of his men. “Where are the blueprints I asked for?”

“Coming.”

“I needed them five minutes ago.” “He didn’t plan this,” Lucy said.

Everyone looked at her. She didn’t realize she’d spoken out loud.

“If he did,” she continued, “he would have made sure that everyone was in the main room. Those three had time to hide in the back and he didn’t notice? Others es- caped? A dozen people ran out before he locked the place down. I think he would notice if he had a room full of customers and no employees.”

“Point taken,” Young said. “Don’t know if that makes him more or less dangerous. Get him talking, Leo, I’m going to push my people to get us more intel.”

Leo used the bullhorn. “Charles, this is Leo Proctor again. I’m calling you now. Please pick up the phone.”

He hit redial.

Lucy adjusted her earpiece and heard the ringing phone. She watched Tim’s thermal imaging system and saw the suspect cross the room—with a hostage in tow—and stand next to what she presumed was the phone on the wall behind the counter.

“Answer it, buddy,” Leo mumbled. “Pick it up, you want to.”

The man put a hand on his head—more like he was banging the side of his head with his gun hand, as if flustered or frustrated. He walked away a couple of feet. Leo hung up. He counted to ten. Then he hit redial.

McMahon went back to the phone. He answered.

Lucy Kincaid

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About Allison Brennan

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes that life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year.

Allison has penned more than two dozen thrillers and many short stories. RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” RT also said that "The Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan books are getting better and better!"

COLD SNAP, was a finalist for Best Thriller in the Thriller Awards (ITW) and FEAR NO EVIL (2007) and COMPULSION (2015) won the Daphne du Maurier award. Allison has been nominated multiple times for RWA's Best Romantic Suspense award, and the Kiss of Death's Daphne award.

Allison lives in Northern California with her husband, five children, and assorted pets. Her current release is THE LOST GIRLS, a romantic thriller. MAKE THEM PAY will be out in March, 2017.


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