Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Posted May 8, 2016 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 13 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Lauren Layne has become one of my auto-buy authors just this year. I can’t get enough of her stuff. I’m trying to pace myself while working through her back list but everything that I’ve read, I’ve really enjoyed. I’m thirsty for more and Good Girl is up next.

Good Girl
Good Girl (Love Unexpectedly #2) by Lauren Layne
Releases on May 17, 2016 by Loveswept

Pre-Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Lauren Layne brings all the unpredictable heat of her USA Today bestseller Blurred Lines to an all-new cast of characters! Country music’s favorite good girl is hiding away from the world—only to find herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

Are you ready for this excerpt? I am.

Excerpt

“What time did you say this chick was arriving?” Finn asks around his cigarette.

“Tomorrow morning,” I say, rapping my toe against a funny-looking floorboard and wincing when it buckles.

“Huh.” Finn exhales and looks out the window.

I know that tone. “What?”

“Seems she might have gotten here early,” he says, a second before the quiet afternoon erupts with the sound of my dog losing his mind, mingled with the shrill piercing yap of a much smaller dog.

“Seriously?”

Finn shrugs and nods. “There’s a girl outside.”

“Shit,” I mutter as I head toward the stairs, dodging the two broken ones.

Ranger’s about as good a dog as they come, wouldn’t hurt a fly. But he’s a big dog with a big bark, and one serious weakness: gleefully humping smaller dogs. He’s a rescue, and though he was fixed after they brought him in, he’d already gone through canine puberty, or whatever. He’s still got the fierce urge to hump, although it’s more habit than hormones.

I exit out the front door just in time to see my big brown Lab leap forward, his clumsy paws finding the shoulders of a blond girl who lets out a shriek, holding a cat above her head like that scene from The Lion King.

“Ranger, no! Down.”

I run forward, my hand finding the collar of my dog and yanking him backward as I search the ground to find the source of the small-dog barks still piercing the air.

Then I register that the sound is coming from above, and realize . . .

The cotton ball isn’t a cat.

That orange piece of fluff is a dog, and Ranger is apparently in love.

“What the heck is wrong with your dog?” the girl says as she slowly lowers the puffball from over her head, cradling the hideous little monster against her chest as it continues its high-pitched bloody-murder yips.

“At least my dog is actually a dog,” I say, staring in horror at the pointy face of a canine that could fit in one of my hands. “I’ve seen dust bunnies bigger than that thing.”

“Dolly’s a Pomeranian,” she says, setting a hand on top of the monster’s head. “She’s supposed to be this tiny.”

“Well, Ranger’s a Lab. He’s supposed to be this normal.”

“He attacked me,” she says, giving Ranger a wary look as his tongue hangs out the side of his mouth, his eyes locked lovingly on Dolly.

“He didn’t want you, he wanted the . . . dog,” I say, forcing myself to acknowledge that the creature in her hands might be part of the canine family.

“For what, dinner?”

I don’t respond, because now that the crisis is averted, I’ve managed to shift my attention from the dogs to the girl, and . . .

Holy shit.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been sucker-punched by equal waves of lust and disdain before.

Jenny Dawson is hot as hell.

I knew that going in, but up close she’s even more mouthwatering. Her white skirt is short and tight, her legs long and toned.

She’s wearing some billowing pink top, so I can’t get a good look at what’s happening there, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ve always been a legs man, and I can’t stop looking.

The legs are a 10.

The face is a 10.

And the long blond hair spilling over one shoulder definitely begs to be spread over a man’s pillow. My pillow.

And yet even as my cock says yes, my brain is saying hell no.

Gorgeous as she is, she screams diva from the pink toenails to the sky-high stiletto sandals and all the way up to the carefully made-up face.

I just turned my entire life upside down trying to get away from a woman exactly like this one, so this is definitely a look, don’t touch situation.

But I’m looking. I’m definitely looking.

“Hi there! You must be Mr. Walcott!” Her smile is pretty, even if it’s probably fake, and she pushes her big sunglasses on top of her head, revealing wide blue eyes.

I open my mouth to respond, until I realize she’s not talking to me. Her eyes are locked over my shoulder, and I turn to see Vaughn and Finn walking toward us with a slightly dazed look on their faces.

Finn has Ranger’s leash in his hand, and I snatch it as he gets close, clipping it on my big horny dog as I glare at my big horny friends.

It’s obvious why Jenny’s question is directed at Vaughn. In his fussy suit, he looks the part of Preston Walcott, and I open my mouth to shoot down her snotty assumption.

Only instead of telling her the truth, the most bullshit thing comes out: “Obviously this is Mr. Walcott.”

Her eyes flick over me, cool and disinterested. “And you are . . . ?”

“Noah Maxwell,” I say, deliberately not going forward to shake her hand. “The caretaker.”

She wrinkles her nose and looks back at Vaughn in confusion.

Vaughn is staring at me in confusion.

“Problem?” I say before he can open his fat mouth and ruin my little game.

Jenny lifts her shoulders. “I guess I just assumed the Eddingtons would still live in the caretaker’s cottage. Foolish, I suppose. They were elderly ten years ago. Have they . . . are they passed?”

No idea. Who the hell are the Eddingtons?

A quick call to my father’s attorney had confirmed that there was in fact a property in my father’s name, but there’d been next to no information.

“They’re in a retirement home,” Vaughn says smoothly, apparently deciding to play along, although I don’t know why. “The family pays for it, of course.”

She smiles prettily at him, although the smile slips when her gaze slides back to me. “And Mr. Maxwell here is the replacement?”

“Truth be told, I’ve just hired him,” Vaughn says, giving me a cool, appraising look as though deciding whether I’m worthy of the right to be on my own property. How did I not know the guy was such a good actor? “But he seems competent enough.”

“Wonderful,” she says. “But the dog can’t stay.”

I blink. “I’m sorry?”

“The dog.” She gestures with her chin at Ranger, who’s settled down, but barely. “Dolly will be staying here with me, which means your dog needs to go.”

“He’ll be kept on a leash,” Finn says before I can reply. He steps forward, apparently deciding that he too wants in on the game.

“Okay, but—”

“I’m Finn Reed. The electrician. Came out to fix a couple of wiring problems,” he says, extending a hand to her.

Electrician? That’s new.

Jenny shifts the cotton ball to her left arm and shakes Finn’s hand, either unaware of the way he’s checking her out or so accustomed to it that she knows not to show a reaction.

“Are the wiring problems all fixed?”

“Yes,” Vaughn says nervously, shooting me a quick glance. “But Ms. Dawson, I need to make it clear what bad shape the house is in. Worse than I realized when we first emailed, and—”

“It’s all right,” she says quietly. “As long as the walls stay standing upright, it’ll be perfect.”

She gazes up at the house with a faraway smile on her face. The guys glance at me, and I roll my eyes and shrug.

“I know you think I’m crazy,” she says, not looking at us. “But I wrote my first song here, and it felt magical.”

She turns back and looks at Vaughn. “I’m sorry to hear about your father. I never met him in person, but the fact that he opened up this beautiful space to young musicians without charging them a dime . . . he must have loved music.”

Vaughn’s smile is strained, and when Jenny looks away he gives me a what the hell shrug.

I don’t respond.

The truth was, my dad didn’t love music. I mean, sure, he’d go to the odd concert or have music playing on the car radio when he wasn’t barking on the phone, but he didn’t love music.

No, but he had loved Caleb, and Caleb had loved music. No doubt my father had hoped that one of his charity cases, someone like Jenny Dawson, might carry on with Caleb’s legacy in a way that I couldn’t.

Jenny was walking around the side of the house, a happy smile on her face despite the fact that all I could see was weeds and chipped paint.

“What the hell are we doing?” Finn says out of the corner of his mouth.

“Yes, what are we doing?” Vaughn asks me in a low voice. “Why’d you tell her I was you?”

“I don’t know. She pissed me off.”

My friends only look at me, their skepticism clear. I don’t blame them. It’s not the right answer. Or at least not the full answer.

The truth is, I didn’t tell her my name because for a crushing moment I didn’t want to be Preston Walcott Jr., heir to this, that, and the other thing.

I wanted to go back.

Back to a simpler time when I knew myself only as Noah Maxwell. Back when I believed my mother’s quiet claims that my father was dead. Back before he’d shown up on my fourteenth birthday, informed me that the brother I didn’t know I had was dead and that his wife had left him, and asked if I wanted to come live with him, though it wasn’t optional.

I hadn’t wanted anything to do with him or the life he offered.

But then the bastard had dangled the one carrot in front of my mother that she hadn’t been able to say no to: education.

I’d been enrolled at the Academy the very next day, and by the time I graduated and headed to LSU, my only connection to that former life was Finn and a fragile, strained relationship with my mother.

“I called off the wedding,” I say quickly, quietly, as Jenny and her dumb dog start making their way back toward us, her steps careful as she tries to navigate the uneven ground with those ridiculous shoes.

“Come again?” Vaughn says.

Finn swears and rubs a hand over his hand. “Shit, man.”

“Why?” Vaughn asks. “Yvonne Damascus is perfect.”

“For someone like you, maybe,” Finn mutters, earning a middle finger from Vaughn.

“Can we not?” I say wearily. “I don’t want to talk about it. I just . . . I need some time. Away.”

“So book a trip to the Bahamas. Don’t stay here,” Vaughn says, looking around in horror as he smooths a hand over the shitty purple tie.

Finn reaches for his cigarettes. “Country Club’s right. You’ve got money, man. Use it.”

I do have money. More than I know what to do with.

Jenny Dawson is back in hearing range, and as I find myself checking out those long legs, I wonder if Finn and Vaughn are right. If I need to escape, spending time with this diva is not the way to do it.

But here’s the douchebag part of all this, where I tell you I feel some weird connection to this place I haven’t ever been to before today—a place I didn’t even know existed until a few days ago.

My dad left me a shit-ton of property, more fancy cars than I know what to do with, and enough money to employ an entire fleet to take care of both. This is the one thing to my name that feels like it can be mine. Already my mind is racing with the sheer number of projects around here to keep my hands busy. To keep my thoughts off . . . things.

“I’m staying,” I say out of the corner of my mouth. “And not a word to the pop princess here about my real name.”

“She’s a country singer,” Finn says.

I snort. “Barely.”

“Heard that,” Jenny says sweetly with a smile that doesn’t even pretend to be real.

She teeters over to her car in her sexy shoes, setting Dolly in the backseat before she rummages around for something in the front passenger seat, giving all three of us a rather prime view of her backside.

Ranger’s no longer the only one whose tongue is lolling out of his mouth.

“Here we go,” she says, emerging a moment later with some paper and a pen.

“What’s this?” Finn asks as she flutters a piece of paper in his direction.

“An NDA.”

“A what?” Finn asks.

“Nondisclosure agreement,” Vaughn supplies.

There’s no mockery in Vaughn’s tone for once, but I sense Finn stiffen anyway. The man doesn’t have a lot of soft spots, but feeling dumb is one of them. Especially when compared to Vaughn.

“Mr. Walcott here’s already signed one,” she says, gesturing at Vaughn, who’s signed no such thing.

I, of course, have already signed it, but I sign this one as well, as Noah Maxwell.

“Sign it,” I snap at Finn. “It just says that you can’t tell anyone you saw her here.”

“Well, that sucks,” he mutters as he scribbles his name across the bottom of the paper.

“Perfect,” she says with a little wink for Finn. “You never saw me. Got it?”

Finn shrugs. “Sure.”

She gives me an expectant look, and I glare at her. “I’m stuck here with you, princess. Who’m I gonna tell, the mosquitos?”

“Well, you’ll have to leave the property at some point,” she says pragmatically. “Surely you get a day off. How do I know you won’t tell people at the local Piggly Wiggly or whatever?”

I glance at Vaughn. “Boss? Do I get time off?”

“Sure. Whatever. Two days off,” Vaughn says impatiently, obviously tiring of the game.

Time to wrap this up.

“I’ll need to go get some food,” I say. “You’re a day early, and we weren’t prepared.”

“I’m sorry about that,” she says, sounding genuinely contrite. “I emailed and then tried to call, asking if it was okay, but the call went straight to voicemail.”

“No service out here.”

I say that with no small amount of glee, expecting her to freak out, but she sighs in relief. “Perfect. That’s perfect. And I stopped at the store on the way. Plenty for both of us. I‘m assuming you‘re living in that little cottage? The one where the Eddingtons lived.”

That little cottage.

As in the caretaker’s cottage that I didn’t know existed, much less where it’s actually located.

The reality of my situation is setting in, and I come very close to calling a halt to my little charade, but then I remember the stubbornness on Yvonne’s face when I tried to tell her the wedding was off.

Over my dead body, Preston, she said.

Yeah, no. I’ll be taking my chances here with the Nashville princess, thanks.

Jenny tugs the NDA out of my hand with two pink fingernails before going to the car and putting the papers back in the passenger seat. She retrieves her yapping dog and a guitar case.

“It was lovely to meet you, Mr. Walcott,” she tells Vaughn with a smile. “You look nothing like your father, but you’re every bit as lovely.”

Finn snorts around his cigarette but covers with a cough when she turns her smile on him.

“Lovely to meet you as well, Mr. Reed. I’m sure Mr. Maxwell will be in touch if there are any further problems with the wiring.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says, barely hiding a smile. The only thing Finn knows about wiring is how to hot-wire a car.

“Wonderful.” Jenny beams at us, although her smile slips when she looks at me. “I’m going to go take a look inside. Could I trouble you to bring my stuff in?”

“No trouble at all,” I say sarcastically. “I’ve been waiting for the honor.”

She either misses my sarcasm or ignores it, sauntering up the wide steps toward the open front door, and we all turn to watch, my mouth practically watering at the sight of the back of her thighs.

“No trouble at all, huh?” Finn says from beside me.

He’s right. I’m totally fucked.

I’m not normally a fan of secrets in a book but I have every faith that Lauren Layne will deliver a great story for both Noah and Jenny. I’m so looking forward to digging in.

Love Unexpectedly Series

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

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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 the Author

Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

WEBSITE || TWITTER || FACEBOOK

Sunday Spotlight: Finding Fraser by kc dyer

Posted May 1, 2016 by Holly in Features | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I have a confession to make: I’ve never read an Outlander book. I know. I know. I tried. Really. I just couldn’t get into the first book. Even worse? I started watching the STARZ series last year and got totally hooked…and yet I still have no intention of reading the books. I did read all the Wiki spoilers, though. My booknerd card should probably be revoked. (Don’t kick me out! I love you guys!)

Still, I love Jamie. He’s the entire reason I watch the series. And the sole reason I read all the spoilers. I want a Jamie of my very own. Which is why I can totally relate to this book.

finding fraser
FINDING FRASER by kc dyer
Releases on May 3, 2016 by Berkley

Pre-Order the Book:

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Sometimes searching for true love can be a little…Outlandish.

I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. I fell in love hard, fast and completely. He knew how to ride a horse, wield a sword and stitch a wound. He was, in fact, the perfect man.

That he was fictional hardly entered into it.

At 29, Emma Sheridan’s life is a disaster and she’s tired of waiting for the perfect boyfriend to step from the pages of her favorite book. There’s only one place to look, and it means selling everything and leaving her world behind. With an unexpected collection of allies along the way, can Emma face down a naked fishmonger, a randy gnome, a perfidious thief, and even her own abdominal muscles on the journey to find her Fraser?

A naked fishmonger, a randy gnome and a perfidious thief? Ha!

Excerpt

March 14
Inverness, Scotland

I was just sliding out of the corner booth in the pub when I felt a hand on my arm.
“D’ye trrrust me?”
An extremely small man stood beside my seat. His eyes didn’t meet mine, but glared straight forward, which meant they were glued to my chest.
“D’ye trrrust me, lassie?” he repeated.
“I—I . . .”
Craig walked back up, regarding us with a twinkle in his eye.
“Ah, Emma—I see ye’ve met Rabbie. Rabbie Rowanby, meet Emma the American.”
The small man’s hand remained in my face, so I leaned backward and shook it weakly.
“The name’s Rowanby by birth,” he confided. “But everyone knows me as Rabbie the Gnome.”
He smiled, favored me at last with a straight look in the eyes, and hoisted himself up into the seat by the beer, which was thankfully across the table. Unfortunately, Craig slid back in beside me, effectively blocking any easy exit.
“Another pink drink for the lady,” cried Rabbie, and then reached across the table to take my hand again.
Craig leaned over and poked him in the chest and I took his instinctive recoil as an opportunity to pull my hand out of his grasp.
“Never trust this man,” Craig intoned.
Rabbie glared at him a moment, and then the two of them broke into helpless laughter.
I leaned back against the seat and took a sip of the drink that had magically appeared in front of me. This cranberry juice had added to it a generous helping of something that tasted distinctly of alcohol.
I smiled as Craig chuckled his way through an explanation of what a true, old, and dear friend Rabbie was. The individual in question was still doubled over, laughing.
I guess one beer goes a long way in a small man.
“Rab, Rab—ge’ aholda yerself, man,” spluttered Craig at last. “Now, this young lady is lookin’ to find hersel’ a set of nearby standin’ stones on the side of a hill. Have yeh go’ any ideas?”
“Ach, yeh can have a look at me own stones, lass,” Rabbie replied, reaching under the table. “Fair fine they are, with one standin’ tall between ’em right now!”
I tried desperately to unhear that sentence.
“Rabbie Rowanby, behave yersel’,” scolded Craig. “This young lady has been kind enough to share her table wi’ the likes of us. There’s no need fer that sorta language.”
The tiny man’s face puckered in an entirely insincere expression of apology. But as much as he turned his mouth down, he could not still the evil twinkle in those eyes. I scootched a little farther into the corner.
“Ah, yer right as allus, Craigy-boy. I see a beautiful woman and I cannae help mesel’.”
He tapped a blackened fingernail against his chin. “Hmmm. To tell yeh the gospel truth—and I seen me share of faerie rings around the north—there ain’t any circles on hillsides I can recall. Now, doon Fort William way, there’s a couple a beauts, mind . . .”
My bladder, by that time filled not only with my own cranberry juice, but also with this newer, strangely tastier concoction, had suddenly made itself known to me. And as it did, the light dawned.
“Excuse me,” I muttered, head down. “Just have to go to the ladies’.”
Craig had to stand to allow me out. Rabbie jumped out of his own seat and, advancing his leg, made a deep bow as I slid out of the booth.
“Jes’ round the corner, there,” he said, helpfully. And then not so helpfully: “Ye mus’ have a bladder o’ steel, lass! I’d a been t’ the bogs twice wi’ the amount of drink ye’ve got down yer gullet!”
I dashed to the washroom, the feeling of relief at escaping only mildly tempered by my own maybe less than steel-like capacity. There had to be a back door to this place—I could leave Craig and Rabbie to briefly mourn my passing before hitting on the next single woman they could find.
It wasn’t until I was washing my hands that I realized I’d left my backpack at the table.

Doesn’t this sound like a hoot? I can’t wait to read it.

 **Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of March’s features.**

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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!

kc dyer resides in the wilds of British Columbia in the company of an assortment of mammals, some of them human. She likes to walk in the woods and write books.

Her most recent novel—an Amazon #1 Bestseller in romantic comedy for grown-ups—is FINDING FRASER, first published in 2015, with a new Berkley edition slated for release in May, 2016 . For teens, kc’s most recent work is FACING FIRE, a sequel to the acclaimed novel, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, published by Doubleday/Random House. kc is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

Sunday Spotlight: Fire Bound by Christine Feehan

Posted April 24, 2016 by Holly in Features | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I’ve been reading Christine Feehan for many years now. While I lost interest in her other titles, I still adore her Sea Haven books. I anxiously await every new release..and this one is no different. I have to say, Fire Bound’s heroine was amazing. I adored her.

9780515156119_Fire Bound
Fire Bound (Sisters of the Heart #5) by Christine Feehan
Releases on April 26, 2016 by Jove

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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sea Haven novels returns to the circle of the six sisters of the heart, bound by the elements—and to one who possesses the power to inflame the most dangerous passions of all.
 
Flame-haired Lissa Piner is a skilled glass blower whose delicate gift conceals a burning inner strength that can destroy as exquisitely as it can create. Commissioned to design chandeliers for a string of luxury hotels, her remarkable skills have taken her to Italy. But Lissa’s real mission there is a secret. For her entire life has been a lie, leading to a chance to avenge a terrible wrong.

Enlisted as her bodyguard is Casmir Prakenskii, a trained assassin living off the grid. In Lissa, he sees a kindred spirit—something unexpected and wicked, mysterious and sensual. But more than desire is about to bring them together: because both of their pasts cry out for revenge. And for two people with this many secrets, this much passion, and this many enemies, someone is bound to get burned.

I love how these sisters of the heart tame these wild bad boys.The Prakenskii brothers were all raised to be assassins and shun all emotion. I love seeeing them come to life when they find the right partner.

Excerpt

Sometimes life was pure irony. Casimir Prakenskii was an assassin. A premiere, elite assassin. He’d been an assassin since his fifteenth birthday. He’d been in training practically from birth to be anyone—anyone at all—with the exception of Casimir Prakenskii. He didn’t even know who Casimir was. He wouldn’t recognize the man if he looked in the mirror.
The role he found himself in was unexpectedly more difficult than he had anticipated. Simple enough on the surface, he’d certainly played such roles before—enough that this one was second nature to him. A bodyguard on the estate of Luigi Abbracciabene. He usually could slide into any position easily, but Luigi kept only a very few men on the Abbracciabene estate.

The house and grounds weren’t overly large, but the estate was guarded by two roving men, not a team. Still, he managed to be in the right place when one of the bodyguards “unexpectedly” came down with a “serious illness” and decided to take leave. He’d been briefed and knew his target was coming for a visit and fortunately, he had a couple of weeks to get his cover in place.

His quarry was beautiful. There was no other word for her. Beautiful. She didn’t laugh often, but when she did, every head turned toward her. It wasn’t difficult to keep an eye on her because she liked to be outside, and her hair gave her away. When the sun poured down on her, her hair looked like a living flame. Sheets of thick red hair framed her delicate oval face. Her eyes were startling blue. Not blue green, but a true deep sapphire blue framed by thick red-gold lashes she rarely bothered to darken with mascara.

She had noticed him immediately and made inquiries. She didn’t live there. She hadn’t been there in over a year, but she still noticed he wasn’t a regular in the household. For some strange reason, he found that sexy—that she seemed to notice things other women wouldn’t.

She had come right up to him to introduce herself. Close. Unafraid. He’d never been affected by a woman before, not even when he slept with one, but there was no denying the instant attraction. She felt it too. He saw it in her eyes just for the briefest of seconds. Her breathing changed. One inhale. Two. That was it, but he’d noted it. Remembered. Would always remember that moment because, for him, it was significant. He’d felt the pull of their chemistry, and so had she. She was covering it and ignoring it, just as he was.

For the first time in his life, staring down into those amazing blue eyes, he wished a woman could see Casimir Prakenskii and not the man he was portraying. He didn’t want this woman affected by a fictional character, a bodyguard who would do his job and walk away never to be seen again. He wanted her to see him—whoever the hell that was.

Her voice was soft, pitched low and melodious. The notes sank right through his skin and branded her into his bones—not a good start for a man like him. He was a master of disguise and, along with that, he was a master of his emotions, but he found himself listening for the sound of her voice wherever he was in or outside the house. He didn’t allow her—or anyone else—to see his reaction to her; he tucked it away to bring out later to savor. It was a gift. Feeling. Anything at all beside loneliness and despair. Feeling for a woman was a gift.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Christine Feehan, 2016.

Aww, Casimir. He’s already gone for that girl and he doesn’t even know it.  <3 <3 <3

Boy Melts

Sisters of the Heart

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of April’s featured books.

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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!

Christine Feehan c Samantha Goodacre-SLG Photography

I’ve been a writer all of my life — it is who I am. I write for myself and always have. The ability to create pictures and emotions with words is such a miracle to me. I read everything; I mean everything! All kinds of books, even encyclopedias. I am fascinated by the written word and I love storytellers. It is a great privilege to be counted one myself.

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Sunday Spotlight: The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath

Posted April 17, 2016 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Published by Avon, Harper Collins

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

The Earl Takes All is the second book in the Hellions of Havisham series by Lorraine Heath and it is the book that I was dreading coming out at the same time that I was anxious for it to come out. You see, the lead up to this book kind of shocked me cause an author went there. She killed her darling and when we first meet these characters, I was like “Oh shit, this is some forbidden business right here!” but then you keep reading and you’re torn.

The wait for this book still had me torn on how I would feel about what I know is going to happen. I knew that it was going to be a whopper of a story and more than anything, I couln’t wait.

The Earl Takes All
The Earl Takes All (Hellions of Havisham #2) by Lorraine Heath
Releases on April 26, 2016 by Avon

Pre-Order the Book:

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One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.

After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.

For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.

He pretends to be her dead husband y’all! Her dead freaking husband!!

I can’t even…

Excerpt

Sitting in a plush chair near the fire, she set her feet on a low stool and curled her toes. Unfurled them, thought of the callused hands that had stroked her with such surety, as though he’d rubbed her feet a thousand times before, when he’d never once performed that intimate and luxurious service for her. She imagined those abraded hands skimming over all of her, how marvelous the different textures would feel, what a very different experience it might be. She rather hoped they wouldn’t go completely soft before they made love again.

Hearing the click of the door opening, she looked over to see her husband stride in with two wineglasses dangling between the fingers of one hand and two wine bottles caught in the other. He staggered to a stop and stared at her, his gaze running the length of her as though he’d never before seen her in a nightdress and wrap. Perhaps it was simply that her condition was not as disguised as when she wore a dress. Self-consciously she tugged on the sides of her wrap, trying to close it over her belly and breasts, but it refused to cooperate. “I’ve become huge while you were away.”

“No, not at all.” With his elbow, he closed the door before bringing the wine and glasses over and setting them on the small table before the sofa. She could see now that one was a bottle of red, the other white. “Our guests were completely understanding, and the servants should be bringing our dinner any moment now. I thought we might enjoy a spot of wine while we waited.”

“I’m not convinced spirits are good for the babe.”

He suddenly looked incredibly uncomfortable, as though he’d forgotten about her condition. “You’re absolutely right. Not certain what I was thinking.”

“No reason you can’t indulge.”

He wasted no time pouring red into a glass, lifting it toward her in a salute before taking a sip and walking to the fireplace. He looked at the fire, darted a quick glance to her, and returned his gaze to the fire as though not quite sure what to do with his eyes. “How are your feet?”

“Much better. It helped I think to change into something not quite so confining. Since it was to be only the two of us here, I didn’t think formality was required.”

“Of course it’s not.”

Shoving herself to her feet, she was grateful the swelling had dissipated completely and she was able to glide toward him without any limping or discomfort. She couldn’t be completely certain, but it appeared he’d ceased breathing as she neared. “You should be as comfortable,” she murmured, taking his glass from that marvelous hand that had touched her so intimately and placing the wineglass on the mantel.

Slipping her hands beneath the opening of his unbuttoned jacket, she glided them over his shoulders, tugging off his coat. “You’ve broadened a bit while you were away.”

“Trekking through the wilds is strenuous work.”

The jacket began to fall. She caught it before it hit the floor and tossed it onto the nearest chair. Slowly, she freed the buttons of his black waistcoat. “Your skin is darker.”

“The African sun is harsh.”

She lifted her gaze to his. “I could always tell you and Edward apart because he wasn’t nearly as fair as you. Did you blister when you arrived? ”

“No.”

She eased off the waistcoat, pitched it onto the jacket. Lowering her gaze, she began unknotting his neck cloth.

“Julia, I’m not certain this is wise.”

She gave him a speculative look. “To be comfortable?”

“To tempt me.”

A thrill shot through her. Yes, they were in mourning, yes, sorrow radiated from him, but she still had power over him. She flung the neck cloth aside and cupped his face between her hands, her fingers dancing along the back of his neck. “I missed you so much.”

She tilted his head down, rose up on her toes and planted her mouth on his. His arm snaked around her, drew her nearer. His tongue slid between her lips as he adjusted the angle and took the kiss deeper. She fairly melted against him.

Hunger. Urgency. A compelling need. They were all there. In him. In her. As though death hovered nearby, waiting, as though with enough passion and desire they could ward it off. A low growl vibrated through his chest, shimmered through her breasts, which were flattened against the linen of his shirt.

The heat between them intensified. His hands traveled over her back, her hips, cupped her backside, pressed her ever closer. The hard rigid length of him pushed against her belly, driving her mad with want and desire. It had been so long, too long. Once they knew she was with child, he’d insisted they refrain from any intimacy for fear his ardor might cause her to lose the child. Oh, he’d kissed her, held her, stroked her on occasion, but not like this. Not with this fierce need. She wasn’t certain what they’d shared had ever been as primal as this—as though he’d returned from his travels uncivilized, in need of taming.

I’m not going to lie. I already read this book and I am so on board for this book to be this week’s Sunday Spotlight because it was a damn good story. The angst was high, the romance was completely believable (I know, right?) and overall, it was a solid effort from Lorraine Heath.

Just…

We’re going to be alright because Edward is everything. 🙂

Hellions of Havisham Series

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Lorraine Heath

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Lorraine Heath has always had a soft spot for emotional love stories. No doubt because growing up, watching movies with her mom, she was taught that the best movies “won’t half make you cry.”

She is the daughter of a British beauty (her mom won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero–Joker on the original Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her “dual” nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan, and she enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.

When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.” Her novels have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today, Waldenbooks, and most recently, the New York Times.

Sunday Spotlight: Gone From Me by Linda Winfree

Posted April 10, 2016 by Holly in Features | 6 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

It’s no secret that Linda Winfree is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. Lori introduced me to her books years ago, shortly after she published her debut novel, and I’ve been gobbling up her books ever since. She hasn’t released a book since 2009, so you can imagine my elation when it was announced she going to release two more books in her Hearts of the South series this year.

gone from me
Gone From Me (Hearts of the South #10) by Linda Winfree
Releases May 20, 2016 from Samhain Publishing

Pre-Order the Book:

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Their life was a fairy tale—until it all came tumbling down.

Hearts of the South, Book 10

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Amy Bennett isn’t sure when her own Prince Charming went AWOL from their marriage, but she’s certain of one thing. She wants him back. She and Rob had it all: law-enforcement careers they loved and each other. Yet somehow he’s wound up sleeping on the couch and emotionally beyond her reach.

Rob is trying to put the pieces back together, but battling his own demons while starting over in a small-town sheriff’s department is pushing him—and his marriage—to the breaking point.

His very first missing person’s case threatens to end anything but happily ever after for the families involved. Then a young man goes missing too, and the pressure has Rob reaching for the nearest lifeline. The one that’s dangling by the barest of threads—his wife.

And though Amy’s grip is strong, her love may not be enough to keep Rob from slipping away.

Warning: Contains a husband who’s holding too much in, and a wife who’ll do anything to get him to let go, even meet him halfway on their last piece of common ground—in bed. Also: cop bonding between cops who talk like cops.

Fans of the series should recognize some of the key players in this scene. If you haven’t read her before, you really must.

Here, Rob, a new deputy in Chandler County gets pulled into his supervisors office because he almost got into a fight with another cop out on a call. He held himself in check, but just barely.

Excerpt

“Have a seat.” Calvert closed the office door behind them, and the muted noise from dispatch and the squad room died away. Rob sat, back ramrod straight, in one of the chairs angled in front of the desk. Calvert crossed to sit at his desk. “You want to tell me what happened out there?”

Rob shrugged. The words locked up in his throat.

Calvert’s brows winged upward. “You got nothing to say?”

Silence descended. The clock ticked. Rob stared at his knuckles, lifted his gaze to the photos gracing the corner of Calvert’s desk. Wedding shot, another one with his wife and son, a third of his little boy in an orange life vest, Lake Blackshear sparkling behind him.

No way this guy would ever understand how having everything fall out from under you made you want to take that first swing, and a second, and a third… Even if he hadn’t taken a swing at Jake, his desire to do so had been obvious. Damn it, he didn’t need to look unstable.

“You’ve got to give me something here.” Calvert lifted his fingers, a come-on-man gesture. “I appreciate your not beating the shit out of Stringham under provocation, but I need some reassurance that I’m doing the right thing if I put you back in that car with Troy Lee. Give me a reason not to tell you to the hit the road.”

Hell. His marriage and his career in one twenty-four-hour period. He rested his head in his hands, dug his fingers into his skull.

“Bennett, come on. Talk to me. I might get it.” When Rob lifted his head, Calvert watched him with a rueful grin. “Hell, I physically attacked the local head of the GBI a few years back.”

“Botine?”

“Yeah.” Calvert rubbed at his jaw.

“Why?”

“It’s complicated, but made perfect sense at the time. Now, what has you wound so tight?”

Rob fingered the nick on his wedding ring. “He’s…he was one of my oldest friends.”

“Was?”

“I caught him making a pass at my wife last night.” Rob rolled his shoulders, trying to relieve the tension there. “I guess he wasn’t the buddy I thought he was.”

“That…explains a lot.” Calvert leaned back in his chair. “So what about the next time Stringham pushes your buttons?”

“The same as today. He can push all he wants, but I’m not breaking. He’s not worth it.” He couldn’t lose this job, couldn’t lose everything at this point. Rob leaned forward, attention locked on Calvert’s unreadable expression. “I’m not the kind of agent, the kind of cop, that loses control. I have never lost it, with a suspect or in any situation, and I didn’t lose it today. It’s not the kind of cop I am.”

He glanced away, his gaze lingering on Calvert’s FBI award hanging on the wall, and blew out a disgusted breath. “It’s not the kind of man I am, either.”

“Well.” Calvert’s quiet voice held a hint of satisfaction. “Now that’s what I needed to hear.”

“So I’m not fired?”

“No, you’re not fired.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You are getting some extended time riding with Troy Lee before we turn you loose.” Calvert rested his elbow on the chair arm, a finger at his temple. “Having some backup might be a good idea for a while.”

“Yes, sir.”

Calvert cleared his throat. “It’s important that you have an outlet, Bennett. Someone to talk to, a way to let the anger and frustration out.”

He swallowed. “I’ll talk to someone.”

Hell if he knew who, though. He had a few college buddies left, but in the past few months, they’d all drifted away. Honestly, Jake had been the last one. His dad was gone, and if he were here, he wouldn’t get it, any of it, his failures as a husband and a cop. And not like he could turn to either Amy or Jake any longer.

“Even as much as he talks, I understand Troy Lee can be a good listener. He’s smart too.” Calvert rubbed a hand over his jaw once again. “Considering you two will spend a lot of time in that car together… All I’m saying is talking to him might be a place to start, if there’s no one else.”

Rob nodded. He waited for Calvert to tell him he was done for the day, to go home and try again tomorrow.

The older man leaned back in his chair. “You think you can compartmentalize this enough to do the rest of the day?”

What the hell? He was getting another chance? A smile, the first real one of the day, pulled at his mouth. “Yes, sir.”

“All right.” Calvert pushed up from the desk and crossed to open the door. “Get back to work.”

When Rob emerged into the hall, he found Troy Lee and Chris waiting, lounging against the wall with assumed nonchalance. Troy Lee straightened immediately, hands spread in inquiry. “Well?”

Rob glanced back at the door that had shut softly behind him. “He told me to get back to work.”

Troy Lee’s mouth dropped and he closed it with a snap. “You’re kidding.”

“No.” Rob shrugged. He still couldn’t fathom it. Shoot, if he’d seen himself as wound up as he’d been earlier, he’d have sent himself home.

Chris whistled, long and low. He and Troy Lee exchanged a look, and Troy Lee chuckled. “Son of a bitch, he’s mellowed. Well, hell, let’s get back to work then.”

As they moved down the hall toward the side exit, Troy Lee clapped Rob’s shoulder. “Dude, I’m buying you a beer tonight.”

Rob frowned. “Why?”

Chris laughed and pushed the door open. “Because if anyone deserved an ass-beating, it’s Stringham. Don’t know many guys who wouldn’t have obliged him.”

Troy Lee settled his campaign hat on his head. “What was that about anyway?”

“It’s a long story.”

“Great. We have four more hours on shift. You can tell me all about it.”

You guys. This book was so good. I just loved it. I’m so freaking glad she’s writing again.

Hearts of the South Series

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Linda Winfree

How does an English teacher end up plotting murders? She uses her experiences as a cop’s wife to become a writer of romantic suspense! Linda Winfree lives in a quintessential small Georgia town with her husband and grand-dog Poe. By day, she teaches English/Language Arts and is an all-round education nerd; by night she pens sultry books full of murder and mayhem.

To learn more about Linda and her books, visit www.lindawinfreewrites.com, follow her on Twitter @lwinfreewrites, or connect with her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lindawinfreewrites. You can also contact Linda via email at lindawinfreewrites@gmail.com.