Publisher: Harlequin

Sunday Spotlight: The Immortal by Gena Showalter

Posted January 16, 2022 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Immortal by Gena ShowalterThe Immortal by Gena Showalter
Narrator: Max Bellmore
Series: Rise of the Warlords #2
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Length: 11 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter delivers The Immortal, the second dark and sexy book in her Rise of the Warlords series, featuring a cold, merciless assassin and a stubborn harpy warrior... one fated to die by the other's hand.

Halo Phaninon, assassin of gods, is as cold and merciless as a machine. For victory, he crosses any line. When tasked to kill twelve of mythology’s fiercest monsters in twenty-four hours, Halo eagerly accepts. Except, each morning he awakens to the same day, forced to relive new horrors. Only one other person retains their memory—the beauty who threatens his iron control.

Ophelia the Flunk Out hates her disaster of a life. She’s the family disappointment, a harpy warrior without a kill and powerless—or is she? Nearly every night she’s doomed to repeat her own murder, but each morning she arises to spar with Halo, the ruthless warlord increasingly determined to save her…and lure her to his bed.

Halo’s insatiable desire for the stubborn Ophelia drives him wild…and he only craves more. If he remains in the time loop, they stay together. But if he escapes, they lose each other forever.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

A faraway realm Long ago

“Emotions are our greatest enemy.” With an unhurried stride, the headmaster paced before his charges. Students of the Order. The train of his voluminous black robe dragged behind him.

The most notable acolyte—Four—stood shoulder to shoulder with nine others in a perfectly straight line. Each boy wore a colorless tunic and loose pants; each kept his eyes focused ahead, chin up, hands locked behind his back and bare feet pressed to¬gether. None dared to take more than eight inhalations per min¬ute. The allotted amount.

Though a mere twelve years in age, Four already towered over the others. As the son of an eight-foot-tall war god, he might grow bigger than even the headmaster. If that happened…

Headmaster dies screaming.

The stern, merciless male possessed crimson skin and obsid¬ian eyes without any whites; the instructors were exact copies of him. Their only differences came from the symbols etched into their faces. Symbols that glowed when they contemplated any kind of punishment.

Headmaster never ceased glowing. “Say it,” he commanded now.

“Emotions are our greatest enemy,” the boys echoed in unison, monotone.

Four meant those words with every fiber of his being. What he wouldn’t give to rid himself of any softness. To no longer suffer the torment of grief and loss. Perhaps then he might fi¬nally forget his tenth birthday. The day invaders murdered his mother and carted him to the Order.

Here, orphaned children of “myth and legend” learned to assassinate kings and gods. The best executioners received rewards. Those who floundered were often used during target practice.

“Today, you will prove you mean what you say.” Headmaster continued his unhurried back-and-forth stride, drawing out the suspense. Testing his students, always testing. In the empty white room, his footfalls proved silent. “Shall I tell you how?”

“If you wish, Headmaster,” the boys responded, again in unison.

Four’s stomach churned, bile singeing his chest. He’d felt sick all morning. Even before he was summoned from his quarters—a small cubicle containing only a bed, nightstand, and handful of books he’d received for exemplary behavior. A sparse prison he’d come to appreciate. The less you owned, the less others could use against you. But not by word or deed did he reveal his physical discomfort. He knew better.

What would Headmaster force the students to endure today? Or worse, to do?

His skin glowed brighter as he passed Four. Five, the boy to his right, released an almost imperceptible whimper.

In a blink, the headmaster returned to the lad.

Four didn’t move. He willed his heart to maintain a slow, steady beat, lest a glaze of sweat dampen his skin, giving him away.

Headmaster purred, “Are you afraid, Five?”

Each student was known only by a number. A reminder of a terrible truth: we are easily replaced.

“No, sir,” Five said, but a slight tremor proved him a liar. “I fear nothing.”

“I’m not certain I believe you.” Headmaster lifted an arm and snapped his fingers. “But there’s a way to learn the truth.”

Instructors observed the proceedings from the back wall, lined up just like the students. A lone male eased into motion, closing the distance to stand beside his superior. Dread gave the sterile air a sharp bite.

“Whip him,” Headmaster ordered. “He’s to receive twenty lashes. If he makes a noise, cut out his tongue. If he sheds a tear, blind him.”

No one in the room revealed an outward reaction as the instructor padded behind Five. But inside, Four waged a fierce war. He liked the boy and protected him whenever possible. Of the ten students in their group, Five was the kindest. Unlike the others, he shared his rewards, no matter what they happened to be. Food. Soft blankets. Special weapons. But Five was also the weakest among them, and he was about to suffer untold agonies. Could he maintain his silence until the end of the whip-ping? Could anyone?

As the instructor unhooked a barbed rope from the belt of his robe, Four fought the urge to safeguard his friend. He knew better. He’d made this mistake once before, with another student. The moment he had intervened, he’d made everything worse. At least Five wasn’t being given an animal to raise and later kill.

The first strike landed with a whoosh. Relief sparked as silence stretched. The second and third strikes fell. Five did well, his face remaining a blank mask.

Headmaster leaned down, putting himself at eye level with his victim. “With every lash, you are being rid of your secret shame. Thank me for this opportunity.”

“Thank you, Headmaster.”

Whoosh. Crack.

Whoosh. Crack.

After the seventh strike, Headmaster slowly slid his attention to Four. He canted his head, staring hard. The symbols in his skin glowed brighter and brighter.

Four revealed nothing.

“Tell me what you think of Five’s situation,” the evil male cajoled.

“I cannot.” The calmness—the coldness—of Four’s tone chilled even him. “I think nothing of his situation.”

“Is that so?”

Whoosh. Crack. Whoosh. Crack.

Calm. Steady. Breathe in, out. “That is so.”

After searching Four’s face, Headmaster withdrew a dagger from a hidden pocket of his robe and offered the hilt. “Kill him.”

Four blinked twice. “Sir?”

“You will kill Five, or I will kill you. The decision is yours. You have one minute to decide.”

As Four held the male’s gaze, he knew two things with ab¬solute certainty. If he hesitated to do this, he would die today. If he revealed a single emotion, he would want to die.

With iron resolve, he accepted the weapon, his grip steady. He stepped backward and to the right, moving between the instructor with the whip and Five. Staring at his back—at the blood wetting his tunic.
I can do this. Four had delivered many deaths the past two years, his kill list more than double the length of anyone else’s. But then, he was born for this. And yet…

He felt as if a part of him died each time he stole another’s life.

Would he act anyway? Oh yes. Without hesitation.

Four stepped forward. Mere inches separated his chest and the ravaged back of his newest target. He reached around and gripped the boy’s chin, angling his head to the side. With his free hand, he pressed the tip of a blade into the upper dip of Five’s sternum.

A mewl of fear escaped his friend, and the churning in his stomach intensified.

“Your time runs out,” Headmaster stated.

Four blanked his mind, a grueling skill he’d worked hard to perfect. One by one, his thoughts faded to the background, his emotions dulling until he felt nothing. Only a cold, gnawing void. He calmed, and his breathing evened out. This? This was nothing. A single death among hundreds.

As the boy opened his mouth to protest or plead, Four met Headmaster’s obsidian gaze—and plunged the dagger deep. He twisted his wrist at the end. Bone cracked.

Five stiffened against him, choking sounds leaving him. In seconds—an endless eternity—he collapsed, crashing to the floor.

Blood spurted from the wound, splattering the motionless body, the floor. Four…didn’t care. He survived, whatever the cost.

One day, things would be different. Until then, Four could only bide his time…

Warm liquid pooled around his feet, and his inner cold thawed fast. The sickness returned to his belly.

“What is this I smell on you, hmm? Fear?” The headmaster swooped in and ran the tip of his nose across Four’s neck while inhaling. “No, not fear, but something.” He straightened and motioned to the instructor with the whip. “Give him twenty lashes.”

Reveal nothing. “Thank you, Headmaster.”

Already in position, the instructor struck without delay. Whoosh. Crack.

Pain splintered through Four, shooting across each of his limbs.

Whoosh. Crack. Whoosh. Crack.

He held Headmaster’s gaze until the end—and smiled. “Thank you again, Headmaster.”

Scowling, the male grazed two black claws across his cheek. “Whatever you’re feeling will boil over as soon as I turn up the heat.” Walking away, Headmaster spoke to the instructor. “Give him twenty more.”

Excerpted from The Immortal by Gena Showalter, Copyright © 2022 by Gena Showalter. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Rise of the Warlords

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: January 2022

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 Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees.


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan Hart

Posted July 1, 2021 by Ames in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan HartReviewer: Ames
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomless-cup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar's clientele.

Caught in Meredith's sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren's attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible—not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith's husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it's all in fun, isn't it?
In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They're three against the world.

But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain—and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility….

This review was originally published on Oct 9, 2012

I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing. There’s something about it that just grips me right from the get go and that’s how I felt with this book. Also, her characters are so interesting, I wish they were real.

Tesla Martin is happy with her life. She works in a coffee shop and she really takes pleasure in her job. Her boss is another matter, but the customers, her regulars, make up for it. She had an unorthodox upbringing, with her parents taking her and her brother to a commune every summer until they divorced. Now her and her brother are close and she lives with friends, in their basement.

One of her regulars, Meredith, is someone that’s always intrigued and attracted Tesla. So when they take their friendship outside the bounds of the coffeeshop, she’s pleased. But Meredith had a reason for her friendship. She was looking for a woman to be a third in the bedroom, and Tesla fits her and her husband’s requirements. Tesla is open enough to consider it and meet with Charlie, Meredith’s husband. Because this is not the first time Tesla has been involved in a threesome.

As Tesla becomes more involved with Charlie and Meredith, her other relationships suffer a bit. Namely, her friend Vic, whom she lives with, doesn’t exactly approve of what she’s doing and has some guilt he needs to deal with. And then Meredith, the one who drew Tesla into her marriage begins to pull away.

I was engrossed in this story. The developing friendship between Tesla and Meredith, how her attraction to Meredith draws her into a threesome with Charlie, whom she’s also attracted to. The dynamics of how that played out in the bedroom. And later how Meredith’s true nature is slowly revealed. All very interesting.

Another character that pulled me in was Vic and Tesla’s history with him. She lives with him, his wife and their two kids. She helps out a lot around the house. And she loves his wife. But Vic is keeping secrets and Tesla doesn’t want to get drawn in there. He also took in Tesla and her younger brother when their family life imploded and he does not like this new relationship so that drives a wedge between them. The conflict that derived from those two things definitely pushes the story further, especially as it directly relates to what’s going on with Charlie and Meredith.

So as much as certain aspects of the book appealed to me and drew me in, there are some flaws. Meredith and Charlie. LOL I know, I know. The other couple. First there’s Meredith. I can see where she would attract Tesla but she definitely doesn’t appeal to the reader. Especially as I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and figured it would be from her end. Like does the author want us to root for an HEA for all 3 characters or just for Tesla? There’s a tension there, that’s for sure. And then there’s Charlie. I didn’t feel like we got to know him as well as we did Tesla. His character was bland. Sexy bland, but bland. I wish there had been more depth to him. So not knowing him as well, the ending was a bit flat for me. When I finished the book, my reaction was “Huh.”

However, the overall story was engrossing. I do recommend this. 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Wildflower Season by Michelle Major

Posted May 23, 2021 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: Wildflower Season by Michelle MajorWildflower Season: A Novel by Michelle Major
Series: The Carolina Girls #1
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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"A dynamic start to a series with a refreshingly original premise." —Kirkus Reviews on The Magnolia Sisters

She always followed the path of least resistance…until it leads her to a small town where she can follow her dreams.

When Emma Cantrell’s marriage imploded, she learned a fast and painful lesson about trusting her heart. Then, on a visit to Magnolia, North Carolina, to see her brother, an elegant, if dilapidated, mansion for sale presents the opportunity to start over. Risking everything on her dream of opening the Wildflower Inn, Emma buys the house…just as the storm of the century hits, severely damaging the structure. But a chance meeting with Holly, a bride-to-be in desperate need of a new venue, gives her hope…and the name of a contractor who’ll work fast and cheap, allowing Emma to repair the inn in time to host the wedding and save her investment.

A furniture builder who hasn’t picked up a tool in the five years since his wife died, Cameron Mitchell has no intention of agreeing to help this beautiful—and, he’d guess, entitled—woman insisting that he fix her inn. Until he learns that Emma was sent by Holly, the little sister of his late wife. Grudgingly, Cameron agrees to do the work, with one condition: that he be left completely alone. But the more time they spend together, the more Emma touches a part of his heart he was sure died long ago, forcing him to try making peace with his past.

The Carolina Girls

Excerpt

Excerpted from Wildflower Season, by Michelle Major. Harlequin, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

She’d gone to the dock south of town as Holly instructed, only to be told Cam was at home today. The guys that gave her directions to his property appeared both curious and amused a woman was seeking him out. But they’d been nice enough to her face—polite in a down-home kind of way—even with the comments about Cam not having friends or entertaining ladies at his home.

Emma could see why as she approached the house. It wasn’t run-down per se, and the front yard was relatively tidy compared to the chaos on the way in. But there was something unapproachable about the cabin. A weighty emptiness hung in the already thick, sultry air.

If only one of the contractors she’d contacted earlier had returned her call. Maybe she should turn around and try them again. Or insist Holly come with her to talk to Camden.

“Can you read?”

She stopped in her tracks at the question that carried to her from the cabin’s front door, spoken in a deep, almost disbelieving tone.

“Yes, I can read.” She plastered a smile on her face and took another step forward. “Are you—”

“Then you need to turn right around, ma’am. Because the signs posted are pretty clear to someone claiming to be literate.”

“I’m not looking for trouble.” She lifted her sunglasses to the top of her head, held a hand over her eyes and squinted up at the porch, but all she could make out was the silhouette of a man in the door.

He chuckled, a rusty sound that reverberated through her like the vibration of a tuning fork. “Somehow I don’t believe you.”

The screen door squeaked open. Emma heard a booming bark and caught a streak of tan fur and then she was on her backside in the dirt with at least a hundred pounds of damp dog circling her in glee.

Emma liked dogs, all animals, really. She’d never actually owned one, but when she ran her family’s charitable foundation they’d funded various local shelters and animal rescue organizations.

The dog seemed overenthusiastic but not threatening. “Good boy,” she said, peering under his belly to confirm he was indeed a boy. She got to her feet as he ran back to the house with her sunglasses in his mouth.

Sunglasses that had cost her over three hundred dollars and that she couldn’t afford to replace on her current salary of less than nothing. She wasn’t about to explain that to the man who stared down at her from the top step.

Her breath hissed out like she’d just taken a blow to the stomach. Holly had failed to mention that her former brother-in-law was hot as all get-out, in a Paul Bunyan sort of way. Rugged had never been Emma’s type. Her ex-husband was handsome enough, polished and a little nerdy. But Cam Arlinghaus was every lumberjack fantasy Emma had never had come to life. He had dark, wavy hair and a shadow of stubble covering his angular jaw. It was nearly ninety degrees so there was no flannel to be seen, but he wore the low-slung cargo shorts and faded T-shirt like he was a cover model for a deep-sea fishing guide magazine.

“You ignored the No Trespassing and the Beware of Dog signs,” he said, his voice flat. “Those signs are there for a reason.”

She nodded, her flummoxed mind trying hard to put together a coherent thought in the face of all that strapping masculinity. It rolled off him in waves and felled Emma like a riptide. Turn around, her sense of self-preservation screamed. Run as fast as you can.

The Carolina Girls

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 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 Michelle Major

Michelle Major author photo

Michelle Major is the Publishers Weekly best-selling, RITA award winning author of over thirty sexy and sweet contemporary romances. She loves second-chances love stories, smart heroines and strong heroes. A Midwesterner at heart, she’s made the Rocky Mountains her home for nearly half her life and is thrilled to share her books with readers. Connect with her at www.michellemajor.com.


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Throwback Thursday Review: Should’ve Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson (with spoilers)

Posted March 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Should’ve Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson (with spoilers)Reviewer: Holly
Should've Been a Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Sons of Chance #4
Also in this series: Wild at Heart (Sons of Chance, #11)
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: No
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Wanted: One hot cowboy...

Party organizer Tyler O'Connelli is on the fast track to her dream career. She's so close she can almost taste it. But when she returns to her family and sees her one-night stand, Alex Keller, all done up in his cowboy gear, her self-control is stretched to the "breaking point...."

They're worlds apart. She's a busy career girl, and Alex is a cowboy. But while getting together might not bode well for anything long-term, it more than makes up for it in sheer hot chemistry Problem is, this is one wrangler she might want to get tied down--and tied up--to...indefinitely

This review was originally posted on May 25, 2011.

I was anxious for this story after finishing the previous in the series. I’m glad VLT decided to write it. My review contains mild plot spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Alex and Tyler shared a passionate night together at the wedding of his sister, who was marrying into the same family Tyler’s sister had. As an activities director on a cruise ship, Tyler doesn’t have much opportunity for relations with the opposite sex. She figures she’ll see Alex again after their night – they are related through marriage, after all – but she isn’t worried about it. Having a one off isn’t that big a deal to either of them, especially since Alex is recovering from a divorce.

10 months go by before they’re reunited and both are surprised to find that they haven’t been able to forget the other. If circumstances were different, they might even consider trying to build a relationship. As it stands, Tyler is up for a major promotion and getting ready to set sail on a world cruise. She isn’t interested in settling down on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming.

Although the longer she spends with Alex and the rest of the Chance family, the more she questions her desire to continue being a world traveler. But is Alex willing to commit if she sticks around? And is she willing to stick around if he’s not?

I have to take this story in two parts. 1) the romance. I think the romance worked very well. The connection between Alex and Tyler is well established going into the story, so the small page count doesn’t hurt it. Their decision to keep it light was obviously doomed to failure – both had their emotions engaged early on. I felt the connection between them and enjoyed it.

The second part of this was less easy to like. Tyler’s focus on her career really played a large part in the story. It was the main conflict that kept them apart and the whole reason they resisted entering into a deeper relationship. And yet Tyler decides, rather unexpectedly, that she’d like to settle down after all and perhaps become the marketing director for the town. A position that doesn’t even exist. There was no talk of Alex taking a position on the cruise ship – something he was qualified for with a communications and DJ background – or of them working on something long distance so that Tyler wouldn’t have to give up her career.

That in and of itself wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but once she mentions her plan to Alex and he vetoes it (because he thinks she deserves more) that’s it..she gives it up. It was obvious her only reason for staying was because of Alex. I can understand him being a consideration, but to give up a life long dream and a career, I felt she needed to do it for a better reason than a man.

While I enjoyed the romance, the fact that all the give was done on Tyler’s part really brought the story down for me.

3 out of 5

Sons of Chance

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Last Carolina Sister by Michelle Major

Posted March 7, 2021 by Holly 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: The Last Carolina Sister by Michelle MajorThe Last Carolina Sister by Michelle Major
Series: The Magnolia Sisters #3
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

“Perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber.”—Publishers Weekly

In Magnolia, North Carolina, love might be waiting right next door…

Meredith Ventner knows a wounded creature when she sees one. Though her temporary new neighbor may be—on the surface at least—a successful, drop-dead gorgeous doctor, she recognizes the deep hurt Ryan Sorensen is carrying, and it’s catnip to her soul. But even though Meredith is the youngest, scrappiest and single-est of Magnolia’s most famous sisters, she’s committed to expanding the animal shelter on her newly inherited farm. She can’t waste her energy on a man who’s only passing through town.

Ryan is hoping that after a month of small-town living he’ll be healed enough to return to his busy ER. His injured leg isn’t half as painful as his guilt from the tragedy he's trying to forget. Yet somehow, helping feisty, tenderhearted Meredith care for her menagerie is making him question his career-first priorities. Here in this quirky small town another future is coming into view, but can he change his life, and open his heart, to claim it?   

The Magnolia Sisters

Book 1: The Magnolia Sisters
Book 2: The Merriest Magnolia
Book 3: The Last Carolina Sister

Excerpt

Excerpted from The Last Carolina Sister, by Michelle Major. Harlequin, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

She laughed softly. “All animals have personalities, most of them more appealing than humans you meet.”

“Based on some of the characters I’ve run across in the ER, I can only imagine.”

“You must think I’m a silly, crazy pet-rescue lady, when what you do has life-or-death stakes. Most people do.”

As they watched the animals, he shifted closer to her, not so they were touching but enough that he felt the startling connection like a physical force between them. “I don’t think you’re silly, Meredith.” Her name on his lips felt right. “I’d considered crazy with the way you showed up on my doorstep, but now I get that it’s passion. You’re passionate.”

The moment the word slipped off his tongue, he regretted it. She glanced up at him, and he took a step away, not wanting to spook her. Her gaze had sharpened but held the tiniest speck of vulnerability, like she needed someone to tell her she wasn’t silly or crazy.

He wanted to say a lot of things in this moment that wouldn’t be smart for either of them. Ryan had come to Magnolia to recover on his own, not to make friends and definitely not to acknowledge an unexpected attraction to his gorgeous, spitfire neighbor.

“I should be getting home.” He made a show of yawning.

“Right,” she agreed, calling out good-night to each of the animals by name as they passed.

The damp air of the barn made Ryan’s lower leg stiffen, and he did his best not to be too obvious about how much he had to rely on his cane as they walked to her truck.
He noticed each time Meredith’s gaze tracked to his bum leg, but thankfully she didn’t ask any more questions. It was as if they’d both used up their allotment of words for the day, and by mutual agreement they drove the short distance between the two properties in a companionable silence.

“Thank you again, Doc,” she said when she pulled to a stop in front of the cottage. “I owe you.”

“Just promise me you won’t trust any more idiot men who tell you they’re interested in your kittens,” he said, then opened the door.

She grinned. “Cross my heart,” she said as she traced the shape over her thick jacket.

Ryan’s heart thumped in his chest. Despite a job that must entail hours of manual labor, her fingers were slender and elegant. Noticing them made him wonder about the rest of her body, which was not a path he had any intention of letting his mind wander down.

“Good night,” he told her and closed the car door with more force than was probably necessary. Time to remind himself that their little adventure tonight had been an aberration, not the start of anything more.

He waited until her taillights disappeared around the curve in his driveway and then limped up the steps to his front door.

The Magnolia Sisters

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: March 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 Michelle Major

Michelle Major author photo

Michelle Major is the Publishers Weekly best-selling, RITA award winning author of over thirty sexy and sweet contemporary romances. She loves second-chances love stories, smart heroines and strong heroes. A Midwesterner at heart, she’s made the Rocky Mountains her home for nearly half her life and is thrilled to share her books with readers. Connect with her at www.michellemajor.com.


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