Tag: Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Desolation Road by Christine Feehan

Posted July 12, 2020 by Casee 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: Desolation Road by Christine FeehanDesolation Road by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #4
Also in this series: Judgment Road (Torpedo Ink #1), Judgment Road, Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2), Vendetta Road, Desolation Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

Take the ride of your life with the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club in this thrilling romance novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.    Torpedo Ink is Aleksei “Absinthe” Solokov’s whole life. They’re his brothers, his family—his everything. But that doesn't stop him from wanting something that only belongs to him. That’s why the tough biker has spent the last six weeks at the library, reading every book he can get his hands on and watching the prim and proper librarian who makes his blood rush.    For the past six weeks, Scarlet Foley has been fantasizing about the handsome, tattooed man whose eyes follow her every move. She senses he's dangerous. She wants him to get close enough to touch. She wishes she could let him know the real woman, not the one she pretends to be. But Scarlet has a plan to carry out, and she can’t afford any distractions.   Absinthe is well aware that Scarlet is hiding something. She’s a puzzle he intends to solve, piece by intoxicating piece….

Excerpt

Absinthe opened the door to the restaurant for her, scanning the room quickly for potential trouble before allowing her to do the same thing while he turned back toward the street and gave that another quick once-over. Certain no one was paying attention to either of them, he closed the door and followed his librarian’s amazing ass. She was in a black skirt with small white polka dots scattered over it. The material clung to her curves. He appreciated that particular skirt very much.

Absinthe held the back of her chair for her, ignoring the waiter who looked as if he might conk him on the head and abscond with the girl. She looked regal as she took the seat, smiling up at Absinthe, nearly taking his breath away. Whatever it was that she had affected him like some kind of aphrodisiac. Her small teeth. That mouth with her full, pouty lips that were made for a man’s dirtiest fantasies. He hadn’t had them until she came along. Not like this. Mostly he’d had nightmares. The erotic, very graphic dreams were a welcome change.

“Are you a wine drinker?” Absinthe didn’t know the first thing about wine. He could make her any kind of drink she wanted, or talk beer, but wine eluded him. If she loved wine, he was going to be taking a crash course. It wouldn’t take him long to catch up.

She shook her head. “I actually don’t drink very much. Once in a while, if it’s really hot out, I’ll have an ice-cold beer. But other than that, it’s a very occasional drink and usually I go for something girly like a cosmopolitan.”

“I don’t drink wine,” Absinthe admitted. “Like you I’m not a big drinker, but mostly that stems from wanting to be alert all the time.”

“You don’t put your feet up, relax and have tons to drink?” There was the merest hint of amusement in her voice. Mostly she was serious.

He loved the look on her face when she gave him her full attention. He focused completely on her once he was certain the few couples already eating or waiting to be served weren’t interested in them in the least.

“No, that wouldn’t work for me. I do like to put my feet up though,” he admitted. “I’m going to be very up-front with you.”

It was confession time. If he didn’t say it straight up, she’d find out anyway. “I’m not good at this. I never know what to say and I come off stilted and awkward, but I don’t want to be that way with you.”

Her green eyes were hard to stay still under. She seemed to see right through his skull into his mind where chaos reigned—thanks to her.

“I’m not so great at this either,” she declared. “I guess we’re going to have to learn. I’m very competitive and I have a fast learning curve. Very fast. Wait.” She frowned at him. “You weren’t reading a help book on dating, were you?”

“Do they have those in the library?”

Her lashes swept down and then back up. A small smile teased the curve of her mouth, causing his heart to accelerate. He found himself staring. Shit. He was going to lose before he got started because he couldn’t stop staring at her.

She laughed. “I’m not telling you. I’ll read them and turn into a scintillating conversationalist in minutes, leaving you in the dust.”

He instantly learned three things. There were multiple self-help books on dating, she read extremely fast, and she really was competitive. He flashed a small grin, looking at her with hawk-like eyes, giving her the predator look just for a moment. Just to see the shiver that crept down her spine.

“I’ll have to be there first thing in the morning before your shift.”

“You know my shifts?” The smile faded, and she sounded uneasy.

He shrugged. “How was I going to ask you out? I went multiple times without seeing you, so clearly you had a shift and only came into the library during those times. I kept having to trade work with friends, and drive here from the coast, so, I found out when you worked. I came as often as I could, and just waited until we’d established a very tentative woman can charm the socks right off a shy man any day of the week.”

“Is that what we established?”

Her laughter got him every time. He found himself actually relaxing. The waiter hovered, and both guiltily studied the menu. She ordered a pasta dish and he ordered a steak. Fresh-baked bread was put on the table, and he suddenly realized he was very hungry.

Torpedo Ink

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: July 2020

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

About Christine Feehan

I live on the beautiful Northern California coast and draw much inspiration from the beauty around me. I've always been a writer, for as long as I remember. My sisters were forced to read all of my books from the time I could write a story on paper.

I love family. I love my brothers and sisters, my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. My home was always full of kids and children give me so much joy.

I also love my "sisters of the heart", those friends who have supported me through my life, laughed with me, cried with me and loved me regardless of how crazy my life got. I am a strong supporter of women helping each other which is why I became a third degree black belt and taught self-defense to women who'd been abused.

I love people and dogs, good books and great coffee and I'm lucky to know just how blessed I am.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Dare by Elle Kennedy

Posted July 5, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

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

I haven’t been reading as much New Adult lately, but Elle Kennedy is one of the few authors I still auto-buy in that genre. The Dare is the latest novel in her Briar U series. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Sunday Spotlight: The Dare by Elle KennedyThe Dare by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #4
Also in this series: The Chase (Briar U, #1), The Risk (Briar U #2), The Play
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 354
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.
But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.
And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

Excerpt

“Tell me something…why aren’t you already here with someone?”

“What do you mean?”

“There isn’t a guy in the picture somewhere?”

It’s my turn to shrink away from the topic. I’d probably have more to say with regards to thirteenth-century textiles than dating. And since I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one evening, I’d rather not compound my humiliation by sharing the details of my non-existent love life.

“So there is a story there,” Conor says, misreading my hesitation for coyness. “Let’s hear it.”

“What about you?” I volley back. “Haven’t settled on that one special groupie yet?”

He shrugs, unbothered by my teasing jab. “Don’t really do girlfriends.”

“Ugh, that sounds slimy.”

“No, I just mean I’ve never dated anyone for more than a few weeks. If it’s not there, it’s not there, you know?”

Oh, I know the type. Bores easy. Constantly looking over his shoulder at the next thing passing by. A walking meme in the flesh.

Figures. The pretty ones are always aching for their freedom.

“Don’t think you’ve distracted me,” he says, giving me a knowing smile. “Answer the question.”

“Sorry to disappoint. No guys. No story.” One unremarkable entanglement sophomore year that hardly fulfilled the definition of a relationship is too pathetic to warrant mention.

“Come on. I’m not as dumb as I look. What, did you break his heart? He spend six months sleeping on the sidewalk outside the sorority house?”

“Why do you assume I’m the kind of girl a guy would pine over in the rain and sleet?”

“You kidding?” His silvery eyes sweep over me, lingering on various parts of my body before returning to meet my gaze. Everywhere he looked is now tingling like crazy. “Babe, you’ve got the kind of body that boys build in their heads under the sheets after dark.”

“Don’t do that,” I tell him, all humor draining from my voice as I start to turn away. “Don’t mock me. That’s not nice.”

“Taylor.”

I jerk when he takes my hand, keeping me in place so that we’re still facing each other. As my pulse kicks into overdrive, he presses my shaky hand against his chest. His body is warm, solid. His heart beats a quick, steady rhythm beneath my palm.

I’m touching Conor Edwards’ chest.

What the hell is happening right now? Never in my wildest dreams did I envision the Kappa Chi Spring Break Hangover party ending this way.

“I mean it.” His voice thickens. “I’ve been sitting here having filthy thoughts about you all night. Don’t mistake my manners for indifference.”

Briar U

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: July 2020

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

About Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!


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Sunday Spotlight: Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven

Posted June 28, 2020 by Casee 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. 🙂

I was first introduced to Grace Draven when Holly, Rowena, and I did a joint review for Phoenix Unbound. I honestly wasn’t sure if I would like it, but the blurb was so interesting that I had to read it. It was as good as I thought it would be. Dragon Unleashed is the second book in Draven’s Fallen Empire series. I can’t wait to dive in.

Sunday Spotlight: Dragon Unleashed by Grace DravenDragon Unleashed by Grace Draven
Series: Fallen Empire #2
Also in this series: Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire, #1)
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

A dragon shapeshifter and a healer with power over the earth fight a corrupt empire in this thrilling and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.
Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.
Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.
Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.

Excerpt

Chapter One

If there was one thing Malachus had learned about humans during his long life span, it was that they were first and foremost thieves. They stole anything and everything, nailed down or not, from jewels and livestock to women and children. And if battlefields and graves were any true indicators, the dead were no more safe from their larceny than the living.

The Sovatin monks who’d fostered him as a child never truly prepared him for the scope of humanity’s predation upon itself. Though human as well, the monks lived isolated from the depredations of the so-called civilized. Malachus never forgot the grief on their faces-the horror-at discovering their sacred necropolis destroyed beyond repair by treasure seekers. It was his first real taste of humanity as a whole, and he found it revolting. It was also the impetus for him to become a sought-after bounty hunter with a reputation feared throughout Winosia’s prefectures.

His martial training combined with his true nature gave him an edge, one that made grave robbers and slavers question whether pursuing their professions was worth the risk of becoming the quarry in his hunt.

This hunt was different, more personal, and his prey far wilier than he’d anticipated, slipping through his fingers countless times over numerous leagues and a treacherous sea. Either they possessed extraordinary luck or they knew what he was and how to outmaneuver him. Now, far away in an unfamiliar country, Malachus’s luck had run dry.

The pair possessed a treasure he would move mountains to regain, and they had fled across the Raglun Sea to these lands. The ship Malachus had sailed on to follow them had almost caught up to theirs, the mother-bond calling to his soul with a war drum’s beat. But fickle gods had churned the waters into a raging cauldron and flung his ship far off course. An experienced captain and crew had saved the ship and those on board, sailing the beaten vessel into harbor with broken masts and ripped sails. Malachus’s quarry had long since vanished into the interior, moving westward.

He’d managed to track them from the coast to this forest, guided by the internal beacon connecting him to the artifact he hunted. His mother-bond, which was all that remained of his mother, his birthright, and his ability to reclaim his true heritage.

Malachus stood at the tree line and gazed upon the fields before him that stretched to the base of the distant black-striped mountains. A wide road snaked toward a miasma of dust in the distance, a steady stream of wagon and foot traffic traveling its length. According to those he’d spoken with when he first came ashore, a great market, promising all manner of goods available for sale, had sprung up where once a Kraelian garrison had stood. He suspected his prey was there. He stabbed the damp earth in front of him with the point of his sword, wishing it was the belly of one, or both, of the thieves. He needed that mother-bond. Nothing more than a bit of bone at first glance, its value lay far beyond anything the pair might get from a buyer. After four hundred years of imprisonment in a human body, kept quiet by magic, his true form had grown restless, a dangerous prisoner, and a fatal one if he didn’t set it loose in time. Even now, the force of his inevitable transformation surged through his bones and muscles, making the veins in his arms and neck bulge at times, and his head throb. It was certain that he’d have to slough off his human guise and embrace the draga one. Ignoring that imperative guaranteed death. He needed the mother-bond to safely initiate that change.

At his patient mare’s inquiring whicker, he turned. She whuffled a second time when he stroked her neck.

“They’re close, Batraza,” he told the horse. “Likely trying to pawn what they pilfered.”

Finding the thieves and the mother-bond would be easier in a contained market than trying to track them across leagues of unknown, and likely hostile, terrain. If he listened hard enough, he could hear hints of faraway voices. They were about a full day’s ride from the dust cloud, and that was if he and Batraza didn’t have to shelter from the summer storms that periodically doused the area.

For now the sky curved blue above him, and he eyed the clouds scudding by, noting those that gathered into thunderheads to linger in the distance. Malachus sighed, cleaning his blade before resheathing it. The ragged tips of Batraza’s tail slapped against his arm as she swatted away the pesky gnats that swarmed in clouds around their heads and tried to fly up their noses. Unlike other horses, she didn’t lay her ears back in warning or try to bolt when Malachus drew near her. That, as much as her preternaturally long life span, made her as strange as her rider.

Malachus offered her the treat of a withered apple he had fished from the depths of one of the bags attached to the saddle, and swung nimbly onto her back. The two turned away from the road toward an open space where the tree line curved in a horseshoe shape around gently swaying grassland.

Time and solitude allowed Malachus to plan his next move as he tracked the mother-bond to the shores of the far-flung Krael Empire. Sometimes he felt more hound than human or draga, his nose either to the ground or to the wind as he searched for his legacy. The blue sky overhead rapidly gave way to blackening thunderheads fissured with lightning. A few bolts broke free to strike the ground, and Batraza pranced beneath him, nervous at the storm’s approach. Malachus guided her deeper into the trees before dismounting. She leaned against him as he cast a spell the monks had taught him to calm her so she wouldn’t bolt when he left her to return to the open curve of grassland on foot.

Rain blew in with a howl and then a roar, slanting sideways as the storm gusts drove it across the landscape like an overseer wielding a whip. Malachus tilted his face to the sky and let the deluge pummel him, washing away his frustration along with the layer of travel dirt he’d acquired since his last bath.

A shimmer of light illuminated the shield of his closed eyelids, followed by a boom of thunder. Within the sheltering trees, Batraza whinnied her fear. Malachus murmured, “It’s all right, girl. Just a little light and noise, nothing more. You’re the safest you can be where you are.”

As quickly as the storm blew in, it passed. Thunder rumbled in the distance, chasing walls of rain that galloped across the forest before bashing into the mountain range. Black clouds splintered by lightning trailed behind, and Malachus crossed his fingers in the hope that his height and singularity on the flat ground might lure one of those crackling tongues of light toward him. Lightning always loved the draga, even those disguised as humans.

A bright bolt forked out of one of the clouds to strike him. He convulsed with the shock wave of power that hammered through his muscles and boiled the blood in his veins. For a moment, his heart seized before restarting with a double-time beat. Every hair on his body stood up, and the smell of charred cloth filled his nostrils. Still, he kept his feet as the lightning anchored him to the earth and exploded images across his mind’s eye.

A market teeming with people against the backdrop of a ruined fortress, his mother-bond haloed in shimmering light and resting on a square of purple cloth. A woman’s pretty face and somber gray eyes. An older man with similar features and the same gray eyes. And most important, the two thieves he’d tracked this far. All those depictions flashed before him in the time it took for the lightning to pin him to the ground, burn bright, then burn out.

Released from the lightning’s lethal hold, Malachus staggered before falling to one knee. He breathed deep, fire in his lungs and agony in his bones. Smoke wreathed him and the burnt grass around him. A wispy tendril meandered from a thumbnail-size burn hole on the top of his right boot. The wetness of rain-soaked ground seeped through his sole. The lightning that exited his body had left a matching burn hole there.

Any other man would be a smoking husk by now, but Malachus was not a normal man any more than Batraza was a normal horse. His magic made the mare unique just as Malachus’s mother’s heritage made him peculiar. Batraza was a horse that wore the guise of magic. Malachus was magic who wore the guise of a human.

He’d need to repair his boot, but the damage had been worth it. The lightning had revealed a great deal. The valuable piece of his mother’s skeleton still moved westward, pausing briefly as if teasing him with its nearness.

While most of the images the lightning had shown him were obvious location markers and hints, the one of the woman with the solemn features puzzled him. She might well be a buyer interested in possessing the mother-bond-and woe betide her if she was-or she might be traveling with the thieves he tracked, unknowing that they carried a lodestone that put a relentless hunter on their trail. The man she resembled was a mystery as well, though Malachus had no doubt that he, too, was somehow tied to the mother-bond. The lightning wouldn’t have shown them otherwise.

He stood, soaked to the skin, and shook off the last remnants of the sky’s blistering kiss before returning to Batraza. She snorted and rolled her eyes when Malachus drew closer, stamping a hoof as if to admonish him for leaving her alone among the trees.

“Peace, Bat,” he said in his most soothing tone and gathered the reins before swinging into the wet saddle. The storm’s power had fizzled. To the west, the clearing sky took on a golden hue, overpainting the blue as the sun regained dominion over the clouds.

Malachus guided the mare out of the forest. If they traveled without stopping and avoided the road’s heavier traffic, they’d reach the market by the following nightfall. A new moon meant a blacker-than-usual night. He could enter the market without much notice, just one of many travelers journeying toward the temporary city. Though he wasn’t human, he wore the form of one no different from all of those who trekked toward the ruins.

They reached the market after the vendors closed shop and the encampment surrounding it settled down for the night. That suited him fine. He found it far easier to navigate new surroundings without throngs of people milling about to trade, socialize, or steal.

The sickle moon hung midway in the night sky as he circled the camp perimeter, ringed by hundreds of tents and wagons as well as livestock pens guarded by a few people and a fair number of dogs. The air was redolent with the scent of humans and animals, mud and wet felt-unpleasant except for the drifting scents of cooking spices and herbal teas simmering over fires. Those teased his nostrils, and his empty stomach rumbled in response. Malachus nodded briefly to the watch who silently observed him as he rode past pens and clusters of tents, inciting the dogs into frantic barking or frightened yelps if his gaze lingered too long on them. The mother-bond’s draw hummed along his senses like silver thread stitched into fabric. He guided Batraza along the market’s edge and farther out still, where the grass grew undisturbed and untrampled and the light of torches no longer chased away the thick darkness. He brought the mare to a halt and breathed deep, allowing his senses to open wide, feel even more the hard draw of draga magic as he sharpened his focus on the thing that had driven him to cross deep seas and foreign lands to find it.

He’d camp for the night and renew his search in the morning. Reconnoitering in darkness had its benefits, but this was a large tent city populated with enough watchmen that someone would interpret his investigating as nefarious and try either to shoot him or to knife him. Confrontations never went unnoticed, and he didn’t want to give any warning to his prey of his presence here. For all they knew, his ship had gone down in an angry sea and he along with it. He didn’t want to disabuse them of the notion in case they’d made such a fortuitous assumption.

The spot where he chose to camp was no more than a patch of wet ground away from the meandering patterns of flattened grass that marked a well-traveled trek made by campers who wished to relieve themselves away from their living spaces.

The night sky stayed clear, and he counted the stars salting its expanse from his supine view on Batraza’s saddle blanket. The mare grazed nearby, her lead rope staked within easy reach. Malachus listened to the sounds around him-the call of a night bird, the distant ululation of wolves, the rustle of some rodent hiding from predators looking to catch their dinner. Above those, the murmur and flow of voices, their words indistinct. Friendly conversations and hot arguments, the intense sensuality of moans during lovemaking, a woman’s sweet lullaby to a fretful baby.

These were the things that reminded him there was more to humanity than its larceny, its petty cruelties. His understanding, and the empathy that came with it, was a fragile thing, even after decades of living among humans outside the monastery. He looked like them, but they possessed dark depths he’d never fully comprehend, nor did he want to. The sounds he listened to now, of mundane lives lived in peaceful hours, softened his attitude a small bit. It wouldn’t last. It never did.

His thoughts settled once more on the gray-eyed woman the lightning had shown him earlier. Attractive, but he had known sublime. Dignified, but he had met majestic. There was nothing about her appearance that strayed from the conventional into the remarkable, yet her image remained emblazoned in his mind. He saw it overlaid across a spectacle of starlight and behind his lids when he closed them. It was more than a suspected connection to his mother-bond. He wanted to know her name, hear her voice, learn what lay behind those eyes the color of dove’s wings. His fascination with her made no sense, but Malachus didn’t question it. His spirit understood his instinct better than his mind did, and he couldn’t shunt its message aside. The lightning had shown her to him for a reason.

Fallen Empire

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: June 2020
Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Grace Draven

Grace Draven is a Louisiana native living in Texas with her husband, kids and a big, doofus dog. She has loved storytelling since forever and is a fan of the fictional bad boy. She is the winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and 2016, and a USA Today Bestselling author.


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Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Posted June 14, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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

Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Game by Sara DesaiThe Marriage Game by Sara Desai
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Exclusive Excerpt

Sam walked quickly up the stairs to his new office suite, a box of office supplies under one arm. The scents of curry, coriander, and mild incense permeated the air, making his stomach rumble. An accident on the I 280 meant the one-hour journey had taken an extra forty-five minutes, and he would have to hustle if he wanted to get in a workout before the gym closed.

He reached the second floor and walked down the hallway, his footsteps muffled by the mint green carpet that matched the patterned wallpaper on the walls. The frosted glass door to the office was slightly ajar.

Puzzled, Sam pushed it open and walked into the small reception area. Twilight streamed through the large windows on the far side of the modern, open-plan office, spreading lazy orange fingers over the polished wood floor. A stack of boxes tottered inelegantly on the maple reception desk, and a ghastly purple couch had been placed against the wall beside a glass table with a sequined ceramic elephant base. Sam had little interest in interior decor, but the combination offended even his unschooled aesthetic sensibilities.

Crossing the floor past the reception desk, he entered the office proper. Recently renovated and boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, polished wood floors, and exposed brick walls, the spacious office also had a private boardroom and small kitchenette. Nasir had furnished the office with a large cherry boardroom table and two desks, one multicolored and made of metal rods and glass by an obscure interior designer named Eagerson, and the other a traditional two-pillar desk made of rosewood and nickel-plated brass. Sam had mentally claimed the traditional desk; the Eagerson was more Royce’s style.

And then he saw her, shuffling through a massive pile of papers on his rosewood desk.

She was in her mid to late twenties, her long dark hair streaked electric blue and tied up in a ponytail that brushed the graceful curve of her slender neck. Long, thick lashes brushed over soft bronze cheeks, and her plump lips glistened.

He coughed.

She screamed.

He retreated a few steps, but not quickly enough to evade the barrage of office supplies flung in his direction. Small erasers bounced off his chest, and a sharpened pencil almost took out his eye. When she lifted a stapler, he held up his free hand, palm forward in a gesture of surrender. “Do you really want to compound your crimes by adding assault, or even murder, to the break-and-enter charge?” he asked, unable to hold back his irritation.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” She grabbed her cell phone off the desk, brandishing it like a weapon. “Answer, or I’m calling the police.”

“Please do. Then you can explain to them what you’re doing in my office.”

“This is my office.” She thumped the stapler on the desk. “My father leases this space as well as the restaurant downstairs.”

“And you are . . . ?” Beautiful. Stacked. Frightened. Furious. A number of adjectives came to mind, not the least of which described her generous breasts and lush curves. Too bad she had such terrible taste in music. Had she picked up that unfortunate Nickelback T shirt at a thrift store? Or was she really a fan?

“Layla Patel. Nasir Patel is my father.”

“I’ll need to see some ID.” He held out his hand, gesturing impatiently.

“Seriously?” Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared. “Is this the new way of breaking and entering? You ask for ID so you can make sure you’re robbing the right place? How about you give me your ID so I can tell the police who to arrest?”

Sam added a few more adjectives to his list: snarky, sarcastic, sassy. He almost couldn’t believe this was the daughter of the famous Indian restaurateur who had turned his ethnicity into a brand.

“Well . . . ?”

He tried to think of something intelligent to say. Anything. He was used to being in control of every situation and handling dilemmas quickly and decisively, but the longer he looked at her, the less able he was to command his power of speech. Everything about her was so vivid, so vibrant, from the shine of her knee-high boots to the fire blazing in her eyes.

“Sam.” For a second, he forgot his last name. “Sam . . .”

Her lips quirked at the corners. “Samsam? That’s your name?”

“Sam Mehta.”

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: June 2020

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

About Sara Desai

Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos.


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Sunday Spotlight: Alpha Night by Nalini Singh (+ Exclusive Excerpt)

Posted June 7, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 19 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. 🙂

Until this book came out, I hadn’t been keeping up with the series. I’m so glad that I caught up because this book is just yummy, yummy goodness. I love the characters, the camaraderie between the pack, as well as the problems that crop up. Both the hero and the heroine are worthy of this series. I think Nalini knocked it out of the park with this one!

Sunday Spotlight: Alpha Night by Nalini Singh (+ Exclusive Excerpt)Alpha Night by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #4, Psy/Changeling #19
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat , Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation , Wild Invitation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Tangle of Need, Caressed By Ice
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her breathtaking Psy-Changeling Trinity series with a mating that shouldn’t exist…

Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.

Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.

Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be. Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…

Exclusive Excerpt

“I don’t believe in tagging individuals as if they’re cattle.” Aden’s voice never rose, his tone steady, but his anger was a cold wind against her. “Ming LeBon had different ideas.”

“What about the rumored drug leash?” Silver asked, as Valentin wrapped an arm around her waist and held her possessively against his chest.

To those who didn’t understand changeling bears, didn’t know Valentin, that would’ve appeared to be nothing but a male asserting his right over a woman. Selenka knew the truth was far more complicated—Valentin was really, really angry at the idea of a man being leashed in such a way, and was cuddling up to his mate in an effort to take the edge off his temper.

Bears rarely lost it, but—and so long as it had nothing to do with a territorial skirmish—Selenka had made sure her wolves knew to give the ursine changelings a wide berth should it ever happen. It’d take three wolves to take down an enraged bear of Valentin’s size in a sudden fight—and they’d all come out with broken bones and shattered teeth.

Wolf rage was a quieter, harder, deadlier thing. Wolves didn’t smash up rooms and swipe out heedlessly. Wolves planned. Selenka planned. If she wanted to attack Valentin, she’d think out every step ahead of time—and when she closed her jaws over his throat, it’d be precisely over his jugular and carotid.

That cold rage sharpened her senses now, had her hearing a distant door closing as Aden said, “The drug leash wasn’t foolproof. In particular, there was no way to know its effect on those with incredibly rare abilities. There is no one like Ethan. Ming wouldn’t have risked ruining him.”

Ruin, Selenka thought, could have different meanings.

I am permanently damaged in ways that affect my psychic balance.

“What I’m about to share is highly confidential,” Aden said, white lines bracketing his mouth. “I’m only doing so because you can’t have any doubts about Ethan. This information cannot be shared with any others.”

“As long as it isn’t relevant to the safety of others, we have no reason to share it.”

Aden waited until Valentin and Selenka both nodded agreement to Silver’s statement before he continued. “Ming tagged Ethan. Dr. Edgard Bashir deactivated that tag three months ago once he’d worked out a way to do it without damaging Ethan’s organs.” Flat, hard words. “The device was placed inside him when he was a child and it grew tendrils around his heart in the time since. It can’t be removed, but it’s dead.”

Selenka’s growl echoed against the walls. The idea of being watched that way, until nothing you did was private, it would’ve driven her insane. That Ethan wasn’t locked up in an institution was an indication of his strength, another piece of the dangerous enigma that was her mate.

Meeting over, Selenka tracked Ethan, his scent a shining thread to her wolf. Her beautiful, dangerous stranger of a mate was leaning against the external wall beside the main door, a stray at his feet, its tail wagging.

Pale eyes locked with her own.

“You need to see your healer,” he said with no indication that he felt any sense of intimidation in her presence. Arousal licked through her—but her stubborn mate wasn’t finished. “The numbing agent in the gel will have long worn off.”

Her wolf curled its upper lip at the demand in his tone but grudgingly accepted he was right. Her back hurt. “Yes. I messaged him just before. He’s already at the pack’s city HQ, so we’ll meet him there.” She looked at the dog—now quivering, but staying staunchly at Ethan’s side. “That your dog?”

Ethan looked down at the hopeful, scared, loyal animal. “It appears we are equally damaged.” He didn’t try to shoo the creature away as it walked with them . . . its body trembling the entire time.

Impressed by its courage, she caught the animal’s eyes. It froze. She didn’t crouch—that would just confuse it. She just bent and patted its head. “I’m not going to eat you.” The dog knew it stood next to a wolf, a predator that could rip it to shreds.

Ethan said nothing after she drew back, but his new pet wagged its tail like a metronome. She found her gaze drawn to Ethan’s throat again, to the strength of the cords, to the steady beat of his pulse against the warmth of his skin . . . and had her teeth sunk into his flesh before she realized she’d moved.

A growl filled her chest, the scent of him in her blood. And the deadly Arrow she’d just bitten didn’t lift a finger to defend himself. He just placed his hand on her hip, holding her close to the muscled strength of his body.

Growl turning into a low rumble, she released her bite, then licked her tongue over the indentation in his skin—she’d been careful even in her lack of control, hadn’t broken skin.
His breathing altered. The sharp intake of it had her jerking away.

What the hell was she doing? She’d just bitten a man she’d only met hours earlier . . . and she was very, very satisfied to see she’d marked him. Even now, she couldn’t help but brush her fingers over the mark. “This isn’t normal.” It came out husky.

Ethan looked at her with unflinching intensity. “I’ve never been normal. But you’re my mate now and I’m not going to give that up.”

Copyright © 2020 by Nalini Singh

Psy-Changelings Trinity

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: June 2020

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

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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