BETTING ON CINDERELLA
The Cinderella Romances, book 2
by Petie McCarty
Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes in undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.
Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.
A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.
Garrett poured the remaining wine into their glasses and carried them to the postage-stamp-sized living room. He handed her a glass and sat down on the couch. When Andi sat down, the well-worn cushions gave way and rolled her over next to him. She laughed as she tried to keep her wine from spilling.
He laughed. “I trained the couch to keep my date close.”
He got that adorable sheepish look again. “Obviously, an old couch. This place came furnished.”
He nodded then rose to his feet and went over to a CD player to put in some soft music. He took his time. When he sat back down, the couch rolled them together again.
He grinned. “Oops.”
“I don’t mind.”
She wished he’d kiss her again, make her melt like she had on the landing at Flora’s house. Instead, he tapped his fingers on his knee to the music. Long minutes passed with the only sound the music from the CD player.
No more wondering and worrying. “Aren’t you going to kiss me?”
Obviously, she’d startled him. “Aren’t you going to kiss me?”
He swallowed hard. “I didn’t want to scare you off after I jumped you on the landing earlier. That was two days of pent-up frustration.”
“I was glad you did. I liked it, and I’m really glad you asked me out. A lot.”
His yeah? made her melt every time. “When I didn’t see you for a couple days, I was afraid I had scared you off.”
His brows wrinkled. “I don’t understand.”
“I thought that after I told you I was a, you know.”
She nodded. “I thought you were going to bolt.”
“Some.” She shook her head. “Most.”
“I’m not others, Andi.”
“I know.” She pressed a palm to his cheek, needing to touch him. “You’re special.”
“I’m glad to hear it.”
He took her wine, put both glasses on the scarred coffee table, and pulled her into his arms. This kiss wasn’t ravenous like the one on the landing. This one was tender and oh-so-much better, for it conveyed understanding and acceptance. Garrett’s kiss said I’m not going anywhere.
The next kiss heated up. His hands wound into her hair, and he turned her face to deepen the kiss. Andi lost her mind, lost the will for conscious thought. Nothing in this world compared to kissing Garrett Samuels. His third kiss left her dizzy, and her hands linked around his neck, so he couldn’t stop kissing her until she was ready.
Which would be never.
Passion roared to life. She clung to Garrett, lightheaded with incendiary desire. Her blood heated and every nerve ending tingled with arousal. Either she tilted slightly or the trained couch tilted her—she wasn’t sure which—but gravity carried her over, and she took Garrett with her. The rumble of his growl and the feel of his muscular body alongside hers made her eyes roll back in her head. She didn’t care as long as Garrett didn’t stop kissing her.
Cinderella’s fairy tale moves to Jupiter Island, Florida where Lily Foster, owner of an eclectic landscape nursery, is mistaken for a wealthy socialite by billionaire resort developer Rhett Buchanan. Overdue for a little romance in her life, Lily is anxious for one fabulous date with her handsome prince, so she cultivates her inadvertent masquerade.
Rhett Buchanan has become jaded with the Palm Beach social scene, dominated by scheming women desperate for more money — his money. Rhett falls hard when he meets Lily Foster. She is a breath of fresh air after the smog of gold diggers constantly surrounding him.
For Rhett and Lily, it’s love at first sight until her deception comes to light and pitches their relationship into a disastrous tailspin. Well-meaning friends are determined to intercede and resort to inept high jinks to reunite the estranged couple while a wicked ex-girlfriend plays dirty to keep the couple apart.
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her mystery-romance-with-elements-of-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.
Jack was on the last few days of his tour of Iraq when his truck was blown sky high by a missile. He and his two marine buddies survived, barely. Clinging to life, Jack and his buddies are flown home to the US.
Bree is a nurse who accepts a position at the Military hospital where Jack is a patient. Before he even opens his eyes, she realizes they have a special connection.
Greg is an owner of real estate and passionately disagrees with the US Involvement in Iraq.
Liz is a talented musician who hides a dark secret. She is riddled with doubts and fears about her feelings for Greg.
Can Bree help Jack adjust, come to terms with his nightmares or will he succumb to the darkness?
After suffering the horrors of war, Jack knew – coming home was never going to be easy.
Can these four very different people sort out their differences and find happiness?
The three days Bree had off work flew by. Although worried sick about Liz, she had enjoyed her time alone with Jack. They had made love often, walked around naked and gone out on a ‘date’. The only dark patches in their relationship were his recurring nightmares which happened when he slept, day or night. If she was close by and felt, or witnessed, him becoming unsettled, she was able to gently awaken him and talk about how he was feeling. What he was seeing in his troubled mind. Twice though, she’d had to call on Greg for his help when he’d tried to flee the apartment to escape an insurgent, naked as the day he was born.
Jack’s mind had propelled him back to Iraq where he was caught in the middle of horrific fighting. He’d been unable to help his fellow marines or army soldiers, both men and women, from dropping like flies. He’d said to Bree, he felt helpless watching them being picked off one by one. Once asleep, the images returned to taunt him, the smell of cordite filled his nose, smoke so thick he could taste it.
Tears flooded Bree’s face when he screamed, jumped from the bed and hunkered down in a corner of the bedroom. His eyes glazed over and wild, head whipping from side to side. Watching, fearing the enemy was closer than he’d anticipated. Shouting orders to men and women under his command to get down, stay out of sight. Tears pouring over his cheeks when he lay on the floor over a dead body only he could see. Bree worried the Psychologist he was seeing might not be hearing the full story about Jack’s fears and nightmares. It was difficult for her man to adjust to the sounds and sights of home and she watched as he forced himself to stay calm when a car backfired, an alarm sounded or when a couple fought out in public.
Jack and Greg had shared a few conversations and were developing a rapport. Jack was even going to help him with some painting and maintenance around the apartment block while she was at work. Bree warned him not to overdo things.
HALLOWEEN IS MURDER
McKinley Mysteries, book 11
by Carolyn Arnold
Beware of all that goes bump in the night…
Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.
But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.
As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.
SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS
IT WAS NEARING SIX O’CLOCK in the evening, and Sean and Sara were home in their media room on a large sectional couch, getting ready to watch their spotlight on the evening news with some friends and colleagues. They’d left the haunted house in the hands of some capable employees, who would be posted there until closing at eight.
Jimmy Voigt, their former sergeant when they worked for the Albany PD, also worked for them at the PI firm. He was on the couch next to his girlfriend, Meredith, for the viewing. Sara had told Sean more than once that it was a match made in heaven. He was pretty sure he’d rolled his eyes every time. Not because he didn’t believe in love—he was married to his soul mate—but he just found it hard to picture his former boss whispering sweet nothings to a lady love.
Helen was seated at the other end of the sectional, and Mia was on the floor at her feet, still dressed up as a princess. She really was a good kid—as far as kids went anyway. And it’s not that Sean had anything against children, but for now, he and Sara had decided they weren’t going to have any. And honestly, it was probably for the best, as they traveled a lot and solving crimes didn’t leave much free time.
“I’m going to be on TV.” Mia’s face lit up as she grinned. “I can’t wait!” She seemed more excited about this than she had been at the announcement that pizza was for dinner. Mia stared at the muted television. “That lady was so pretty.”
By “that lady,” Sean assumed she meant Chloe Parsons. Sean had to agree that based on appearances and initial impressions, she was good-looking. But he didn’t understand why she took such issue with Susannah when she didn’t want to talk.
Mia turned to Sara and flashed another smile. “You looked great, too.”
“Thank you.” Sara returned the smile and swept her long brown hair over her left shoulder. “Did you have fun today?”
“Oh yeah. My favorite part was the mummy.”
“That didn’t scare you?” Sara laced her voice with concern but couldn’t hide the underlying amusement.
Mia’s expression faded, and her eyes enlarged. She nodded. “I was, but I like to be scared. And I love mummies!” She bounded to her feet and jumped onto her mother’s lap. Helen let out a whoosh of air but quickly recovered.
“It’s the other kind of mummy, though, sweetheart.” Helen ran a hand over her daughter’s silky hair.
“Oh, it’s almost time,” Meredith said, obviously getting swept up in Mia’s enthusiasm.
Sean looked at the digital clock on the cable box: 5:59.
“It’s on!” Jimmy said, sitting up straighter.
Sean turned up the sound and sank back into the couch, putting an arm around his wife.
Mia wriggled on her mother’s lap.
“Come on, honey, back on the floor.” Helen’s voice strained with the desperation of her plea.
Sean smiled, not because of the woman’s discomfort but because he loved seeing how excited Mia was.
“My costume was the best. They have to show me!” The little girl’s eyes were wide and fixed on the screen.
“You are a beautiful little princess,” Sean said.
Mia glared at him. “I’m not little.” She held up both hands, fingers splaying as she counted them off. “I’m six.”
“My apologies,” he said with a slight bow of his head.
Sara laced her fingers with his, and he met her gaze, which said, You’re aren’t the best with kids…
“Shh.” This came from Jimmy, and when Sean turned to look at him, he shrugged. “You want to hear it, don’t you?”
Sean increased the volume a bit more.
“We have some somber news this evening,” a chic reporter announced from the news desk. Based on the set of her mouth and the sad look in her eyes, she wasn’t reading from a script. “Your Source has just received word that one of our own has died.”
Sara tapped her fingers on the back of his, leaned in, and whispered, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
He didn’t look over at her, but his wife had this way of sensing things. He wouldn’t label her clairvoyant, but she certainly had strong intuition.
“Tonight, we say good-bye to”—the reporter, while she kept her tone modulated, was clearly battling with her emotions—“Chloe Parsons.”
The news was a sledgehammer to his chest, knocking the wind out of him.
Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.
TEMPTED BY MR. WRONG
by Jacquie Biggar
Genre: Contemporary Step-Brother Romance
How can something so wrong, feel so right?
Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give him whatever he wants.
Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.
And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.
Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.
Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.
Tammy-Jo Hawthorne limped down the side of the highway, broken shoe in hand, and cursed everything from the gravel cutting into her bare foot, to the drizzling rain making her mascara run. But most of all, she cursed fate for ever introducing her to her no-good, dirty, rotten scumbag of an ex-husband—Timothy Hawthorne the third, and don’t you forget it.
Her cheeks flamed again even as goosebumps of embarrassed anger chased themselves over her flesh. They’d escorted her out; she still couldn’t believe it. Not one person had stood to defend her either. Ten years she’d belonged to that stupid high-falutin club, and no one had supported her in her time of need. Well, screw them.
A semi-trailer flew past, and a sheet of water drenched her to the bone.
“Ooh.” She raised her shoe in the air and shook it at the fading taillights. “Thanks for nothing.”
Disheartened, she dropped her Louboutin in the grass, careful to keep it off the scratchy gravel, and wrung out the hem of her shirt. Tim had a lot to answer for; not least of which was the fact her Jaguar had been towed away while she’d been inside the country club. It was becoming clear that this had been a well-choreographed plan on his part. He’d thought of everything too. When she’d tried to call for a cab, she found her phone had been cut off. She’d stomped over to a nearby gas station to use the payphone, and found her bank and credit cards had been cancelled as well. He’d taken her love and stomped it beneath his wingtips and now he wanted her pride too.
Well, he couldn’t have it, damn him.
If she had to walk the entire twenty miles to home, she would.
And then she was going to sue that bastard for every red cent he owned.
The traffic snaked by in a never-ending ribbon of color, the noise a match to the static in her head. She thought about doing like she’d seen on television and lift her thumb to catch a ride, but fear held her back. Those were the same shows where the unlucky traveler was never seen again. She didn’t plan on giving her soon-to-be ex that easy of an out.
The rain was falling harder now, coating everything in sight with a silvery glow. If she wasn’t so cold—a combination of nerves and early spring weather—it would be pretty. Okay, maybe that was a stretch. There was nothing remotely pretty about being stranded in the middle of nowheresville thanks to the man you’d promised to love and honor until death did you part. The last of which was looking tempting right now.
If only she knew a hitman.
A throaty engine gearing down set her heart to leap-frogging in her chest—he’d changed his mind and returned her car. She swung around, a relieved smile tipping her scowl upside down, but instead of her beautiful silver Jag, a black-as-sin Mustang idled behind her in the parking lane, its driving lights blinding her with their brightness.
Now her heart pounded for an entirely different reason. She glanced into the ditch, but the forest seemed impossibly far away and the traffic never even hesitated, unaware and uncaring that her life could be in danger.
T.J. shaded her eyes, but she couldn’t see the driver. She clutched her handbag. It wasn’t much, but the soft lambskin purse held the keys to her house and her car—once she got it back—her identification, all the odds and ends a woman deemed necessary, and the proof that her husband was the reason she was in this predicament. She wouldn’t give it up without a fight.
She picked up the only weapon at her disposal, her shoe, and inched backward, dismayed when the car stalked after her. Panic overrode decorum and she turned to run, but the ditch was slippery with the mud and rain and she lost her footing, careening down the steep embankment with a little screech. She landed hard on her butt and sat there for a minute, stunned. How the mighty had fallen. The Hawthorne couple were the envy of Magnolia, South Carolina. Everyone wanted to be them, have the same kind of loving relationship they had. What a joke.
And it was all on her.
A car door opened and a few ominous seconds later, T.J. heard footsteps on the gravel meridian. Even through the rain and early evening light, her white shirt practically glowed a neon here I am signal to anyone looking. And of course, someone was. She hunched over, doing her best to become one with the mud, and prayed like she’d never prayed before. Not hard, since she’d never followed any religious beliefs, but she promised anyone who was listening that she’d change. Just don’t let her die.
“Tammy-Jo Hawthorne?” scary stranger dude called down the hill, his voice filled with amused aggravation.
What did he have to be aggravated about? She was the one sitting in a cold, wet ditch while a stalker… well, stalked her.
“Go away,” she yelled, fed up with men and life in general. She swiped at a clump of ooey-gooey crap clinging to her leg below the silk pencil skirt she’d no doubt have to throw in the trash after this episode. Just one more reason to shoot Tim.
“I was at the club today,” he said, and the sympathy in his voice made her squirm. “I heard about your car, thought you could use a lift.”
She threw back her head and let the rain wash over her face. The humiliations just kept coming. The moment he’d mentioned the club she’d known who her dubious savior was; her evil step-brother.
JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.
She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.
Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂
Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!