Fall into Romance

Title: Fall into Romance Box Set
Genre: Sweet Romance
Publication Date: Oct. 5th, 2017
Blurb:
Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.
Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed!
Finding Forever in Romance by Melanie D. Snitker
Brent’s hands are so full he doesn’t realize his heart is empty. But how can he convince Nicole to trust him and give them all a chance at the forever family they deserve?
Lost in Romance by Stacy Claflin
Work is Alisyn’s life. Everything is perfect until the day her boss’s son comes to town and takes her breath away. Will she risk it all for love?
At Second Glance by Raine English
Can an ornery French bulldog help a mismatched couple find love?
Blown Into Romance by Shanna Hatfield
Free spirit Brooke Roberts blows into Romance like an autumn storm, unprepared to fall for the handsome rancher who gives her a reason to stay.
Wired for Romance by Franky A. Brown
Electrician Josh Chadwick can rewire his new client’s house, but he can’t do a thing about the electricity sparking between them.
Restoring Romance by Tamie Dearen
She’s a big city chef who likes cats. He’s a small town mayor who restores antiques. But even with feline allergies at play, true love is nothing to sneeze at.
Finding Dori by J.J. DiBenedetto
She’s a loud, pushy New Yorker who drives him crazy. He almost ran her over with his truck. Of course they’re perfect for each other…
Katie’s Chance for Romance by Jessica L. Elliott
Five years ago she pushed him out of her life, but she couldn’t force him from her heart.
Chasing Romance by Liwen Y. Ho
When pop sensation Chase Lockhart wants more than a room at Izzy Sutton’s Bed and Breakfast, she must decide whether it’s worth opening up her heart to him, especially when he’s eleven years her junior.
Lessons in Romance by Kit Morgan
A rooster, a tortoise and love, oh my! Now if the humans could just figure out the love part, they might all live happily ever after.
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Franky A. Brown
Franky A. Brown has always called the South home and loves to write about it. She holds an English degree from the University of South Carolina and can’t seem to stop reading. She is the author of women’s fiction and chick lit about life, love, and Southern women.
Stacy Claflin
Stacy Claflin is a USA Today bestselling author and a lifelong storyteller. When she was a child, she would get into trouble for trying to convince others that her stories were real. She scarred her younger cousin for life with her Cavity Monster tale. Another time, she convinced her friends that her grandfather had made her a robotic unicorn.
Now she saves her creative imagination for novels. Whether Stacy’s writing urban fantasy, suspense, or contemporary romance, she always has thrills, twists, and turns.  You can count on surprises and an enjoyable escape.
Tamie Dearen
Tamie lives with her very romantic husband of thirty-three years. They have two grown daughters (the inspiration for the daughters in The Best Girls Series) and one grandson, and a twelve-year-old boy, recently adopted from Ukraine. Tamie loves to play, sing, and write music. She started writing books in 2013 and published her first book in October of that year. Since then, she’s published six novels and a novella. She also wrote a free serial romance on her weekly blog, A Rose in Bloom. And in her spare time, she’s a dentist. (But she’s painless.)
Tamie met her husband as a freshman in college when she acted out of character on a whim. One night in the library lobby, she spied a cute guy with his first name written on the back of his shirt. She called out his name. When he approached to talk to her, she pretended that she’d met him before, asking about his classes and how he liked college. To her surprise and delight, he also pretended that he knew her, but of course he didn’t know her name. They continued this false relationship for two months. Each time they saw each other, an event which occurred three times per week at the cafeteria, he would pretend he knew her. Meanwhile, all of Tamie’s friends were careful not to reveal her name to him. When he finally admitted his ignorance of her name, he was astonished to learn the truth. And the rest is history.
J.J. DiBenedetto
J.J. DiBenedetto is author of the Dream Series and the Jane Barnaby Adventures and lives in Arlington, Virginia with the love of his life and a white cat who rules the roost. His passions are photography, travel, the opera, the New York Giants, and of course writing.
Mr. DiBenedetto is devoted to writing books with a sense of mysticism to entertain and perhaps invite his readers to suspend belief in a way they might never have.
Since he was very young, he has always been intrigued with the supernatural and things that can’t be explained rationally. By always asking way too many questions, it piqued his interest to the point of setting his writing off and running when he grew up! All the curiosity building up all those years was finally put into words to captivate readers. And it hasn’t ended. His main goal is to share all the stories he has inside, putting pen to paper. And that’s how the Dream Series was born.
Jessica L. Elliott
For as long as she can remember, Jessica L. Elliott has been telling stories. As soon as she could grasp a pencil she began writing those stories down. Reading fueled her imagination, as did spending time with her five younger brothers and sisters. Everything was an adventure, something to be treasured and stories were her first love. Jessica began seriously writing in high school and continued into college while attending Emporia State University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She wrote and released her first novel, Charming Academy, in August of 2011. Jessica currently lives in southwest Kansas with her husband and children.
Raine English
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, paranormal, and romantic suspense. She’s a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and a Daphne du Maurier Award winner. Raine lives in New England with her family and two French bulldogs, Bailey and Dolly.
Shanna Hatfield
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Liwen Y. Ho
Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She penned her first children’s picture book, “A Rainbow of Nine Colors” in high school (now available at Meegenius.com) and has been writing for grown-ups since 2014.
She also enjoys writing about real-life matters, such as marriage, parenting and faith because truth can be as strange and entertaining as fiction. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including LiteraryMama.com and MomLifeToday.com, and she is a contributor at StartMarriageRight.com.
In her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at http://www.2square2behip.com.
Kit Morgan
A consistent Top 100 lists bestseller, Kit Morgan, aka Geralyn Beauchamp, has been writing for fun all of her life. When writing as Geralyn Beauchamp, her books are epic, adventurous, romantic fantasy at its best. When writing as Kit Morgan they are whimsical, fun, inspirational sweet and clean stories that depict a strong sense of family and community. ‘His Prairie Princess’ is the first of the Prairie Brides books and the first in the series of a long line of stories about Clear Creek, Oregon. One of the wackiest little towns in the old west! Get to know the townsfolk in Clear Creek and come sit a spell!
Melanie D. Snitker
Melanie D. Snitker is the author of the inspirational romance Love’s Compass series. She has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember. She started out writing episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to see as a child and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking, target shooting, camping, and hanging out with family and friends.
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The Opal Blade

Title: The Opal Blade
Author: Kristy Nicolle
Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance
Editor: Jaimie Cordall
Publication Date: Oct. 13, 2017
Blurb:
When Sephy Sinclair is forced to sign a contract taking over her father’s business empire, she’s not happy. What she doesn’t know though, is that in having her Father’s legacy thrust upon her, she’s about to discover the secret lives of her parents, and most importantly that her lineage is steeped far deeper in ancient myth and magic than she ever anticipated.
Journey, with Sephy, through The Hollow and find yourself among the sinners of Mortaria, The Underworldian City ruled by a council of Gods made mortal. Here, she will seek sanctuary beneath a purple sun and vermillion sky, ruled by Haedes, a man broken beyond repair by an incident far too close to home.
Unfortunately for Sephy, it is Haedes alone who can teach her how to wield her newfound powers. Will he overcome his personal loss in time to save Sephy as she is hunted by the Demon Lords of Ancient, or will Sephy be used as a bargaining chip to bring Mortaria to its knees?
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Kristy Nicolle is a 23 year old writer living in the historically beautiful English city of Norwich. She is a full time writer and a graduate of The University of Lincoln in English literature & language, as well as an avid collector of first editions.
Having penned her first novel length piece at age thirteen, Kristy has been writing daily ever since and is particularly drawn to Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance and Science fiction. Kristy Nicolle’s Queens of Fantasy Saga is a collection of 3 trilogies, following the lives of three extraordinary women and their journeys, both personal and fantastical, into three unique but interconnected fantasy worlds. The first trilogy in the saga, ‘The Tidal Kiss Trilogy’, captures the fantastical underwater world of the Occulta Mirum and its scaly tailed residents as their world, which seemed stable for so long, begins to shift. The Second and Third Trilogies names- The Ashen Touch Trilogy and The Aetherial Embrace Trilogy are currently a work in progress.
Kristy is also an animal lover and has a cat, Mitsy, who she has lovingly dubbed Doctor Moo after harboring the belief that all cats are secretly Time Lords. Kristy’s reading preferences are wide, spreading from William Gibson to William Golding and encapsulating multiple genres, though her favorites include Science fiction, Adventure stories and Postmodern narratives such as Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’, and numerous Angela Carter titles.
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Halloween is Murder

HALLOWEEN IS MURDER

McKinley Mysteries, book 11

by Carolyn Arnold

 

Genre: Romantic Mystery Comedy

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.


Chapter 2

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…

Message received.

“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.

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What to expect from the McKinley Mysteries:

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.

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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

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.

Jason McIntyre.

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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. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her website. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or email her via her web site.

Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can join her street team on Facebook, her exclusive Review Crew or sign up for her newsletter.

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Eliesmore – The Green Stone

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Eliesmore and the Green Stone by Angela J. Ford
Cover by Wicked Book Covers

The Four Worlds Series #3
Genre: fantasy
Release date: September 9th, 2017add-to-goodreads

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Synopsis

Run, run as fast as you can. Never stop…Changers have arisen, wreaking havoc as they harvest the world, searching for the Green Stone. The South World sinks in despair, holding its breath, waiting for the One.

Eliesmore is a Blended One, growing up on the edge of the forest of the creatures of the wood. Young, headstrong, and inspired by magical rituals, he spends his time between his overprotective mother and sneaking out to dance with the wild things.
His courage is tested when Eliesmore discovers that he is the One who is meant to save the Four Worlds from the Changers. Unwilling to accept his fate, he turns his back on the prophecy and the futile quest to dissolve the Green Stone.

But Eliesmore will soon learn he cannot escape his destiny. Beset by creatures of the deep and hunted by servants of the Changers, Eliesmore finds his task will test the loyalty of his companions and help him answer the ultimate question:

Can he trust the immortals – or are they the reason the Changers have come to power?

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Angela J. Ford

Author bio

Brought up as a bookworm and musician, Angela J. Ford began writing The Four Worlds Series—a fantasy series—at the age of twelve. The storyline of those books was largely based off of the imaginative games she played with her sisters.

Angela originally finished the series when she was sixteen. After college, Angela began to rewrite The Four Worlds Series, bringing it from a child’s daydream to an adventure young and old can enjoy. Since it is inspired by fairy tales, high magic, and epic fantasy, Angela knows you’ll enjoy your adventures within the Four Worlds.

If you happen to be in Nashville, you’ll most likely find her at a local coffee shop, enjoying a white chocolate mocha and furiously working on her next book. Make sure you say hello!

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How the Warrior Claimed


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Cover Reveal: How The Warrior Claimed
by Nicole Rene
 
Genre: Dark Historical Romance
Series: Falling Warriors, Book 2
 
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~~
 
 
HE was the chief’s cousin …
 
Namoriee knew the only way to protect herself against the blond-haired gentle giant was to stay away. The way her heart pounded and her insides fluttered when he was near could only lead to disaster.
 
Two years ago he made a promise to her that she never thought he intended to keep.
 
She was wrong.
 
SHE was the handmaiden …
 
Tyronian wanted Namoriee even when he knew he couldn’t have her. The need to possess her was so deep, it took every ounce of mental and physical strength he had to keep the promise he made to her that stormy night. 
 
He promised he would wait until she was older.
 
He promised her two years.
 
But now … time’s up.
 
Namoriee wants nothing to do with him but he has no plans on stopping until she’s in his bed, and he’s in her heart.
 
She will be his. Forever.
 

Whether she likes it or not.

 


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Hold ‘Em

HOLD ‘EM:

A GAMBLING HEARTS NOVEL

by Jacquie Biggar

Genre: Contemporary Romance

In the game of love all bets are off

When professional poker player Matthew Shaughnessy wins the pot of a lifetime, he didn’t expect to land himself a fiancée.

Cassandra Gardener is left with little choice but to play the part of a Texan’s fiancée for a week if she wants to clear her father’s gambling debt.

Can two people with so much to lose win the biggest bet of all- love?

Cassandra gazed in astonishment at the small town laid like a sparkling blanket in the foothills outside of Austin, Texas.

“This is your home?” She came from a well-off family and had grown up visiting her friends sprawling mansions and fancy condos, but this was something altogether different. They’d landed in Austin’s International Airport mid-morning and had traveled south almost non-stop since. She was hungry, tired, her butt hurt, and she really needed to pee, but all of her discomforts were temporarily forgotten as she took in the scene on the horizon.

She looked at Matt and caught the gleam of his smile in the dashboard lights.

“Yep, that’s home,” he said, voice ringing with pride. “Not what you expected, Princess?” He slowed to a stop and rested his arm on the steering wheel to look at her. “It still grabs me that way, and I grew up here. It’s been in our family for five generations and Grannie has managed it for the last fifty years. We have two hundred forty-seven employees and run cattle and horses across two hundred and fifty thousand acres. It hasn’t all been a bed of roses, but an oil find back in the seventies helped make her what she is today.”

“It’s beautiful, Matt.” Cass was unaccountably moved by the obvious love he had for his childhood home. With a father who had been in the military before his appointment to the Canadian Senate, she’d lived in a variety of countries and houses—she could never call them homes. She envied him his heritage.

“Thanks,” he said. “Ready to meet my family?”

Uh, sure,” she answered, while inside the jitterbugs started dancing again. Anyone who managed an operation this large had to do it with an iron hand. She pictured Matt’s grandmother with a baseball bat in one hand and a horsewhip in the other.

He shifted into gear and the truck started rolling toward the pit of doom. “Don’t worry, they’ll love you.”

Sure they will. Until they found out the engagement was a big, fat hoax—then, all bets were off.

The ranch house sat on a knoll overlooking the rest of the complex. As they drove up, lights flickered to life behind gauzy white curtains. The double Spanish style entry doors of the hacienda-type structure swung open, and what seemed like half the village spilled out onto the courtyard.

Cassandra turned accusing eyes on Matt. “You told them we were coming.”

He grinned and shut off the truck. “Of course, I did. The eldest son is bringing home his future bride. It’s cause for celebration.”

Before she could blister him with the words on the tip of her tongue, he hopped out and held his arms open to a gorgeous young woman who’d been practically jumping up and down since they pulled up. More arms opened, and more, and soon he was swallowed from view. Cassandra wished she could vanish herself. Back to before she ever knew Matthew Shaughnessy.

Short of sliding into the driver’s seat and disappearing into the sunset—oh, so tempting as it was—Cass pulled up her big girl panties and opened the door of the truck. The noise hit her first, a cacophony of laughing and crying, and what seemed like a hundred voices talking all at once. This was ten times worse than meeting Jeff’s family. For one thing, he hadn’t deserted her like bait left out for the wolves to find.

A pair of muscular arms wrapped around her waist and lifted her off the seat to her startled shriek. She had a blurred vision of laughing blue eyes, then she was swung around and set down in the middle of the crowd. A younger, carbon-copy version of Matt leaned down and kissed her cheek before he stepped back after a stern warning from a tart voice.

And then Cassandra was face to face with the matriarch of the Shaughnessy family.

Far from the dragon lady she’d been imagining, Matt’s grandmother looked as though sugar wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Slim, tiny, with smooth unlined skin and hair that still retained much of its natural thickness and wave—though Cass had been told the chemo was taking its toll—she rolled closer and held out her hand, the wheelchair cutting a swath through the crowd.

“So, you’re the young lass who stole my grandson’s heart.”

Cassandra squirmed under her piercing gaze and cursed Matt for leaving her alone. She gently took the old woman’s papery hand in greeting, but when she tried to let go, Grannie tightened her grip.

“Let’s have a look at you then,” she said as if Cass was a horse at market. Should she show them her teeth?

“Gran, let my fiancée go, you’re scaring her,” Matt’s laughing voice came from behind Cass. She turned… and his lips grazed her cheek to take possession of her mouth.

She froze, shocked to the core by the heat and textures bombarding her senses. His mouth stilled, then moved against hers, soft and demanding at the same time. The noise faded, taken over by the buzzing of her pulse and the encouraging murmur coming from his throat—or was it hers?

A loud war-whoop from nearby broke them apart. Cass stared into his chocolate brown eyes and saw the same bemused arousal that she was feeling. Not good. Not good at all.

She yanked herself out of his grasp and turned back to Grannie, ignoring the cheers for more from the crowd. “Is there some place I could get cleaned up? It’s been a long trip.”

Grannie’s speculative gaze turned sly. “Of course, honey. We don’t stand on ceremony around here. I know how you young people are so I had Sophia put you in the adjoining suite next to Matthew. Matt, take her to your room, son.”

“Oh, but,” Cass protested, but Matt cut her off.

“I missed you, Gran.” He leaned down and gave his grandmother a hug filled with a little boy’s love. “We’ll let you get off to bed and talk more in the morning. I can’t wait for you two to get to know each other.” He grinned at Cassandra and grabbed her hand. “C’mon, darlin’, time to hit the hay.”

Cass stumbled along behind him, not sure how she’d managed to fall down this rabbit hole.

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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. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her website. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or email her via her web site.

Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!You can join her street team on Facebook, her exclusive Review Crew or sign up for her newsletter.

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