A GAMBLING HEARTS NOVEL
A GAMBLING HEARTS NOVEL
by Jacquie Biggar
Did you ever wonder how authors manage to visit all the places in the world they write so eloquently about?
Believe me, if I could travel to exotic locales I would (not so sure about different worlds though!), but most of us have to make do with researching the areas we’re interested in placing our characters into.
Whether it’s a castle in England
or the vineyards of Italy
We can get real-time views thanks to modern day search engines like Google. With Instant Street View simply type in any address and you’re instantly transported there with a complete 360 picture of the area.
Another great search tool for authors is Pinterest. You can find just about anything you’re looking for on subjects ranging from fashion to settings, and of course inspiration 🙂
My upcoming release, Hold ‘Em: A Gambling Hearts Romance, is set in the Texas hill country. I had visions in my head of what the area should look like, but needed to make sure of some facts such as what sort of flowers are prevalent in the open ranch fields? I did an online search and came up with this lovely field of bluebonnets:
Perfect for my scene! Here’s a little taste of what I wrote:
Cassandra stared at him, bemused. The sun had decided to peek out from behind the clouds, turning his hair antique gold in the streaming light. Their clothes were soaked, but on him, it was a good look. His shirt plastered to his torso highlighted strong shoulders and a well-defined chest. One she wanted to rest her head against.
Startled out of her trance, she jerked her gaze out across the most beautiful valley she’d ever seen. Bluebonnets and healthy green grass waved back and forth, teased by a playful breeze. An old log cabin, its roof sagging and covered with moss, crouched by a babbling brook shaded by a giant cottonwood. And just to finish the fairytale, a multi-hued rainbow cast its benevolent glow over the entire picturesque area as though daring the rainclouds to return.
“Wow,” she said. “You weren’t kidding. This place is fantastic.”
A deer broke cover and slowly made its way down to the brook, testing the air every few feet.
Cass grabbed Matt’s arm, intensely conscious of the coiled strength that lay just under the skin. She cleared her throat and pointed, “Look, Matt, it’s a Bambi.”
Matt gazed at her instead of the animal, the quirk of his mouth causing a heart-palpitating dimple to appear. “What is it with women and Disney creatures?”
She laughed and dropped her hand, uncomfortable now with his sole attention. “Are you telling me you never had a favorite character from a movie when you were a child?”
He lifted his head and eyed the deer, his profile reminding her of a proud animal. When he turned back the humor was gone. “We should get down there before the weather decides to break again. You ready?”
Curiously sorry she’d ruined the moment, Cassandra nodded and they started out for the valley floor. The deer took one look at them and bounded away, disappearing into the woods on the far side of the clearing.
“What is this place?” she asked, lagging along in his wake, her hand brushing the top of the grass as they walked.
Matt glanced back, then kept going, his body cutting them a trail. “It was my great-grandfather’s first home. Dad used it as his fishing shack when he wanted a break from ranching.”
Cassandra gazed upon the valley with new eyes. She imagined an adventurous young man with Matt’s face riding across the Texas plains until he happened upon this magical land. Easy to see why he decided to stay.
If you’d like more of my vision for this story, check out my Pinterest board here
What about you? How do you research your settings? Any tips or tricks you’d care to share?
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?
International Link: http://books2read.com/HoldEm
Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34682965-hold-em
(The Huntress/FBI Thrillers #5)
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Revenge has no limits.
Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.
Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted . . .
PLUS: Books 1-4 are on SALE for $1.99 each for a limited time only!
Previous books in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers Series:
A bleak sky, streaked with white, stretches over the desolate South Rim of the canyon. There will be snow tonight.
The grinding of a pickup truck grates through the silence.
A four-door Tundra. Tonneau cover over the bed. Two men dressed in camouflage inside. Fast-food and jerky wrappers litter the wells at their feet. In the back seat, a cooler packed full of beer.
And three rifles, three-inch twelve-gauge magnums, strapped to the padded back-seat gun rest.
Hunters, driving the rim.
The front-seat passenger sets his sights on something moving ahead of them, leans forward greedily. “There we go, there we go.”
The driver follows his gaze, fixes on what he is tracking. Not a deer, but a young girl, shining black hair underneath the hood of her parka. Schoolgirl’s backpack on her shoulder.
On the men’s faces, something crude and capering.
“That’s some tasty-looking pussy.”
“Oh, yeah, that’ll do.”
The driver swerves the truck over to the side of the road, squealing brakes.
The girl hears the sound, stiffens, is starting to run before she even completes the glance back.
The truck skids to a stop in the snow. The doors fly open; the men are out of the car, grabbing for their rifles.
The girl runs for the rocks, but her pursuers are bigger, faster. Two of them, grown men, against a teenage girl.
They move forward into the strong wind, a military-style formation, heavy boots crunching in the sandy snow.
They pause at the rock outcropping, looking out over the boulders. The girl seems to have disappeared. Then a scrabble on the rocks betrays her. Hearing it, the men grin at each other.
The driver rounds the rock first, his mouth watering. He is already hard in anticipation . . .
The tire iron bashes him across the face, breaking his jaw. He staggers back, howling inarticulate pain.
The girl kicks him viciously in the knee, crumpling him, then swivels as the second hunter rounds the edge of the rock. She slams the tire iron against the side of his head.
Now both men are collapsed on the ground, moaning and cursing.
She steps forward, no longer feigning that youthful, hesitant gait.
She lifts her arm and uses the tire iron on their skulls. Two, three, four blows, and there is no more moaning. Thick crimson drops spatter the snow. Her breath is harsh. Her face is ice.
There is only the wind, swallowing the sound of her breathing.
Cara stands at the edge of the canyon, looking out at the spires of Spider Rock, the vast open gorge.
Below her is an icy crevasse. The canyon has any number of them, deep splits in the rock wall where whole sheets of the cliff have broken away. Behind her is the hunters’ pickup truck.
Their bodies lie at her feet.
She drags one, then the other, to shove them over the cliff’s edge, stepping back to watch each body hurtle down into the crevasse, tumbling into oblivion.
The snowfall tonight will cover all trace of them. Later, birds and animals will pick the bones clean.
Another offering to the canyon, and the gods and ghosts that haunt it.
“Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.” – The New York Times
ALEXANDRA SOKOLOFF is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON, BITTER MOON, HUNGER MOON – now in active development as a TV series), and the supernatural HAUNTED thrillers (THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, THE SPACE BETWEEN). The New York Times Book Review called her a “daughter of Mary Shelley,” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”
As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written three non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS, STEALING HOLLYWOOD, and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (www.ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA West and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.
Alex is a California native and a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where she majored in theater and minored in everything Berkeley has a reputation for. In her spare time (!) she performs with The Slice Girls and Heather Graham’s all-author Slush Pile Players, and dances like a fiend. She is also very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. But not an addict. Seriously, it’s under control.
“Katee Robert has definitely picked up the romantic suspense genre and made it her bitch. I can’t wait to see what we get next. Given some of the books I see she’s been using for research, I know it’s going to be frightening and amazing at the same time.”—Goodreads Review
Title: The Hunting Grounds
Author: Katee Robert
Series: Hidden Sins #2
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Print Length: 318 pages
Format: Digital and Paperback
For two FBI agents with a past, love becomes a matter of life and death in the new Hidden Sins novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert.
Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent—top of her class and one of the bright, up-and-coming stars—until she spectacularly fell apart during her first high-profile case. That was eight years ago. Now she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park, and she’s found some measure of peace. But when the body of a murdered woman is discovered, she must finally put the past behind her and work with the one man she thought she’d never see again.
For months, Vic Sutherland has been hunting a killer who’s been targeting unsuspecting hikers in national parks—and now the predator has come to Glacier. Vic knows the case will bring him face-to-face with his former partner, yet nothing can prepare him for seeing Maggie again after all these years, or for the memories of passion it stirs in both of them.
As the investigation brings them closer together—and closer to the killer—Maggie and Vic fear they have only each other to trust. But even that might not be enough to make it out of Glacier alive.
The Hunting Grounds Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Katee Robert
Vic’s gaze fell on his phone. Maggie’s number was now in the contacts folder. It would be easy to dial it, just to check on her.
Except it was late, and she hadn’t asked for him to babysit her.
He’d gone years without seeing her, and now that they were in the same general area, it was like they were two magnets that could barely resist the pull. He wanted to hear her voice, to sit her down and share a meal that wasn’t military issue, to actually talk.
His phone rang, which startled him so much he almost dropped it. Vic stared at the screen for several precious seconds, wondering if he was more tired than he’d thought, because it sure as fuck looked like Maggie was calling him. “Sutherland.”
He sat on the edge of the bed, suddenly painfully aware that he wore only a towel. It shouldn’t matter. She couldn’t see him, didn’t know what he was or wasn’t wearing, but it did matter. “Hey, Maggie.”
“I have to apologize.” He could almost feel her soft sigh. “You were right, and I was acting like a stubborn kid. This whole thing—the murders in the park and having to deal with my past and you—has got me all twisted up.”
Maybe it was the events of the last two days, but he was so goddamn tired of doing the noble thing. He never put himself or his personal shit before a case. Not once.
He’d never wanted to before.
“I twist you up?”
“As if you didn’t know. I had something of a crush on you when we were partners—which I’m sure you knew after I threw myself at you—and apparently I didn’t outgrow it as much as I thought.”
The dimness of the room evoked an intimacy he didn’t deserve. Was Maggie sitting in her bedroom in low light, too? He liked the picture that made. “You have nothing to apologize for.”
“I’ve been making an ass of myself since you stepped off that helicopter.” She shifted, the sound painfully loud in the near silence. “And I’m doing it again, apparently. My whole point was that I’m sorry and I’ll be professional from now on. You don’t have to worry about any breakdowns or hissy fits.”
If he was smart, he’d take her apology for what it was and allow it to move them back to solid ground. There were lives on the line and a condensed timeline that was only going to get more condensed with each body that popped up.
But when Vic spoke, he didn’t move them back to firm ground. He threw them right over the edge of the cliff. “Fuck being professional. I want you, Maggie. Not the former FBI agent. Not the park ranger. I want you.”
Praise for The Hidden Sins Series
“…a captivating read, made all the more rewarding when good triumphs.” —Washington Post
“Robert shows off her impressive versatility in this fast-paced and inventive new Hidden Sins series. The small-town setting is a masterful blend of quaint and oppressive, which ratchets the menace and thrill factor. The protagonists carry the full weight of their pasts with them, making their growing relationship as compelling as the mystery element in The Devil’s Daughter. With plenty of twists and betrayals, this is a book that is sure to earn Robert a wealth of new fans.” —RT Book Reviews
Other Books in the Hidden Sin Series
THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER
About Katee Robert
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it ‘a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.” When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Former Navy SEAL Josh Steele gets tasked with a babysitting mission—watch over his boss’s daughter—a job he can only describe as hell. But when his assignment takes him to a tropical island, and he begins to see another side of Holly Fairfax, attraction sizzles between them—but he knows better than to risk his job for it.
Holly can’t believe that underneath those baggy clothes tech-guru Josh Steele is all ripped abs and sexy hotness. Ignoring said hotness is tough, especially since she has to work with him on the team-building exercises her boss has assigned if she wants a coveted promotion. It’s even harder when she discovers being around Josh brings out her naughty side – one she didn’t know she had.
But if she cracks the code on his cover, everything they’ve built could come crashing down.
“No hands, remember.”
“Yeah, shit. Okay.” He looked at the loose limes and lemons lined up on the counter. Christ, he’d been through SEAL training. How hard could it be to use his body to pass Holly a couple of pieces of fruit? He glanced to the front of the room, and captured Misty’s attention. “Can we use our elbows?”
“No elbows, arms or teeth,” Misty said, pointing her finger at him. “The first team to get their completed drinks on the counter wins two points, and the best tasting bloody mary wins one point. If you drop anything, you can no longer use it.”
“Here goes nothing.” Josh leaned forward and, using his chin, rolled one of the limes to the edge of the counter. He angled his body and captured it between his chin and chest. He turned and when he caught the wide-eyed way Holly was watching him, her pouty lips parted slightly, the lime slipped.
“Whoa,” she said.
Before it fell, she stepped into him, sandwiching the fruit between their bodies—their stomachs, specifically.
“Good save.” Damn, is that my voice? He cleared his throat and hoped he no longer sounded like he’d sucked a few of those lemons when he said, “I just need you to slide downward, so you can get it under your chin.”
She writhed, and Josh damn near bit off his tongue as her breasts slid lower on his body. He exhaled sharply and tried to keep his mind on the task at hand—and off the sexy way she was moving against him.
“Just a little more,” he said, his cock jumping in his pants.
Her hands slid around his back and linked as she shimmied lower, her body pressing hard against his to keep the lime from falling. It was all he could do not to grab a fistful of her hair and tug, opening her mouth so he could lean forwarded for a taste. Would she taste as sweet as she smelled?
“It’s harder than it looks,” she grumbled.
Yeah, no kidding.
Fuck, man, he sure as hell hoped she was talking about the game they were playing and not what was going on below the band of his board shorts. Thank God for the apron. The last thing he needed was for her or the team to know he was sporting the hard-on of the century.
She swayed back and forth in a manner that had his thoughts spiraling in a direction they had no right going. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. He thought about it. Visions of Holly sprawled out on his bed, his to do with as he pleased, raced through his mind’s eye.
Kill me fucking now.
“Almost there,” she said.
A groan crawled out of his throat, and she looked up at him. He briefly pinched his eyes shut, and when he opened them again and found her on her knees, dark lashes blinking over big doe eyes as she gazed up at him, he drew on every ounce of control he had to keep himself from falling to the floor and having his fucking way with her.
Keep your mind on the task, dude.
Really? She was asking if he was okay? Hell no, he wasn’t okay! She was gyrating against him in a room full of people, and all he could think about was sex—with the last girl in the world he should be thinking about having sex with.
“Yeah,” he said, the denial spilling from his mouth. “You got it yet?” He winced as his voice came out harder than he intended. But Jesus, this was pure torture—dangerous in so many ways.
Watch over my daughter, he said. Find a way to get her to return home.
Josh was pretty sure gyrating against her during a damn mixology contest wasn’t what he’d signed up for. Fuck me.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Cathryn Fox is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Cathryn can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter but loves to spend time writing page-turning books that her readers will love.
HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this third volume in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new, heart-wrenching, and sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.
Tristan Pierce left the family business to carve out a life of his own, but never forgot his passionate affair with the much younger, inexperienced Sydney Greene, or the hurtful breakup that tore him apart. When he’s forced to return home and face his past, will he be able to carve out a future, or will lies ruin his second chance at love?
Sydney Greene loved Tristan her entire life but when he left, he took not only her heart, but her trust along with him. Now that they’re together again, it’s time they both face the biggest secret of all…
Jennifer Probst – Bio:
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at http://www.jenniferprobst.com.
It’s just another day at the office for Washington Metro Police lieutenant Sam Holland when a body surfaces off the shores of the Anacostia River. But before Sam can sink her teeth into the new case, Secret Service agents seize her from the crime scene.
A threat has been made against her family, but nobody will tell her anything—including the whereabouts of her husband, Vice President Nick Cappuano. This isn’t the first time the couple’s lives have been at risk, but when a bombshell from Sam’s past returns to haunt her, she can’t help but wonder if there’s a connection.
With a ruthless killer out for vengeance, and Nick struggling to maintain his reputation after secrets from his own past are revealed, Sam works to tie the threat to a murder that can’t possibly be a coincidence. And she has to get it done before her husband’s career is irrevocably damaged…
Order a SIGNED copy | Island Books
“Thank you, Brant,” Sam said to the agent in charge of Nick’s Secret Service detail.
“You’re welcome.” Brant paused before he added, “I know we’ve had this conversation before, Mrs. Cappuano, but I really recommend that you have a detail until we’re certain we’ve contained this threat.”
“I appreciate the recommendation, but I’ll be providing my own security through my team here. I’ll be accompanied by other armed officers everywhere I go. There’s no need to be redundant.”
“Redundant,” Nick muttered with a grunt that would’ve been laughter if the subject matter hadn’t been so grave. “Brant is suggesting added precaution, not redundancy.”
“It’s not necessary,” Sam said, digging in. The last fucking thing she needed was to be escorted around by federal agents. She may as well hang up her badge if that was going to be her reality.
“On that we disagree, my love,” Nick said. “But I’m not going to waste everyone’s time fighting a losing battle. Brant, we appreciate your thoroughness and ask you to keep us posted on the situation.”
“Will do, sir. I’ll wait for you outside.”
When they were alone, Sam looked up at Nick. “I know what you’re going to say, and—”
Nick kissed her hard. “I’ll see you at home later. Let me know if anything pops in the investigation.”
“That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say?”
“What does that mean?”
“You surprise me.”
He threw his head back and laughed. “Then my day is officially made. I’ve managed to surprise my shrewd, sexy wife.”
“I thought you were going to do the whole alpha-dog lift-your-leg thing and demand I have a detail.”
“Sorry to disappoint you on the leg lifting, babe, but we have a deal. Would I like you to have a detail? Abso-fucking-lutely. Do I understand why you won’t allow it? Yeah, I get it. Doesn’t mean I like it, but I get it.” He kissed her forehead and then her lips. “Now, we’ve both got stuff to do, so let’s get to it so we can get to the best part of the day.”
His lips were a heartbeat away from hers when he said, “The part where you crawl into bed with me and rub your naked self all over me.”
Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of 60 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the name of M.S. Force. All together, her books have sold 6 million copies worldwide!
Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.
Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at email@example.com.
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Helen Evans returns in Susan McBride’s fourth River Road Mystery!
Spring has sprung, the river is rising, and when Luann Dupree, the head of River Bend’s Historical Society, vanishes into the night everyone in town is convinced she’s run off with her Internet Romeo. But her lifelong friend, Sarah Biddle, is convinced Luann is the victim of foul play. No one believes her-not even her husband, the local sheriff, so she turns to Helen Evans for help.
As River Bend’s resident puzzle-solver, Helen’s tackled many a local mystery before. So she agrees to help Sarah, even though she’s not so sure herself that Luanne is really in trouble. But as the town’s flood waters slowly recede, dead fish and muck aren’t the only things Helen finds. She begins to uncover town secrets, false identities…and the very real chance that Luanne might not be discovered alive…
The “walk of shame,” wasn’t that what they called it?
Despite the hangover that played timpani drums in her head, Luann Dupree cracked a smile as she locked her car and scurried toward her front door in the gray light of early morning. She’d always been such a straight arrow that it tickled her to envision herself being labeled a hussy. Unfortunately, it appeared that no one was around to witness her predawn homecoming.
She glanced right and left, checking an all-but-deserted Main Street beneath the still-glowing streetlamps. It felt very much like a ghost town, though there were a few signs of life: the lights flickering on at the diner down the block; a whip-poor-will calling out from a nearby tree; and a cat with a bell on its collar darting beneath a parked car. Otherwise, the town slept, not to awaken until the morning newspaper landed hard upon front porches.
“No one here but us chickens,” she murmured, shaking her head.
She let herself into the building that had, half a century ago, been the Spring Creek Hotel. Through the years the hotel had fallen into disrepair. When its owners died and their heirs placed it on the market for a pittance, the town council had scooped up the property for the River Bend Historical Society. Walls had been torn down to create vast space on the first floor for a museum. The second floor held countless documents and photographs that needed scanning into the system. Its unoccupied rooms also provided storage for the dozens of boxes found in the attic during the renovation and an extensive inventory of items left to the Historical Society by deceased town residents.
The renovation had been fully completed a year ago, and Luann was still sorting through the jumble.
She’d assumed the helm of the Society a decade before and had spent so much time in the building that it felt like home. Heck, it was her home. Before the town council had pushed forward plans to turn the attic into a tiny one-bedroom apartment, she’d often slept on the couch in her office. Though her brand-new living space was hardly bigger than a breadbox, it was all that she needed, seeing as how she was single without even a pet to her name.
One of these days, Lu imagined moving into a cottage perched atop the bluffs above the Mississippi River. How glorious it would be to wake up every morning and see the sunrise dapple the water! It would be even better if she had someone to share it with, she mused wistfully.
Not that there was anything wrong with living alone. Luann had been alone most of her fifty-two years. If she’d liked pets, it might have been a different story. But she was bored to death of herself and itched to share her passion with someone else, hopefully before another decade passed her by while her nose was buried in census tomes or dusty old photographs.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
SUSAN MCBRIDE is the USA TODAY bestselling author of Blue Blood, the first of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries. The award-winning series also includes The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night of the Living Deb, and Too Pretty to Die. She’s also the author of The Truth about Love & Lightning, Little Black Dress, and The Cougar Club, all Target Recommended Reads. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and daughter.
Divorced mom, Mia Gibbs’ family is her life, but her world is turned upside down when she falls for her one-time teenage crush Nick McGuire, a workaholic lawyer who isn’t a family man. Fans of Susan Wiggs’ The Lakeshore Chronicles will love this heartwarming friends to lovers story releasing this summer from Grand Central – Forever.
About Summer on Firefly Lake (Firefly Lake #2):
Title: Summer on Firefly Lake
Author: Jen Gilroy
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Forever – Grand Central Publishing
Series: Firefly Lake
Sometimes love is better the second time around.
Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire has turned everything upside down.
Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus, and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city…until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted…and the woman he can’t live without.
Add to your “Want to Read” shelf: Goodreads
Praise for Summer on Firefly Lake:
“Has charm to spare…The delightful supporting cast…and expertly plotted story add depth and richness to this tale, leaving readers eager for another visit to Firefly Lake.” – Publishers Weekly
“Gilroy’s second Firefly Lake novel encapsulates the quaint, busybody small-town feel and the slippery slope of friends becoming lovers quite well…Engaging…(a) fast paced page turner.” – RT Book Reviews
“I want this.” Mia lifted her face to his as a cloud scudded across the moon. “I want you.”
Even if it could only be for tonight, she was Mia, not a mom, not a sister, and not a wife who’d been tossed aside for someone younger and curvier. For this one moment, she didn’t have any responsibilities except what she wanted and needed.
I want you, too.” Nick took her hand and led her toward the car. “A part of me has wanted you since I was fifteen and you hung out at the town beach in that green bikini with the white flowers.”
Her heart lurched. He’d noticed her enough to remember the bikini she’d hidden from her mom. The one she’d bought because she’d heard Nick say he liked green. “You were always with the guys by the life guard station.” Everything about him was a lot sexy and a little bit dangerous.
“I wanted to see you.” His smile was forced, like the admission cost him more than he wanted her to know.
Mia curved her cold hand into his warm one. She’d guessed she’d hurt him the one time they’d gone out, but until tonight she hadn’t understood how much. She couldn’t regret the past, and she couldn’t predict the future, but she could do something about the present. “I want to be with you. Even though we’re not teenagers anymore and I don’t have that green bikini.
Nick’s gaze skimmed her body from head to toe and lingered at her breasts. Then he gave her a grin that was pure bad boy. “I was always a lot more interested in what was underneath that bikini anyway.”
He opened the passenger door for her to slide in.
She looked at him from under her lashes and flirted like she’d wanted to do all those years ago but had been too shy. “You were, were you?”
“Oh yeah.” He shut the car door and, in the sudden silence, panic rolled over her again. Except, there was excitement too…
Copyright © Summer on Firefly Lake 2017 by Jen Gilroy
Other Books in the Firefly Lake Series:
Title: The Cottage at Firefly Lake
Author: Jen Gilroy
Publisher: Forever – Grand Central Publishing
Series: Firefly Lake #1
Date Released: January 31, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction
Some mistakes can never be fixed and some secrets never forgiven … but some loves can never be forgotten.
Charlotte Gibbs wants nothing more than to put the past behind her, once and for all. Yet now that she’s back at Firefly Lake to sell her mother’s cottage, the overwhelming flood of memories reminds her of what she’s been missing. Sun-drenched days. Late-night kisses that still shake her to the core. The gentle breeze off the lake, the scent of pine in the air, and the promise of Sean’s touch on her skin…True, she got her dream job traveling the world. But at what cost?
Sean Carmichael still doesn’t know why Charlie disappeared that summer, but after eighteen years, a divorce, and a teenage son he loves more than anything in the world, he’s still not over her. All this time and her body still fits against his like a glove. She walked away once when he needed her the most. How can he convince her to stay now?
Add to your “Want to Read” shelf: Goodreads
Praise for The Cottage at Firefly Lake:
“Gilroy’s debut contemporary is packed with potent emotions…[the] protagonists tug at the heartstrings from the beginning of the story and don’t let go. Long on charm, this story invites readers to come in and stay a while.” – Publishers Weekly
“Memories, regrets and second chances are front and center in Gilroy’s fantastic debut.” – RT Book Reviews
About Jen Gilroy:
Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in eastern Ontario, Canada where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She’s worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write romantic women’s fiction to bring readers’ hearts home.
Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.
The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.
Rafflecopter for Summer on Firefly Lake Blog Tour Giveaway:
Jen is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of both The Cottage at Firefly Lake (the first book in the series) and Summer on Firefly Lake. Five (5) runner-up winners will receive a paperback copy of Summer on Firefly Lake! This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
THE JADE EMPEROR
by Suzanne Jenkins
“B.J. Daniels is at the top of her game…the perfect blend of hot romance and thrilling suspense.” – New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan
Burdened by family secrets, this cowboy rides alone
For twenty‐five years, the case of the McGraw twins kidnapping has remained unsolved. As the eldest son, Cull oversees the McGraw horse ranch, wary of prying eyes. So when true‐crime writer Nikki St. James comes forward with new information, Cull can’t believe his father invites her onto the compound.
His family has suffered enough—he’s not about to let St. James snoop and ruin them completely. But Nikki finds the eldest McGraw’s protectiveness as endearing as it is aggravating. After all, this case is personal to her, too… And her secrets can set the truth free—if they don’t destroy the McGraws first.
Look for the next two installments in this gripping new series Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping!
NYT and USA Today Bestselling author B.J. Daniels was born in Texas but moved with her family to Montana at the age of five. Her first home was a cabin in the Gallatin Canyon and later a lake house on Hebgen Lake outside of West Yellowstone.
Most of her books are set in Montana, a place she loves. She lives now in a unique part of the state with her husband and three Springer Spaniels.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to play tennis, boat, camp, quilt and snowboard. There is nothing she enjoys more than curling up with a good book.
An edge of your seat mystery!
Embarrassingly enough, this is my first B.J. Daniels book which I received thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley, but it will definitely not be the last!
This story opens with a nighttime visit to an insane asylum, and if that isn’t enough to get your pulse pounding there is the mystery of a missing set of twins and a true crime writer determined to find the answers and clear her father’s name.
There are a lot of twists and turns to this book and just enough romance to sweeten the plot.
A highly recommended read!
I give Dark Horse 5 lovely kisses
ESCAPE FROM BEHRUZ
by Judy Meadows
The booming sound coming from downstairs causes me to sit straight up on the mattress that is placed in the middle of the master bedroom floor. I’ve yet to get a good night’s sleep because there’s a damn train that runs parallel to the town. It’s just two blocks over from the Mainer House, and it feels the need to blow its whistle around two AM each morning. This isn’t that big of a deal to most of the residents of the small town of Whynot, but to me… it chafes just a little because, well… I love my sleep.
I’ve been assured by the nice lady who runs Sweet Cakes, the bakery right across the street from Mainer House, that I’ll get used to it, but I seriously doubt it. Even the noise of New York City never penetrated my sleep the way a train whistle does, and I get a totally empathetic look from her when I stagger in for some coffee and a cheese Danish each morning.
I think I’ve slipped into a pattern at night where I now anticipate being woken up by that stupid train, so I’m not even able to get into good REM sleep. It’s probably why I shot straight up in bed at the banging that’s going on downstairs, although I can’t quite pinpoint from where it’s coming. A glance at the alarm clock sitting on the floor shows it’s 5:30 AM. It’s still dark outside, and I’m slightly—okay, greatly—confused. I struggle to process since it’s been almost two weeks since I came to Whynot and I’ve not had a decent night’s sleep since then.
Then it penetrates… someone’s at my front door.
At 5:30 AM.
Immediate anger flows through my veins, heating me up from within. Without any further consternation, I know it’s Lowe Mancinkus causing all that noise. It must be him because there’s no one else in the entire world who has ever been such a thorn in my side.
Flipping the blanket back, I roll off the mattress and wince as my knees hit the floor. Almost three decades of sleeping on a mattress, box spring, and a frame, and I can’t get used to being only a few inches off the floor. I’ve held off on buying any furniture for the house until the remodeling is complete.
Pushing first to my hands and knees, I manage to lurch upright and stagger out of the bedroom. Down the rotund, sweeping staircase to the main floor. I don’t even bother to look out the leaded glass panels on either side of the heavy wooden door—so convinced I am that it’s Lowe on the other side—that I fling it open without an ounce of worry.
“What in the holy hell are you doing?” I snarl as the breeze generated from the doorway swinging open so fast actually blows my hair back.
Lowe stands there in mid-bang, fist raised high and a diabolical glitter to his eyes. His eyes lock onto mine for just a moment before they drop and casually run down the length of my frame. I look down at myself and cringe as I realize I’m still in my pajamas, which in the sweltering South consists of a cotton tank top and sleep shorts that are really short. My hand falls from the doorknob, and I cross my arms over my chest as Lowe looks back up at me.
And why does he have to be so damned gorgeous? In ordinary circumstances, this man pushes all my girlie buttons. Tall, just enough muscle to be strong but not freakish, and that dark chocolate hair with bright hazel eyes that are every woman’s fantasy. I always have to remind myself he’s a nasty SOB who I wouldn’t give the time of day to… in ordinary circumstances, that is.
“I’m here to start work,” he says casually as he pushes past me into the main foyer.
“It’s five-freaking-thirty in the morning,” I grit out, not moving from the open doorway. I expect him to be walking right back out again.
Instead, he ignores me and moves down a wide hall beside the staircase that goes to the kitchen. With a growl of frustration, I slam the door shut and then stomp off after him. “It’s completely rude to show up here at this hour.”
He doesn’t respond and as I turn the corner into the kitchen, I find him rummaging through the cupboards. “Where’s the coffee?”
“I don’t have any,” I snap at his backside since he hasn’t bothered to give me a second glance since he barged in. “And I don’t like you ignoring me any more than I like you barging into my house.”
“Get some decent clothes on, and I wouldn’t be forced to look through your cupboards for nonexistent coffee,” he replies calmly, moving onto the next cabinet even though I’ve told him I have no coffee.
In fact, I have hardly anything at all here. A mattress, pillow, sheets, and blanket in the bedroom, some orange juice in the fridge, and towels in the master bathroom. Those are the only creature comforts at this point, and they’re enough to get me through the remodeling. I’ve been eating out almost every meal and this is not a hardship as that’s pretty much what I do when I’m back home in New York. One, however, can only eat so many grits and collards, although I’ll take them over fatback and pickled pigs feet any day.
“I would like to remind you…” I say in a voice that comes off far too rancid and nowhere in control. “That this is my house. I can wear whatever I like to bed, with the assumption I won’t have visitors until a decent hour.”
“I’m not a visitor,” he points out, back still to me. “But because you couldn’t take a little joke and had to run crying to Judge Bowe, I now have to work for you. I also have to keep my own business running, which means I have to work early and late. You need to suck it up, buttercup. This is your life for the next few months.”
Juliette Poe is the sweet and swoony alter ego of New York Times Best Selling author, Sawyer Bennett.
A fun-loving southern girl, Juliette knows the allure of sweet tea, small towns, and long summer nights, that some of the best dates end sitting on the front porch swing, and that family is top priority. She brings love in the south to life in her debut series, Sex & Sweet Tea.
When Juliette isn’t delivering the sweetest kind of romance, she’s teaching her southern belle daughter the fine art of fishing, the importance of wearing Chucks, and the endless possibilities of a vivid imagination.
On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
He’s not giving up his family without a fight
James Calhoun has never been able to resist Mara Tyler, or her knack for mischief. Her reputation as a reckless teenager drove Mara from their hometown. So Slippery Rock is the last place James ever expected to see her, and Mara’s timing couldn’t be worse. With the upcoming election for sheriff, she threatens the squeaky-clean image James needs to win. Because Mara has brought with her the result of their steamy affair: his two-year-old son, Zeke. After the initial shock, James is determined to have both his family and career. He just needs to convince Mara that her home is where it’s always been. With him.
James’ Tips for Reforming a Rebel
Loving a rebel is a hard thing, especially when you’re neck-deep in sheriff duties. And, you know, when your family has been the law in your town for longer than you can remember. People have expectations. And thoughts. And expectations.
I really hate the expectations part. Like, who really cares what CarlaAnn at the grocery store thinks? I sure as hell don’t, but it seems like a lot of other people do. People who have no business inserting their thoughts and expectations in my life. That’s life in a small town for you.
The thing is, I love living in my small town. It’s a part of me like nothing else has ever been. There is a sense of community, a sense of togetherness that you just don’t get in other places.
Take Mara Tyler. She’s a rebel, always has been. She walks to the beat of her own drummer, as the saying goes. She has a code, she has her struggles, but she’s just trying to be a good daughter, sister, mother and, if I have any say in it, lover. She’s good at what she does, and what she does is protect people. Being a computer programmer for a security company is a big deal. I might protect the people of Slippery Rock, but because of Mara, people in cities all over the United States are safer.
So, for whatever it’s worth, my advice for reforming a rebel?
Don’t. People need to be who they are, and as long as who they aren’t isn’t hurting anyone else, let the rebel be. Chances are, that rebel is doing more good in the world than you know.
Other Books in the Series
Lifestyles of the small-town famous
Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn’t humiliating enough, on her way into town she’s rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler.
His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn’t need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can’t be denied. And when disaster strikes, they’ll both be surprised by who’s still standing when the dust settles.
And coming September 2017…
This isn’t the man she married…
Jenny Buchanan never considered what “for better or for worse” meant when she married Adam Buchanan at nineteen. Six years and two little boys later, “for worse” arrives in the form of a tornado that ravages Slippery Rock and injures Adam. Now he’s a stranger to his family…and love won’t be enough to bring him back.
Only when Jenny asks him to move out does Adam become the husband she needs…but Adam isn’t the only one who’s changed. As their attraction sparks back to life, Jenny and Adam must learn what it is to grow up—and grow together—before this small-town breakup lasts forever.
About the Author
Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.
Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!
Other Harlequin Superromance Books by the Author
July 15th: Launch
Beck Valley Books
Becky on Books
Hearts & Scribbles
underneath the covers
Thoughts of a Blonde
Deal Sharing Aunt
Christian Suspense Author Mary Alford
It’s All About the Romance
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
Nicole’s Book Musings
July 21st: Grand Finale
– 1 winner will receive a signed copy of Protecting the Quarterback and some fun swag
– US residents only
– Ends July 25th
Thanks for helping me celebrate the 4th anniversary of the publication of my first book, VERMONT ESCAPE. To make this fun for everyone, I’m offering VERMONT ESCAPE & TRUTH BE TOLD for 99 Cents each on Amazon for three days: Tuesday, July 18; Wednesday, July 19 (the actual date of publication of VE), and Thursday, July 20.
Four years ago, July 19 was a Friday night and it also happens to be the birthday of one of my SsIL. It was a BIG Birthday. He had a great BD party with lots of friends and family at a Sushi Restaurant (which fortunately also served other options.) He was so sweet to announce that his MIL’s first book was released that day. I was touched by his thoughtfulness.
On this July 19, we’ll all be going to the Championship Swim meet to cheer on his almost 6-year-old daughter. I’m going to imagine all those people at the meet are cheering for me and my books. Please spread the word. Limited time. Great deal.
Below are the blurb & links for both books.
VERMONT ESCAPE http://amzn.to/2tdURvC
Jill Barlow has lost everyone she cared about except her grown children. Caught in her father’s fight to keep casino gambling out of Texas, her husband and dad are murdered. She’ll do what it takes to ensure her kids safety even if it means leaving Texas and moving to Vermont.
Jerrod Phillips, has come a long way in the 20 odd years since his wife abandoned him and their two children. With no room in his heart for love, he’ll do anything to keep his family from being hurt again, especially when the threats come packaged in the form of the attractive Jill Barlow who he suspects is involved in murder.
Forced to trust each other when trouble follows her, they’ll battle, not only killers intent on ending her life, but the attraction drawing them together.
TRUTH BE TOLD http://amzn.to/2tWjREX
Looking forward to a peaceful Christmas visit with her Fort Worth family, Meg Bourland is shocked to discover someone is blackmailing her father. When he rebuffs her offer to help, the Atlanta SWAT team member enlists her LA police officer brother and his former partner to uncover the truth. She fights her attraction for Scott McClaine and the immediate tug to her heart caused by his sacrifice. Her life is in Atlanta, and his is in California.
Scott McClaine, medically retired homicide detective, came to Fort Worth to recuperate from life-threatening bullet wounds he received saving the life of Meg’s brother. Hard enough to accept his new physical limitations, but they make him unacceptable for strong Meg. Regardless, he commits himself to helping her stop the blackmailer. Working closely with her, a bond forms. Could she feel the same?
In the search for truth, they uncover pieces of the puzzle, which threaten to ruin her father’s career as mayor and destroy the family she holds dear. Will Meg and Scott find their way through the maze of family secretes? Will they find the strength to make the sacrifices required for real love before the blackmailer makes good on threats to kill?
In this electrifying novel from USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne, the Safeguard team is coming ever closer to catching an elusive serial killer who might very well be hunting one of their own…
Sawyer Madison has spent the last few months hunting down a sadistic killer. He and his team don’t seem to be any closer to solving this particular case that has hit a little too close to home. Fortunately, they had all served in the Corps. That kind of training and dedication meant none of them considered quitting before the mission was done.
Camryn Novak had spent most of her childhood, and a large part of her adult life, dealing with her overprotective brother. So when an admirer becomes a little too obsessed with her due to her high-profile career, she decides it would be simpler to reach out to someone a little less emotionally invested.
Sawyer never expected to bump into the sister of one of his teammates while traveling on assignment. Women like her were off limits—one shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. One burning touch was all it took to make his good intentions go up in flames. Unfortunately, it won’t just be her brother’s wrath he’s forced to face when an unknown perp targets Camryn—it might very well be the same psychopath they’ve been hunting all along.
Add CASUAL IMPRESSIONS to your Goodreads list here!
Get your hands on CASUAL IMPRESSIONS:
The elevator chimed before either one of them could say anything else. Sawyer stepped aside after making sure the hall was empty and rested a hand on the left side of the elevator door, preventing it from closing before she crossed the threshold onto the blue and burgundy carpet. She wasn’t sure of the reason, but butterflies had set up camp in her stomach. She hadn’t experienced fluttering of this sort since her first audition for her breakout film.
“I’d like to take a look around your room, if you don’t mind,” Sawyer said as he watched her slide the card key into the slot. A green button lit up and announced her success in unlatching the lock.
“Of course. Please, come in.” Camryn quickly tried to recall how she’d left the room, but Sawyer had already slipped past her after closing the door behind them and stepped into the powder room on the right. He left the faint, heady fragrance of his cologne in his wake. It didn’t take him long to search the hotel suite, including checking the closets and adjoining doors to make sure they were properly secured. He left her once again wondering what she would say that could thank him for what he’d done last night and today at the police station. “I truly appreciate what—”
“Camryn, you don’t need to thank me.” Sawyer slowly reached up with both hands and gently removed his sunglasses until there was no barrier between them but space. His blue eyes searched hers for something she couldn’t put her finger on, but the quietness of his tone held an intimacy she’d been craving since they’d met at the airport. “You’re Brody’s sister. We look out for our own in our close-knit family.”
Heat had been making its way through her body when his words crashed over her like ice water. Why did everything have to come back around to her brother? Yes, that was their initial connection, but she didn’t want it to be the only thing that bonded them together. She instinctively reacted without thought, lifting herself up on her tiptoes and using his chest as leverage to keep her balance.
“I’m not just Brody’s sister, Sawyer. I’m also not yours,” Camryn whispered, right before she pressed her lips to his to prove her point.
Time stood still.
Camryn was pretty sure she actually heard the crackling of electricity in the air as she waited for him to decide how much further to take this moment. The answer came when his warm hands wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer. Her heart stuttered until he finally deepened their kiss.
His tongue stroked hers. Arousal slowly worked its way through her body, warming every inch of her that had been cold since last night. He tasted of coffee, mint, and something else that had her craving for more of the same.
Camryn arched farther into him when he used his right arm to wrap around her waist, bringing her even closer. She couldn’t help but let out a small whimper of pleasure when his left hand cupped the side of her face, tilting her head back so that he could nip her bottom lip before deepening their kiss once again.
The slight bite sent shivers up and down her spine. Before she could move her hands from his chest and around his neck, Sawyer abruptly pulled away… leaving Camryn craving more.
The McAllister Justice Series Book 1
by Reily Garrett
On Sale Now!
Download A Promise Broken by Anissa Garcia!
In A PROMISE BROKEN, Hilary is in need of a distraction from her wounded heart, and that distraction comes in the form of Zach Collins. The only problem is, he’s her brother’s best friend. Readers will love this standalone contemporary romance, featuring characters seen in A PROMISE KEPT and A PROMISE MADE.
Add A PROMISE BROKEN to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get a sneak peek at A PROMISE BROKEN and to enter the giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card!
Title: A Promise Broken
Author: Anissa Garcia
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Release Date: July 10, 2017
Publisher: AG Romance Reads LLC
Series: The Promise Series
Format: Digital and Print
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9975430-5-6
Add it on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2qgTKc0
After a relationship gone bad, Hilary Matthews felt unsure about where she belonged or what to do with her life. Cue Zach Collins, a love ‘em and leave ‘em, no strings attached type of guy. The perfect distraction for her wounded heart. Just one problem. Zach isn’t some random stranger. He’s her brother’s best friend, and more than that, he’s practically family. And to complicate matters, just when things start to heat up between them, she learns there’s more to Zach than he let on.
Zach’s job as assistant to an A-list actor allows him the luxury of women, travel, freedom and fun. But things changed the moment Hilary made her move, completely altering his world. Hilary is his fantasy come to life, his dream woman in the flesh…and his best friend’s little sister. Stepping over the line with her would not only ruin his friendship, but possibly alienate him from the only family he’s ever known.
The pressure mounts as truths are exposed. Embroiled in betrayal, lies, guilt, and heartache, Hilary and Zach must decide if the biggest emotion of all is worth the turmoil. With so much at stake, the repercussions from a promise broken would cause the battle of their lives.
A Promise Broken Excerpt
Copyright © 2017 Anissa Garcia
I didn’t say anything. Instead my eyes roamed down his body as he approached. His jeans and shirt were perfectly snug. He sat beside me grabbing the remote, and I was hyper aware of his proximity. He smelled like fabric softener and aftershave. It was familiar and comfortable.
“Hilary,” his voice was soft as his eyes met mine. “Stop looking at me like that.”
“Like what?” I blinked at him with innocence.
“Like you want me to make love to you,” he said breathlessly.
My heart skipped a beat. I fumbled with my hands. “Don’t flatter yourself, Collins.” His phone trilled from his pocket. He reached in to check it, looked at the screen and hit the end button. “Who’s Isabella?”
He hesitated. “Uh, my chef.”
I rolled my eyes. “Bullshit. You know I can tell when you’re lying.”
“I’m not lying,” he laughed. “She’s my chef.”
“And your fuck buddy?” His eyes closed. Yup, he slept with her. His whole body tensed. “Do you like her?”
His eyes shot to mine. “No. I mean, yes, but…not in that way.”
The pang of possessiveness that swept through me was familiar to when Graham said he was working late, and that his co-worker was just that. “Is she pretty?” I asked quietly.
He nodded. “Very.”
“Oh.” Ouch, that stung more than I wish it had. I snapped out of my pity party and stood. “Well, then? Why aren’t you answering her call? You could be with her now.”
His bewilderment was obvious as I rushed to the window. It was hot and I needed a draft, and he was right. Drinking around each other wasn’t a good idea. He watched as I yanked on edges of the glass, trying to pry the window open.
“I told you I don’t care for her in that way.”
“So? You don’t have to care for her in that way in order to fuck. You did it already, didn’t you?” I struggled, but it wouldn’t budge. “Dammit, the window won’t open, and it’s so hot in here.”
“Only once,” he mumbled, as if reluctant.
“Spare me the details, Zachary.” I tugged, becoming breathless as I fought against it. My voice pitched higher as I hit the edges with my palms. “Stupid window.”
He drew up behind me, placing his hands over mine. I froze as his body pressed against me. We lingered, my back on his chest. Fast paced breaths escaped him. His mouth was near my ear, the humidity of his breathing caused me to tremble.
“Gently,” he spoke affectionately, drawing the window up. The crisp air didn’t make a difference when his warm body was near mine. His hands wrapped around my waist and he squeezed for only a second as his lips descended between my neck and shoulder. He gave the skin there a sweet kiss. His lips lingered longer than they should’ve. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered. His nose grazed over my neck as he pulled away. “Graham will regret letting you go for the rest of his life.”
Chills ran down my spine, all thoughts of Graham long vanished. My ringing body turned, needing more of Zach’s touch. His warm palms cupped my cheeks. I wanted more of him. All of him. He looked amazing tonight. I loved the way his emerald green eyes anchored on mine, promising me my darkest desires were a whisper away. His thick, dark hair swirled in waves I wanted to run my hands through. His strong touch had me reeling, and when he denied himself being a good man, instead of pushing me away, it only made feelings trickle in through the cracks of my heart.
He backed off, headed to the stairs, escaping me, leaving me in complete need. Bitterness toward my brother was creeping over me. Zach wouldn’t lose his friend, his boss. I was a risk he wasn’t willing to take. I had to remember what Zach said when he left me that day. Hilary, this can’t ever happen. I was sure he’d stick by what he said. He was a good man, after all, and a good man didn’t break his promises, but maybe, just maybe, some promises were meant to be broken.
Praise for The Promise Series
“Fall in love with Evan and Grace in A Promise Kept, an absolutely delicious debut from Anissa Garcia.” – New York Times, USA Today Bestselling Author, J. Kenner on A PROMISE KEPT
“A super sweet, sexy romance that left me with the biggest smile on my face. I totally loved A Promise Kept!” – New York Times, USA Today Bestselling Author, AL Jackson on A PROMISE KEPT
“Anissa Garcia has the unique ability to draw out emotions that I didn’t even know I had.” – Devious Book Blog on A PROMISE KEPT
“This has to be the most beautifully and well written book that I have read this year!” – Danielle, Short and Sassy Reviews on A PROMISE KEPT
“A Promise Made was lovely, sweet, intriguing, and proved that true love can and will prevail. Five star contemporary romance.” – Audrey Carlan,#1 NYT Bestselling Author on A PROMISE MADE
“Anissa Garcia delivers us another sexy romance with strong characters you can’t help but fall in love with. She promises to be an author to watch out for and add to your must click list!” – Love Affair With Fiction on A PROMISE MADE
Other Books in The Promise Series
A PROMISE KEPT
A PROMISE MADE
A PROMISE IGNITED (a short story)
UNDERCOVER ATTRACTION (Coming soon!)
About Anissa Garcia
Anissa Garcia resides in Austin, Texas and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications and English. She has held an array of jobs including Public Relationship Manager for Barnes and Noble. Wanting a change of pace, she moved to Los Angeles where she attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and trained full-time in theatre. After working in Hollywood, she returned to Texas where she has written articles for Cosmopolitan and Lady Couture. When not writing stores, watching movies, or drinking a latte, she loves to daydream about romantic fictional men. You can find her online at http://www.anissagarcia.com.
Love and Suspense, Heart-pounding romance and thrills!
7 full-length action-suspense romances from New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors. Danger and excitement, secret agents, sexy SEALs, hot police detectives, undercover female operatives, and heat! Plus a French aristocrat hiding an old secret in his chateau! From sweet to spicy, what more can a woman want? Get yours today before it goes away. LIMITED TIME ONLY.
Excerpt from Tidal Falls by Jacquie Biggar
Jared pushed the car door open and hopped out the moment Frank pulled up in front of Grits and Grace, his lanky legs carrying him to the glass doors.
“Hey man, where’s the fire? Don’t worry, Grace has plenty of food, you don’t have to race us for it.” Nick joked through the open passenger window, shooting a look sideways to the chief, only to notice he wasn’t getting out as he stared somberly out the window after his friend.
“Um, am I missing something here?” Silence. He decided to try again. “Frank, you want to tell me what’s going on?”
“I think you’re about to find out.”
Jared sent them a what-the-hell’s-taking-you-so-long look, coupled with a distinct plea for support that had the two men scrambling to catch up. Nick didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on but if his buddy needed him, he was there.
They waited as Jared drank in a deep breath, let it whoosh out, squared his shoulders and stepped through the doors. The first thing to hit them were the smells, maple from the bacon and the ham, rosemary and sage from the turkey that had more than likely been cooking for a couple of hours, the rich beefy smell of gravy, and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee mixed with the tang of orange juice. There was a cacophony of noise, jukebox playing Hank Jones, the rise and fall of conversations from the nearly full breakfast crowd, and servers calling out orders to the kitchen.
“There she is, out from the back to schmooze the customers, her favorite part of the job she always said. Keep ‘em happy and they’ll come back.” Jared’s tone was a complicated mix of love and frustration. Nick, who was standing close because of the small entry, could feel the tension in Jared’s body.
She skirted from table to table, sharing a kind word here, a pat on the shoulder there, and then she stopped in front of them, about to ask where they would like to be seated when she froze, a stunned look of joy transforming her face with joy.
Her mouth dropped open in shock, her green eyes just like Jared’s, welling with happy tears. “Oh my good Lord. Jared.” She brought shaking fingers up and hesitantly set them against his lean cheek. “Well, would you look at you? You grew into a fine looking young man. I always knew you would though, good genes.”
At his shaky laugh, Grace held up her soft arms and he wrapped his own arms around her rotund figure and lifted her right off her feet, swinging her around in a King Kong hug before setting her down.
Blushing at all the amused looks, Grace grabbed up his calloused, scarred hand, kissing it as if it were sacred, and lifted her voice to be heard above the din. “Hey all, this is my handsome boy. He’s come home to see his momma,” ending on an almost whisper, “he’s home.”
Everyone whistled and clapped as Jared wiped the wetness from her still soft, rosy cheeks, and forced words past an obvious baseball-sized lump in his throat. “I missed you, Mom, every damn day, I missed you.”
“Oh son, you could have come home anytime, if you weren’t so dang stubborn, just like your Pops, but enough, let’s save that talk for later. I want to soak up the joy of having you here, it’s been far too long. Come on now, let’s get you fed.” She retained a death grip on his hand as she led them to a man-sized booth for six set near the back, close to the kitchen, as if she was afraid to let him out of sight.
“Momma, I’d like you to meet some good friends of mine. Chief, this is the woman who I judge all others by, which is why I’m still single.” He laughed as he turned to Nick, “Nick, I want you to meet the best cook to ever grace, pun intended, God’s green earth.”
“Well, if that isn’t the nicest introduction a girl could ever receive. I’ve already met the very charming Nickolaus Kelley. He’s one of my regulars.” Grace grinned. “Chief, huh? I’m guessing that to mean you were my son’s superior officer.” At Frank’s slight nod, she reached over the table and gave him a swift peck on his bristly jaw. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for keeping my boy safe.”
After a round-the-table chorus of throat clearing, she said, “Okay, enough of the sappy stuff, let’s get you fed. I know what Jared likes, so what can I get you, boys? We have on special a Meat lover’s Omelet filled with ham, bacon, sausage, and Monterey Jack cheese, or we have an eight-ounce sirloin steak and three eggs, any style. What’s it going to be, fellas?”
“A steak sounds just about perfect, thank-you ma’am, and please, call me Frank.”
“Well, Frank, I can do that if you’ll drop the Ma’am, which makes me feel about a billion years old, and call me Grace.” Winking she turned to Nick, “Okay honey, what about you, and where’s my Sara Sunshine?”
“She’s on the way. The omelet sounds fine to me, Grace, and about a gallon of coffee, please. Have you given any more thought to leaving this place and running away with me to Vegas to get married?” He teased.
“Go on now; you wouldn’t know what to do with me if you had me.” She chuckled as she called out to Susan, “Sue, look who’s here. Grab ‘em some coffee, would ya? I have to head back and whip my boy up a welcome home meal.” With a swift hug and a lingering kiss on one cheek while she patted the other, Grace bestowed a watery smile on Jared before turning into the kitchen where they could hear her giving orders left and right, as good as any drill sergeant they’d ever had.
“So, I didn’t see that one coming, though I probably should have. You look like her.”
“Well if you think I’m calling you dad, forget it.” Jared replied, “What are you doing hitting on my momma anyway? How many women do you need, Kelley?”
“Hey don’t blame me, blame my stomach. That woman can cook.” Nick grinned appreciatively.
“Yeah well, since you tried picking her up I think the bill should be yours…Pops.”
“I told you it wouldn’t be so bad. Family is everything, Jare. I love you like a brother but I was about ready to kick your ass if you hadn’t decided to mend your fences.” Frank rumbled from the corner as a thin as a rail woman came barreling up to their table, mugs in one hand, coffee pot in the other.
“Well, if it isn’t the prodigal son returned, and looking about a million bucks.” She slammed the cups and pot on the table and threw herself into Jared’s arms, narrowly missing taking out an eye from the pen she had tucked into her salt and pepper beehive hairdo. “Your mom missed you so bad, sugar. Welcome home.”
“Sue, I can’t believe some handsome guy hasn’t swept you off to a land of leisure yet. You look the same.”
She hooted, her eyes glued on Jared as she poured out the three coffees, barely watching what she was doing. “I told you a long time ago, honey, you spoiled me for any other man.”
Interesting as this was, Nick had been keeping a close eye on the door every time it opened, and then suddenly, there she was. The sun coming through the open doorway behind her created a nimbus over her head as she hesitated for a moment, letting her eyes accustom to the dim setting as she searched the room for him. She had a pair of dark trousers on that highlighted her slim thighs and mile-long legs. Over that, she had put some kind of silvery diaphanous top that flowed around her body from the outside breeze, creating an almost otherworldly look, especially with her golden eyes catching the light.
As she moved toward him, almost seeming to float among the sun’s rays, Nick wanted her with a fierceness he was beyond hiding. There had to be a way to convince her he hadn’t withheld from her to purposely deceive her. She arrived at the table, and after glancing for a long moment at the empty spot beside him, chose to instead slide in beside Jared. Ouch.
“Good morning, beautiful, where’ve you been all my life?” He slung an arm over her shoulders and gave a squeeze, and swear-to-God, Nick was going to punch his nose in if he kept that crap up for long.
“Morning yourself, sounds as if you got plenty of sleep last night. That’s good, because after today I think we’re all going to be running on nerves. In case I forget to say it, thank-you again for agreeing to come and help me with this, I can never repay you enough.”
“Don’t even think about it, we’re happy to help. I needed to get Jared out of Vegas for a while anyway, before he wrecked the whole damn city.” Frank clapped his friend over the shoulder, causing a hard grunt as Jared bore the impact.
Jared raised an eyebrow, “I wouldn’t have shut down the entire strip, just the places that pissed me off.”
Nick wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not, the boy was seriously wacko. But then they say that’s the flipside of being a genius.
Sue stopped by to refill cups and get Sara’s order. “Just coffee for me thanks, I’ve had breakfast already.”
“Sure honey, no worries. Jared, your momma says to tell you it’s coming right up. We got hit with a bit of a rush so she’s backed up in there for a few.”
“Tell her to leave us for last, Susan. We’re good, especially since a sweet server I know is keeping us happy with plenty of strong black coffee.”
Sue giggled like a fifteen-year-old as she moved on to the next table, fluffing her hair up with her pen as she gazed adoringly at Jared.
“Another conquest for your little black book?” Nick said, and ducked the creamer missile hurled at his head.
Sara stared at Jared, “Your Mom? Is Grace really your mother, Jared?”
“Well, you don’t have to sound quite so shocked about it. Is it so hard to believe she might have raised a hooligan like me?” Jared only half jested.
“Of course not, it just caught me by surprise. Wow, talk about a small world. She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Her and Tess have done so much to make Jessica and I feel at home here. I count her as a very dear friend.” Sara smiled warmly at him and even though Nick knew it was platonic, he still had to clench his hands in his lap, because he wanted those smiles.
He needed to put an end to this whole Sheridan business so maybe Sara and he could finally talk. Right now, with it hanging over their heads reminding her of what she thought he’d done, there was no chance.
“If you two are done with the mutual admiration party, think we can get down to business? I want to make sure we’re prepared for anything before we bring Sheridan anywhere near here.” he growled.
Sara regarded him as if he had a screw loose before replying to the table in general, “He’s expecting Nick to take me back today, so I think the first thing we have to do is call him, let him know there’s a change of plans. He thinks Nick’s working for him, so why don’t we continue to let him think that?”
At his immediate move to object, Sara turned those lasers on him, the hurt and betrayal he could see swimming in their beautiful depths, cutting him to the bone. “You owe me this, you know I’m right. The only way he’s going to give us the time we need to get the DEA here is if he believes you’ll be watching me.”
Turning back to Frank, Sara asked, “How much time do you think it will take them to come? We have to hurry; I’m scared of what he might do to Fiona.”
“I agree, time is of the essence. Which is why I phoned Agent Holt as soon as I woke this morning. They’re on a plane headed this way even as we speak.”
“That’s perfect then, we can all coordinate together.”
“Their plane is scheduled to land in Seattle at one, so Jared and I will leave from here to go pick them up. You two can head back to the house…Sara’s?” At her nod. “We’ll meet up there around three, then you can make your call. I need you to make a list and keep to it. Do not let him change anything. You have to be the one in charge. Nick can help you get prepared. If Sheridan senses for one moment that something isn’t right we’ll lose him, so your preparation for this is critical, you get me?” He gave Nick a hard stare over Sara’s down-bent head.
Oh yeah, Nick got the message, loud and clear. Keep the personal issues out until they had this thing wrapped up. He could do that, he didn’t have to like it, but he would do it. It was far more crucial right now to keep the focus on the case, he knew that. The most important thing was to keep Jessica and Sara safe, the rest could come later. But it didn’t stop him from wanting to take her in his arms so bad it hurt. She had to be freaking out at the thought of both the phone call and then ultimately Sheridan arriving here in a few short days. It must be messing with her head. It sure as hell was messing with his.
Grace came bustling out of the kitchen, big platters of piping hot food held in her capable hands. “There you are, Sara. Have you met my boy? Look at him, isn’t he the most handsome man you ever set eyes on? He’s single…you are single, aren’t you?” Jared looked slightly dazed as he nodded dutifully. “He’s a good man, my baby. He would make a great father.”
“Mama, settle down, I only just arrived. I’m not looking to hook up…Ouch!” as both Grace and Frank clobbered him. “Sorry, I’m not looking to date right now. Besides, she’s with Nick.”
Sara seemed entertained by his friend’s antics and took no offence, a smile breaking across her gorgeous face as she watched the byplay before catching his gaze, eyes sparkling with mirth. He loved her. He sat back in his seat, the sounds of the busy restaurant, the continued bantering between mother and son, the ring of the till amid John Denver’s “Take me Home” blaring from the old jukebox. It all faded, leaving him staring at her and her staring at him, her smile slowly evaporating as she finally…finally acknowledged him.
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