Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of The Setup by Carol Ericson


by Carol Ericson
Publisher: Harelquin Intrigue
 Price: Ebook $4.99 USD / MMP $5.75
On sale date: Ebook April 1, 2021 / MMP March 30, 2021 
ISBN: 9781335401656

With a serial killer on the loose…
Secrets get you killed.
Detective Jake McAllister isn’t aware Kyra Chase is connected to a twenty-year-old unsolved murder. He sees his new case partner only as an unwelcome distraction. But with the body count rising, they’ll need to trust each other to help them catch a killer who seems to know more about Kyra than Jake does.

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.
For more action-packed stories, check out the other books in the A Kyra and Jake Investigation series by Carol Ericson:
Book 1: 
The Setup
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.
Buy Links:
Blog tour excerpt
“Good thing she was already dead when he took her finger.” Detective Jake McAllister lifted the victim’s wrist and grimaced. He called over his shoulder, “Tire tracks at the trailhead? We know this isn’t the kill site.” 
“Too many to identify just one.” His partner, Billy Crouch, impressive in a dark gray tailored suit, purple pocket square and wing tips, strode down the trail to join Jake where he crouched beside the body. “No tire tracks, no cameras. I had one of the officers check with the park rangers.” 
“No cameras at the other dump site, either. He’s being careful.” Jake rose to his feet, inhaling the scent of pine from the trees and locking eyes with an ambitious squirrel who’d been busy scurrying up and down the large oak that provided a canopy over the body. 
Griffith Park was an oasis of rugged, untamed land in the middle of the urban sprawl of LA. It housed the zoo, the observatory, a concert venue, a carousel, pony rides and acres of wilderness crisscrossed with hiking trails. It had also hosted several dead bodies in its day, including the Hillside Strangler’s first victim. 
Jake pointed at the card inserted between the victim’s lips. “Queen of hearts, missing finger—looks like we have a pattern here.” 
Billy whistled as he pushed his sunglasses to the end of his nose. “It’s The Player all over again.” 
“Copycat.” Jake raised his hand to the crime scene investigators who had just arrived at the park and waved. “The Player was working twenty years ago and abruptly stopped. He’s gotta be dead or in prison.” 
“Maybe he just got paroled.” Billy picked an imaginary speck of lint from the arm of his jacket. “He could’ve been twenty when he was operating before, spent twenty years behind bars for armed robbery, as- sault, rape. Now he’s forty, tanned, ready and rested.” 
“Could be. They never got his DNA back then. Never left any—just like these two murders.” 
Billy whipped the handkerchief, which Jake had believed was just for show, out of his front pocket and dashed it across the shiny tip of one of his shoes. “Damn, it’s dirty out here.” 
Jake rolled his eyes. “It’s the great outdoors. Most people don’t take hikes in Italian suits and shoes.” 
Shaking his head, Billy clicked his tongue. “Only the shoes are Italian, man. The suit’s from England.” 
“Excuse me, Cool Breeze.” Jake bowed to his partner. He’d given Billy the nickname Cool Breeze, and it had stuck. The man knew his fashion, his fine wines and his women. 
Jake had warned him about the women because Billy already had a fine woman, Simone, at home. They needed only one divorce in the partnership, and Jake had that covered—not that he had run around on his wife, unless you counted the job as the other woman...and a lot of cops’ wives did. 
Someone cleared his throat behind him. “Finger- prints?” 
Jake jerked his head toward Clive Stewart, their fingerprint guy in Forensics, his shaved head already sporting a sheen. “Yeah, you can check, Clive. He didn’t leave the knife or box cutter behind that he used to slice off the finger. You might try the playing card, her neck. You know your job, man. I’ll let you and the others do it.” 
As CSI got to work, Jake shuffled away from the body on the ground and eyed the crunch of people beyond the yellow crime scene tape. Although still morning, the air possessed that quiet, suffocating feel that heralded a heat wave, and the tape hung limply, already conceding defeat. 
Jake pulled out his phone. Holding it up, he snapped some pictures of the looky-loos leaning in, hoping to catch a glimpse of...what? What did they hope to see? Did they want to ogle the lifeless body of this poor woman dumped on the ground? 
Maybe one of them was already familiar with the position of the victim. Killers had been known to re- turn to the scene of the crime and relive the thrill. 
He swung his phone to the right to take a few more pictures from the other side of the trail. As he tipped up his sunglasses and peered into the viewfinder to zero in on his subjects, he swore under his breath. 
What the hell was she doing here? 
Billy stepped into his line of fire. “He wanted some- one to discover her quickly. She’s not that far off the trail, but no purse or ID, so he doesn’t want us to identify her right away.” 
“You’re blocking my view.” Jake nudged Billy’s shoulder and framed the crowd at the edge of the tape again...but she was gone. 
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.

Author Bio

Carol Ericson lives in southern California, home of state-of–the-art cosmetic surgery, wild freeway chases, and a million amazing stories. These stories, along with hordes of virile men and feisty women clamor for release from Carol’s head until she sets them free to fulfill their destinies and her readers’ fantasies. To find out more about Carol and her current books, please visit her website at, “where romance flirts with danger.”
Author Links

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Books I DNF'd in March

Honey Girl:
  I know this book has been getting rave reviews all over.  But I ended up DNFing it at about 20%.  I couldn't get behind the main character.  Just in the small part that  read, she made so many ridiculous life choices.  I just had no desire to read any more about it..  

Mr. Mitchell:  I enjoyed the first book, but I really disliked this one.  I dnf'd it at about 40% in. The main reason being the heroine. She is a recovering addict who admits that she has made lots of bad choices.  She is flying to London to see her sister.  Yet she takes off with a random guy she met on an airplane to his house in the country.  She continues to make bad choices.  There was no chemistry between the couple.  I actually felt bad for the hero that he would fall for someone like her. 

The Jigsaw Man:
  I wanted to like this book, but I ended up giving up about 30% in.  The It seemed like every cop in this book had an issue at home.  I really am tired of reading about the poor detective who has issue sat home and how it affects work.  For once, I would like to read a police procedural where the cops are happy.  I also felt like I was missing some serious back story, but since this is the first book in a series. 

Missing from the Village:  I found this book very unfocused and kind of dull. I ended up reading an online article about it insread.  I also had an issue with that use of a certain word by the author.  I know he explained why he used it, but it really bothered me because it had always been a derogatory word to me. I didn't like hearing it repeatedly over and over on the audiobook.  

Monday, March 29, 2021

March Mini Musings

Layer By Layer:
This is the first in the Riggins Brothers series.  This one is the oldest, Royce's story  Having been burned in the past by his ex-wife, Royce is reluctant to fall in love again.  Sawyer was the perfect match for him. This was a really cute office romance.  I loved the relationship between Royce and his family.  I highly recommend it.

Piece by Piece: This was the perfect follow-up to Layer by Layer.  I loved how Owen was all in from the beginning with Layla.  I was rooting for her to find the family she had always wanted.  I should warn there is a short but kind of graphic assault scene in the book, so be aware.  I am loving this series and can't wait to read the next book. 

The Sanatorium: I read this book soon after Shiver. I was hoping for a similar story  It ended up being just an OK read for me.  I thought it was kind of slow and was a bit predictable.  There were really any twists and the plot was kind of forgettable. The characters were bland. I wouldn't really recommend this one. 

An Inconvenient Duke:  This one was an unexpected surprise. I wasn't sure if I was going to like Marcus and Danielle's story.  I ended up loving it.  They were a great couple and had fun banter.  I loved Danielle's character and her convictions.  I highly recommend this one.

An Unexpected Earl
:  This was a cute follow-up to the first book.  I didn't love the couple as much.  I felt they didn't communicate enough with each other.  The secrets were kept a bit too long for my liking.  But it did have a sweet HEA.  I look forward to the next one.

Whiskey Rebellion:  This book had some funny moments, but not enough to make me want to read the next book.  The main character was kind of a mess to the point of almost not being believable.  It reminded me of Stephanie Plum and that series got old after a while.  I don't think I'll continue with the series.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway of Fighting the Fire by Laura Kaye


About Fighting the Fire:
One night is never enough…
For firefighter Sean Riddick, Warrior Fight Club keeps the demons of his past at bay, even though it means seeing Daniela England. Her ball-busting sarcasm drives him nuts, and he knows he’s damaged goods anyway, but he can’t help but remember how good they were together that one time. Now he wants to take her to the mats no matter how much they go toe to toe.
ER nurse Daniela England has lost so much that she’s vowed never to need anyone again. Fight club helps her beat back her survivor’s guilt, but it means dealing with Riddick. The hot-but-infuriating firefighter is everything she wants to avoid, which is why their one-night stand was a mistake. Now she needs to keep her distance so it doesn’t happen again.
But when Dani witnesses Sean’s motorcycle accident, she steps up to help him recover. One on one, they get beneath all the snark and find a connection neither expected. As Sean heals, the sparks between them burst into red-hot passion—and ignite old wounds. Now there are fires all around—and they have to decide which they’ll fight and which they’ll let consume them.
Order Today!

My thoughts:

Fighting the Fire is the fourth book in the Warrior Fight Club series.  It worked well as a stand alone, for the most part. I wish I had read the books that came before,.  I feel like I may have gotten to know Sean and Daniela a bit better.  Especially since this "rivalry" seems to have been going on for a while.

I did enjoy this one.  The chemistry between Sean and Daniela was really fun to watch. I enjoyed watching them actually became friends as Daniela helped Sean through his recovery from an accident. Sean's obsession with Marvel was really cute. I also liked that we got to see inside Sean's mind to witness his anxiety and doubts about his future as a firefighter.  Seeing a tough guy actually feeling vulnerable makes me appreciate the character more.  Dani's grief at the loss of her husband came across as very genuine.  For me, there is no real timeline for getting over the loss of a loved one.  Grief is so personal.  Especially for a person who has suffered so much loss in her life.  I highly recommend this one.  I am adding the first three to my TBR for sure.

A Note from Laura:

Dear Readers,
I’m so excited to share my new standalone romance, Fighting the Fire! This is the fourth book in my Warrior Fight Club contemporary romance series, which mixes military and sports romance elements to tell the story of an MMA training club which creates a found family for veterans transitioning to civilian life and dealing with their war-borne demons. In Fighting the Fire, Sean and Daniela are two of my favorite characters I've ever written--they're both strong, loyal, snarky, and hiding some pretty deep hurts that in the end make them so perfect for each other. And all that frenemies tension makes the chemistry between them hot AF! I hope you love them as much as I do!

xx Laura Kaye

About the Author:

Laura Kaye is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of over 40 books in contemporary, erotic, and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, and has sold nearly two million books in the U.S. alone. Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. A former college history professor, Laura also writes bestselling historical women's fiction as Laura Kamoie. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Connect with the Author:
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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of The Trouble with Picket Fences by Teri Wilson

Author: Teri Wilson
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition 
Price: ebook $4.99 USD / MMP $5.99 
On sale date: Ebook April 1, 2021 / MMP March 30, 2021 
ISBN: 9781335404800

She could teach him to turn lemons into lemonade.

All her life, Melanie Carlisle knew how to succeed in the face of failure. So when she finds herself pregnant—and her ex-boyfriend bows out, claiming he's not the "picket fence type"—Melanie is on her own. Now she has a house—with a picket fence she wants gone. Cap McBride is dealing with his own problems, what with a potentially career-ending hearing loss and his surly teenager. So the last thing he wants to do is get involved with a single pregnant woman. As for fences? The only thing he knows how to do is put them up!

Lovestruck, Vermont
Will this fence make good neighbors into something more in the latest installment of award-winning author Teri Wilson's Lovestruck, Vermont series?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.
Lovestruck, Vermont
Book 1: Baby Lessons
Book 2: A Firehouse Christmas Baby
Book 3: The Trouble with Picket Fences
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.

Buy Links:

Here is a sneak peek!

Melanie stood at her kitchen counter, stirring a pitcher of fresh-squeezed lemonade with her favorite wooden spoon while she gazed out the window and watched the man she’d met at the hardware store systematically disassemble her white picket fence. She didn’t normally coerce strange men into doing her favors like this. Melanie was more of a do-it-herself kind of girl. But desperate times called for desperate measures and all that. As much as she didn’t want to think of herself as geriatric—ugh, why couldn’t she forget about that mortifying word? — she was well aware that any pregnancy after forty was considered high-risk. She couldn’t go around wielding sledgehammers anymore. 
Not that she’d had much occasion to do so in the past, but still. 
The muscles in Cap’s broad shoulders flexed beneath his LFD T-shirt as he added another white board to the pile of discarded lumber in her front yard. Melanie wondered if he was a firefighter. Probably so, given his attire and also given his proficiency at manual labor. He was making quick work of the fence. She could definitely picture him chopping away at a smoldering pile of rubble with an ax or carrying a baby away from a burning building. 
Melanie blinked. Hard. She didn’t want this man darting around her imagination, no matter how heroic he seemed. And she was really getting tired of the annoying habit she’d developed of trying to picture every man she met interacting with a child. She blamed it on Greg. Once a man told you that he had absolutely zero interest in having children—ever—it was hard not to wonder if other men felt the same. How had she failed to realize that in the eleven years she and Greg had dated, she’d never seen him hold a baby? Not once. It seemed statistically impossible, but alas, it was true. In the wake of their breakup, Melanie had done a thorough inventory of both her memories and her photo al- bums. Across the board, Greg’s arms remained notably baby-free. 
Now, whenever she set eyes on a man, Melanie couldn’t help but wonder about his infant- holding history. She refused to get caught off guard again, although she wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t as if she were looking for a husband. Or even a boyfriend—been there, done that, got the T-shirt. She had a new baby to think about. A new business. A new home. Her plate was beyond full as it was. 
Even so, she would have bet money on the fact that Cap had held his fair share of babies. Probably his share plus Greg’s neglected share combined, a fact that didn’t sway Melanie in the slightest. She liked to think of her baby-holding scale as an odd science experiment of sorts, not a measure of attractiveness. But the man had agreed to do her a massive favor without knowing anything about her other than her name, so the least she could do was whip him up a pitcher of lemonade. 
It was her specialty, after all. And being America’s unofficial lemonade queen, she’d carefully labeled her kitchen boxes to ensure that her juicer, wooden spoon and glass pitcher were readily accessible. 
Heartfelt or thrilling, passionate or uplifting—our romances have it all. Visit to sample FREE books from among 12 different series. It’s just a taste of the new books published each month—every story a journey guaranteed to leave you with That Harlequin Feeling.

Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling Author Teri Wilson writes heartwarming romance with a touch of whimsy. Three of Teri's books have been adapted into Hallmark Channel Original Movies, including UNLEASHING MR. DARCY (plus its sequel MARRYING MR. DARCY), THE ART OF US and NORTHERN LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS, based on her book SLEIGH BELL SWEETHEARTS. She is also a recipient of the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction for her novel THE BACHELOR'S BABY SURPRISE.
Author Links

Friday, March 26, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt & Giveaway of When a Cowboy Loves a Woman by Jennie Marts

by Jennie Marts
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 3/30/2021
They both know the pain of loss and how to protect their hearts...but fate has a way of stepping in...
When a kitchen fire forces young widow Elle Brooks to move in with her friend Bryn and her motley collection of rescue animals, she doesn’t foresee ending up in the muscled arms of handsome cowboy and veterinarian Brody Tate. But she can’t deny the feelings that being close to Brody are stirring in her. Spending time with the hunky cowboy and his adorable young daughter as they rehabilitate rescued horses reminds Elle of all she lost in a car crash years ago.
As a widower himself, Brody is devoted to being a good dad for his spirited daughter. He hasn’t let romance even enter his head. But now he’s met Elle. Spending time with her is shaking up the calm he’s worked so hard to achieve, and he can’t seem to get this woman off his mind.
Elle and Brody have both lost people they loved, but their mutual attraction and growing feelings are too strong to ignore. The hope of a future together is a beautiful possibility, but can these two wounded souls take a chance on each other and find the courage to love again?

Purchase Links:
Everything hurts, thought Elle Brooks as she sank lower in the bathtub. Her back and shoulders ached from carrying bales of hay and brushing the horses that morning at the Heaven Can Wait Horse Rescue, where she volunteered. Although she preferred the physical labor over the headache she got from spending the afternoon with her financial advisor, going over the trust and through her finances. Between his company and his considerable life insurance policy, her beloved Ryan had left her with a substantial amount of money. But she’d give it all away for one more day with him. 
She pushed a bubbly pile of suds across the spacious garden bathtub as the final strains of one of her favorite Pink songs faded in her ears. Usually the pop star’s music could energize her, but tonight she felt more like a sinking stone than any kind of rock star. With a sigh, she pushed the drain release with her toe and pulled the earbuds from her ears. 
That’s when she heard the sirens. 
Hair raised on the nape of her neck, and a chill that had nothing to do with the cooling bathwater raced up her spine. She slammed her eyes shut against the onslaught of memories. It had been over a year since Ryan died, but the images of the ambulance’s throbbing lights and the mournful sounds of the sirens were as vivid as if it had happened the day before. 
She caught the first whiff of smoke as she heard the fire trucks pull up in front of her house. Water sloshed over the side as she stumbled to get out of the tub. Grabbing a towel, she scarcely had time to run it over her body before she heard the slam of her front door and raised voices. 
Reaching for her pajamas, she pulled on the cotton shorts and wrenched the tank top over her head. 
Move, her brain screamed. Get out. 
The fabric clung to her damp skin as she snatched up her short robe and raced out of the bathroom. From the landing, she could see a flurry of men in yellow coats dragging a gray hose across the Italian marble of her foyer toward her kitchen. 
She choked on the acrid smoke filling the air. There were no blazing flames, but the smoke scorched her throat, and she blinked against the sting of it to her eyes. 
An older fireman caught sight of her. “You need to get out of the house, ma’am.” 
Panic gripped her as she wildly looked around at the chaos invading her home. Then her gaze caught and held on the familiar eyes of the tall cowboy who’d just stepped into view. He was dressed in jeans and boots and a black Stetson hat, and the sight of his broad shoulders filling the doorway somehow grounded her. 
She didn’t really know him—she’d briefly met him a few weeks ago. But that one time had shown his ability to stay calm and steady in a crisis situation. His name was Brody—Doctor Brody Tate. He was her best friend Bryn’s veterinarian. But why was a veterinarian at a house fire? 
A plume of dark smoke billowed out of the kitchen, and Elle caught the distinct sound of the crackle of flames. She coughed, then turned around and ran back down the hallway. 
She heard the older fireman’s voice yelling, “Get her out of here, Tate,” followed by the sound of cowboy boots sprinting up the stairs as she raced to the closed door at the end of the hall. 
She pushed through, ignoring the rush of emotions that normally flooded her when she opened the door to the room decorated in pink-and-white stripes. A hand-knit pink blanket lay in the seat of the rocking chair. Elle grabbed it and clutched it to her chest. If she could only save one thing, it had to be this. 
She turned back to see Brody in the doorway. He didn’t say anything, just reached for her hand and led her quickly back down the hallway. 
They reached the top of the stairs, and she froze again at the commotion below—the rush of the firefighters’ feet, the commanding tone of their voices as they shouted orders, the pulsing flash of red lights against the white walls of her entryway. 
Brody pulled at her hand, but she couldn’t move. He turned back and must have seen the panic in her eyes. His tone was soft as he swept her up, cradling her to him as if she weighed nothing at all. “It’s all right, darlin’. I’ve got you.” 
She buried her face in his chest, clinging to him, as he carried her down the stairs and out the front door. Elle lifted her head and gulped at the fresh air. 
“Is there anyone else in the house? Any pets?” 
She shook her head. “No. Only me.” 
“You remember me? We met a couple of weeks ago at Bryn’s?” 
“Yes, I remember. But what are you doing here?” And why was she clutching his neck like he was a life preserver? A handsome, tall cowboy life preserver. 
Excerpted from When a Cowboy Loves a Woman by Jennie Marts. © 2021 by Jennie Marts. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved
About the author:

Jennie Marts is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. She is living her own happily ever after with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies, in the mountains of Colorado.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway of Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee


Author: Catherine Bybee
Release Date: March 23, 2021
Publisher: Montlake 
As an employee of MacBain Security and Solutions, Claire Kelly can certainly hold her own. Armed with an impressive set of covert skills, she’s more than prepared to tackle any job that comes her way…except one involving Cooper Lockman.
Cooper and Claire used to work together before his feelings for her sent him packing to Europe for six long years. But now he’s back and determined to ignore the still-smoldering heat that lingers between them.
Their current mission: go undercover together at a California high school to root out the mastermind behind a prostitution ring targeting young girls. The closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, however, the deadlier their task becomes. As Claire and Cooper risk their lives to bring down their target, will their hearts be the final casualties?

Enjoy this excerpt:
Claire collapsed onto the living room sofa the second she walked in the door. Not only had she suffered a headache the entire day, Cooper ran her like a trainer working an Iron Man competitor. 
“That sounds like a bad day,” Jax said as she walked around the corner of the kitchen. 
“You don’t want to know.” 
Claire flung an arm over her eyes to block out the sun. 
She heard Jax walk in the room and then exhale as she sat down. “You’re right I don’t give a crap what happened in school, unless it involved Cooper. What I want is the details of last night after I got out of the car.” 
Before Cooper picked them up, Claire and Jax had agreed that Jax would give them a few minutes to have a private conversation. Now Claire regretted that plan. 
“The long story, or the short story?” Claire asked. 
“Whatever one you want to deliver.” 
Claire’s arms slid off her head, and she pushed herself into a sitting position. 
“Cooper has a thing for me.” 
Jax sat silent, blinked a few times. “Okay, and?” 
“What do you mean, ‘okay, and?’” 
“Sorry, Claire, but that’s obvious. I think you’d have to be an idiot to not see it. Even the guys on the team see it.” 
“What? Are they talking about—” 
Jax stopped her with a shake of the head. “Of course not. But you can tell by how they look at the two of you that they know there’s an attraction.” 
Claire pointed to her chest. “I’m not doing anything, it’s him.” 
“Maybe it’s more him.” 
She kept shaking her head. “No, it’s all him. I’m not instigating anything.” 
“You flirt with him all the time.” 
“I do not,” Claire huffed. 
One look from Jax and she rescinded her statement. “Okay, we banter. But it’s always been like that. I have the pool stick, he makes some kind of phallic joke. It’s banter. Not flirting.” 
Jax sat back, crossed her arms over her chest. Claire couldn’t believe her best friend was calling her out. “We’re friends. And last night he ruined that by telling me he’s had a thing for me since we met. Told me he left sunny California for dreary London because I was too young and naive to handle him when I first got here” 
Jax narrowed her eyes. “Is that really how he said that?” 
Claire’s headache was coming back. “No. He said I was a child.” 
“A child?” 
Claire stood up from the couch, started for the kitchen. “He kept repeating that I was eighteen back then.” 
Jax followed behind. “Which is true.” 
Claire yanked open the fridge, pulled out a beer. “Whose side are you on?” 
“Yours. Always. But I just don’t see where all the fire is about this. Cooper owns up to the flirting comments and puppy-dog looks he gives you, and you’re pissed because he walked away six years ago.”
Like picking a lock, the pieces slid into place and finally started to click. “But he’s my friend.” 
“Trying to say you’ve never thought of him as more?” 
“No.” Her denial was quick. 
Jax started to smile. “You’ve never checked out his ass? The guy can fill out a pair of jeans.” 
Some of the anger she’d harbored all day eased. “That’s true.” 
“And that smile. When he’s belly laughing he has the tiniest dimples.” 
Claire closed her eyes, pictured his smile. She hadn’t noticed the dimples, but now that she thought about it . . . She opened her eyes to find Jax staring at her. 
“Sounds like you have a thing for him,” Claire said. 
“Wouldn’t matter if I did, and I don’t, by the way, but it wouldn’t matter. The guy can’t stop looking at you.” 
“God, what am I going to do with him?” 
“I don’t think you have to do anything. It’s not like he asked you out and you said no and now it’s awkward.” 
“You’re right. It’s worse than that” 
“You’re overthinking it.” Jax pushed off the counter. “You know what, let’s gussy up a little and hit a proper happy hour. We’ll talk in German and pretend we don’t speak English and shamelessly flirt.” 
Claire abandoned her beer. “Now that is exactly what I need to do and get my mind off of boys.” 


About the Author
New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee has written twenty-eight books that have collectively sold more than five million copies and have been translated into more than eighteen languages. Raised in Washington State, Bybee moved to Southern California in the hope of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Not Quite Series, the Weekday Brides Series, the Most Likely To Series, and the First Wives Series.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Chicago by Chance by Michelle Donn


Series: The Protecting Love Series
Author: Michelle Donn
Genre: Romance Suspense
Cover Design: T E Black Designs
A one-night stand, a new city, and a danger she never saw coming.
Katherine Ford thought the public scandal she left behind in DC was the worst life could send her way. She was wrong.
Her fresh start in Chicago isn’t the new beginning she dreamed of—it’s a nightmare. An ambitious real estate deal lands her on the wrong side of the Chicago mob. And her only ally is the one night stand she can’t forget.
Falling into bed with a sexy redhead that lives on the other side of the county isn’t Air Marshal Craig March’s usual style. But Katherine Ford is an unusual woman. When her life is threatened, he’ll risk it all to protect her.
Chicago by Chance is a steamy, standalone, romantic suspense story with nail-biting action. Expect tangled sheets and perilous rescues. A protective hero and a bold heroine in a long-distance relationship must overcome more than geography for their happily ever after.
Buy Links (Kindle Unlimited):
Amazon US:
Amazon CA:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:
My thoughts:

Chicago by Chance is the second book in the Protecting Love series. It worked very well as a stand alone.  Characters from the first book do make an appearance in this one, but it was fine. I never felt lost.  I do want to go back and read the first book now.  This one is Katherine and Craig's story. 

I really enjoyed this romantic suspense.  The chemistry between Craig and Katherine was intense.  I loved it!  I also liked that both characters had insecurities about the relationship.  Especially Craig.  It's rare to see the man voice his anxiety about a relationship. The other aspect that was great was that they got to know each other over long phone calls and texts.  There is also a bit of suspense that affects Katherine and her assistant. There was a good balance between the romance and the suspense. The ending was very sweet! I highly recommend this one.

Katherine awoke smiling. The kind of smile teenage girls have the morning after their first kiss. Last night was decadent. Craig was delicious, and she couldn’t wait for more. Her hand roamed the bed, finding his side cold and empty. She knew he’d been there. He climbed into her bed last night after a shower, his skin warm and smelling like her bath gel. He’d cuddled her against his chest while his large hands smoothed over her naked body until she fell into a deep sleep, safe in his arms.
She’d slept better than she had since the incident in DC. Getting away from that city was good for her. The new location and a few chart-topping orgasms were better than any sleeping pill.
She sat up and glanced about the room, a pout forming on her lips. Damn. She’d wanted to another round with him. Her recent lovers had been adequate. And now that she found a man who made her body sing, she wanted to indulge.
From the outer door of the suite, she heard a knock.
She scrambled out of bed, retrieving one of the hotel robes, not bothering to tie the sash. She rushed to answer, assuming he’d be waiting on the other side with coffee. Before opening the door, she cocked a hip and draped the robe so it hung open, showing a scandalous amount of skin.
“I missed you,” she purred as she pulled the door open.
“I missed you too, sweetie, but I still don’t swing that way,” Todd, her personal assistant, replied. His amused expression matched his teasing tone. He swept past her and into the room in a cloud of designer cologne.
With a glance, he took in the evidence of last night’s debauchery. “Oh, Katherine, you naughty girl. Already indulging in a fun-filled night on the town, I see.”
She turned, tying her robe tightly, and followed in Todd’s wake. She bent to retrieve her dress, which lay in a crumpled heap on the floor in the middle of the main room. She shook it out and tossed it over the ridiculous Foosball table in the corner. Todd had seen worse mornings after. He’d dealt with the chocolate syrup human sundae incident way back in the day that had required a team of professional cleaners.
She joined him in front of the rumpled blue couch. He eyed it suspiciously.
“Any need to disinfect before I sit? These are new Dolce & Gabbana jeans,” he asked, a blonde eyebrow raised.
She playfully smacked him on the shoulder, snorting when she tried to swallow her laughter. They both turned and flopped into the couch. Directly in front of them on the chrome coffee table were her stilettos, her neatly folded black lace thong, and a note on hotel stationery.
They both dove for the note at the same time. She managed to keep it out of his grasping but well-manicured hands.
“So what’s lover boy have to say?” He wanted to know.
She read the note, first to herself then for her audience of one:
Sorry Gorgeous-
Flying out to DC early, more fallout from the shooting. You were too peaceful to wake up, but I was tempted. Please, keep in touch. You’re spectacular. --Craig
“Shooting? WTF Katherine. I let you take one flight alone, and there’s a shooting?” Todd ran his fingers through his perfectly styled hair. Never a good sign.
“It’s a long story. Have you seen or listened to the news this morning?”
“No, I was driving your car in from DC, binging on a true-crime podcast. Wait, you’re on the news?” He looked flustered.
She stood, tossing the TV remote to him and inching toward the bedroom. He was going to flip into super overprotective momma bear mode as soon as he found out about yesterday. She was fine—more than fine. Last night had been one of the best nights she’d had in years, maybe a decade. Todd fussing over her would be a lot of drama for no reason. The sexy air marshal had already handled consoling her.
“Check out CNN, look for the O’Hare stuff. I can fill you in on the details on the way to meet the real estate agent.”
The TV flipped on, and the terrorist shooting at O’Hare was the main story, the only story. A flashing red terror alert banner scrolled across the screen, and a talking head was spouting off about a national tragedy averted by a DHS officer.
Todd waved the remote at the screen. “This is a big deal. You were there?”
“Ah, yeah. I was definitely there. I’ll tell you the details on the way to our meeting, but I need coffee and a shower first. Okay?”
“Ahh.” He was engrossed in the CNN coverage.
Wait until she told him she was the hostage and Craig, the DHS agent who rescued her, was lover boy. She could already see him offering to book hotel dates for their wedding. Todd was a hopeless romantic. 
She swept her cell off the charger on the nearby table and headed for her room. Once safely away from Todd’s prying eyes, she composed a text to Craig:
Next time give in to temptation.
When she clicked send, her heart might have skipped a beat.
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Savannah Run
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Author Bio:

Michelle introduced herself to romance novels by stealing them off her mother’s bookshelf. She got caught red-handed when she destroyed a new book by dropping in the bathtub before her mom could read it. From stolen paperbacks to an overloaded iPad, Michelle’s passion for reading grew into her debut contemporary romance novel: Savannah Run.
She lives in South Florida with her real-life prince charming, two dogs, two horses, a cat, and Daisy the donkey. Most evenings, you will find her floating in the pool, enjoying a cocktail, and working out the plot of her next book with her husband.
Get your fix of happily ever after with a shot of action and adventure.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Meant to Be by Jude Deveraux

Author: Jude Deveraux   
ISBN: 9780778331445
Publication Date: March 16, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books

An inspiring new family saga by New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux

Two headstrong sisters are bound by tradition but long to forge their own path.

It’s 1972 and times are changing. In the small farming community of Mason, Kansas, Vera and Kelly Exton are known for their ambitions. Vera is an activist who wants to join her boyfriend in the Peace Corps. But she is doing her duty caring for her widowed mother and younger sister until Kelly is firmly established. Kelly is studying to become a veterinarian. She plans to marry her childhood sweetheart and eventually take over his father’s veterinary practice.

But it’s a tumultuous time and neither sister is entirely happy with the path that’s been laid out for her. As each evaluates her options, everything shifts. Do you do what’s right for yourself or what others want? By having the courage to follow their hearts these women will change lives for the better and the effects will be felt by the generations that follow. Meant to Be delivers an emotional, smart, funny and wise lesson about the importance of being true to yourself.

Meant to Be is a stand alone family saga that begins in the 1970s and ends in modern day.  It follows sisters, Vera and Kelly and how their choices affected their lives for decades.  I have really mixed feelings about this book.  I enjoyed the first 75% of the story.  Vera and Kelly are sisters, but they are complete opposites in personality.  I liked their story.  I also liked Caitlin's story in the 1990s.  I could have read about those three women for  a lot longer.  

What made me hesitate to say I loved the story was the last 1/4 of the book.  "Mike's" story was kind of boring as it only takes place over a day or two. It just wasn't very well fleshed out.  The ending  really disappointed me.  It was almost like the author didn't know how to end the book.  Without really spoiling anything, there was a death that came out of nowhere and was completely unnecessary and unexplained. Then it just ended.  I would still recommend the book.  It actually was a very quick read and enjoyable for the more part.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Mason, Kansas May 1972
Adam is back.
 Vera Exton couldn’t get that thought out of her head. The man she had always loved, the man who held the keys to her future, was finally home. 
She was on the front porch of her family home. As always, she was surrounded by newspapers and magazines. She paid to have the New York Times sent to her. That it arrived three days late didn’t matter. At least she got to see what was going on in the world. The world. Not just Kansas, not just the US, but everywhere. 
In college, she’d majored in political science, with a minor in geography. She knew where the Republic of Vanuatu was, where Rajasthan, India, was. She could tell Bhutan from Nepal by a single photo. She’d studied languages on her own and knew a smattering of several. Rhodesia, she thought. Madagascar. She’d send her sister photos of herself with a lemur when she got there. Kelly would like that. 
Vera closed her eyes, leaning back in the old chair that her mother had bought at a craft fair. It had been made by someone local, using local materials. That was the difference between them. Her mother and her sister prided themselves on “local,” while Vera could only see the world.
 “And now it’s all going to begin,” she whispered, and opened her eyes.
 Bending, she began stacking the newspapers and magazines. Her mother complained about the mess that always surrounded Vera. “We can hardly walk through a room,” her mother often said, frowning. Since her husband died two years ago, Nella Exton did little but frown. 
If Kelly was around, she helped Vera clean up. Or helped Vera do anything, for Kelly was deeply glad her big sister was there and doing what everyone expected her to do.
 When Kelly mentioned her gratitude, their mother just sniffed. “She’s the eldest child, so of course she takes care of things.” Even though the sisters were only ten months apart, to their mother Vera was to take on the family’s responsibilities, so she was doing what she was supposed to do. There was no other choice. 
But Kelly didn’t feel that way. In what people tended to call “the drug culture,” many kids ran away, never to be seen again. The idea of “family obligations” was becoming obsolete. But not to Vera. 
She had postponed the future she’d dreamed of, had studied for, to give her sister what she wanted and Kelly was ever thankful, grateful and appreciative.
 For all her sister’s appreciation, right now all Vera could think of was that Adam’s return meant the ordeal of staying at home was over. 
He’d arrived just in time for his father’s funeral, as there’d been delays on the long flight from Africa. Vera had searched the newspapers to find out what was going on in Kenya. During the years he’d been away, Adam’s letters were full of stories of floods and bridges collapsing, infestations and diseases with exotic names. His letters had made her heart pound with excitement. She’d read them to her mother and sister, then was shocked by the horror on their faces. “But doesn’t it sound wonderful?” Vera would ask. 
Nella said a flat no, and Kelly would say, “If you like that sort of thing.” Then she’d pick up a few of her animals and feed them or groom them or whatever she did with them. 
Vera had seen Adam after the service, but she’d not spoken to him. He was surrounded by people offering condolences. His father, Burke Hatten, had been a big shot in the county. “Ask Burke” was a common catchphrase.
 In Vera’s opinion, the man thought he knew much more than he did, which is why he and his eldest son had always butted heads. Burke’s temper and his son’s matching one was why Adam had run off to join the Peace Corps. 
Well, that and Vera’s endless talk of how she was joining the second she finished college. She’d begged Adam to go with her, but he’d always said no. He said he’d be waiting for her in Kansas when she grew tired of moving about the world and came home.
 Funny how things work out, she thought as she stacked the papers. Adam had the big fight with his dad and had run off to the Peace Corps. Vera had planned to join him, but her father had died suddenly, leaving no one to care for the farm. To Vera, the solution was to sell the farm, but Nella had refused to leave the place. In just a few weeks, everything changed. Vera had agreed to stay behind until Kelly finished veterinary school. The new plan was that as soon as Kelly graduated, Vera would join Adam wherever the Peace Corps had sent him. 
Now everything was going to change again. Burke Hatten’s horse threw him and he’d died instantly, so Adam had returned. But this time when he left the country to go back to his job in Africa, Vera wouldn’t be kissing him goodbye. They’d leave together. The goodbyes would be to her mother and sister, to the farm, to her job at the travel agency. Goodbye to the town of Mason. The world she’d been reading about was out there and calling to her. 
At last, she was going to answer its call. 
Excerpted from Meant to Be by Jude Deveraux Copyright © Jude Deveraux. Published by HQN Books.

About the author: 

Jude Deveraux is the author of forty-three New York Times bestsellers, including For All TimeMoonlight in the Morning, and A Knight in Shining Armor. She was honored with a Romantic Times Pioneer Award in 2013 for her distinguished career. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide.