Friday, April 30, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of The Wolf Wore Plaid by Terry Spear

by Terry Spear
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 4/27/2021
An overprotective wolf meets his match in the Scottish Highlands of today…
Heather MacNeil has never backed down from a fight. So when some shady shifters from a neighboring enemy clan come looking for trouble, she refuses to feed their satisfaction. There’s only one wolf that makes her go soft…
For packmate Enrick MacQuarrie, the work as second-in-command never ends—as the feud ignites, clan security is more vital than ever. But a certain unpredictable, feisty Highland lass is determined to stand up to the aggressors, and Enrick is equally determined to protect her.
The action builds as Heather and Enrick grow closer, but will they be willing to sacrifice their wild friendship for true love?

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“We’ve heard so much about your shop that we had to come and check it out,” Robert said, leaning against her counter. 
She didn’t believe him for an instant. Her phone was sitting on the ledge below the high counter and out of his sight, so she started to text Ian to see if he could send some backup, other than her three brothers—Oran, Jamie, and Callum, who would just as likely kill the men and ask questions afterward—if she needed the help. 
The doorbell jingled again, and she looked up to see who it was, afraid it would be more of the Kilpatricks’ kin. Instead, Enrick MacQuarrie pulled the door closed behind him, and a bit of relief washed over her. Now he was a welcome sight. Not for his supposed interest in dating her. That was so far-fetched, she couldn’t believe Lana would even think it. But Heather knew he would be all protective when it came to her or any other she-wolf of the MacNeill pack. 
She didn’t send the text message to Ian, figuring Enrick would deal with the Kilpatricks if they gave her any trouble. 
Not that she was totally reassured. Anything could go wrong, and she sure didn’t want Enrick hurt either. 
He looked so much like one of the men wearing a New York T-shirt while they waited for their steak pies that he could have been his double. Ever since Guy McNab had made it big as a film star in America, Enrick had been mistaken for him whenever he ventured out of the area. 
Enrick was the middle triplet brother of Grant and Lachlan MacQuarrie, tawny-haired and good-natured—except if he was defending the pack members or his friends, then watch out. He had a warrior’s heart, yet Heather had seen a real soft side to him too—playing tug-of-war with the Irish wolfhound pups, chasing the kids around the inner bailey in a game of tag, growling as if he were a wolf in his fur coat and making the kids squeal in delight. She’d seen him playing with his brothers as wolves and he was totally aggressive then, not wanting either of his brothers to win the battle between them. And in a snowball fight, he was the fastest snowball maker and thrower she’d ever seen. If they played on teams, she wanted him on hers. 
So he did let his hair down, so to speak, with the kids and with his brothers and others. With her? He clearly thought she was trouble. 
At least he was a wolf with a pack friendly to her own, and she smiled brightly at him, glad he was here in case she needed him. 
There was no smile for her, his look instead dark and imposing as he glanced from her to the Kilpatrick brothers, still trying to figure out what they wanted to buy. She hoped Enrick wouldn’t start a fight. They had so many customers, and she didn’t want to see a brawl break out in front of them. It surely wouldn’t help business. 
Robert pointed to the sign on the wall listing the kind of pies they sold. “We’ll take a couple of the steak and kidney pies to go.” 
Okay, so they weren’t causing trouble. Yet. They hadn’t noticed Enrick’s arrival, and she hoped he wouldn’t cause things to get ugly when the other men were behaving…for the moment. Enrick was observing them with a do-anything-I-don’t-like-and-you’ll-die look. 
Robert leaned against the oak countertop. “We hear there’s supposed to be a movie filmed at one of the castles nearby.” 
As her heartbeat quickened, Heather’s gaze darted to Enrick’s, and he raised his brows at her. Man, she was about to give the secret away in that one little glance at him. She knew he would question her next, once the men left. He could probably hear her heart suddenly beating way too fast. 
“We had a movie filmed at our castle a few years back, but that’s it.” Heather placed their order with Rush stamped on it. She’d never used the stamp before, but this was certainly one of those times it came in handy. 
“Not that film. A new one. More of a…fantasy,” Patrick said, “featuring wolves, even.” 
“At the MacNeills’ castle? No,” she said, shaking her head. She wasn’t lying. Ian MacNeill swore they would never have another film shot at their castle. At the time they’d been in dire straits financially, and the only way to keep the castle solvent was to do the film. Wolf packs had to keep their identity secret. Having tons of nonwolves traipsing through Argent Castle and the grounds could be problematic. Her pack had had to send a couple of newly turned wolves to stay with the MacQuarries, just so the human cast and crew wouldn’t have the surprise of seeing the newbies shift during the full moon. 
Excerpted from The Wolf Wore Plaid by Terry Spear. © 2021 by Terry Spear. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over sixty paranormal and medieval Highland romances. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world, helps out with her grandbaby, and she is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Spring, Texas.

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Spotlight: Stormland by John Shirley

Author: John Shirley
Publisher : Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (April 13, 2021)
Hardcover : 368 pages

They call it Stormland: a sprawling, largely abandoned region of the southeastern coast of the USA, where climate change’s extreme weather conditions have brought about a ”perfect storm” of perpetual tempests; where hurricane-strength storms return day after day, 365 days a year.
The heart of Stormland is Charleston, South Carolina, a flooded ruin where hundreds of people remain for their own peculiar reasons; where thugs prey on the weak, and a strangely benevolent cult tries to keep everyone insanely sane. Here, plutocratic evil takes advantage of Stormland’s lawlessness to cultivate a weirdly puppeted theater of cruelty.

Swept into the turbulent vortex of Stormland is an unlikely duo — a former serial killer and a former US Marshal — who must work together to bring light to America’s late twenty-first century heart of darkness.
A cyberpunk detective thriller set in a maelstrom of climatic upheaval, classism, and corrupt power, Stormland paradoxically dramatizes the resilience of the human spirit.

About John Shirley

John Shirley is one of the original cyberpunk writers. He is the author of numerous novels, including Demons, CrawlersWetbonesCellarsBleak HistoryCity Come A-WalkinBioshock: Rapture, and the Song Called Youth trilogy. His story collections include the Bram Stoker Awardwinning Black Butterflies. He is coscreenwriter of The Crow, has written an episode of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine television series, as well as animation scripts. Check out the author’s WEBSITE for more info.
Review tour:
Tuesday, April 13th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm and @pnwbookworm
Wednesday, April 21st: @readerofthewrittenword
Thursday, April 22nd: @the.caffeinated. reader
Sunday, April 25th: @aimeedarsreads
Monday, April 26th: @mynovelmenagerie
Thursday, April 29th: From the TBR Pile
Saturday, May 1st: @lovelyplacebooks
Sunday, May 2nd: @djreadsbooks
Monday, May 3rd: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews and @bluntscissorsbookreviews
Wednesday, May 5th: @timeladyreads
Wednesday, May 5th:
Thursday, May 6th: @bookclubwithbite
Saturday, May 8th: She Just Loves Books and @shejustlovesbooks
Monday, May 10th: @jenguerdy
TBD: Friday, April 16th: Openly Bookish

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Her Child to Protect by Delores Fossen

Author: Delores Fossen
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Price: Ebook $4.99 USD / MMP $5.75 
On sale date: April 27, 2021 
ISBN: 9781335284624

Nothing can stop her

…from saving two lives.

When she arrives at a murder scene, Deputy Della Howell is not pleased to find her recent ex already on the job. She’ll work the case with Sheriff Barrett Logan but will keep the secret she’s certain Barrett isn’t ready for—she’s pregnant with his child. But as the dueling cops investigate, familiar sparks reignite between them…just as they fall prey to a very tenacious killer.
From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.
For more action-packed stories, check out the other books in the Mercy Ridge Lawmen series by Delores Fossen:
Book 1: Her Child to Protect
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:
Harlequin   IndieBound   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Walmart  Apple Books  Google Play   Kobo 

My Thoughts:

Her Child to Protect is the first in the Mercy Ridge Lawmen series.  This one is Della and Barrett's story.  It's kind of a second chance romance that puts the couple back together when Barrett's mother is accused of murder.  Della is also keeping a secret from Barrett. She is pregnant with his child.

I ultimately enjoyed the story,  The romance was steamy  and the mystery was engaging. There is a LOT of action in the book and it kept me on my toes. I did get a sense throughout the book that I was missing some back story, but it didn't bother me too much. I'm not sure if it's a spin-off from another series. I definitely recommend this one.

Here is a sneak peek:

Sheriff Barrett Logan aimed his flashlight in the ditch and looked for a dead man. 
There were no signs of him, but then Barrett hadn’t believed there would be. That was the problem with getting an anonymous tip. It could be a hoax. However, since he was the sheriff of Mercy Ridge, Texas, checking out hoaxes was part of his job description. 
Especially this one, which had come in the text he’d gotten from an unknown number. 
There’s blood near the county marker. She finally did it. She murdered him. 
Barrett didn’t know who this she was, but that wasn’t the only word that had stood out for him. Blood, finally and murdered had also grabbed his attention. If this was indeed some kind of prank, then the person who’d sent the text had clearly wanted to embellish the details in such a way to make him jump right in and investigate. 
Keeping watch around him, Barrett moved away from his truck that he’d left parked on the road. He’d put on his emergency flashers and kept on his high beams in case someone was out this time of night. Not likely, though. This was a rural road with a mile or more separating the sprawling ranches that dot- ted the area. Plus, it was nearly one in the morning, and most folks had long gone to bed. Mercy Ridge wasn’t exactly a hotbed of partying and such. 
Barrett fanned the flashlight over the sign that the texter had mentioned. The sign wasn’t just to let drivers know they were entering another county but also to mark the lines of jurisdiction. Barrett and his deputies policed this side, but if the supposed body was beyond the sign, then that would fall under the jurisdiction of the Culver Crossing PD. 
The cool spring rain spat at him, soaking the back of his shirt and his jeans. Thankfully, though, his Stetson was keeping the water out of his eyes, making it easier for him to see a long stretch of the ditch. Definitely no body and no blood in there, but he did see something else. 
Footprints, maybe. 
Someone or something had trampled down the weeds on the other side of the ditch. Weeds that practically arrowed toward a thick cluster of trees and underbrush. 
Avoiding the trampled down parts, Barrett jumped across the ditch, his boots sinking into the wet ground, and he adjusted his flashlight again. However, before he could follow the trail, he heard the sound of an approaching vehicle. One that braked to a screeching stop right behind his truck. It was a Culver Crossing cruiser, and Barrett started muttering some profanity before the deputy stepped out. 
She was definitely someone he hadn’t wanted to see tonight. Or any other night for that matter. The last time they’d spoken nearly two months ago, she had made it crystal clear that she hadn’t wanted to see him, either. Yet, here she was. 
Barrett hadn’t expected her to have changed much in these two months, and she hadn’t. Well, except for that troubled look she was giving him. Then again, Della often looked troubled, and there was often plenty of wariness in her crystal blue eyes. 
The rain had already gotten to her, he noticed. There were strands of her shoulder-length dark brown hair clinging to the sides of her face and neck. Her shirt was doing some clinging, too. Definitely something he hadn’t wanted to notice. 
Della pulled in her breath and released it slowly, the kind of thing someone would do when steeling themselves up. It didn’t seem to help, though, be- cause at the end of it, there wasn’t much change in her expression. 
“Did you get a text telling you that a body was out here?” she asked. 
Her voice and expression were as cool as the night rain, and it reminded Barrett that it hadn’t always been that way. Of course, the noncool times had happened when she’d been in his bed. Since that was another reminder he didn’t want or need, he pushed the thought aside. 
“Yeah,” he verified, and purposely turned back to his search. 
He tried to look unruffled by all of this, but his thoughts were going a mile a minute. Why had someone texted both of them? Was this some kind of sick ploy to get them back together? If so, heads were going to roll.

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.

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She's received the Booksellers' Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she's had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines. You can contact the author through her webpage at
Author Links

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cover Reveal: Single Dad’s Romance Series

We are super excited to share the covers for the upcoming Single Dad’s Romance Series. From some of your favorite authors, we’ve got seven smexy single dad romances just waiting for you to sink your teeth in and fall in love. 

Seven single dads, all from different walks of life and doing the best they can to raise their children - are ready to make you fall in love. 

From the celebrity dad just trying to protect the ones he loves from the the silver fox who's out to prove it's never too late to have a family of your own - this single dads collection guarantees to bring you a whole lot of love and of course, the happily ever after you've come to love from our amazing authors. 

Look no further, your next book boyfriend is here!

This Series Includes: 

Savannah's Salvation featuring Michael Asara, the irresistible French movie star Dad will be a billionaire blackmail romance you won't want to miss! 

Savannah’s Salvation releases on May 31st.

Pre-order on Amazon: 

Add to Goodreads:

Then I Saw You featuring Marshall Knight, the Unsuspecting Dad will be an Off Limits/Surprise Baby romance you won't want to miss!

Then I Saw You releases on June 7th.

Pre-order on Amazon:

Add to Goodreads: 

His Moonflower featuring Adam, the Silver Fox Dad will be an age-gap romance you won't want to miss!

His Moonflower releases on June 14th.

Pre-order on Amazon:

Add to Goodreads: 

There's More To It featuring Sebastian Keller, the adoptive dad will be a fake relationship romance you won't want to miss!

There’s More To It releases on June 21st.

Pre-order on Amazon:

Add to Goodreads: 

Flag on the Play featuring Carson Ward, the Doorstop Dad, will be a best friend's sibling romance you won't want to miss!

Flag on the Play releases on June 28th.

Pre-order on Amazon:

Add to Goodreads: 

Whiskey and Sunset Nights featuring Grayson, the fiercely protective Dad will be a widower second chance romance you won't want to miss!

Whiskey and Sunset Nights releases on July 5th.

Pre-order on Amazon:

Add to Goodreads: 

Minor Trouble featuring Seth Hudson, will be a redeemed hero romance you won't want to miss!

Minor Trouble releases on July 12th. 

Pre-order on Amazon: 

Add to Goodreads: 


To celebrate the cover reveals of these seven sexy single dads, Single Dads Romance is giving away a $30 Amazon eGift card to one lucky winner. Contest ends 5/1/2021.

Want to keep up with all the Single Dad’s Series News? LIKE The Indie Pen PR on Facebook!

Spotlight: Excerpt of The Nightborn by Isabel Cooper

by Isabel Cooper
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 4/27/2021
Sentinels spend their lives fighting the monsters that prey upon humanity.
As the Traitor God’s army grows and war looms ever-closer, Sentinel Branwyn arrives in the gleaming city-state of Heliodar to ask its High Council for aid. Its youngest member, Zelen Varengir, is sympathetic to her cause, but his hands are tied by his powerful family—and when they demand he spy upon the beautiful warrior, there is little he can do but obey.
But something stronger than blood draws Zelen and Branwyn together, and when Branwyn is framed for the murder of the High Lord himself, the unlikely duo must learn to trust each other if they want to discover the deep secrets hidden in the heart of the city, uncover the real enemies moving against them, and embrace the attraction neither can deny...all while facing down the return of the greatest threat the world has ever known.
Fans of The Witcher and Ilona Andrews will love this epic tale of adventure and romance.


Purchase Links:


“Lord Rognozi and his wife are dead.” 
The words made no sense for a second. Then they took Zelen’s breath away as thoroughly as any of his mother’s lectures or the beatings his father had ordered. Gedo wasn’t putting in nearly as much effort as had gone into the other incidents: he was either very talented or very fortunate. 
“When? How?” 
It would have been unsurprising for Lord Rognozi to have perished quite naturally and uneventfully, and dimly possible that his wife might not have survived the shock and sorrow of it, though it would’ve run counter to what Zelen knew of the lady. That wouldn’t have brought Gedomir to his bedroom. 
“Murdered. Butchered, in fact, late last night. If you want the more sordid details, I’m afraid I didn’t ask for an anatomical report. I’m given to understand that the servant who found them is in a state of shock.” He smoothed an imaginary strand of impeccable hair back from his brow. “And your…envoy…has vanished. As has her very large, very likely magical sword.” 
“She’d never—” 
Zelen lunged forward, with no notion of what the motion might achieve. Denial simply demanded action. 
As he’d so frequently done in their past, Gedomir smiled with lofty derision, not to mention a share of pity. “She has, I’m afraid. You’re welcome to try and convince me that a burglar broke into one of the best-warded noble houses in the city and did nothing but slaughter the inhabitants, or that a servant with years of service suddenly went unstoppably berserk in a manner that didn’t rouse the attention of the others in their quarters.” 
Colors faded from the world. Zelen sat silently and Gedomir fell silent as well as Idriel stepped in, carrying a tray of tea and cakes. He put it down in front of Zelen and glanced between him and Gedomir: Shall I pretend you have another engagement? 
Zelen shook his head. Even that motion took an almost unsupportable amount of strength. “Thank you, Idriel, that will be all,” he said by rote. 
“Very good, sir.” 
“It may not be entirely her fault, granted,” Gedomir said. “I can perceive no motive for the action, regardless of what others may think, given what you’ve told me of her nature. The Criwath court, or even subversive agents there that Olwin knows nothing of, may have placed a spell on her for this purpose. Or her experiences in the war may have caused damage that hid until now.” 
If she did it,” Zelen said, “I’m certain that it wasn’t of her own will.” 
“I’m certain that you’re certain. And Father and I are prepared to take that into account,” Gedomir said, spreading his hands. The ring with Verengir’s crest, his only ornament, gleamed in the pale light of the autumn morning. “Honestly, the information she can provide is more valuable than any vengeance would be—the Dark Lady can wait on her claim. Father thinks the rest of the council might even see a case for clemency, if the circumstances are right.” 
“Does he?” 
“Would I speak falsely?” Gedomir’s lips tightened, but then he relaxed. “I understand that you’re…biased, but for once your proclivities may have been useful. There’s clearly more here than simple murder. Father and I are prepared to investigate it and to argue as much in the face of all opposition—once you retrieve the woman, of course.” 
There was rock under her cheek and blood in her mouth. Her arms were sticky—probably more blood—and a net of pain wrapped her whole body, fiercest around her right knee and her left eye. Branwyn was fairly sure her nose was broken too. 
All of that was comparatively minor. She’d been injured more severely in the past, though not often, and the healing of a Sentinel was already doing its work, pulling bones and muscles back into place. Even the knee, which would likely have crippled a normal person for life, would give her only a few days of trouble. Branwyn knew as much, and none of her wounds troubled her. 
She had no room in her mind to worry about them anyhow. As consciousness returned, she searched her memory for the fight that must have taken place and found only blankness, then paralyzing fear. 
After the ball, she’d felt uneasy about the Rognozis’ house. She’d gone to get Yathana. From that moment, she remembered nothing concrete: she had a dim recollection of the world spinning, of a sword in her grip and the smell of blood and death, but that was all. 
Now she was—her eyes focused, one considerably slower than the other—in an alley, in the early morning, wearing the blood-soaked remains of her ball gown. 
Yathana was gone. 
Her memory had an enormous hole. 
There was blood on her arms, up to the elbows, and she couldn’t feel any cuts there. 
What happened? was her third question. 
Where’s Yathana? came in second. 
The first was What did I do? 
Excerpted from The Nightborn by Isabel Cooper. © 2021 by Isabel Cooper. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.
 About the author:

During the day, ISABEL COOPER maintains her guise as a mild-mannered project manager in legal publishing. In her spare time, she enjoys video games, ballroom dancing, various geeky hobbies, and figuring out what wine goes best with leftover egg rolls. Cooper lives with two thriving houseplants in Boston, Massachusetts.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Review: When a Cowboy Loves A Woman by Jennie Marts

Author: Jennie Marts
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 2021

 Her perfectly controlled life falls apart when a kitchen fire lands young widow Elle Brooks in the muscled arms of handsome rancher and veterinarian Brody Tate. The fire forces Elle to move in with her friend Bryn and her motley collection of rescue horses and other animals on the Heaven Can Wait Horse Rescue ranch, where she volunteers. Spending time with the hunky cowboy and his spunky 10-year-old daughter, Mandy, as they rehabilitate the beautiful horses, reminds Elle of all she lost in a car crash years ago. She can't deny the feelings that being close to Brody is stirring in her.

As a widower himself, Brody puts all he has into being a good dad for his spirited daughter. He hasn't let women and romance even enter his mind, until he meets Elle. And now, this woman is all he thinks about. Spending time with her is shaking up the calm stasis he had worked so hard to achieve, but he can't seem to stay away.

Brody and Elle both know the pain of losing someone they loved, and neither planned ever to let themselves fall in love again. But fate has a way of stepping in, and what started with a small fire now burns hotter than either one could have imagined. Can these two wounded souls take a chance on each other and risk their hearts again? 

When A Cowboy Loves A Woman is the second book in the Creedence Horse Rescue Series.  I liked Brody from the first book, so I was excited to see this one was his story.  I have been in a bit of a reading slump and this book was just the thing I needed to get excited to read again.  This was the sweetest story about two people who have suffered immense loss finding the strength to overcome their fear and love again.

I just loved Elle and Brody together.  They had amazing chemistry.  Elle's loss was gut wrenching. I'm not sure how one moves on from a loss like that.  I loved how the author used animals ( especially Roxy) to help Elle heal.  The animals also provided some great comic relief. Brody was a great father who was struggling with watching his little girl grow up.  (I can relate) The one character that really stood out for me was Mandy.  They say that we can learn a lot from kids.  This one has a lot to teach Elle and Brody.  I highly recommend this one.  I look forward to Cade's story.  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Spotlight: Excerpt of A Cowboy of Legend by Linda Broday

by Linda Broday
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 4/27/2021
Famous across Texas, the Legends stand ready to take on any challenge that comes their way...
Deacon Brannock has struggled his whole life to amount to something. But when he finally saves up enough to buy the saloon that’ll put him on the map, he’s immediately challenged by the Temperance Movement. He only wants to make an honest living, but there’s no stopping the Movement’s most determined firebrand: Grace Legend.
And after one look at the fierce beauty, he’s not even sure he wants to.
Grace has always had her pet crusades, but she sees the Temperance Movement as the one thing that will bring her the deep sense of purpose she’s been missing. Yet when the owner of the new saloon turns out to be a kind and considerate man with warm eyes and a smile that leaves her breathless, she can't help but wonder whether they could have a future together...if only they could find a way to stop being enemies long enough to become so much more.

Purchase Links:

“Destroyer of men’s souls! Beware the pitfalls of the devil’s brew!” Grace Legend held up her sign and directed her loud yells into the murky interior of the Three Deuces saloon. 
A gust of wind delivered the stench of the nearby stockyards up her nose and a swirl of dirt to her eyes. She blinked several times to clear the grit as two dozen Temperance women behind her took up the chant, banging drums and shaking tambourines. 
A surly individual went around her and reached for the batwing doors. Grace swatted him with her sign. “Get back! Back, I say. This den of iniquity is closed to the likes of you.” 
Built like a bull and smelling like the south end of a northbound steer, the man narrowed his gaze and raised a meaty fist. “This here’s a free country and I can go anywhere I like.” 
Gunfire rang out down the street and a woman screamed. Grace was glad she’d stuck a derringer in her pocket. This section of town saw killings every day even though the citizens Fort Worth cried for someone to clean it up. 
She wanted to take a step back from the surly man worse than anything. She really did. He had meanness rolling off him like thick rancid snake oil. But giving ground wasn’t in her make up. Not today and not as long as she was alive. 
Grace sucked in a quick breath, shot him a piercing glare and parked herself across the doorway. “I bet your wife would like to know where you spend your time when you should be working. Shame on you wasting your money on whiskey.” 
“I earn it and I’ll spend it however I see fit. Now step aside,” he snarled and raised a fist. 
“Or else what?” A voice in Grace’s head warned that this course of action could be dangerous, but she never listened to that boring bit of reason. No, she saw it her right and duty to make a difference in the world and make it she would. She couldn’t do that sitting on her hands like some timid toad afraid to utter a sound. 
At least a half dozen gunshots rent the air and people ducked. A crowd had begun to gather and pressed close. They got into a heated shouting match with her ladies. 
Before she could move, the quarrelsome fellow barreled into her, knocking her sideways. Grace launched onto his back and began whopping him with the sign. However, the handle was too long for close fighting and none of her blows landed. 
She released a frustrated cry and wrapped both arms around his head. 
“Get off me!” he roared. 
“When hell freezes over, you moron.” 
A door banged and footsteps of someone new approached and yanked the two of them apart. “Hey, what’s the meaning of this?” 
“Send her packing, Brannock!” someone yelled. “Don’t let her run you out of business.” 
Chest heaving, she jerked at the bodice of her favorite royal blue dress that matched her eyes, straightening it before grabbing the immense hat that barely clung to one side of her head. She blew back a blond curl that fell across one eye blocking her view. Only then did she get a glimpse of the gentleman whose livelihood she meant to destroy, and the sight glued her tongue to the roof of her mouth. 
That he presented a handsome picture with coal black hair and a lean form was indisputable, but it was more than that. A Stetson sat low on his forehead—a cowboy? Grace did a doubletake. Saloon owners wore bowlers, not Stetsons. She was unable to move her gaze from his piercing eyes. Shadowed by the brim of his hat, they reminded her of smoke. The stormy gray depths warned of the danger of crossing him. 
And more. Oh my! 
Grace took in his silk vest of dark green like those of gamblers. Her gaze rested on a well-used gun belt slung low on his hip complete with what appeared a long Peacemaker. By now, most men left their firearms at home. However, having grown up with weapons of all kinds on the Lone Star ranch, she understood the need to sometimes keep a gun handy. Although crime in the rough area had begun to decline, running a saloon at the edge of Hell’s Half Ace was still a risky business. 
She patted the small derringer in her pocket to make sure it hadn’t fallen out. 
“I asked what’s going on,” Brannock repeated. 
Mr. Smelly glared, wiping blood from his forehead. So, she did get a lick in. “This churlish fishwife assaulted me, and I demand you do something.” 
“Churlish fishwife?” Grace swung her sign again—only it caught the tall saloon keep instead, knocking him back a step. 
Towering head and shoulders above her, Brannock snatched the sign from her hand, broke it over his knee, and pitched the pieces aside. His eyes had darkened to a shade she’d never seen before and had no words to describe. “Care to explain why you’re running off my business, lady?” 
The question came out silky and wrapped in velvet like her father’s did when he wanted to put the fear of God into someone. That frightened her far more than yelling. This cowboy saloon owner was someone to reckon with. 
Although quaking inside, Grace drew herself up and thrust out her chin. “I’m asserting my God given right to free speech.” 
“You tell him, Grace!” one of the women yelled. 
“Free speech about?” he snapped.  
“The evils of drink. It’s destroying the fabric of our society and wrecking homes.” 
“And it’s your duty to straighten us men out?” he barked. 
She inhaled a shaky breath. “As much as I’m able. I cannot turn a blind eye to hungry kids and wives bearing the scars of abuse.” 
Excerpted from A Cowboy of Legend by Linda Broday. © 2021 by Linda Broday. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved

 About the author:

At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. After years of writing romance, it’s still tall rugged cowboys that spark her imagination. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold. She resides in the Texas Panhandle where she’s inspired every day.

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Review: Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Date of publication: March 2021

 Pip is not a detective anymore.
With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.

But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared, on the very same night the town hosted a memorial for the sixth-year anniversary of the deaths of Andie Bell and Sal Singh.

The police won't do anything about it. And if they won't look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town's dark secrets along the way... and this time everyone is listening. But will she find him before it's too late?

Good Girl, Bad Blood is the sequel to A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.  This one takes place a few months after the events of the first book.  There are major spoilers for the first book, so I would not treat this one as a stand alone book.  You will regret it.  I loved the first book and was so excited to finally dive into the sequel.  I thought this one was a very solid follow up.  I listened to the audio version of the book.  It has a full cast and was a great way to consume the story.

This time around, Pip and Ravi are dealing with the aftermath of all of the secrets that were revealed in the first book.   Pip has hung up her detective hat only to be sucked back into a new mystery by a friend whose brother has gone missing.  Since the police don't seem to take his disappearance seriously,  Pip decides she has no choice but to help.  The mystery was just as good as the first one.  Just when you think all has been revealed, another twist shows up.  I really love how this author writes mysteries.  I love when I am kept guessing until the end. 

One of the things I appreciated was the portrayal of the aftermath of the first book and how it affected the remaining characters.  It came across as realistic and not all peaches and cream.  Even when all of the truth comes out, there is not always closure or relief for everyone. Especially when it came to Pip.  She has shown a lot of growth since the first book and learns even more about herself through this one.  I know there is another book coming, so I can't wait to see what mystery comes Pip's way next.    I highly recommend this one.  

Friday, April 23, 2021

Blog Tour: Excerpt of The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman


Author: Julietta Henderson
Publisher: MIRA
On Sale Date: April 13, 2021
9780778331957, 0778331954
$25.99 USD, $32.50 CAD
Fiction / Humorous / Coming of Age
400 pages
Little Miss Sunshine meets Wonder in this delightfully charming, uplifting book club debut about a twelve-year-old would-be comedian who travels across the country to honor his dead best friend’s dream of performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe—the only problem being that his friend was the funny one of their duo.
Twelve-year-old would-be comedian Norman has got a lot going on, including a chronic case of psoriasis, a distinct lack of comic timing and a dead best friend. All his life it’s just been him, his single mum Sadie, and Jax, the ‘funny one’ of their comedy duo. So when Jax dies not only is Norman devastated, it’s also the end of the boys’ Five Year Plan to take their comedy act to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe when they turned fifteen.
But Norman decides to honor Jax by performing at the Fringe, on his own. And not when he’s fifteen—but rather in four weeks’ time. But there’s another, far more colossal objective on Norman’s plan that Sadie wasn’t quite ready for: Norman wants to find his father. Eager to do anything that might put a smile on her boy’s face, Sadie resolves to face up to her own messy past and track down the father who doesn’t even know Norman exists, and whose identity Sadie herself isn’t quite sure of.
Thus begins a road trip from Cornwall to Scotland, featuring a mother and son who will live in the reader’s heart for a long time to come.


Enjoy this excerpt:
When I was born my insides lay outside my body for twenty-one days. Which is unexpected but not nearly as unusual as you might think. For every 3,999 other babies that come out with everything tucked in neatly and sealed away exactly where it should be, there’s one like me. Nobody really knows why. Luck of the draw, my father used to say. 
For those three weeks while I lay spread-eagled in an incubator like a Nando’s special, a crowd of doctors gathered every morning to discuss their cleverness and, as my organs shrank to their correct size, bit by bit they gently posted a little more of the me-parts that had made a break for it back inside. 
Well that’s the way my mother told it anyway. The way my father told it, the doctors gathered around the incubator every morning to discuss whether they’d be having my large intestine or my liver for their lunch, and whether it’d be with chips or salad. And that right there might tell you almost everything you need to know about my parents.
On my insides’ final day of freedom the head surgeon pushed the last bit through the slit in my stomach and stitched it closed, presumably with everything in its rightful place. I was declared whole and sent home to begin life like almost nothing had ever happened.  
Except that even when the regular hospital check-ups stopped, and the scar on my stomach that I’d never lived without faded to a thin silver seam, I can always remember still feeling the tugging behind it. Something I could never quite name, nudging at the fleshy edges whenever things were going badly, or too well. Or just for fun. To remind me how easily those parts of me that never really fit could come sliding out. Any time we like Sadie. Any time we like.
It wasn’t until I held my own son for the first time that the constant, dull pressure of keeping the scar together receded. When a nurse placed that slippery, crumpled up bundle of boy on my chest, I tightened my grip on a handful of hospital sheet as my world creaked on its axis, bumped into a comfy spot and was finally facing the right way.  
                I didn’t feel the tug on the scar again until a different boy died, and to say I wasn’t ready for it isn’t even the most important thing. Because by then there was a lot more at stake than just my own stupid insides spilling out into the world. I was as scared as hell and I had no idea how to fix any of it. And that right there might tell you almost everything you need to know about me.

First rule of comedy: Timing is everything
Timing is everything. First rule of comedy, Jax says. Because when push comes to shove, if you can get the timing right you can get a laugh. He says. Well I don’t really know how to tell when push is coming to shove but I’ll tell you something I do know. That rule works the other way too. Because when the you-know-what starts to hit the fan, if your timing’s wrong there’s pretty much zilcho you can do to stop it from splattering all over the place. 
Stare straight ahead and think about nothing. That’s a world famous Jax Fenton tactic for what to do when you get yourself into a bit of a mess. Works every time he reckons and he should know. Only maybe it doesn’t. Because when I stare straight ahead all I can see is that big shiny wooden box and instead of nothing I’m thinking about everything. And loads of it. Like does any light get in through the joins and did they let Jax wear his Frankie Boyle Tramadol Nights tour t-shirt. And does whoever put him in there know he only likes to sleep on his side. 
The massive scab on my chest feels so tight that I’m scared to breathe too deep in case it splits down the middle and bleeds all over my new shirt. Stare straight ahead. I move just a bit so I almost can’t see the box behind a couple of heads and my arm touches Mum’s. When I feel her, straight away the mess on my chest relaxes and lets me take half an almost good in-breath. Nearly a whole one. Right before it stabs me all the way through to my back and kazams like a rocket down to my toes. I’m pretty sure I can hear it laughing. Timing is everything, sucker.  
And by the way, that’s another thing I know. That you can’t trust your timing no matter how good it’s been in the past. Not even for people as excellently funny as Ronnie Barker or Dave Allen or Bob Mortimer. Or Jax. 
Because even if you nick a little bit of money for sweets every week-day morning from your mum’s purse, even if you accidentally-on-purpose leave your stepfather’s car door open so the cats get in and wee on the seats, and even if you’re the naughtiest kid in the whole school by a long shot, when you’re eleven years, 297 days and from what the paramedics can tell anything between twelve and sixteen hours old, it’s definitely not a good time to die. 
Stare straight ahead and think about nothing. 
Squashed into the end of the pew with my body leaning into the shape of the space that Norman’s made, I could feel the tense and release of his arms as his small boy hands curled in and out of fists. The buttoned down cuffs of his sleeves rode up ever so slightly with every movement to reveal the trail of psoriasis that spread triumphantly down to the second knuckles. His face was blank as a brick. Dry eyes staring straight ahead. 
‘Just hold on. Hold on son. You’ll get through this.’ I murmured reassuringly. Telepathically. But Norman’s hands kept on curling and flexing and then I noticed his chest was keeping time, rising and collapsing with the movement of his hands. I knew what was lying in wait underneath the thin fabric of his shirt, so then I had another thing to worry about. 
I had to admit it looked like he wasn’t getting my message, possibly because my best telepathic motherly voice was being all but drowned out by the other, very much louder one that lived in luxury inside my head. Fuck you Sadie. You can’t even get this right. As usual it wasn’t pulling any punches.
                The priest who had never met him declared the end to Jax’s life and people began shuffling out of the pews as fast as they could, as if death might still be hanging around looking for company. They knocked our knees, murmured apologies and spilled their overflow of sadness all over us. Like we needed it. The moving huddle in the aisle parted from the back as Jax’s parents set off on their million mile walk, and without turning my head I felt more than saw Josie Fenton hesitate ever so slightly as they passed us. But then they were gone. And my son’s eyes remained fixed on some invisible point that I could only hope lay somewhere far, far beyond the awfulness of the moment. 
A good forty minutes after the last person had left, I reached for Norman’s nearest hand and closed it gently between mine. The chill of the empty church had sidled deep into my bones and I was shocked at the heat of his raw knuckles on my palms. The voice in my head began stage whispering nonsense louder and louder and Norman’s hand stayed rigid in its fist. But I didn’t need that voice to tell me what I’d already figured out about thirty-eight minutes before. I wasn’t going to be nearly enough for this. 
Excerpted from The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman @ 2021 by Julietta Henderson, used with permission by MIRA Books.

About the Author:

Julietta Henderson is a full-time writer and comedy fan who splits her time between her home country of Australia and the UK. The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman is Julietta’s first novel.
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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Spotlight: Book of Love by Erin Satie

Erin Satie is joining us for the blog tour of her historical romance, Book of Love! Check it out and be sure to get your copy today!

Title: Book of Love

Author: Erin Satie

Genre: Historical Romance

About Book of Love:

She's trying to make ends meet. He's out for a bit of fun.   Cordelia Kelly is busy, focused, worried about the future of her fledgling bookbinding business. When a handsome man stops her on the street to pester her with questions, she gives him the consideration he deserves: none. That handsome man happens to be the Duke of Stroud, and he finds Cordelia's hostility hilarious. He gives chase, if only for the pleasure of provoking her again.   He thinks life is a game. She doesn't play around.   Within days of meeting Cordelia, Stroud sets a marching band on a matchmaking mama, defaces a local monument, and ropes Cordelia into a round of his favorite game. In that same time, Cordelia stitches together the complete works of Mary Wollstonecraft, enthusiastically devotes herself to a petition demanding expanded legal rights for married women, and beats Stroud at his own game.   She defies all expectations. So does he.   Most people dismiss Stroud as a fool--himself included. When Cordelia sees past his lighthearted facade, he's terrified and also... in love? Stroud barges into Cordelia's life, offering her all the material and sensual temptations she's learned to do without. She usually has willpower to spare, but turning him down takes all of it, and then some. He's oddly irresistible. Or maybe they're perfect for one another.  

Get Your Copy Today!

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About Erin Satie:

Erin Satie is the author of the dark and elegant No Better Angels series, historical romances set in the early Victorian period. She’s currently hard at work on her upcoming series, Sweetness & Light, which should be just as elegant but not quite so dark.   Erin is a California native who’s lived on the coasts and in the heartland, in tiny city apartments and on a working farm. She studied art history in both college and graduate school—research is always her favorite part of starting a new book.   Her favorite part of finishing a book, whether reading or writing, is the happily ever after.  

Connect with Erin:

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