Book Review – Hissy Fit

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This book is so not what I expected … and SO much better for it!

*****

Hissy Fit

The Southern Gentleman Series, Book 1

by Lani Lynn Vale

Release Day: March 19th

Blurb:

He is the one that never looks her way.
He is handsome and strong.
He is rough around the edges and mean.
He is everything she’s ever wanted.
He doesn’t even know she exists.
Her life is a joke.

She doesn’t step on cracks in the sidewalk.
She laughs at inappropriate times.
She talks when she shouldn’t.
She is clumsy and trips on air.
She is finally on his radar.
God help her now.

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*****

Review:

The blurb is such that I wasn’t sure what I was going to get so when it landed on my e-reader I opened it up just to see.  And didn’t put it down until I was done!  I loved goofy, sweet, fun Raleigh.  From the very first page (and the subsequent awkward encounter with Ezra) I wanted to be bestest, life-long friends with her.  Klutzy, funny, and awkward, Raleigh will win your heart and you’ll be cheering when she finally gets her guy.

I will saw there were a few times that I wanted to smack Ezra on the head.  He’s either totally clueless or a bit of an *ss because he let another women get a little too handsy with him.  More than once after starting a relationship with Raleigh.  I get that maybe he didn’t realize the signals that Raleigh might be picking up but after the first time it made her huffy I would have thought that he’d get a clue.  Outside of that, though, I found him to be a pretty good guy.  He takes care of the guys on his team and his family.  And wants he sees Raleigh he’s ready to take on anything she needs him to.

While this is a more light-hearted book overall, it isn’t afraid to tackle some harsher topics when it needs to.  This is only the second book by Vale that I’ve read, but it’s not going to be my last.  (Lord Have Mercy, the next book in this series, is out soon and I’m already trying to figure out how to get my hands on it!)

*****

Author Info:

Lani Lynn Vale is a USA Today Bestselling Author of over thirty titles. She is married with three children, two dogs, two cats, a donkey, and a couple (a couple also meaning over twenty) chickens.

When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair reading.

Lani is married with three children and lives in the Great State of Texas.

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*****

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Book Review – A Dog Called Valentine

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A Dog Called Valentine

by Roxanne Snopek

No good deed goes unpunished.

When an unwanted Valentine’s Day present is dumped at the shelter, volunteer Lily decides to foster the poor dog herself. A little attention is all he needs to blossom into a loving pet, ready for his forever home. Plus, helping a poor, rejected animal will distract her from her own problems. Win, win. Right? Wrong. Valentine needs more than a makeover if he’s going to be adopted. He destroys her home, hates to be groomed and when he behaves better for a perfect stranger than he does her, Lily swallows her pride and begs the good looking but quiet stranger for help

After losing his canine partner in a horrific moment that upended his future, sexy and stoic Shane turns to books, walks in the park and remodeling his grandmother’s home. No more intense K9 officer career, no more dogs, no more risks. But it’s hard to ignore the misunderstood mutt at the park and his well-intentioned, but clueless, handler. Shane reluctantly agrees to give her a few tips and tricks, but that’s all. He won’t care. He won’t get invested. And once Valentine finds his new home, his life can go back to normal.

But Shane doesn’t bargain on a new normal in town and, suddenly, Valentine’s Day will never be the same.

A Dog Called Valentine isn’t a very deep story but it sure was fun, with a dog that is just about the best thing ever.  He stole my heart before I was even a fifth of the way in!  Shane also had a few heart-tugging moments and I definitely understand his hesitancy in getting too involved with anyone (whether they have 4 legs or 2) but Lily’s enthusiasm and need to make sure that Valentine gets a happy home is pretty compelling.

I think there was a lot more opportunity to delve into some of the family dynamics and the romance between Lily and Shane.  Readers will get a satisfying and enjoyable read but I think there is so much material there between Shane’s issues and Lily’s family drama.  Occasionally the timeline got a little wonky too but I can easily forgive that.

With an adorable matchmaking dog (and grandma) and a sweet ending (predictable but cute), Snopek delivers a lovely little story that is perfect for a pretty day sitting in the shade … or a cool day under a cozy blanket 🙂

(Overall a solid 3.5 Stars)

Book Review – Crazy Daisy

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Short, sassy read with a damaged hero and a heroine that would take on the world for those she loves.

*****

Crazy Daisy

by Maggie Adams

Genre: Military, Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer: Crystal Creations

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Blurb:

Daisy Jones has loved Gideon McElroy her entire life. Painfully shy, she had lived for the summers spent on the small island near Wisconsin at her grandpa’s cabin, when Gideon would come to stay with his grandfather, the Colonel. While the old men reminisced on happier times, Daisy would follow Gideon like a puppy, thrilled just to be in his presence. When he enlisted, she was heartbroken but took solace in the fact that he would still come to visit his aging grandfather when time allowed.

Fate had other plans. When his grandfather passed on, and Gideon didn’t attend the funeral, Daisy knew he was gone forever.  She married, had a child, and tried not to think of Gideon or what had become of him.

Fifteen years have come and gone.  Daisy, now a widow, is the veterinarian on the island.  She sees to the animals of the tiny town and lives a simple life. But when rumors fly that a strange man is living on the Colonel’s land, she makes it her duty to investigate.

Gideon McElroy has come home to die. He knows he should have left this earth back in Afghanistan, not stitched back together to satisfy some damn surgeon’s “God complex.”  The scars left behind have given him a grotesque appearance, a good reason to stay to himself. Between his appearance, the locked fence, and Samson, his large Mastiff, he’s confident in his solitary existence until he exits this world.

But he never counted on “Crazy Daisy” and her determination to drag him back into life.

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3LGr00

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Daisy-Maggie-Adams-ebook/dp/B07MSLR44Q/

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43623768-crazy-daisy

*****

Excerpt:

She glanced around. Nothing much had changed except the large exercise machine in the corner facing the window. All the books, the old rugs, were in place; even the chess set was still in front of the window.  It even smelled the same – slightly moldy, but redolent with the cherry vanilla tobacco the Colonel had smoked, and the Pine-Sol he had used to clean everything.

“Gideon? Where are you?” Daisy walked through the kitchen toward the back of the cabin.  Perhaps he had been hurt. In concern, she quickened her steps. As she neared the bathroom, there was what sounded like a groan. Truly worried now, she opened the bathroom door and stood stock still.

Gideon McElroy was stark naked and hard, his cock in his hand.

“What the fuck? Woman, are you crazy?”

She heard him yell, but she was transfixed. Most of his left side was crisscrossed with scars, like he had been in a fire. Even his groin and chest looked like a roadmap. The beard obstructed his neck and jawline, but the scars continued up the side of his face and into his hairline.

And he was pissed.

Daisy mumbled an apology and frantically searched for a towel. She spotted it on the vanity base and threw it at him, backing out of the room as he tied the towel around his waist and advanced on her as she hurried down the hall into the living room.

She held her hands up to ward him off and began to babble. “I’m sorry; I thought, well, the dog was missing, and the door popped open and I wasn’t sure if you were hurt, or even here and I wanted to…” She tripped on the leg of the large armchair and fell into it. The sun was completely blocked from her sight as Gideon closed the distance between them. For a moment, she thought this must be what Belle felt like when the Beast got in her face. She could feel his breath against her cheek.

“Now I know you’re not blind,” he snarled. “But are you deaf and dumb? I told you to leave and not come back. To stay away. Now what part didn’t you understand? Or maybe you’re just crazy like people in town say?”

That hurt. She had thought the name was because she was crazy enough to take on the local VA hospital when her David couldn’t get help with the PTSD he had suffered from after Afghanistan; not that she was, well, crazy. Tears began to fall, and she cursed inwardly. She hated that she cried when she was angry. It was a sign of weakness to her mind.

“Fuck! Don’t start the waterworks.” Gideon flung himself away from her. “I don’t care why you are here, I just want you gone.” He looked around the room. “Where the hell’s Samson? How did you get past him, anyway?”

“I, er, I don’t know.  He wasn’t here. That’s why I thought something was wrong.” She wiped her tears with her coat sleeve. “I heard what sounded like a moan in the back, and I came down the hall to make sure you or Samson weren’t hurt.”

Gideon eyes lit on the basket of goodies Daisy had brought. “You’re the fuckin’ welcome wagon?”

“No! Um, well, yes, I guess, in your case. I needed to make sure Samson had, um, his shots and was chipped, so I brought the basket and some of the cookies you liked when we were kids.” Daisy shrugged. Now that she thought about it, that did sound kind of lame – here’s some cookies. Remember me?

He quirked an eyebrow and picked up the taser. “And if I didn’t cooperate, you were going to taser me into accepting the basket?”

“No!” she laughed. “The dog,” but as soon as she said it, she knew she was in trouble.

“You were going to taser my DOG?” he roared, advancing on her once again.

*****

Review:

My biggest complaint about this book was that it’s a novella instead of a full-on read.  I didn’t realize that going in and there is so much goodness that could have been explored but unfortunately there weren’t the pages.

Gideon has lots and lots of scars, both inside and out, and I would have LOVED to get the chance to explore those more.  How Daisy manages to break down his fences and get him to think about living again.  How he manages to adjust to life after war.  How he goes from giving up to trying for more.  It’s such a compelling story and while we get parts of it there is so much more there that I would have loved to get to experience it.

We do get to know Daisy a little bit more.  The girl has grit, which she needs not just to make her way into Gideon’s home (and his heart) but also to expose the horrible conditions that veterans are experiencing at her local VA.  Her husband came back from war suffering and she fought to get him the care he needed.  It’s heartbreaking but she didn’t back down and you have to admire her for it.  She takes that heart and courage with her when dealing with Gideon.

While the ending is an obvious heart grab, it also worked and I really enjoyed how it wrapped up the story … if only I’d gotten about 200 more pages before I got there 🙂  As long as you are OK with a fast (and somewhat cursory) story I think you’ll enjoy Adams’s story.  I’m pretty sure if I’d gone into it with a different understanding of what I was getting it would have been so much more satisfactory since I liked what I got, I was just expecting something different.

*****

Author Info:

Maggie Adams is an internationally bestselling romance author. Her first book in the Tempered Steel Series, the romantic comedy-Whistlin’ Dixie, debuted in Top 100 for Women’s Fiction, Humor, on November 2014. Since then, she has consistently made the various best seller 5-star list with her Tempered Steel Series. Her series has launched the tiny town of Grafton, Illinois, into international recognition with sales in Mexico, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and the UK. She is the recipient of various awards for excellence including Dayreader Reviews Best of 2015, the Readers Favorite Award 2016, the Indie Romance Convention Romantic Comedy Award 2017 and the 2017 New Apple Awards -Suspense.

She also writes paranormal romance, young adult romance and women’s fiction. Maggie’s books can be found on eBook and paperback on her website and all major book sites.

When she’s not writing, she can be found dancing, singing and cooking (usually all at the same time), and spending time with her family and friends.

Feel free to stalk her at these sites!

Website: http://www.maggieadamsbooks.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maggie-adams

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maggieadamsbooks

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/maggiesminxes

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthrMaggieAdms

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maggie-adams-006a8b142/

*****

Book Review – Legend

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Legend

An Arizona Vengeance Novel

by Sawyer Bennett

Everything is clicking for the Vengeance. We may be new, but we’re well on our way to winning the championship, and I’m having the time of my life headlining the sports media as the hottest goalie—hell, player—ever. I for one am going to live up to my name . . . because I am Legend Bay.
 
Dragging my ass home from the gym, I’m blinded by some gaudy, glowing holiday lights. As usual, my hot-as-hell neighbor Pepper Nantais has gone way over the top. But just as I’m about to tell her off, something else catches my eye . . . Seems like Santa left me a present, and not one I was expecting.
 
As life takes an unexpected turn, I realize that there’s much more to Pepper than meets the eye. Sure, she’s gorgeous. And exasperating. And her taste in decorating may be a bit . . . unique.

But beneath her carefree demeanor is a fierce determination and a heart of gold. And before I know it I’ve fallen for her. Hard . . .
 
Pepper is exactly the woman I never knew I needed.

This was such a delicious story for so many reasons.  There’s the hot, single dad who is pretty hard to resist.  Even though a baby is totally unexpected, Legend throws himself into being a parent with all sorts of love and energy.  Once he gets his hands on that little girl he does just about anything to keep her safe and happy.  He just needs a little help from his formerly annoying neighbor.

And that’s another reason this was a fun read – the enemies to lovers trope.  While Pepper and Legend weren’t really enemies, she did love to get under his skin and annoy the dickens out of him.  She (and I) just thought he did need a little shaking up but he didn’t see it that way.  Which made it all the better.  And you totally knew that things were gonna lead to the bedroom eventually … and whew!  They know how to keep things steamy.

I really loved Pepper and Legend together.  She’s not really as zany as she’s made out to be, which I think helps.  She’s just a little bit original and artsy, which are not the first things that you would think of to describe Legend.  But he is strong and steady and learns to enjoy the color she brings to his life.

Unfortunately things don’t work out 100% easy for Legend when he finds out that he’s a dad, so there is a bit of mama drama going on.  All of which leads up to quite a suspenseful ending, but while that part was fun it was the human piece of Legend learning to be a dad and seeing Pepper in a new light that really made this read a hit for me.

Book Review – California Girls

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Susan Mallery is one of those authors that I can count on to deliver an awesome read every time.

*****

California Girls

by Susan Mallery

Hardcover: 432 pages

Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2019)

Blurb:

The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

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Goodreads

*****

Review:

Mallery’s newest is definitely more women’s fiction than romance, so you need to be prepared for time spent with the sisters but hardly any with their respective men.

Well, two of the sisters – one of them definitely has a bit more of a love story going on, without shortchanging any of her personal growth and development.  There is a new(ish) man in Ali’s life and he helps her see herself differently.  She listens and learns and finds her true self buried behind years of doubt.  I really like the woman she becomes and where her life is heading.

Finola has to do a lot of self-evaluation.  With the betrayal by her husband it is easy to lay the blame totally on him but every relationship has two people in it.  No one wants to hear that some of the fault is their’s when a spouse cheats and Finola is no different.  But time and a few tough conversations has her looking at herself and exactly how much she’s invested in the people around her.

Zennie is probably the hardest for me to connect to.  I get where she’s coming from and really you can’t understand what pregnancy does to you until you actually experience it (man, those hormones!), but it’s such a unique situation.  I did enjoy how Mallery explores, at least for a while, the idea that not everyone wants or needs to be coupled up.  That is the most interesting part of Zennie’s story – her comfort with her life as it is, with friends, family, work, and hobbies.

My only real complaint is that, with three sisters all having a big part of the story, there is a lot of back and forth between them.  It is kinda hard to really get into one part of it knowing you are going to be pulled out and into another.  After a while I got used to it but I don’t think that I was ever fully able to commit.

Charm, though, is always a mainstay of Mallery’s stories and this one is no different.  There is plenty to smile about but she also delivers on the harder emotions as the sisters evaluate themselves and their lives.  It’s not easy when you have to face your shortcomings but these women manage to come out of it stronger.

*****

Author Info:

#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives-family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.

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*****

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Spotlight – This is the Route of Twisted Pain

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Who likes their heroes big, bad, and dangerous?  MariaLisa DeMora has a book on sale right now that readers just luh-uhv!

*****

This is the Route of Twisted Pain

Neither This Nor That MC series, Book One

by MariaLisa deMora

Genre: Adult Biker Romance

Publisher: MLK Publishing

Publication Date: July 25, 2016

Blurb:

Legends are born from moments like these. Folktales spun around a single point in time so perfect, you can almost hear the click resonating through the universe as things align.

George Bell, aka Twisted, knows the odds are against him. Have been all his life. Born in a Louisiana bordello, raised around the rough and rowdy men of a motorcycle club, he’s never been the lucky type. But he believes luck can change, so when fate gives him a glimpse of breathtaking beauty, he’s more than willing to roll the dice. Chancing upon what could be the woman of his dreams, he’s prepared to push this streak as far as he can.

Penny Dane’s background gives her an edge in the life she’s chosen to lead. Raised in a can-do family, she’s resilient, rolling with life’s punches and landing on her feet. But, when the past holds painful secrets—when a single misstep can turn deadly—can she trust the passion this man stirs in her?

On the surface, Bell and Penny don’t work. Their mismatched worlds are too different. But like a backwater bayou, what you see is not the whole story, there are mysteries buried underneath. Penny is the red-haired beauty caught up in a web of lies. Bell is like no one she’s ever met before. The problem is, he knows it.

Purchase Your Copy Today!
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iBooks

*****

Excerpt:

From Chapter Thirteen

Well, that didn’t go exactly as planned. Twisted didn’t have time for anything past the single thought before his head whipped to the side again. Blood sprayed in a fan across the face of the man with a fist in his hair, holding his head up. Twisted watched as the dead man licked his lips, then gathered enough saliva to spit to the side. Points for not hawkin’ in my face.

Probing with his tongue, Twisted found the split in his cheek flooding his mouth with blood. Lemme show you how it’s done. Biding his time, he let the bitter fluid fill his mouth, holding still until the man leaned deep, putting his face right in front of Twisted, getting ready to shout at him again, no doubt. The problem was, the guy was too close. Got close, stayed close, put himself in harm’s way by staying within reach.

Stupid. He should have done things differently. Should have had a soldier holding Twisted from behind. Should have made sure the bonds hadn’t slipped. Should have checked more than the obvious places for weapons. Dead man, he thought, just before he spat a mouthful of blood into the man’s eyes, knowing the mixture of blood and saliva would burn like a motherfucker.

Twisted rolled, sacrificing his scalp to gain distance while he shoved a hand into his front pocket, coming out with a small pen. With a flick of his wrist, the concealed blade popped into place. He swept his keys from the ground where they were knocked during the initial scuffle, fingers folding around what looked like a cute kitty face keychain, now revealed to be a deadly addition to bare-fisted fighting. Coming up from the ground, he threw himself at the lone man he’d identified as a danger, the only one who hadn’t holstered his weapon while Twisted was kneeling on the ground.

Sweeping right to left, the thin blade bit through the man’s face, striated muscle visible through the hole gaping in its wake. Not sure if that would keep this guy clear, he followed up with a violent punch to the throat, knowing his kitty’s work was done when the guy stopped making sounds. The keys went into his pocket, and in a continuance of the same motion, Twisted stripped the gun from the man’s fingers. He turned, seeing no other weapons yet bared. Flat-footed enemies, he thought, lifting his chin as he stared into Gollum’s eyes.

Shouts and yells rose around them, Twisted’s delayed backup flooding from the woods surrounding the clearing he’d seemed destined to die in today. The men at Gollum’s back countered finally, pulling their weapons. Bullets whistled past with sounds of pain filling the air. Meaty thuds of fists. High, wavering screams. Still the two men stood, locked in a stare.

On his side of the standoff, Twisted fought the urge to draw it out. Make him pay. That was what his blood chanted as it flowed fast through his veins. Make him pay. Shouldn’t have cut her hair. Make him pay. Shouldn’t have taken what she offered, knowing he didn’t have anything to trade. Make him pay. Her tears as she told Twisted what had happened, tears as he held her. Buckets of fucking tears choking her voice, rusting his heart, staining the time Twisted had with her. Make him pay.

“Do it! Fuckin’ do it!” Gollum screamed suddenly, bending at the waist, mouth open, cords in his neck straining. Fists clenched into impotent weapons with no nearby body upon which to impress their hatred, Penny would be forever safe from him. “Fuckin’ do it!

“Since you asked so nicely.” Twisted wasn’t even aware he spoke aloud until he heard Po’Boy laugh beside him. Sighting down the barrel, grip unfamiliar in his hand, Twisted focused on the still-screaming mouth in the face in front of him.

*****

Author Info:

Raised in the south, MariaLisa deMora learned about the magic of books at an early age. Every summer, with the help of a gracious librarian who did not believe in age-restricted stacks, she would spend hours in the local library, devouring books of every genre. Self-described as a book-a-holic, she says “I always loved to read, then I discovered writing, and I adored that, too. For reading … if nothing else is available, I’ve been known to read the back of the cereal box.” She still reads voraciously, and always has a few books going in paperback, hardback, or on devices.

deMora has penned a variety of stories, with several established series as well as standalones in romance and dark suspense. Her website is filled with links and information, as well as extras like character interviews, playlists, poetry, and trailer videos!

Website https://www.mldemora.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mldemora

Twitter https://twitter.com/MariaLisadeMora

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/mldemora

Amazon https://amzn.to/2trpsU5

*****

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Spotlight – Dark Assassins Series

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HOT Vampires and shifters?  Yes, please!

*****

Kai

Dark Assassins Book One

by Valerie Ullmer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

There are two words that described Kai.

Remote and Deadly.

And until six months ago, he was fine with that description. But when the vampire assassin spots a curvaceous woman, a human no less, who would come to fill his thoughts, he would gladly shake his persona for a moment in time with her. Instead, he kept his distance, watching out for her and learning more about her every time their paths crossed. But he had yet to speak to her. When a turn of events thrusts her into his solitary life, he must decide whether to complete his assignment, or protect her.

Olivia Sabin had dedicated her life to her work; finding a cure for cancer. She had hidden behind the mask of a scientist who cares little about anything beyond her laboratory, and for a long while she believed it herself. But when a mysterious man came to frequent the diner she visited nightly, her awareness of him devastated her concentration, and she came to look forward to the glimpses of him, however brief.

When she stumbles upon a horrific experiment at work, she knows he’s the only one she can turn to. She’s willing to sacrifice everything in order to protect him and others of his kind from the same fate. But first, she needs to find a way to get him to hear her explanation.

***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***

Goodreads * Amazon

~

Excerpt:

That was the moment he spotted her from the corner of his eye.

Her mass of cascading dark, curly hair bounced against the burgundy mid-length trench coat wrapped tightly around her to ward off the chill of the late September night.  But with her head tilted down, he was unable to see her face.  Even from the distance of over two hundred yards, he could hear her mumbling to herself.  As hard as he listened, he couldn’t quite make out the words.  The coat did nothing to cover her curves hidden underneath, and he found himself enthralled by the sway of her hips.  His gaze traveled down her curvy body, and his groin tightened with every step she took.

Before he could contemplate his actions, he leapt from the deck and flew down the mountain, stopping when he stood, hidden in the darkness, a few feet from her.  He forced himself to widen the distance between them, and started trailing her.

Experience and his enhanced senses kept him out of sight from her and the others who ventured out on the cold night.  He soon found that she was so absorbed in whatever happened to be on her mind that he could have stood right in front of her, and she would’ve ignored him and kept walking.

He trailed her as she closed in on the diner on the corner, learning that the small eatery was her destination on most nights.  She chose that moment to brush her long hair out of her face.  With that tiny movement, her fragrance of lemongrass and green apple drifted back toward him.  A low snarl erupted from his throat as his body stiffened in shock; the unexpected reaction to her scent was so fierce, he was torn between his instant desire for her and self-preservation.  The sound he hadn’t managed to smother must’ve reached her, because her head turned toward him and her brows drew down in confusion.  A split second before her eyes landed on where he stood, he stepped back, pissed at his infinitesimal loss of control.  A silent sigh of relief passed his lips as she shook her head, not able to spot in him the dark, and continued on her way.

In his over two hundred year existence, he’d never been attracted to a human.  Blood was the one reason that he interacted with humans, and even that could be taken from a donor without him having him drink from the source.  But as he tried to pass off a reason he reacted to her in such an elemental way, he continued to follow her, finding himself outside the door that read Blue Plate Diner.  Obscured by the door, his eyes tracked movement as the waitress greeted her as if they were old friends.  For a reason he couldn’t fathom, he felt a surge of jealousy.  He was still a stranger to this captivating human, and she intrigued him.

Without quite knowing why he had followed her, he opened the door and walked into the chrome and tiled cafe, taking the time to pull up the hood of his sweatshirt.  He scanned the place and settled for a booth at the back of the restaurant, where he could watch her without being detected.

By the time he’d sat down and scanned for any possible dangers, she had pulled out a laptop along with a sheaf of papers filled with formulas he couldn’t decipher.  Between typing and writing in the margins of the already filled pages, the concentration on her work was total.

He found himself mesmerized by the play of emotions on her face as she worked.  A smile for when she figured out a problem, or a frown when something didn’t quite fit, and everything in between.  He couldn’t take his eyes off of her.  When she bit her lip in concentration, it took all of his control to keep his distance from her.  He found that he had to grip the table to keep himself still, when all he wanted to do was devour her.

The spell was broken when the waitress had placed a club sandwich with a side of fries on the free space next to her elbow.  He forced himself to relax, but kept his eyes on her when she reached for the sandwich absently and ate without really paying attention to anything else but the work in front of her.

After several hours, her hand covered a small yawn.  She glanced at her watch, and he felt the side of his mouth tilt as she rolled her eyes.  Thanking the waitress, she reached for two tens in her pocket and dropped them on the table before she packed up and left.

From that night on, he made a point to arrive at the diner minutes after she was seated, and spent hours scanning her face as he watched her work.  And every night, he slid into the shadows as she walked home to her small cottage, with its bright white siding with cornflower blue shutters that matched her perfectly.  Each night, he waited until she was safely inside with the door locked, before he made his way back to his home on the mountain.

His attraction also came with a somewhat unwanted reaction.  Protectiveness.  He estimated her height at under five and a half feet tall, and although she walked everywhere in their relatively safe little town—to her job at Standard Biotech and her home, several blocks from the diner—he had to tamp down his need to protect her.  From what, he couldn’t explain, even to himself.

*****

Reaper

Dark Assassins Book Two

by Valerie Ullmer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

A wolf-shifter and his powerful human.

Reaper had expected it to be an easy assignment. Break into a biotech facility with minimum security and rescue a group of immortals who were subject to deadly experiments and eliminate those who might try to fight back. But the moment he walked into the glass prison and spotted a human woman being held with the immortals, his mission changed.

She became his mission.

Before Reaper had a chance to explain that he was there to help her, she blinded him and the rest of his team and slipped away. Although she had escaped him, a protectiveness that he’d never felt washed over him, and he became determined to find her.

Ara has always depended on herself, but there was something about the shifter that made her want to trust him. She recognized him as someone who was capable of protecting her as well as understanding her secrets without turning her away, but before she could allow herself to trust him, she ran.

But with no resources and running out of ideas about how to protect herself, will she be able to lower her defenses and allow the shifter to help her?

***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Shifters and Vampires. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***

Goodreads * Amazon

~

Blurb:

It had been close to a month since he last spotted the curvy brunette who had come to occupy his waking thoughts, and if it weren’t for his flawless memory, he would have thought she had been a figment of his imagination.  An emotion he couldn’t pinpoint clawed inside him, a sense that he needed to find her before another danger presented itself.   That feeling led him to stand outside a deserted neighborhood, his breath visible against the cold night, at close to midnight.  If he didn’t find her soon, he would have to give up his search and go back to work.

Every night since he had lost her trail, he would scout a different neighborhood in the mountain town of Snowfall, Colorado that contained vacation homes, empty because of the off-season, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.  He had found evidence of her overnight stay at several, but he hadn’t been able to track her until after she’d left.  Although he sensed that he had been getting close, the time he’d spent searching passed with excruciating slowness with no trace of the woman.

Reaper had first spotted her when his team had raided Standard Biotech to rescue several immortals who had been imprisoned, and to his surprise, the make-shift prison also contained…her.

Hell, he didn’t even know her name, but he knew her to be human.

The moment he walked into the glass enclosure that held her and the other prisoners, he smelled her fear.  It took him a moment to locate her with her back pressed against the opposite wall, trying to hide in the shadows.  A low growl escaped his throat as the guard in the room reached for her arm, wrenching her closer, as he walked backward toward another exit.  Reaper took a step toward her, ignoring the insignificant human with the weapon.  At his advance, the guard released his hold on her to grip the gun with both hands.  Reaper’s mouth twisted into a smile that promised pain.

The guard reached blindly for her the moment he spotted Reaper’s sneer, but she held herself out of his reach, and at that moment he realized that her fear had nothing to do with their raid.  Her eyes darted to the door, as if she expected someone to walk in and kill her.  Protectiveness swamped him, and that unknown feeling had him wading through his own thoughts, too slow to reach her before another tried.

I got her.  Kai started forward.  The guard flinched at the quick movement, and he emptied the magazine into the vampire’s chest.  Kai grunted in pain, but kept his progress until he reached the woman.  Reaching an arm out, Kai gripped the hem of her shirt.  Before he could yank her close, the guard smashed the butt of the gun down on Kai’s forearm, breaking several bones and the vampire dropped to the ground.

Reaper darted forward and grabbed the guard by the throat, easily crushing his windpipe, before he tossed him to the side without any further thought.  His eyes scanned the area because he expected the woman to be right in front of him, close enough to touch, but when he searched, there was nothing.

Mine! He raged inside his own head, not letting the others know about the fear shivering over him at the thought of her gone.

“Fuck, Kai, can you see her?”

The vampire grunted as he righted himself, bleeding profusely from close to a dozen bullet wounds, but he glanced around and he shook his head, confirming that the woman disappeared.

“I can smell her.  I still sense her fear,” Reaper said.

After searching for close to a half hour, Kai hadn’t healed enough to continue, and Reaper had been forced to give up his search for the woman.

They carried Kai back to his house where he could drink from his mate, Liv, and regain his strength, but every instinct inside him told him to keep searching for the missing woman.  But without an idea where to start, desperation and hopelessness made his muscles and brain lethargic.

Destiny had given him a second chance later that same night.  Liv had been kidnapped by the now dead Dr. Ames, the one who had captured and tortured the immortals.  Reaper tried to suppress any thoughts about why they’d captured the human woman and what they might have subjected her to during her captivity.  It was the only way he could keep his instincts sharp as they raided the warehouse to save Liv.

While they waited for Ghost’s signal to breach, the familiar scent slammed into him, stealing his breath.  The stiffening of his spine alerted Jade, who stood next to him in formation.

What?  Jade’s surprised outburst rang in his head.

He looked down and something on his face had alerted Jade to scan their surroundings.  The scent of fear lingered in the air, and although the fox shifter understood what it meant, her brows drew down in confusion at the intensity that must’ve shown on his face.

Ghost, the woman is here.  Reaper needs to protect her, Jade communicated through their mind link.

Go.  We’ll call if we have problems.  Ghost’s gruff voice gave him permission.

Reaper didn’t wait; he took off at a run, desperate to reach her before she could be spotted or killed.

*****

Seth

Dark Assassins World Novella

by Valerie Ullmer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Immortals have been a part of Seth’s world since he barged into Kai’s life at the age of twelve. And having a group of shifter and vampire assassins he considered family, he thought that he’d seen it all and that nothing would surprise him. But the one night he met Aubrey changed his world, and he’d never been so happy to be wrong.

Aubrey was used to seclusion, even before she had been turned into a vampire. She’d never dreamed of a life outside her tiny little world, but that was until she met Seth. Before she could understand her reactions, she ran from him. But she couldn’t stay away. The more she gets to know him, the stronger the connection between them solidifies.

When Seth tells Aubrey that he is her mate, will she take a chance and keep him forever?

***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Shifters and Vampires. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***

Goodreads * Amazon

~

Excerpt:

Seth kept his head down as the pen in his hand absently wandered over what used to be a blank piece of paper, trying to ignore the group of girls near the front of the classroom who had been trying to get his attention for the past fifteen minutes.  He could hear his name randomly thrown into the conversation, but chose not to engage them; he knew where that would lead.  Each time he’d turned down their offers of getting coffee or an invite to a campus party, they seemed more determined to find something he wouldn’t refuse.  It wasn’t as though he didn’t want to find a girlfriend.  But when he had tried dating a few times throughout the years he’d been in college, he been unable to find any woman who attracted him for very long.

He’d made the mistake of asking Emily for a date, the one who had been trying the most to get his attention several rows away since he’d walked into the classroom, and it had been a disaster from the moment he’d picked her up for dinner.  She had taken a picture of them together at her front door and then proceeded to text her friends through the entire date, clicking pictures of her hugged to his side, until he’d called off the date and drove her home.  After that one time, he had no desire to do it again, but he couldn’t seem to escape her and her friends’ presence.

Although he’d been excited when he’d first started college two years ago, he was glad to be graduating after this last semester so he could start working full-time with Liv in the lab.  Along with Hunter, Liv and he hadn’t gotten any closer to figuring out what made an immortal unique.  An immortal’s blood—whether shifter or vampire—could fend off diseases and had the ability to regenerate, but there was no clue in the cells as to why.  It intrigued Seth, although he hadn’t wanted to or planned to become immortal.  But if they could find out the specifics, then he could protect those closest to him, those he considered family.

And although he chose to concentrate on his career instead of trying to meet the right woman, he couldn’t help but feeling lonely from time to time.  He knew that the possibility of finding someone for him at school was slim.  With his future his top priority, he could push those thoughts aside and concentrate on graduating.  And after watching Kai with Liv and Reaper with Ara, he knew that he couldn’t settle for anything less than what they had.

But in order to move on, he needed a couple of classes that he’d put off until the last semester of his senior year.  He had no interest in economics, but he needed it as a requirement to graduate.  Determined to keep his head down and concentrate on studying, he blew out a breath as he leaned back on his chair and hoped that this semester would pass quickly.

Picking up the sound of the back door closing, Seth glanced to his right.  His eyes narrowed as he scanned the woman who started down the stairs of the auditorium classroom and took a seat a couple of rows down from him.  A hoodie covered her hair and her face but something about her movements, quick and efficient, drew his eyes over her.  She must’ve sensed his scrutiny because once she was seated, she glanced up and met his gaze.

Beautiful.  It was the one word that came to mind when he gazed into her silver eyes.  He had suspected when she had walked into the classroom, but her eyes confirmed his suspicions.  He watched as she scanned her surroundings before she settled her gaze back on him.  He couldn’t help the tilt of his mouth, a smile that was for her alone.  He widened his smile when he could hear the audible intake of breath from the short distance away.

He found himself disappointed when the professor walked in and started class, grabbing her attention away from him.  Over the next hour, he couldn’t have recited one word of the lecture and right before class ended, he slipped out the door she had come through.  He leaned against the opposite wall and waited for her exit.

Time seemed to stall for several moments before the noise of shuffling feet reached him.  Most of the class exited through the main doorway near the front of the classroom; for a moment, he thought she had gone with the crowd.  He breathed easier the moment the door in front of him swung open.  He watched as she raised her hand to readjust the hoodie over her hair but froze when she spotted him leaning casually against the wall.  She dropped her hands to her side, and he was able to see her without obstruction for the first time.

It took him awhile to drag his gaze from silver eyes that were similar, yet completely different.  His gaze traced over her long lashes that brushed against her skin as she blinked in surprise.  There was a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and cheeks but what drew his gaze was her mouth.  Her lips were full and two-toned, peach and pink.  They opened as he continued his silence while assessing her.  Her reddish-brown hair framed her face, and something deep inside Seth’s chest kicked, hard.

When he thought that she might not be interested, her gaze dropped to his lips before continuing down.  Her eyes scanned him until he felt as though she was already intimate with his body.  He was grateful for the assassins and their training regimen over the past couple of years because he had managed to fill out a bit and added muscle to his mostly tall, gangly frame.

“Hey gorgeous, I’m Seth.”

He wanted to reach out and have some tangible proof that she was real and standing in front of him in that moment in time, but he knew that she would run from him before he learned anything about her.  And it was crucial that he got know her.

Instead of reacting to his endearment or his introduction, she leaned closer as her eyes roamed over his face.  Before she pulled back, she took a deep breath.  “Why do you smell like vampire and several species of animal?”

*****

Xander

Dark Assassins Book Three

by Valerie Ullmer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Half-human, half-shifter.

Xander has secretly yearned for a mate for most of his immortal existence, and yet after three of his friends found exactly what he’s always wanted, he’d come to believe that he’d missed his chance at happiness.

Until he heard her voice.

Frost is a wildlife biologist and tracker and she has been assigned, despite her adamant protests, to lead mercenaries into the mountains of Snowfall, Colorado for the sole purpose of killing immortal shifters.  In order to protect those who have no idea the kind of danger they are in, she agrees.  As she leads the armed men on a wild chase around the snow-covered pines, she could sense that she was running out of time.

Until she heard his voice.

Xander understands exactly who Frost is the moment he hears her thoughts.  With the help of Kane and Gunnar, they eliminate those in her group as they try to keep her safe.  But during the fight, she is hurt and all of his protective instincts flare to life.  As Xander learns more about her, he realizes that Frost might be the key to the creation of the immortals, both vampire and shifter.

But when she becomes a target from those who want to destroy the Dark Company and Xander’s family, how far will he go to save her?

***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***

Goodreads * Amazon

~

Excerpt:

Xander glanced up from the thriller he was reading when he’d heard the sound of car tires turning onto his driveway, realizing that time had gotten away from him.  Gunnar and Kane were coming over for weapons training Ghost had scheduled on New Year’s Day, for a reason that escaped all three of them.  Xander had designed and built the gun range deep into the woods behind his newly completed house and Ghost had designated it the training center for all of the assassins.  And he couldn’t fault Ghost for wanting his assassins to train.  There had been another threat to Dark Company that Ghost had downplayed, not giving any of them details, but Xander could tell that he’d worried about it.

Besides, Xander had bought a Sig Sauer P226 over the holidays and it would be his first chance to test it out.  And although he would never admit it aloud, he was grateful for the company so soon after the holidays.

Seth and Aubrey had gotten married back in November and although he was happy for them, and for Kai and Liv, and Reaper and Ara, he felt the stark loneliness acutely.  Shaking off his melancholy, he opened the door.  But before he could greet them, the three of them froze.  They could hear the distinct crunching of snow and pine needles under heavy boots.

“About two miles north.  Are you expecting anyone else?” Gunnar asked.

“No.”  Xander closed the door behind him and engaged the lock before he followed the other two as they moved toward the sound at a quick clip.  He hadn’t even bothered to grab a coat, but the snow and cold barely registered, even in his thin pullover and jeans.  At least he had his shoes on before his friends arrived.

His eyes searched for movement, sensing the other two close, as they approached the origin of the sounds.

“I hear seven different strides…no, wait, make that eight.  The last one has a lighter footfall than the others.  Woman, possibly?”

That was when they heard the sound of metal slapping against a palm, as if they were getting ready to fire a gun.

Split up and we’ll surround them.  He used their mind link so no one could overhear their conversation.

Gunnar and Kane met his eyes and nodded, once, before they disappeared into the pines.

Xander heard the distinct steps, those trudging through the knee-deep mountain snow at an almost prohibitive pace, grunting as they grew tired from their trek.  He knew that if they engaged them, the assassins would have the advantage of stealth, along with their ability to move freely.

Got eyes?

Xander received a flash of an image.  Kane had gone for higher ground and had a view from miles around.

Yeah, on three of them.  Dressed in white camo.  They don’t seem very coordinated and they are dragging the barrels of their AR-15s through the snow.  Dumbasses.  Xander heard Kane’s sarcasm and bit back a laugh.

Then he heard from Gunnar.  He and Jade were the best trackers he knew.  I got the others.  There’s a smaller figure, but whoever it is, their features are obscured by a hood and bulky jacket.  That one doesn’t have a weapon.

Another image flashed and this one showed the clearing where the entire group sprawled out without any thought to formation or protection.  Some had guns strapped to their backs; others held the guns loosely in their hands, unprepared to shoot at any sound or movement.

Xander soon moved into position and had eyes on them.  He spotted an older man with short cropped, dark hair sprinkled with gray as he turned toward the small figure Gunnar spoke about.

“What animals made those tracks?”

Xander rolled his eyes.  The snow was too deep for any definitive answer.  It could have been anything from a bear to a fucking moose.  He paused to hear the answer, but the mumble that came did nothing to clarify who the person was with these armed men.  But something clicked and it made perfect sense.

I think they are looking for us.  They have magazines clipped to their belts, handguns within easy reach, and knives for hand-to-hand combat.  They are looking for animal tracks, and they are way too fucking close to where Reaper, Kai, Seth, and I have houses.  There’s nothing else up here that they could be searching for.

Xander froze when he heard a feminine voice carry over to him.  She sounded closer than she had been even a few moments before.  He should have sensed her coming closer.  But the only question on his mind was why the fuck she was tagging along with a group of mercenaries.  He heard the voice again, a tinny version of her voice, and for a long moment he couldn’t understand the words.  Until she stepped forward.

No, no.  Not that way.  Not that way.

Something warmed his chest as he heard her in his head as clearly as if they were speaking aloud.  A familiarity washed over him and he felt connected to this woman in an elemental way.  A feeling of a peace settled over him.  He knew this was the first time he’d ever heard her voice.  He was so stunned and happy that he didn’t even question how they were able to mind link.

Can either of you hear the woman’s thoughts?

Woman?  Gunnar sounded confused.

Kane’s reply was quick and clipped.  No.

Hello?

Hello?

Xander tried to get her attention.  Can you hear me?

He held his breath when he heard her distinct gasp, knowing that their mind link worked.  His chest filled with dread at the thought that she gave herself away, until he heard her next words.

“I spotted a grizzly bear in the trees to the west.  Sorry, I startled him and he ran off.”

For long seconds, the men in the clearing stared at the woman before they were ordered to keep searching.

Xander stood close enough that he could see her curves underneath the heavy white parka.  And having the worst timing in the world, Xander felt himself harden.  He took a deep, cleansing breath of sharp mountain air that instantly cooled his overheated body.

Yes, I can hear you.  These men, seven in total, are looking for immortals.  They have been contracted by my boss at US Fish and Wildlife to kill them.  Apparently the immortals are supposed to become animals.  Can you help me without hurting yourself?  They are heavily armed.

*****

Jade

Dark Assassins Book Four

by Valerie Ullmer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Jade never wanted a mate. She loved being an assassin and she had a family in her fellow assassins, their mates, and little Silas. She truly had everything she needed. But when Ghost assigned her to track the same immortals who tried to kill Xander’s family, she couldn’t refuse.

But the complication arises when Ghost requests she partner with Noah, a human and ex-special forces soldier. Jade has never worked with a human before, much less one that hated her from the moment he laid eyes on her. But she was a professional and if she could play a part in destroying the immortals who threatened her family, she could accept the human. If only she knew how to fight her attraction to him.

All Noah Hale wanted was to kill the immortals who lured his best friend and fellow ex-Navy SEAL to his death. He had no desire to be teamed with a beautiful tracker who mesmerized him the moment she turned her emerald eyes his way. But in order to stop other soldiers from pursuing the same fate, he needed to swallow his pride and work with a group of immortals he didn’t trust.

As Jade and Noah track the group of shifters through the mountains of Colorado, the danger lurking around every corner threatens everything they both hold close. Will they be able to find a way through, together?

***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***

Goodreads * Amazon

~

Excerpt:

Jade caught a scent of a human as she entered the fourteen-story building in downtown Snowfall.  It wasn’t just any human scent, but something that made all of her instincts flare.  She knew that she’d never caught this particular scent before, but something told her that this human might be important to her.  She tried to brush it off as quickly as the thought came, but she couldn’t find it coincidental she smelled it in the same steel building owned by Ghost and housed the headquarters of Dark Company.

As she dismissed the fleeting thought of searching for the scent, her heart thumped once, hard, in her chest at the thought of not finding its owner.  She forced herself to walk toward the elevator bank, ignoring the unwanted perusals she received from the men in the lobby.  Even in an unassuming hoodie and black yoga pants, she drew unwanted attention.  A side effect of being an immortal.

The elevator opened as soon as she pressed the up-button and she kept her gaze down as she walked into the elevator.  She entered the code to get to Ghost’s private floor, her movements too quick to be caught by the human eye, before she squeezed into the corner.  Jade used her other senses as three men in suits and two women entered the enclosed space with her.  There was no need to glance at the glass interior that covered the back wall to see what she looked like.

She sensed eyes on her.  Instead of searching out the gaze, she whipped her long, straight dyed black hair into a bun on the back of her head with quick movements before sneaking her hands into the front pockets of her hoodie.

Jade waited patiently as the car traveled toward the penthouse, her ultimate destination, but she couldn’t help but try to find the intriguing scent from earlier.

After my meeting.

All she knew was he hadn’t used the particular elevator she was in and the higher the lift took her in the building, the more his scent dissipated.

In her entire existence, or what she remembered of it, she’d never been attracted to…anyone.  She’d never felt the pull to find someone either.  But lately, she’d felt increasingly restless whenever she had any downtime and her skin tingled in a way that had nothing to do with signaling immediate danger.  It was as though her body tried to convey something she didn’t understand.

Her thoughts were interrupted when a man who had gotten into the elevator with her on the first floor stepped into her personal space.

“Hey, beautiful?”

Jade rolled her eyes and raised her head to glare at the man.  Of course, he wouldn’t take the hint that she wanted to be left alone.  To emphasize the point, she crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, moving away from his intrusion.

The man decided to take this as an invitation and moved to wrap his arm around her waist.  The move gave her a clear shot to his ribs and she took it, gently moving her elbow back and making contact.  She flinched when she heard a distinctive crack, realizing she hadn’t been careful enough.  Before she could apologize, the elevator door opened and he ran off without looking back, holding onto his side.

She sighed.

Jade had never told anyone, not even Liv, who knew more about her than anyone else.  But she hated being the center of attention.  She’d gotten so desperate to avoid it that she dyed her hair black in order to detract from her naturally soft ginger hair, green eyes, and freckles that made her look young.  But instead of diverting attention, she somehow drew more.

She wanted to be known for her fierce fighting and being a good friend.  She couldn’t care less what she looked like and even less if she had a mate.  Xander had wondered about Frost for decades before meeting her, thinking he’d missed her.  Reaper hadn’t discounted his own mate, especially after Kai found Liv, but the moment he laid eyes on Ara, he knew she was for him.  It had taken Kai almost losing Liv to recognize what he knew all along.  And their Seth had grown up and married Aubrey, the sweetest vampire and woman Jade had ever known.

She enjoyed her life with her family, and loved her job because she believed that she made a difference.  But each time another assassin met their mate, their mates took one look at her and expected Jade to be the competition.  She never blamed them, but it hurt her a little each time it happened.

Gunnar was right when he described her to Liv as needing a lot of contact and that she loved touch.  But it wasn’t because she was seeking sexual pleasure.  Being physically close to her family, being able to hold Silas and hug those close to her, made her red fox relax in contentment.  It was why she loved it when Silas sought her out and they talked for hours about everything and nothing.

But being sexually intimate with someone required trust.  She had ways to pleasure herself that didn’t make her vulnerable to anyone.

Jade shook off her thoughts as the elevator car came to a stop on her floor.  She would find out what Ghost wanted and then head to Xander’s.  She promised Silas that they could shift and run through the woods to Kai’s, where they would have dinner with the rest of the family.

As soon as the doors opened, she caught the scent again, only concentrated on this floor.

Well…shit.

Whatever Ghost wanted, he had a human in his office, most likely her mate.

*****

Hunter

Dark Assassins Book Five

by Valerie Ullmer

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Half-vampire and half-shifter.

The one definitive belief panther-shifter Hunter and the other immortals understood about shifters and vampires; vampire venom is deadly to shifters and vice versa. But Hunter never worried about testing the theory because he never wondered if he had a mate, even after a few of his family had found their own. As he and two others stumble upon and eliminate several rogue shifters, part of a larger group determined to kill each of the assassins, Hunter also stumbles upon the one woman destined to be his. There’s only one problem. She’s part vampire.

All alone in the world.

Despite everything, Neri made a life for herself after she escaped from a facility using her as a test subject. She has no past, no family, and no connections to the world as far as she can remember. She stays to herself and finds a routine, telling herself she isn’t lonely. But everything changes when she spots Hunter and her first true memory revealed. He was there the day someone injected her with an experimental drug and changed into this cold being.

As Neri and Hunter navigate their newfound relationship, their journey becomes even more complicated when they learn Neri’s venom is deadly to shifters. But with help from the other immortals, Hunter and Neri reveal her past and realize the extent of the threat Dark Company has been dealing with for years.

But can their relationship survive with so much stacked against them

***Paranormal Romance featuring HOT Vampires and Shifters. Contains explicit sex scenes and each book in the series ends with a HEA.***

Goodreads * Amazon

~

Excerpt:

Hunter trudged through waist deep powder, grumbling about the situation he was in and cursing whatever deity who made it snow four days into September.  He was used to all weather, and the cold wasn’t the issue, it was the fucking drudgery of miles and miles of hiking through the stuff as he babysat Drew that grated on his nerves.

It wasn’t as though he begrudged Jade her happiness at finding her brother after all these years.  But they realized after Ghost had hired him as an assassin, the man had never grown up.  He pranked all of them although each of the assassins had threatened him to knock it off or risk bodily harm.  They would never kill him, but Hunter was thinking about breaking his jaw for the fact the crunch as his fist connected would satisfy him for half a second before he healed.

“You can’t begrudge me a little fun.  I’ve been looking for Jade all these years and I took my responsibility to my family seriously.”

That excuse lasted for about fifteen minutes and other than Jade and her mate Noah, the others avoided Drew as much as possible.

Hunter blinked and his gaze darted toward the left when a movement caught his attention.  Less than a second later, he bit back a laugh when Kane took a header in the snow, sending up a puff of white into the air as he slammed down face first on the ground.

When ginger hair, brighter than Jade’s, popped up, Hunter smiled.  But as Drew stood, he wiped the snow off his shoulders several feet from where Kane lay, and Hunter cleared his throat before he sent a disappointed look toward the ginger.

Ghost assigned he and Kane to training duty, despite their protests.  Ax, Thomas and Isaac, Gunnar, and Reaper and Ara had tried to work Drew through the assassin’s training regiment and all of them failed.  Drew either ignored what they had to say or refused to take part in the exercises until they’d given up and threatened Ghost if they had to deal with Drew ever again.

Ghost then foisted Drew onto Kai.  Hunter expected Drew to be dead by the end of the day.  Kai was the most patient of the assassins and after two days of unrelenting training, he had given up on Drew and walked away without a word.  Hunter hadn’t been there, but Drew still flinched whenever they mentioned Kai.  Kai had a similar reaction to the man, snarling whenever he came near.

Jade and Noah couldn’t train him.  Jade would never endanger her brother, even to teach him the basic of hand-to-hand combat or even tracking.  They would end up catching up on all the years they missed from each other’s lives.  And Noah, not wanting to do anything to hurt Jade, steered clear of Drew, especially after their tumultuous beginning.

Hunter didn’t mind the tiger shifter… for about ten minutes at a time.  He knew the sooner he and Kane trained him to Ghost’s standards, the sooner he could steer clear of him.

Kane bent his arms to prepare for lifting himself up off the ground when all three assassins sensed movement toward the west.  They all stopped and opened their senses for clues who was heading toward their position.

Hunter scented shifters, multiple, converging fast.

I’m guessing three. Not bothering to cover the noise. I’ve got point.

Hunter cut through the snow with Kane on his right and Drew on his left.  As he caught sight of a black glove out of the corner of his eye, he glanced down and cursed.  They were in their black tactical gear.  Hunter had chosen it because Drew needed to get used to moving around with weapons and ammunition, as most of his assignments would be raids and possibly combat situations instead of stealth, which most of them specialized in.

They hadn’t planned on running into any trouble so close to the mountain where most of the assassins claimed land and built homes of their own.  Because of this, Ghost moved his base of operation to Snowfall from Denver and claimed his own piece of land in the same area.

These shifters should have realized they trespassed in dangerous territory.  But if they were from Anzû’s group, Hunter knew they didn’t have enough sense or training to avoid a fight.

Keep one alive. We need intelligence. Drew?

Drew, without taking his eyes from the target’s position beyond the pines and evergreens, nodded once.

Hunter knew the kid had skin in the game.  Because of Jade and the threat to her earlier in the year, a warrior replaced his teasing personality.

Knowing Kane was always ready for a fight, Hunter turned his attention toward the tree line and observed as three shifters stumbled through before two more followed.  They stopped in their tracks and their eyes widened as they took in three immortals, all decked out in black.

Hunter wondered for a second if they would split up and run, making the assassins chase them through the fucking mountains.  A growl escaped his throat and the new additions seemed surprised by them and the hostility coming from him.

The shifter in front gave a war cry before all five of them charged.

*****

Author Info:

Valerie resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband and their dog, Maddie.

While she had been interested in writing a romance novel for years, it wasn’t until she wrote her first book that she really became hooked, and now she can’t stop. She has notebooks full of ideas, and she plans to write most of them in the years to come.

When she’s not writing or learning about the craft of writing, she can be found surfing the internet way too much, watching Investigation Discovery and thinking that her neighbors are up to no good, and finding new ways to get her husband to laugh.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram
Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon

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*****

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Spotlight – Faking Forever

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I get so absolutely giddy when Catherine Bybee releases a new book!

*****

Faking Forever

First Wives series

by Catherine Bybee

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Blurb:

Shannon Wentworth’s biological clock is ticking, and she isn’t going to let her single status keep her from having a baby. When her wedding-photography business takes her to Mexico, she has every intention of finding a willing baby daddy to help her out. Until the bride goes AWOL, leaving Shannon to coddle the arrogant fiancé who has accused her of sabotaging his wedding.

Victor Brooks never could have imagined that he’d be on a honeymoon for one. Only here he is, taking a hard look at his life after the younger women he thought he loved walked out. The woman who volunteers to help him reflect is the last person he expects to be attracted to. Between the tequila, the sun, and one earth-shattering kiss, Victor finds Shannon a distraction too sexy to ignore.

They strike a deal: wait three months, cool off, and see if their tropical beach attraction is worth taking up when they go back home. Unfortunately, that’s just enough time for the past to come calling. All their best-laid plans are at risk. So is the last thing Shannon expected to matter the most: her heart.

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Faking-Forever-First-Wives-Book-ebook/dp/B07G8N4CL5

*****

Excerpt:

Victor noticed Shannon sitting in the open dining area of the hotel the next morning, drinking coffee and reading on her e-reader. He’d spent most of the previous day licking his metaphorical wounds and nursing a headache.

Dressed in cotton pants that went midcalf and a light shirt, she looked like she was dressed for a long plane ride home. As much a pain in the ass as the woman had been, he felt compelled to say goodbye. After all, he was the reason she was there.

He walked up quietly behind her. “If it isn’t woman who fed me mezcal.”

The sound of his voice made her jump.

Too bad she wasn’t holding her coffee.

“You have got to stop doing that.”

Without an invitation, he sat and smiled. She took a deep breath and looked away, came painfully close to rolling her eyes. For some reason, he appreciated the fact she held back and wondered just how much it would take for her to disregard him with such a gesture.

“Please, sit down,” she said.

He glanced at his chair. “Thank you.”

She set her e-reader aside and regarded him. “I thought for sure you’d be back at the office by now.”

So did he. “I couldn’t fly yesterday even if I’d found a flight.”

“Oh?”

He didn’t miss the tiny shine in the corner of her eye.

“No. I had one too many the other night. Inflicting that on whoever had the misfortune of sitting next to me on the flight home was more than I could take after my flight here.”

She smiled, briefly, and lifted her chin. “I’m glad to hear you’ve evolved since Friday.”

Unable to help himself, he laughed.

Her smile returned.

Victor felt a twist in his gut, a pull to something he didn’t want to name. “I guess you’re leaving today,” he said.

She shrugged. “I am.”

He nodded. “Justin informed me you made sure I didn’t decide to go for a late night swim.”

“It was tempting. But then I realized you wouldn’t be able to pay me if you swallowed too much water.”

“Self-preserving. Very smart of you.”

“It’s a gift.”

When the woman wasn’t tossing barbs at him, she was beautiful. Perfect lines in her face, high cheekbones … he couldn’t tell if her olive skin was from an ancestor or the byproduct of living in Southern California. Not anything like anyone he’d been attracted to before.

What was he thinking? He wasn’t attracted.

Victor shook his head and stood. “Well, I saw you sitting here and thought I’d at least say goodbye.”

She stood with him and extended her hand. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry things didn’t go as planned this weekend.”

Her fingers were long, elegant. Just like the woman. Disappointment saying goodbye was an emotion he had no business feeling. Yet there it was, like a lump in his chest.

“Are you?”

Her smile cracked. “No. But it seemed the right thing to say. I am sorry for the heartache. That’s never easy, even if it’s for the right reason.”

Victor realized he was still shaking her hand and let go.

“Goodbye, Victor. Good luck to you.”

“Goodbye, Shannon.” And because it was the appropriate thing to do once you said goodbye, Victor walked away. When he turned to take a last look, Shannon sharply moved her gaze to her coffee.

*****

Author Info:

New York TimesWall 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.

Website: http://www.catherinebybee.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCatherineBybee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catherinebybee

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2905789.Catherine_Bybee

*****

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Catherine Bybee’s FAKING FOREVER

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/07c2363f217

*****

Spotlight – Crazy on You

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Bright’s newest sounds like a must read to me!  For some reason I just go ga-ga for musician romances.

*****

Crazy on You

A Lover and Harmony Romance, #3

by Crystal B. Bright

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Worse than a one-hit wonder, Tassia Hogan is a one-line wonder. Infamous for a memorable, extremely provocative verse, her music career is going nowhere. Finding a decent man to date has also proven fruitless . . . they all think she’s as wanton as those lyrics. But now her label is offering Tassia the chance to shine—with a catch. The album is duets. Her partner is a Country Western singer. And he’s just as reluctant to agree as she is.

Hyde Love has been in the music business since he was eleven, and he’s becoming more and more disenchanted with it. Collaborating on an album seems great in theory, but Tassia is an R&B singer. Melding their sounds and personalities will be difficult—though not as tough as keeping things strictly business. Getting involved with his partner could prove career-wrecking, yet discovering the real Tassia could be earth-shattering.

Add to Goodreads

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*****

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Tassia Hogan sat in a makeshift director’s chair that reminded her of the chairs on the set of the TV show she had done as a pre-teen called the Ratty Rat’s Fun Crew. Fifteen years later and she still liked to sit in the taut cloth seat with her leg draped across the arm, leaned back against the stretched black fabric. Anything that relaxed her before a show fit the bill right now.

Since she sat backstage with Aaron’s back-up singers and dancers, she felt comfortable with this group. She wore black shorts along with her black leather bra until showtime. Then she would swap the shorts for a matching black leather skirt and heels that would kill her feet as she danced around in them for over an hour on stage. Thankfully, tonight would be the last show on the tour.

The limber dancers all stretched in different corners of the room. Even in a room far away from the main arena area, Tassia heard the crowds all chanting Aaron’s name, which sucked for the opening act on stage at the moment. She could relate. Tassia knew full well that the sold-out arena full of people would have their full, undivided attention on the headliner, Aaron. She just happened to sing a hook on his latest hit song. One day she would gain some respect and have fans of her own. Now that enough time had been put between her and that kids’ show, she could start making a name for herself.

“Oh, shit.”

Tassia rarely gave her attention to the generally foul-mouthed crew that surrounded her.

Most times the backstage area sounded more like a teenager-filled locker room than a room full of professionals working for one of the highest-paid rappers in the game. When she heard the expletive she didn’t flinch. Like she did at ten years old when she had worked on the show, she swung her leg back and forth. Then she heard her name.

“I can’t believe they still play this show.”

The hairs stood on the back of Tassia’s neck as she dared to bring her attention to the wide-screen TV that hung on the wall. It didn’t take her long to notice the taped opening to Ratty Rat’s Fun Crew where she and five other children danced around a man dressed in a rat costume.

A rat. Why the hell did it have to be a rat of all things?

“Aww, Tassia, you were so cute.” A female dancer put her hand to her chest.

“Yeah, look at those pigtails.” A back-up singer pointed to the screen.

Tassia didn’t need to look. She knew what she looked like. For a year, the show pressed her natural hair using a blow dryer and a hot comb so that she could achieve her straight-hair look. With all the dancing she did on the show, by the end of the day, the sweat that had poured from her reverted her hair back to its naturally wavy pattern.

Thankfully with wigs now, she didn’t worry about her hair, still in its natural state. Pretty soon she would see a stylist to get cornrows in her hair to get ready for her vacation. Fuss-free hair on a drama-free vacation.

Although she fought hard to avoid looking at the screen, her gaze fell on one of her kiddie co-stars. Tassia remembered Hyde Love being shy and quiet.

As though a back-up singer had read her thoughts, the woman said, “I can’t believe that chubby kid turned out to be the biggest star out there.”

She turned to Tassia, who now had to bring her leg down and squeeze them together when that familiar school-girl crush returned. “Did you know he would blow up like he has?”

Tassia shook her head. “We were kids. We didn’t know what would happen in the future.”

Yes, she wouldn’t have known that this man would stab her in the back, not once, but twice. It was too bad because at one time, she completely thought the world of him.

*****

Other Books in the Series:

Crazy in Love

A Love and Harmony Romance #1

Back on top . . .

R&B singer Chantel Evans had it all, until the Princess of Love Ballads lost everything. First, a very public betrayal by her lover and the death of her mother lead to a career-ending mental breakdown. Then, at the same time, her attorney makes off with all her hard-earned fortune. The only chance she has of resurrecting her career is in the recording studio her mother left in her name . . .

When struggling country star Truman Woodley has his recording duet with a sultry young singer fall flat at Chantel’s studio, Chantel is faced with a rare second chance—until Truman’s vindictive ex-girlfriend turns the pair’s sparkling debut into grounds for a custody battle over their son. But Chantel has discovered more than sweet vocal harmony with Truman. She’s found something worth fighting for. And when Truman surprises her with a kiss after a live television performance, the whole world will find out just what it takes to be crazy in love . . .

Add to Goodreads

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Love Like Crazy

A Love and Harmony Romance #2

A chance to shine . . .

The closest Avery Shields expects to get to the music industry is her janitor position at Charisma recording studio, and singing secretly in her local karaoke bar. Working two jobs and studying full-time, she’s doing all she can to earn her parents’ trust after making mistakes in high school. But now a gorgeous stranger is filling her head with dreams of singing professionally—and filling her nights with desire…

Lazarus Kyson’s A&R career took a hit after he was wrongfully accused of harassment. To restore his reputation, he needs to discover a new talent. And when he least expects it, there she is: singing while she cleans the Charisma offices. As stubborn as she is talented, she refuses to audition. If he wants Avery—her voice and her heart—he’ll have to open himself up for the first time for a love too crazy good to let go . . .

Add to Goodreads

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*****

Author Info:

Crystal Bright graduated with a B.A. from Old Dominion University with a major in Creative Writing, a minor in Communications, and an emphasis on Public Relations. She earned her M.A. from Seton Hill University in Writing Popular Fiction. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Chesapeake Romance Writers.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

$20 Amazon

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*****

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Spotlight – Bayside Escape

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Melissa Foster’s newest was released yesterday … I know that made A LOT of people very happy!!!

*****

Bayside Escape

Bayside Summers

by Melissa Foster

Releasing March 6, 2019

World Literary Press

Blurb:

Hold on to your hat for Violet’s wildly hot love story! Lizza is up to her old tricks again, and Violet is in for the surprise of a lifetime!

Two years ago Violet Vancroft was a nomadic artist who never wanted to put down roots and Andre Shaw was a prominent Boston physician whose roots ran too deep to unearth. Their love didn’t stand a chance—or at least that’s what Violet believed when she received a plea for help from the sister she’d never really known—so she snuck away like a thief in the night.

Now Andre travels the world, setting up new medical clinics, and Violet has finally found the family she’d always craved and the roots she’d never known she wanted. When their paths cross unexpectedly, it’s not the reunion either one imagined. But they’ve never stopped loving each other, and after the dust of anger and hurt settles, passion ignites even hotter than before. As the end to Andre’s time at the Cape nears, reality sets in, leaving them no closer to a future than they were before. Violet and Andre are forced to dig deep to discover if they’re destined to live apart forever or if true love really can conquer all.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40777257-bayside-escape

Goodreads series link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/196328-bayside-summers

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BE_Kindle

iBOOKS: http://smarturl.it/BE_iB

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BE_Kobo

NOOK: http://smarturl.it/BE_Nook

GPLAY: http://smarturl.it/BE_GPlay

PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BE_Pb

*****

Excerpt:

Read First Chapter here, https://melissafoster.com/bayside-escape-sneak-peek/

*****

Rest of the series!

~BAYSIDE DESIRES (Book 1)~

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BD_Kindle

APPLE: http://apple.co/2k7T1Ii

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BD_Kobo

NOOK: http://bit.ly/2gH9ekr

GPLAY: http://bit.ly/2kr3evD

PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BD_Paperback

Also in audio book

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BD_Audio_Amazon

Apple: http://apple.co/2qNTtKk

Audible: http://smarturl.it/BD_Audio_Au

~BAYSIDE PASSIONS (Book 2)~

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BP_Kindle

APPLE: http://apple.co/2nWgdKa

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BP_Kobo

NOOK: http://smarturl.it/BP_Nook

GPLAY: http://smarturl.it/BP_GPlay

PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BP_Paperback

Also in audio book

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BP_audio

Apple: https://apple.co/2EABY7T

Audible: http://smarturl.it/BP_audio_Au

~BAYSIDE HEAT (Book 3)~

KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/BH_k

APPLE: http://apple.co/2iDjHxC

KOBO: http://smarturl.it/BHK

NOOK: http://bit.ly/2hW9UG8

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PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/BH_pb

Also in audio book

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BHa_Amazon

Apple: http://smarturl.it/BHa_iBooks

Audible: http://smarturl.it/BH_Audible

*****

Author Info:

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

Website:  http://www.melissafoster.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/MelissaFosterAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Melissa_Foster

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3023973.Melissa_Foster

Newsletter: http://melissafoster.com/newsletter/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-foster

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissafoster_author/

*****

Giveaway:

Kindle Fire 7 – Open US/INTL

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81392/

*****

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