The Winter Long by Seanan McQuire

9111xDvaSEL._SL1500_Title:  The Winter Long

Series:  October Daye Series Book #8

Author:  Seanan McQuire

Genre:  Fantasy

Blurb:  Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.  She was wrong.  It’s time to learn the truth.

Thoughts:  If ever there was a series that you just can’t put down – well, this one is it.  The October Daye series is one of my absolute favorites, and when it comes to imagination and creative storylines, it doesn’t get any better than Seanan McQuire.  I have loved every book in this series, but with this one McQuire really knocked it out of the park!  Nothing much in this book would be labeled predictable by any means, and there are so many things that happen in this book.  You might as well strap yourself in (and have a nice quiet place to sit uninterrupted for a few hours), because this roller coaster ride of adventure will have you flipping through those pages like your life depends on it!

With this book October and her comrades face an unknown foe who has been working against them for longer than they know – and things are much more complicated than they seem.  Friends become foes, foes turn out to be friends, and people come back from the grave.  October once again has to save and protect those she loves – and not without her usual bloodshed and near death experiences.  Her world is turned topsy-turvy again, and when even the Sea Witch is scared?  Well, bad s*#& is going down, and who better to save the world than the changeling heroine that we all know and love?  (and if you don’t already know her, you definitely want to!)

Rate:  A+

Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses, One Salt Sea, Ashes of Honor, and Chimes at Midnight are the previous book sin this series, with the next in the series, A Red-Rose Chain, due out in 2015.

 

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Memory Zero by Keri Arthur

cover47336-mediumTitle:  Memory Zero

Series:  Spook Squad Book #1

Author:  Keri Arthur

Genre:  Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Blurb:  MORTAL RECALL…For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire . . . and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.

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Sunday Snippet: Her Last Whisper by Karen Robards

Today’s snippet is from an author I’ve never read but the blurb sounded really good, so I asked her publicist for a snippet to share. We got chapter one. 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Whoever said that only the good die young had obvi­ously never met Michael Garland.

He was thirty-six years old, sexy as hell, a total badass—and dead as a doornail. Right at that moment, he was also in the process of driving Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone totally around the bend.

“We could be on a beach right now,” he groused, re­ferring to the fact that she had elected to return to work rather than take the extended vacation that had been recommended after her most recent death-defying expe­rience. His tone was light. His eyes on her were dark and watchful. He was worried about her, she knew. To tell the truth, she was getting a little worried about her­self, too. “Sand. Sun. You in a bikini. Come on, Doc, confess: you’ve got something against fun.”

He only ever called her Doc anymore when he was seriously bent out of shape with her. Short version: he felt she needed to take some time off, while she disagreed. At thirty-two years old, Charlie had been in charge of herself since her early teens. She did not need a man—ghost, whatever—constantly second-guessing her decisions.

Her brows snapped together.

“Go away,” she mouthed at him soundlessly, after a quick glance assured her that her living companion’s at­tention was occupied elsewhere.

Michael snorted. “Not in this life, buttercup.” One corner of his mouth quirked up slightly. “Or in this death, either.”

Oh, ha, ha. But she didn’t—couldn’t—say it aloud. If they’d been alone, Charlie would have done more than shoot him an exasperated look. She would have told him to take his fun and stick it up a bodily orifice. Fun was not what life was all about. Life was serious. Purposeful. Sometimes painful. And, well, definitely not fun.

But they weren’t alone. In fact, they were even less alone than he thought they were.

“I won’t tell.” The agonized whisper made Charlie’s heart thump. Her fingers tightened around the pen she was holding. The (living) convicted serial killer chained to a seat on the other side of the poured concrete table from her never changed expression. Neither did the dead convicted serial killer—that would be Michael, looking as alive as she did herself in a snug white tee, faded jeans, and boots—who leaned his broad shoulders against the beige-painted cinder block wall to her left as he played self-appointed spectral bodyguard. Which, as she had told him when he had insisted on following her into the interview room rather than waiting outside in the hall as she would have preferred so that she could con­centrate fully on her research subject, was a complete waste of time. Number one, there was no need: in this heavily guarded maximum security prison, of all places, she was perfectly safe. And number two, if something were to go wrong, if she were to find herself in danger, there was nothing he could do about it anyway. He was ectoplasm; ether; air. He couldn’t so much as swat a fly, because in this earthly plane he no longer existed. In the past, he had occasionally managed to manifest physically for the briefest of moments, but because in typical-for-him aggressive fashion he had pushed the boundaries of that until he had gone a heavenly bridge too far, he had, apparently permanently, rendered himself as insubstan­tial as a breath. And even if he could once again manage to manifest physically, he still couldn’t: he’d been warned that if he did, if he once again took on a corporeal aspect, the bond holding him here might very well snap like a rubber band and he would be sucked up into Spookville, as he called the purple twilighty, monster-filled place that was his immediate afterlife destination, possibly never to return.

Therefore, as she had pointed out to him earlier, as a bodyguard he was useless.

And even if he wasn’t useless, even if he could mani­fest, there was still nothing he could do to protect her from what was currently disturbing her: the voices.

The voices were all in her head.

Sort of.

At least, she seemed to be the only one who could hear them. Her gift, or curse, depending on how you looked at it, was that she could see/hear/communicate with the spirits of the newly, violently dead (which was how she had found herself saddled with Michael, a former sub­ject of her research who’d been stabbed to death shortly after leaving this very room about six weeks back). But she could only hear this woman. Whom she couldn’t be completely sure was real. Or dead.

“When’s the last time you even took a vacation?” Folding his arms over his chest, Michael narrowed sky blue eyes at her. At six-foot-three, with tawny blond hair that didn’t quite reach his shoulders and a face and body that would make any female between the ages of twelve and ninety drool, he was one of the best looking men that she had ever seen. Too bad he was a total pain in the ass. Not to mention dead. Among other problem­atic things. He continued, “A real vacation, that didn’t involve work, where you just went somewhere sunny and hung out in your bathing suit and relaxed. I’m bet­ting it’s been years. Hell, I’m betting you don’t even own a bikini. Am I right?”

She shot him a look that should have singed his eyeballs. And not just because the only swimsuit she possessed was a five-year-old black one piece.

“I’m right,” he concluded with grim satisfaction.

“Where’s my candy?” the live serial killer she could ac­tually answer without seeming nuts whined. Her atten­tion instantly redirected toward her job, Charlie pulled from the pocket of her white lab coat the Hershey bar that she had elected to use as a reward (bribe) for this particular subject for responding to her questions, one of which he had answered just before Michael had distracted her. Opening the wrapper, she broke off a section and slid it across the table, then watched her test subject scoop it up and eat it with a great deal of lip-smacking satisfaction. The shackles joining his wrists clanked as he moved. He also had manacles around his ankles secur­ing him to the floor, and a chain around his waist that was fastened to a sturdy metal ring in the wall behind him. It prevented him from rising, or getting close enough to actually put his hands on her.

She might be the goat to his deceptively harmless-looking tiger, but in this controlled environment he was the tethered one.

“You didn’t give me chocolate,” Michael objected. “Hell, I didn’t know chocolate was even an option.”

Charlie ignored that. She was administering a simpli­fied version of the Myers-Briggs Personality Test to the hulking, balding fifty-two-year-old in front of her. They were alone except for Michael (since he was invisible to everyone except her, she wasn’t sure he even counted) and the guard, Johnson, who periodically checked on them through the small glass window in the metal door.

Outside the walls of Wallens Ridge State Prison, where they were currently seated in the tiny, windowless room next to her office, her test subject was known as the Snake River Killer. His given name was Walter Spivey, and he was a hairdresser by trade. He was also notori­ous as the murderer of seventeen young women whose flesh he had liked, postmortem, to gnaw from their bones, and he had been on various death rows for the past twelve years. Two months earlier, he had been moved to Wallens Ridge for the express purpose of forming part of her government-sponsored study. An apparent anomaly among serial killers, who tended to have higher than average IQs, Spivey was of special interest to her be­cause his IQ of record was 82. Her meetings with him had convinced her that this was an error, or possibly an attempt by some psychiatrist in the pay of Spivey’s de­fense lawyers to circumvent a death sentence, because in many jurisdictions a low IQ was considered a mitigating factor. Whatever, it had been satisfying to determine that a serial killer who had at first seemed like the excep­tion to the rule probably was not, after all.

A psychiatrist with her own dark personal history with serial killers, Charlie had thought she was immune to the bad vibes that the worst of them emanated.

She’d been wrong. With his pale, sweaty skin and loose, damp mouth, Spivey creeped her out. Maybe it had some­thing to do with the fact that she was a slender, pretty brunette like the majority of his victims, whose pictures she had seen in his file, but she didn’t really think so. Before—meaning before nearly dying had totally messed her up—being shut up like this with him wouldn’t have bothered her at all. She would have regarded him with the clinical detachment of a medical student toward a cadaver.

Now she found that being near him made her skin crawl. The only possible solution? Ignore it. Power through. And hope it went away.

“Again, please just answer yes or no,” she said to Spivey. From her calm voice, of which under the circum­stances she was justly proud, to the up-twist in which she wore her shoulder-length chestnut hair, to her understated jewelry and the simple blue shirt and black pants beneath her lab coat, she was to all outward appearances unflap­pably professional. If anxiety had caused her to chew her lipstick off when the voices had started up again just be­fore she’d sat down with Spivey, and if there were shad­ows resulting from a certain amount of sleeplessness beneath her blue eyes, well, hopefully nobody would no­tice. “You usually place yourself nearer to the side than the center of a room.”

Michael snorted. “You think he’s going to answer hon­estly? Take it from me, by the time you get to death row you’ve pretty much figured out that I as in introvert is bad. So he’s going to say center, because that makes him an extrovert, and thus an E instead of an I. Nobody wants to fry, babe. Everybody you’re talking to in here is working every angle they can to avoid it.”

Charlie didn’t know why she was surprised to dis­cover how much he knew about the MBPI personality test. Michael was highly intelligent. Manipulating the test was something that he was absolutely capable of doing. If he knew that introversion was a very mild indi­cator of a sociopathic personality, then she was pretty confident that he also knew that INTJ—introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment—was the Myers-Briggs personality type most common among serial killers. She spared a minute to try to remember what Michael’s type was—she hadn’t gotten around to testing him herself be­fore he was killed, although she knew he’d been tested before—and couldn’t; when she got back to her office, she would pull his file and check.

“Center,” Spivey responded with a sunny smile, and as Charlie recorded his answer looked pointedly at the Hershey bar. “Can I have my candy?”

“Told ya,” Michael’s tone was smug as Charlie broke off another section of candy bar and slid it over. The tips of Spivey’s fingers just brushed hers. They felt soft and damp. The contact made her stomach tighten, and she pulled her hand back quickly. Michael continued, “And just so you can quit racking your brain, I scored ESFP. And that was without being bribed by chocolate.”

The curious thing was ESFP—extraversion, sensing, feeling, perception—was the exact opposite of INTJ. Ab­solutely not the mark of a serial killer. As far from it as a subject could possibly get, in fact. Charlie’s lips twisted. No way had that been an accident. Michael had, in fact, manipulated the test. As she reached that conclusion, she shot him a condemning look. He grinned, a slow and dev­ilishly charming grin that admitted everything.

And just as easy as that he had her going all marsh­mallowy inside.

Damn it. She refocused on her test subject with grim determination.

“Please don’t do this to me.” The disembodied whis­per came out of nowhere, snapping her out from under the spell of Michael’s smile right back into the Ami­tyville Horror that her life was devolving into like a quick plunge into ice water. The terror in the voice sent chills down Charlie’s spine. Her instant, instinctive reac­tion was to glance at Michael, furtively searching his face to see if he’d heard it, too. If the woman she was hearing was present in spirit, even if the timing and cir­cumstances of her death put her beyond the parameters of Charlie’s ability to see her, Michael should have been able to see her, because as a spirit himself he could see other spirits in his vicinity just like she was able to see any living, breathing human who might, for example, walk into the room.

But Michael clearly wasn’t seeing whoever was con­nected to the voice. He wasn’t hearing her, either.

Okay, deep breath. This was different. This was outside Charlie’s experience. This was a whole new facet of the freak show that was her existence. This had been happen­ing to her only since she had died and been brought back.

Either she was cracking up, or—or what? She wasn’t sure. Random floaty voices existed in the universe, to which she was just now able to tune in? For the last three weeks, since she had woken up in a hospital bed to learn that she had nearly drowned, she had been hearing the voices at odd moments. The truth was that she wasn’t sure of anything about them. Who was speaking. Who they were talking to. If they actually even existed outside of her head. What it meant.

All she knew was that the experience of hearing them was unnerving. And she needed—badly needed—for it to stop.

If they didn’t, she was afraid she might start to fall apart.

“More,” Spivey demanded, licking his lips. His lash­less brown eyes fixed on Charlie’s slender fingers as they absently smoothed the foil covering the remaining chocolate.

Charlie shook her head as she tucked the candy bar back into her pocket and out of sight. Keeping it visible, she had discovered, was too great a distraction for Spivey. “After you answer the next question,” she told him firmly.

“No,” the unseen woman moaned. Gritting her teeth, Charlie did her best to tune out the voice while glancing blindly down at the papers on the table in front of her. Clairaudience was what her sudden ability to hear these disembodied voices was called. Unless they really were all in her head, and crazy described it better.

“Babe, you just turned a whole ’nother shade of pale.” Michael frowned at her. As she glanced at him she had to consciously stop herself from taking her lower lip be­tween her teeth, an obvious sign of distress that he would jump on like a duck on a June bug.

Time to face the truth: her way-too-close brush with death had done a number on her. In its aftermath, she felt vulnerable in a way that she hadn’t in years. It had brought back a host of terrifying memories. It had upset her carefully constructed psychological equilibrium. It had sensitized her in ways that she feared she was only just beginning to discover. It had made her want to curl up in a ball in the middle of her hospital bed and pull the covers over her head and stay there forever, as if that would somehow keep her safe from the evil that she knew—knew—existed in the world.

Instead she had coped in the only way she knew how to cope: by getting up and getting on with it and going back to work.

But the voices were unsettling. The voices she didn’t need.

“You okay?” Michael’s eyes were intent on her face. He suddenly seemed to take up way too much space in the tiny room. Even though, of course, since he had no physical substance and was in fact a phantom that only she could see and hear, he took up no actual space at all. “Finish up with this scumbag, and let’s head home.”

Home. Meaning her house in the nearby town of Big Stone Gap. Hearing him call it that felt funny, but—good. Since college she’d lived alone and liked it. Now she lived with him. A ghost. Her ghost. Her home was their home. Six weeks into their association, she was still processing the ramifications of that. Still processing the ramifications of him.

Still working hard not to fall in love with a damned— and she was very much afraid that that was the literal truth—ghost.

This was her second day back at Wallens Ridge, and she was tired—way too tired for three p.m. on a Tuesday, when before she had routinely worked until 5:30 five days a week and then had more than enough energy left at the end of the day to go for a long run up the wooded mountain trail behind her house. She’d completed reams of other tasks before getting started with this interview, of course, but still the level of exhaustion she was experienc­ing was abnormal, and she recognized that. The idea of going home early was enormously appealing. But the work she was doing was important. The stakes were high. If she could figure out a way to identify serial killers in the earliest stages of their development, before they started to kill, hundreds of lives would be saved, as would immeasurable amounts of human suffering.

She herself being a case in point.

With a quick, barely there shake of her head for Mi­chael, she refocused on the questions in front of her.

“Please answer yes or no.” Charlie looked at the chubby-cheeked, harmless looking man who was watch­ing her expectantly and felt her stomach tighten. “You prefer meeting in small groups rather than interacting with lots of people.”

“No,” Spivey answered, so promptly that Charlie wasn’t entirely sure whether he was answering the ques­tion or just responding at random, as he sometimes did.

“Again, answer yes or no: You prefer interacting with lots of people?” she tried to clarify.

“No,” he said. “I want candy.”

“You can have candy after you answer,” she told him, and repeated the question.

“No,” he said.

She looked at him for a second—he was leaning slightly forward, staring in the general direction of her pocket where the candy bar waited, although she knew he couldn’t see it from where he sat. With an inward sigh, she tapped the end of her pen against the questionnaire without re­cording a response, recognizing that she had gotten as much out of Spivey as she was going to get for the day. It was time to end the interview.

“Thank you, Mr. Spivey. We’re finished here,” she said.

“I want candy,” he said, frowning at her. His round face turned petulant, like that of a giant baby who was about to cry. His eyes batted. He licked his already damp lips.

“All right.” Repressing a shiver of revulsion, she re­trieved the candy bar from her pocket while Michael straightened away from the wall and muttered, “Halle­lujah.”

“You’ve done very well today,” she told Spivey as she broke off a piece and pushed it across the table toward him. “We’ll meet again next—”

“Please,” the woman’s voice inside her head screamed, the cry so shrill and full of pain that Charlie lost focus.

She only realized what she had done—that her hand had moved too far across the table, putting it within Spivey’s reach—when Spivey grabbed her wrist and yanked her violently toward him.

Her heart leaped. As her stomach slammed into the edge of the table, she tried to stop her forward momen­tum without success.

“Got you,” Spivey crowed with satisfaction a split second before his teeth crunched down on her fingers and Charlie screamed.

“Goddamn it,” Michael roared, and dove for Spivey. Charlie felt the brush of a large, solid body hurtling past her, heard the smack of flesh hitting flesh, heard Spivey cry out as his head snapped back. He dropped her hand and she threw herself back out of his reach just as John­son burst through the door.

“Charlie.” Michael’s voice was no more than a breath of sound as she cradled her wounded hand and fought to regain her composure. Her stomach dropped clear to her toes as she realized that he was nowhere to be seen.

her last whisperDr. Charlotte Stone returns in Karen Robards’s sizzling new thriller!

Madness and murder invaded Dr. Charlotte Stone’s life when she was just a girl—and made her a woman determined to save others from the horror she survived. An expert in the psychology of serial killers, she’s faced down more than her share of human monsters. But Charlie can also communicate with the spirits of those who die violently, an extrasensory skill that has helped the FBI bring lethal predators to justice. 

Now, after narrowly escaping death a second time, Charlie’s ready to step away from the edge… before her luck runs out.

Too bad Charlie is too dedicated for her own good—and too devoted to federal agent Tony Bartoli to say no when he asks her to ride shotgun on yet another risky mission. Of course, she already has her hands full with Michael Garland: the handsome, roguish ghost with whom she’s hopelessly in love—a spirit who depends on Charlie to keep him from slipping forever into the dark side of the afterlife. But in the mortal world, beautiful single women are vanishing from Las Vegas hotels at night. All signs indicate that a psychopath is on the prowl in Sin City, and Bartoli’s FBI colleague Lena Kaminsky has reason to fear that her missing sister may be just the killer’s type.

In a town full of fast players and few rules, flushing out a smooth-talking stalker like the Cinderella Killer might be a loser’s game. But for Charlie, the only way to cage her quarry is to plunge back into the homicidal hell she vowed to leave behind—and may not leave alive.

Excerpted from HER LAST WHISPER by Karen Robards. Copyright © 2014 Karen Robards. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Dying Commitment by S.M. Butler

91oMeC6FI5L._SL1500_Title:  Dying Commitment

Series:  Lucky Thirteen Book #3

Author:  S.E Butler

Genre:  Romance

Blurb:  Five years ago, former NSA agent Cadence Long almost died from her mentor’s bullet. She learned one valuable lesson that day: Trust no one. That’s why her casual friendship with Dylan works so well. They both agree that a romantic relationship is off the table but when he starts flashing that dazzling smile and those twin dimples at her, the sizzling attraction between them becomes impossible for her to resist.
Navy SEAL Dylan Urban is ready for more than a romp in the sheets with Cadence, but convincing her proves a more difficult mission than he’s prepared for. After she runs off on an unsanctioned, one-woman kamikaze mission, the only way he can see to protect Cadence is to get her open up herself to trust him, but it might mean losing his heart in the process.
While on the trail of one of the most notorious traitors in recent history, both Dylan and Cadence must decide if what they have or could have is worth giving up the chase, or if for once, they might have to trust another to break down the walls they so carefully crafted.

Thoughts:  I had read the first book in this series, so I thought I would snatch this one up.  It’s a good read, but not an exceptional one in this series.  First off, I wasn’t quite as connected with the characters as I would have liked.  For the most part Cady does try to remain distant in order to avoid getting hurt (which is understandable given her past) – however, even within the ‘private thoughts’ of these characters you don’t seem to get the full intensity of their feelings and/or emotions.  It’s not enough to say things within the confines of the story – I need to ‘feel’ it as well.  And it just wasn’t there with these characters.  Another issue I had was the fact that this is an elite SEAL team, and Cady is constantly viewed as this major bad a&% – yet in almost every single instance they are getting the drop put on them (even by totally inexperienced shop keepers!)  Really?  Kind of disappointing.  Come on, I don’t expect them to always win, but not to be pathetic agents either.

Bottom line: An ok read, but not the best in this series.

Rate:  B

Series Saturday: Marked Men by Jay Crownover

When I was sent the third book in this series I’d never heard of the Jay Crownover or her series but I liked the cover and the blurb so I said what the heck. I was hooked by the end of the second chapter. This series is now one of my favorite New Adult series and Jay has become an aut0-buy author for me. 

ruleOpposites in every way . . . except the one that matters 

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight–A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want–and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

 

jetWith his tight leather pants and a sharp edge that makes him dangerous, Jet Keller is every girl’s rock and roll fantasy. But Ayden Cross is done walking on the wild side with bad boys. She doesn’t want to give in to the heat she sees in Jet’s dark, haunted eyes. She’s afraid of getting burned from the sparks of their spontaneous combustion, even as his touch sets her on fire.

Jet can’t resist the Southern Belle with mile-long legs in cowboy boots who defies his every expectation. Yet the closer he feels to Ayden, the less he seems to know her. While he’s tempted to get under her skin and undo her in every way, he knows firsthand what happens to two people with very different ideas about relationships.

Will the blaze burn into an enduring love. . . or will it consume their dreams and turn them to ashes?

 

romeSometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed “bad boy” friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won’t let herself get burned again. She’s waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he’s returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome’s used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever.

 

nashWill their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down… and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

 

rowdyAfter the only girl he ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Rowdy learned his lesson early on, when you care that much about anything it can destroy you, and he never wants to risk feeling like that again. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules, too many regulations, and no fun allowed. That never worked for her so she left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago. A mission that is going along perfectly until the one person that ties them together shows up and could very well tear them back.

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In Too Deep by Tracey Alvarez

81huHvW66-L._SL1500_Title: In Too Deep

Series: Due South #1

Author: Tracey Alvarez

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:  Love small-town romance with an unforgetable cast of characters? The Due South series will transport you to an unspoilt, wild island off the coast of New Zealand. Meet Piper and West…

She vowed never to return.

To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn’t stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover. Read more

BLOG TOUR: Ruin The Waking by Lucian Bane

71OUY+GgqrL._SL1056_

Title:  Ruin The Waking by Lucian Bane

Blurb:  To judge and execute. That is Ruin’s power and desire. But Ruin’s memory is empty of how he came to be here on Earth and why. After saving Isadore– a neuroscientist living in the swamps of Louisiana– from a sexual predator, she volunteers to help him. 
Ruin soon discovers that judging and executing wicked humans while linked to such a difficult and beautiful woman who can’t help but involve herself in every aspect of his business, is proving to be more difficult than judging the world.

Buy Link:  Amazon

Book trailer:  Trailer

Ruin

The Highlander Next Door by Janet Chapman

the highlander next doorTitle: The Highlander Next Door

Series: Spellbound Falls bk 6

Author: Janet Chapman

Genre: Paranormal/Time Travel

Legend has it love is carried on the rising mists of Spellbound Falls, and not even time-traveling highlanders are immune to its magic…

Birch Callahan has seen the trouble men can cause. After witnessing her mother’s four marriages, Birch now runs a women’s shelter and doesn’t want a man in her life. But there’s something about her neighbor, Niall MacKeage. Birch can’t figure out how the cop can be so big and gruff and yet so insightful and compassionate—and sexy. Or how she’s falling for a man who acts like someone from the twelfth century.

Niall knows that Birch is attracted to him, even if she seems to distrust all men. Yet he also knows she has a secret—something that drives her to place herself in harm’s way for the women of her shelter. Niall would gladly rush to Birch’s side to protect her from harm, but with their secrets standing between them, he’ll have to reveal his own truth if he wants to keep her. Read more

Forbidden Fruit 1 Anthology

91YLOEXxp7L._SL1500_Title:  Forbidden Fruit Anthology

Series:  Anthology

Author:  multiple

Genre:  Erotic

Blurb:  * One Hot Summer by Lisa M Harley * Weakness by Missy Johnson * Try Me by Stacey Lynn * Educate Me by Lexi Buchanan * Inadmissible Attraction by Rebecca Brooke * Secret Obsession by Olivia Linden * Strictly Off Limits by Jessica Hawkins

Lock & Key by RS Grey * The Naughty Au Pair by Janice Baker * In Too Deep by Morgan Jane Mitchell.

Thoughts:  I am always a bit leery of anthologies….I usually buy them for one or two, then don’t like any of the rest of them.  Yet I hang onto the book because of the ones I do like.  I was tempted to buy this anthology for one author only – Jessica Hawkins.  Followers of the blog know how I raved over her Cityscape series….and the chance to read something totally new and fresh by her?  Oh, I was tempted!…LOL  Then I received a request from author Morgan Jane Mitchell to review her story in this anthology – and an additional one by her (also in the Table 21 series).  I took that as a sign that I was just meant to read this anthology.  You can read my review for her books here:   Morgan Jane Mitchell Table 21 Review Books 1&2

As usual, it was a bit of a toss up though…it was an odd mish-mash of stories swinging anywhere from an older woman and a younger guy (which I won’t ruin the ending for, but I will say doesn’t turn up at all like you expect), sex addicts, and – of course – your typical older man/younger woman scenario – and everything in between.  The downside?  Again, there is only a smattering of stories I like in this anthology.  The upside?  There is a little something for everyone…:)  Well, and it’s only .99!

Overall Rating:  B

 

Winning Love by Abby Niles

cover51203-mediumTitle:  Winning Love

Series:  Love to the Extreme Book #3

Author:  Abby Niles

Genre:  Romance

Blurb:  Mac “The Snake” Hannon has spent years throwing himself into cage fighting as a way to lash back at the natural disaster that destroyed his future. A call for help has Mac returning to the one place he swore never to return: Kansas—in the height of tornado season.  There he meets free-spirited Gayle Matthews. At first he wants nothing to do with the infuriatingly persistent woman, but the crazy challenges she tosses his way are impossible to resist. As she thaws years of bitterness, bringing back the Mac he believed long gone, he starts to make peace with the past and see the future again. Until he learns she chases his worst nightmare—then he can’t get away fast enough.

Meteorologist and storm chaser, Gayle Matthews is no stranger to being left behind and now believes in living in the moment. She wants to do just that with the handsome extreme fighter with the achingly sad eyes. As she works to replace the sorrow with desire, she finds herself breaking her one rule: have fun but don’t fall in love. When he suddenly pushes her away and she discovers the horrifying reason why, she issues one more challenge: face his fear and come on a chase with her.

Will squaring off with the past lead to a victory for heartache or love?

Thoughts:  T. K.O. – Total Knock Out!  This book was an amazing addition to the Love to the Extreme series!  I have been a fine of Abby’s ever since I read the first book in this series, Extreme Love, and quickly devoured every other book of hers.  I will say, however, that upon starting this one I was having a few doubts – I didn’t really care to much for either character (at least at the very first) – but I reminded myself that this was an Abby Niles book and I had to have faith that it would get better.  And did it ever!  These characters did a complete 180, and had me quickly spellbound into the lives and emotions of these characters.  Once you begin figuring out some of their past, it really begins to come together – and to pull at your heartstrings.

While they seem so completely different at first, they each have more in common than either of them realize.  They have both suffered through tragedy.  The question is will they let their fears run their whole lives, too afraid to take a chance on love?  Abby was a quirky character, but she was fun and exactly what Mac needed to bring him back to the land of the living.  Their interactions were so amusing and brought so much life to the story – it left me with this amazing urge to go sign up for a mud race!…LOL

The plus side is that this is easily read as a stand alone.  The down side?  This one doesn’t feature the MMA aspect very heavily in the storyline.  Out of the three titles in the series, this one falls right in the middle for me.

Rate:  A

Hillbilly Rockstar by Lorelei James

cover48516-mediumTitle:  Hillbilly Rockstar

Series:  Blacktop Cowboys Book #6

Author:  Lorelei James

Genre:  Contemporary

Blurb:  She’s protecting his body and guarding her heart….Country music star Devin McClain understands there’s a downside to life in the public eye, but the laidback Wyoming cowboy has never imagined he’d attract crazed fans who would do anything to garner his attention. When veiled threats become real, he agrees to hire a discreet security detail. But Devin is shocked when that bodyguard is a hard-bodied woman. He’s even more stunned to be attracted to the steely-eyed stunner.  Former soldier Liberty Masterson’s return to civilian life has been fraught with challenges until she lands a job with a prestigious security firm. But when she agrees to provide personal protection during a cross-country tour, she doesn’t realize she has signed up to masquerade as the playboy star’s girlfriend. Though she’s more comfortable in combat boots than high heels, she has no choice but to appear to be the sexy groupie Devin prefers.  Living in close quarters causes the chemistry between them to ignite, and Devin realizes he wants to turn their charade of a romance into reality. Although Liberty surrenders to his every whim behind closed doors, she fears the sexy country star doesn’t see the real her; and Devin can’t help but worry when the tour ends that there might not be enough between them to build something that won’t fade away….

Thoughts:  Hillbilly Rockstar was simply amazing!  The intricacies in the relationship between Devin and Liberty really fueled this book….it was joy to read how they went from strangers to lovers….and then to more.  It was honestly a compelling read.

Devin doesn’t want a bodyguard.  Unfortunately, threats make that impossible, and he has no choice.  However, he can make some stipulations – and he doesn’t want a bunch of thugs drawing attention to his situation.  So everyone decides that Liberty would be the perfect choice – she can pretend to be his ‘groupie girlfriend’.  Of course, fitting herself into the role will require a bit of a makeover…..but it’s well worth it to see the look on his face when he sees the ‘new’ Liberty!  And that makeover changes everything.  But will everything fall apart when the tour ends?

Another hit for Lorelei James…Reading how their relationship rapidly unfolds made for a page-turning hit with me!  And it’s a pretty sure bet that it will be for you to!

Rate:  A+

 

Bring on the Heat by Katie Rose

91GKAkEjkQL._SL1500_Title: Bring on the Heat

Series: The Boys of Summer #1

Author: Katie Rose

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb: In Katie Rose’s irresistible battle of wits, a case of mistaken identity lands a female fan in bed with a sexy superstar—and in major-league trouble.
 
House-sitting for a rich and famous friend has its perks, and Darcy Hamel isn’t shy about enjoying them. Especially when it means scoring a ticket to an exclusive fashion show hosted by the New Jersey Sonics. An avid baseball fan, Darcy has always dreamed of meeting the team—especially the starting pitcher whose body is as hot as his fastball. But there’s a catch. The gala is by invitation only. To get behind the velvet rope, mild-mannered Darcy will have to pose as party girl Lydia Logan.
 
Schmoozing is one of the downsides of fame, but Chase Westbrook knows how to liven up even the dullest event. And nothing spices a night up more than a beautiful socialite with a naughty reputation. What Chase doesn’t expect is a hint of sweetness beneath her sultry façade. Flirtation turns to seduction and leaves him aching for more. Chase just doesn’t know who the real Lydia is: the spoiled tease crying foul over some missing diamonds or the alluring woman making a play for his heart.

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Sunday Snippet: Crossing Lines by Alannah Lynne

You know when one of your friends tells you you need to read a book and you say I’ll get to it, and then another friend tells you need to read the same book and then another friend, and so on? Well that’s how this author came to my attention. So I’m passing on the pressure, and also giving you an excerpt of the book.

Mirrored shades served several functions. They looked cool. They protected the eyes. And they provided the perfect cover for sizing up a man’s ass.

Sam Wallace always found work boots sexy, and as Kevin Mazze stormed across the parking lot, he screamed sex with a capital S. His powerful strides were like those of a lion as he moved with authorial grace through the concrete jungle he ruled, commanding attention and respect.

A sigh slipped from her lips as she followed the roll of his shoulders under his light-blue button-down shirt and the sway of the soft, well-worn denim.

He was the man her mama warned her about.

The one her friend, Cheri, begged her to find. Read more

Series Saturday: The Blackstone Affair by Raine Miller

Carly Phillips and Liza from Blogging By Liza turned me onto this series and I have to say I was addicted from the first book. Some books I enjoyed more than others, but over all I really liked this series. 

nakedBrynne Bennett is living the good life. An American art student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s putting her life back on track with school and lots of hard work. When ultra successful London businessman, Ethan Blackstone, buys her nude portrait, he isn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer. He wants Brynne in his bed and makes plans to keep her there no matter what. His dominant nature captivates and ensnares despite the demons she carries inside her. But there are secrets in this relationship. Huge ones. Can Ethan free Brynne from the past that has marked her? Will Brynne let him or will the specters tormenting her resurface to destroy them both. Read more

One Night With the Quarterback by Jeanette Murray

cover46828-mediumTitle:  One Night With A Quarterback

Series:  Santa Fe Bobcats Book #1

Author:  Jeanette Murray

Genre:  Sports Romance

Blurb:  She’s daddy’s little girl…or she would have been, had he known she existed. Cassie Wainwright thought her father—head coach of the Santa Fe Bobcats—ignored her purposefully. Come to find out, he had no clue she’d ever been born.  Now Cassie is determined to meet the man who’s always been missing from her life. Her mother warns her, being the long-lost daughter of a well-known NFL coach won’t be easy, but Cassie’s determined to stick it out. And before her life turns upside down, she wants one more night of fun.  Starting quarterback for the Santa Fe Bobcats, Trey Owens is tired of being in the limelight. Lucky for him, the beautiful brunette he meets at the club isn’t a local. She has no idea who he is…and she’s down to party.  Tomorrow, Cassie will think about her father. Tomorrow, she’ll think about her future. But tonight is for herself and the hottie she found on dance floor. It’s a matchup made in heaven—if only for a night… Read more