Wednesday, December 29, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: How to Cowboy by Jennie Marts #GIVEAWAY

How to Cowboy
Jennie Marts
(Creedence Horse Rescue, #3)
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication date: December 28th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

For fans of Carolyn Brown, Maisey Yates, and Jennifer Ryan, this steamy, emotional cowboy romance has all your favorites:

  • A hunky single dad showing his daughter the ropes
  • A heroine looking for a fresh start
  • Leaning on each other through hard times
  • Irresistible attraction
  • Rescue horses and ranch animals with lots of personality

How do you heal a broken heart?

After one injury too many, Cade Callahan gave up the rodeo for a simpler life working at his cousin’s horse rescue ranch. But his life turns upside down when his estranged daughter is placed in his custody after a tragic car accident. Wanting nothing to do with her father, thirteen-year-old Allie struggles to adjust to her new life.

Newly single and living out of her mother’s basement, physical therapist Nora Fisher doesn’t think twice about taking a job as a traveling therapist for Cade’s daughter. The trouble is, she doesn’t know anything about horses, or hunky cowboys. Now both in way over their heads, can Cade and Nora find a way to help Allie, and trust in the attraction building between them?

Praise for Jennie Marts:

“Full of hope, humor, and undeniable swoon.”—A.J. Pine, USA Today bestselling author

“Funny, complicated, and irresistible. Sometimes a cowboy isn’t perfect but you got to love him anyway.”—Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author, for Caught Up in a Cowboy

“The perfect blend of humor, grit, and sexy cowboy spice. Delicious!”—Kari Lynn Dell, award-winning and bestselling author, for Wish Upon a Cowboy

“Deliciously steamy but still sweet, with a secret at its heart.”—Joanne Kennedy, award-winning and bestselling author, for Wish Upon a Cowboy

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Cade flinched at the sound of her bedroom door slamming. He leaned his shoulder against the side of the house and let out a sigh. “I don’t get it. What did I say?”

Nora put a hand on his arm. “Nothing. She’s a teenager, so her moods are going to be all over the place.”

“But I thought things were going so well. She was even laughing at lunch.”

“Which might be part of the problem. Remember, she just lost her mom and has been uprooted to this new place. She might feel guilty for having fun or for enjoying this farm—like if she starts to like you and Bryn too much, that it will be a betrayal to her mom.”

“You might be right.” He offered her a smile. “What’s that advice gonna cost me?”

She grinned up at him. “One baked ziti dinner.”

“Done. I’ll even throw in a slice of pie.” He tried to laugh, but the anguish of the situation was getting to him, and he dropped his chin to his chest. “Ya know, I consider myself a pretty tough guy, but this parenting stuff is rough.”

Nora took a step toward him. “I have to warn you that I’m a hugger by nature, and it’s killing me not to be able to offer you a hug. Like I’m totally comin’ in hot right now, so if you don’t want to be smothered in a hug, you need to stop me now.”

The idea of wrapping his arms around Nora had emotions burning his throat. Which was weird since his feelings toward women weren’t generally led by his heart. But something about this woman, with her sunny attitude and her giving nature was getting to him. He opened his arms, and she stepped into them and wrapped herself around him.

He let out his breath as she sunk into him, and he bent his head and buried his face in her hair. “You feel good,” he whispered, then cleared his throat. “I mean this feels good.”

“So do you,” she murmured into his chest.

She pulled back, but he wasn’t ready to let her go and kept his arms circled around her waist. She looked up at from under long eyelashes, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away.

There was something here. He knew it, and he was sure she did too. The electricity between them was almost visible as if it shimmered in the air. They’d been teasing and flirting and touching the last few days, but this felt different. This was more than playful flirtation.

He dropped his gaze to her mouth and wanted to groan. Her lips were plump and parted, as if just begging to be kissed.

He leaned down and softly grazed her lips with his—not quite a kiss but enough to feel the soft catch of her breath and the delicious enticement of her mouth.

“What’s this going to cost me?” he whispered, but he already knew the answer.

It was going to cost him everything.

Author Bio:

Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books "laugh out loud" funny and the "perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam." Fic Central claimed one of her books was "the most fun I've had reading in years.”

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She's addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can't have too many books, shoes, or friends.

Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.

Jennie loves to hear from readers. Follow her on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books, or Twitter at @JennieMarts. Visit her at and sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest news and releases.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: Imperfect by Holly Carr #GIVEAWAY

Holly Carr
Publication date: August 2nd 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

She isn’t looking for love. He’s running from it.

A workplace crush is supposed to be light-hearted. Frivolous, even. Just some daydream inspiration to make the hours go faster, or to fill in twenty boring minutes.

Sam isn’t ready to develop actual feelings for someone. Not with Logan still looming so large in her heart, and especially not when the subject of her infatuation is her new employer.

Alex doesn’t plan to fall in love ever again. Not after what happened with Victoria.

But fate seems determined to begin an unwanted love story, and a tentative romance blossoms as Alex and Sam battle the malicious sabotage of a rival company.

That is, until Alex’s evil ex-wife re-enters his life, threatening to take custody of their daughter.

Sam’s determination to help the desperate man stand up for himself brings the two would-be lovers closer, but Victoria’s antics only highlight to Alex the dangers of leaving himself vulnerable.

Can Sam convince him to set aside eleven years of stanch celibacy and give into his feelings?

And just how did he get that mysterious scar on his face?

This contemporary romantic suspense novel is perfect for readers with a soft spot for a hesitant love story, a single dad, and a relatable heroine.

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Sam stood just inside the door to Dimitri’s office, leaving it ajar so she could see though the gap. She peered down the hallway so she could warn Alex if their unauthorised presence were pending discovery. Unable to relax, she repeatedly lamented her decision to accompany him. All that stopped her from abandoning her post and returning to the party was her fear she’d be caught on the way, thus making it more likely Alex would also be busted.

She’d uselessly checked the clock on her phone twice already. It made no difference, as Alex hadn’t specified a time limit. He wasn’t going to suddenly give up just because their breaking and entering had totalled ten whole minutes. But it gave her something to do, and she sorely needed a distraction to take the edge off her panic.

She periodically turned to watch Alex, hoping he would either find something soon or give up. He was going through Dimitri’s desk, skimming papers, and meticulously putting them back in the same order. So far, nothing out of the ordinary had shown up.

She’d already voiced her opinion it was unlikely anything so important would be written down on paper, and Alex had admitted she was probably right. Short of hacking his desktop, this was almost certainly a futile exercise. He’d confided that he was holding out hope because Dimitri was somewhat ‘old school’. There was potentially an interesting hardcopy stashed somewhere.

Finishing with the drawers, Alex started on the single tray of documents on top of the desk. Dimitri’s workspace was unencumbered by the clutter littering Alex’s. Being well past retirement age, Sam suspected he didn’t have as much to do with the day to day running of his company as Alex did.

I wonder how much work it would take to make Alex’s desk look like that, she thought. Probably more than she’d care to contemplate. Even if she managed it, the lack of visible tasks would only serve to make him anxious anyway. He was too used to having three people’s work to do.

Her head whipped back to the door when she heard a bell ring in the distance. ‘Someone’s getting out of the lift,’ she whispered urgently.

Alex looked up, startled. He was only about halfway through the tray, and she saw his eyes dart back to the pile, eager to keep looking. He spoke distractedly, more engrossed in his task than their conversation. ‘I’ll just finish looking at this and we’ll …’ A sick pallor washed over his face as he looked up at Sam again, who was frozen in shock.

They had both realised their predicament at the same time. Her self-appointed position as ‘lookout’ was completely useless. The only way out was the lift or the stairs beside the lift. If someone was coming this way, they were going to be caught red-handed.

Sam couldn’t believe they had both been that stupid. Alex’s eagerness combined with her discomfort had blinded them to the obvious. They’d trapped themselves. Their only hope was that whoever it was didn’t plan on coming in this direction.

Watching the hall nervously, she saw shadows coming from around the distant corner, and her heart sank as she realised the voices were getting closer. There was no doubt about it, they were coming this way.

Swiftly closing the door, she confirmed this fact to Alex. He uselessly put the papers back into the tray. No one would ever know he’d been through them if they could just somehow not be caught.

Their mere presence made his intentions obvious though. Even without the physical evidence of disorder, what other reason could they have for being here?

Sam answered her own question as she watched Alex stride around the desk looking grim. He appeared to be mentally preparing himself to face the music, but maybe they didn’t have to.

It’s crazy, she thought. Too crazy, but I can’t think of anything else.

It was a risk on a lot of levels. They’d still be ‘busted’ in a way, and she was sure Alex wasn’t going to like it, but it was all she could come up with on short notice. ‘Take off your jacket and undo your tie,’ she whispered.

Alex’s look of bleak determination turned to confusion. The request certainly didn’t fit the situation, but she didn’t have time to ease him into it gently.

‘If we can’t get out before they come in, we need a different reason to be here. Take off your jacket, and undo your tie and some buttons,’ she whispered again, more urgently this time, beginning to untie her skirt.

Author Bio:

Holly Carr was born in Victoria, Australia, where she still lives today with her husband and a cat with no sense of personal space. She graduated from Deakin University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations), majoring in Literary Studies.

Holly first began writing creatively while she was at university, only setting aside her incomplete manuscript due to time constraints. It took ten years before she finally sat down to write again, and her first completed novel ‘IMPERFECT’ practically wrote itself. She enjoyed the experience so much she has already begun work on another.

When she takes a break from writing, she enjoys occasional visits from her grown-up son, pole dancing, eating far too much Mexican food, and pretending to know a lot about wine.

You can get the first two chapters of her forthcoming novel ‘UNLUCKY’ for free at her website, or follow her on Facebook @hollycarrauthor and Instagram @holly_ylloh_holly.

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Monday, December 27, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: Cruel Princes by Jillian Frost #GIVEAWAY

Cruel Princes
Jillian Frost
(Princes of Devil’s Creek, #1)
Publication date: December 29th 2021
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Reverse Harem, Romance

I hate the princes of Devil’s Creek.

Luca, Bastian, Marcello, and Damian.

For most of my life, no one wanted me… not until they needed me. Turns out I’m the lost heiress to a multi-billion dollar fortune and a pawn in their sick game.

They keep me locked in their seaside estate, completely at their mercy. All four of them are bullies, taking out their hatred for me in the form of punishments, each with their own reason for keeping me around.

I’m sick to want them.
It’s dangerous to need them.

I think I’m finding my place among these depraved monsters.

Except there’s one small problem.
They’re not the only men who want me.

There are far more dangerous men looking for the heir to the Wellington fortune… which means I’ll be staying in their beds and under their protection for the foreseeable future.

Cruel Princes is a DARK BULLY romance about four possessive men and one ruthless woman who will bring them to their knees. The main character will end up with more than one love interest.

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“I don’t care if you’re a Wellington.” Luca shot up from his chair, the metal legs scraping across the tiled floor. “That name means absolutely nothing to me. In this town, Salvatore is the only name that matters.” He pointed at the space in front of him on the floor. “Get over here.”

I shook my head. “Dream on.”

Luca rounded the table, his nostrils flared. I slid off my chair, but I wasn’t fast enough.

He had my long blonde curls fisted in his palm, yanking me up from the chair. “Wanna try that again, Wellington whore?”

I elbowed him in the stomach, then stomped on his foot. “I’m not a whore.”

Despite my best efforts, his grip on my hair didn’t loosen. He palmed the back of my head until my knees hit the cold, tiled floor. “Kiss my boots like a good little slave.”

I looked up at the handsome prince and shook my head. “No. I did nothing wrong.”

“You exist,” he shot back with venom in his tone. “That’s enough.”

“Why do you hate me so much?”

“Ask your grandfather.” He smirked. “See if he’ll tell you the truth about why you’re really here.”

Author Bio:

Jillian Frost is a dark romance author who believes even the villain deserves a happily ever after. When she's not plotting all the ways to disrupt the lives of her characters, you can usually find Jillian by the pool, soaking up the Florida sunshine.

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Saturday, December 25, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: Phantom by Harley Wylde #GIVEAWAY

Harley Wylde
(Devil’s Boneyard MC)
Publication date: December 24th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Charisma — My mother died when I was a teen. My dad had never been in the picture, and I ended up in the system. When the high school quarterback took advantage, no one believed me. Then I landed in true hell… my foster mom was a monster who preyed on the children in her home. When I aged out of the system, I stayed in the hopes I could save the boys who were assigned to live with her. She let me, as long as I paid in blood. The never-ending cycle of abuse sickened me and wore me down. I felt powerless. Until he showed up.

Phantom — My mission was simple. Find the woman preying on young boys and end her. I didn’t count on the bewitching young woman, little girl, and two boys living with the monster. Now they’re mine. My family. When their demons come searching for them, I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Even call in reinforcements from other clubs. Someone should have warned me I needed to protect myself as well. I never counted on Charisma’s dad showing up, nor could I have ever guessed who he was. Things just got complicated.

WARNING: Phantom contains darker subjects that may trigger some readers as well as bad language, violence, and adult situations. No cheating, no cliffhanger, and a guaranteed Happily-Ever-After.

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A Lexus pulled into her driveway and I saw the bitch get out of the car. Two boys slid out then a slim form with subtle curves. Charisma. She lifted her face to the sun and my heart stuttered in my chest. Christ! I swallowed my food and nearly choked on the large bite. Shade had mentioned she’d been with Heather for a decade, which made her around twenty-seven now. Roughly half my age, but fuck if she wasn’t stunning. She reached into the car and helped out a little girl I knew had to be her daughter, Nova.

And that’s the moment I knew I’d do whatever it took to keep those four safe. Charisma, Nova, and the two boys would never be hurt again. The way she cradled her daughter against her side, the protective stance she took between Heather and those boys, told me one thing — the girl wasn’t hurting anyone. Unless it was Heather. She had murder in her eyes when she stared at the woman. Crazy bitch only smirked back at her.

I texted Shade.

Change of plans. I’m bringing them all home with me.

Those boys reminded me of Samurai when he’d been a teen. Small and wiry. And they were both at least half-Asian. It seemed Heather had a type.

I watched them go into the house with the She-Devil and shut the door. After I finished my food, I pulled out of the parking lot and moved over to her home, stopping my Jeep right behind her fancy car. Reaching into the backseat, I picked up my cut, as well as the brass knuckles I’d hidden underneath it. I slid the weapon into my pocket and got out of the vehicle. Pulling on my cut, I shut the door, locked the car, and went up to ring the bell.

Charisma opened the door, her eyes going wide when she saw me. She skimmed over my cut, her gaze locking on the patches denoting my club, name, and rank. She finished her perusal before lifting her gaze to mine again. I caught movement in my peripheral. Judging the size and shape, it was her daughter.

I pulled my keys from my pocket and tipped my head toward the driveway. “Take your daughter and get in the Jeep. Lock the doors and wait for me.”

Her eyebrows went up. She stared, not moving and not speaking. She reached up to tuck her hair behind her eat and I growled at what I saw. Someone had damaged her with what looked like acid. I moved slow, not wanting to startle her, and checked the other side. Son of a bitch. Whoever had hurt her, had harmed both ears. Which meant… I mouthed the words slowly. “Can you hear me?”

Her eyes widened and she shook her head.

“What else did that bitch do to you?” I asked, mouthing the words slowly again.

Her cheeks flushed and she dropped her gaze. Shame. Whatever had been done to her, she was ashamed to tell me. I had a feeling I understood why she was still here with Heather. The woman used the boys against her, and probably used her against them. If she’d touched Nova, I’d make her suffer longer.

I tipped her chin up. “Take my keys. Get your daughter and wait in the Jeep. Lock the doors. Do you understand?”

She nodded and reached behind her. I saw Nova’s small fingers wrap around hers and Charisma took my keys. She hesitated, her gaze searching mine.

“I’ll get the boys out too.”

Her posture relaxed and she hurried to the Jeep with Nova in tow. Nothing in the reports Shade had found from social services mentioned Charisma being unable to hear. It had to have happened either right before she aged out, or after. For whatever reason, he couldn’t find any updates from the social workers the months leading up to her turning eighteen. Her exit had been little more than a few notes including how wonderful Heather had been to let her stay. I didn’t like being blindsided, but at least she would be safe now. All of them would be.

Author Bio:

Harley Wylde is the International Bestselling Author of the Dixie Reapers MC, Devil's Boneyard MC, and Hades Abyss MC series.
When Harley's writing, her motto is the hotter the better -- off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can't deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you've come to the right place. She doesn't shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what they deserve.

The times Harley isn't writing, she's thinking up naughty things to do to her husband, drinking copious amounts of Starbucks, and reading. She loves to read and devours a book a day, sometimes more. She's also fond of TV shows and movies from the 1980's, as well as paranormal shows from the 1990's to today, even though she'd much rather be reading or writing.

You can find out more about Harley or enter her monthly giveaway on her website. Be sure to join her newsletter while you're there to learn more about discounts, signing events, and other goodies!

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Friday, December 24, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: The Extra Myles by Melanie Munton #GIVEAWAY

The Extra Myles
Melanie Munton
(A Southern Hearts Club Novella)
Publication date: December 21st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

NOW HIRING… Fake boyfriend for 27-year-old desperate female. Must be able to deal with pretentious, New York City socialites. Attendance at family Christmas events required. Seasonal work only. Applicants not named Myles Colson need not apply.

The position has been filled. Granted, Myles is the only man in Blair McCauley’s life capable of looking her dragon mother in the eyes and not bursting into tears. Blair will need that steel whenever her mother helpfully reminds her over a glass of eggnog that a career is pointless when she could just marry rich. Thankfully, the barbecuing, beer swilling, football watching guy’s guy doesn’t even sort of fit in with her flashy New York lifestyle.

Which is exactly the point.

Although Myles is a lot more than a former jock with a pension for frosted mugs and Sweatpants Sundays. He also happens to be a gifted artist, and Blair is helping him carve out his space in the art world. Lucky for her, she’s the only one who gets to see the man behind the pottery wheel. Sans shirt.

But when Blair and Myles both come to the realization that they’ve just been pretending at pretending, they never see what’s coming for them next.

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Blair McCauley.

Every time she’s around, I get all antsy and excited for some reason. Like when my Clemson Tigers complete a sixty-three-yard pass and run it in for the touchdown to win the game.

I snicker.

Little Miss Blair here has probably never even watched a football game in her life.

The woman breezes into the back room with all the air of a European queen. And from what I’ve read, she practically is that up in NYC. Or at least, a princess. Either way, Blair McCauley is American royalty.

And I might as well be the guy who cleans horse shit out of her family’s stables.

“Are you ever going to fix that door?” she asks in the exasperated tone I recognize.

She sounds that exact same level of annoyed every time she stumbles through my studio door that, even I’ll admit is a bitch to open.

Damn, but she’s beautiful.

Like, the breathtaking kind of beautiful. The kind of woman who deserves to have a sultry theme song play every time she enters a room. My favorite is when she gets all huffy like this. Blowing her Marilyn Monroe-styled blond hair off her forehead, planting her dainty hands and manicured nails on her slim hips, and cocking said hip out. The whole move pushes out her full, rounded breasts beneath her silk top, her tight skirt stretching across those svelte legs.

Stunning she may be, but the woman is also the prissiest, most high-maintenance, spoiled city girl I’ve ever met.


And I don’t do that type. Sure, I’ve fantasized about having this woman beneath me—a shameful number of times—but I prefer my women to be a little more kickback. Someone who’s content to sit around with you on a Sunday afternoon in nothing but ratty sweatpants, watching football without complaint. A woman who’s okay with going out in public without makeup. Someone who doesn’t turn her nose up when I don’t wipe my mouth between each chicken wing and just wait until I’m done eating them altogether.

If Blair has never watched football, then she’s damn sure never eaten a chicken wing.

I don’t know jack shit about hair, makeup, or clothes, but I know that all of hers are top-of-the-line. The material of her blouse is high-quality. Every pair of shoes I’ve ever seen her in are high heels that you just know cost a small fortune. Her purses are all designer names I’ve at least heard of—Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana. I even caught a glimpse of one of her lace bras one day when she bent over, a move that about gave me a fucking aneurysm, and I definitely know that item was high-priced.

No. Blair McCauley definitely isn’t my type.

I could never afford her. The best I could do is a hot night between the sheets because a man’s bank account doesn’t matter then. When she saw my place in the daylight, that’s when she would surely saunter all the way back up to New York in her five-inch stiletto heels.

I lift an eyebrow. “Why do you presume I know how to fix it?”

She tilts her head to the side. “Don’t you work in a factory?”

I would be pissed off by the question if I knew she didn’t mean it condescendingly. For all of Blair’s quirks, she’s not a mean person. Perhaps a little naïve at times, but not rude.

I lean back on my stool, crossing my arms over my chest. Her eyes briefly flick down to my biceps before quickly averting to stare at the wall.

Now that’s something.

In all the months I’ve known this woman, in all the phone calls made and trips from New York to Charleston she’s taken, I haven’t seen much in the way of…awareness…from her. At least, not in the sexual sense. God knows I think she’s hot as hell, in the not-so-much-as-a-hair-out-of-place kind of way. But if she felt any attraction toward me whatsoever, you’d never know it.

“We don’t produce doors at a steel manufacturing plant.”

Her apple-shaped cheeks tinge pink. “I realize that. I just pegged you as a jack-of-all-trades type.”

“Because of the uniform? The dirt under the nails?”

She frowns and somehow looks cuter like that. “No. Because you don’t seem like the useless type.”

My ears perk up at something in her voice. Something almost…self-deprecating. Has someone actually told her that she’s useless?

Why does that piss me the fuck off?

She bites her lip in uncertainty, as if afraid she said something wrong. “Or maybe, you know, you can just buy a new door or something? They have those at Home Depot stores, right? I’ve personally never been inside one, but I hear they’ve got them around here.”

I chuckle because I think she’s being funny on purpose, but I can’t always tell with her. It’s almost as if she doesn’t recognize her own sense of humor and doesn’t understand why people might laugh at one of her jokes. Or sardonic quips. Either way, I aim to wipe that look of uncertainty off her face.

“No, you’re right. I can fix the door. I just haven’t had the time lately.”

Truthfully, I haven’t messed with the door because I like how it announces her entrance. And how it makes her angrily curse under her breath. And how she’s slightly out of sorts by the time she reaches me in the back room. I like seeing her hair falling across her forehead before she shoves it back into place. Like seeing the flush on her cheeks, rather than the porcelain doll look they usually have. In those brief seconds, I think I’m seeing the real Blair, rather than the polished, prim illusion she projects.

“I see.” She smooths her hands down her skirt, pushing her shoulders back. “So, how are the final pieces coming along?”

I take another swig of my beer to avoid staring at her legs in those tights that I know have that fucking seam up the back. “Firing up now. Should have them done by tomorrow afternoon.”

She excitedly starts tapping around on her phone. “Excellent. I can have them shipped up to New York before my flight back, and everything will still be on schedule for the exhibition on the twenty-ninth.”

“You don’t even want to look them over for approval before you ship them off?” I question. “You’re so sure these final pieces will be good?”

She peeks up at me through long, lowered lashes. “Not necessary. There’s no way I won’t like them.”

Scout’s honor, my dick turns to a full-blown erection at her compliment.

She actually likes my work.

Her eyes widen as her words finally sink in. “I-I mean, the others are all so fantastic, I doubt these will pale in comparison.”

If she’s trying to backtrack her apparent admiration for my work, she’s doing a piss-poor job, at least from my perspective.

And now my dick is hard as a fucking icicle.

Granted, if you stuck an icicle in my pants right now, it would melt in about two and half seconds. Even in December, it’s a scorcher down here in the South.

“Thank you,” I rasp, fighting to get all my bodily functions under control. “I hope they meet your expectations, then.”

Her eyes stay on me for silent moments, baffling me. She never holds eye contact with me for this long. It’s like she makes a point not to.

“Trust me.” Her voice is barely above a whisper. “They’ll exceed them.”

Author Bio:

Melanie grew up in the Midwest, but she loves living in the Southeast (where the beaches are!) now with her husband and daughter.
Melanie's other passion is traveling and seeing the world. With anthropology degrees under their belts, she and her husband have made it their goal in life to see as many archaeological sites around the world as possible.
She has a horrible food addiction to pasta and candy (not together...ew). And she gets sad when her wine rack is empty.
At the end of the day, she is a true romantic at heart. She loves writing the cheesy and corny of romantic comedies, and the sassy and sexy of suspense. She aims to make her readers swoon, laugh out loud, maybe sweat a little, and above all, fall in love.
Go visit Melanie's website and sign up for her newsletter to stay updated on release dates, teasers, and other details for all of her projects!

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Sunday, December 19, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: There's a Dead Girl In My Yard by Angela Page & Mia Altieri #GIVEAWAY

There’s A Dead Girl In My Yard
Angela Page & Mia Altieri
Publication date: December 1st 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Crime

Inspired by true events!

The life of Poppy, a struggling actress, is turned upside down when she witnesses the burial of an urn in her yard. Poppy gets entangled with the “dead girl,” Dalia, a Latina health guru, whose mourners show up in the yard, and whose criminal antics, ranging from Miami to New York to L.A., sent her into a witness protection program.

Why does Poppy agree to mourner manage Dalia’s burial site?

Dead Dalia’s fan club overwhelm Poppy with their visits, as do the dangerous signs of Dalia’s former life as healer and thief. Still, Poppy finds that wearing Dalia’s clothes bring her good luck in auditions and that Dalia’s luscious, Latin lovers are irresistible. Is Dalia really dead? Once Poppy is accused of complicity with Dalia’s crimes, she wants everything Dalia out of her life.

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Just after I moved into the guesthouse, they buried a dead girl in my yard. That’s when my life turned upside down and inside out for the second time. The first time was when the doctors rearranged my colon.

I was thrilled to move into the Topanga Canyon guesthouse, a boho-chic area north of Los Angeles. I knew about Topanga from growing up in the nearby San Fernando Valley. Now, as a struggling, mostly unemployed actress, I was living in a shitty, Hollywood neighborhood. Although it was a cute, little bungalow, the environment was killing me—dirty, filthy, hot, too much traffic, zero fresh air, noisy and people living on the edge. Hollywood was no longer glamorous. And parking was a son of a bitch. Also, at age forty-six, I was done stepping over homeless people. Sorry-not-sorry, and I deserved different and better. Even though many times, I had been close to homeless myself.

The universe spoke when I met Lily Jin at a Hollywood acting workshop. She was an exotic-looking and a mixed something. A twenty-two-year-old gal, and a lite-Buddhist, like me. I usually do just enough chanting to keep the demons and gremlins away for the day.

Lily was wearing torn jeans over her long, model-like legs and a midriff exposing a flat, firm tummy. There was not an ounce of fat anywhere.

Oh, to be twenty again and be able to eat, drink, smoke and snort anything. That was several decades behind me. My five-six, lanky frame was getting flabby. Yes, even skinny people can get flabby. I was now in yucky perimenopause, with the last of my overcooked eggs dropping into withering fallopian tubes and heading down through my dried-up hoo-ha. Luckily, at first glance, you can’t tell this is happening unless you’re airport security staff.

My dirty blonde shoulder length hair only needed a bit of henna to hide the grey and my brown eyes were still bright and youthful. This helped my agent place me in the thirty-five-to-forty-five roles, despite being in my mid-forties.

To date, no surgery, minimal fillers and injectables. However, as I headed towards the half-century mark, I would revisit. In the meantime, I strove to sharpen my acting skills, and let gravity have its way with me.

While in the workshop, Lily and I tried following the acting exercise. As we were pretending to be wounded sheep during an alien invasion, Lily whispered to me, asking if I knew of anyone who wanted to rent her guesthouse. After the workshop, we went to the El Compadre on Sunset to discuss the details. We were served frozen skinny margs, then toasted each other and became besties in an instant. When Lily told me that the guesthouse was in Topanga Canyon, I shouted over the mariachi band, “I’ll take it, I’ll take it, I’ll take it!” Even sight unseen and not knowing the price, she had me at “Topanga Canyon.”

I had heard about Topanga. It was crawling with the famous and the has-beens who never were. The town was known for its eclectic artists and colorful history, including one of the Manson family murders. During the Hollywood golden age, it was the weekend getaway hotspot for the now-dead stars you can see on the Turner Classic Movie channel. It had changed, but still had some leftover glamour and pricey homes. I was already fantasizing about living among the stars, wearing designer sunglasses and sipping champagne.

Before Lily would show me the property, we had to chant together while we were still drinking at El Compadre. The place was crowded, and the mariachi band was still in high gear. I knew I looked skeptical about chanting.

“Come on, we can do it. Tune the Mexicans out,” Lily said as she closed her eyes and chanted.

The waiter came by and made a comment. But I only caught, “Locas.” I kept one eye open and one closed while I chanted with Lily. It felt like a minute, and then she paused. We both instinctually did a pinkie swear. As we exhaled, we vowed to make this living situation work. I was cleared to visit the digs. But the rent Lily was going to charge was under market. So, was there a catch: leaking roof, Peeping Toms, bad plumbing, crawling with critters?

Author Bio:

Angela Page is a writer, film producer, and graduate of The London School of Economics and New York University.

"THERE'S A DEAD GIRL IN MY YARD" is her latest co-authored released inspired by real events!

"SUDDENLY SINGLE SYLVIA," a novella and dating guide and the basis for the award-winning short film "SYLVIA."

"MATCHED IN HEAVEN," a comic fantasy romance, was the winner of the 2015 New Apple humor category and 2015/16 Readers' Views award winner in romance.

Her short stories have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She wrote and produced the multi award-winning comedy short, "Unplugging Aunt Vera" which is featured on the SHORTS TV channel. Her other short works can be seen on IndiPix Unlimited and FunnyorDie

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Saturday, December 18, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: A Christmas Love Song by Andee Reilly #GIVEAWAY

A Christmas Love Song
Andee Reilly
Publication date: November 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He gave her a song. She gave him Christmas.

Once a huge pop star, Jake Wilder hasn’t written a hit song in over ten years. Stuck playing small-time venues where only his most dedicated fans remember him, a comeback seems improbable. But even those gigs are quickly drying up, and if Jake doesn’t do something soon, he’ll slide into permanent has-been oblivion. In a twist of fate, a record executive with a soft spot for retro artists, holds a competition in search of pop musicians to write a new Christmas classic.

Longing to become a serious and respected journalist, Mackenzie Stone scoffs at her latest assignment to write a profile about a washed-up pop singer. She would prefer to cover hard news rather than light stories assigned by her editor who seems unwilling to give her a chance. Determined to write a noteworthy story and at the same time prove herself, it’s up to Mackenzie to help inspire Jake to compose a Christmas classic.

As Jake struggles to overcome his anxieties and write a great song, Mackenzie digs for a story of substance. Together they find love while also discovering the true meaning of Christmas.

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Mackenzie Stone stormed into her editor’s office at The Sunrise Press. “Mr. Hughes, you do realize I have a degree in journalism and political science.”

He let out a harsh breath. On several occasions, he’d asked her not to raise her voice, especially in front of the rest of the staff. Not that he’d ever fire her. She was hands down his best reporter.

There were exactly two things she hated: being told what to do and getting assigned fluff pieces.

“I’ve said it a million times.” He looked up from the plant he was watering. She admired his green thumb since she could barely keep her Chia pet alive.

“The political news comes straight from The Associated Press. Our focus is on community events and human-interest stories,” he said.

“And you think what’s going on in the rest of the world isn’t of human interest?” She slapped her hand on the desk for effect. He jumped. Too gentle to be in the cutthroat business of big league journalism in her opinion. Though The Sunrise Press was hardly big league. How he lasted over forty years at the paper was a miracle.

She took in a deep breath. Her father always said her temper would lead to trouble. There was also the whole red-headed stereotype. More than once she’d been called hot-headed and told it had something to do with her flaming red hair. This narrow-minded assumption usually irritated her even more.

“All I’m asking for is a serious story. I need something with grit.” Mr. Hughes set down the watering can and scratched his head, pushing his gray hair so it stood up in all directions. She stopped herself from smoothing the wayward strands and, while she was at it, straightening the sagging shoulders of his cardigan sweater. He was like the unkempt, sweet old grandfather she wished for as a kid.

He finally said, “Take it easy, Lois Lane. You’ll get your chance at the Pulitzer someday.”

She brushed off the Lois Lane comment. Profiling Superman would be a lot more interesting than the story he had assigned her. “The whole world’s going to pot, and you want me to profile some washed-up pop star named Jake Wilder?”

“Everybody loved him. You know that song,” he said. “‘We looked out at the city lights that night’,” he sang. “‘The connection we both felt, it seemed so right’.”

Not bad. She was getting too distracted and needed to drive the point home that nobody would care about this story. “Yeah, well I had to Google him, and so will the mere handful of people who may want to read about him.”

“Believe it or not, young lady, pop music didn’t begin with Lady Gaga, or whoever it is you’re listening to these days.”

“But there are plenty of washed-up stars to profile. Why him?” “I think the term you’re looking for is retro.” She imagined that’s how Mr. Hughes referred to himself as well. “If you Googled him, then you should know the answer,” he said. “He’s a local boy. Born and raised in Pasadena. Probably grew up right down the street from you.”

Her family knew everybody in their private, very exclusive neighborhood. She would’ve heard if they had a celebrity, even a former one, in their midst.

“He hasn’t even cinched the deal.” She’d been informed earlier about the details of the contest. Jake Wilder was only one of several artists competing for the shot. “His Christmas song could be a disaster and the story a huge waste of our time.”

“Let me worry about that,” Mr. Hughes said.

“This is so lame.” She slumped into the chair across from him. For five years she’d been compiling a portfolio of important stories that might land her a job at one of the major newspapers. This Jake Wilder nonsense wouldn’t make the cut.

“I got a call from Jake’s manager today. He said we’d have exclusive access to the whole process—from Jake accepting the challenge, to writing the song, to waiting for the call,” he said, punctuating every stage with an animated hand gesture. He was excited about the story, and she knew she’d lost the battle.

“I don’t even like Christmas.” She hoped he wouldn’t remember her desk was covered in Christmas decorations.

He leaned his head back and laughed. “Everybody around here knows the truth. You’re crazy about Christmas.”

Mackenzie had to admit. There was a story. She only had to dig it up.

Author Bio:

Andee Reilly was born and raised in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert. After many years of teaching writing and literature at California State University, Channel Islands, Andee moved to Maui to pursue her dream of teaching at the University of Hawaii, writing full-time, and surfing the beautiful waves of Hawaii.

To learn more, visit

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Friday, December 17, 2021

BOOK BLITZ: Return All by Eve Dangerfield #GIVEAWAY

Return All
Eve Dangerfield
(Rebirth, #2)
Publication date: December 14th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Hundreds of women have tried to win Derek over, but the only girl he’s loved is nowhere to be found…

Derek Hardiman has been crowned a football prodigy—but success came at the cost of his dorky high school sweetheart, Mara Temple. A decade after she left town, he still can’t imagine marrying someone who isn’t her…
Traveling for most of her twenties, Mara has returned home with a designer wardrobe, a sweet puppy, and a new last name. What better to keep her surly ex-boyfriend from recognizing her?

When Mara and Derek are thrown back into each other’s lives the obsession that began when they were teenagers returns in full force. Derek can hardly believe the goddess his once-awkward lover has become, and he’s determined to win her back. But Mara is determined not to give in to the hype surrounding her bachelor superstar ex. Unfortunately, Derek has always lived up to the hype. After all, a girl only has one daddy…

Should true love get a second chance?

Return All is a standalone second chance romance by critically acclaimed author Eve Dangerfield.

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Derek moved toward her, getting bigger by the second. “Mara? Mara! It’s me!”

His eyes were wild, his face—his face looked different. His moustache was gone. Clean-shaven, he was more like the boy from school than ever, jogging toward her in a black hoodie as though this was Albury in 2011.

Mara lowered hands she hadn’t known she’d brought to her chest. “Hi.”

She said it so quietly he couldn’t have heard her, but his face lit up. Naked happiness so bright it was terrifying. She wanted to burrow into the ground like a scared rabbit.

Chase turned. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Derek didn’t even glance at him. His unworldly black eyes were locked on hers. Mara’s cunt contracted. He was going to pick her up. He was going to carry her away like a marauding conqueror. Then he didn’t. He pulled up, his body jolting. “Mara. I can’t believe it’s you.”

She stared up at him. Even in her fuchsia Attico pumps, she barely came to his shoulders. He’d grown since he was a teenager. Up close, his face was different too. There were lines around his eyes that weren’t visible in photos or on TV. Neither was the black stubble under his skin. The word rose unbidden, Daddy, and euphoria spread through Mara’s chest like honey.

“Hello? Asshole? Can you hear me?” Chase demanded.

Derek ignored him. His gaze dragged over her face, studying her as she studied him. She touched a hand to her lips. Had he noticed her injection? Her eyelashes? Her nose? The fact her ears no longer stuck out through her hair?

Then he shook his head. “You’re fucking stunning. You look so… I don’t know how to say it.”

Expensive. She looked expensive. Money had flowed into her life, glossing her rough parts, and buffing the bright places to a near-impossible shine. She looked like a rich girl. Mara stared at her toes. For years she’d dreamed of this moment, dreamed of him saying these things, but now he was here, and she wanted to hide.

“Mara… where have you been, baby?”

It was such a huge question, tied off with such a ridiculous pet name, Mara didn’t know how to answer. “Around. I guess.”

Derek’s face sagged. “But—”

Chase stepped between them. “Maybe I should have made this clearer at our meeting, stay the fuck away from us. Now leave or I’ll call the police.”

“One minute, mate.” Derek sidestepped Chase. “Your hair. When did you grow out your hair?”

Mara almost laughed. “When I was twenty. Derek, what are you doing here? Is this about the house?”

“The house? The fucking house?”

He took a step toward her, and Chase moved across, blocking him. “Talk with your words, Hardiman.”

Derek scowled but took a step backward. “I’ve been looking for you for years. I couldn’t find you anywhere.”

Mara felt a small streak of pride. She’d paid handsomely to keep her name out of Google search terms. It was nice to know it had worked. “I… got off social media.”

“Right.” Derek shoved his hands into his pockets. “Fuck. Well, I’m so sorry, baby. I’m sorry, for everything. I’m sorry we lost touch and…”

His words washed over Mara like dirty waves. So sorry. Lost touch. Baby. They meant nothing. They were just sounds crammed together. A woman in a gray coat ducked past them and she realised they were blocking the path. She turned her face away.

Chase glanced from her to Derek. “Okay, this has been sufficiently weird, but we need to get to work. Goodbye, Mr Hardiman. Don’t come here again.”

Chase slid his arm through hers and steered her around Derek and back toward HFA.


Derek’s voice stirred waters deep inside her. Places she’d allowed to crumble in the darkness of her twenties. She turned and found him staring desperately after her.

“He’s gonna follow us,” Chase muttered. “Keep walking. We’ll go upstairs—”

“Mara!” Derek’s voice was clear, a king calling across his hall. “Mara, we’re not done.”

She stopped as though he’d commanded it and Derek’s legs ate up the ground between them. “You. You’re the sexiest woman I’ve ever seen.”

She flushed, aware of Chase sputtering at her back. “Derek, I don’t know what to do.”

“So let me decide.”

Anger sizzled through her like hot oil. “Things aren’t the way they used to be.”

“Okay. I get that. You want me on my knees?”

“What?” she and Chase said together.

To her astonishment, Derek dropped like a stone onto the dirty footpath, cutting his height in half.

“For the love of Christ,” Chase groaned but Mara could only stare. Derek had always been unapologetic in his affection, but this was insane. He was a famous footballer and anyone could see him. How could he possibly be this desperate to speak to her? “Derek…”

“Give me your number.” He raised his tattooed palms as though in prayer. “Let me give you mine. I need to see you again.”

But you’re seeing me right now…

Chase touched her shoulder. “I’ll give you some privacy. But I’m right here.”

“Okay,” Mara whispered.

Derek watched Chase go, his gaze flicking back to hers as soon as he gauged Chase was far enough away.

“Baby,” his voice was gravel. “Baby, I want to kiss you. I am barely holding back right now.”

Mara knew that. She felt his energy vibrating out at her like orange heat. He wanted to snatch her up, crush her, take her down. Her body responded like warm paper desperate to curl into flame.

He smirked, so handsome, it almost stopped her heart. “It’s been too long, Little Miss.”

She stepped back. Little Miss. She called Pan that. But he had called her that. Not all the time. In bed. Pan. Pan was chewing away at Chase’s jumper upstairs. She needed to go to her. She needed to be with Pan. She took another step back. “I don’t know why you came, but I have to go.”

Derek stayed on his knees. “Give me your number. Or take mine. We’re not done, baby.”

Author Bio:

Eve Dangerfield has loved romance novels ever since she first swiped her grandmother’s paperbacks. Now she writes her own stories about complicated women and gorgeous-but-slightly-tortured men. Her work has been described as 'genre-defying,' 'insanely hot,' and ‘the defibrillator contemporary romance needs right now'...and not just by herself or those who might need bone marrow... OTHER PEOPLE! She lives in Melbourne with her boy and a bunch of semi-dead plants. She can generally be found making a mess.

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Thursday, December 16, 2021

B@@K REVEAL: Kate by Charyse Allan

Charyse Allan
Publication date: January 11th 2022
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Relationships are forbidden. Love is unacceptable. Control is her lifeblood.

After escaping her past, Kate builds her life around a single purpose: staying hidden. But when the unexpected threatens to unravel her tightly kept secrets, her will to remain alone falters.

Kate ran, planning to leave behind a shell of a life, giving herself strict rules to live by in order to keep the past hidden. But these rules have her trading one prison for another.

Then Kai sneaks into her life, shoving through her shields, getting her to break every one of her rules. An unexpected surprise threatens to unravel her secrets and strip away the control she fought so hard for. But she embraces it, diving into the unknown with Kai.

When her past catches up with her, she battles to keep those she has come to love protected, refusing to relent the strength she found within. But when stuck in a place she never wants to return to and with no chance of escape, she fears losing everything she’s allowed herself to cherish.

50% of Charyse’s net profit from “Kate” goes to Code of Vets Inc. There are roughly 40,000 homeless vets on any given night; they need only for us to reach out a hand to lift them up.

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Author Bio:

Charyse published the first novel of the Valley of Death Series in 2014 and has published four books since. She is working toward her BA in Professional Writing through GCU. Now married to her best friend/high school sweetheart, they live in the sweltering heat of Arizona raising their four kiddos and two Goldens. She's a bookaholic and chocoholic; her vices keep her sane, but YAH keeps her patient.

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Glory Unbound
Deborah L. King
(Glory Bishop, #2)
Publication date: December 14th 2021
Genres: Women’s Fiction

IN THIS SECOND BOOK of the series, Glory Bishop has finally broken free of her mother’s oppressive grasp and is offered a new life by a seemingly altruistic Chicago socialite, but there may be more than good intentions at play. Against the advice of trusted friends and family, Glory chooses the protection of Malcom Porter, her adoring, much older, bad-boy-turned-minister fiancé.

Thrust into a gilded world of wealth, society and privilege, Glory struggles to overcome the guilt of loving her new life. The whirlwind of 1980s designer clothing, penthouse views, and first-class travel is a far cry from her former existence.

With this new reality, comes unexpected complications and temptations. As she struggles to remain true to herself and her fiancé, Glory wonders if she will ever truly feel at home in this new world. Follow Glory Bishop in her continuing search for freedom and independence, as she once again strives to be her own savior.

Goodreads / Amazon


Back in the living room, Mary leaned against the kitchen door fame, puffing a rolled-up brown-paper cigarette with a shaking hand. “I know y’all engaged.” Mary took a short drag. “But you cain’t just come in here and snatch a child without askin’. Not even you, Malcolm Porter.”

“Child welfare does it all the time when they see bloody sheets, bleeding welts, and years and year of scars. You should be locked up with nothing but demons!” He snatched open the apartment door and stepped out into the hallway.

“I love you, Mama.” Glory hugged her mother until she felt Mary’s arms around her. “I’m sure it’s only for a few days,” she whispered. “I’ll be back when he calms down.”

“Malcolm!” Mary called out. “Mark my words. I know my child. She needs purging. She wants to be worldly. Devil get at her real easy. You takin’ her over to your mother’s with all that fancy stuff, gon’ turn her head if you don’t watch out. Demons of lies and rebellion, Jezebel spirit—”

Glory heard the suitcase drop and swift, heavy footfalls over the threshold. She threw herself at Malcolm before he could reach her mother.

“If you again lay a hand on her, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!” His voice was an icy snarl promising the wrath of God.

Glory pressed all her weight against Malcolm, the bandages under her clothes ripping from her skin, the medical tape roughly, agonizingly, scraping against her cuts and welts.

“Malcolm, God, please, let’s go! Mama, just stop! I promise I’ll be good!” Glory pushed against Malcolm until he backed up into the hall and grabbed her suitcase.

“I will bring you to a horrible end, and you will be no more. You will be sought, but you will never again be found!” Malcolm’s biblical threats hung in the air as he backed toward the stairs.

Glory stared into her mother’s impassive face. Mary took a deep drag on her rolled cigarette, nodded once, and closed the apartment door. Glory didn’t move until after she heard all three locks click into place.

Author Bio:

Deborah King has been a writer and storyteller her whole life. She published her first short story when she was seven years old. When she’s not writing, Deborah enjoys cartoons, cooking, photography, and Star Trek. Born and raised in Chicago, Deborah has managed to achieve all of her childhood dreams and still lives in the area with her husband and two youngest children. According to her daughter, she has “literally aced her life!”

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

BLEEDING SOULS SAVED by LOVE! Saved by the Rose by P.T. Macias #NowLive

 Saved by the Rose by P.T. Macias 

Carlo Rossetti

As the Underboss,

I'm ruthless.

My world is dark.

Full of blood and pain.

I'm disenchanted by life.

I'm tired and cynical.

A beautiful girl runs into my life.

She makes demands.

The girl has pure bright light.

She lights my soul.

She's an enchantress.

A Soldier wants her.

Should I protect her?

I need to keep her.

But I'm a monster. I can't taint her.

But I'm a selfish bastard.

I'm keeping her.

Rubi Rose Rosette

The man is a monster.

He has my Dad, I need to rescue him.

But the monster eyes call me.

He's more than what it appears.

I feel a connection with his soul.

BOOK BLITZ: Christmas in the Highlands by Suzy Henderson #GIVEAWAY

Christmas in the Highlands
Suzy Henderson
Publication date: December 12th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

When Niamh Macdonald’s world crumbles, her roots call her home.

A feel-good holiday romance set in the Scottish Highlands at Christmas.

When artist Niamh Macdonald uncovers her boyfriend’s affair, she leaves her job and city life behind and flees home to the sleepy hamlet of Arden in the Scottish Highlands. Having inherited her late grandmother’s cottage, she vows to make a fresh start and pursue her dream of a career as an artist.

Love is the furthest thing on her mind until she bumps into her old friend, Alex Mackenzie, heir to Arden Castle. Sparks fly between the pair but swiftly wane when Alex inadvertently scuppers Niamh’s business plans. Niamh retreats to consider her options.

Can she make her home in Arden and can she ever forgive Alex?

Goodreads / Amazon



Niamh MacDonald was almost home. As she drove by fields and hedgerows, smoke rose in straggly lines from croft chimneys at the foot of the mountains. With her foot, she squeezed the brake pedal as she approached Loch Melfort, the ocean waters of which lay flat and still; lead-grey, reflecting the mountains and the blue cloudless sky. Cold, uninviting, yet the scene warmed her heart and a smile emerged on her lips for the first time since leaving Leeds.

The late autumn sunlight glared through the windscreen as she turned into the drive of her late grandmother’s cottage, Arden House. As she swung into the drive, she drove slowly over the rutted, stony tree-lined track now mostly covered with a fine carpet of grass. Above the towering pines, a buzzard glided through the infinite cloudless sky. She squinted into the light as she parked, casting a furtive glance at her gran’s old silver Range Rover that sat in the open fronted barn at the side of the house. Goodness, that wouldn’t start now. Was it even road worthy? Niamh huffed out a breath.

She clambered out of her black Honda CRV, her thighs tight, lower back aching from the long drive. She tugged her blue pinstriped shirt down and wiggled her hips as she hitched up her skinny black jeans. Thirty minutes away from Oban and she was in a remote haven surrounded by mountains, lochs, wildlife, and a castle. The local village housed one public inn, a village store and post office.

The wind puffed, shaking the boughs free of autumn’s leaves, sending them scuttling around her feet like confetti in hues of scarlet, gold, and amber. Suddenly, she felt the ache of loss and failure and sucked in a deep breath. All the dreams she’d had and clung to. She’d studied art at university, dreamt of holding extravagant exhibitions, travelling the world, painting her way, selling originals like hot cakes.

Reality was a harsh taskmaster. Working in pubs, supermarkets while painting in every spare minute and holding scrappy two-bit exhibitions in downtown art galleries which yielded minimal sales. Still, she’d tried her best and often told herself she needed to keep going. She remembered a rather crude expression of her grandmother’s, who often said, “In Churchill’s own words, keep buggering on.”

Niamh smiled, a pang nipping her heart. When she was fourteen, her parents died in a car accident, so she’d gone to live with Gran. The landscape of the Highlands inspired her over the years. The mountains and hills rose all around, their energy simmering in the air. Her heart bloomed. In Arden, she grieved, and later, fell in love for the first time.

On a grey drizzly day, descending from Glencoe, she’d slipped on loose scree and sprained her ankle. Her friend, Anna, didn’t know what to do. Niamh had insisted on getting to her feet and leaned on Anna for support. As she hobbled along, a young man emerged from the mist. Dark hair, coffee-bean eyes, with long lashes. Such a handsome face. ‘Do you need help?’ he said. Of course, Anna jumped at the offer, squealed like a little girl in delight whereas Niamh longed for the ground to swallow her whole, her cheeks burning as he gazed into her eyes. ‘I’m Alex,’ he said. ‘Here, put your arm round my shoulders.’ Then he slipped his arm around her waist before helping her down the mountain. Their friendship bloomed and matured like the fine rambling roses in Gran’s Garden. Niamh hid her growing attraction as they hung out together during school holidays and at weekends. Later, university beckoned for them both. Alex left for St Andrews and she to Leeds. They both promised they’d write, but that soon petered out.

The past eleven months had been bleak. Catching her partner, Tom, in a clinch with a younger woman at his office party a few months back was the icing on the cake. Afterwards, she discovered it wasn’t his first indiscretion. How could she have been so blind? Her bruised heart ached, but it would heal in Arden.

Author Bio:

Suzy Henderson is the author of The Beauty Shop, Madame Fiocca, and SPITFIRE, novels which are set during the turbulent times of World War Two.

Her debut novel, The Beauty Shop, was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. It is based on the true story of pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe, and the Guinea Pig Club – an exclusive club for RAF pilots and airmen who required plastic surgery as a result of their war injuries and were under the care of this enigmatic New Zealander.

Madame Fiocca is also based on a true story. This gripping adventure follows the tempestuous life of SOE heroine, Nancy Wake before and during the Second World War.

Suzy lives with her family on the edge of the Lake District, where she can be found rambling around lakes, country lanes or roaming the fells. Armed with a pen, a love of reading and a growing obsession with military and aviation history, she is often lost in the 1940s, writing historical fiction.

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