Release Blitz: Safe Harbour by Thom Collins #romanticsuspense #gay #contemporaryromance @firstforromance @pridepublishing

Safe Harbour by Thom Collins

Word Count: 58,382
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 229

Genres:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

 

Two lovers seek shelter in a storm of jealousy and passion.

Matt arrives in the seaside town of Nyemouth for a much-needed vacation. As a successful lawyer, Matt has a hectic career, and with an ex-husband still pestering him for money, he is long overdue a break. A holiday home perched above the town and its breath-taking harbour seems like the perfect place to unwind. Matt can’t wait to explore the beautiful, jagged shorelines and lose himself for a couple of weeks.

Jake has made a home in Nyemouth. After growing up in the city, living on the coast is everything to him. Running a business with his sister and volunteering on the crew of the local lifeboat, he is exactly where he wants to be. But Jake’s life is far from peaceful. Though he left his domineering husband Vince a year ago, Vince refuses to consent to a divorce or loosen his controlling hold on Jake.

On Matt’s first night in town, he encounters the couple having a blazing row. When Vince turns violent, Matt intervenes and takes Jake inside to escape his angry ex. Despite what happened, Matt feels a powerful attraction to the younger man. Jake is bright, endearing and unbelievably attractive, but the young man’s life is complicated. Matt already has enough problems of his own. He came away looking for an escape, not a starry-eyed distraction. As Matt and Jake get to know each other better, the gamble on a holiday romance becomes hard for either of them to resist. They have both been unlucky in love before. Maybe this time will be different.

Vince will not be shaken off so easily. He has no intention of letting Jake go…ever. As Matt’s and Jake’s emotions deepen, they do not understand how far Vince will take things to keep his husband. As far as Vince is concerned, they made a vow to each other… “till death do us part.”

Reader advisory: This story contains stalking and assault, physical and emotional spousal abuse, attempted murder with a firearm and references to abusive parenting and substance additions.

Excerpt

“Will you be staying long in town?” the shop assistant asked as he ran items through the till.

“Two weeks,” Matt Ramsey replied.

“Really?” The assistant, a pleasant-looking man in his fifties, didn’t look up from what he was doing. “It’s a small place to spend such a long amount of time. Won’t you get bored?”

“I doubt it. I want to use Nyemouth as a base to explore the local area—country walks, coastal trails, that kind of thing.”

“Oh, then you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. There are some stunning locations nearby, both up and down the coast.”

Matt smiled. He’d already done extensive research into this area of Northumberland. He’d visited here a couple of times before, just for the day, and it was a place he’d always wanted to discover further. With two weeks ahead of him and no other commitments, there would never be a better time.

He had finished work at five p.m. promptly and got straight into his car. Despite the Friday evening traffic, he’d made good time on the journey from York to Nyemouth, arriving at the holiday home just before seven-thirty. The old man who lived next door, a friendly guy called Jacob, had greeted him at the door with the keys and given him a quick rundown on the property and what he could find in town. Matt had left home without picking up supplies, and Jacob directed him to the small shop near the marina, less than ten minutes from the house, where he could get all he would need to see him through the next few days. Matt had thanked him and hurried down to the store.

He intended to get a takeaway for dinner tonight, but picked up bread, eggs, bacon, milk and tea bags for breakfast. He also bought three bottles of red wine, a bottle of dark rum and two litres of Diet Coke. It was his intention to eat out as much as possible while he was there, but he wanted to have some alcohol in for the times he came home late, so he could unwind in the comfort of the beautiful house that looked down on the marina and the mouth of the river.

“Have you lived here long?” he asked the cashier as he paid for his shopping.

“All my life,” the man said, sounding proud. “I know I knock the place for being small and there’s not a lot to do here out of season, but I do love it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Matt nodded. “Even in the winter, I imagine it’s still a lovely place to be.”

The man gave a good-natured laugh. “Come back in February when there’s a seventy-mile-per-hour gale coming in from the North Sea and see if you feel the same.”

“If the next fortnight goes well, I might just do that.”

“Well, if you do, I’ll be here.” He handed over the two bags of groceries. “Enjoy your stay. Hopefully I’ll see you around.”

Matt thanked him and left the shop.

That evening, it was difficult to imagine the brutal winter conditions the shopkeeper had spoken of. It was coming up to nine o’clock and the clear sky was deepening into shades of lapis and blueberry, marred by just a few wisps of cloud, high in the atmosphere. The perfect sky was mirrored on the still water of the harbour. The fishing fleet was home for the night, the boats lying motionless in their moorings.

There were a lot of people milling around the marina, couples and families enjoying the mild July weather. The bars and restaurants along the waterfront had set tables outside and looked to be doing a good trade. Matt had heard great things about The Lobster Pot, a bar-come-restaurant in the heart of the bay, and intended to treat himself to at least one good meal there during his stay—maybe one night next week when it wasn’t so busy.

He walked across the harbour, passing by the lifeboat station, towards the footpath back up to the house on South Bank Terrace.

Nyemouth’s lifeboat had made worldwide news the past summer when it was involved in the frantic rescue of the actor Arnie Walker and his young son. The publicity afterwards had brought hordes of tourists to the small seaside town. When Matt had been searching for a place in Northumberland to stay for his summer holiday, he’d almost discounted Nyemouth, remembering the scenes of chaos he’d seen on the news less than a year before. He wanted somewhere peaceful as a base for his hiking trips, and the interest Arnie’s rescue had created for the town made it far from ideal.

Matt had done some extra research and, while it was true that Nyemouth was now on the map as a major tourist attraction, the initial ghoulish interest people had taken in it had settled down, although he’d read that Arnie Walker was now a permanent resident here with a home on the north bank of the river. When Matt had discovered a house on the south side was available for the dates he required, those niggling concerns had disappeared.

Now he was here, breathing in the fresh sea air, and he knew he’d made the right choice.

At thirty-nine, Matt had no qualms about going on holiday by himself. He was a free man, able to do what he wanted and pursue his own interests without having to compromise for someone else. Some of his friends and colleagues had tried to talk him out of it and persuade him to join them for his summer break. Matt had no interest in their Spanish villas or their all-inclusive trips to the Caribbean. He’d always wanted to explore Northumberland, and now, divorced and one year short of his fortieth birthday, he intended to do exactly what he pleased.

Those same colleagues were always trying to fix him up with their gay friends. It was four years since he’d split with Clinton, and people seemed determined to pair him off with someone else.

It was all well-meant, but Matt didn’t need it. This was his time to do his own thing, and he intended to enjoy it.

He followed the path upwards, through the cobbled backstreets of the old town. Living in a city, albeit a modest one like York, gave him a greater appreciation of small towns and villages, especially those on the coast. The pace was much calmer here, more peaceful. He knew he was looking through the rose-tinted eyes of a tourist, but tonight he was happy in the belief that life was simpler in a place like this.

A middle-aged couple walking a small terrier smiled at him and nodded as they passed.

“Hey,” he said in return.

After a busy day at court, he looked forward to a quiet night in the holiday home. He would pour a glass of wine, order some food and unpack his stuff while waiting for it to arrive. He was too tired to explore the town this evening. There would be plenty of time for that tomorrow. He intended to get acquainted with Nyemouth this weekend, checking out the shops, pubs and cafés, before exploring the wider area next week.

Matt was a keen walker and hiker. Though the path from the marina to the house was steep, he managed it with the two bags of shopping without getting even mildly out of breath. The path levelled out as he reached South Bank Terrace and the last stretch was straight. The views from up here were second-to-none, taking in the entire valley and the river mouth. Maybe he’d be able to enjoy it with a glass of wine in the front garden before darkness cut in.

There were two men on the path that ran in front of the garden wall. He heard their raised voices as he approached.

“I’ve told you a million times before that the answer is no,” one of the men said. He was dressed in running shorts and a T-shirt—younger and slimmer than the other man. Pretty hot, Matt noticed the guy with long, muscular legs and dark brown hair that swept back from his face in luxurious waves.

“You’re being unreasonable,” the second man said. His voice sounded tight, like he was speaking through gritted teeth. He was stocky and thickset, with closely cropped grey hair and a narrow face. He wore grey suit trousers and a white shirt, the sleeves rolled up and the neck open.

“You’re the one who followed me up here,” the younger man said, sounding like he was close to losing it.

“What was I supposed to do? You won’t answer your damned phone. You don’t respond to my voicemails.”

“Don’t you get it, Vince? I blocked your number. I’ve told you before—I don’t know how many times—but I’ve had enough.”

A lover’s tiff, Matt guessed, though they seemed an unlikely couple. The young guy could do so much better for himself. Not that looks were everything, but he was way out of the older man’s league. Matt gave them a wide berth as he passed, but came close enough to see just how attractive the young man was. He had large, expressive eyes, a long, straight nose and a wide mouth. He looked wholesomely handsome in his running gear, giving off cute Clark Kent vibes.

The other man, he realised, was not as old as he’d first seemed, maybe early-to-mid-thirties. His prematurely grey hair and sharp features created a false impression. Even still, the two men did not look well matched.

“Just come with me,” the older man, Vince, snarled. “Listen to what I have to say.”

“Vince, I’ve heard everything before. There’s nothing you can say now that will make any difference.”

“How do you know if you won’t give me a fucking chance?”

Matt opened the gate and carried his shopping to the front door. He would not get involved. As a lawyer, he spent his entire working life dealing with the relationship problems of other people. These were two grown men. They could sort out their own issues. He put the key in the door.

“Get off me,” the young man snapped.

Matt glanced back to see him pull his arm out of Vince’s grip, and the man immediately lunged for him again. The young man dodged the grip.

“Stop being such a prick,” Vince said, his voice much louder now.

Matt groaned. This had the potential to get out of hand. He’d witnessed this kind of behaviour so many times—not just through work and handling messy divorce proceedings, but at home. Throughout his childhood, his father had been a pig, quick to anger and keen to use his fists. Matt didn’t want to get involved, but he couldn’t ignore this either.

“Is everything okay, fellas?” he asked, turning to face them.

Vince snapped his head around in his direction. “Piss off and mind your own fucking business. Prick.”

Matt ignored him and directed his gaze at the younger guy.

The man forced a smile. “It’s fine. Really.”

Matt nodded, unconvinced, but reluctant to involve himself any further in what was clearly a domestic argument. He carried his bags inside and through to the kitchen. As he put his supplies into the cupboard and the fridge, he could still hear their raised voices.

Vince sounded like the worst type of man—the kind of inadequate dickhead who tried to compensate for his own shortcomings with bullying and aggression. Matt knew the type well, having grown up with one until the age of twelve, when his mother had finally thrown his father’s sorry arse out. And he’d represented so many women and children during divorce and child protection cases who’d been caught up in relationships with controlling men.

Although he wanted to leave them to it, Matt’s conscience wouldn’t allow him to. He went into the living room and watched them through the window, hoping their argument would die down before it got any worse.

The young man had his hands up, warding Vince off to no effect as the little man puffed himself up and tried to get in his face.

“You stupid little prick,” he heard Vince say. “You’re worthless, you know that. Nothing. You were no one when I met you and you’re no one again.”

The skin of the young man’s face and neck was flushed. “If that’s how you feel, why don’t you go? Go on, and leave me alone.”

“I can’t leave you alone,” Vince said, changing tack. “You need me, Jake. You can’t get along without me. You’re useless on your own. You can’t cope.”

The young man, Jake, turned his back and tried to walk away. Vince grabbed his arm again and hauled him around, pulling him close, then wrapped his arms around him, taking him in a bear hug.

“Let go of me,” Jake protested.

“Enough of this shit. We’re going home.” Vince tried to lift him up and carry him.

Jake struggled, twisting out of his grip. Vince raised his hand to strike him.

Matt had seen enough. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned on the video camera as he headed for the door. He was filming when he stepped outside, training it on the two men. They might not like it, but he was determined to have a clear record of what happened next in case he had to call the police to deal with them.

As Matt walked down the path, Vince hauled back and struck Jake, his fist connecting with the side of his face, sending the young man sprawling to the ground.

“What the hell?” Jake complained, scrabbling backwards in the dirt, shuffling on his butt to escape his attacker.

“Stop pissing about and get the fuck home,” Vince jeered. “I’ve had enough of this fucking around. Do what I tell you to for once.”

Matt’s own anger mounted. Now that things had turned violent, he couldn’t let it continue. “Pack it in,” he shouted, coming to the end of the garden path.

Vince twisted in his direction. Matt saw the uncontrolled emotions flicker across his face—surprise, confusion, anger, then the aggression was back. He bared his teeth like a feral dog. “I’ve told you once already. Piss off and mind your own business.”

“I was prepared to do just that,” Matt said, keeping his voice calm and even, like a headmaster addressing a petulant teenager. “But when you throw your fists about, I can’t let that go. And, yes, I got that punch you just threw on camera, in case you’re wondering. It’s something I’m sure the police will be interested to see.”

Vince’s focus flickered between Matt and Jake. The bastard was no longer so sure of himself.

“This is a private matter. Nothing to do with you or the cops.” He puffed out his chest as he spoke, trying to assert his manhood.

“Again,” Matt said, amazed by his own composure, “that was the case until you started punching in the street. Now, it’s very much a matter for the police. Why don’t I call them and see what they think about it?”

“You fucking busybody… You should stop twitching your curtains and getting involved in things that have nothing to do with you.”

Matt kept the camera trained on him. “You’re not very bright, are you, Vince? For the third time, you made it my business. Now, are you going to take yourself off down that hill, or do I have to call the police to do it?”

Vince strutted towards the garden gate. “Why don’t you try to make me? Show me if you’re man enough to take me on.” He clenched his fists.

Matt wouldn’t fight him, but there was a good chance Vince would take a swing at him, regardless. “We have different ideas of what makes a man,” he said. “Violence won’t get you anything other than jail time, Vince. Even if Jake there doesn’t want to press charges against you, my testimony and video evidence will be enough to charge you and get you in front of the local magistrates on Monday. Is that the way you want this to go? To spend the weekend in a police cell? Or would you rather leave before you make it any worse?”

Stalemate. They glowered at each other across the fence. Bigger and more menacing men than Vince had tried to intimidate Matt, and he had not backed down. He wasn’t about to cave under the glare of this prize arsehole.

Vince’s face twisted in an ugly expression before he spat at the ground. He stepped away, turning his back on Matt. “Are you coming?” he demanded of Jake, who had risen to his feet and stood brushing the dust off his shorts. Matt noticed a smear of blood on the younger man’s face.

Jake shook his head. “Just go—and leave me alone. I don’t want to see you again.”

Vince loitered, his fists still clenched, his arms trembling.

There’s so much anger simmering under his lid that he looks like he’s about to explode.

“I think the message is clear,” Matt said. “Why don’t you do everyone a favour and leave?”

“Fuck you,” he said at last, his voice low and contemptuous. And as a parting shot to Matt, “Cunt.”

He strutted down the road, his shoulders back, knees wide, trying to look like a big man.

Matt, realising he’d been holding his breath, exhaled.

This was not the quiet evening he’d intended for the first night of his holiday.

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About the Author

Thom Collins

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonkbusters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

You can take a look at Thom’s Blog and follow him on Twitter.

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Book Blitz: Beast by Cambria Hebert #fairytales #retelling #romance @cambriahebert

Beast
Cambria Hebert
(House of Misfits, #4)
Publication date: November 12th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fairy Tales, Retelling, Romance

A tale as old as time…

A charismatic man cannot see beyond his own
brilliant reflection, never learning that true beauty lies within.
His selfish behavior draws the ire of a witch with enchantment on her wicked tongue.
A fiery curse is unleashed, engulfing the self-centered man’s entire existence.
When at last the flames are extinguished,
he gazes upon his reflection to discover he is no longer breathtakingly handsome
but condemned with scorched flesh and twisted scars.
He is no longer a man at all… but a beast.
While the ferocious beast rages, alienating everyone far and wide,
a woman whose beauty is far more than skin-deep
dwells in a world much simpler than his.

The beauty’s quiet life is disrupted when she is ambushed, threatened,
and boldly steps in the path of her father’s debt.
However, it’s not the thugs on her tail or the roaring beast
testing her patience that threatens to be this sassy beauty’s downfall.
It’s the way her heart flutters whenever he is near.

But some curses just can’t be broken, and really…
How can she truly ever love a beast?

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EXCERPT:

“How long has it been since you’ve had a shower?”

“Are you saying I stink?” I yelled.

“Yes,” she deadpanned.

I drew back, shock rendering me silent.

“Damn. Is that all I had to do to get you to shut up all this time? Just tell you, you stink?”

I low growl vibrated my throat. It hurt, but I didn’t stop.

Her eyes rolled. Their color was beautiful, reminding me of roasted chestnuts from street vendors around the holidays.

I wondered if I’d even be able to walk the street this year. My face would probably scare everyone.

“I’m asking because now that your bandages and stitches are removed, it would be a good time to shower off before I re-cover it all.”

“I haven’t had a shower since before. Only a couple sponge baths.” Then a piece of the old me slipped out, a piece I’d thought had been gone for good. Leaning in with a slight smirk and naughty whisper, I asked, “You offering to give me a sponge bath?”

Without missing a beat, she also leaned in. “I guess I am.”

The messy room fell away, and for a moment, I forgot I was a hideous, exposed beast overwhelmed with discomfort and cast aside by the people I’d trusted. All that remained was a pair of hickory eyes regarding me with sassy mirth. Her crimson-stained lips pursed, and my eyes lingered upon them, suddenly so incredibly hungry. Unlike mine, her skin was flawless, smooth, and richly pigmented.

She’s beautiful.

The long column of her neck was graceful and always exposed because the curls on her head were short and wild. My fingers itched to wrap around it, gripping with just enough force to possess her while my mouth devoured hers.

“What’s the matter, Ander? Not used to someone calling your bluff?” Her voice was amused but hushed, and something deep inside me howled in delight that she might not be as composed as she portrayed.

I leaned closer, noting the way her nostrils flared. We were so close now we shared the same breath. Hers smelled faintly of mint and was more rapid than before. “Who said I was bluffing?” I whispered.

Her cheeks turned slightly reflective, taking on a glossy sheen, and she pulled back, eyes flaring just a bit. She was flustered.

Author Bio:

Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

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Book Tour & Review: Disavow by Bella Di Corte #contemporaryromance #mafia #bookreview @XpressoTours

Disavow
Bella Di Corte
Publication date: November 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

He was my only oath.

Aniello Assanti was a monster dressed in a gentlemen’s suit.

He was everything I should’ve feared and run away from. A walking nightmare. He belonged to an organization that valued money over life; power over free will; codes over love.

And if that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, he was strictly forbidden.

I, Rosalia Lombardozzi, solemnly vow…no fraternizing with the men who belong.

I worked for the same organization, and even with that oath forever marking my tongue, I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Something existed between us that not even the fire of disloyalty could turn to ash.

Some called it obsession. I called it love.

The world we lived in called it an act of betrayal. To disavow meant certain death.

When the heart takes an oath, though, it is more sacred than any vow spoken—it’s the one thing worth living and worth dying for.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

The story of Assanti and Rosalia is quite a ride.. full of passion, danger, death and destruction.

The first chapter started in a way that made me feel a bit like I’d been dropped into the middle of something. It took me a few pages to settle in but once I did I couldn’t stop reading. The attraction between Rosalia and Assanti is immediately apparent, and forbidden. Both characters were willing to risk everything for love. Assanti not only would kill for Rosalia but would die for her too.

The secondary characters added extra layers to the story and brought it to life. The friends and family, their enemies… each was multifaceted and complex in their own way. And seldom was anyone as they first appeared.

Disavow will keep you on your toes, always guessing, but will give you a deeply satisfying ending that will make you wish there was more… you’ll never want to leave Bella Di Corte’s world once you take that first step.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion. 

Author Bio:

Bella Di Corte has been writing romance for seven years, even longer if you count the stories in her head that were never written down, but she didn’t realize how much she enjoyed writing alphas until recently. Tough guys who walk the line between irredeemable and savable, and the strong women who force them to feel, inspire her to keep putting words to the page.

Apart from writing, Bella loves to spend time with her husband, daughter, and family. She also loves to read, listen to music, cook meals that were passed down to her, and take photographs. She mostly takes pictures of her family (when they let her) and her three dogs.

Bella grew up in New Orleans, a place she considers a creative playground.

She loves to connect with readers, so don’t hesitate to email her at belladicorte@gmail.com if you’d like to reach out.

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Book Tour: Take Me to the River by Kaci Rose #contemporaryromance #giveaway @AuthorKaciRose @SDSXXTours

Take Me to the River

Mountain Men of Whiskey River Book 1

by Kaci Rose

Genre: Contemporary Mountain Man Romance

What’s a girl to do when she finds a sexy giant bathing in the river?

Emelie

Who leaves their girlfriend in the woods after a fight?

My now EX-boyfriend that’s who. One fight, okay a BIG fight because I found out he was cheating on me while we were camping and poof! He left me in the words.

So, I start walking to town, only I get turned around end up at the river where I meet Axel. This guy is HUGE.

With a storm rolling in I don’t have much choice but to trust him and take shelter in his cabin since I’ve been walking for hours AWAY from town.

Several days of rain wash out the road and it looks like I’m stuck here with my giant. Only he’s nothing like I thought he’d be. He’s quiet, watchful, smart, and funny.

Axel

I’ve lived alone for years and I’ve been okay with that until one day she finds me bathing at the river.

She is small, cute, and talks a lot. I find I don’t mind it.

When the storm washes out the only road into town and she is stranded with me a while longer only I am grateful for more time with her.

I like her in my space, I like showing her what I do, and how I survive out here. I like her in my bed.

After years of living alone, I find little appeal in it anymore.

When her ex-boyfriend shows up at my door can I convince her to stay?

Can I ask her to give up a life in town for one out here in the mountains with me?

This is a Steamy, Gentle Giant, Mountain Man Romance. No Cliffhangers.
As always there is a satisfying Happy Ever After.
If you love steamy romances with hot love scenes, mountains, rivers, and mountain men, then this one is for you.

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Look for the other books in the series Coming Soon!

Take Me To The Cabin – April 12 2022

https://books2read.com/TakeMeToTheCabin

Take Me To The Lake – Sept 20 2022

https://books2read.com/Take-Me-To-The-Lake

Take Me To The Mountain – Oct 11 2022

https://books2read.com/Take-Me-To-The-Mountain

Kaci runs on coffee, chocolate, and Oreos. She loves her book boyfriends with tattoos, muscles, beards, and a little dirty.

Kaci loves romance books and has been jotting down ideas since she was in high school and is now putting the ideas down on paper. She believes in satisfying, happily ever afters with a lot of steam on the way.

She was born and raised in Southwest Florida but is wholeheartedly a mountain girl. She has been reading as many books as she could get her hands on since grade school and loves to travel when she gets the chance.

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BOOK REVIEW: Thanksgiving with Dad’s Best Friend by Lena Little #agegapromance #dadsbestfriend #bookreview

I’ve been infatuated with him ever since I heard his name as a child, and as I got older, and sorted through pictures of him and my dad I started to feel…other things.

Things I shouldn’t but do.

But all those desires I tried to keep to myself? I don’t need to anymore. Because one look in his hungry eyes and I know he feels the same.

Tate is clearly trouble, and not just with the law.

I thought that a hardened man like Tate would only ever see me as a girl, an off-limits kid due to my age, lacking experience, and of course there is my dad.

But when my dad’s best friend stops by for Thanksgiving dinner he doesn’t just come for a meal. He comes for his prize. Me.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this Thanksgiving day, but none more than my dad’s best friend…my man…my everything.

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars

Want an alpha hero who’s a bit of a caveman but has a heart of gold? Then meet Tate!

Having spent twenty years in prison, Tate knows time is precious and he doesn’t plan to waste a second of it. He’s wanted Tatum since he first saw her picture and he’ll stop at nothing to make her his.

While I love age gap romances, his constant thoughts of knocking her up were a bit much at times. For me, it was just brought up too frequently for such a short book. But I loved his protective nature and how he wanted Tatum to be happy. He had a sweet side with a gruff nature that made for an interesting character.

Tatum loves her family and will do anything for them, but after meeting Tate, she wants to do something for herself… something that will make her happy.

The writing style was a bit choppy in spots, but it felt like the author found her pacing about halfway through. The last half of the book was great.

If you’re looking for an Insta love story with limited plot and character development, lots of steam, and a happily ever after then Thanksgiving with Dad’s Best Friend might be the perfect book for you.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. The review above is only my opinion.

Release Blitz: Rogue Royal by Megan Slayer #eroticromance #gay @pridepublishing @firstforromance

Rogue Royal by Megan Slayer

Word Count: 52,160
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 209

GENRES:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
ROYALS

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Book Description


You are formally invited to the royal ball…to become the husband to the king!

King Charles of Lysianna needs a husband and fast. He’s up against the biggest time crunch of all—a royal decree stating he must marry or lose the crown. It’s already December and he’s running out of time. Throwing a royal ball to find a suitable man for the role of husband seems like the king’s only option…until he meets Nathan. This royal has always done things his own way—and maybe now it’s time to go rogue.

Nathan Pratt doesn’t want much from life except to raise his son and be happy. Dating isn’t on this single father’s radar until he sees Charles in the castle solarium and his heart goes out to the sad-looking man. Once he meets Charles, he starts to think love might be possible. There’s just the small issue of Charles being the king…

Will Nathan be able to handle the glare of the spotlight with Charles beside him, or will the notoriety that comes with dating a royal be too much?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of gunshots as well as the threat of kidnapping. This book is linked to Runaway Royal.

Excerpt

“I’m in charge.” Charlie stared out at the kingdom, admiring the park leading to the hall of government. Snow lay soft on the ground and the land looked crisp but clean. The trees were dusted in bright white and kids played on the grounds of the park, tossing snowballs at one another.

He’d used to toss snowballs—before his father had handed him the keys to the monarchy. He’d become the king. The entirety of Lysianna was now under his protection. He should feel invincible, but he didn’t. To be honest, he didn’t feel like a king.

He was just a man with a fancy crown…and an entire country expecting him to keep order.

“Sire? You have a problem?” Newt, one of the pages, held a document out. “Lord Spencer gave this to me. He’s just finishing up in the other room. According to this, you must be married by end of this year. It’s already December fifth.”

“You’re kidding me.” He wanted to see Spencer right away. Why would his right-hand man send the page in to alert him to this notice? “I thought I had a while.” He’d known about the time limit, but could’ve sworn the deadline was more than thirty days away.

Spencer swept into the room and flicked his fingers to dismiss Newt. “Go.” He waited until Newt left the room, then continued. “You have to be married by the new year. That’s how that rotten woman had the decree worded. You’ve had all year to pick, and now if you don’t choose, the kingdom goes to the next in line.”

“That’s Zara’s little boy, Alistair.” He’d never know why she’d named her child that, but whatever. “Well, shit.”

“What’s worse? You’re supposed to marry a girl. According to this, you need to procreate.” Spencer shook his head. “You’d really think your former stepmother hated your guts.”

“She did.” He leaned back in his office chair. “She wanted nothing more than to ruin my life.” His former stepmother had sworn that he and his sister Zara weren’t right for the crown. She’d wanted to be queen, and when the king had stepped down, she’d lost her connection to the line. She hated her stepchildren and even more that Charlie was gay. Unfortunately, she’d managed to get a decree into the records which stated that Charlie, the current king, needed to not only be married, but to have children.

“What are you going to do?” Spencer asked.

“Nothing yet.” He had no prospects or ideas—just a kingdom to himself. He wasn’t good at being alone. Ever since he’d come out, he’d had a boyfriend. Being with someone made him feel more secure. Except now… He didn’t know what to do.

“We should throw a ball.” Spencer clasped his hands behind his back. “That’s it. A ball to find you a…husband. Would he be the prince? We don’t have co-kings. Duke? That doesn’t feel right.”

“It doesn’t matter, since I don’t have anyone in mind,” Charlie said. “Plan out the ball. I don’t care. I’ve got roughly thirty days to find a husband. It’s only almost impossible.”

“I’m on it.” Spencer picked up his tablet. “We’ll have to fast-track the details, but it’s been done before.”

“A king should be self-assured, not wallowing in self-pity. So I’m alone and being forced to wed?” He stared at Spencer. “I’m the king, right? So I can add an addendum to the decree, correct? Saying that I’m entitled to marry the man I choose, not a woman, since I’m gay?”

“You can. I’ll get the decree written up.” Spencer took his place at his desk. “Won’t be more than a minute to get the words on the parchment.”

Charlie paced the length of the office. He had no business being king. Sure, he could handle passing judgments and thought himself fair, but he wanted to be happy—not just there to mete out justice.

He wanted to be loved in the way Zara had found love with Luke. They were meant for each other and the stuff of fairy tales.

What about him? It’d taken most of the year for the people of the empire to warm up to him being gay and the king. Would they accept him being married to another man? For all he knew, they’d revolt.

Spencer finished writing up the document. “Here. Look this over and sign it if the wording is correct. This addendum should at least give you the right to marry a man. But I should mention, you’ve always been roguish in the way you handle things. This isn’t that far out of normalcy for you. Don’t sweat it.”

“Thanks.” He settled behind his desk and read through the document. If he needed something done fast and correctly, then Spencer was his man.

“So, we’ll have the ball on the twenty-fourth.” Spencer held his tablet again. “You’ll find someone among the attendees, but this gives us a small pad in case you can’t.”

“I suppose.” He signed the document. He should take the reins on the ball and his search for a husband. “For the ball, I want the colors blue and silver. Not Christmas colors. Everyone should attend wearing blue or silver. Advertise it as a Christmas event, not my misadventures in finding a possible husband.”

Spencer nodded. “Understood, but I would brace yourself. Once the pages find out there will be a ball, the speculation will run rampant. Everyone knows you need to find a husband and they’ll try to figure out who it will be.”

“Of course.” He knew the staff liked to gossip. “I don’t like the idea of this forced marriage. It’s unfair.”

“Not if you find a good husband—and you could.” Spencer continued, tapping on his tablet. “It’s a long shot, but it’s possible.”

“How? I don’t have time to meet anyone. I’m busy with affairs of state.” Charlie stared out the window. “How will I know that the man I’ve met at the ball will be the right one? After one night? It’s ludicrous. For all I know, the guy is just trying to get money from the family.”

“I know,” Spencer said. “I’m glad your father divorced your former stepmother, because all she wanted was to see you fail. She was determined to have the Earl of Lender take over as king. Now, because of her, he believes he’s owed the position.”

“I know.” He wasn’t a fan of Lender. People who wanted something for nothing drove him berserk. Lender had married to get his title, bought his position in government, paid off individuals to keep from getting sued after he left office disgraced and had still managed to con the former queen into helping him attempt to gain a position in the line of succession. Lender didn’t belong there. Charlie sighed again. “Here’s to hoping that I find someone before we get to the point where Lender thinks he’s got a chance.”

“Agreed.” Spencer stopped tapping. “You need to go to the solarium now. It’s almost time for the interview with Media Magazine. They want to take your photo first, but they wanted something informal.”

“They don’t want me walking around in the snow? I assumed they’d want me to be strolling through the park or something.” The magazine had a certain look for their photos and most included formality.

“No, they want you to look relaxed.” Spencer tucked the tablet to his chest. “They want to discuss you being on the throne.”

“It’s boring.” He snorted. “What else do I say? It’s thrilling?” He left his seat and gestured to the door. “Let’s go.” He made his way through the castle to the solarium at the west end of the building. The camera crew had already set up the shot and the brunette interviewer stood next to the oversized carved chair. Her pantsuit swathing her body in crimson, she drummed her fingers on the back of the chair.

Charlie sighed. He didn’t mind the publicity aspect of his role, but he hated answering the same questions over and over. Besides that, everyone wanted to know about his sister. So why not ask her to sit for the interview? She was quite approachable and happy now that she’d married Luke, had Alistair and settled into life as a mother.

Spencer directed Charlie to the main chair. “They insisted you sit here. Not the throne.”

“Why?”

“It looks royal,” Spencer replied.

He rolled his eyes, then pasted a smile on his lips. “Very well.”

“King Charles.” The interviewer gasped, then bowed. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Lady Teresa Bushe and I’m humbled to be in your presence.”

“I’m honored you’ve chosen me for the interview. You didn’t need to set up such a posh space. I’m a simple man.” He nodded to her. “Shall we?”

“Yes.” She gestured to the fancy chair. “First, let’s get the photos, then we can chat.”

“Of course.” He’d done a dozen of these interviews. Every magazine and paper wanted a report on his ‘hot bachelor king status’. He didn’t see the big deal. He didn’t have a significant other because the right one hadn’t come along. That didn’t mean he couldn’t rule. It just meant he wasn’t getting any.

He suffered through the interview and expected the woman to bring up his string of ex-boyfriends. Until his father had stepped down as king, Charlie hadn’t expected to become the leader so soon. He’d thought he had time to play the field and find a husband properly.

He listened to the woman chatter, but the view out of the windows caught his attention. A man and a little boy were walking along the brick path leading past the solarium. Charlie wondered who the man was and why they hadn’t met before. He knew the little boy—Heather Dawn’s son, Emmett. The child wasn’t the best at reading and Charlie recalled being told the boy needed tutoring to get up to his grade level. Was this man the tutor? Or Heather Dawn’s new boyfriend? She had two young boys and Charlie couldn’t imagine being a parent.

The man, though, caught Charlie’s attention. The coat covered his frame, but he appeared trim and Charlie liked the way the slight winter breeze caught in his dark hair. He had a thing for dark, brooding and handsome men. Was this one brooding?

“Do you believe you’ll find a husband before the deadline?” Lady Teresa asked. “Are you aware Lender believes he’s next in line to the throne?”

Shit. He needed to pay attention and not watch the guy outside. “I’m confident I’ll find someone, although I believe this decree to be out of date. A ruler should be permitted to choose a worthy partner on his or her own timeframe.”

“And Lender?” she asked.

“Has no connections to the crown. He’s not in line.” Not if he had anything to say about it.

Spencer nodded behind her. “Is that your last question? The king is very busy and needs to attend to the planning of the Christmas Ball.”

“One more,” she said. “What would you like to tell our readers and your loyal subjects? Any words of wisdom?”

“Yes, I appreciate every one of my subjects and I’m endeavoring to do what’s best for all of them. We are a proud nation and should be proud to be of the kingdom of Lysianna. I am both humble and proud to be your leader and hope to be for many years to come.” God, he needed to work on his speaking skills.

“Thank you.” She stood and shook hands with him. “It’s a pleasure to have interviewed you. So easy.”

“You’re welcome here any time. Thank you for interviewing me.” He stood and watched the team pick up the gear. At least she hadn’t begged him to pose in his crown.

He waited until the crew and interviewer had left, then settled on the chair again. “Spence? Anything else? I need a break.”

Spencer checked the tablet. “You have a meeting with the planning commission for the Christmas festivities. They wish to show you the itinerary for the royal celebrations and will want to incorporate the ball into their plans. They’ve got in mind a rather large bash for the New Year portion of the celebrations.”

“Of course.” He folded his arms and looked out of the window again. “Who is the guy with Emmett? Is he new?”

“Him?” Spencer rubbed his chin. “That’s Nathan Pratt. He works as a tutor and with archives. Seems bright and fair. I’m not sure if he’s gay, but I was told he’d used a surrogate to have his son. The surrogate is one of your subjects, so since the child is half-Lysiannan, Nathan was permitted to live here as he raised the boy.” He eyed Charlie. “Do you wish to meet him?”

“Maybe.” He wasn’t sure if he wanted to make a move. Still, Nathan was handsome in a faraway manner. He must be decent enough with kids if he had one. But would he be dazzled by Charlie’s role as the king and not genuine?

One of the stewards brought in coffee and snacks.

“Thank you,” Charlie said and smiled. “How are you, Cort?”

The steward blushed before he blushed. “I’m well, your highness.”

Charlie clasped his hands together. Cort couldn’t be more than eighteen and looked every bit the young man he had to be. “I have a question. Are you happy here?” He knew Cort’s name, but not much else about him. “To be working for the crown?”

“Will I get sent to the gallows if I answer wrong?” The color drained from Cort’s face. “I’m not supposed to talk to you, am I? And this is a test?”

“You may speak to me,” Charlie said. “I enjoy your company. Feel free to talk to me whenever you like.”

“Wow.” Cort stood tall and clasped his hands together. “You’re nicer than I was told.”

“Who told you I’m mean? No one will die if you’re honest.” Charlie picked up the cup of coffee. “Tell me.”

“Cook. She said you’re grumpy.”

“Only at five in the morning.” He laughed. “Thank you for your honesty and the coffee. I’ll return the cups later. You’re dismissed.”

“Yes, my king.” Cort tripped over his feet as he left the room.

“Nice kid.” Charlie leaned on the chair. “So young and impressionable.”

“They get younger every day,” Spencer said. “He’s a bit young for you.”

“Spence? Seriously?” He crinkled his nose. “I’d like someone closer to my age. Are there any men, late-twenties or early thirties, single and looking to be with a man who wants love, tenderness and a partner? Find that for me and we’ll talk.”

“It gives me a better idea as to what to look for.” Spencer abandoned the tablet on the tray. “Do you want to meet Nathan?”

“He’s got a kid?” Charlie asked. “I wouldn’t turn down someone who happened to be a father.”

“You’re kidding.” Spencer snorted. “What about who will inherit the throne?”

“It’ll be Alistair. That’s already been arranged.” He didn’t see the big deal. “Look, I haven’t found anyone yet and we still have to plan the gala or ball—that the interviewer already knew about. I thought we’d just decided on it.”

“I let her know while you were getting your picture taken.” Spencer shrugged. “It’s going to come out sooner than later.”

“True,” Charlie said. “Focus on the ball.”

“Very good,” Spencer replied. “I’ll be right back.”

Charlie sank onto the carved chair and sighed. What Spencer didn’t understand was that he wanted to find someone. He didn’t want to be lonely, but he needed to find the right person.

He gazed out of the window at Nathan. He had no idea if they’d be compatible or if Nathan would even want to date a king. He might not even be gay. The unknowns didn’t mean Charlie couldn’t gawk at him and consider what could be.

He was a king and deserved a fairy-tale ending, right?

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About the Author

Megan Slayer

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

Find out more about Megan on her website, and sign up for the newsletter here. You can also check out her Blog, Amazon Author Page, Bookbub and Instagram.

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Cover Reveal: Beautiful Enigman by S.K. Mason #contemporaryromance @SKMasonauthor

Title: Beautiful Enigma
Series: Ethics of the Heart #1
Author: S.K. Mason
Genre: Contemporary Romance (novella)
Release Date: November 17, 2021
Cover Design:Kate Farlow

If sex and intimacy is anything based on the men around me, there’s not much to look forward to. But at nineteen, it’s getting harder and harder to pretend I’m normal when it comes to the bedroom.
After finding myself dating one too many douche-bags with a dislike for inexperienced girls, it’s time to take matter into my own hands and what better than to seek the help of a high-class escort to remedy my little “problem”.
The plan is simple enough. Get the V-card out of the way and get on with the rest of my life. What I don’t expect though, is the Aussie Hunk to completely shatter my perspective on sex, men, and pleasure in the process.
Jamie is mysterious. Charismatic. Experienced. He’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. But no matter what, he’s only mine for three days. Or is he?

SK Mason began writing stories in primary school, stories she would sell to her maternal grandmother for a treat. Her paternal grandmother, an avid romance reader, would let her read her Harlequin collection every summer, and soon SK Mason’s books took on a romance turn of their own.
Fast-forward thirty years later and SK Mason was born. A romance lover with a passion for “happily ever after” and pretty groovy ethical twists. In “real life” SK Mason is a little bit like Spiderman, Batman or Superman (and why the hell are all these characters male?!), boring by day, exciting by night. When she’s not working as a health professional, she’s writing stories about other professionals (yes, made up!) and with a gift for setting scenes in health and medical settings, her books aim to be sexy, adventurous, and thrilling romances.
Outside her writing and other professional endeavours, she’s spending time with her family in Australia. Her five children are her life and together they cook, swim and, play Beat-saber. Life doesn’t get better than that!
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Release Blitz: Under Pressure by Zoe Normandie #eroticromance #mystery #actionadventure @totally_bound @firstforromance

Under Pressure By Zoe Normandie

General Release Date: 2nd Nov 2021

Word Count: 70,284
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 284

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CONTEMPORARY
CRIME
CRIME AND MYSTERY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MEN IN UNIFORM

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Book Description


He stole her heart then left without a goodbye. A year later and he’s back, telling her she needs protection—but the only protection she wants is from him.

The pre-deployment fling Navy SEAL Matteo ‘Delta’ Valente couldn’t forget has tortured him for his entire tour. A year later, Delta thought he was over it. Finally, he gets home, but runs into Kendra Larose again. It has been so long—but not long enough. With one look, she stirs something inside him that he’d tried to lock up after all those nights thinking of her, sleeping in dirt with nothing but his helmet for a pillow.

The problem he quickly realizes is that she’s in real danger. Delta’s instincts prove too powerful to override.

Kendra isn’t so convinced. Delta has just shown up, out of nowhere, with big claims that she’s in danger and needs protection? Kendra wants to see the hard evidence. She’s hated him ever since he didn’t call. She’d fallen hard, and he’d broken her heart with no apparent remorse.

A forensic specialist working for LAPD, Kendra has blood samples to run in the lab to get to the bottom of her latest case. The thing that becomes apparent is that her case intersects a little too neatly with Delta. She can’t quite figure out whose side he is on, why he’s back in her life and whether she can trust him or not. So, she keeps one big secret close to her chest.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, sexual harrassment and assault.

Excerpt

Matteo ‘Delta’ Valente ran out of his Californian bungalow a little too damn early in the morning. Hell, he’d only been home for a few hours. After jamming his aching arm through his hunter green utility shirt, he buttoned it, trying to multi-task as he unlocked the dark truck which awaited him in his driveway. He was running behind—again.

For fuck’s sake.

Damn, sleeping a couple of hours a night is bound to catch up with me sooner rather than later. He grumbled as he slipped on his dark sunglasses to protect his hurting eyes from the blistering sun. Even in January, the sun was still beating down on him stronger than a direct RPG blast. Or maybe it just seemed that way because he was so damn drained.

“Matteo!” An elderly lady’s voice called out quietly from behind him, her Italian accent pouring through.

He whipped around, checking to make sure she was okay. The tiny old Italian lady stood at the edge of her bungalow’s stoop, a worried look in her eye. Using his hand to flatten back his chaotic dark blond hair, he regrettably realized another thing. He was way past due for a shave.

“Mrs. Romano.” Delta attempted a polite smile at his neighbor, hoping she wouldn’t notice the gashes on his knuckles from the previous night.

Mrs. Romano fretted, wringing her yellow dotted handkerchief as she batted her eyelashes up at him. He gritted his teeth under her gaze, willfully rejecting any concern she had—or judgment.

“Lovely morning, Matteo.” Her voice fluttered, darting her eyes down her empty driveway to the street.

Every other neighbor on the street had bins out. It was garbage day. Immediately, Delta realized that she needed help—but she didn’t want to ask.

“Want me to take your bins to the street, Mrs. Romano?” He shot that same, self-assured smile, like he was the most relaxed man in the world. It was a mask he was used to wearing.

A wide, relieved smile crossed her lips. “Yes, son. Please.”

Wasting no time, Delta moved around to the back of her home and shuffled out her garbage and recycling bins. It was the least he could do to try to keep up the ruse. He wasn’t an idiot. People had been looking at him funny since he’d rotated back from Syria again, three weeks before. Maybe it was the bruises that didn’t seem to heal or the fact that he always looked like he’d been ridden hard and put away wet the night before. Whatever it was, home had stopped feeling like home. He didn’t belong there anymore.

As he finished, Mrs. Romano waited at the top of her bungalow stoop with a homemade pistachio biscotti for him. Her kind eyes and compassionate spirit reminded him of his late mother’s—the last memories he had.

“Thanks,” Delta grunted as he took the baked good from Mrs. Romano.

His stomach was rumbling from the lack of sustenance. He was used to pushing his body to extremes, neglecting his own needs for the sake of his platoon, but things were going too far now.

“You’re a good man, Matteo…a very good man.” Mrs. Romano’s voice cut into his thoughts, a knowing twinkle in her eyes. “When are you going to find a Mrs. Valente?”

Delta let out a loud, sarcastic laugh, sloughing off the question. Shrugging, he coyly took a bite of the biscotti and moved toward his truck, waving goodbye. All she saw was his façade, like everyone else. If she only knew.

Mrs. Romano’s gaze didn’t relent as he leaped into the cab. He was in a rush—but it wasn’t just because of where he had to be. It was because of what he needed to get away from. He was damn sure that Mrs. Romano wouldn’t think so much of him if she knew what lingered underneath the surface.

I’m not a good guy. Not even close.

Slamming the gears of his truck into reverse, he pulled out of the driveway of his place, saluting Mrs. Romano on his way out. The fun and games were over. Now, he really had to focus. He was on a mission that morning—and things could get ugly.

Barreling down Oceanside Drive, Delta flipped on the radio—local LA news—and listened to the newscasters talking about a body discovered in South Central in one of the roughest blocks. It had been on the news all morning—tragedy porn for LA’ers. Delta listened for any pertinent intel as he set his GPS for the crime scene. He had questions that needed answers.

Gripping the steering wheel, Delta rolled his shirt sleeves up to let a little heat off, revealing his winding tattoos. It was far too hot for long sleeves, even by LA standards. They were in the middle of a bizarre mid-winter heat wave. But he didn’t have a choice. He had to cover up. There were things he didn’t want anyone to see—like the fresh laceration on his arm that was only going to add another scar.

As he stopped his truck at a red light, he pulled off his sunglasses and absently traced his fingers over the long scar that ran from his cheekbone up to his temple and eyebrow. A little less than two years old, it was a reminder that he should have died in the Syrian mountains. Hell, he should have died in a lot of operations, but undeniably that one.

Now, he was on borrowed time. He could feel it. He was never wrong about those things. He was playing with fire and some sort of fucked up luck that was about to run out.

The light turned green, and he hit the gas hard, not wanting to think about how he was spending that second chance at life. It sure as hell would make a priest cry. His mother had always said that he didn’t need to be led into temptation because he already knew the way.

The drive from his bungalow up into South Central wasn’t fast, but he drove aggressively. He knew how to scare the piss out of LA’s richest, stalling out the fast lane in their luxury cars.

Revving his truck and nearly eating up some dinky coupe in front of him, he peeled off the highway. Rounding the streets in the impoverished neighborhood, he transitioned into a different type of vigilant and cautious. Those streets bled a type of desperation that he’d only seen in war.

Delta drove up to the vicinity of the taped-off scene and chose to park well off in the distance to keep a low profile. Before jumping out of his truck, he popped a black baseball hat on, pulling the brim down low for as much anonymity as possible. He adjusted his long sleeves across his muscled forearms so his unpolished appearance would help him not to stand out too much. He looked like any hungover blue-collar laborer who spent too much time at the gym. Then again, that pretty much described any SEAL.

He walked up to the periphery of a building that police were investigating—an abandoned commercial warehouse. Delta guessed that whoever owned the aging building had been hit hard in the economic crash, so they’d left it to rot. From the insecure doors and broken windows, he would bet that criminals and drifters had been trespassing for a long time.

Delta gripped the police tape surrounding the epicenter and glanced around to see if the cops off to the side had noticed him. They had their backs turned, just for a moment, so he took his chance. As he slipped past, he slunk around the building into the shadows, and he observed. He paused in an enclave, watching cops come and go from the building, listening to the broken conversations of the investigators.

In all his years in the special forces, he’d become skilled at going unseen when he needed to. He could be a goddamn ninja. A lot of it just had to do with confidence—and looking like he belonged. That had turned out to be damn useful the previous few weeks. He’d been on leave from work, but it hadn’t been a fucking vacation. He’d been working on something else—something serious. And, in true Delta fashion, he’d been going it alone.

Crouching low and moving slow, Delta approached a broken window near the back of the building. He checked inside, seeing the room was empty. A ton of blood was splashed across the concrete floor, but there was no body in sight. Fuck. Had the cops already moved the corpse out? He reached into his pocket, readying his cell phone to snap pictures of anything that could aid him. Delta scanned the room for pertinent info. The graying building interior had the feel of an unrealized horror film, and a chill ran up his back as he wondered what the fuck had happened there.

Voices echoed from the front hall of the building, and Delta ducked down outside the window. He could hear the voice of someone entering the room, calling back details of the scene to the front of the building. His first instinct hadn’t been wrong. The victim had been using. And, unfortunately, his second instinct had been right too. She was there.

His body stiffened and his skin prickled, awareness flushing over him. He’d never forget her voice, even though he hadn’t heard it for a while. He’d bumped into her at Carrick’s wedding, just weeks after they’d hooked up, but that hardly counted. Had it already been a year? Hearty, feminine, sincere—every word she said danced out of her mouth. As he tried to regain focus, he slowly looked up and into the open window, enough to fully take in her candid, clever words. Her voice alone ran a wave of sensation up his spine that surprised him, after all that time. But it was nothing in comparison to when he finally laid eyes on her.

Sergeant Kendra Larose’s natural blonde hair bobbed into view. Delta adjusted his position, getting eyes on the interior of the crime scene and a better view of her—a woman he hadn’t seen since he’d deployed, spending the year fighting enemies with half the resolve that she had. A woman who had grown to hate him—and rightfully so.

I can’t let her see me.

After she tucked a stray lock behind her ear, Kendra was focused on the warehouse floor. Delta’s cock twitched as he watched her shift on her feet, her hips swaying. Blood pumped through his shaft as he drank in her body—a form that drew him to arousal so quickly, without fail. Never had he met such a natural beauty as her. Some guys might find her ordinary or plain, but he found her simply intoxicating. There was always just something about her—something that really got to him.

Even at a distance, he admired the machinations of her clever mind. She was looking down at a cluster of blood where a body once had lain, her lips and nose twitching that certain way that showed when she was really deep in thought. She was on to something. How much did she already know? Delta tried to see what she was seeing. He flexed his jaw, wondering if maybe it wasn’t fate that they’d met again. On his own, tracing the source of the drugs had proven to be an impossible task.

And just as a familiar man’s voice echoed through the space, Delta realized he was biting the side of his cheek, breathing heavier than usual and gripping the edge of the window like he was going to snap.

“This city is falling to pieces.” The man scoffed, coming into view.

Delta recognized him immediately as Staff Sergeant Hunter Greenwood. Delta had met the guy a year ago, around the same time that he had met Kendra. The Navy had put on a one-week training course for partners in law enforcement, extending the invite to LAPD. At the time, Delta had shown Kendra the ropes—training her how to safely rappel, while realizing that he needed to train her on protecting herself from creeps. Something about the way that Hunter looked at Kendra…

“He’s another military vet.” Kendra shook her head and furiously scribbled in her notebook. “They’ve already identified him.”

Prickles ran up the back of Delta’s neck as he watched Hunter stalk Kendra in the middle of the crime scene. Everything in Delta’s body screamed for violence as Hunter licked his bottom lip, carefully examining her. The scowl on his face deepened as she furthered her point.

“What do you bet his blood has traces of doxycycline?” Kendra turned to her boss.

“Come on.” He shook his head dismissively, straightening his jacket. “It’s a common antibiotic. Stop.”

“This is real, Hunter. We’ve seen traces of it in the other two bodies.” Kendra glared at her staff sergeant, standing her ground. “There’s a pattern here. Are they being targeted?”

“For what purpose?” he asked, an underlying threat in his voice.

“I don’t know yet.”

Hunter stilled, clearly judging her. The man looked damn tired, like he hadn’t slept for weeks.

“Let’s not start jumping to conclusions,” Hunter snapped back, his eye twitching. “Anything is possible, Kendra. Let’s check with the gangs first.”

“Hunter, please. The first two have been soldiers, not gangbangers,” Kendra replied slowly, flipping through her notes. “But why? Who’s after them—?”

A flash of rage visibly taking over, he cut her off. “We don’t have any reason to believe there are links between cases. This is LA. Murders happen all the time.”

“But there must be a connection.” Kendra glanced between her notebook, the blood splatter and Hunter, apparently confused by his messaging. “It’s this doxycycline. Isn’t it known to be used by the military as an antimalaria drug?”

“You’re asking the wrong questions.” Hunter strode toward her, his face darkening.

“Yes, but doxycycline—”

“You don’t get it.”

“They were soldiers—” Kendra countered again but halted as Hunter’s hand whipped up into the air, matched by a growl escaping his lips.

For a split second, Delta’s protective instinct thrust him forward, ready to fuck the guy up. But Hunter had recovered, using his raised hand to smooth back his hair.

“Fuck,” Hunter grumbled, shaking as he regained control.

Delta stiffened, his eyes wide open. What the fuck is he going to do with that hand? Kendra stumbled back in surprise, audibly sucking in breath. But before Delta could jump to her side, the enraged staff sergeant spun and marched toward the front of the building. Whatever he was up to, Delta saw a man who was losing control—a man who posed a threat. He was a ticking time-bomb. Didn’t she realize it?

Stunned, Kendra stood there alone, tightly clutching her notebook. She bit her lip, trembling, as if trying to get back to work. Delta sat back, confused as fuck at what he’d just witnessed. Delta knew right then and there that he had little choice. Things had just gotten more complicated.

I have to protect her.

Pulling out black gloves from his pocket, he slipped them on, preparing to leave no trace of what he was about to do. The scene before him had validated everything he’d seen since he’d been back from deployment. The body count was climbing.

Moving around the building a little farther, he gained entry to the interior. As he stalked through the shadows, making note of everything he saw, he was careful not to disturb anything, not even caked-on grime from years of abandonment. In stealth-mode, he slid out of the hallway into the darkest corner of the large room, not too far from Kendra. For a split second, he found himself just staring at her, drinking her in—the way she poured over her notebook then sharply analyzed the room before her. He had no doubt that her cunning mind was finding every anomalous detail.

And, yet again, he was proven right.

“And why are you here?” Kendra’s exasperated tone echoed over to where he stood, though she didn’t flinch or glance up from scribbling in her notebook.

Delta sucked in his breath, wondering if she meant…

“Yes, you.” She turned her chin slightly and shot a warning into the darkness, seeming to slice into his core. “Do you think I’m daft?”

Releasing the air in his lungs, he stepped forward—confident and relaxed, offering her a sly look as he crossed his arms. His charming ruse was too goddamn easy for him to make people see his way.

“Sergeant.” Delta shrugged. He narrowed his focus on her, giving her that grin that women loved. “Here we are, crossing paths again.”

“Crossing paths?” She balked.

“That’s right.” He kept his gaze intense, his body squared.

Turning away, she scoffed, “You’re acting like we’ve stumbled across each other at the grocery store.”

She shook her head in deep discontent, seemingly impervious to his charm. A chill ran up the back of his neck, her rejection biting. He hated it—but deserved it. Still, he stood there, watching.

“I’m too busy for this right now.” She spun, crossing her arms tightly, as if shielding herself. Her body language screamed of a woman who would not be fooled again.

“Too busy for me?” Delta pushed.

“I’ll go back to my original question.” She raised her eyebrows accusingly. “Why are you here? This is a secure crime scene, so you don’t belong here. I don’t care what security clearances you say you have.”

All the air got sucked out of the room, and he found himself momentarily searching for a response. Her bright, intelligent eyes left no stone unturned and demanded answers. She anxiously chewed her lip, giving him a rare glimpse of her girlish vulnerability—the type of vulnerability that made him voracious.

“We have a mutual purpose.” Delta let his face become stone cold serious, imparting the intensity he felt.

“Which would be?” she asked.

“Keeping you safe.”

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About the Author

Zoe Normandie

I’m a mom with three sweet young daughters. I have three jobs – mom, author, and analyst. Years ago, I grew up in a military family, went to a military university, worked alongside the military as an intel analyst, and my husband is (surprise!) a veteran. I’ve tried to write for anyone who wants to feel what it’s like to be with someone from that world – with all the good and the bad.

My heroes are grounded in reality, and are inspired by guys I know in the special forces. Guys who’ve been in combat, tasted war, and fought for what they believed in. They are really heroes, but raw and rough and broken in their own ways.

My heroines similarly come from the best parts of the women I know, and the challenges we all face. The relationships that they fall into have familiar characteristics for many, myself included. These heroines represent all of us, with our good and our bad laid bare.

In my stories, I illustrate, romanticize, and celebrate the harsh realities of duty, service, and sacrifice.

You can find Zoe on Facebook and Twitter.

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Book Tour: Off Limits by Rebel Wild #contemporaryromance #singledad #agegap @rebelwildbooks

Title: Off Limits

Series: Dare to Love Trilogy
Author: Rebel Wild
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Single Dad/Age Gap
Release Date: October 22, 2021
Cover Design: Coffin Print Designs
Jax Jericho had it all, but the rich, broody, father of adorable twins was nothing like he seemed. Devoted to his kids, he was the sexy, single dad.

There was a mystery behind his charm that was well hidden until she crossed his path.
Why was she so addicting?
She thought she was damaged beyond anyone’s desires. Never willing to play the carnal games she’d imagined until he invited himself into her fantasies.
He was her students’ father and he was off-limits.
If she wasn’t careful, the safe world she lived in would crumble. But was that a bad thing?
Would they risk everything, and dare to love again?
Off Limits is a single dad, age gap, second chance romance that breaks all the rules.
This book has content that some might find difficult to read. Discretion is advised.


‘Off Limits is a special book. Forbidden, sexy, slow burn heaven.’

‘I loved this from beginning to end. I loved their instant attraction and was eagerly turning the pages until they got together.’

Rebel Wild is a southern girl transplanted to the City of Angels. She has a passion for sensual romance. She’s best known for her sweet yet tenacious heroines and the hot brooding men who love them. 

She writes poems, takes pinup pics of Nelson, her adorable cat, and she’s on a lifelong quest to find the perfect red wine/pinot noir to pair with a five-napkin cheeseburger. 

Through her captivating characters, sizzling plots and intimate family dynamics, Rebel’s stories are not just love letters to the Los Angeles of her dreams. She’s created her own universe dripping with human desires and the timeless themes of love, loss and longing.

She loves her heroines smart, slightly innocent just on the edge of blooming in the women they will become, and she pairs them with strong men with dirty minds who reveal their devastating vulnerabilities over time.

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GROUND ZERO by April Canavan is LIVE! #firefighterromance #newrelease @WildfireMarket1

Release Date: October 31

 

Ground Zero: The center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity
I carried her lifeless body out of a burning building.
One that collapsed on top of us, forcing us to fight for survival.
Where she gave her life so that I could live.
That nightmare wasn’t the happy ending I thought I’d find in the flames.
Turns out, it wasn’t our ending at all.
It was the beginning of our story.
The one where I fell in love without knowing what was happening.
Or the destruction she would thrust into my path.
Grab Your Copy Here!
Meet April Canavan

I live on chaos and coffee, and you’ll find it running through every single one of my stories.  

First of all, I absolutely abhor writing anything biographical. In any form. I’m terrible at it, and I have the very firm belief that no one wants to know who I am. You’re here for books, right? But that doesn’t mean I’m off the hook.

 

I grew up sneaking over to my great grandmother’s to read her Harlequin novels. Those were delivered once a month in a ginormous box, and from the age of ten, she let me devour them in their entirety. I fell in love with romance, even the clean kind. And that, undoubtedly, led to many days and nights with my face buried in a book and the discovery that I wasn’t happy unless my hair was up, and I had a story in my hand. 

 

I never wanted to write. I wanted to read. ALL the words. Until someone pointed out to me that I’d been writing my entire life. I just needed to put the book in my hand down and pick up a pen. 

 

Once I started, I found out that I couldn’t stop. Now, I’m always writing. Or reading. Or chasing my son through the house to get the elusive hug he thinks I don’t need.

 

Oh, and I’m a Leo… which is completely on-point if you know me at all. I love being the center of attention. On my terms. When I can stay at home in my pajamas. With lots and lots of coffee on hand. And maybe a few snacks.

 
Connect with April Canavan
To learn more about April Canavan, visit here!

 
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