Excerpt & Giveaway for Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Title: Married to a Perfect Stranger
Author: Jane Ashford
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 9781492601906
Time and distance have changed them both…

Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley marry to please their families and John immediately leaves on a two-year diplomatic mission. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other was wrong…

It’s disconcerting, irritating—and somehow all very exciting…

Today we are pleased to sit down with John and Mary Bexley, the protagonists from Jane Ashford’s Married to a Perfect Stranger (March 2015). From February 23rd through March 20th the Bexleys will be answering questions about their relationship at each stop in their tour!

What is your spouse's favorite "comfort food"?

Mary: A glass of wine after a long day? I’m not sure John is much comforted by food.

John: Not really. But Mary finds great solace in a pot of tea and a plate of macaroons. Or fruit tarts. Or scones. Or iced cakes.

Mary: All right! I indulge judiciously.

John: Very true.

Excerpt:
John Bexley reined in his hired horse on a slight rise and gazed down at the red brick manor, somnolent under the August sun. Eager as he was to get to London, he’d felt he must detour west into Somerset to fetch Mary. Her family’s decision to put her under the care of a great-aunt while he was away just showed he was right to fear that such a shy, quiet girl couldn’t arrange a journey on her own. And now that he was here, the sight of this place soothed him; it looked the very essence of English country comfort and peace.

John’s knock was answered by an aged butler. He gave his name, stepped in, and inhaled the familiar scents of beeswax polish and potpourri. The place reminded him of his own home farther north. Golden light pooled on the wooden floor and gleamed on the stair rail. In the rooms on either side of the entry, the furnishings were classic and inviting. Mary had certainly had a beautiful and serene spot in which to wait for him. “Mary’s husband,” he added when it seemed as if the old man didn’t know what to do with him. “I believe I am expected.”

“Yes, si…”

A filthy, hysterical chicken shot through the rear door of the dining parlor on his left, skidded in a turn around the table, and raced past him, neck extended, screeching, flapping its mottled wings. A little boy slathered with mud came racing after it, careened off the doorjamb, and staggered across the entryway, leaving streaks and globs of dirt in his wake. The old butler stiffened in horror.

The bird hopped across a flowered sofa in the front parlor, stitching it with muddy tracks, circled the delicate carpet, and looped back toward John. The boy in pursuit slipped, fell, jumped up, and turned to follow. He flapped muddy hands at the fowl in an inept attempt to trap it.

What seemed like a herd of adults jostled into the dining parlor, then surged forward. “Arthur!” snapped a young woman, her voice crackling with authority.

“It isn’t my fault,” the boy shouted over the wild squawking. “I pulled her from the mire. Fox was after her. I never shot her or nothing.”

As the crazed chicken surged past him, John bent, reached, and snatched hold of its legs. When he straightened, he held the muddy bird upside down, at arm’s length, well away from his clothing. It flapped and protested; flakes of dirt dropped to the floor.

“Good!” said the managing female, striding from the dining room into the hall. “Take it from him, Alice, and put it outside at once.”

The middle-aged maid jumped to obey like a subaltern responding to a commanding general. The butler relaxed. The boy stood to attention. “It wasn’t me, I swear,” he repeated. “I rescued ’er. I killed three rats as well. Would have been four, but I…”

“Very well, Arthur,” the woman replied. “Go now and get cleaned up.”

The boy finally noticed the mud sliding from his clothes to the polished floor. His face shifted from defensive to horrified, and he slunk out. In the same moment, John realized that the woman with a voice like a sergeant major was his meek little sparrow of a wife.

About the Author:

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. Her romances have been published all over the world. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Release Day Launch & Giveaway for And I Love Her by Marie Force

Release Day Launch, Excerpt, Book Giveaway, Romance,

Green Mountain Series, Contemporary Romance, Romance,



A Green Mountain Romance from the New York Times bestselling author of I Saw Her Standing There.

As the oldest of the ten Abbott siblings, Hunter prides himself on his ability to solve other people’s problems, but now he has a problem of his own—how to convince the woman of his dreams that his love is for keeps.

As the chief financial officer, Hunter Abbott manages the family’s various business interests while “fixing” things for the people he loves. But the one thing he can’t fix is his undeniable attraction to Megan Kane. Instead, Hunter is prepared to do whatever it takes to show Megan that he’s the man for her.

Megan’s sister rocks her with the news that she and her husband are moving overseas, leaving Megan truly alone. With her sister—and her job at the diner—going away, Megan finds herself leaning on the sexy, button-down accountant who isn’t afraid to lay it all on the line for her. But Megan has watched too many people she loves leave her. Can she risk her heart on Hunter?

Contains a bonus Green Mountain short story!
Purchase And I Love Her, featuring Hunter and Megan's story NOW! Releases March 3:


Purchase And I Love Her in the US in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and IndieBound.

Purchase Book 4, And I Love You in the UK and Australia:


And don’t forget to grab the previous titles in the Green Mountain Series Today!




Chapter One Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.
—Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

When her sister and brother-in-law said they wanted to talk to her at the diner Monday evening, Megan Kane assumed they were going to tell her they were finally expecting the niece or nephew she’d wanted for as long as they’d been married. But the words that came from Brett and Nina in stuttering, halting sentences had nothing to do with babies.

“Moving overseas.”

“Selling the diner.”

“So sorry to do this to you.”

“It was an amazing opportunity.”

“We couldn’t say no.”

“You can come with us.” Nina seemed crushed to be delivering this news to her “baby” sister, who was almost twenty-eight and hardly a baby anymore. “I’d love that. We could run around and explore together while Brett is at work. It would be so fun.”

Megan shook off the shock and found her voice. “No. You’ve been taking care of me since you were twenty-two, Neen. It’s time to go live your life. I’ll be fine.”

“We really do mean it when we say you should come with us,” Brett said. He was always so kind to her, never once in all these years acting as if her tight bond with his wife was a problem for him.

“I can’t do that. I can’t crash your party. I’ve been around your necks long enough as it is.”

“You’re hardly around our necks, Megan,” Nina said. “We could have so much fun! Would you think about it before you automatically say no? Please?”

“Fine.” Megan said what her sister needed to hear. “I’ll think about it.”

“Great!” Nina said, beaming with pleasure at the small victory.

“If you decide to stay here, we’ll help you find another job,” Brett said. “Maybe the new owners of the diner would want to keep you on. They’d be crazy not to.”

He’d been a terrific brother-in-law to her since he married her sister nine years ago. A teacher at a nearby boys’ prep school, he’d apparently applied for overseas positions in the past but they’d never materialized until now.

Work at Nina’s Diner without Nina? Unthinkable. “I’ll figure something out. You guys don’t need to worry about me.”

“Of course we’ll worry about you, Meg.” Nina reached for her sister’s hand across the table. “I don’t know how not to worry about you.”

“It’s probably time I got a life of my own.” Megan tried to stay calm even as she panicked on the inside. Not see Nina every day? Unbearable. “Mom and Dad would be horrified if they knew I was still living in the garage apartment.”

“They’d be proud of you.”

“No, they’d be proud of you, but you deserve it. You’ve created such a wonderful business here, and now you have this fantastic opportunity to travel. I’d never hold you guys back from doing what you want.”

Brett’s relief was so visible he practically sagged under the weight of it. Obviously, they’d worried about telling her their news. “You really can come with us if you want to, Megan,” he said. “It would be great to have you in France.”

“I’d love to come visit while you’re there, but this is home.” In reality, Nina was home to her, not Butler or the house where they’d once lived with their parents, but Megan kept those thoughts to herself.

“You said you’d think about it!” Nina said.

“Neen, I can’t just go traipsing off to France, as fun as that sounds. I need to figure out my life and what I’m going to do with it. I can’t do that in France. I don’t want either of you to worry about me. I swear I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?” Nina asked tearfully. “You’d tell me if you didn’t mean that, wouldn’t you?”

“I’m very sure.” Megan kept her emotions out of it—for now anyway. “This could turn out to be a good thing for me. It’ll give me the kick in the butt I’ve needed to move on.” Megan had been marching in place for more than ten years, since the snowy night they lost their parents in a car crash during her senior year of high school.

Nina had been her rock ever since, acting as mother, father and big sister all rolled into one. The sisters had held on to each other for all these years, and the thought of everyday life without Nina was unfathomable to Megan.

“If you agree, we’re going to rent the house,” Brett said, “but the garage apartment is all yours for as long as you want or need it. We told the rental agent the garage wasn’t part of the deal.”

“Of course I agree. No sense the house sitting vacant when you could be making some money.” Her brother-in-law’s sweetness nearly broke her emotional dam, but she refused to cry in front of them. Since there were going to be tears—and lots of them—she had to get out of there immediately. No way would she make them feel bad about something they were so excited about. Knowing she was on borrowed time where the tears were concerned, Megan gathered up her belongings and stood. “I’ll see you guys in the morning.”

“Let me drive you home,” Nina said.

“That’s okay. I could use the fresh air after being inside all afternoon.” They’d used their afternoon and evening “off” to do their monthly deep clean of the diner.

“You’re sure you’re all right?” Nina asked.

Megan bent to kiss her sister’s cheek. “I’m fine, and I’m thrilled for both of you.”

Nina held her tight for a minute. “Love you, Meggie.”

Megan couldn’t remember the last time Nina had called her by her childhood nickname. “Love you, too.”

Feeling as if she’d been set adrift, untethered from the one sure thing in her life, Megan stepped out of the diner, taking a moment to breathe in the fresh, clean early-autumn air. The tears she’d managed to contain in front of Nina and Brett broke loose in sobs that had her looking for a place to hide until the storm passed.

She crossed the street and ducked behind the Green Mountain Country Store, planning to hide out until Brett and Nina left for home.

The last thing she wanted was for them to see her crying, and nothing short of a miracle would help her keep it together tonight.

After another twelve-hour marathon in front of the computer, Hunter Abbott stood and stretched out the kinks in his shoulders and back. As the chief financial officer for the Green Mountain Country Store and other Abbott family businesses, Hunter worked pretty much all the time. If it weren’t for the pressing need for food that his body demanded every few hours, he’d probably work around the clock.

It wasn’t like he had anything better to do. And wasn’t that a sad, pathetic fact of his life?

His stomach let out an unholy growl that had him checking the time on his computer. Nine ten. With the diner closed today, that left pizza as his only option in town at this hour. He dialed the number to Kingdom Pizza from memory and ordered a small veggie and a salad. If he was resorting to eating junk, at least it was somewhat healthy. Before his twin sister, Hannah, had remarried over the summer, Hunter might’ve headed for her house to bum some dinner and conversation. But with Nolan now living with Hannah and the two of them in starry-eyed newly wedded bliss, Hunter steered clear.

He turned off his computer and glanced at the stack of files still awaiting his attention. Bring them home or leave them for tomorrow? After a brief internal debate, he shut off the light and left them. His tank was running on empty, and tomorrow would bring more of the same.

In the outer office, he was surprised to find the light still on in his sister Ella’s office. He went over to knock on her door. “You’re working late.”

“As are you.”

“Except I always do. What’s your excuse?”

“Getting some new products entered into the system, and dealing with a pile of paperwork that never seems to get smaller no matter what I do.”

“I hear you there. So much for being self-employed, huh?”

She smiled at him, but he noted a hint of sadness in her eyes that caught him by surprise. Ella was one of the most joyful people he’d ever known—always happy and upbeat.

“Everything okay?”

“Sure. Why do you ask?”

“You just seemed . . . I don’t know . . . sad or something for a second there.”

“I’m fine. No need to worry.”

“Okay then.” Hunter took a step back, planning to leave, but there it was again—the sadness he’d seen before. “You know if there’s anything wrong, you can come to me, right? We may see each other a thousand times a day, but I’m right over there if you need me. No matter what it is.”

“Thank you, Hunter. That’s very sweet of you. I know you want to take care of everything for all of us, but some things . . . Well, some things can’t be managed. They are what they are.”

More confused than ever, Hunter wasn’t sure whether he should stay and try to force the issue or give her some space to deal with whatever was bothering her. “I’m here, El. I’m right here. Don’t suffer in silence.”

Her smile softened her face. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Do you want me to wait for you so you’re not here alone?”

“No. I’ve got another hour or so, and I can lock up.”

“Give me a quick call to let me know you got home okay.”

“Hunter . . .”

“What? You’ll always be my little sister, so call me.”

“I’m only four years younger than you.”

“And I vividly remember the day you were born.”

“Freak.”

Hunter chuckled at the predictable comment. His family teased him every day about his photographic memory and ability to recall facts and figures from years ago that should’ve been impossible to remember. Sometimes he wished he could forget some of the crap that rattled around in his brain, but it was his lot in life to be a walking, talking data warehouse. “See you in the morning.”

“Have a good night.”

“Call me.”

“Go!”

Hunter went down the stairs thinking about what Ella had said about him wanting to take care of things for everyone. Perhaps it was also his lot in life as the oldest of the ten Abbott siblings, but he wanted the people he loved to be happy and their problems to be few, even if that meant taking on more than his share of the load.

Hannah had been after him recently to work less and play more. If only he could think of something he’d rather do than work.

Totally pathetic. He knew it, but damn if he could figure out how to snap out of the rut he’d fallen into. When had he become an all-work, no-play stick in the mud? If he were being honest with himself, he’d been in the rut for a long time, probably since he graduated from college and joined the family business full time. College had been the last time he’d been truly free of responsibility and obligation.

Thinking about the blissful college days had him remembering his late brother-in-law Caleb, Hannah’s first husband, who’d died in Iraq seven years ago. If he came back to life and saw how ridiculously out of balance Hunter’s life had become, he’d raise holy hell.

Raising holy hell was on Hunter’s mind as he stepped into the cool darkness and waited for the motion-sensitive light to come on. Once it did, he turned to lock the door behind him. Ella would see to setting the alarm system. Leaving her alone at the store made him anxious, but he would check on her if she didn’t remember to call him.

A sound to his left had him stopping to listen. Was that sniffling? “Who’s there?”

“It’s me, Megan. I’m sorry to scare you.”

That voice . . . It cut through him like a knife slicing butter. Every nerve ending in his body stood up to take note of her nearness, which happened every damned time he came into any kind of contact with her. “Megan,” he said in a voice that was barely a whisper. “What’re you doing here in the dark?”

“Hiding out.”

“Why? Are you hurt? What’s wrong?” True to form, he wanted to make things right for her, no matter what it took. His heart beat quickly, as if he’d been running for miles, and his hands were suddenly sweaty and clammy. He’d never understand why this particular woman provoked such a strong reaction in him every time he laid eyes on her—or in this case, heard tears in her voice as she spoke in the dark.

“Nothing’s wrong. I just needed a minute. Sorry to trespass on your property. I’ll get out of your way.”

“Wait. Don’t go.” The words came out sounding far more desperate than he’d intended. “At least let me drive you home.”

“That’s all right. I can walk.”

“I wouldn’t mind at all.”

She stepped into the light, and the sight of her tear-ravaged face broke his heart. What could possibly be so wrong?

“It’s out of your way.”

“I’ve got nowhere to be.” He watched her expressive face as she pondered his offer. Her lips pursed, which brought her cheekbones into sharper relief against the pale skin on her face. Exquisite was the word that came to mind whenever he looked at her, which was as often as he could. Until recently she’d had a major crush on his brother Will, but that had no bearing whatsoever on how he felt about her. He looked at her, and he wanted. It was that simple.

Except she barely knew he was alive, which was a problem.

“If you’re sure you don’t mind,” she said after an impossibly long pause.

“I really don’t.”

“Thank you.”

She walked with him to his silver Lincoln Navigator and stood by his side as he held the passenger door and waited for her to get settled.

As he got into the driver’s side, his growling stomach reminded him of the take-out order. “Have you had dinner?” The words were out before he could take the time to overanalyze the situation.

“Not yet.”

“I have a pizza and salad on order. I’d be happy to share.”

“I don’t know if I could eat.”

“Come along and keep me company?”

“Um, sure. Okay.” She reached into her purse, withdrew a tissue and wiped her eyes.

“Are you going to tell me why you were crying?”

“Do I have to?”

“Of course not.” He was surprised that she would think he’d try to force it out of her. “But I’m told I’m a good listener.”

She had no reply to that, so he turned the key to start the engine, lowering the windows a bit to get some air.

“I probably stink from cleaning the diner,” she said.

“No, you don’t.” As he drove, he thought of a thousand things he’d like to say to her, but none were the sort of things a guy blurted out when he finally had a moment alone with the woman he desired.

How exactly did you tell a woman who barely knew you were alive that you thought about her constantly? That seeing her upset killed you. That wanting her kept you awake at night. How did you tell her it didn’t matter if she had once been obsessed with your brother? That there was nothing you wouldn’t do to see her smile, to see her pale blue eyes light up with joy?

How could he say any of that and not sound like a total creep?

He couldn’t, so he kept his mouth shut and hoped he wouldn’t do something embarrassing like hyperventilate from the overwhelming effort it took not to say all of it.

Romance Author, Green Mountain Series, Contemporary Romance,
About Marie Force:

With more than 3 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 contemporary romances. Her New York Times bestselling self-published McCarthys of Gansett Island Series has sold more than 1 million e-books since Maid for Love was released in 2011. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin’s Carina Press, as well as the Treading Water Series and numerous stand-alone books. All You Need is Love, book 1 in her new Green Mountain Series from Berkley Sensation, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller in February. The second book, I Want to Hold Your Hand, will be out in June, and the third book, I Saw Her Standing There, is coming in November. In 2014, Marie will have eight mass-market print releases—the first five Fatal Series books from Harlequin and the first three Green Mountain Series books from Berkley. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two teenagers and two feisty dogs, Brandy and Louie.


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Review: Beyond Limits (Tracers #8) by Laura Griffin

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Book: Beyond Limits (Tracers #8)
Author: Laura Griffin
Publisher: Pocket Books
Date Published: January 27th 2015
ASIN: B00LD1S12O
Author Info: Website|Facebook|Twitter
4 out of 5 Stars
***Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review***
An FBI agent and a Navy SEAL race against time in New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin’s newest Tracers novel. “Griffin delivers the goods!” (Publishers Weekly)

FBI agent Elizabeth LeBlanc is still caught in the aftermath of her last big case when she runs into the one man from her past who is sure to rock her equilibrium even more. Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is back home from a harrowing rescue mission in which he found evidence of a secret terror cell on US soil. Elizabeth knows he’ll do anything to unravel the plot—including seducing her for information. And despite the risks involved, she’s tempted to let him. Together with the forensics experts at the Delphi Center, Derek and Elizabeth are closing in on the truth, but it may not be fast enough to avert a devastating attack…

Following in the bestselling tradition of the Tracers series, including Exposed, Scorched, and Twisted, Beyond Limits pulls out all the stops with Griffin’s most gripping thriller yet.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22609410-beyond-limits?ac=1
Purchase: Amazon|B&N|iTunes|Kobo
Beyond Limits was a really good read, with a horrifyingly realistic terrorist plot that makes you feel their race against the clocks, the suspense was top notch. The main characters as well as the secondary characters were well written and realistic and the romance was hot. I really enjoyed reading it.

When one of Derek's missions uncover a terrorist plot he finds himself being questioned by FBI agent Elizabeth. They've met previously in a different investigation and neither one has been able to forget the other. Derek has a vested interest in seeing the suspects caught not only because the plot is supposed to take place in his home state but because one of his teammates was killed in the op involving one of the suspects. Elizabeth finds herself stuck with Derek as they race to catch the terrorists before they can cause any destruction on US soil. While I'm not usually a reader of terrorist plot lines, this one was pretty good with enough twists and turns to keep me interested. Derek and Elizabeth actually worked really well together when they got over their hangups.

Because Derek and Elizabeth have met previously there isn't a feeling of being rushed into their relationship. They are both seriously attracted to each other and that really comes through while you're reading. I also enjoyed reading about Luke and Hailey and I'm really hoping that they get their own story eventually. There were only a handful of scenes with them but I found myself looking forward to them while reading, which shows just how well Laura Griffin writes her secondary characters.

Although Beyond Limits is the eighth book in the Tracers series it can be read as a stand alone, each of the books focus on a different couple, and even though Derek and Elizabeth were both introduced in a previous book I had no problem picking up this one without reading the others first. You still get the back-story of how they met so don't worry that you'll be lost if you're starting with this one. Overall Beyond Limits is a great read with lots of action and some scorching hot romance to spice it up.

Teaser & Giveaway for Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy + Character Profile

Friday, February 27, 2015
Young Adult, Pilots,
Breaking Sky
Sourcebooks Fire
March 2015 ● ISBN: 9781492601418
Hardcover/$16.99 ● Ages 14+
Fly to the last drop of fuel. Fight to the last drop of blood.

Showoff. Reckless. Maverick. Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx”, isn’t one to play it safe. In the year 2048, America is locked in a cold war – and the country’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy. Chase is one of only two daredevil pilots chosen to fly an experimental “Streaker” jet. But few know the pain and loneliness of her past. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.

But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. And Chase doesn’t play well with others. But to save her country, she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.
Great Lakes Book & Supply – Cori McCarthy’s Local Indie! Pre-order here and receive a personalized signed copy.
Amazon | iTunes | BAM | B&N | Chapters | Indiebound | Kobo

Meet the Elite Teen Fighter Pilots of the United Star Academy

Cori McCarthy
Full Name: HENRY DONNET
Call Sign: PIPPIN
Position: RIO (radar intercept officer)
Height: 5’7”
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Age: 17
Originally from: Trenton, New Jersey
Plane name and description: DRAGON, Streaker Jet Prototype 1
Years in the service: 3
Personality strengths: Genius, creative, snark master
Personality weaknesses: Secretive, walled-off

A Teaser:

“I don’t suppose you see a gas station.” Pippin sat a few feet behind her, but his voice was closer, a direct link from his mask to her helmet’s headphones. “Nearing bingo fuel, Nyx.”

“Give me two minutes.” Chase smelled a challenge. Or she imagined one. Anything to prolong the hop and do something fun.

She pulled back on the stick, pointing the nose of her jet straight at the midday sun.

Brilliance charged the crystal dome.

“Tower to Nyx. Come in, Nyx,” Pippin mocked. “My sense of mortality insists I ask if we’re coming down anytime soon. As much as I wanted to be an astronaut when I was five, Dragon isn’t a star- ship. Where are we going exactly?”

“Somewhere. Anywhere.” The sun blinded through her smoky visor, but she kept her eyes ahead. “Up.”

About the Author:

CORI MCCARTHY studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before she landed in Michigan. Learn more about her books at CoriMcCarthy.com.

Praise for Breaking Sky:

“Strong characterizations, action, adventure, and emotion combine to produce a sci-fi novel that is more than just the sum of its parts.” —School Library Journal STARRED Review

“Smart, exciting, confident—and quite possibly the next Big Thing.” —Kirkus Reviews

“McCarthy deploys breath-stopping depictions of high-stakes piloting with enviable ease, and the in-your-face personal confrontations are nearly as taut.” —Publishers Weekly

5 copies of Breaking Sky.
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Excerpt & Giveaway for Highland Guard by Hannah Howell

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Historical Romance, Murray Family, Books

Murray Family, Historical Romance, Books
Highland Guard
Murray Family # 20
By: Hannah Howell
Releasing March 3rd, 2015
Zebra
New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell brings back the daring Murray family in a brand-new tale of dangerous love rekindled. . .

Lady Annys MacQueen has no other choice. The deception that enabled her to keep her lands safe is on the verge of being revealed by a cruel kinsman. To shield her young son from the sword and her people from devastation, she must turn to the one man she could never forget. . .

He lives for duty and honor. So the only way Sir Harcourt Murray could repay the laird who saved his life was to agree to father a child with Sir MacQueen's wife. . .Lady Annys. Now the passion he still feels for the lovely strong-willed widow is as all-consuming and perilous as securing her lands. But to convince her that his love is forever real means confronting her most wrenching fears--and putting everything they treasure most at stake. .
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22459021-highland-guard?from_search=true
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

Excerpt:

Harcourt looked at Annys and his heart actually skipped a beat. He would have laughed if he was not so filled with conflicting emotions. Such happenings were the stuff of bad poetry, the sort of thing he had always made jest of. Yet, there he stood, rooted to the spot, frantically thinking of what to say and how to hide the tangled mass of emotion that was nearly choking him. He nodded a greeting to her and watched her beautiful moss-green eyes narrow in a look that did not bode well for an amiable talk later. Talking was not what he was thinking about, however. He was recalling how soft that long blood-red hair of hers was, how warm her pale skin felt beneath his hands, and how sweet those full lips tasted. That was a memory he needed to smother and fast.

“Are matters as bad as young Ian indicated?” he asked Nicolas, and inwardly winced when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Annys cross her arms under her breasts.

“Aye,” Nicolas replied. “We can have that talk with her ladyship in attendance as soon as we get all of you sorted.”

Harcourt nodded and turned his attention to seeing to the matter. Once the horses were taken care of, their supplies unloaded and carted away, he knew the time had come to actually face Annys. He took a deep breath and started toward her where she still stood on the steps only to come to a halt when a small child rushed by him and ran up to pull at her skirts.

“Maman! Ye got us more soldiers.”

“I did, Benet. I thought it might help stop all the trouble we have been having.”

The moment the child turned to look at him, Harcourt clenched his fists at his side. The boy’s eyes were a match for his own. Bright amber eyes watched him closely and Harcourt fought against the urge to shout out his claim to this child. He had given up all rights. It had been the debt owed for his life. He could feel the eyes of his companions fixed upon him though and knew he would be facing a lot of questions.

It took every ounce of strength he had to start walking again. He stepped up until he was standing just below Annys and the boy. It was easy to read the fear in her eyes. Young Benet’s eye color was not an exact match with his and could be attributed to the tiny gold specks in her eyes or just a different shade of the brown David’s eyes had been. The boy’s hair was black but so had David’s been. As long as he did not say or do something to give the secret away, all would be fine. Yet, Harcourt knew it was going to be a long hard battle not to reach out and claim his son.

“M’lady,” he said and took her hand in his to brush a kiss over her knuckles.

That tiny soft hand trembled slightly in his grasp and his body reacted to the sign that she was not as indifferent to his presence as she appeared to be. Harcourt knew it would be unwise to try to begin an affair with her but he was not sure he was strong enough to resist if she gave him even the smallest hint that she would welcome his attention.

“Sir Harcourt,” she said and nodded as she almost yanked her hand out of his grasp. “Where is Ian?”

“He was injured in his travels. Nay badly, but I thought it best if he remained at Gormfeurach for a while. He is being given the best of care.”

“Thank you for that. I was most concerned when he did not return.” She turned slightly and took Benet by the hand. “Shall we go to the hall where you can quench your thirst and have some food while we talk?”

Annys fought to keep from racing into the keep, putting as much distance between her and Sir Harcourt as she could. The touch of his lips on her hand had nearly undone her hard-won composure. It had been five years since she had felt his touch yet the moment his flesh met hers, even in the innocence of a proper greeting, her mind had gone back to those nights by the burn.

Guilt left a sour taste in her mouth. David was barely cold in his grave and she was allowing herself to weaken at the touch of another man’s hand. What had happened between her and Harcourt had been wrong, even if it had been condoned by David. She nearly laughed. Condoned? It had been meticulously arranged. David had been the sweetest, kindest man she had ever known but he had also been a man who would not hesitate to do whatever was needed to get what he wanted. He had wanted a son.

She glanced down at Benet who kept looking back at the men following them into the keep. Until she had seen Harcourt again, she had not allowed herself to even think on how much Benet looked like the man. All she could do was pray no one else noticed, especially since there had been the faintest similarities in coloring between David and Harcourt. She would also have to be very watchful for even the smallest possibility that she or Harcourt were giving the secret away in how they treated the boy.

“M’lady,” Joan whispered in her ear as they entered the hall and pulled away from the men who went to wash their hands, “it is not as clear to see as ye think it is.”

“I pray ye are right, Joan.”

“I am. I only see it because of what I ken and I have ne’er heard a whisper that would tell me anyone else here kens the truth or that those who may would e’er say a word. So, ye just be careful in what ye say and do and all will be weel.”

Annys wished she had the confidence in that that Joan had. The looks on the faces of the men who had come with Harcourt, looks the men were doing a pitiful job of hiding, told her that they noticed something already. She prayed Harcourt would have a stern word with them all.

“Allow me to introduce my companions, m’lady,” Harcourt said once they were all seated. “This is Sir Callum MacMillan, Sir Tamhas Cameron, Sir Nathan MacFingal, Sir Ned MacFingal, and Sir Gybbon Murray.”

Annys nodded a greeting to each man as he was introduced. Two redheads, a brunet, and three raven-haired men. All handsome. All warriors. All tall and fit. It was not going to be easy to stop the maidens of the keep from seeking them out. They were, however, a treasure of skill and strength she could not turn away, no matter how much she worried over the chance that her secret might come out.

“I thank you all for coming,” she said. “Please, eat, drink, and we can talk once ye take the edge off your thirst and hunger.”

The only conversation that ensued as the men ate concerned the journey they had taken. Gormfeurach was not as far away as Annys had thought, although far enough when one half of the partners in a huge secret were concerned. She ate very little, her stomach tied in knots, as she struggled to push aside all worry about what might or might not be exposed by Sir Harcourt’s presence. The people of Glencullaich needed these men. They had to take precedence over all of her fears.

As she sipped her wine she glanced between Harcourt on her left and Nicolas on her right. Both were extraordinarily handsome men yet she experienced not one single twinge of womanly interest when she studied Nicolas. Hair the color of dark wood, gray eyes, and a strong body were all things that could please a woman but, although she did like the look of him, nothing else stirred inside her. Harcourt stirred everything inside of her and not all of it was good. The warmth was side by side with the chilling fear of secrets being uncovered. The need was side by side with the guilt for having given in to it even with the urging of her husband. The pleasure of seeing him again sat side by side with a lingering anger over the way he had left her. Somehow she had to clear her heart and mind of all the confusion.

Author Info:


Hannah D. Howell is a highly regarded and prolific romance writer. Since Amber Flame, her first historical romance, was released in February 1988, she has published 25 novels and short stories, with more on the way. Her writing has been repeatedly recognized for its excellence and has "made Waldenbooks Romance Bestseller list a time or two" as well as was nominated twice by Romantic Times for Best Medieval Romance (Promised Passion and Elfking's Lady). She has also won Romantic Times' Best British Isles Historical Romance for Beauty and the Beast; and, in 1991-92 she received Romantic Times' Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year.

Hannah was born and raised in Massachusetts (the maternal side of her family has been there since the 1630's). She has been married to her husband Stephen for 28 years, who she met in England while visiting relatives, and decided to import him. They have two sons Samuel, 27, and Keir, 24. She is addicted to crocheting, reads and plays piano, attempts to garden, and collects things like dolls, faerie and cat figurines, and music boxes. She also seems to collect cats, as she now has four of them, Clousseau, Banshee, Spooky, and Oliver Cromwell.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Three Print copies of HIGHLAND GUARD
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Excerpt & Giveaway for Of Silk and Steam by Bec McMaster

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
So excited to have Bec McMaster on the blog today! Check out the excerpt from Of Silk and Steam and don't forget to enter her giveaway below! - Chrystina

London Steampunk Series, Romance, Barrons, Mina, Steampunk
Title: Of Silk and Steam
Author: Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
ISBN: 9781402291944
ENEMIES. ALLIES. LOVERS.

When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.

A woman of mystery, Mina’s long driven Leo crazy with glimpses of a fiery passion that lurks beneath her icy veneer. He knows she’s hiding something, and he’s determined to unravel her layer by silken layer. He just doesn’t expect the beautiful liar to be the key to overthrowing the corrupt prince consort…or to saving his own carefully walled-off heart.
Amazon  | iTunes  | BAM  | B&N  | Chapters  | Indiebound | Kobo

About the Author:

Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, RWA (Australia) and RWNZ, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.

An Excerpt:

Barrons looked at her. “Do you trust me?”

“No.” His father would have cut her down without thinking, but Barrons was an enigma. If he were a different man, she would have enjoyed his attentions, but a part of her couldn’t help wondering if his pursuit of her was just a way to get closer, to slip the knife in when she least expected it…

Could she trust that he meant her no harm?

His hand tightened around hers, dark heat sweeping through his irises. He focused on her so intently that she could almost feel it on her skin. “Then let us call a temporary truce for tonight. I shall help you escape. In return…”

“Yes?”

His voice roughened. “I want a kiss.”

A kiss. Tension slid sinuously along her limbs, each muscle clenching. Those motives she could certainly understand. It didn’t mean she had to like them.

Wariness spread through her as he lifted his hand and slowly, carefully brushed the back of his fingers against her lips. She didn’t flinch. Instead she tipped her chin up and glared him down. “Help me escape and I shall grant you such a liberty.” What harm could a single kiss do? “Until then”—she took a step back, her skirts swishing around her ankles—“I’ll thank you to keep your hands to yourself.”

His hand dropped but the ghostly sensation of that touch lingered, reminding her that it had been a long time since she’d been touched in any way intimately, and never like this. Never…soft. Full of gentleness, as if the very sensation of her skin beneath his was a pleasure in itself, not merely a step to greater satisfaction.

He was far more dangerous than she’d ever suspected, and she’d known, since the first moment she’d met him, that he was dangerous indeed. He was the only man who had ever managed to make her feel something.
Enter to win 1 of 5 Copies of Kiss of Steel, Book One in Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series!
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Bec McMaster, London Steampunk

If you have questions or comments for the author please leave them below and thanks for stopping by!

Cover Reveal for Blood Stitches by Erin Fanning

Demons, Paranormal Romance, Cover Reveal
Title: Blood Stitches
Author: Erin Fanning
Publisher: Kensington

It’s called El Toque de la Luna–The Touch of the Moon. At least that’s how nineteen-year-old Gabby’s older sister, Esperanza, refers to the magical powers she inherited from their Mayan ancestors. Esperanza says women with El Toque weave magic into their knitting, creating tapestries capable of saving–or devastating–the world. Gabby thinks Esperanza is more like touched in the head–until a man dressed like a candy corn arrives at their Seattle home on Halloween. But “Mr. C” is far from sweet…

Soon, Gabby and her almost-more-than-friend, Frank, find themselves spirited away to a demon ball, complete with shape shifters–and on a mission to destroy Esperanza’s tapestries before they cause an apocalyptic disaster… And before it’s too late to confess their true feelings for each other.
Blood Stitches is available at Amazon

About the Author:

Erin Fanning spends her summers on a remote Michigan lake, where her imagination explores the water and dense forest for undiscovered creatures. In the winter, she migrates to central Idaho, exchanging mountain bikes and kayaks for skis and snowshoes.

She’s the author of the “Curse of Blackhawk Bay” (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2008), “Mountain Biking Michigan” (Globe Pequot Press, 2002), and numerous short stories, essays, and articles.

For More Information:
Visit Erin’s website.
Visit Erin on Facebook and on Twitter


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