To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

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Spotlight_ To Marry a Texas Outlaw

Description:
Three Brothers. One Oath.
No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND

The Outlaw
Outlaw Luke Weston survives by his wits. On the run for a murder he didn’t commit, the last thing he needs is to go looking for more trouble. But when Luke stumbles across a fiercely beautiful woman struggling against two heavily armed men, it’s obvious that trouble has found him.

After all, he never could resist a damsel in distress.

Josie Morgan’s distressed, all right―and hopping mad. She has no idea why she’s been kidnapped…or who she is…or why her body melts for the mysterious gunslinger who saved her life. But as the lost memories come tumbling back together, Josie is faced with the stark reality of why she and Luke can never be…even as her heart is telling her she will always be his.

 

Review:

To Marry a Texas Outlaw by Linda Broday is the 3rd book in her Men of Legend series.  This book reads very well as a standalone, though it is best to read the earlier books to learn more about this wonderful family and the Legend men.  When I read my first book (Texas Plains) by Broday, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed that book, since I usually do not read westerns.  Now having loved To Marry a Texas Outlaw, I will be reading anything by Linda Broday, as she writes beautiful heartwarming stories, with wonderful characters.

In To Marry a Texas Outlaw, Luke Weston, our hero, is on the run, as he is trying to clear himself from a murder charge, which he did not commit.  Luke is also known as a famous gunslinger, and is always looking over his shoulder at those trying to kill him.  When he comes across a wagon, he sees a woman tied up and two men hurting her.  He comes to her rescue.

Josie Morgan, our heroine, at first thinks Luke is one of the men who kidnapped her, but she learns quickly that he was rescuing her.  When Luke tries to get information from her, she cannot remember anything, including her name; something which will be revealed in a short time. As Luke takes her to friends for protection, they both begin to feel an attraction to each other.  Josie is determined to find out who she is and why was she kidnapped?  She also learns about Luke, and believes in his innocence.  But both of them have issues that would stop them from acting on their feelings; Josie worries she might have done something bad, and Luke wouldn’t accept her.  Luke already feels his life is too dangerous for Josie or his family to be part of.  Two tough and determined people, who are falling in love….will they find a way to stay together.

What follows is an exhilarating and exciting adventure that will bring Luke’s family (Stoker (father), his brothers, Sam, Houston and their wives) into a large part of the story, at the Lone Star ranch.  They all try to convince Luke that he is part of the family no matter what, and they want to help him.  He is stubborn, determined to leave and keep them safe.  Josie & Luke will also bring to the family a young boy and his dog, who they saved from a abusive uncle, and he too will become part of the Legend household.  The last half of the book has them all fighting against hired gunslingers to save the father, and in turn save Luke.  Josie was a strong and tough heroine, who was able to rise above her kidnapping and memory loss and step fully into the battle to help them.  She will also open Luke’s heart to a possible future of love and family.   This was such a heartwarming and emotional story that has us unable to put the book down, and a fantastic ending.  Very well done by Broday.

What follows is a unique and wonderful story of two people, one on the run and the other having lost her memory, who  will find love for each other .   I loved when they got to the family ranch, and Luke’s family was great. I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this heart wrenching story, and the wonderful characters Linda Broday has created.  If you enjoy heartwarming  western romance adventures, wonderful couples and  families; I  strongly suggest you read Linda Broday’s books.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

excerpt

Lawmen surrounded the wagon and forced them to stop.

“Morning, gentlemen,” Luke drawled. “Mind getting out of our way?”

“We’re looking for a woman.” The old sheriff had a crooked nose that must’ve been broken countless times.

“The only one I’ve seen is—”

“Me. His wife,” Rose interrupted and gazed with what she hoped was adoration up at Luke. “Don’t be shy saying it, sweetheart. But it’s still sort of new, I reckon.” She cupped his jaw and turned to the riders. “You see, we were married two weeks ago and we’re on our honeymoon. My darling sugarplum promised to take me to Fort Worth.”

She pressed her lips to his in a long, searing kiss. He didn’t respond for a moment, then shock and thrilling tingles rippled over her as he kissed her back. When she parted her mouth, he slipped his tongue inside as bold as you please. His hand curled just under her breast and sent waves of aching hunger through her.

“Ahem,” one of lawmen said. “We need a word if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, dear sir, but we do mind,” she murmured against Luke’s mouth. “Very strenuously.”

“Damn, woman,” Luke whispered. “Aren’t you overdoing it?”

“Me?” she argued low. “What was the tongue for?”

“Added effect.” His eyes held a devilish gleam.

“Sorry, ma’am,” another of the posse tried. “Give us a quick word and we’ll be on our way.”

Luke raised his head. “My wife Rose is very…passionate. Why are you looking for this other woman?”

“She murdered her husband last night, mister.”

Rose gasped. “My heavens, how horrible. Did she shoot him?”

“Oh no, ma’am, nothing that tame,” said the lawman with the mole. “She gutted him.”

“Where did this take place?” Luke asked, nuzzling Rose’s neck.

“Doan’s Crossing.”

Rose stiffened in panic.

“Careful,” Luke whispered. “Just a little longer.”

“Do you know her name by chance?” Rose asked quietly.

“Josie. Josie Morgan,” the man answered. “From the description, she’s the spitting image of you, ma’am.”

She shivered even as Luke’s arm tightened around her. Could she have done something like that? Was she a murderess?

“If we happen to spot her, we’ll report it to the first lawman,” Luke promised. “Now, if you don’t mind, we have somewhere to be and my wife, bless her sweet soul, is a very impatient woman.” He winked at the posse. “You fellows remember what it was like to be newly married, don’t you?”

A murmur of agreement came from the group.

Rose glanced down and her heart pounded to see the duster had slipped, exposing a big portion of her bloody skirt. Slowly, so as not to draw the lawmen’s gaze, she tried to tug the shield back into place.

“Say, don’t I know you, mister?” One of the lawmen in the back, a younger man, moved forward, staring at Luke. “What’s your name?”

Rose held her breath as Luke’s hand inched slowly down toward his Colt. Desperate to draw the riders’ attention, she loosened the top buttons of her dress and moved the fabric aside. “My goodness, I’m so hot!” She touched her cheek with a fingertip and drew it painstakingly down the long column of her throat, past her collarbone and into her cleavage. The young lawman swallowed hard.

“Name’s Jones. I’m from Tascosa,” Luke drawled. “The town’s wild and woolly but it’s where I met my beautiful Rose and tied the knot.”

“I never thought I’d ever find such a handsome man to give me a second look.” Rose batted her eyelashes. “Ours is a match made in heaven.”

“I must be mistaken.” The young man turned aside, mumbling to himself.

The hawk-nosed marshal leaned over. “There’s a lot of blood on your dress, ma’am. What happened?”

Panic raced through Rose. “Blood? Oh, good heavens no!” She forced a giggle. “This is nothing but red mud. My mama always complained about the North Texas red dirt and was never able to get it to wash out of anything.”

The marshal’s white brow lifted in apparent skepticism.

Luke quietly added, “My wife likes to make love in the…uh, creek. It’s really embarrassing to talk about.”

She patted his vest. “Sweetheart, these men don’t have time to be gossiping like that! They simply have to find that Morgan woman before she kills again.”

The men shook their heads, chuckling, but one leaned forward for a better view.

“Sorry to have held you up.” The old sheriff touched the brim of his hat and the group galloped off, kicking up a cloud of dust around the wagon.

Luke jiggled the reins and the team began to move. “What the hell was that back there?”

Her spine stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Attacking me like that.”

“Wait one minute. If I recall, you didn’t appear to object.”

“You enjoyed every second of that,” Luke accused.

“And you didn’t?”

Luke glanced back to check on the lawmen. “Where did that performance come from?”

“I noticed a spark of recognition in that young one’s eyes and I knew I had to save you. He was a step away from arresting you.” She thought he’d at least be grateful for her efforts.

“Don’t ever try to save me again.” Luke’s voice held a sharp edge. “I’ll only get you hurt—or dig you a grave.”


 

 

about the author

LInda Broday
At a young age, Linda Broday discovered a love for storytelling, history, and anything pertaining to the Old West. Cowboys fascinate her. There’s something about Stetsons, boots, and tall rugged cowboys that get her fired up. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda has won many awards, including the prestigious National Readers’ Choice Award and the Texas Gold Award. She resides in the Texas Panhandle and is inspired every day.


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Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh – Review & Giveaway

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh – Review & Giveaway

 

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Someone to Wed
Westcott series – Book #3
by Mary Balogh
Release Date : November 7. 2017

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Description:
When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . .
A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate—and oh-so-dashing—earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . .

 

 

Review:

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh is the 3rd book in her wonderful Regency Westcott series. I enjoyed the first two books in this series, and Someone to Wed is as equal or even better.  I like some regency or historical romances on occasion, but I will not miss a book from the Westcott series.  Mary Balogh amazes me how she gives us wonderful romances with unlikely couples, and we totally fall in love with them, as well as the fantastic family group.

In Someone to Wed, Alexander Westcott is our hero, whom we met in the earlier books.  Alex is the Earl of Riverdale, which he inherited from the deceased Earl, whose children would have been heirs, but because he was a bigamist, Alexander becomes the legitimate heir.  Alex loves his own estate, and is not thrilled to now have to take over the Riverdale estate that is in ruins, since he cannot afford the big repair expenses. To better understand all of this, I suggest you read my reviews of the first book or better yet, go buy book 1 & 2.  You will not regret it.

Wren Heyden, our heroine, is a modern woman, who excels in her business holdings and is very wealthy. Wren, who has a purple birthmark on almost half of her face, has been a recluse for twenty years.  With her aunt and uncle now deceased, Wren wants to find someone to wed, to have children and some semblance of a life, and plans on buying a husband.  Enter Alex, who as the Earl of Riverdale was called to visit the unknown Ms. Heyden.  He is shocked when he meets Wren, who wears a veil to cover her face, and hears her proposal.  When she explains that she is considering him to become her husband, and will help him with the expenses to restore Riverdale.  Alex becomes insulted, but he asks her to remove the veil, and sees her birthmark.  Alex is not disturbed by it, much to Wren’s surprise, but he leaves and says if she is serious, he will invite her to a tea he will have for neighbors.  Can she find the courage to attend?

Alexander finds himself a bit curious about Wren, and sees under her surface about her past hardships, lack of confidence and her fears that made her a recluse.  Wren is very independent and tends to be cold and unsocial, as she has never experienced dealings with people other than in business .  When Alex tries to get her to open up more, and meet his family, he is surprised when she accepts, but her fears will force her to turn him away.  But Alex has a wonderful mother and sister, who make friends with Wren, and she becomes comfortable with them, allowing her to learn more about Alex. 

What follows is a slow build romance that will at first be friendship, and slowly they will both find love.  What I really loved about this story was watching Wren begin to change and see those she has come to know not paying attention to her blemish.  She begins to open up and have fun, and Alex slowly helps her build her confidence removing her veil completely and attend events.   I also loved this family that we have met over these three books, which was so insurmountable in changing Wren, as well as healing the family ties that had been broken by previous Earl of Riverdale’s death. 

The romance between Alex and Wren was wonderful to watch, with so many emotions, both sad and sweet.  I can’t say enough about Mary Balogh’s writing, as the Westcott series is a ‘do not miss’.  If you enjoy a pure romance, even if you don’t like historical/regency, you should be reading this one.  Someone to Wed is a wonderful heartwarming story, great characters, and a fantastic couple. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

 

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Nauti Angel (Nauti #9 : Nauti Girls #5) by Lora Leigh-Review & Giveaway

NAUTI ANGEL (Nauti #9: Nauti Girls #5) by Lora Leigh-Review and Giveaway

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NAUTI ANGEL
Nauti #9 / Nauti Girls #5
by Lora Leigh
Genre: adult, contemporary,erotic, romance
Release Date: November 7, 2017

Nauti Angel

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 7, 2017

Angel Calloway is no saint. But when the rough and reckless mercenary shows up in Somerset, she makes a lasting impression on the young Mackay girls, especially Bliss. Their mother Chaya, on the other hand, plans on keeping a suspicious eye on Angel. As the wife of the notorious Natches Mackay, she can tell when her family is being played.

Former Army investigator Reece “Duke” Duquaine can’t help but be curious about the mysterious and sexy new woman in town, and he’s determined to uncover Angel’s secrets. And though his desire for her threatens to consume him, when Duke has the truth about Angel in his sights, he’ll have to take his shot…

•••••••••••

REVIEW: NAUTI ANGEL is the fifth instalment in Lora Leigh’s contemporary, adult NAUTI GIRLS, and the ninth instalment in the author’s NAUTI erotic, romance series focusing on the Mackay family of Somerset, Kentucky. The Nauti Girls is a spin-off/companion series to Lora’s NAUTI series focusing on the next generation of the Mackay cousins and siblings. This is mercenaries for hire Angel Calloway, and Reese ‘Duke’ Duquaine Mackay’s story line. Angel Calloway is the missing and presumed dead daughter of Chaya Mackay (Natches’ wife); Duke is Rowdy, Dawg and Natches’ cousin. NAUTI ANGEL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary but if you are interested in Natches and Chaya’s back story, and the events leading to the loss of Angel ‘aka Beth’, their story begins in Nauti Dreams (book 3 of the NAUTI series.

SOME BACKGROUND: Approximately twenty years earlier government agent, interrogator and profiler Chaya Dane, while on assignment in Iraq, had been captured and tortured by the Iraqi army. Hours later Marine sniper Natches Mackay would rescue the woman with whom he would fall in love but not before discovering that Chaya’s daughter Bethany had been brought to Iraq by her ex in a botched attempt to destroy his wife. An explosion at the local hotel would kill Chaya’s three year old daughter leaving Chaya a shell of her former self.

Told from several third person perspectives including Angel and Duke NAUTI ANGEL follows several paths including the building romance between Angel Calloway and Duke Mackay, and the acrimonious reunion between twenty three year old Angel Calloway aka Beth Dane, and her mother Chaya Mackay-a reunion that finds our heroine struggling to acknowledge the truth about the woman she believes abandoned her own daughter twenty years earlier. Angel, along with her mercenary partners Duke Mackay and his brother Ethan Duquaine, and Angel’s foster brothers Tracker and Chance, have found themselves guardian and protectors of Natches’ daughter Bliss, a young fifteen year old girl who recognizes a kindred spirit in our story line heroine. What ensues is the battle to protect Bliss Mackay from an unknown threat; the growing but tumultuous rekindling relationship between mother and daughter; and the building love between Angel and Duke-a relationship forged through battle and blood.

Angel Calloway aka Bethany Dane knew hardship from an early age: surviving a hotel bombing, gun shots, stabbings and an attempted rape, Angel, along with her foster brothers and the family that found her amongst the bombed out ruin of an Iraqi hotel, would become well paid mercenaries for hire, something Angel has trained for all of her life. Meeting her biological mother, a woman Angel believes to have abandoned her eldest daughter and left her to die, finds our heroine struggling to be accepted by the family her mother has chosen to love.

NAUTI ANGEL reunites a large number of the original NAUTI series characters and couples including Rowdy, Dawg and Natches Mackay, their spouse, wives and growing families, as well as Rowdy’s father Raymond Mackay, and chief of police Alex Jansen.

The world building continues to focus on the Mackay family dynamics; the close knit group of extended cousins and siblings, their connections to Somerset, Kentucky, and the on going struggle to protect one another against outside forces.

NAUTI ANGEL has all the feels of a welcome back hug; the familiarity of the Mackay cousins, their over active sexual desires; and their awe-inspiring and intimidating heroics as they contemplate, calculate and set into action a series of plans designed to take down, and take out the evil penetrating the safe guards of the Mackay family lands. The premise is heart breaking as one woman struggles with issues of abandonment, and the inability to trust beyond her inner circle-falling in love is something new when she loses her heart and her soul to Duke Mackay; the characters are familiar, colorful and charismatic; the romance is passionate, erotic and intense. NAUTI ANGEL is an energetic and touching story of family, friendship and love.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Lora Leigh’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of NAUTI ANGEL to ONE lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Falling Into Right (Redemption County #2) by Sharon Kay-Review and Giveaway

Falling Into Right (Redemption Count #2) by Sharon Kay- Review and Giveaway

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FALLING INTO RIGHT
Redemption County #2
by Sharon Kay
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic, suspense

Falling Into Right

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 24, 2017

How do you recover when life kick-boxes your soul?

Becca Gable is fighting to stay on her feet after a series of crushing losses. She’s always been the good girl until the events of the past year push her to make a mistake she can’t take back. Now, her corporate finance job and her fiancé are gone thanks to her newly-acquired criminal record.

Shane Marlow survived an IED blast during his service in Iraq—but half his team did not. Physically healed, he returns to his home county as a K9 officer. The scars of loss run deep and though local folks admire him, no one truly gets him—until Becca literally lands in front of him.

Their bond of shared tragedy evolves into a connection both fiery and healing. But a stalker decides that Becca’s crime should stay front and center. As the unsettling episodes reveal that no part of her life is secret, Shane is all that stands between her and the enemy.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Life is full of ups and downs. When it comes to downs like traumas or bad mistakes with nasty consequences such events can be life changing. Either it can invite more bad events that follow or make you second guess some things about yourself. Sometimes it is easy to fall into the pity party tirade of “why me?” Who would’ve guessed that bad events can lead two people together? For Shane and Becca that seems to be the case.

I really enjoyed Shane and Becca as a couple. Perfect amounts of red hot attraction and deep emotional intimacy that would cause any bystander to have to look away. When it comes to opening up about their traumas or mistakes, they both showed tremendous compassion and understanding to each other it really gives you the feels. Which brings me to my favorite part of the book. I felt like it was an emotionally a huge turning point in the book. Shane was on Redemption Hill alone with his dog, Denver having a beer due to a bad day of old demons riding him. Becca joined him later. More discussion and feelings about their pasts. I must say it was the most romantic part of the book. Aside from the emotional stuff, the physical love scenes are as much enjoyable and did not disappoint. Especially the scene where it happened on the stairs in Shane’s house because they could not make it to his bedroom upstairs. All this happened all because they met in the funniest way possible.

Throughout the book, Becca has a stalker wreaking havoc on her life. I have to admit it was a little easy to guess who the stalker was. Though I admit that it kind of pissed me off that the stalker was not letting Becca’s mistake go like she was undeserving of happiness she found with Shane and that the mistake should be held over her forever or something. Quite frankly the way of thinking of the stalker was quite sick.

With Shane being a mystery in the first book, it was great to see Shane get a book as well as a chance to get to know him. You get to see cameos of the characters from the previous book and it is great seeing them again. Again like the previous book, I really liked this book and look forward to who is next to get their story told.

Click HERE to read Xtina’s review of book one-RECORD OF WRONGS

Reviewed by Xtina

Copy supplied for Review

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Sharon KayFollow : Facebook/ Website/ Twitter/ Goodreads

Sharon Kay writes award-winning fiction and can never get enough reading time. She loves winter and black coffee, and is endlessly inspired to write kick-ass heroines and the men strong enough to capture their hearts. Sharon lives in the Chicago area with her husband and son, and one weekend the idea for her Lash Watchers and tough leading ladies formed in her head, refusing to stay quiet until she put pen to paper. Her characters tend to keep her up at night, as they banter, fall in love, and slay endless varieties of power-hungry demons.

Sign up for Sharon’s newsletter to keep up with her demons, see early cover reveals and be entered in periodic giveaways HERE

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Sharon Kay is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of FALLING INTO RIGHT to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Hard Breaker by Christine Warren – Review, Excerpt, Tour & Giveaway

Hard Breaker by Christine Warren – Review, Excerpt, Tour & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Ivy Beckett has a special gift. She can hear voices, feel events, and receive messages from great distances. Which is also a curse. The moment her family is killed by the servants of the Darkness, she knows it. And the only way to fight these evil forces is to align her powers with a Guardian. A legendary warrior of stone who strikes fear in her heart―and fire in her soul…

Baen is a fierce and powerful gargoyle who has sworn to protect all humans from the Darkness. But when this mighty winged warrior swoops down to rescue Ivy from the jaws of death, he is drawn into a battle that is more dangerous―and more intimate―than he ever bargained for. The beautiful, gifted Ivy touches something deep within him, an all-consuming passion that puts both their lives at risk. Can he conquer the armies of evil itself . . . without losing the woman he loves?

 

 

Review:

Hard Breaker by Christine Warren is the 6th and final book in her paranormal suspense Gargoyles series.  A brief refresher: there are seven dangerous demons who have been locked in imprisonment for centuries by a spell.  Should they escape, they will bring the world into darkness.  Seven guardians were created to protect humans, and defeat any demons who escape; but when the world is in peace, these guardians are put into stone cold sleep only to awake when they are summoned by a warden.

In Hard Breaker, Ivy Beckett, our heroine, lost her family to those demons of darkness.  With many of the demons escaping and darkness threatening the world as they know it, Ivy does what she can by helping find wardens and sending them to safety. Ivy has a gift, which she feels is a curse, where she can hear voices from anywhere.  When she is accosted by 3 demons, Ivy is rescued by a giant man who looks like a Gargoyle with wings.  

Baen, one of the seven guardians, wakes out of his slumber by a call of summoning for help.  When he rescues Ivy, he senses she has magic, and is the warden summoned him.  He tries to explain that she is his warden, Ivy refuses to believe she has any ability.  As they find a safe house to hide from the attacks, and for Baen to find the other Guardians, a slow built romance will begin.  Ivy is tough, and finds herself attracted to Baen, (who can switch to looking like a hunky gorgeous human), but she is scared, and does not believe she is a warden. 

Now that 6 of those powerful demons have escaped, the danger escalates and Baen and Ivy must find the other 5 Guardians to help fight the battle of their lives.  It was nice to see all the other heroes from the earlier books join together to find a way to defeat these demons. When they all meet in Paris, they will learn that the 7th Guardian has already been found, long before they even awakened.  He is between realms trying to make sure the 7th and last demon does not escape.

What follows is an exciting adventure where the 6 Guardians, their wardens, and the other wardens that they managed to rescue will devise a plan to save the world from darkness, as the final demons is about to escape.  The final battle is upon them, and they must free the last guardian who has been kidnapped.

Before the final battle, Baen tries to prove to Ivy that he loves her, and she is truly his warden and mate.  Ivy, feels the same about Baen, but her fears keep forcing her to pull back. When she listens to all the other wardens before her, she begins to realize that she belongs with them all, especially Baen.  When things get rough and nasty, she rises up with her fellow wardens and her magic will help bring them all together as the darkness is upon them.  I really did like Ivy and Baen together, and enjoyed seeing all of them for the final time.

Hard Breaker reads very well as a standalone. This entire series, written so well by Christine Warren,  was a fun, exciting, sexy and humorous read.   Since this book ends the series, I suggest you start with the first book, Heart of Stone

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

excerpt

 

Ivy felt a surge of satisfaction. Well, adrenaline, really, but whatever.
“Perfect.” She got to her feet and pitched her voice back to where it could just be overheard— significantly louder, but still natural. Also, a bit wheedling. “Let’s get out of here, Marty. You promised me dinner in a proper restaurant, not a pub, and I’m abso famished.”
Martin r ose awkwardly, sending their glasses to wobbling again. “Lead on, then, darling. Wherever you like.”
She forced a giggle. She hated to giggle. “Oh, you’re such a pudding. But now I’ve got to decide. Hm, Judy told me about this café . . .”
Her mouth continued to babble, spewing nonsense she pulled off the top of her head as she led the way through the crowd— steering well clear of Teddy and his mates— and out the front door. Turning onto the pavement, she kept up the patter until they had stepped well away from the pub en route to the tube station. Even then, though she let the inane drivel dry up, she continued to clasp Martin’s hand in hers and lean into him. They hadn’t been the only ones to leave the pub and the streets continued to bustle with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. It was important to keep up appearances all the way through this journey.
“Okay, stage two,” she said softly as they strode toward the Underground station. “I have a bag at Left Luggage in King’s Cross that we’ll need to pick up. It has more information you’ll need to look over for your time with Paul, some snacks, and cash and new identification for you hidden in the lining. I’ll show you where. We’re on the last train to night, but we should have plenty of time to make it, so don’t worry about that.”
He nodded, but his gaze was glued to the pavement in front of them. Poor guy really didn’t have the right temperament for all this cloak- and- dagger stuff. But then again, she hadn’t thought she did, either, and look at her now— practically an expert, and armed on top of it.
Under her anorak and tight jeans, a custom- made dagger rode in a sheath at the small of her back. And oddly enough, she knew how to use it. Over the last several months, she hadn’t had much choice but to learn, until these days, it felt so comfortable, she almost forgot it was there.
Until moments like this, that is, when the hair on the back of her neck began to stand up and her senses put her on high alert.
“Bollocks,” she muttered. Faking another giggle, she turned playfully into Martin’s side and pretended to bury her face in his shoulder. In reality, she used the opportunity to take a look at the area behind them. She had felt confident that there had been no nocturnis in the pub with them who might try to follow, but she should have paid a bit more attention to Teddy and his band of happy hooligans. Three of them had exited the bar after Ivy and Martin and now trailed sixty or seventy feet behind them.
Normally, Ivy would have considered such an event no more than a slight bother, but something about their posture niggled at the back of her mind. The aggression she would have expected, but for some reason their stance struck her as more menacing than it ought to be.
Damn it, they didn’t have time for this shit. Or even if they did, Ivy just didn’t have the patience. Even worse, she knew they were coming up on the narrow cross street they would have to traverse to get to the tube. S he’d researched the route. The cross street was largely home to a few small businesses that would have closed down by six o’clock, a couple of daytime shops, at least one vacant building, and a church that had been abandoned a few years ago due to lack of funds available to repair a roof with more holes than tiles remaining. It was a quiet block, and quiet meant fewer people, which meant more opportunity for Teddy et al to try something stupid.
“What’s wrong?” Martin asked nervously as she turned back and casually picked up the pace of their walk. “What’s the matter? Is it nocturnis? Have they found me?”
The last question emerged on a squeak, and Ivy winced. She laughed loudly to cover up his blunder. “Oh, you!” she cried, then lowered her voice. “No, Martin. And you need to stay calm. How about you tell me more about yourself? What’s your main talent? I don’t think you told me that.”
By talent, she was referring to the magical ability that made up the most basic requirement of becoming a Warden. All members of the Guild needed to possess a talent— demonstrate the ability to wield magic—in order to be considered for admission. With luck, Martin’s would have some utility in a fight.
“What? Talent? Oh, er, I’m a dowser. Water dowser. Why?”
Oh, yeah, because a nice, deep aquifer was just what they needed right now.
“No reason,” she gritted out, fingers itching for the hilt of her knife. “No reason at all.”
Which was when she glanced over her shoulder and saw a dark shadow coalesce around Teddy and his friends. A shadow that swirled and twisted and then seemed to dis appear. Inside the three men.
Shit.
“What is it? What’s wrong.”
There went the panic again, creeping back into Martin’s voice at the least opportune of moments. Impatient, Ivy shook her head and urged him to walk a little faster. Not that it was likely to do them much good. “Nothing. Let’s just concentrate on getting to the station, shall we?”
She could hear her accent beginning to fray at the edges, her natural American pronunciation creeping in here and there, but right now that counted as the least of their worries. Much higher on the list was the fact that they were being followed down a now deserted street by three large, loutish men who hadn’t liked her to begin with and who now appeared to have fallen under demonic influence if not outright possession.
You know, one of these days one of her plans was going to have to go utterly smoothly, right? Just the law of large numbers made it inevitable, didn’t it? Well, today would have been a really good day for that to happen.
Instinct had her increasing her pace yet again until she found herself half a step from jogging down the pavement, tugging Martin along by her side.
“Hang on, then,” he protested, pulling against her grip and trying to actually slow her pace. The idiot. “If nothing’s wrong, why are you suddenly running?”
“I think that’s down to us, mate,” a voice snarled, closer behind them than it should have been. Their pursuers had moved fast, faster than normal.
Faster than was natural.
An instant later, something hit Ivy from the side, hard. The impact sent her staggering into the alley that opened up between two buildings at the side of the street. She stumbled into heavy darkness, away from the abandoned Gothic church across the way, away from the sight of anyone else who might wander onto the nearby pavement. To her credit, though, she managed to maintain her grip on Martin in spite of that, so she pulled him into the shadows beside her.
Perfect. Now they could be in deep shit together.
The hit had come as a surprise, but the three shapes rapidly closing in behind her, driving her and Martin deeper into the alley, did not. Ivy’s hand had moved at the first moment of contact with her attacker, fing ers closing around the hilt of her dagger and tugging it out of concealment in a smooth, practiced motion. Now, she held it in front of her as she used her grip on her companion to swing him out of the way b ehind her, placing him between her and the brick building wall.
“Ooh, you’ve brought along a toy, have you?” Teddy asked, grinning as he stalked forward, herding them away from the street and the potential of being seen by passersby. “Want to play, then, do you, luvie? I like a good game now and then.”
Ivy flicked her gaze among the three looming figures. She recognized all of them from the group gathered around the bar earlier, the ones who had witnessed Teddy hitting on her and her subsequent rejection of him. They had laughed at the time and gone right back to drinking, already half- pissed when the w hole thing began. Was it too much for her to hope that she had been mistaken? That this was just a garden- variety assault and maybe potential rape fueled by alcohol and wounded machismo? Because frankly, that would be a relief compared to the alternative.
“Yeh, we like to play,” the second lad hissed as he stepped forward until Ivy could see his face in the dim light of the alleyway. “We especially like to play with his sort.” He bared his teeth, and his eyes lit up with malice.
And Ivy didn’t mean that metaphorically. His eyes actually lit up. As in, started glowing. With a sick, rusty- red light that reminded her of old blood and dried scabs.
Very attractive.
And very much indicative of demonic influence.
Yay. S he’d been right. It wasn’t really her these three were after. They wanted Martin. They wanted the Warden.
Well, they weren’t going to get him. Not until they got past her.
“I’m ready to go, boys.” She took a step forward and flashed a toothy smile of her own. “And you know the rules. White makes the first move.”
Ivy struck with a feint toward Teddy, who stood closest to her, directly ahead. When instinct had him leaping back out of the way of her blade, she spun backward
to her left and landed a heel- first kick directly to the sternum of hissy boy. He grunted and stumbled back in surprise, but bachelor number three was already on the move. He closed in on Ivy from the left and grabbed her around her upper body, effectively pinning her biceps to her sides. She’d been expecting the move and countered by thrusting the dagger in a short, upward dig that buried it deep in number three’s thigh.
“Go, Martin!” she shouted above Three’s scream. “Get to the station! Lost Luggage under your name! Now!”
All of her attackers howled in protest. Three’s cry was still tinged with pain. It gave her a warm surge of satisfaction, even though it rendered her nearly deaf in her left ear, the one closest to his mouth. Jerking the knife back, she freed it from the man’s leg and went limp in his grip, relaxing her muscles until she slid straight
out of his arms to the floor of the alley.
Even as she hit the cobbles, she was already moving. She braced one hand, shifted her weight, and swung one leg around, aiming a heavy kick at the knee of the grabby Three’s wounded leg. He crumpled with a heavy grunt.
Teddy and number two rushed in to take his place, converging on Ivy before she could manage a glimpse to see if Martin had followed her directions. If he h adn’t, he was either dumber than he looked, or part possum and his nervous system had shut down from fear. Neither option would keep him alive, though, and as skilled as she had become in hand- to- hand combat a fter her years of self- defense classes back in New York and her training since taking on her rescue work in England, one human woman against three demonically influenced men didn’t offer her very good odds.
Chances were she wouldn’t leave this alley under her own power. Hell, she’d be lucky if she didn’t leave it in a coroner’s van. Which meant Martin had better be halfway down the steps to the tube already.
She ducked away from a swipe of Teddy’s outstretched hand, trying not to get distracted by the way the skin of his fingertips had split to allow the emergence of glistening black claws that dripped some sort of dark, stinking fluid. The smell of decayed flesh and filthy swamp water suddenly filled the alley, and Ivy had to fight back the urge to gag.
Oh, yeah. S he’d say this officially went beyond the realm of demonic influence. Hell, this went beyond possession. Somehow, demons had not just taken over these men’s’ bodies, they had used the energy of the human bodies to allow them to fully manifest into the human world.
In case anyone wondered, that was a really, really bad thing. Something Ivy wouldn’t have thought pos si ble six months ago.
But then again, six months ago, the world hadn’t quite started coming to an end yet. Today, anything was pos si ble.
With that cheery thought filling her mind, she swung her dagger in a wide arc that managed to catch opponent number two in the side, opening up a wound that audibly sizzled and began to ooze something much darker and slimier than blood. It didn’t smell like blood, either. The ichor reeked of the same foulness that hung around the venom dripping from Teddy’s claws.
Seriously, it was becoming a real challenge not to puke. What she wouldn’t give for a nice, stiff breeze right about then to dissipate some of the stink.
Two— Thing Two, Ivy decided to call him— hissed, his corrupt red gaze flicking between her and her blade with manic hatred. It made her smile in spite of the nausea.
“What’s the matter, pumpkin?” she taunted him. “ Aren’t you a fan of blessed and consecrated silver? Me, I just adore the stuff.”
She demonstrated those feelings with another quick slash of her arm, a motion that sliced through the jacket and shirt Teddy wore and into the flesh of his shoulder. She wasn’t particularly aiming for the brachial plexus nerve or a major artery, but she wasn’t going to cry if he started to bleed out or lost the use of his arm.
He screamed, but Ivy just continued her stroke and caught Thing Two across the cheek, just millimeters away from his left eye. Hm, close call, that. What a shame.
“Bitch!” the demon howled.
Ivy blew him a kiss. “Aw, love you, too, snookums.”
Her mother had always told her that her smart mouth would get her into trouble one day. Somehow Ivy didn’t think this par tic u lar trouble was what s he’d had in mind. You know, the whole “ripped apart by demons in a deserted alley” thing. Dorothy probably h adn’t seen that one coming.
One would hope.
By now, Thing Three was back on his feet, and Ivy knew she was seriously fucked. Three against one. Three demons against one, with no backup on the way. Working alone was one of the keys to protecting the Wardens people like her assisted. Now, it looked like she was going to die alone.
“Sorry, Uncle George,” she muttered, putting her back to the alley wall and keeping her gaze on the man- shaped creatures in front of her. They had realized her predicament just as clearly as she had, and now they were toying with her, watching her with evil, hungry gazes. Not the kind of hunger that would scare most women alone in an alley, but the kind of hunger that scared American turkeys in the middle of November.
“Sorry, Jamie,” Ivy added. “But on the bright side, looks like I’ll be seeing you both again soon.”
Thing Two snapped its jaws at her, jaws that it then unhinged to make room for the second row of pointed teeth that appeared to be growing behind the first, human set.
“Very, very soon.”
Holding her dagger in front of her and carefully balancing her weight on the balls of her feet, Ivy prepared to die fighting.
Oddly enough, that’s not what happened.
One minute, she stared down the face of the Grim Reaper and the next, reality went sideways. Instead of the front of three demons clearly prepared to feast on her living flesh, she felt a rush of cool air, heard a pavement- shaking roar, and found herself staring into a wide barrier the color of dark, aged granite.
She blinked, then shook her head and blinked again. The view didn’t change. Gradually her brain caught up with her corneas, and she realized that what had looked like a barrier of solid stone was actually a pair of wings. Huge wings, each easily twelve or thirteen feet from base to tip, leathery and membranous like a bat’s.
And they were attached to the broadest, most muscular back she had ever seen. A back that could only conceivably belong to one of two things:
A dragon.
Or a Guardian.Copyright © 2017 by Christine Warren and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.


 

theauthor

Christine B&W
CHRISTINE WARREN is the author of Stone Cold Lover and Heart of Stone, as well as the Novels of the Others, including New York Times Bestsellers Big Bad Wolf, Walk on the Wild Side, and One Bite with a Stranger. Born and raised in coastal New England, Christine Warren now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing (as if that ever happens), she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

 

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Christine’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of HARD BREAKER to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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9.. Giveaway runs from October 31 to November 4, 2017


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The Sea King by C.L. Wilson – Review, Interview and Giveaway

The Sea King by C.L. Wilson – Review, Interview and Giveaway

 

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Description:
He wasn’t supposed to choose her…

Seafaring prince Dilys Merimydion has been invited to court the three magical princesses of Summerlea. To eradicate the pirates threatening Calberna and to secure the power of the Sea Throne, Dilys vows to return home with a fierce warrior-queen as his bride. But politics has nothing to do with unexpected temptation.

She didn’t dare wed him…

A weathermage like her sisters, Gabriella Coruscate’s gentleness exemplifies the qualities of her season name, Summer. Yet her quiet poise conceals dangerous powers she cannot begin to wield. Better to live without excitement, she reasons, than risk her heart and lose control— until an irresistible Sealord jolts her awake with a thunderclap of raw desire.

Until evil threatens everything they hold dear…

When pirates kidnap Summer and her sisters, Dilys is in a desperate quest to save the woman he loves. Only by combining his command of the seas with the unleashed fury of Summer’s formidable gifts can they defeat their brutal enemies and claim the most priceless victory of all: true love.

 

 

Review:

The Sea King by C.L. Wilson is the 2nd book in her Weathermages of Mystral series.  I have been waiting anxiously for this book, as I loved The Winter King.  Once again, C.L Wilson gives us a fantastic adventure, filled with amazing characters throughout.

In The Sea King, Dilys Merimydion, our hero, is the prince of Calberna, where his mother the Queen has informed him that it is time for him to take a wife.  Despite the council trying to make him wait years for a young girl to growup, the Queen overrules and Dilys, with his warriors heads for lands of the Ice King (Wynter, our previous book hero), to court one of the three magical princesses of Summerlea (Summer, Spring & Autumn). Right from the start, Dilys can feel an attraction to Summer, who does everything to push him away.  Dilys does not understand, and after much frustration, he decides to try to court one of the other two princesses.

Gabriella Coruscate (Summer) has had a secret all her life.  She has powers so strong and terrifying, which she has been able to control it, but at times when she has had to use it to protect herself, and is horrified at the results.  She is determined to not fall in love or get married; as it is too dangerous for anyone to accidently get hurt from her tremendous powers.  She realizes in a short time, that Dilys is indeed her mate, and she fights with all her being to her feelings and force him to court either Spring or Autumn.

Dilys is also worried about the attacks on his people from an unknown pirate named Shark, who is threatening those he loves back home.  After a bit, he does befriend both Spring and Autumn and they will both help him try to court the woman who calls to his heart, Gabriella.

This is where I need to point out some mixed feelings.  In the first half of the book, I was not a fan of Summer, as she was mean and nasty to Dilys.  I understand her fears, but he was so patient, so sweet and desperately trying to help her.  But she was extremely stubborn, and even when she finally admits her feelings to him, she refuses to marry him.  Very frustrating.  That will change later.

When Dilys leaves for a few days to go with his men to help on an attack against one of his ships, all three of princesses are kidnapped.  At this point, the story becomes centered on the pirate ship and Dilys attempt to find them.  This was very exciting, and at the same time a bit depressing.  The adventure was so well done by Wilson, and I am amazed how she was able to put all the pieces together. Keep in mind that this is not a short book, and most fantasy books are big.  My other mixed feeling was how the princesses were treated by the pirate, especially Summer, whom we spent most of the time with.  But unfortunately, in Fantasy we come to expect this.  As I said, that part was depressing.

When Dilys finally rescues Summer, things will change for all of them.  The hunt is on to find the pirate, and the two remaining sisters.  Summer is vengeful, which causes her powers to rise.  Dilys will see why Summer is afraid to love and marry him, but he will prove to her that together she can control her powers.

What follows is an exciting pulse pounding journey of survival, betrayal & battles against terrible villains in a fight to the finish in a wild mind boggling race to save them all. There were so many twists and surprises along the way that had us on the edge of our seat afraid to miss anything.  I loved Dilys throughout the whole book, and thankfully by a bit past the half way point, I loved Gabriella too.  Once she opened herself to love Dilys, and learn to handle her powers, she made a fantastic heroine.  The big question:  Will they survive?

The last third of the book was such an exhilarating and emotional ride.  Wilson also gives us two epilogues that will drive the next book in this series.  I can’t wait!  Bravo to C.L. Wilson for a fantastic wonderful story.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

Catching Up

Hi, Cheryl.  Thank you for taking the time to re-visit us at The Reading Café to discuss what you are currently working on and what we have to look forward to.

TRC: For those who have not read your first book in this series , The Winter King, can you please give us a brief description of the premise of  Weathermages of Mystral?

C.L. Wilson:  The Weathermages of Mystral is a fantasy romance series set in a world where everyone possesses some type of innate magic related to the world around them.  At present, the series focuses on the children of a weathermage known as the Summer King.   All of his children possess sun-related weather magic – they can generate heat, sense the location of the sun no matter the time of day or night, influence the weather with their gifts.  Khamsin, his youngest, possesses the power to summon storms.  His daughters Spring, Summer, and Autumn have weather gifts associated with the changing of the seasons for which they are named.  His son, Falcon, like his father has the ability to help regulate the weather across the kingdom, ensuring appropriate rainfall and sunshine for the various orchards, vineyards, and farmlands throughout Summerlea.  They use these gifts to ensure the fertility and prosperity of their lands.

As I expand the world beyond the children of the Summer King, I’m also exploring the other kinds of magic that exists on Mystral.

TRC: Your diehard fans have been waiting to find out when we can expect your next book, The Sea King.  We are thrilled to note that you do have a date…. October 31, 2017.  Will you please give us a brief description about The Sea King

C.L. Wilson: THE SEA KING features a hero and heroine who both appeared in THE WINTER KING.  The hero is Dilys Merimydion.  He came to Wintercraig as an invader but ended up fighting alongside Wintercraig forces to defeat the Ice King. In doing so, he earned the right for he and his men to return to Wintercraig and court potential wives.  

Dilys, royal prince of the island queendom of Calberna, has come to Wintercraig to court the Seasons of Summerlea.  His mother, the Queen, sent him to bring back home a bride, but although her advisors insist he should choose either Spring or Autumn—both confident, powerful women worthy of mothering Calberna’s next queen—it is shy, gentle Summer, widely acknowledged as the least powerful of all the Seasons, who captures his interest and won’t let go. 

But Summer isn’t the sweet, gentle Season everyone believes her to be.  She has a secret—a dark, deadly power so dangerous she dare never risk its release.  That is why she’s spent a lifetime hiding her true self behind serene masks, suppressing strong emotions and avoiding anything that threatens her ruthless self-control. Because like her father, whose love for his wife turned to madness after her death, when Summer loves, she loves too much. 

Then Calberna’s golden-eyed prince steps onto Wintercraig shores in search of a wife, and one shared look between them sends her reeling.  With unshakeable certainty, Summer knows Dilys Merimydion is all she could ever want, every happiness she could ever dream of, the greatest love she could ever know…and that makes him the one thing she can never allow herself to have.

TRC:  On your site you noted that The Sea King is the 2nd book of Weathermages of Mystral series, and the 1st book of Seasons of Summerlea trilogy.  Can you please explain how this will work? 

C.L. Wilson: Each book in the Seasons of Summerlea trilogy is a standalone fantasy romance featuring one of Khamsin’s three sisters, Spring, Summer, or Autumn.  Each book will have complete, standalone romance; but all three books will also be connected by an overarching plotline.  Book 1 of the trilogy, THE SEA KING, is Dilys and Summer’s story.  Book 2 of the trilogy will be THE JAGUAR KING where Spring finds her mate, and book 3, THE DRAGON KING, is Autumn’s story.   

Because the royal family of Summerlea has been in power in an unbroken familial line for millennia, they would have intermarried with numerous other, highly magical families…so I’m having a lot of fun with the Seasons’ books, playing around with the other kinds of magic they have inherited.

TRC: How many books are you anticipating for Weathermages of Mystral series, or does it end with The Sea King, moving on to the Seasons of Summerlea?

C.L. Wilson: I don’t have an answer for that.  The Seasons of Summerlea trilogy is part of the Weathermages series.  I’d at least like to do a book for all of the Summer King’s five children.  (That includes Falcon, who needs to redeem himself.)  But there are other characters I’ve met along the way who interest me and make me want to discover their stories as well.

TRC: 
You have previously mentioned that you wanted to go back to the Fading Lands and do stories on two of your heroes…Belliard and Gaelen.  Is this still on your agenda?  Will we going back to the Fading Lands?

C.L. Wilson: Oh, yes.  I definitely intend to write their stories.  In fact, I’ve got three Fading Lands projects in the works right now – Bel’s book, a Melliandra short story/novella, and a 3rd full length novel about a Fey warrior and the mysterious Sief from the Pale (a tribal people we haven’t seen yet).   I’ve done some basic plotting for Gaelen’s book, and it’s on the To Be Written list as well, but I have yet to write a single scene.

TRC: ‘Happily claps hands’

TRC:  Would you like to share with us on what you are currently working and what else you have planned for the future?

C.L. Wilson: See above.  I’m also working on JAGUAR KING and in the planning stages for DRAGON KING.

TRC:  Would you like to tell our members and fans of The Fading Lands about your Tairen Soul Merchandise Line?

C.L. Wilson: Thanks for asking.  An artist friend of mine, the very talented wildlife artist, Heather Carr, have teamed up to offer art prints and other merchandise based on my books.  We sell at conventions, such as DragonCon, and I have an online store, www.tairenslair.com , where I sell prints of her art, plush toys and merchandise, as well as personalized autographed copies of my books.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

C.L. Wilson: I’d just like to thank every reader who continues to support me by buying my books, and for every reader who keeps asking me for the next story.  You have all kept me going even when things are difficult.  So thanks, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. 

TRC: Thank you, Cheryl for giving us an update on “The Sea King”, as well as what we can look forward to in the future.   It was a pleasure having you visit us, we look forward to spreading the news on The Sea King.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway-mauve

C.L. Wilson’s publisher is generously offering a signed paper copy of THE WINTER KING (First book in series) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Like C.L. Wilson on Facebook for an additional entry.

6. Giveaway is open to USA/Canada only.

7. Giveaway runs from October 31 – November 4, 2017

 

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Ready for Wild by Liora Blake – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Ready for Wild by Liora Blake – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Braden Montgomery is certain about three things: one, luck is for suckers; two, time spent outdoors is what keeps him sane; and, three, when it comes to sharing his bed, there’s only one female he’s willing to put up with—his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Charley. Braden’s constructed his life on these beliefs, and he’s quite content with the status quo.

But when a moment of bad luck lands Braden toe-to-toe with a blonde bombshell with her own television show, his stubbornly structured reality begins to unravel.

As for Amber Regan, her brand has been built on camo, cut-offs, and cleavage. With her own hunting show on the foremost sports channel and enough social media followers to garner her plenty of endorsement deals, Amber’s come a long way from the tomboy in a small Texas town she once was. Unfortunately, ratings are down and her contract for next season is in limbo, so she’s in desperate need of a reboot to save her show—and filming a rough and tough archery elk hunt in Colorado might be the way to do just that. Too bad the local game warden grunts more than he speaks, seems determined to despise her—and makes her heart race in all the most inconvenient ways.

 

 

Review:

Ready for Wild by Liora Blake is the 3rd and final book in her Grand Valley series, and it reads very well as a standalone.  We met Braden Montgomery, our hero, previously, as he is a game warden, who hates hunters, especially those on TV.  Meet Amber Regan, our heroine, who is a tv star on a sports channel hunting show.  We know to be ready for the explosions.  🙂

Amber and her team come to Colorado to film an Elk hunt, as she is desperately trying to reboot her career.  When Braden is assigned to help Amber and her team, he is unhappy, and shows his feelings openly to them all.  However, Amber knows all about hunting, and is determined not to let a grumpy negative Braden ruin this project.  In a short time, Braden will feel a strong attraction to Amber, and does all he can to fight it off.  Amber is not only gorgeous, but she is overly friendly and outgoing, and uses her charms to try and get the loner Braden to be more sociable; not to mention she is enjoying watching the hunky game warden.

What follows is a slow built romance that becomes sizzling, as their chemistry together is off the wall.  In time, Braden begins to accept Amber’s profession and finds he is falling in love with her.  Amber is also falling hard for Braden, but she is desperate to get her career on track, and when things do not go her way, she looks at other alternatives, which Braden feels would be beneath  her.  Besides their hot romance, their constant bickering and banter was also fun.  They each had their own issues, which made a permanent relationship unlikely.  Braden knows he will lose Amber, and just when we are about to give up, things will change that will bring some surprises, and a wonderful happy ever after.

Ready for Wild was a fun entertaining romance, with an unlikely couple that won us over very quickly.  It was nice to watch a grumpy Braden, and the vivacious Amber rise above their differences, using their love of hunting and their combustible lust for each other. No question that this was a hot sexy story.  Liora Blake once again gives us another fun romance, that had a bit of everything, humorous, sensual, fun bantering and a sexy delightful couple.  We will all miss our visits to Grand Valley.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

excerpt

The entire room falls away, along with every anxiety, every question, every confusing thought I had. All that’s left behind is the two of us, intensely present and entirely vulnerable to whatever comes next between us. And I want Braden to decide what that might be, because I’m tired of taking the lead. I’ve made the first move more than once, and tonight, I don’t want to ply him or convince him, or have it feel like he’s simply succumbing to a craving he couldn’t control. It’s time for Braden to prove to me this isn’t one-sided by taking the reins, just so long as I know I’ll get them back at some point.
I caught a glimpse of the Braden I want earlier tonight, when the too-slick, too-skinny cowboy at the foundation dinner invaded a little too much of my space. Braden’s protective yet patient gaze was on me, and I wanted to wrap myself in that sensation, sink into the experience of being watched over without being hovered over. Braden didn’t storm over like a bull bent on drawing blood, or alpha his way in and deck the cowboy’s lights out, even when I was ready for him to do exactly that. He acted like a man, not a hotheaded kid, and I wanted that man—the one in possession of all that control and composure—to want me.
Braden moves to stand behind me. He draws my hair away from the side of my neck, placing a kiss to the sensitive skin behind my ear, then traces his fingertips to that same spot, and my entire body comes alive. Another sweep of my hair to the side, exposing the zipper on my dress, the one he could so easily yank down. Instead his hands land on my shoulders, fingers splayed wide so he can gently knead the muscles there. My eyes drift closed.
“I haven’t done this in a while,” he says.
Eyes still closed, my brow knits. This impromptu neck massage is diverting, but not so much that I don’t find what he just said a little surprising. Sure, Braden isn’t exactly a poster child or sociability, but he is hot. His looks alone could open a few bedroom doors, and anyone who bothers to peek under his surly Superman cape would find a man who never neglects to answer a text and sometimes checks his best friend’s forehead for sign of a fever. Add in that big, masculine body of his and the guy could easily get some if he wanted to, so there must be a reason why he’s been on hiatus.
Braden’s thumbs begin to work over deep knots near my shoulder blades that I didn’t know were there.
“Why has it been a while?”
He continues to knead until he feels my shoulders wilt in relief.
“I got burnt by an ex a few years back. I hadn’t met anyone worth the trouble since then. Until now.”
My curiosity doubles down on those last two words. “Why me?”
I’m not sure what it is I want him to say, so long as they aren’t trite words about how I look. From another man, that sort of desire might be enough, but with Braden I need something else.What, I’m not exactly sure. I just know I need more than the superficial.
Braden’s hands drop to my hips and he grips them firmly, pressing his groin to my backside.
“Because you make me feel like a goddam live wire. You’re in the room and I feel you. I don’t have to see you, even. Because you’re fucking everywhere. It puts my teeth on edge and sets my skin on fire. And I can’t get enough.”
He’d heard my thoughts. He had to—that’s the only explanation for his being able to say exactly what I needed to hear, yet couldn’t name for myself. I calm the urge to all but shout, Take me, sailor!—like some swoony matinee star from back in the day. Slowly, I turn in his grip and meet his heavy-lidded gaze, intent on kissing him or dropping to my knees, whatever feels right.
But Braden slinks one arm tight around my waist, trapping me in his grip so he can run his fingers across my mouth, his eyes fixed there so intensely my face heats under the lovely scrutiny. My lips
part a fraction, ready to speak or kiss or moan, I’m not sure which.
Braden continues to stare at my mouth. “Because it’s been a while for me, I need you to let me set the pace this time. Can you
do that?”
My chest begins to rise and fall raggedly. “Can we take turns after that?”
Braden’s face immediately cracks into a broad grin. One that’s wry and exasperated, but above all, charmed . . . charmed by me.
A slow shake of his head. “You couldn’t just say yes, could you?”
“You know you would have been disappointed if I had. I just want to be sure I get my turn. I want to drive you crazy, but in a good way.”
His grin fades, his eyes darken, and I find myself tossed over his shoulder before I can even act like I might object.
“Fucking live wire,” he mutters, striding down the hallway and ducking when we make it to the doorway, flipping on a light switch at the same time. Braden sets me back on my feet near a single nightstand next to an enormous bed.
The room itself isn’t huge, so the bed takes up most of it. The frame is gray-stained pine trimmed with black wrought iron, and if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was one of Trey’s designs because it’s industrial-looking and impossible to ignore. The nightstand holds a tower of books and an alarm clock, and there’s a grocery-store bag tossed there, partially open to reveal its contents.
Condoms. Good man, Braden.
I waste no time after that, reaching for him with a tug while trying to work his belt open and yank his shirt off all at the same time. Braden’s hands swoop in and latch on to mine, letting out a low rumble as he spins me to face the other direction, still somehow able to keep my wrists in his loose but commanding grip.
His lips meet the crown of my head, whispering, “My pace. We agreed.”

 

 

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Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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LEOPARD’S BLOOD
Leopard #10
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, paranormal, romance

Leopard's Blood

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 24, 2017

Though born into a leopard’s lair in the bayou, Joshua Tregre’s fighting skills were honed in the rainforests of Borneo. Sleek and deadly, he’s the perfect man to take over a crime syndicate back home in Louisiana’s lush swamplands. His razor sharp instincts give him an edge in the violent underworld he knows so well, but even the watchful leopard inside him isn’t prepared for the danger that comes from the girl next door…

She is a woman who can create beauty out of thin air—and out of the ruins of her own life. The games that dangerous men play have taken their toll on her, but she is bent, not broken. And it’s her fierce spirit that’s like a lure to Joshua, a temptation he can’t resist—even if it means bringing his true nature into the light…

•••••••••••

REVIEW: LEOPARD’S BLOOD is the tenth installment in Christine Feehan’s contemporary, adult LEOPARD erotic, paranormal romance series focusing on the supernatural world of the Leopard shifter. This is businessman Joshua Tregre and artist/carpenter Sonia Lopez’s story line. LEOPARD’S BLOOD can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary although LEOPARD’S BLOOD continues to follow the author’s latest series arc focusing on the Russian and Italian mafia.

Told from dual third person points of view (Joshua and Sonia) LEOPARD’S BLOOD follows the building relationship between leopard shifters Joshue Tregre, and Sonia Lopez. Following the murder of her father and the death of her mother Sonia found herself indebted to the Russian mob. Escaping to the swamplands of Louisiana, our heroine works as a home rebuilder until the fated day her internal beast goes maddeningly into heat. Enter Joshua Tregre, Sonia’s neighbor and her would be mate who claims our heroine as his own. What ensues is the insta-lust/love between two people more animal than human, and the potential fall-out when Sonia’s past comes seeking revenge.

Like all Leopard males Joshua Tregre is an over –possessive, over-protective alpha who claims his mate before anyone else. His need to protect is controlling but our heroine needs to be protected from a past seeking revenge. Sonia is willing to place herself in danger to protect the people she loves but she is not as capable of defending herself against men and leopards twice her size. The back and forth, yin and yang of their relationship is somewhat volatile but unlike many of the author’s previous story line heroes Joshua Tregre is a little tamer, and not willing to break the will of his leopard mate. The $ex scenes are erotic and intense; Joshua needs to mark his mate to warn others of their mating. There are some scenes of light spanking (discipline) and toy play.

We are reintroduced to Alonzo Massi (Leopard’s Fury #9) and his brothers and cousins -Gorya, Timur and Mitya; Joshua’s right hand man Evan; Sonia’s friend Molly Sheffield, and police detective Bastien Foret; and Russian mobsters Nikita and Sasha Bogomolov. There are many mentions of, but no appearances by previous story line leopards including Jake Bannaconni, Eli Perez, Elijah Lospostos, and Drake Donovan.

The world building continues to look at the world of the leopard shifter with mentions of Borneo, and the abusive earlier lives of many of the leopard males; there are some threats of rape, murder ands sexual assault but the author does not go into livid detail as in previous series and stories. LEOPARD’ S BLOOD, although bloody and violent does not go into graphic detail.

LEOPARD’S BLOOD is a story of fated mates; of a shifter breed capable of violence and murderous rage but a shifter that is also capable of romance and love. The premise is exciting and action packed; the characters are colorful and lively; the romance is provocative and seductive.

 

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Christine Feehan, 2017.

 

Nights in the swamp were often sultry. Heat and moisture drifted through the cypress groves and clung to the long shawls of lacy Spanish moss hanging from crooked branches. The long-fringed drapes swayed in the slight breeze adding a macabre feel to the already eerie night. Frogs chorused loudly, hundreds of them, calling out joyously while raccoons slipped noiselessly down to the duckweed-filled water to wash their paws. Two bull alligators challenged for territory, their bellows reverberating through the air.
Sonia Lopez followed the narrow game trail, the one she’d widened over the last few weeks that led deeper into the swamp. Insects droned all around her, a loud cacophony of sound. None stopped when she stepped lightly along the ground, a tribute to the fact that she’d spent every night for the last two months learning every inch of the piece of swamp that belonged to her. She owned forty acres and wanted to become acquainted with all of it. For this. She’d known it was coming, and she was very, very glad she’d prepared.
“We’re almost there,” she whispered softly. “Hold on. I know it’s hard.”
Something moved beneath her skin, a wave that pushed outward and then slid away, leaving behind a horrible itch that made her want to scratch until she bled. Her joints ached. She burned in her most feminine core, a savage, brutal need driving her deeper and deeper into the swamp. She was on fire. Every part of her, her body so sensitive, clothing hurt. Every movement brushed streaks of fire from her breasts to her sex. She ached. She needed. The only safe place she had was the swamp.
The grunt of a wild boar had her quickening her step. She had to get to the very heart of the swamp where she’d constructed a small blind, just big enough so she could have a thin mattress, strip, leave her clothing in relative safety and shift. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. The words thundered in her ears accompanied by the drumming of her heart.
Sonia had allowed her leopard to run free when there was opportunity, ever since that first, shocking, terrifying appearance when the cat had saved her life. It had never been like this. This . . . this . . . necessity. She breathed deep as her joints began to pop. Her knuckles were on fire, the ache becoming a terrible pain that wouldn’t let up. “Wait. Just try for me, Gatita. Just try to hang on. We’re close.”
She didn’t dare let her cat loose anywhere near civilization. Not now. Not ever, but now was the most important. Gatita was definitely in heat. That meant Sonia was in heat and couldn’t be any place a man might be. She didn’t trust herself. She had had no idea the heat would be so intense, such a terrible force driving her beyond all endurance.
Her leopard was in need, and if the way her body was burning was any indication, her cat was going up in flames. She tried running, but stumbled when her toes began to curl down. The blind was just ahead and she threw herself forward those last few feet, tugging her shirt over her head and pulling off her shoes. Her jeans were next. She was usually good about folding clothes and being neat, but there was no time. Her female was in trouble, and Sonia was driven to help her.
Nothing had prepared her for the brutal hunger, the need filling her mind and body until she wanted to scream. Nothing helped. She’d tried. Toys. Fingers. She’d given up, sobbing, standing under the cold of the shower until she realized that wouldn’t help. Nothing would help. And it was far worse for Gatita.


 

 

Giveaway

Christine’s Feehan’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of LEOPARD’S BLOOD to ONE lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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9.. Giveaway runs from October 24-30, 2017

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