Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Against the Tide (The Brodies of Alaska #3) by Kat Martin

 

Against the Tide

The Brodies of Alaska #3

by Kat Martin

Releasing May 26, 2015

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Secrets—and safety—melt under a midnight sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life, and the cops haven’t been able to do a thing to help. But there’s one man who makes her feel safe, no matter what…rugged charter boat captain Rafe Brodie.

To Rafe, Liv is a beautiful mystery, one he can’t ignore. He means to unearth her secrets, and in the process, if luck is on his side, maybe the spark between them will ignite.

But Liv’s past is more dangerous than Rafe could guess, and when his first mate turns up dead, she fears that she’s next. That there’s something else coming she can’t see. That even Rafe and the remote village of Valdez, Alaska can’t protect her forever…

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The breakfast crowd at the Pelican Café had begun to arrive, as people did every morning when it opened at six a.m. The café had opened its doors in the fifties and been going strong ever since. Of course, it had passed through a dozen different owners, had its ups and downs, and been near financial ruin more than once.

Having purchased the restaurant six months ago, Olivia Chandler was the most recent person to step into the driver’s seat. Unlike the previous owner, who had let the place sink into disrepair, Olivia had been making changes, most of which had been heralded with great enthusiasm by the local customers.

The bell above the door rang as a young mother and her little girl walked in and headed for one of the light blue vinyl booths. Melissa Young, Olivia remembered, was her name. Liv made a point of getting to know her customers— just not too well.

While Melissa grabbed a child’s high seat and settled one-year-old Suzy in it, the waitress, a slim little blonde named Katie McKenzie, grabbed the coffeepot off the burner behind the counter and headed for the booth. Katie smiled as she filled Melissa’s mug and handed her a menu.

“I’ll give you a minute to decide,” Katie said, hurrying off to another table to refill an earlier patron’s cup.

One of the changes Liv had made was to hire a new cook—one who wasn’t high on marijuana half the time. Wayne Littlefish was Alaska Native, reliable and great in the kitchen. An older man, Charlie Foot, worked the dinner shift.

Liv had also hired two part-time waitresses instead of one full-time worker, which gave each of the girls a more flexible schedule and made taking time off easier for all of them, including Olivia and long-time employee, Nell Olsen.

A buxom woman with thick, silver-streaked black hair, Nell had worked at the café for more than ten years. She was as much a fixture as the sky-blue interior, the ocean theme, and the anchors and fishing nets on the walls.

Nell had been invaluable in helping Liv take over the business since, aside from waiting tables for the past couple of years, being a fairly decent cook, and a very fast learner, Liv had almost no experience in running a restaurant.

Still, in the last six months she had managed to keep the old clientele happy and add new customers. The tourist season was just starting, so business was getting even better.

“Well, look who’s coming,” Nell said, staring out the window at a tall man in jeans and a sweatshirt crossing the outside patio. The brick patio was empty now while it was still cold, but with summer approaching, soon would be noisy with people. “If it isn’t Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.”

Katie walked past Liv just then, a platter of bacon and eggs riding on the flat of her hand. “I just call him Mr. Freakin’ Hot.”

“Shame on you,” Liv teased. “You just turned twentyone. Rafe Brodie’s got to be at least a dozen years older.”

“Just means he’s a man not a boy. And I like a guy with a little experience.”

“From what I hear, he has plenty of that,” Liv said dryly as Katie sailed off to deliver the food.

Nell chuckled. “I’m fifty years old and that man can still make me swoon.”

Olivia busied herself wiping off the long Formica-topped counter as Rafe shoved through the door, ringing the bell above. Seating himself in his usual booth, he stretched his long legs out in front of him. Rafe was a regular in the café, which sat on North Harbor Drive right across from the boat dock.

“Katie’s busy,” Nell said with a matchmaking glint in her eyes. “Why don’t you wait on him?”

Olivia shook her head. “I’m busy, too. You go ahead.”

Knowing there was no persuading her, Nell sighed. “Probably better you don’t. Everyone in town knows Rafe’s a dedicated bachelor.”

As the owner of the café, Olivia caught most of the local gossip. According to Cassie Webster, the other part-time waitress, Rafe Brodie had dated a woman named Sally Henderson for nearly three years, until she dumped him four months ago because he refused to marry her.

Apparently, he’d made his intentions—or lack thereof— clear from the start, but Sally hadn’t believed him, poor girl.

Dedicated bachelor or not, Nell and Katie were right. With the thick, dark brown hair curling just over his collar, the faint shadow of beard that usually lined his hard jaw, and those hot, whiskey-brown eyes, he was one of the best-looking men Olivia had ever seen.

Which was exactly the reason she had avoided him since the day she had met him.

Oh, she’d been pleasant enough when she had to be, spoken to him for a moment when she’d been introduced to him at a chamber of commerce mixer right after she’d bought the café, but she always managed to be too busy to wait on him.

No use putting temptation in her path. It was simply too dangerous.

Still, as she worked taking orders and delivering meals to the patrons at the counter, she couldn’t help an occasional glance in his direction. He had always reminded her of a dark-haired lion, powerful and dangerous yet fascinating in some primitive way. He looked different today, the shadow along his jaw darker, as if he hadn’t had time to shave, his handsome features set in grim lines, and faint shadows under his eyes.

She watched as Nell chatted with him a moment, then Liv watched the easy smile Nell usually gave him slip from her face.

The coffeepot wavered. Rafe grabbed the glass pot to keep her from dropping it and spilled hot coffee over his hand.

Olivia didn’t hesitate, just grabbed a towel, wet it with cold water, and hurried in Rafe’s direction. He was sitting down again, Nell fussing over him, relieved to see Olivia approaching.

“Here—wrap this around your fingers.” She handed him the wet towel. “It’s cold enough to ease the pain and keep the burn from getting worse.”

“I’m all right,” Rafe said. “It’s no big deal.” But he accepted the wet cloth and looped it over the back of a big, suntanned hand.

The man was all of six-four, two-hundred-plus pounds, with a solid, athletic build and very wide shoulders. Liv was five-nine, but Rafe was more than half a head taller. She tried not to stare at his mouth, which seemed harder this morning without the smile he always had for Nell.

She glanced in her friend’s direction, sucked in a breath as Nell’s pale blue eyes filled with tears.

“Oh God, what is it?”

Nell blinked and the tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped at the wetness with a trembling hand. “I could tell something was wrong. It was stamped all over Rafe’s face.”

Liv glanced from one to the other, saw the same grim expression on both of their faces. “Tell me what’s happened.”

Nell swallowed. “It’s . . . it’s Scotty. He was killed last night.”

Olivia felt the blood seeping out of her head. She found herself sinking down on the bench opposite Rafe. “Oh God. That’s why Cassie didn’t show up for work this morning.” The reason Olivia had had to call Katie.

Rafe’s towel-wrapped hand unconsciously fisted. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything. I figured since Cassie works here, Nell already knew.”

“I’m glad you told me,” Nell said. “I need to go to her, make sure she’s okay.”

“I’ll cover while you’re gone,” Liv said. “We’ll be fine.” Nell wiped fresh tears from her cheeks. “This is going to break her heart. She loved Scotty so much. Everyone loved him.”

“I can’t believe he’s dead,” Liv said, aching for the young woman whose future had been shattered. “What happened?”

“The police think it was a mugging,” Rafe said. “Whoever did it stole his wallet, jewelry, cell phone.”

“Where did it happen?”

“On the dock next to the Scorpion.”

“Last night?”

“That’s right.”

Liv frowned. “What was he doing down at the dock at night? He’s usually home with Cassie.”

“I don’t know. I talked to Jaimie Graham before I came over. She had no idea what he was doing down there.”

“Jaimie had an awful crush on Scotty,” Nell said. “She must have taken the news real hard.”

“Jaimie isn’t good at hiding her feelings,” Rafe said. “She ran out of the house as soon as I told her, took off so no one would see her cry.”

Nell shook her head, moving the thick, salt-and-pepper hair that came to her shoulders and was clipped back on each side. “Poor thing.”

“I still can’t figure why Scotty was down at the dock,” Olivia said.

Rafe’s brown eyes swung to her face. “I’m hoping once things settle down, Cassie’ll be able to tell us.”

Olivia thought of the young woman who worked for her, imagined her pain, and her throat went tight. In the six months she had been running the café, she and Cassie had become close friends. Or at least as close as Liv could allow.

She looked over at Nell, whose face was still pale. “You go on. Go to her. As soon as the breakfast rush is over, I’ll join you at Cassie’s house.”

Nell just nodded. Picking the coffeepot up off the table, she headed for the breakfast counter, set the pot on the burner at the back. Removing her sky-blue Pelican Café apron, she slipped out through the side door near the rear of the building.

Liv glanced across the table at Rafe. His jaw looked iron hard, his eyes so dark she could barely see a hint of gold. For the first time it occurred to her that Rafe was hurting, too. Scotty was his first mate and they were friends. Cassie had said Scott idolized Rafe, had thought of him as an older brother.

Reaching toward him, she settled a hand over the fist he rested on top of the table. “Are you okay?”

His dark eyes flicked down to her hand, then moved up to her face. “Scott was a good man. One of the best. Whoever killed him is going to pay.”

A little shiver ran through her. It wasn’t a statement. It was a vow. “Surely the police will find the man who did it.”

“There’re eleven guys in the Valdez department. Eleven police officers to cover two-hundred-seventy square miles, including the pipeline terminus.” Valdez was the end point of the Alaska pipeline. The huge oil shipping facility at the edge of town was one of the things that made Valdez famous.

Along with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Eleven million gallons killed 250,000 seabirds and hundreds of otters and seals, a disaster it took thirty years to recover from. That and the biggest earthquake in U.S. history.

More recently, the tiny town was a place known for its majestic scenery and fabulous fishing.

“What about the State Troopers?” Olivia asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Rosen is a good man, but cops can be pissy about their territory. He may think he can go it alone.”

“Maybe he can,” Liv said, but she didn’t really trust the police. Hadn’t since she’d been forced to run for her life and couldn’t count on the police to help her.

“Maybe,” Rafe said. “I guess we’ll see.”

Liv watched his jaw settle into a determined line and thought of the vow he had made. Clearly it was a promise he meant to keep.

As she slid out of the booth, she realized her legs still felt shaky. “Would you like something to eat? You look like you could use it.”

Rafe rubbed a hand over the bristles along his jaw. “Lost my appetite. I just need some coffee. That’s what I came in for.”

She noticed the china mug in front of him had never gotten filled. “I’ll take care of it.” She headed across the café, grabbed the pot off the burner, and returned, poured his mug to the brim. “It’s on the house today.”

“Thanks . . . Liv.” Rafe’s gaze fixed on her face. It was the first time he had used the more familiar version of her name.

Olivia didn’t like the way her stomach lifted at the way he said that single, softly spoken word.

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 Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty books across multiple genres. Sixteen million copies are in print and she has been published in twenty-one foreign countries, including Japan, France, Argentina, Greece, China, and Spain. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA award and won both the Lifetime Achievement and Reviewer’s Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews.

A resident of Missoula, Montana, Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She and her author husband, L.J. Martin, spend their winters in Ventura, California. She is currently writing her next Romantic Suspense.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 
(Three Paperback Copies of AGAINST THE TIDE)

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Cover Reveal: Exposing the Heiress (A Once a Marine Novel) by Jennifer Apodaca

 
I love this series and can’t wait for Exposing the Heiress to release! If you haven’t read the first two books yet you should check them out. My reviews and links are listed below. -Cori


ExposingtheHeiress

Exposing the Heiress by Jennifer Apodaca

Release date: 8/4/15

 
This Marine will protect her at all costs…

When wealthy heiress Alyssa Brooks finds out her stepfather has been paying her fiancé to marry her, she’s humiliated and betrayed. She quickly breaks the engagement, only to be blackmailed by her now ex-fiancé, who threatens both Alyssa and the son she gave up for adoption. With nowhere to go, she turns to the one man she can trust.

Former Marine sniper Hunter Reece’s lethal skills could save Alyssa’s life. But his little sister’s best friend has turned into a woman, who is an irresistible mix of secrets and sexiness. And while Hunter can trust himself to protect her, he can’t trust himself to keep his attraction hidden…or even pretend to be the man that Alyssa remembers.

Because the only way to keep the lovely heiress safe is to become the one thing he knows she could never love…a killer.

ADD TO GOODREADS

✿Once a Marine Series Book by Jennifer Apodaca✿

✦Book 1: The Baby BargainKindle | B&N | Kobo | Review 5 Stars

✦Book 2: Her Temporary HeroKindle | B&N | Kobo | Review 5 Stars

✦Book 3: Exposing the HeiressAdd to Goodreads 

Award winning author Jennifer Apodaca grew up in Southern California and met her very own hero at the dog pound. She worked there, he came in on business, and it was puppy love. They married and had three wonderful sons.

While her husband worked on his master’s degree, Jen did the mom thing by day and went to college at night with the intention of pursuing a marketing degree. But her true passion was writing. With time at a premium, she had to make a choice.

Choosing writing, and with the full support of her husband, she poured herself into her dream. A mere eight years later, she published her first book DATING CAN BE MURDER. In her career, Jen has written a fun and sexy mystery series and a variety of contemporary romances. Taking the pen name of Jennifer Lyon, she also created a dark, sizzling paranormal series, and most recently, The Plus One Chronicles, an emotional and sexy adult contemporary series.

Jen has achieved many of her dreams except for attaining a self-cleaning house, a latte delivery service, and finding the holy grail of nonfattening wine and chocolate. She can live with those disappointments as long as she can keep writing the stories she loves to share with readers.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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SPOTLIGHT, Review & Giveaway: Slave to Sensation (Psy/ Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh

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We’re doing something a little different. We’ll be posting 2 spotlights for Nalini Singh’s Psy/ Changeling Series. Donna is new to the series and is reviewing book 1 today. I’ve been telling her she should read it for a while and she’s hooked now! I’m a long time fan of the series and will be reviewing “Shards of Hope” (June 2nd Release) on Friday, 5/29. So if you’re new to the series you can take a look at Donna’s take on beginning the series and enter to win an awesome prize pack from Penguin today. If you’re a fan like me you can check out my review on Friday where you’ll have a chance to win a hardback copy of “Shards of Hope”. -Cori 


 

 In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”–the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion–and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities–or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

 
This has been one of those series/authors firmly on my TBR list but never had the time to read, now I am kicking myself for waiting for so long. I loved it! I’m not a fan of sci-fi but the way she blended it with the paranormal was seamless and intriguing. It also helped that I liked Sascha and Lucas plus the other Changelings (shifters). The romance part was smoldering and not overshadowed by the mystery and threats they faced, so a definite plus. I even liked the bad guys and the threat they pose to those just wanting to be free. This series has moved from my ‘to be read’ to my ‘will be read’ list.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review. 


NOTE: Part 2 of this series spotlight will feature “Shards of Hope” and will be posted Friday, 5/29. 

 
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PRE-ORDER : Shards of Hope (Psy/ Changeling Series, Book 14) by Nalini Singh 

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imageI’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated frequently).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

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Release Day Launch: Hades (A Demonica Novella) 1001 Dark Nights by Larissa Ione

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We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Larissa Ione’s HADES! HADES is a novella in Larissa’s Demonica Series and part of the 1001 Dark Nights Collection. It is exclusively available as Amazon Kindle and Paperback. Grab the latest installment in this sexy series!

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  A fallen angel with a mean streak and a mohawk, Hades has spent thousands of years serving as Jailor of the Underworld. The souls he guards are as evil as they come, but few dare to cross him. All of that changes when a sexy fallen angel infiltrates his prison and unintentionally starts a riot. It’s easy enough to quell an uprising, but for the first time, Hades is torn between delivering justice — or bestowing mercy — on the beautiful female who could be his salvation…or his undoing.

Thanks to her unwitting participation in another angel’s plot to start Armageddon, Cataclysm was kicked out of Heaven and is now a fallen angel in service of Hades’s boss, Azagoth. All she wants is to redeem herself and get back where she belongs. But when she gets trapped in Hades’s prison domain with only the cocky but irresistible Hades to help her, Cat finds that where she belongs might be in the place she least expected…


Her luxurious mink-brown wings were gone, sliced off in a brutal ceremony, and with them, her source of power. She totally understood why an Unfallen would cross the barrier between the human and demon realms to turn themselves into True Fallen and gain new wings and new powers. But was the evil upgrade worth it? Cat didn’t think so.

“Cat!” Azagoth’s voice startled her out of her thoughts, and she nearly dropped the tray of dirty dishes as she looked up to see him striding down the hallway from his office.

In the flickering light cast by the iron wall sconces, he didn’t look happy. He also wasn’t alone.

Hades, Azagoth’s second-in-command and the designated Jailor of the Dead, was walking next to him. No, not walking. With the way his thigh muscles flexed in those form-fitting black pants with every silent step, it was more like prowling. His body sang with barely-leashed power, and she shivered in primal, feminine response.

Son of a bitch, Hades was hot. Hard-cut cheekbones and a firm, square jaw gave him a rugged appearance that bordered on sinister, especially when paired with a blue Mohawk she’d kill to run her palm over. But then, she’d kill to run her palms over all of him, and she’d start with his muscular chest, which was usually, temptingly, bare. Not that she’d complain about what he was wearing now, a sleeveless, color-shifting top that clung to his rock-hard abs.

She tried not to stare, but really, even if she’d stood in the middle of the hall with her tongue hanging out, it wouldn’t have mattered. He never looked her way. He never noticed her. She was nothing to him. Not even worth a glance. Those cold, ice-blue eyes looked right through her. And yet, this was a guy who laughed with Lilliana, pulled pranks on the other Unfallen who lived here, and played with hellhounds as if they were giant puppies. Giant, man-eating puppies.

Azagoth stopped in front of her. “Cat? You okay?”

She blinked, realized she’d been lost in a world of Hades. “Ah, yes. Sorry, sir. What is it?”

*****

Kindle $2.99 http://amzn.to/1ErTtyr | Amazon PBK $8.99 http://amzn.to/1Astpbsd

 
 

 Larissa Ione

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

Website** Facebook** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Pinterest ** Author Goodreads ** Novel Goodreads

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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: When Darkness Ends (Guardians of Eternity) by Alexandra Ivy 

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  The Guardians of Eternity are facing a final battle to save their world—but battles of the heart may be the most difficult to fight…

Cyn, the vampire clan chief of Ireland, is an unabashed hedonist whose beauty is surpassed only by his insatiable appetite for pleasure. It’s no wonder he’s furious when he’s transported from the magical land of the pureblooded feys to his desolate private lair—only to have his very existence thrown into a chaos that even he cannot charm his way out of…

Most women may be all but powerless against Cyn, but Fallon, a sharp-witted fairy princess, is less than beguiled by the silver-tongued vampire. She’s a serious soul with no time for the sort of games he plays—especially when they learn that someone is trying to close the veil that separates the dimensions. But seduction may prove the most powerful force of all, as attraction ignites between the unlikely pair even as worlds are colliding around them…

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Goodreads Series Link

Ireland, present day

Cyn, clan chief of Ireland and former berserker, moaned as he slowly regained consciousness. His brain was fuzzy, which meant it took a full minute to realize he was lying butt-naked on the cold stone floor of a cave.

Bloody hell. It had been a millennium since he’d woken in this precise cave, naked and disoriented. He didn’t like it any better today than he had a thousand years ago.

What’d happened?

With a groan he forced himself to a sitting position, his body hardening at the intoxicating scent that teased at his nose.

Champagne?

A fine, crisp vintage that made his entire body tingle with anticipation.

For a blissful minute he allowed the fragrance to swirl around him. It was oddly familiar. And, surprisingly, it stirred a complex mixture of emotions.

Arousal. Wariness. Frustration

It was the frustration that abruptly forced him to recall why the scent was so familiar.

Muttering a curse, Cyn had a searing memory of following a beautiful fairy through a portal. No . . . not a fairy, he wryly corrected himself. A Chatri. The ancient purebloods of the fey world who’d retreated to their homeland centuries before.

He’d been there to help Roke locate his mate, but Princess Fallon had shoved him out of the throne room when it was obvious that Roke and Sally needed time to work out their differences, insisting that he leave them in peace.

He’d only been vaguely annoyed at first. He didn’t trust the cunning Chatri as far as he could throw them, especially not their king, Sariel. But he wanted Roke to work out his troubles with his mate.

Besides, he was male enough to appreciate being in the company of a beautiful woman.

Or in the case of Fallon . . . a breathtakingly exquisite woman.

Her hair was a glorious tumble of rich gold brushed with hints of pale rose. The sort of hair that begged a man to bury his face in the silken mass. Her eyes were polished amber with flecks of emerald and framed by the thickest, longest lashes Cyn had ever seen. And her ivory features . . . gods almighty, they were so perfect they didn’t look real. He might be suspicious of Fallon, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy fantasizing about having her tossed on the nearby chaise longue while he peeled the gown off her slender body, he’d assured himself.

So he’d allowed himself to be distracted by the lovely female as he sipped the potent fey wine, not realizing the danger until his head began to spin and the world went dark.

Idiot.

He should have known that they were plotting something.

He might have a fondness for the fey, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t well aware of their mercurial natures.

And their love for luring the unwary into their clever traps.

With a low growl he turned his head, easily spotting the female who was sprawled naked on the ground, her golden hair shimmering even in the darkness.

He wanted to know how the hell she’d managed to bring them to the caves beneath his private lair. And he wanted to know now.

Cyn moved to bend beside her slumbering form, pretending that he wasn’t acutely aware of the enticing temptation of her long, slender body and the fragile beauty of her pale face.

Sleeping Beauty . . .

A scowl marred his forehead. Aye. She was a beauty. She was also a powerful fey princess who’d managed to catch him off guard once.

It wasn’t going to happen again.

“Fallon?” Cyn murmured, his voice deep and laced with an accent that hadn’t been heard in this world for centuries. She heaved a sigh at the sound of his voice, but she remained stubbornly asleep. Cyn knelt at her side, knowing better than to touch her. The feel of that satin skin beneath

his fingertips was guaranteed to make him forget he was pissed as hell at her little trick. “Fallon,” he growled, his voice a command. “Wake up.”

She gave a small jerk, her lashes fluttering upward to reveal the striking amber eyes with the shimmering flecks of emerald.

For a long moment she studied him in stunned confusion.

Understandable.

Most people found Cyn . . . intimidating. At six foot three he had a powerful chest and thick muscles that marked him as a warrior. His thick mane of dark blond hair hung halfway down his back except for the front strands that he kept woven into tight braids that framed his face.

His features were chiseled along blunt lines with a square jaw and high cheekbones. His brow was wide and his jade green eyes heavily lashed. Females seemed to find him handsome enough, but there was never any mistake that he was a ruthless killer.

She sucked in a shaky breath as her gaze lowered to the barbaric Tuatha Dé Danann tattoos that curled and swirled in a narrow green pattern around his upper arms, emphasizing the perfect alabaster of his skin.

His lips twisted, wondering what she would think of the golden dragon tattoo with crimson wings that was currently hidden beneath the thick mane of his hair.

He’d earned the mark of CuChulainn that was branded onto his right shoulder blade after he’d survived the battles of Durotriges.

It marked him as a clan chief.

“Vampire,” she muttered, as if having difficulty remembering who he was.

He narrowed his gaze, wondering what game she was playing. “Cyn.”

“Yes . . . Cyn.” Her confusion was replaced with a horror as if she were suddenly remembering who he was. A horror that only intensified when she belatedly realized they were both butt-naked. “Dear goddess.” She shoved herself to a sitting position, curling her arms around her knees as she glared at him with angry accusation. “What have you done to me?”

 “Me?” He made a sound of disbelief, unconsciously reaching to push a strand of golden hair off her flushed cheek.

“No . . .” With a flare of panic she was scrambling backward, a genuine fear flaring through the amber eyes. “Stay away.”

Cyn muttered a low curse. Her pretense of confusion was annoying the hell out of him, but he didn’t like the thought that she was afraid of him.

Strange when he’d devoted several centuries to terrifying his enemies.

“Settle down, princess,” he murmured softly.

“Settle down?” A flush stained her beautiful face. “I wake up naked in the company of a strange vampire far away from my home and you want me to settle down?” She bit her bottom lip, her flush deepening to crimson. “Did you—”

“What?”

“Violate me?”

What the hell? Cyn surged upright. Six foot three of quivering, offended, naked male.

“No, I didn’t damned well violate you,” he rasped. “And if I had, I can assure you that you would not only remember, but you’d be on your knees thanking me for the privilege.”

Her fear was replaced by a more familiar disdain. As if he was a bug that needed to be squashed beneath her royal heel.

“Why, you arrogant . . . leech.”

He folded his arms over his massive chest. “At least I’m not a stuck-up prig of a fairy.”

“If you didn’t violate me, why are we naked?” she demanded, careful to keep her gaze locked on his face. Was she afraid his bare body might strike her blind? “And how did we get here?”

He snorted. “That’s a question I should be asking you.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I’m a vampire.”

Her lips thinned in annoyance, her chin tilted as she continued her ridiculous charade of innocence.

“Yes, I had managed to figure that out.”

“Then you know that I can’t create portals,” he snapped, deliberately allowing his gaze to skim downward. Unlike the aggravating female, he had no problem enjoying a naked body. Especially one so appetizing. “Only the fey can do that.”

She frowned, belatedly realizing she couldn’t try and pin the blame of their abrupt teleportation on him.

Odd, she hadn’t struck him as stupid.

Just the opposite, in fact.

“Fey aren’t the only creatures who can create portals.” She tried to hedge.

“Well, I obviously didn’t do it.”

“Neither did I.”

He made a sound of impatience. Why was she continuing with this game?

“You expect me to believe you?”

The flecks of emerald shimmered in her eyes. “My father has forbidden his people to leave our homeland.”

“Oh aye, and a daughter has never dared to disobey her father.”

She cast a condemning glance around the barren cave.

“Trust me. If I did decide to defy my father, I wouldn’t choose to travel to this dump.”

His low growl filled the air. He was a true hedonist. A vampire who reveled in rare books, fine wine, and beautiful women.

And in turn, women adored him.

All women.

But this female . . .

She wasn’t the warm, willing, bundle of pleasure he was accustomed to. She was rude and prickly and downright dangerous.

“Watch your tongue, princess,” he snarled. “This dump happens to be a part of my private lair.”

“There.” She pointed an accusing finger toward him. “I knew it. You kidnapped me.”

Cyn rolled his eyes. Could this farce get any more ridiculous?

“The only one kidnapped was me.”

“Why would I kidnap an oversized, ego-bloated vampire?”

Yeah. Why would she? It took him a minute to shuffle through his still-fuzzy thoughts.

“To keep me from protecting my friend,” he at last concluded.

Hadn’t she pulled him out of the throne room, leaving Roke at the mercy of her father, Sariel? And then she’d plied him with some wicked fey brew that had knocked him unconscious.

Aye. It made perfect sense that it was a nefarious plot to separate him from his friend.

At least it did until she glared at him in outraged disbelief.

“Are you completely mental? Your friend was exactly where he wanted to be.”

Okay. She had a point. Roke hadn’t looked like he needed Cyn’s services. In

fact, the last he’d seen of his fellow vampire, he was wrapping his mate in his arms, his expression one of besotted devotion.

Bleck.

“Then perhaps you simply wanted to be alone with me.” He flashed a smile that revealed his snowy white fangs. One way or another he was getting answers. “You wouldn’t be the first female to use magic to get me into your bed.”

She muttered something distinctly unladylike beneath her breath.

“I am a fairy princess.”

“And?”

“And I don’t share my bed with—”

He planted his hands on his hips, his expression daring her to finish the sentence.

“With?”

Her lips parted to complete her insult, but before she could speak there was a sizzle of power in the air. Cyn turned toward the center of the cave, his muscles coiled to attack as there was a faint pop, and then a tiny demon dressed in a long white gown appeared out of thin air.

Cyn gave a startled hiss, his eyes widening at the creature who could easily pass as a young girl with her small stature and long silver braid that nearly brushed the floor. Cyn, however, wasn’t fooled. He recognized the strange oblong eyes that were a solid black and the sharp, pointed teeth.

This was no harmless juvenile.

She had enough power to crush him and his entire clan.

Even worse, she was an Oracle. One of the rare demons who sat on the Commission, the ultimate rulers of the demon world.

“Enough squabbling, children,” she chided, folding her hands together as she studied them with an unnerving intensity.

“Holy shite.” Cyn offered a belated bow. “Siljar.”

Fallon crouched on the ground, her arms wrapped around her knees in a futile effort at modesty.

“You know this person?”

“Not person,” Cyn corrected, shivering as Siljar’s energy sizzled over his skin. “Oracle.”

The amber eyes widened. “Oh.”

“Forgive me.” Siljar gave an absent wave of her hand and Cyn made a strangled sound of shock as he found himself covered by a plain white robe that hit him just below the knees. The Oracle gave another wave of her hand and Fallon was covered in a matching robe. “I haven’t created a portal into the fairy homeland for a number of centuries.”

Cyn scowled, ignoring Fallon’s I-told-you-so glare. “You brought us here?” he demanded.

Siljar gave a nod of her head. “I did.”

“Why?”

“Because I have need of you.”

His acute hearing picked up Fallon’s soft sigh of relief as she rose to her feet and brushed her hands down the satin robe.

“You need the vampire?”

“I have a name,” he reminded the princess with a snap.

Siljar clicked her tongue, her gaze shifting from Fallon to Cyn.

“I need both of you.”

Cyn stiffened. It was never, ever a good thing when an Oracle had need of him.

“Why?”

There was the unmistakable scent of sulfur as Siljar’s expression tightened with anger.

“I fear the Commission is being tampered with.”

Cyn arched a brow. Hadn’t Styx sent word that they’d uncovered the plot by the strange demons who’d been holding Fallon’s father captive?

“Aye, we know the Nebule planted a spy to pose as an Oracle,” he said.

Siljar shrugged. “He has been destroyed.”

Oh. Cyn grimaced. “You suspect there’s another traitor?”

“That was my first thought,” Siljar admitted. “But I believe that on this occasion the Oracles are being manipulated without their knowledge.”

That seemed . . . unlikely.

“Why are you suspicious?” he demanded.

Siljar hesitated a second before revealing what was troubling her.

“Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself awakening as if from a trance to discover I’m seated in the Council Room,” she at last said.

Cyn blinked in confusion. That was it? He’d been kidnapped and dropped naked in these caves because the old gal was becoming forgetful?

He forced himself to consider his words. Only an idiot implied that an Oracle might be going a bit batty.

“The past year has been stressful, especially for the Commission,” he murmured.

“It has. And if I was the only Oracle to experience the strange phenomenon, then I would assume that your implication that I’m suffering from some sort of mental decay was right.” Her lips twitched as he flinched at her blunt words. “I am, after all, quite old and it wouldn’t be entirely unlikely that I would accidentally transport myself to a familiar location without realizing what I’m doing.”

Cyn ignored Fallon’s barely hidden amusement at his discomfort.

“But?”

“More than once I discovered I wasn’t alone.”

Cyn grimaced even as he heard Fallon suck in a startled breath.

Having Siljar suffering from an occasional blackout was one thing. To think of the entire Commission being controlled by some unseen force . . . bloody hell.

“The other Oracles didn’t know how they got there either?” he rasped.

Siljar gave a somber shake of her head. “No.”

******

Another great book in Alexandra Ivy’s Guardians of Eternity Series. I’m obsessed with this series! I love the world Alexandra Ivy has created and the characters. Most series seem to fizzle out over time but the Guardians of Eternity series keeps getting better. When Darkness Ends is the 12th book in this series and can be read as a standalone but I recommend starting at the beginning. It’s a great paranormal series. When Darkness Ends is full of action, danger, and passionate romance. Cyn, a Berserker Vampire, and Fallon, a fairy princess, are perfect for each other. I loved their interactions. Their story hooked me from the beginning and took me on an enjoyable journey. If you haven’t read this series I highly recommend it for paranormal romance lovers and if you have read it you’ll love this new addition to this incredible series.

*Review copy provided by Kensington in exchange for an honest review.   


  

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imageALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at http://www.alexandraivy.com

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



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ROMANCE NEW RELEASES 5/24-5/30 Freebies, Deals & Giveaways List

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✿ROMANCE NEW RELEASES 5/24-5/30 Freebies, Deals & Giveaways List

✦Romance ✦PNR ✦Erotica✦ RomanticSuspense✦NewAdult ✦HistoricalRomance✦

*This list will be pinned to the top of our FB page and updates will be made throughout the week. Buy links for Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Paperbacks. Genre codes included with titles. Key to codes listed at the bottom of the list.

✿TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015
✦When Darkness Ends (Guardians of Eternity) by Alexandra Ivy #PNR (Cori 5 Stars) ➢ Kindle $6.22 http://amzn.to/1Q5avt0 | Amazon PBK $6.47 http://amzn.to/1AssTu0 | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $6.99) http://bit.ly/1eoEqkj | Kobo $6.22 http://bit.ly/1F9R798
✦Hades: A Demonica Novella (1001 Dark Nights) by Larissa Ione #PNR ➢ Kindle $2.99 http://amzn.to/1ErTtyr | Amazon PBK $8.99 http://amzn.to/1Astpbs
✦Just One Taste (Pine Mountain Novella) by Kimberly Kincaid #CR ➢ $1.99 Kindle http://amzn.to/1ErTAdA | B&N http://bit.ly/1ds8Hyn | Kobo http://bit.ly/1ITx6tJ
✦Something Wicked by Teresa Mummert #CR #ER ➢ Kindle $3.99 http://amzn.to/1ErTYsx | Amazon PBK $10.92 http://amzn.to/1KtegtM | B&N $3.99 http://bit.ly/1HEFwls | Kobo $3.99 http://bit.ly/1Ao2aPF
✦Under the Lights (A Boys of Fall Novel Book 1) by Shannon Stacey #CR ➢ Kindle $5.99 http://amzn.to/1ds90cy | Amazon PBK $7.99 http://amzn.to/1GxvUKS | B&N $7.99 http://bit.ly/1IXSnRn | Kobo $7.35 http://bit.ly/1PG4Ej0
✦Love in the Time of Scandal by Caroline Linden #HR ➢ Kindle $5.99 http://amzn.to/1ITxXdV | Amazon PBK $7.99 http://amzn.to/1ds9hfy | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $5.99) http://bit.ly/1JNRJXz | Kobo $5.99 http://bit.ly/1KfDPeH
✦Rules of the Game (Stardust, Texas series Book 2) by Lori Wilde #CR ➢ Kindle $5.99 http://amzn.to/1GxwtEf | Amazon PBK $7.99 http://amzn.to/1Asy1OM | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $5.99) http://bit.ly/1Hr6TNr | Kobo $5.99 http://bit.ly/1FJAvsC
✦Sea Glass Sunrise (The Brides Of Blueberry Cove Book 1) by Donna Kauffman #CR ➢ Kindle $5.84 http://amzn.to/1F4kbhm | Amazon PBK $7.99 http://amzn.to/1cVf2S8 | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $6.99) http://bit.ly/1HEMd74 | Kobo $6.89 http://bit.ly/1SyaeTy
✦Searching for Beautiful (Searching For series Book 3) by Jennifer Probst #CR ➢ Kindle $6.99 http://amzn.to/1F9Woxs | Amazon PBK $7.99 http://amzn.to/1BkyGNj | B&N (PBK $12.96/ Nook $7.99) http://bit.ly/1JNZ3m2 | Kobo $6.99 http://bit.ly/1JNZc8V
✦A Match for Marcus Cynster (The Cynster Novels Book 2) by Stephanie Laurens #HR ➢ Kindle $6.35 http://amzn.to/1cVfwry | Amazon PBK $6.47 http://amzn.to/1F4kRmO | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $6.99) http://bit.ly/1cdnEmA | Kobo $6.35 http://bit.ly/1cVfC2q
✦Against the Tide (The Brodies Of Alaska Book 3) by Kat Martin #CR ➢ Kindle $5.84 http://amzn.to/1cVfH6f | Amazon PBK $6.79 http://amzn.to/1ErZtqW | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $5.84) http://bit.ly/1GxBpJq | Kobo $6.22 http://bit.ly/1ErZATw
✦Falling Hard: Bad Boys Undercover by HelenKay Dimon #RS #CR ➢ Kindle $5.99 http://amzn.to/1Rfpmn2 | Amazon PBK $7.99 http://amzn.to/1cVfUq2 | B&N (PBK $7.99/ Nook $5.99) http://bit.ly/1cdo1NX | Kobo $5.99 http://bit.ly/1IY39Y0
✦Rescuing the Bad Boy (Second Chance, Book 2) by Jessica Lemmon #CR ➢ Kindle $5.99 http://amzn.to/1Q5hWjT | Amazon PBK $6 http://amzn.to/1cdo8Js | B&N (PBK $6/ Nook $5.99) http://bit.ly/1eoOMAy | Kobo $5.99 http://bit.ly/1HEOiQH
✦Kissing Mr. Wrong (Entangled Lovestruck) (Wrong Man) by Kerri Carpenter #CR ➢ $0.99 Kindle http://amzn.to/1Es06Ru | B&N http://bit.ly/1LvhQke | Kobo http://bit.ly/1Ao8ExNThe

✦Other Man by R. K. Lilley #CR #ER ➢ $4.99 Kindle http://amzn.to/1LDGoaR | B&N http://bit.ly/1Hux1XI | Kobo http://bit.ly/1ArXlog | iBooks http://apple.co/1cgBDYN

✿WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2015
✦Conviction (Book Two in The Consolation Duet) by Corinne Michaels #CR ➢ $3.99 Kindle http://amzn.to/1ITFZTY | B&N http://bit.ly/1Lvi9M6 | Kobo http://bit.ly/1RfqlDP

✿THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015
✦Binding Ecstasy (Guardians of the Realms) by Setta Jay #PNR #ER (Donna 5 Stars) ➢ $1.99 Kindle http://amzn.to/1RfqsPG | B&N http://bit.ly/1KfNsKo | Kobo http://bit.ly/1Q5imH4

✿Link to Previous Weekly Release Lists: http://bit.ly/1jz5V8S

✦GENRE ABBREVIATIONS✦
#CR – Contemporary Romance
#PNR – Paranormal Romance
#RS – Romantic Suspense
#NA – New Adult Romance
#ER – Erotica Romance
#YA – Young Adult Romance
#UF – Urban Fantasy Romance
#FR – Fantasy Romance
#HR – Historical Romance
#SFR – Science Fiction Romance
#RC – Romantic Comedy

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✦Dragonbane (Dark-Hunter Novels) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (August 4, 2015)
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✦BLOOD KISS: The Black Dagger Legacy Series by J.R. Ward
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✦Kill Without Mercy (Ares Security, Book 1) by Alexandra Ivy
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✦MYSTIC ISLE BY SELENA BLAKE – READING ORDER✦
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✦SALE $0.99 EACH ➢ The Guardians of the Realms Series by Setta Jay✦
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One of my favorite PNR series! If you haven’t read them yet be sure to grab the first two books in the series while they’re on sale! /Cori
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REVIEW 5 Stars: http://wp.me/p3d0RZ-17f

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**************
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BOOKS TO MOVIES INFO:
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$4.99 SALE Promo – SEVEN BOOKS FOR SEVEN LOVERS

    

SEVEN BOOKS FOR SEVEN LOVERS By Stephanie Haefner, Liora Blake, Gabra Zackman, Andrea Laurence, Molly Harper, Colette Auclair, Victoria Van Tiem, Lindsay Roth, Rachel Goodman, Kate Meader and Jessica Sim


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Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: A Sorceress of His Own (The Gifted Ones Book 1) by Dianne Duvall

  

From the Bestselling author of the Immortal Guardians series comes a new paranormal historical romance that inspired it all, and is sure to enchant fans new and old!



A SORCERESS OF HIS OWN

The Gifted Ones Book 1

Dianne Duvall

Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Dianne Duvall

 

 From the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Immortal Guardians series comes an enchanting new series full of romance, danger, and loyalty: The Gifted Ones

Since the day Lord Dillon earned his spurs, rumors of his savagery on the battlefield have preceded him into every room, stilling tongues and sparking fear. Weary of battle, he wishes only to find a woman he can wed who will approach him not with fear, but with the tenderness that has been absent from his life for so long. Yet only the wisewoman seems invariably at ease in his presence. Perhaps because she garners the same fear in others that he does himself.

For seven years, Alyssa has been by Lord Dillon’s side, counseling him from the shadows, healing him with her hands, and staving off the worst of his loneliness while his fearsome reputation keeps others at bay. Blessed—or cursed—with gifts that label her a sorceress, she is forced to conceal her youth and the love she harbors for him beneath umbral robes that lead Dillon and his people to believe she is the same aged wisewoman who served his father.

All is revealed, however, and passions flare when an enemy threatens Dillon’s life and Alyssa sacrifices everything to save him. When Dillon discovers that the wisewoman is far from elderly, he is instantly entranced. And, as he and Alyssa work together to defeat an enemy bent on destroying them both, Dillon will risk anything—even the wrath of his king—to be with her.

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“Tis bewildering.”

His eyebrows rose. “Is the change in him so difficult to accept?”

She let her gaze rove his muscled body, lounging so casually and comfortably with her own. “’Tis not only the change in Sir Robert that confuses me.”

Dillon’s expression sobered. His cerulean eyes turned watchful. “Am I different with you, Alyssa?”

The sound of her name falling so smoothly from his lips after so many years should not inspire this depth of pleasure. Swallowing nervously, she wished now that she had held her tongue. “You know that you are.”

“In what way?” His gaze swept her hidden form. His voice deepened, turned husky. “Tell me.”

Alyssa’s heart hammered beneath her breast. What was he doing to her? With just a look… such a look… he peeled away her exterior and threatened to expose all of her hidden desires.

“In this way,” she managed to say. “The way you look at me.” As though you are a starving wolfhound and I a choice bit of venison that has fallen at your feet.

“I thought you gray-haired and wrinkled beneath your robes. Yet, here you are, younger than myself by several summers unless I miss my guess. To discover such exquisite beauty… ’Tis not surprising that I look at you differently.” Still reclining on one elbow, he leaned forward and, with his free hand, brushed his fingers across her forehead, traced the arch of one brow and trailed down her temple to her cheek.

Images stirred in her mind. Erotic images that stole her breath and began a flash fire in her body.

Dillon drawing back the blankets, baring her body to his heated gaze.

Dillon’s hands and mouth touching her in the most shocking places.

His clothing miraculously vanishing as he lowered his body to hers.

Sucking in a breath, she drew away.

Hurt dimmed the sparkle in his eyes as he dropped his hand.

“That does not explain why you…” She bit her lip, afraid he would laugh if she finished her thought. What if it was all her imagination? Could it not be that the earthy desires that frequently flooded her at his touch were her own, rather than his?

“Continue,” he urged her.

“You do not treat me as formally as you used to.” She danced around the issue, of course. Without her robes to hide her expression, she found herself battling a new shyness and uncertainty when with him.

Flattening his hand on the bed, he splayed his fingers and frowned down at it. “You would prefer formality? Distance?”

She opened her mouth, ready to say aye, that aught would be better than this confusion he inspired.

Unfortunately, to do so would be to lie outright and—with the exception of neglecting to correct his assumptions regarding her age—she had always dealt honestly with him.

“Nay,” she admitted softly.

“Then what troubles you about my recent behavior toward you, Alyssa?”

She closed her eyes and repressed a shudder of pleasure. What troubled her about it? That she craved more and more and more of it and feared she would soon become a glutton.

Lifting her lashes, she stared at his bent head. “I simply do not understand why you are treating me with such… tenderness.”

His eyes rose and captured hers. “Because you are letting me.”


I loved this book! A Sorceress of His Own is the first book in Dianne Duvall’s Gifted Ones Series. The Gifted Ones Series is a spinoff series from The Immortal Guardians Series. Some of the characters from the Immortal Guaridans are in The Gifted Ones Series, but you do not have to read the series to enjoy this one. A Sorceress of His Own is a historical paranormal romance set in England. It’s full of danger, intrigue and passion. Dianne Duvall brought the characters to life and delivered an addicting and exciting new series. I’m hooked! Go grab a copy and devour it! 

*Review copy the provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.  

$2.99 Kindle | iTunes | Kobo | B&N

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Pre-order (before June 2nd) and enter the Pre-Order Extravaganza!

Every 1000 pre-orders that come in between now and June 2nd, the author will give away an Amazon Gift Card, each larger than the previous one. To enter, Fill Out This Form!


Dianne_Duvall_AuthorPicDianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne’s books “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly), “extraordinary” (Long and Short Reviews), and “wonderfully imaginative” (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn’t writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit www.DianneDuvall.com.

You can also find Dianne online . . .

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Cover Reveal: Reckless (A Rescue Squad Novel) by Kimberly Kincaid 

 

Check out this new series from Kimberly Kincaid! -Cori 

RECKLESS
Rescue Squad #1
Kimberly Kincaid
Releasing Jan 26th, 2016
 
SOMEONE’S BOUND TO GET BURNED…
Zoe Westin may be a fire captain’s daughter, but feeding the people in her hometown of Fairview is her number one priority. Running a soup kitchen is also the perfect way to prove to her dad that helping people doesn’t always mean risking life and limb. But when she’s saddled with a gorgeous firefighter doing community service after yet another daredevil stunt, the kitchen has never been so hot.
Alex Donovan thrives on adrenaline, and stirring a pot of soup doesn’t exactly qualify. He’s not an expert at following the rules either, not even when they come from the stubborn, sexy daughter of the man who’s not only his boss, but his mentor. Determined to show Zoe that not every risk ends in catastrophe, Alex challenges her both in the kitchen and out. One reckless step leads to another, but will falling for each other be a risk worth taking, or will it just get them burned?

 
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A Special Note from Publisher

Kimberly is releasing JUST ONE TASTE, A Pine Mountain Novella on May 26th, 2015. Kensington Books
is offering a fun exclusive deleted scene to anyone who pre-orders the novella!  Just sign up here, http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/justonetaste/and you will be emailed the deleted scene from JUST ONE TASTE!

A little home improvement can go a long way…

Jesse
Oliver was a medic in Afghanistan, but back home in Pine Mountain he’s happy to switch gears as the Double Shot bar’s new sous chef. When his apartment floods and his old Army buddy offers the family’s dilapidated lake house as temporary quarters, Jesse thinks a little remodeling on the creaky duplex sounds like a fair return favor. That’s before he sets eyes on the gorgeous woman moving into the other side of the cabin—and discovers she’s his buddy’s kid sister, a.k.a totally off limits.

Kat
McMarrin has fought hard for her space, and she’s not too interested in sharing it. Of course, her job as a physical therapist means she won’t see much of Jesse, even if he’s a few thin floorboards away—unless she seeks him out. And with his sculpted body and slow-burn gaze, she might be tempted. Maybe the fixer-upper projects she has planned for the cabin will keep her mind off him. 
Or maybe her instincts to strip the place down will get out of hand…

 PRE-ORDER

 

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imageKimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting crosslegged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber,” she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.



Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress (Millworth Manor, Book 5) by Victoria Alexander

 
The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress

(
Millworth Manor, Book 5)

by Victoria Alexander

*****

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

IMG_0657-0

To Do:

Swim naked in the moonlight

Play in a high stakes card game

Ride an elephant

Be painted sans clothing.

Take a lover…

Lucy Merryweather has inherited a fortune—and her great-aunt’s list of unfulfilled wishes. What better way to honor her memory than by accomplishing as many of them as possible? And with Lucy’s family an ocean away in New York, nothing stands in her way—if one ignores the private investigator hired to spy on her.

Yet Cameron Effington is infuriatingly difficult to ignore…

As a reporter, Cameron is always looking for a good story. An American heiress running rampant between Millworth Manor and Mayfair is the perfect subject. Not to mention captivating. And extremely kissable. And if Lucy believes he’s a detective? Well, the truth should never get in the way of a good story—or hinder delicious, impetuous passion…


“I am well aware that I am under no obligation to Great-aunt Lucinda, at least not legally, but I feel a, well, a moral obligation if you will. I was quite moved by the letter she left for me and by her regrets, but there was nothing I could do about it when you and I had our lives planned out for us. Now, everything has changed.” She shook her head. “I do not want to reach the end of my life and have a list of those things I wanted to do but failed to so much as try. The very idea terrifies me. I don’t want regrets of my own.” She met his gaze directly. “And if I don’t do this for her—for me— I know I will.”

“Perhaps . . .” He settled back in his chair and chose his words carefully. A deceptively casual note sounded in his voice. “You should do those things you’ve always wanted rather than those someone else wished to do.”

“Excellent, Jackson.” She fixed him with a firm look. “And just what do you suggest those might be?”

He shrugged. “I have no idea.”

“Unfortunately, neither do I.” She crossed her arms over her chest and drew her brows together. “Every bit of my life has been planned and expected up until now. I’ve never veered from the course set out for me. Why, I never even questioned whether you and I should marry. At least not aloud.”

“Nor did I,” Jackson said under his breath.

“But as I am no longer expected to marry you, I’m not sure what I want to do.”

“Surely you wish to marry someone someday?”

“Oh, probably someday, but at the moment . . .” She shook her head. “I feel very much like a bird who has at long last been released from its cage.”

“Thank you,” he said wryly.

“Come now, you know what I mean.” She waved off his comment. “Now that I am free, I have no idea what I want to do with my freedom. Until I determine that, it seems the best course is to do those things my great-aunt never had the opportunity to do.”

“I’m not sure that is indeed the best course. Still . . .” He studied her for a moment. “You haven’t told me what these regrets of your aunt’s are. I’m assuming the worst, you know. That they are all improper or scandalous or dangerous.” “Not all of them.” She had no intention of telling him everything on Lucinda’s long list, but she could tell him one or two items. “Some of them are a little silly and some are really rather sweet. For one thing, she always wanted to have a dog but was never able to have one as dogs made Great-uncle Charles sneeze. There are quite a few that are as innocent as that.”

His eyes narrowed. “But not all of them?”

“Well, some are a bit more daring.” She cast him an innocent smile. “But not substantially so.”

“I don’t believe you for a moment.” He shook his head. “I don’t think this is the least bit advisable, Lucy.”

“Why not? You’re going off to do exactly what you want. Aside from the notion of following in your father’s adventurous footsteps, your plans are even less definitive than mine. Why shouldn’t I do what I want?”

 “For one thing, you’re female,” he said in a distinctly patronizing manner. She did so hate it when he was patronizing. It was the banker in him, no doubt. And even though he was now forgoing his life as a banker in favor of something far more exciting, it was obviously easier to take the man out of the bank than the bank out of the man. “For another, you have no practical experience at being on your own. Although I could hire someone to make certain of your safety, I suppose. A bodyguard or some sort of private investigator—”

“You most certainly will not! I do not need a nursemaid or a watchdog.”

“I don’t like leaving you here alone with no one to watch over you.”

She raised a brow. “Goodness, Jackson, I had no idea you had such a poor opinion of my abilities and intelligence.”

“I didn’t mean that quite the way it sounded.” Jackson shook his head. “You’ve simply taken me by surprise. I’ve no doubt you’re probably extremely capable underneath all that”—his eyes narrowed—“pleasantry.”

“I am unfailingly pleasant.”

“Yes, I know.” He studied her for a long moment. “You’re determined, aren’t you?”

“I am.”

“Well, I suppose you’re right.” He heaved a resigned sigh.

“There’s no reason why you can’t do what you wish. And I suspect there’s nothing I can do to stop you.”

She cast him her sweetest smile.

“Therefore, I have no objection—”

“Oh, lucky, lucky me.”

He ignored her. “However, I do have conditions.”

“Conditions?” She scoffed. “I thought we had established that it’s no longer your right to have any say whatsoever about what I may or may not do. I am nearly twenty-four years old, you know.”

“I have the right of a good friend, as someone who cares about you. But if you would prefer not to agree to my conditions”—he shrugged—“I might feel compelled to write to your parents, or better yet, your brothers, and tell them of my concerns.” It was his turn to smile pleasantly.

Lucy narrowed her gaze. She had no doubt he would do exactly that if she didn’t give in to his demands. “Very well. What are your conditions?”

“One, that you restrict your pursuit of these adventures of your great-aunt’s to England and reside either here at Millworth or at Channing House in London.” He held up his hand to forestall her objection. “My parents and aunt and uncle will all be traveling, so you would be as independent as you plan. Of course, the servants will be here.”

Lucy bit back a satisfied smile. She was well aware that very nearly everyone in his family would be heading toward different parts of the world in the coming days. She was only telling Jackson all this in the first place because she intended to ask if she could stay on in his family’s residences while they were away. She had already decided to pursue her quests in England for several reasons. First and foremost, she was here, delightfully far from home and everyone she knew. Besides, her great-aunt had always wanted to travel to England as her mother, Lucy’s great-grandmother, was born here. Lucy’s visit to England meant she could already cross one regret off the list. Beyond that, as this would be Lucy’s first attempt at adventure of any kind, it did seem it might be easier to have grand adventures if she fully understood the language. While she had studied French and Italian, languages simply eluded her and she could do little more than ask for directions to the library or the train station. She nodded. “I can agree to that.”

“And you will periodically call on my cousin, Lady Dunwell, so that someone will be assured of your well-being.”

“Your cousin Beryl?”

Jackson nodded. “As everyone else will be out of the country, Beryl is an excellent choice. Her husband, Lionel, is expected to be prime minister one day. I doubt that I could leave you in better hands.”

Apparently Jackson was not aware that, while Lady Dunwell and her husband were most respectable at the moment, the gossip about their past was extremely interesting and not the least bit proper. Lucy couldn’t think of a more perfect watchdog. She forced a resigned note to her voice. “Very well.”

“And.” His tone hardened. “You will allow me to hire a companion for you.”

“I don’t need a companion.”

“And I have been lax in my correspondence.”

She narrowed her eyes. “You do realize there is a word for what you’re doing?”

“I daresay there are any number of words for what I’m doing.” The smug note in his voice matched the satisfied look in his eyes.

“Blackmail and extortion immediately come to mind.” He cast her a completely unrepentant grin. She could not recall ever wanting to smack that grin off his face before.

“All right.” She sighed. “A companion it is then.” Still, she could always discharge any companion Jackson found once he was out of the country.

Jackson paused. “You do realize once your parents find out—”

“They shall no doubt send someone to bodily haul me home.” It was awkward to sail off into the unknown when your family refused to accept that you were an adult. She wasn’t entirely sure how she was going to deal with that situation should—when it occurred. She’d always been a perfect daughter. She’d never done anything unexpected or improper in her life. It was a pity, really. If she’d had more experience with impropriety she’d probably know how to handle the repercussions of doing the unexpected. “Yes, I do realize that, which means I probably don’t have a great deal of time to accomplish what I want.”

“You will write to them?”

“I already have.” She forced a note of indignation to her voice. “I would never want to worry them. Besides, your mother wrote to them as well.” Unfortunately, as Mrs. Channing’s letter had been placed on a hallway table to be posted, Lucy might possibly have dropped it into the fire. Accidentally, of course.

“And you did tell them that you are no longer accompanied by my mother.”

“Goodness, Jackson.” She drew her brows together. “One would think you didn’t trust me.”

“I didn’t mean—”

“Have I ever in my entire life lied to you?”

“Not that I know of.”

“And do you consider me to be a liar? Someone who prevaricates? Who hides the truth?” She pinned him with a firm look. “Well?”

“Of course not.” Jackson shook his head. “I am sorry. It’s . . . well . . .” He ran his hand through his hair in an endearingly familiar manner. For a moment she could see the future they had both expected. It would have been quite pleasant and it was a tiny bit sad to see it vanish. But not marrying Jackson would never be one of her regrets. “It’s been a difficult few days.”

“Not to mention the months preceding it.” She again resisted the urge to bring up Lady Theodosia.

“Still, you’re right.” He shrugged apologetically. “I have no reason not to trust you.”

“Thank you, Jackson.” She beamed at him. Perhaps there was something to be said for having a spotless reputation after all. And it wasn’t a complete lie. She had written, she simply might not have mentioned that Jackson’s mother had decided to travel the world with her estranged husband in the hopes of rekindling what they once had. It was terribly romantic. And extremely convenient.

Nonetheless, even though Lucy had assured Jackson’s mother she would write to her family, as indeed she had, Lucy had no doubt that at some point Elizabeth Channing would again write to her dear friend Pauline Merryweather. Said letter would surely mention Elizabeth’s travels with her husband and that Lucy had stayed in England. At which point Pauline would realize she wasn’t entirely certain exactly where her only daughter was or what she was doing, and there would be hell to pay. As frustrating as the slow speed of mail and transport across the Atlantic was, at the moment, Lucy was grateful. By her calculations, she had a minimum of a month to do what she wanted to do. If she was lucky, she would have far more.

She was under no illusions that she could do everything on her great-aunt’s list, but it did seem to her that the worth was as much in the effort as the success. After that, Lucy had no idea what she would do, but her future certainly didn’t need to be decided here and now. She had time and money and freedom.

“You are absolutely certain you want to do this?” Jackson asked.

“Aside from not marrying you”—Lucy grinned—“I have never been more certain of anything in my life.”

“Again, thank you.”

She laughed. She would always treasure Jackson, but they were choosing their own roads to follow. She hadn’t the slightest doubt that one day he would walk his with Lady Theodosia by his side. Precisely as it should be.

Lucy’s own road was a bit less clear. Which should have concerned her but didn’t. It was as exciting as it was daunting. Besides, when fate offered you a hand, you would be a fool not to take it. Adventure was where one found it, after all, and opportunities were not to be squandered.

What Jackson didn’t know, what Lucy had never revealed to anyone, was that her great-aunt wasn’t the only young girl to make a list of those silly or improper things she wished to do in her life.

Lucinda Wilhelmina Merryweather had long had a secret list of adventures of her own.

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New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in a very old house in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two allegedly grown children and two bearded collies. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it’s never too soon to panic.

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