Tuesday, October 16, 2018

J.S. Scott's ENSNARED excerpt & giveaway

I slowed down as I turned off the main highway.

I pulled onto the rough road to the small cabin on the property. There were enough bunk beds in the rustic structure for everybody, but students had the option of pitching tents or building their own shelters if they chose.

After I parked my Jeep, I unloaded some supplies and checked out the cabin. Although I encouraged foraging and trapping, I always made sure to have enough basic food so students didn’t starve.

I sat on the wooden steps and took a deep breath, relaxing to the sounds of the birds and the feel of a light breeze that caressed my skin.

I opened the book I’d brought along, the latest from my favorite erotic romance writer. The reading material was one of my secret pleasures, maybe because I’d never been overwhelmed by lust for any man, but I loved to read about the possibility.

I was mostly a realist, but I loved the fantasy of some hot guy sweeping me off my feet.

Other than a boyfriend in college who had used me to help him get his degree and then disappeared after graduation without a word, I’d never been in a sexual relationship.

Honestly, my ex hadn’t exactly rocked my world. But I liked to think that love and lust existed.

Brooke had always accused me of being a closet romantic. And maybe she was right. As a scientist, believing in soulmates, love, and unbridled lust didn’t make much sense. But I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to believe it was real anyway.

It had happened for my twin, and Brooke deserved the love she had with Liam. Her capacity to care about other people was endless.

A sigh escaped from my mouth as I started reading the scene I’d left off on the last time I’d picked up the book.

It was hot.

It was sensual.

And even though the male hero was an obnoxious alpha sometimes, I adored the way he wanted to give his woman everything and protect her from anything bad in the world, and how incredibly devoted he was to the woman he loved.

“Hello, Jade,” a smooth baritone said from above me, the deep voice startling me so much I instinctively slammed the book closed.

Even though I loved steamy romance, I didn’t exactly broadcast it, except to my friends who read the same type of books.

Unfortunately, I’d gotten so lost in the hot fairy tale that I obviously hadn’t heard my first student arrive.

I shaded my eyes and looked up, curious because the voice was familiar, but I was pretty sure that since I lusted after Eli Stone, I was hearing that whiskey-smooth baritone voice only in my imagination.

My heart skittered as I focused in on the face belonging to the sexy male voice.

It was Eli Stone, and I gaped at him like an idiot because I couldn’t seem to reconcile him and being out in the middle of nowhere.

I scrambled to my feet, feeling at a disadvantage because I was so far below him. But the position change didn’t help all that much. I was average height, and Eli Stone was all muscle—broad, tall, and pretty damn intimidating, even though he was casually dressed in jeans, a T-shirt that only showed how ripped he was, and a pair of hiking boots.

For just a moment, my eyes were drawn to the dark scrolls and sharp angles of the tribal tattoo that covered his left arm, ending at his wrist. The markings were a stark black against his tanned skin, and the ferociousness of the design left me speechless.

I wasn’t into tats, and I’d seen Eli’s in images many times, but there was something about those markings that made my heart lodge in my throat. They were fierce, but for some reason they only made me feel . . . sadness.

“What are you doing here?” I finally asked hesitantly as my gaze went back to his face.

He folded his muscular arms in front of him as he answered, “You didn’t seem to want to come to me, so I’m coming to you. I’m your student for the next thirty-two hours or so, Jade.”

I might not have been fond of Eli Stone, but his presence was still a little bit overwhelming.

Okay, maybe more than a little bit.

It had been so long since I’d seen Eli in person that I’d started to tell myself that I’d overestimated the tension that had flowed between us in his office.

But I really hadn’t.

My body was taut just from being in close proximity to him, and the hypervigilant awareness I felt when I looked at him was very, very real.

The feelings were so powerful that I couldn’t focus on anything else but him.

I didn’t understand it.

But I was truly experiencing it.

The same awkward, potent attraction I’d fought in his office months ago.

I swallowed hard, my brain working to figure out exactly how I could get rid of Eli Stone before I made a complete and total fool of myself.


Wildlife conservationist Jade Sinclair isn’t used to having money. But when she and her siblings learned they were part of the mega-rich Sinclair dynasty, they became billionaires overnight. Jade doesn’t even know how to act rich, especially when she’s dealing with an arrogant, privileged, unreasonably sexy snob like Eli Stone.

Unlike Jade, Eli grew up rich, and he just keeps getting richer. Eli is always looking for an adventure, and he’s found an inviting one in Jade—as resistant as she is irresistible. His less-than-honorable plan? Get her alone in the wilderness by buying out all the spots in her survival class.

Calling a truce, they strike a bargain: Jade will teach Eli basic survival skills, and he’ll teach her how to navigate the world of the wealthy elite. Jade has only one condition—she will not let herself be seduced by him. But some things are easier said than done . . .

J.S. “Jan” Scott is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous contemporary and paranormal romances, including The Sinclairs series. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature, but romance has always been her genre of choice—so she writes what she loves to read: stories that are almost always steamy, generally feature an alpha male, and have a happily ever after, because she just can’t seem to write them any other way! Jan loves to connect with readers. Visit her website at www.authorjsscott.com.

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New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance guaranteed to enchant in The Little Shop of Found Things, the first book in a new continuing series.
An antique shop haunted by a ghost.
A silver treasure with an injustice in its story.
An adventure to the past she’ll never forget.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. When she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It is while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century where it has its origins. She discovers there is an injustice in its history. The spirit that inhabits her new home confronts her and charges her with saving her daughter’s life, threatening to take Flora’s if she fails.
While Xanthe fights to save the girl amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave. (Synopsis from Amazon)

The way the chatelaine speaks to Xanthe combined with the hateful ghost and the danger surrounding her and her mother, THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS reminded me a bit of an old TV show based on cursed objects in an antique shop.  If you ever watched the show and decided to read THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS, please let me know if it struck you the same.

My thoughts.....3.5 stars

Xanthe inadvertently becomes a time traveler after purchasing a chatelaine at an estate sale. Things speak to Xanthe and the chatelaine was practically screaming. Once she brings it home, an antique shop with flat above purchased with her mom, the chatelaine teams with a malevolent spirit and a seventeenth century jail in their back garden to compel Xanthe into the past. 
Her mission, if she wishes her mom to remain safe, is to save the life of a young housemaid in 1605.

THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS is about the love between a mother and daughter and the lengths they're willing to go to for each other. It's also a time travel tale, strong on history and adventure with a light smattering of romance. 

There was a period when it appeared that current social justice standards would be applied to the past and the housemaid's plight, fortunately that was short lived. 
Often in time travel there's the conundrum of change the past/change the future; unless it's based on changing/preventing a future event. Xanthe's circumstances don't allow for such niceties.

THE LITTLE SHOP OF FOUND THINGS centers on a loving relationship between a mother and daughter, the sacrifices we can be called upon to make, and features a resourceful, slightly prickly heroine. Xanthe can't accomplish her task alone, but any romance takes a backseat making the story stronger and more appealing. 

I can't help but wonder what Xanthe will get up to next and will she and Samuel ever meet again?

Sunday, October 7, 2018



  IMurder on Millionaires' Row, Erin Lindsey's debut historical mystery, a daring housemaid searches Gilded Age Manhattan for her missing employer and finds a hidden world of magic, ghosts, romance, and Pinkerton detectives. 

Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.
The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems—and her place in it is about to change forever. (synopsis from Amazon)

Rose Gallagher, housemaid to 5th Ave resident and Englishman Thomas Wiltshire, boldly steps out of her assigned box when she begins a search for her missing employer. Disinterested police and her infatuation with Thomas lead Rose to do things she'd only dreamed of doing.  There's no grass growing under Rose's feet once she sets her mind to the dangerous task of finding Mr. Wiltshire. She braves saloons, gangs, coppers, the 5th Ave elite, and shades; discovering a whole other world and opening her eyes to wonders and fears she'd never imagined.

Thomas, Rose, and a motley group of friends and colleagues take on Irish gangs, shades, and an unknown mastermind in this fast paced paranormal adventure with a very light dusting of potential romance. This genre is certainly crowded, but I enjoyed the characters enough to see what they get up to in the next installment. 

3.5 stars

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Ever read a new book and knew it had all the earmarks of a classic?  That's how I felt reading DRACUL. Dark, tense, and engrossing, DRACUL keeps faith with the original DRACULA.  DRACUL's  Dracula isn't a potential lover, doesn't sparkle, and will likely never join a rock band or perform on the stage. He's ruthless, brutal, dismissive of those "beneath" him, and holds a grudge like nobody's business.

Bram Stoker and his siblings, Mathilda and Thornley, are our Van Helsing like protagonists.. Their story, beginning when Bram was a sickly child everyone was sure would die, is told via journal entries and letters, flitting between their past and present. 

Nanna Ellen Crone is our mystery component. Who or perhaps better asked, what is she? Is she good or evil? How did she "cure" Bram? The questions surrounding Nanna Ellen flew fast and furious in my mind as I read.

DRACUL is creepy, spine tingling, and made me jump at every little sound. It's not the devil you might encounter next door, but the boogeyman you conjure as you read, the bump in the night, the darker shadow in the corner of your bedroom, that's my preferred horror. The mystery surrounding Ellen Crone was simply the icing on the cake. DRACUL flat out delivers. Five stars, & those are never given lightly.
5 stars

Mira Lynn Kelly's JUST THIS ONCE

He can’t have her.
So he moves in with her…
What could possibly go wrong? 

As heir to a chain of luxury hotels, Sean Wyse III always gets what he wants. So when he sees a freeloading roommate taking advantage of his spunky best friend, Molly Brandt, he doesn’t hesitate to step in. He kicks out the roommate…and moves himself in. 
Molly loves quality time with Sean, but spending nights with him one wall away threatens to wake the crush she thought she’d gotten over. A crush Sean knows nothing about, which might be a problem…considering how hard Sean’s been working never to think of Molly that way. 

Amazon          B&N             Apple           Kobo           IndieBound    

                                             a Rafflecopter giveaway    

Not good.
That was Molly’s first coherent thought when she woke to the sound of the front door closing and Sean’s keys landing on the table as he walked into the apartment. The issue wasn’t that she’d been woken before she was ready—it was already after ten—or that she’d slept in her clothes, or even that she had no memory of anything past leaving Belfast the night before. No, it was Sean. And more specifically, the dream she’d had about him. And her. Together.
The dirty, dirty sex dream.
Which was very bad, because it had been years since she’d suffered anything more than the occasional stray below-the-buckle thought about the guy who was without question her best friend in the world and just happened to think of her as the little sister he’d never had.
And this infraction wasn’t just some wayward thought either. It wasn’t lingering in one of his big bear hugs a second too long because it felt right for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t a fleeting pinch of jealousy when she was flipping through the paper and happened across a photo of him with Valerie on his arm. That stuff was harmless and didn’t take more than a second to shake loose from her head. It wasn’t even the XXX rating her nocturnal wanderings had scored.
No. The real trouble had been all the non-porny stuff that had been there too. The quiet moment before that dirty business in the shower. The way his hand lingered at the small of her back when they walked, the press of his kiss at the top of her head, how she’d felt when Sean was above her, his dark-brown eyes searching hers.
The thing of it was, those moments were already hers—only in this dream, every touch and look and whisper had been infused with that essential something her real-life interactions with Sean had always lacked. The dream had breathed new life into the ideas she’d finally managed to put down more than five years ago, and now she was stuck with this heart-pounding, butterfly-belly sensation as she caught her first glimpse of him.
Hovering at her bedroom doorway, she watched as he walked over to the sink. His T-shirt was damp with sweat and clung to his powerful back. Reaching over his shoulder, he grabbed a handful of the fabric and yanked it overhead in one swift motion.
Oh no.
He was standing there shirtless as he filled a glass with water from the tap, all those muscles flexing and bunching with every movement. Eyes closed, he turned around and leaned back into the counter as he drank. A bead of sweat trickled slowly down his neck, leaving a wet path that was making her mouth water in a way Sean wasn’t supposed to.
No way could she go back to the years she’d spent silently pining for him while he knuckle-rubbed her head and then brought every other damn girl on campus back to his room to bang. It had been grueling, and it had taken her years to get past. Years for her to get to a point where she didn’t feel like she was lying to him every time they hung out and dying inside every time they didn’t. She wouldn’t go back to that.
She couldn’t.
“You have to move out,” she croaked, her eyes still fixed on that rolling droplet as it ventured over the packed layers of his right pec.
Sean’s eyes opened. He set his glass down on the counter behind him. “Morning, Moll. I slept great. Thanks for asking. Even pushed my schedule back to after lunch so I could catch up a little extra and get a workout in.”
“I’m not kidding.”
He wiped his face with the T-shirt he’d just whipped off, and a sinking feeling came over her. She knew what she’d be dreaming about tonight.
“Seriously, Moll, I don’t get it.”
And she hoped he never did.
“We lived together for five years, and it was awesome. You always say you love it when I crash here. Hell, you try to talk me into it every other weekend. You want—no, need—a roommate who actually pays rent. So what’s the problem?”
She swallowed hard, trying to keep her eyes on his face. The problem was that glistening expanse of muscled chest and banded abs, shifting and flexing with his every movement. The problem was that fine trail of golden hair bisecting all of it and leading south into those too-low basketball shorts—red this time, and silky enough to hint at the contours beneath. The problem was the utterly untamed mess of dark-blond hair making her fingers itch with the need to touch it.
Pretty valid problems, to her mind anyway, but not exactly something she was ready to share with Sean. Not if she wanted to hang on to the most important relationship in her life. She needed to look away and come up with an answer quick.
“Molly?” he asked again, sounding uncommonly stern as he crossed his arms over his chest. Which was so not helping…because his arms and oh God, that crazy V thing happening with the muscles above his shorts when he—

“Uhh…Molly… What…uhh… Why are you looking at me like that?”

Monday, October 1, 2018

Fall Into A Romantic Mystery & giveaway featuring Mary Burton, Melinda Leigh, & Mary Ellen Taylor

Fall Into A Romantic Mystery 

With the temperature dropping and leaves turning colors, it’s time to get ready for the cool days of fall. And what better way to prepare for the long nights ahead than to download a great whodunit novel with a dash (or heaping helping) of romance. Below we have crafted a quiz to help you find your next great read, but be warned, the titles all have mysteries that need to be solved and villains that must be brought to justice. So grab a thick blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and answer the following questions to discover which romantic mystery you will want to “fall” into next. 

1. Where is your perfect romantic mystery set? 

a) In “small town USA”. The everyday setting makes the violent crimes all the more shocking. 

b) The rolling hills of Texas where there are lots of places to hide.

c) In a historic mansion near the choppy waters of Virginia, giving the story a Gothic feel.

2. I want to read about a heroine who is … 

a) ...one hundred percent devoted to her family yet balanced enough to find success in her chosen career. 

b) … intelligent and diligent, with a pressing drive to help others. 

c) … currently in mourning after losing a loved one, but strong enough to take on any challenge.

3. Is your heroine in peril? 

a) She may face down a bad guy (or two), but thankfully her significant other is always there to guard her with his life. 

b) In my fictional world nobody is safe. NOBODY! 

c) The heroine doesn’t face physical danger, but her emotions take a severe beating as she learns terrible secrets from the past. 

4. When your heroine needs backup, who is she going to call? 

a) Her BF who just happens to be a private investigator that solves crimes for a living. 

b) A steely-eyed Texas Ranger who is known for delivering justice.

c) The town leader who is a successful businessman and pillar of the community. 

5. My ideal hero is....

a) ...totally and completely devoted to supporting his woman. 

b) ...dependable and incredibly strong, however, he has suffered a loss and every once in a while his vulnerability shows through. 

c) ...steadfast, principled, and dedicated to his community. 

6. When sitting down to read a mystery, the crimes should be… 

a) … studied in a clinical, professional manner.

b) … frequent and terrifying! I want something that keeps me up at night. 

c) … in the past. I like trying to figure out who the bad guy is instead of focusing on violence. 

7. When the last page of the book is read, I want to feel... 

a) … that second chances are not only real, but they can be incredibly joyous.

b) … a sense of deep satisfaction that justice has been found and order restored. 

c) … tremendous hope and optimism for the future. 


If you choose mostly As … then get ready to follow dedicated defense attorney Morgan Dane as she takes on her next case in Melinda Leigh’s What I’ve Done. 

Morgan has been hired to defend Haley Powell after the young woman wakes up in a pool of the victim’s blood. And while Haley has no memory of the night and no alibi, Morgan is sure that there is more to this crime than a simple case of murder. With the help of her private investigator boyfriend Lance Kruger, Morgan inches towards answers all the while dodging threats meant to keep her silent. 

Purchase What I’ve Done by Melinda Leigh Here >> 


If you choose mostly Bs … then the lightning fast twists and turns of Mary Burton’s romantic suspense novel Cut and Run is just right for you. 

Medical examiner Faith McIntyre is used to investigating grizzly crime scenes, yet she is totally unprepared when faced with a barely-alive victim that looks EXACTLY like her. With no answers and nowhere else to turn, Faith teams up with her colleague-with-benefits Texas Ranger Mitchell Hayden. Together they discover decades old crime scenes, as well as new victims of a serial killer. 

Preorder Cut and Run by Mary Burton Here >> 


If you choose mostly Cs … then get ready to be transported to the windswept beaches where Mary Ellen Taylor sets her next release Winter Cottage. 

When heroine Lucy Kincaid loses her mother, she receives an unexpected inheritance—a lonely old estate big enough to hold the secrets of Lucy’s family. Why did her mother never mention the mansion or the sea swept town of Cape Hudson? Who is Lucy’s father? And why is there a (literal) skeleton on Lucy’s property? With more questions than answers, Lucy turns to handsome local Hank Garrison only to find he has a motive for wanting the Winter Cottage all to himself…

Preorder Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor Here >> 

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

MISTLETOE IN TEXAS excerpt & giveaway with Kari Lynn Dell

Hank flipped his reins over Ranger’s head and stepped aboard, then kicked his foot out of the left stirrup and held a hand out to Grace. “Get on.” 
Hank gave his hand an impatient shake. “Get on behind me.” 
“I…don’t know how.” 
“You’ve never ridden double?” 
“Hey! Not all of us grew up on horseback.” Grace scowled at Ranger. Why did he have to be so tall? And climbing the horse would require her to practically climb Hank too, since she didn’t see anything else to grab on to. “You ride on the back. I’ll drive.” 
“Fine.” Hank kept hold of the reins, but hitched himself back to sit behind the cantle. 
Okay. Good. But Grace still had to contend with the unfamiliar bulk of the chaps and bones that wanted to collapse into a shuddering pile. And she couldn’t see any way to swing her leg over the saddle without waving her butt under Hank’s nose. Again. 
Ranger, bless his heart, stood stock-still as she grabbed the saddle horn, got her foot hoisted up and into the stirrup, and took a deep breath. So much for fantasies. Not one of her juvenile daydreams about Hank and this ranch had included getting dumped off her horse because of a damn pig. 


He could have gotten her killed. 
The tiny part of Hank’s brain still capable of logic argued that there was no way he could have known about the feral hog—when had those bastards moved this far north, and why hadn’t Cole told him?—but it was drowned by the echoes of that unearthly shriek. When Hank had seen Grace trying to drag herself up that bank…God, his heart had just disintegrated. 
Distracted, he didn’t lean out of the way when Grace heaved herself into Ranger’s saddle, and the leg she’d intended to swing over the horse landed a roundhouse kick square to his rib cage. 
“Shit!” He clamped his heels to keep from being knocked clean off, digging them into Ranger’s flanks. Startled, the bay gave a single, high kick that threw Grace up onto his neck. Hank caught a fistful of her coat with one hand and the reins with the other before Ranger could bolt. The gelding danced in a circle as they teetered, a tangle of arms, legs, and curses. 
“I…can’t…breathe,” Grace gasped. 
No wonder. The saddle horn was digging into her belly, and Hank had her pinned in place. He started to slide off, but Grace squeaked when she was dragged with him. 
Hank stopped. Damn. The toe of her boot was hooked in the pocket of his coat. He hitched his hips back to the center of Ranger’s rump and took stock. He had a fingernail grip on the reins, his cheek was mashed up against Grace’s butt, and even Ranger wasn’t going to tolerate this much longer. 
She had a double-fisted, white-knuckled grip on Ranger’s mane, so Hank let go of her coat and reached down to grab her ankle, prying it out of his pocket and letting it drop so she had a leg on either side of the horse. Better. Now if he could just get himself straightened out… 
“’Scuse me,” he said as he planted his palm on her left butt cheek and pushed himself upright. She stiffened but didn’t try to kick him. “Scoot back,” he said. 
She wiggled. Grunted. Wiggled some more. Hank got hold of the back strap of her chaps and pulled. She didn’t budge. 
Her words came in short puffs. “I’m…stuck. Front of my…chaps. Over…the horn.” 
Oh. Shit. That was not good. Hung up like that, if Ranger did bolt, her head would end up between his front feet. Hank slid off the side, thankfully keeping his feet under him. Ranger shied a step, his eyes rolling toward the woman who was draped over his neck, clinging like a monkey. Her coat was rucked up to her armpits, and the brim of her hat had been shoved around so the earflap covered her eyes and tufts of curly hair stuck out every which way. 
A wild bubble of laughter swelled in Hank’s throat. He swallowed hard. There was no time for hysterics. He eased the rein over the horse’s head and unclipped one end, then put a calming hand on Ranger’s shoulder while he tried to figure out how to get Grace loose. 
Damn. No matter what angle he studied it from, there appeared to be only one option. “I have to lift you up and over the horn, then catch you before you hit the ground.” 
“I’m going to have to grab you by the crotch.” 
“Oh.” Her hips twitched, as if in protest, but she said, “Well, uh, male cheerleaders do that all the time, right? No big deal.” 
Yeah. That sounded convincing. He shucked his gloves, wrapped the end of the rein around his hand, and stepped so close that her face was buried in the curve of his neck. “Hang on to my shoulders.” 
She untangled her fingers from Ranger’s mane and latched on to Hank. Her breath was hot against his skin, and he both felt and heard her soft eek! as he slid his hand, palm up, between her thigh and the saddle. 
“Ready?” he asked. 
Her chin dug into his shoulder as she nodded. Before either of them had time to think about exactly what he was grabbing, he slid his hand to the center, hoisted her hips up, and then pulled forward. 
She dropped like a rock, her weight slamming into his chest. He went down hard on his butt, then his back, Grace sprawled on top of him. Ranger shied, but Hank kept his grip on the rein. The horse stopped, snorting and wide-eyed as he stared down at them. 
Hank let his head flop back and his arms splay, spread-eagled in the dirt, limp with relief. He’d done it. She was safe. 
Then Grace started to shake, tremors that rocked her body as she made a choked, hiccupping sound. Oh shit. She was crying. Was she hurt? Scared half to death? Fixing to slam a knee into the same part of his anatomy as he’d just—
Her laughter burst out, ringing in his ears and echoing off the sides of the ravine. “Oh…my…God!” she gasped. “That was so ridiculous. If anyone had seen—” 
She broke off, quaking against him, and the vibration broke something loose. 
This wasn’t funny, dammit. Except it was, especially when he lifted his head to see her blindfolded by her cock-eyed hat, hair sticking out every which way and giggling her fool head off. 
A deep, uncontrollable belly laugh rocked him. And the harder he laughed, the harder Grace laughed, and then Mabel started jumping and yipping around them, eager to join the fun, and they laughed even harder, helpless to fend her off when her tongue swiped at their faces. 
Meanwhile, the horse continued to stare down at them as if they’d lost their ever-loving minds.

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He's always been the black sheep: the troublemaker.

But this Christmas, the prodigal cowboy returns.

Rodeo bullfighter Hank Brookman was headed straight for the top. But after a single misstep resulted in a devastating injury, he disappeared under a mountain of regrets. Now he’s back, ready to face the loved ones he left behind—starting with the one girl his heart could never forget.
When Hank stormed out of Texas, he left Grace McKenna picking up the pieces…and struggling with a secret that changed everything. He may be back looking for redemption, but after everything they’ve been through, how can she admit what he really walked away from all those years ago?
Hank always knew persuading Grace to trust him again would be a tall order. Convincing her they deserve a happily ever after? That may take a Texas-sized Christmas miracle.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ROCKY MOUNTAIN COWBOY CHRISTMAS excerpt & giveaway w/ Katie Ruggle

As she started toward the store, Camille heard the jangle of sleigh bells and saw Steve jogging toward her, a draft horse that wasn’t Buttercup trotting next to him. She stopped, struck yet again by his rugged beauty and the picture-perfect scene of his strong form next to the huge, chestnut horse, their breath turning to steam in the clear, cold air. Even the sunny day seemed to exist just to be a perfect backdrop for Steve in this moment.
“Hey,” he said, not even breathing hard after his jog. “Glad I caught you before we had to head out to get another tree.”
The horse lowered his head to her shoulder and breathed puffs of warm air into her neck, making her giggle. “Who’s this?”
“Harry. He’s green, and we need to work on him respecting people’s boundaries, but he means well.”
“Oh, I don’t mind him breathing on me.” She rubbed the horse’s cheek as he lipped at her collar. “He’s very handsome.” But not as handsome as Steve, a wicked voice whispered. She firmly ignored it, knowing that she couldn’t focus on thoughts like that if she wanted to be able to have a conversation without blushing.
“He knows it, too. He’s like Ryan that way.”
When Camille let out a surprised laugh, Steve winced, rubbing his neck with the hand not holding Harry’s lead rope. “Sorry. That was rude.”
“Maybe,” she said, still amused, as Harry nosed at her pockets, probably checking for treats. “But it was also true.”
“Hey,” he said to Harry, giving the lead rope a sharp tug so that the horse backed up a few steps. “Quit trying to mug her for carrots.” He shot her a quick glance, looking uncharacteristically uncertain. “So…you and Ryan really aren’t…?”
“Aren’t what?” she asked, confused by the half of a question. As soon as she said it, though, she realized what he’d meant. “Oh! No. We’re not doing anything. I mean, he’s asked, a bunch of times, actually, which surprised me, since he’d pretty much looked right through me until you found me at the scrapyard—not that I was lost, of course—and he walked back with me and Sasha. Anyway, whenever he tries to drag me somewhere for lunch, I run away or tell him I can’t because I need to feed my cat.”
Steve gave his rare, booming laugh. “You turned him down because you needed to feed your cat? No wonder he’s so touchy when it comes to you.”
“He’s touchy about me? Why? I don’t think he’s all that interested.” Not really interested, the way she was in Steve. “I know he’s been persistent about trying to get me to go out with him—well for the last few weeks, at least—but I figured he asks out everyone he runs into, and most people don’t reject his offers, so I’m just a challenge.”
“It’s true he’s not used to being turned down.”
She shrugged. “He’ll need to get used to it with me. I’m just not interested.”
“Good to know.” Steve’s gaze seemed several degrees warmer than usual, and Camille found prickles of sweat beading under her coat as she tried to puzzle out his meaning. Why was it good to know that she wasn’t interested in his brother? The way he was eyeing her made her almost think that Steve was actually attracted to her. 
Her breath caught at the thought, but she immediately doubted herself. Beautiful, kind, and strong Steve Springfield had to have just as beautiful, kind, and strong women falling at his feet on a regular basis. Why would he be interested in an almost-hermit who answered almost every question with a nervous monologue? Despite all that, she knew she wasn’t imagining the heat in his eyes when he looked at her.
Suddenly tired of not knowing what was going on in his mind, she blurted out, “Why is it good to know?”
He shifted closer, nudging Harry back when the horse took the opportunity to try to nibble on Camille’s coat again. With Steve this close, she could smell his evergreen and peppermint scent. His coat was unzipped slightly, showing his insulated flannel shirt underneath, and the urge to press her face against that soft-looking fabric was so strong that her breath caught. She jerked her gaze back to his. There was no missing the heat in his eyes now, especially as he tipped his head down so their faces were even closer. Her heart thrummed in her chest at his nearness, making it almost impossible for her to hear his words. “I wanted to ask y—”
“Steve!” Nate’s yell drifted from the store lot, cutting Steve off midword and smashing the perfect, crystalized moment between them. Closing his eyes for a moment, he let out a hard breath that stirred the strands of hair on her forehead before he turned toward his brother.
“What?” he called back, his voice a little growly.
Blinking as reality returned with a rush of cold air, Camille shifted back a step, needing some distance from Steve to get her thoughts working again. Even as she tried to tell herself that she’d imagined that moment, that he’d been about to ask her a normal, not-at-all-sexy question, she couldn’t keep the butterflies from tumbling around in her belly. Stop, she told them firmly. She should know better than to think that he’d be interested in her, and she needed to knock it off before she ended up embarrassed and hurt.
Despite the internal lecture, she still wanted to throw a pinecone at Nate’s head. Why did he have to shout right when Steve was getting to the interesting part? Now she was going to die of curiosity if she didn’t find out what he’d been about to tell her. She liked Nate well enough, but right now she wished he’d fall in a hole.
“You’re up!” Nate gestured toward a family clustered together by the edge of the lot. Even at a shout, Nate’s words sounded testy, and Camille felt a rush of annoyance. Couldn’t he have helped the family? Even as she thought it, she knew she was being unreasonable. This was why she shouldn’t indulge in daydreams about unobtainable firefighting ranchers. It stole all of her good sense.
Steve gave Nate a wave of acknowledgment before turning back to Camille.
“Duty calls,” he said with a slight, rueful grimace. His gaze lingered on her face for a charged second before he sighed and turned Harry around, being careful the horse’s oversized rump didn’t knock into her. As he started leading the gelding away, Steve glanced over his shoulder at her. “We’ll talk soon.”
With that completely unsatisfying ending to their conversation, he jogged back toward the family waiting in the lot. Realizing that she was staring after him like a lovestruck idiot, Camille forced her feet to move. She followed more slowly, watching as he greeted the parents and their three kids, tying Harry’s lead rope to the hitching post. As he put on the horse’s harness, he explained each step to the customers, letting the kids touch each piece with curious hands. When the smallest child toddled too close to one of Harry’s oversized hooves, Steve swept him up with the ease of long practice before handing him off to the boy’s dad.
Camille loved how he worked around the horse and the kids, calm and easy, but with a careful firmness that showed he wouldn’t put up with any nonsense. Although she wished they’d been able to finish their conversation, she enjoyed being able to stare at Steve to her heart’s content without him noticing. He stroked Harry’s thick, fuzzy neck absently as he listened to one of the kids, and she was transfixed by the movement of his hand, so firm yet gentle. As stupid as it was, she couldn’t keep her mind from dwelling on how that hand would feel against her skin.
As if he’d heard her thoughts, he looked straight at her, the corners of his mouth tucked in as if he were holding back a smile. Heat rushed to her cheeks, and she knew she had to be bright red. If he hadn’t guessed the direction of her thoughts before, her vivid blush had to be giving her away now.
Completely flustered, she lifted her hand in an awkward wave. His smile stretched more widely, and Camille lost what little ability she had to act normally. It was time to retreat. Turning away from the tempting man in front of her, she hurried the rest of the way to her car, not allowing her gaze to stray in his direction. Once she got into the old Buick, she closed her eyes and shook her head at herself. Why couldn’t she have even a smidgen of game? Why had she given Steve that goofy wave?
Carefully backing out, she ran through their brief encounter in her mind. What had he been about to say before Nate interrupted? From the way he’d prefaced the question, it had felt as if it was going to be important. She huffed out a breath. Between thinking about this, her spying neighbor, the creepy night noises, and the industrious mice who shared her home, she’d never be able to sleep that night.

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In the heart of the Rockies
One white Christmas can change everything. 

When firefighter and single dad Steve Springfield moved his four kids to a Colorado Christmas tree ranch, he intended for it to be a safe haven. But he never expected danger to follow them to his childhood home…
Or that he would come face-to-face with the one girl he could never forget.
Folk artist Camille Brandt lives a quiet life. As the town’s resident eccentric, she’s used to being lonely—until Steve freaking Springfield changes everything. Brave and kind, he’s always had a piece of her heart, and it doesn’t take long before she’s in danger of falling for him again. But as mysterious fires break out across the sleepy Colorado town, Steve and Camille will have to fight if they want their happy family to survive until Christmas...
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