Friday, 29 April 2011

Have a good nice long weekend……..

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It is a nice cool evening here on this side of the pond and I am loving it at the moment. We don’t often get these type of evening so when they do come around I soak it in..

The boys and I have speedily made our way out of London last evening before the madness of the Royal wedding started and we are having a blast. So far the highlight of the day  is a toss up between the ton of junk food that we are all high on or the fact that my kids found some cool retro games in a market for a ridiculously low price.

My scheduled post didn’t go up for today so rather than a late post – I am just going to wish you all a fabutastic weekend and reschedule the post  for Monday.

On this side of the pond I have to thank “the firm” (the Royals) for giving us an extra day to make of it what we will. So we don’t go back to business as usual until Tuesday and in light of that I am staying away from the telly and the radio for at least another 24hours until the frenzy of the wedding dies down.

I have seen nothing of the wedding, I kid you not – NOTHING… “no tossing stones at me now”.

We are off to dinner and a night at the cinema…  I am so looking forward to it…

Wishing you guys a great weekend whatever you get up to.!!!!

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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Excerpt Day - Cherry Pie © Samantha Kane

Excerpt

 

John stood there, his back to the street, his arm straight out as he held the door open, waiting.

 

He heard the guy cross the street and open the front gate. The slap of his shoes on the concrete changed to a graveled shuffle when he hit the path from the sidewalk to the porch. At that point John simply walked away. He moved off and went to the kitchen, not sure why he’d left him to enter the house on his own.

 

John leaned his ass against the kitchen counter, right in front of the sink. He could see straight through the house from here, right to the front door. The stranger came in and wiped his feet on the small rug in front of the door for that purpose. John had to smile. At least he’d been raised properly. Idly John wondered if there had been a rug there when this guy’s mom owned the house. He pulled the hoodie off and looked up to see John watching him. He had dark blue eyes and really dark brown hair, wavy and thick. That was a nice head of hair. Bastard. John had always wanted hair like that.

 

“May I come in?” he asked. His manners should have seemed out of place, but instead they somehow added depth to the picture he made standing there in his tattered clothes with his thick, messy hair.

 

John waved a hand in front of him like Vanna revealing the letter of the day. “Be my guest,” he said politely. “You wore me down.”

 

He was a big one. Taller than John by several inches, he barely cleared the low door frames of the old house. His shoulders were wider than they ought to be, as if they used to belong to someone who had more bulk than this tall, lean, young man. John watched him as he turned and closed the front door, producing a quiet snick in the heavy silence. He set a raggedy gym bag down on the floor.

 

When he turned back to John, he rubbed his palms nervously on his thighs. “Thanks for letting me come in.”

 

John tipped his head. “What do you want?” He was merely curious. He found himself strangely detached today.

 

“Just to look around,” he said in rush. “I swear. I just wanted to see the old house. I’ll leave soon.” He had a thick accent. Swear came out more like sway-eh. It was a good thing John was getting good at the local lingo.

 

“You waited outside for days just to look around for a few minutes?” John was suspiciously disbelieving.

 

His visitor smiled, and all vestiges of youth fell away. “This old place has got a hold on me, you know?”

 

John shook his head. “No.” And he really didn’t. He’d never been that attached to any place. Only one person, and they’d never had a place.

 

That brown-haired head shook, with pity or perhaps regret. He didn’t say anything, just looked around. John could see the memories swirling through his blue eyes. But he revealed nothing. John watched him walk slowly around the living room trailing his hand along the wooden chair rail absentmindedly. He yanked his hand back suddenly and wiped it on his pants again, as if he was afraid he was leaving a stain behind.

 

“I’m John Ford,” he offered.

 

Guarded eyes met his. “Connor Meecham.”

 

John laughed. “Meecham. Of course.”

 

“Meaning?” Connor wasn’t laughing. His tone was flat.

 

John held his hands up before him, placating. “Nothing. Just that everyone calls this house the Meecham place. If it was your mother’s house, then of course you’d be a Meecham.”

 

“Sorry,” Connor grumbled, blushing as he looked away.

 

It was clear Connor had been prepared for something else. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.

 

“You painted the place.”

 

John gratefully accepted the change of topic. “Yep. Needed it badly. But I haven’t got much eye for color. I just went with white and some kind of brown the Sherwin-Williams lady called cafe au lait.”

 

Connor laughed. It sounded rusty. “It’s a nice brown.” He shook his head again. “I can picture my mama here like it was yesterday.”

 

John didn’t know what to say to that. “You know,” he chose to observe instead, “Southern men are the only ones who can say ‘Mama’ and not sound like idiots.” That earned another rusty laugh. John had the strange fleeting thought that he should keep count. “‘Daddy’ still gives me the heebie-jeebies however.”

 

The laugh settled into a chuckle. “No ‘Daddy’ here,” came the laconic reply.

 

John was shocked when he had a flash of that heavy Southern bass whispering “Daddy” in his ear. He shivered. Then he was disgusted with himself. That had never turned him on. And the reality was, he didn’t think it would if Connor Meecham actually did it. It was fantasy material, though.

 

“May I?” Connor was gesturing up the stairs.

 

“Be my guest,” John said, surprised at his own hospitality. He followed along a few steps behind Connor. He barely glanced into John’s room on the first floor, which was the master bedroom only because the bathroom was attached. The room was actually smaller than the other bedroom. The bathroom had obviously been an add-on. John followed him up the stairs and at the door to the second bedroom, Connor stopped, his hands gripping the frame. He just stared at the room, empty except for a bed and some boxes full of knickknacks and Steve’s various trophies. Steve’s guitar sat on top of the pile. John forced himself to look away from it.

 

“Your old room?” John asked quietly.

 

Connor just nodded. “You haven’t painted it.” It was a statement, not a question.

 

John looked at the faded gray-blue walls full of nail holes. “No. I don’t really need this room right now. I’m focusing on the main areas and outside first.”

 

Connor nodded again, and then he turned and walked toward the stairs. “Is it okay if I go out back?”

 

John almost said no. He was a little embarrassed by the backyard. Not because of what he hadn’t done yet, but because of what he had. At his hesitation, Connor slowed down and looked over his shoulder at John, a question on his face. “Yes, go ahead,” John assured him. He followed him down and through the kitchen to the back door. His stomach clenched as Connor opened the creaky screen door and stepped out.

 

John knew the minute he saw it. Connor’s shoulders tensed. Then he took the three steps down to the yard and walked over to the little grave under the live oak in the corner.

 

When John had found the small moss-covered rock in the yard, he hadn’t been sure what it was. It was only after he’d cleared all the weeds out that he saw it was a store-bought pet headstone with the name DIGGER hand-etched in the stone. For some stupid reason he’d taken it to a trophy shop a couple of towns over and had the name professionally engraved on the stone. It looked brand-new now. He’d even planted some flowers around it. Today it seemed silly to him, what he’d done. All that work to do on the house and the yard, and he’d wasted hours on that little grave.

 

He waited for Connor to say something smart, trailing after him reluctantly. Instead Connor unexpectedly sank to his knees and laid his forehead on the ground in front of the headstone. His arms came up, and he covered his head as if to protect it, and his shoulders started to shake. It took John a moment to realize he was crying. Bone-shaking, silent sobs racked his big frame and froze John in his tracks.

 

Without a word John turned around and walked back into the house. He’d been there. Those were private tears, and he left Connor to them.

 

John busied himself sanding down the posts on the front porch for the next couple of hours, as far from Connor as he could get. He hadn’t done any work out front yet, and it was hard going. Eventually he thought he ought to go and check on him. The man had a breakdown in his backyard, after all. And he’d been awfully quiet back there ever since.

 

When he tentatively pushed open the back door, he was a little scared of what he might find since he’d forgotten about all the sharp tools back there until just a few minutes ago. He was relieved to see Connor just sitting there next to the grave. His knees were bent, and his wrists were resting on them casually. He looked calm and approachable. John released the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.

 

He hadn’t made any noise that he was aware of, but Connor turned toward him. “I’m all right,” he said, and John could hear the truth of that in his voice.

 

He wandered over to the tree and stood off to Connor’s right, in the shade. He felt awkward and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Have you got someplace to stay?” he asked. He hadn’t meant to say that, but once the words were out, he was glad he had. He didn’t want to spend another restless night worrying about Connor. He had a lot of work to do around here and needed his sleep.

 

Connor shook his head. “Not really. I’m just moving around.”

 

John frowned. “What does that mean?”

 

Connor stood up, resting one fist on the ground as he gracefully came to one knee and then rose. “It means you don’t have to worry about me.” His soft smile took the sting out his dismissive words.

 

John sighed. “I wish it were that easy to turn it off,” he said apologetically, “but I suffer from overactive worry.”

 

“I’ll be all right, Mr. Ford,” Connor told him. “But thanks.”

 

“Come on,” John said. He turned toward the separate garage. “I know a place.” He turned back to see Connor watching him, his face unreadable. “Do you have anything you need to get? Besides your bag?”

 

They stood like that for a minute, a silent tug-of-war between them. Finally Connor shook his head. “No, sir. Nothing.”

 

John knew that was a lie. There was a lot that Connor needed. But he wasn’t going to find it here. He turned and walked to the garage, listening to Connor’s footsteps as he turned back to the house to get his bag.

 

© Samantha Kane

 

Cherry Pie

Author: Samantha Kane

Publisher: loose-id, LLC

Genre: LGBT Contemporary

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John Ford packed up his life a year ago and moved from LA to small Mercury, North Carolina after the death of his long-term partner. He’s been living in a kind of suspended animation, fixing up the old house he bought there, reclusive and alone. Until the day Connor Meecham appears.

Conn Meecham has returned home, only to find it isn’t his anymore. Someone else owns his mother’s house now. But Conn needs that house to find the man he left behind more than eight years ago--before the drugs, before prison, before his life derailed. Lonely, desperate, lost, Conn finds in John a kindred soul.

Mercury is a dying town. But John sets out to change that when he learns what it means to Conn. Through home improvements, sex, old friends, sex, misunderstandings, sex, and homemade cherry pie, John and Conn may finally discover that where they are now can be heaven on earth if they want it to be.

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Excerpt Day - Flash Bang © Melanie Atkins

Excerpt

 

 

The phone’s sudden peal echoed through the night. Allie Robbins bolted up in bed. The room was dark. So dark, she could see nothing but the bedside clock’s brilliant blue numbers. Two-thirty-two in the morning. Another ring made her mouth go dry. Who could be calling at this hour? No one except her landlord knew she and Caden had moved into this aging, double-wide trailer in central Mississippi.

 

Unless…

 

A third loud ring sent a shiver skittering up her spine. She snatched up the cordless phone.

 

“ H-hello?” The word stuck in her throat like a wad of cotton.

 

Silence.

 

“ Hello?” She tried to swallow past the lump. “Is someone there?”

 

“ Just me.” The gravelly voice chewed at her nerves. “I have a surprise for you.”

 

Oh, God! Tears stung her eyes. It’s him.

 

“ H-how did you—”

 

“ Doesn’t matter. Folks are gonna pay ’cause you won’t cooperate.”

 

“ I’ve told you before—I don’t know where that flash drive is.”

 

“ And I’ve told you, your scared little girl act isn’t working. You were his wife.”

 

“ He didn’t share anything about the organization with me.”

 

“ Bullshit. We want the files on that drive, and we want ’em now,” he growled. “I know you got our other message. Next time, we’ll do a helluva lot more than just overturn a few lamps.”

 

“ Are you kidding me? You ransacked our trailer.”

 

“ Had to show what we can do.”

 

“ You didn’t find the flash drive, did you?” Cold fury entwined itself with the terror stinging her chest. She sat up and gripped the sheet. “Do you know why? Because I don’t have it!”

 

“ Same song, second verse. Find the flash drive and put it in a bubble mailer in your mailbox. You have until Tuesday afternoon.”

 

“ Wait—” Allie’s heart skipped a beat. “That’s not enough time. Marshall never told me—”

 

The line went dead.

 

Fear squeezed the breath from Allie’s lungs. This was the second time she and Caden had moved since Marshall had been murdered, and each time the stalker had found them.

 

“ Mama?” Caden’s quivering tone broke the terrifying silence.

 

She jerked her startled gaze to the door.

 

Her ten-year-old son stood in the hallway, his eyes wide with uncertainty. “Is everything okay?”

 

“ Oh, honey.”

 

She gulped back her fear and dropped the phone into its cradle. She had to stay calm, for Caden. Even though her heart was pounding like a jackhammer. She reached up and turned on the lamp.

 

“ Come here.”

 

He padded across the rug. “Who was on the phone?”

 

“ Nobody. It was a wrong number.”

 

“ You’re lying.” He drew his brows together. “I heard you. It was about the files again, wasn’t it? The stalker’s found us.”

 

“ Caden—”

 

“ Don’t make up any more stories. I’m not a baby. You have to tell me the truth.”

 

“ I know you’re not a baby.” She wanted to give him a hug but instinctively held back. He’d grown up so much since Marshall died. He wasn’t a little boy any more. She sat up against the headboard and patted the mattress. “I’m sorry, honey. Come here and let’s talk.”

 

He chewed his lower lip, and she watched the child inside of him war with his new tough guy persona. Finally, he gave in and sank onto the bed beside her.

 

She put her hand on his shoulder. “I shouldn’t have lied to you,” she said. “I apologize.”

 

“ It’s all right.” He met her worried gaze, and she couldn’t help but notice how much his sky blue eyes resembled another intense pair of eyes. His father’s eyes.

 

A lump rose in her throat. “I’ll be honest with you from now on. I promise.”

 

“ All I had to do was look at you, and I could tell it was him.”

 

“ That was very perceptive of you.” Allie dropped her hand.

 

He stared at the floor.

 

She took a deep breath. No time like the present to start telling the truth. “Caden, about the break-in on Monday—”

 

“ That was him, too, wasn’t it?” Her son’s eyes widened. “He’s gonna kill us, just like he killed Dad.”

 

“ No, he’s not.” She had no choice but to reassure him. She’d gone from wealthy corporate wife to struggling single mom in one deafening blast of gunfire, and Caden had lost the only father he’d ever known. “I’m going to find those files. Somehow.”

 

“ We’ve searched everywhere. We don’t know any other places to look.” He vaulted off the bed. “I hate Magnolia Springs.”

 

Allie flinched at the contempt in his tone. “I’ve told you why we moved here.”

 

“ I know. Dad spent all our money.” Caden shot her a fiery look. “Still, Mom, come on. We could have moved somewhere else.”

 

“ Magnolia Springs is my home.”

 

“ Maybe so.” He glared at her. “But I had to leave my friends.”

 

“ I’m sorry. It couldn’t be helped.”

 

She wrapped her arms around him and, to her surprise, he didn’t protest. He simply hugged her back. Her heart swelled with love...and fear. She tightened her hold on him. For all his new-found maturity, he was still a little boy. Her little boy. She kissed the top of his head.

 

“ I’m thinking we should maybe get a dog.”

 

“ A dog? Really?” Caden pushed away from her, and his eyes lit up. “Can I name him?”

 

“ Sure.” She smiled. “We’ll go to the animal shelter after school one day soon.”

 

“ Aw, Mom. Can’t we go today?”

 

“ It’s Sunday.” She tousled his hair. “The shelter’s not open.”

 

“ Oh, yeah.” His face fell.

 

She smiled. “Meanwhile, I’ll do everything I can to keep you safe. I promise.”

 

“ Okay,” he said, looking serious and very grown up. “I’ll keep you safe, too.”

 

“ Thank you.” She touched his cheek. “You’re my hero, you know?”

 

“ Yeah, right.” He turned away and tried to hide his wry grin. Then he abruptly sobered. “You think he’s gonna call back?”

 

“ Not tonight,” she said, trying to convince herself as well as her son. The caller hadn’t threatened bodily harm. But if she didn’t find those files…

 

Caden nodded. “Okay. I’m going back to bed. Wake me if anything else happens.”

 

“ I will, honey,” she said, hoping she wouldn’t have to keep that promise.

 

He turned away, and her eyes misted. Thanks to Marshall’s involvement with that damned paramilitary group, her son was in danger. Her heart ached at the thought.

 

A loud boom echoed from somewhere in the distance. She caught her breath.

 

Folks are gonna pay because you won’t cooperate.

 

The stalker’s words rang like warning bells inside her head. She hurried to the window and peered past the tall pines standing like silent sentinels along the fence. A strange orange glow lit the sky beyond them.

 

Oh, God. A cold chill iced her skin. He’d followed through on his promise. The idea that the group might have hurt someone else to prove their point disturbed her on a visceral level, yet it also galvanized her defenses. No way would she let them hurt Caden. Ever.

 

He was her world.

 

* * * *

Rayford’s black heart filled with glee as he watched swirling gray smoke and ash float up into the star-flecked night sky. He loved fire. Loved watching it lick at brick and wood, turning mundane structures into flaming works of art. Loved the way it suffocated the unsuspecting and dashed the hopes of folks trying to save their precious belongings. Fire, fierce and powerful, provided the ultimate cleansing, ridding the earth of unnecessary scum and buildings that had outlived their usefulness.

 

That’s why he called himself The Dragon inside his own head, after the vigilant, mythical creatures able to ignite a fire with a single breath. The higher-ups in the organization thought he liked fire a damned sight too much though and believed he was a danger to their carefully laid plans. Their presence in Mississippi was increasing and the General Council feared he might jeopardize their campaign to cleanse the state of undesirables. He laughed.

 

If they only knew.

 

His father had always said that tolerance breeds weakness, and he was happy to do all he could to keep his race strong. He’d been carrying out his own purification campaign for years, before the organization ever came into the picture. Never once had he been caught or even suspected of starting a fire and certainly not one in which people died. He was an upstanding, church-going man. A good man, with a wife, two grown children, and a nephew who’d been a Marine. A virtual pillar in his community.

 

Ha ha. He had the community, his wife—hell, even his badge toting nephew—totally fooled. Not an easy task in anybody’s book. Since the organization had entered the state, his quota of fires had increased, and so had the number of lies he’d told. He had to scramble to keep them all straight. At least now, he was getting paid for his hard work. And setting fires was hard work.

 

He got very little sleep, had to explain to his wife why he often slipped out of bed in the middle of the night, and still had to show up on time for his day job without letting on that he’d been up all night watching churches burn. Then there was the incessant odor of smoke and sweat that clung to his buzz cut and leached from his pores. He bathed so often now, his water bill had tripled.

 

Still, so far, so good. Evelyn hadn’t questioned it.

 

He focused on the inferno before him and smiled grimly.

 

The flames engulfing the tiny church had finally reached its pristine steeple. A keen sense of justice washed over him as its bright, white paint bubbled up and melted away, leaving a fiery orange spire pointing straight to heaven.

 

His pulse thrummed with satisfaction. Soon the blaze would eat through the remainder of the roof and the tall steeple would collapse into the ruined sanctuary in a thrilling shower of sparks. That was his favorite part. He rubbed his hands together in anticipation. Too bad no one was inside the building. That would have made this night even more special.

 

A loud wail suddenly cut through the roar of the flames. Startled, he jerked himself from his worshipful trance and whirled to see a set of spinning blue bar lights zooming down the road leading to the church. The fucking cops.

 

His heart rate increased. He had to get moving before they and the volunteer fire department arrived. The Council would leave him to rot if he got his ass thrown in jail.

 

He stared at the flames for another satisfying moment and then bolted for the trees. He’d left his truck inside a friend’s detached garage about a half mile away, so there would be nothing here tying him to the scene. No tire tracks, no refuse, no footprints. He’d been careful to stay on the thick grass and not leave tracks in the dirt.

 

As he loped off through the darkness, a sense of accomplishment spread through him.

 

Another church gone for the cause.

 

© Melanie Atkins

 

read of excerpt HERE

 

Flash Bang

Author: Melanie Atkins

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Genre: Romance Suspense

Buy Link

When Allie Robbins broke his heart, Noah Sterling couldn’t leave Magnolia Springs fast enough. He joined the military, then the FBI. Ten years later, a domestic terrorism case forces him to return, only to discover that Allie is now a widowed mother with one young son—and that she's suspected of aiding the group responsible for setting area churches ablaze.

Allie can't believe her eyes. Noah is back in Magnolia Springs, and he’s asking questions. She's not worried about the investigation, because she's innocent. But she's willing to do anything to keep him from asking the one question that could destroy her life--a question about her son.

Then the boy is kidnapped, and she must reveal the truth in order to save him by turning to the one man she can trust—and the only one who can take her son away. Noah. His father.

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Excerpt Day - Benjamin Justice #1: Simple Justice © John Morgan Wilson

Excerpt

 

Billy Lusk was murdered on a Tuesday, shortly after midnight, and Harry Brofsky came looking for me that afternoon.

 

It was mid-July. Hot winds that felt like the devil's breath blew into Los Angeles from the desert, rattling through the shaggy eucalyptus trees like a dry cough. The city was golden, blinding, blasted by heavenly light. It was one of those days that made nipples rise and minds wander and bodies shiver with sensuality and inexplicable dread. The kind of day when the heat wrapped snugly around you and sent an ominous chill through your body at the same time, like the first sexual touch in a dark room from a beautiful stranger whose name you'd never know.

 

Harry found me in West Hollywood, bobbing my head to an old Coltrane tape and trying not to think about alcohol.

 

"Look who's caught up with me," I said to an empty room, when I saw Harry's car pull up. "My, my, my."

 

I was staying in a small garage apartment in a leafy neighborhood known for its irregular shape as the Norma Triangle, where quaint little houses crowded cozy lots and lush greenery crawled unrestricted over the rotting corpses of old wood fences.

 

My single room was up a wooden stairway at the deep end of an unpaved driveway, which ran alongside a neatly-kept California Craftsman, one of those finely beveled, wood-framed bungalows that sprouted up by the thousands during the building boom of the 1930s and 1940s. The owners, Maurice and Fred, had purchased the property in the late fifties, when West Hollywood had been a quiet community of middle-class families and well-behaved bohemians on the eastern edge of upscale Beverly Hills, and Maurice and Fred had been in the early stages of their four-decade relationship.

 

Thanks to their kindness, I was staying in the apartment rent-free, in exchange for performing odd chores. It wasn't the most dignified arrangement for a 38-year-old ex-journalist who had been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. But not quite six years ago, in winning that coveted award, I'd destroyed any personal dignity I might claim, not to mention my career, in one dark and reckless act of fraud, so where and how I lived didn't matter all that much.

 

Nothing really did now, except somehow getting through another day, until all the days were mercifully used up.

 

Through the unwashed window of my room, I looked down on the rear yard, where a flowering jacaranda swayed like a lonely dancer in the restless breeze. Three plump cats lounged in the tree's shade on the patio, their tails barely twitching in the oppressive heat, watching a hummingbird dart among syrupy pistils of honeysuckle, while I watched them.

 

In the three months since Maurice and Fred had installed me in the apartment, I'd spent most of my time at this window, where I could see down the narrow driveway to the street, without anyone clearly seeing me. When Harry finally showed up, unannounced, I felt as though I'd spent most of those hours waiting for him.

 

I watched him wrestle his Ford Escort into a space at the curb and struggle wearily out. He mopped his round face with a handkerchief, found a cigarette, and adjusted his bifocals to check a scrap of paper for the Norma Place address. When he'd confirmed the numbers, he glanced up at the apartment, just long enough for me to see what the years had done to him, and to feel the gnaw of guilt.

 

I briefly wondered how he'd found me after all this time. Then I remembered that Harry had once been a reporter too, and a good reporter knows how to find people who don't want to be found.

 

© John Morgan  Wilson

Read the first 18 pages HERE

 

 

Simple Justice

Benjamin Justice #1 

Author: John Morgan Wilson

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (RE-ISSUE)

Genre: GLBTr, Mystery, Suspense

Buy Link

Series Link

When a pretty-boy cokehead is murdered outside a gay bar in a working class district of Los Angeles, and a young Latino quickly confesses to the crime, it appears the case is closed. Benjamin Justice, a disgraced former reporter with the Los Angeles Times, is lured out of his alcoholic seclusion to look more deeply into the murder. But why would a teenager confess to a brutal gang initiation killing he didn’t commit?

Only Benjamin Justice understands, but with his credibility shattered, no one’s listening. As Justice threads his way through a colorful gallery of suspects, he’s thrust back into the world of gay bars and haunting memories that he’s tried to put behind him since the death of his lover from AIDS six years earlier, an event that precipitated the Pulitzer scandal that destroyed his promising career.

With Justice teetering on an emotional brink, his reluctant new partner, Los Angeles Sun reporter Alexandra Templeton, must solve the riddle of Justice’s own dark past to save him. Together, with her deadline looming, they confront the real killer, using every bit of journalistic skill they can muster to pin that person to the crime.

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Excerpt Day - A Forever Kind of Love © Shiloh Walker

Excerpt

 

“Chase’s back in town.”

 

Those words, once upon a time, might have toppled the very foundation of her world.

 

Once upon a time…thirteen, fourteen years ago.

 

But Zoe didn’t believe in fairy tales anymore.

 

Glancing up at Beth, she cocked a brow. “Is he?” Then she focused on the glass cabinet and finished wiping it down. Damned fingerprints. She couldn’t keep them off.

 

“Yeah.” Beth leaned on the counter and sighed, a familiar look in her eyes. “Damn, Zo. He still looks…wow. Just…wow. Came riding into town this morning on a Harley, and man, may I say, I think my heart stopped.”

 

“Hmmm.” Zoe scraped her nail over something sticky and opaque. It looked suspiciously like some sort of candy residue. Like some little child had been sucking on something sweet, and then went and touched their fingers to her display cases. Absently, she grabbed the glass cleaner. Before she could do anything, Beth reached up and caught her hands.

 

“Are you hearing me?” Beth said, staring at her. “Chase is back.”

 

Zoe frowned. “Yes. I hear you. But what does it have to do with me?” She looked down at her hands. At the gold band on her left hand. The diamond anniversary band had been a gift for her tenth anniversary. Just the sight of it made her smile.

 

She was married.

 

To the man who’d been Chase’s best friend in high school.

 

Neither of them had spoken a word to Chase since he’d up and disappeared the day after graduation. He’d just…left. Just like that.

 

“Zoe…”

 

Glancing up, she smiled at Beth. “Honey, it’s been fifteen years. I’m married. I love my husband—he loves me. You know this. Chase…well, we don’t even know each other anymore. It’s not like he could have expected me to wait around, right?”

 

Married…happily.

 

Even if her gut was all in tangles over her husband lately.

 

The town of Warren hadn’t changed much in fifteen years.

 

But Chase Cochran hadn’t much expected it to.

 

Honestly, he had hoped it wouldn’t. He’d returned here hoping to find…home.

 

And so far, that was just what he’d found.

 

He didn’t realize it, but he was smiling as he strolled through the town square.

 

He hadn’t thought he’d miss it.

 

When he left here right after graduation, all he had been able to think about was getting out, as fast as he could, as quick as he could, as far away as he could. Getting away from his dad, this town, all of it.

 

His dad.

 

Not because he didn’t love the old man. He had. His dad had been everything. Mom had decided she couldn’t be a mom, after all, a decision she came to right before Chase had turned a year old and she walked out on them both. Ever since then, it had just been Chase and his dad.

 

And then Chase had gone and done the same thing, walking away without much more than an, “It’s been fun”.

 

Chase couldn’t have stayed, though. He’d been strangling here—strangling, choking. Getting out had been paramount. At the time, it had been the right decision for him. The only decision for him.

 

Still, it had been a selfish one.

 

He didn’t doubt his dad would welcome him back. They’d kept in contact and Chase was still amazed that his dad didn’t have some leftover resentment for him. Walking away like he’d done—walking…hell, he’d run.

 

Sometimes, Chase wished he had more of his dad in him. But that was part of the reason he’d left…he could see himself spending his entire life in the same small town, doing the same job.

 

It had taken him fifteen years to realize that really wouldn’t have been such a bum deal.

 

Slowing to a stop, he studied the small town hall.

 

Dipping a hand in his pocket, he pulled out the gold necklace in there.

 

Zoe’s.

 

The stylized gold Z still gleamed.

 

Was she still here?

 

Dad would know.

 

After he’d left, it had taken him a year to call back home, but since that first call, he had kept in touch with his dad. Regular calls, letters—hell, they were closer now than they’d been when he was growing up, and they’d had a pretty good relationship then.

 

But Zoe had always been off limits in those conversations.

 

His dad wouldn’t discuss her. Period. But now that he was home…well, hell. His dad would have to discuss her.

 

Chase closed his eyes and blew out a breath. Shit. Rubbing a thumb over the smooth surface of the Z, he looked up at the town hall. He needed to prepare himself for the fact that he just might find out that Zoe wasn’t here.

 

That she was here…and married.

 

Considering how he had left, he really didn’t have any right to expect much of anything different.

 

He hadn’t warned her, hadn’t told her. Not until the day he left. He’d gone by there, told her he was going, kissed her… And that was it.

 

He had left her behind, even though he had loved her like crazy.

 

But he’d just needed to get away. He’d been eighteen, edgy and restless, and the girl who had looked at him with her heart in her eyes had…hell. It had made it worse somehow, because part of him had wanted to stay. Wanted to give her everything she’d wanted and never asked for.

 

“Get it over with,” he muttered, rubbing a hand up and down his face. “Just get it over with.”

 

Setting his jaw, he jogged up the steps.

 

Dad wasn’t expecting him, but that didn’t concern Chase.

 

The mayor’s office was quiet—half of the staff out to lunch.

 

The secretary, though, she recognized Chase and with a beaming smile, ushered him in.

 

In his dad’s office, a faint smile curling his lips, he studied the certificates, plaques and pictures on the walls.

 

His dad, the mayor. From small town police officer, to chief of police, to mayor.

 

What the hell.

 

One picture caught his eye and he narrowed his eyes, moved closer.

 

Huh.

 

Roger. Roger Kirkbride. “I’ll be damned,” Chase murmured. He skimmed the article below and then started to laugh.

 

Roger had been his best friend in high school. Apparently the guy had decided small town life—and politics—was his thing.

 

He was Dad’s right-hand man.

 

Still smirking, Chase set the picture and moved on, studying the rest of the framed pictures.

 

The third one he picked up wiped the smile from his face and just about knocked the breath right out of his lungs.

 

Zoe.

 

His right fist clenched. A sharp pain jabbed into his palm and he looked down, opened it. Dazed, he realized he’d still been holding the necklace.

 

The door opened and he turned, stared at the man in the doorway.

 

His father.

 

All of a sudden, he understood why Zoe had been off limits.

 

“Hi, Dad.”

 

“Chase…” A smile creased the older man’s face and he crossed the room.

 

His father hugged him and Chase briefly returned the embrace.

 

Briefly.

 

But then he eased back and looked at the picture he had yet to put down.

 

Zoe’s wedding picture.

 

© Shiloh Walker

 

 

A Forever Kind of Love

Author: Shiloh Walker

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: Contemporary, Sweet Romance

Buy link

You can always come home. Second chances come a little harder.

Chase and Zoe were the high school golden couple. Football captain, cheerleader, prom royalty. After graduation, though, Chase couldn’t resist the urge to experience life outside their small town. He didn’t exactly expect Zoe to wait twelve years for him, but now that he’s back, he finds some small part of him hoping she did.

It’s no big surprise she’s married. The kick in the face is she married his best friend.

Zoe was devastated when Chase left, but she’s filed those bittersweet memories under “Moved On”. She loves her life, and loves her husband. She has all she needs. And Chase keeps an honorable distance.

One cold, wet, miserable day, tragedy turns Zoe’s world upside down. Chase never expected her to simply fall into his arms, but a man can dream. Except his dream doesn’t include the fact that this time, she’s the one hitting the road…and he’s the one left behind. 

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Excerpt Day - Her Wild Magic © Karen Benjamin

Excerpt

 

 

Chapter One

 

Speed trap.

 

Max glanced in her rearview mirror and grimaced at the flashing lights of the black and white SUV pulling up behind her. No way had she done anything wrong.

 

Okay, maybe she’d been going slightly over the speed limit, but she had less than twenty-four hours to make it to Salinas, California for her first teaching assignment. If she missed the first day of orientation, she could lose her position. And in this economy, that meant another six months of waiting tables and living off her ever-dwindling savings.

 

Mumbling under her breath about corrupt small town sheriffs, Max pulled to the side of the road and dug through her purse, searching for her wallet. She found it, pulled out her license, and then checked its meager contents. She was nearly broke, and if she had to pay a speeding ticket, she wouldn’t have enough money to buy gas. Could the day get any worse?

 

“License and registration, ma’am.”

 

At the sound of the deep voice, Max looked up into a pair of eyes the color of aged honey, and like a deer caught in a car’s headlights, she froze. His face was burnished, his jaw squared, and he had a five o’clock shadow that looked permanent. He wore a wide-brimmed Stetson, had wide shoulders and a broad chest narrowing down to gunslinger hips.

 

Masculinity personified, with latent aggression in every cell of his well-muscled body. And to top it off, he smelled like a man ought to smell—fresh and woodsy, with just enough spice to let a woman know he might be too hot to handle.

 

Max’s hormones did a little happy dance, and she almost groaned as a wave of lust rolled down her spine and settled in her pussy.

 

What the hell was that?

 

Nothing had ever happened to her like that before, and frankly, it scared her shitless. She didn’t have time for men, or the drama associated with dating.

 

“Ma’am, I asked for your license and registration. Is there a problem?” This time his voice had a distinct edge to it, as if something had disturbed him.

 

“No problem, Officer.” Max handed over her identification and did her best to keep her eyes off the sheriff as he examined her paperwork, but it was difficult. There was something about him that attracted and repelled her all at the same time. She finally gave up trying, and openly stared at him.

 

His nametag identified him as Sheriff Caleb McCain of Haven County, and he was undoubtedly one of the tallest and biggest men she’d ever seen. In general, Max wasn’t attracted to men who needed to buy their clothes at the big and tall shops. They usually made tactless jokes about her five-foot-one height and found it funny to prop their elbows on her head. But this guy had her shifting uncomfortably in her seat and, for the first time in her life, understanding what guys meant when they talked about needing a cold shower.

 

He certainly fit the description of eye candy for most women, but she’d seen plenty of good-looking men, and none of them had affected her this way. The sheriff was different. And Max knew first hand that different could mean a whole lot of things—most of them bad.

 

“Maxine Juneau of Houma, Louisiana,” he read from her driver’s license. “You’re a long way from home.” His gaze flicked back to her. “What brings you to California?”

 

Max wanted to tell him it was none of his business, but she held her tongue, hoping to avoid a ticket. “I have a teaching job in Salinas waiting for me, and frankly, Sheriff, I’m in a bit of a hurry. Do you mind telling me why you pulled me over?” She heard the challenge in her voice and wondered what had come over her. She wouldn’t avoid a ticket by pissing the man off.

 

He handed her license and registration back, then took a step away from the car. “Get out of the vehicle, Ms. Juneau. There’s something I’d like you to see.”

 

Max hesitated, more than a little afraid. Not because she thought of him as physically threatening. Quite the opposite. Despite his size and intimidating manner, she felt completely safe. What alarmed her was her body’s reaction to him.

 

From the moment he’d spoken, the thing buried deep within her had abruptly shifted. She’d not only experienced attraction, she now realized, she was deeply aroused. So much so her nipples had hardened, and she squeezed her thighs together to ease her discomfort.

 

Insanity.

 

Whatever the sheriff was, he was having one hell of an effect on her, and she didn’t like it one bit. She sensed he wasn’t completely human, but exactly what he was, she had no idea.

 

“Ms. Juneau, I asked you to get out of the car.” He almost growled the words, and for the first time, Max noted he kept his eyes lowered, as if he didn’t want her to see them. Yet, he watched her from beneath his lowered lids with the intensity of a born predator.

 

“What is it you want me to see, Sheriff?” Max opened the car door, pleased at how calm she sounded when every cell in her body was on high alert. Something about the sheriff had roused the interest of the thing deep inside her. It was fully awake for the first time in over five years, and each time the sheriff spoke, it trembled with pleasure. Max wanted to flee, to run and to never look back. But she got out of the car, not really understanding why, but knowing, like a moth drawn inexplicably to a flame, she had to.

 

His.

 

This tiny woman with her big, hazel eyes and rich, creamed-coffee skin, was his mate.

 

When Caleb experienced the pull deep inside him, calling, urging him in this direction, he hadn’t known what to expect. At best, he’d thought he’d find someone who needed his help. Instead, he’d found her, and she was perfect in every way.

 

She had shoulder-length, dark brown curls, thick spirals, wild and untamed, and her heart-shaped face and little bow mouth made him think of an angel. But when he took note of her pointed chin and the I don’t know what the hell you are, but you better keep your distance look in her eyes, he knew his little darling was more likely to jab him with a pitchfork than to unfurl a pair of angelic wings.

 

Damn, he was a lucky man! Mother Nature had chosen well for him, and he was going to enjoy every inch of his mate.

 

First, though, he needed to mark her before the mating heat took all reason from him. He wanted to woo her gently, to give her time to accept him, but circumstances dictated he make her his on the next full moon. He had no choice but to rush things, but she wouldn’t like it. Hell, if it wasn’t for the fact her arousal filled his nostrils like the sweetest of wines, he’d doubt she even liked him. Even now, she shot guarded glances at him while trying to cope with the intense sexual need his were pheromones ignited in her.

 

He smiled inwardly. His mate was going to deny his claim and force his hand at every turn. She might look sweet enough to melt in the hot California sun, but he saw grit in the flash of her eyes and steel in the stiffness of her spine. Claiming her would be a wild ride, but he was an alpha male in his prime, and her denial was like fuel on a flame. In the end, she’d give him what he wanted, and he’d see to it she never regretted it.

 

Biting the inside of his lip to keep from grinning at his good fortune, he walked around to the back of her car and waited for her. The hunt was finally over. Time to claim his mate.

 

Max joined the sheriff at the back of her car and did her best to keep her mind focused on what he was saying. He was commenting on her car, something about it not being safe to drive, but each time he leaned forward to point out an area of concern, her gaze shifted to his firm backside. As derrieres went, it was definitely worth a second look, but Max was genuinely shocked when she had to shove her hands into the pockets of her jeans to keep from giving it an approving little pat.

 

What the hell was the matter with her? This guy wasn’t her type. The few men she’d dated spent their days behind a desk, avoided red meat, and drank bottled water. This guy looked as though he lived for the outdoors, ate whatever the hell he wanted, and washed it down with a cold beer. So why was her body so flushed with sexual need she actually ached?

 

“Ms. Juneau, are you listening to me?”

 

Max forced her gaze back to his and nodded. But since she’d missed most of what he’d said, she didn’t want to give herself away by opening her mouth.

 

He straightened to his full height, towering above her, and she had to tilt her head back to see his face. Up close and personal, he was even more impressive, and certainly intimidating. But he felt safe, which made absolutely no sense, since the sheriff was the most dangerous-looking man she’d ever seen.

 

“You have no brake lights, and it looks like someone rear ended you. Any idea when that happened?”

 

Max knew exactly when it had happened, but she wasn’t about to admit to Sheriff Six Feet Plus of Male Perfection that she sucked at driving a stick shift. Over the last three days, she’d shifted improperly, rolling back and banging into any number of things. And she hadn’t bothered to check for damages because one more dent in a car that looked like a rent-a-wreck wouldn’t make much of a difference.

 

“No idea at all,” Max lied. “But I promise to stop and get the brake lights fixed in the next town, if you let me off with a warning.”

 

His head titled as if he sniffed the air, and Max saw his lips twitch in amusement. He knew she was lying about the damage, and that narrowed the possibilities of what he was. Only shifters or were-folk could smell a lie.

 

“I’m not going to give you a ticket, Ms. Juneau. It’s clear to me you didn’t realize the full extent of the damage to your car. I do, however, expect you to stop in the next town and get your brake lights fixed. Haven’s the next town you’ll come to, about thirty miles up the road. The lights can be replaced in less than an hour, but you won’t get to Salinas today. We had a pretty bad storm last night, and it washed out the highway north of Haven. Work crews won’t have the debris cleared for at least twenty-four hours. No need to worry, though. Haven has a good motel. They’ll be able to put you up for the night.”

 

Max shook her head. “I’m not spending the night in Haven. I’ll just use one of the back roads around the damage.”

 

“There are no usable back roads. Staying the night in Haven is your only option.”

 

His tone was matter of fact, but Max noted the slight flaring of his nostrils when she’d dismissed his recommendation. He wanted her to spend the night in Haven, which was exactly why she wasn’t going to.

 

“Thanks for the help, Sheriff.” Max turned and moved toward her door, telling herself to walk, not run. With each step, she expected a hand to clamp down on her shoulder, or a muscular arm to wrap around her waist, but he did nothing to stop her. He was letting her go.

 

So where was the happy feeling, and why had the ache between her legs intensified?

 

Letting her walk away was the hardest thing Caleb had ever done, but somehow he’d managed it. She was human, and his world was not hers. He was letting her go, but only as far as Haven, and only there because it was his town, inhabited by people like him. In Haven, he could keep her safe from his enemies while easing her into his world.

 

He inhaled deeply, taking her lingering scent deep within him. She smelled of fear, innocence, and desire. To a predator, nothing was more arousing. She shook his control to the roots of its very foundation, and she probably always would.

 

Even now, his wolf was raging, demanding he claim her willing or not. But he ruthlessly forced it back. He had no choice but to mate her on the next full moon. Mother Nature demanded it, or he would become more beast than man. But he would give her what time he had, and do whatever he could to prepare her for the mating, but in the end, she would be his. It was their destiny, and after meeting her, he had no complaints about the hand dealt him.

 

More secure behind the locked door of her car, Max gripped the steering wheel and fought to gain control of her trembling body. She needed to leave, but her hand shook so badly she couldn’t put the key in the ignition. Had she imagined that, for just for a second when she’d turned to leave him, his eyes had actually glowed? And had her body tighten in response, flooding with need?

 

She took a deep breath and slowly released it. Did it matter? By noon tomorrow, she would have forgotten the sheriff and his unsettling presence.

 

She would have to stop in Haven though, maybe at a gas station, and only long enough to obtain a map of the back roads. Haven was, according to the map she’d consulted prior to getting on the road, a scenic little town offering many amenities for the weary traveler or historic-minded tourist.

 

She, however, remembered Haven for a different reason. When plotting her trip, she’d read the name of the town and felt an urgent need to go there. She’d pushed the feeling aside, determined to ignore it. It had seemed like a compulsion. And in her experience, compulsions always led to trouble.

 

Her grandmother, or Mama Willie as Max always called her, had taken a different tact. She’d eagerly explored such impulses, calling it her spiritual guide. She’d encouraged Max to do the same. But once Max had come of age, she took a long hard look at the nomadic, poverty-stricken life they’d led and decided to walk a different path. She’d hidden the ways she was different, and what she couldn’t hide, she’d buried deep inside herself. It was the only way she could live a normal life, and it had worked fairly well until now. Meeting the sheriff had shaken her a bit, but it changed nothing. By this time tomorrow, the sheriff and his effect on her would be a distant memory.

 

Once more in control of herself, Max managed to put her key in the ignition, but froze as the door to her car was ripped open.

 

Max looked down at the door hanging off its hinges and then up into the chillingly cold expression on the sheriff’s face. She opened her mouth to scream, but before she could utter a word, he grabbed her upper arms and dragged her from the car.

 

“Out!”

 

“Get your hands off me!” Max cried, struggling against him. “I’m not going anywhere with you!”

 

He pulled her down behind the car and used his body to pin her in place.

 

“Quiet. I’m not going to hurt you,” he whispered into her ear. He looked over her head, his gaze scanning a clutch of rocks on the other side of the highway. “We’re being watched.”

 

“So what?” Max snapped, trying to wiggle out from beneath him. “There’s no need to manhandle me.” She pressed back, trying to shift his weight, but froze in place when he growled deep in his throat. He sounded as if he was in pain, but the expanding bulge lodged between the cheeks of her buttocks told a different story.

 

“Okay, that does it,” Max said, managing to twist around until she faced him. “Let’s just step back and assess the situation for a moment. More than likely whoever is up there watching us is just some nosey hiker. I’ll get back in my car, and you get back in yours. We both forget this whole incident ever happened.”

 

When he made no comment, his gaze never shifting from the hillside, Max’s temper flared and she attempted to elbow him in the stomach. Her aim was off, and instead of connecting with his abdomen, her elbow landed considerably lower. He didn’t make a sound, but the blistering look he turned on her had Max struggling to swallow around the lump of fear in her throat.

 

“I’m not going to hurt you, so you can stop looking at me that way. I’d never hurt you, no matter what you did.” His gaze shifted back to the hillside. “He’s moved closer in, and when he realizes we’re alone out here, he’s going to let loose with everything he’s got.” He grasped her chin and forced her to meet his gaze. “I will keep you alive,” he said solemnly. “But you have to do exactly what I tell you. And no matter what happens, no matter what you see, stay close to me.”

 

When she continued to stare at him in amazement, he gripped her shoulder and gave her a none-too-gentle shake. “You got that?”

 

Max got it, and she was about to tell him exactly what he’d get if he didn’t stop manhandling her, when a blast exploded, bursting against her eardrums and slamming her body against his broad chest. She heard a roar—an inhuman sound filled with rage and anger—and a second later, a black fog blocked out the sun.

 

The last thing she saw before she lost consciousness was the sheriff’s yellow-gold eyes burning fiercely in a face that wasn’t human.

 

© Karen Benjamin

 

Her Wild Magic

Author:  Karen Benjamin

Publisher: Cobblestone Press

Genre: Shifter/Multicultural

Buy link

Maxine is a witchy woman from Louisiana but she's determined to live a normal life.

Sheriff McCain is a werewolf and nothing about him is normal. But he wants her, and he's not giving up.

He recognizes her fears, and he's ready to tangle with---Her Wild Magic.

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Excerpt Day - Doll © Nichelle Gregory

Excerpt

 

 

"Congratulations, Rena. You've graduated, earning the coveted title of sex doll in a remarkably short span of time. You've been a delight to teach."

 

Rena bowed her head. "Thank you, Mistress Belle." She met the blue gaze fixed on her and blushed as feelings of pride and excitement rushed through her.

 

"Although this may seem redundant, it's still necessary for me to go over the rules. You do understand you will not be physically harmed at any time during your forty-eight-hour session?" She tapped a lacquered fingernail against her full ruby lips.

 

"Yes." Rena swallowed hard, her gaze dropping to the strawberry-hued nipples in full display as the half-naked blonde wrote on her clipboard. She admired everything about the woman's effortless sensual poise. A sliver of anticipation and nervousness skittered down her spine as she stiffened her own posture beneath the blonde's hard scrutiny.

 

"You understand the use of your safe word?" She pivoted in golden stilettos and walked back to her desk.

 

"Yes." Rena's gaze dipped to the glimpses of Mistress Belle's rounded, naked ass visible beneath the black latex micro-mini skirt hugging her hips. The woman's confidence and beauty took her breath away.

 

"You understand if you choose to use your safe word all activities cease and you will be free to go?" She lifted one perfectly arched eyebrow as she turned around.

 

Rena shifted her weight in her three-inch stilettos. "I understand." But I don't intend to use it. Her heart hammered in her chest at the unknown possibilities of what such 'activities' she'd be taking part in she'd be tempted to change her mind about.

 

"Finally, you understand the only words you'll be allowed to say are 'yes' and 'please'."

 

Rena nodded.

 

"You must verbalise your agreement, Ms Venoy."

 

"I agree."

 

Mistress Belle placed her hands on her hips and smiled. "Good. Take off your robe."

 

This is it, my last chance to walk away…

 

A moment passed as both women studied the other.

 

This was her gift to herself. She wasn't backing out now.

 

© Nichelle Gregory

 

Doll

Lust Bites

Author: Nichelle Gregory

Publisher: Total E-bound Publishing

Genre: BDSM / D/s / Contemporary

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She is only allowed to say, 'yes' and 'please'...

Rena Venoy has finally become a sex doll. For the next forty-eight hours, giving and receiving pleasure is her only purpose, fulfilling sexual fantasies her primary goal.

That's until she sets her heart on becoming Raiden's one and only doll. To get her wish, he must bestow the ultimate honour she seeks and claim her as his.

When she breaks a rule, Rena is devastated. Will Raiden choose her after all?

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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Reviews (mini) - Wings of Love © Scotty Cade, Accidentally His © Shawn Lane

 

 

Wings of Love

Author - Scotty Cade

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I tried this book for the blurb and for the most part I enjoyed it. Two men at pivotal moments in their respective lives makes a connection.

The story surrounds Brad Mitchell a doctor and Mac Cleary a 46 year old pilot, they meet up when Brad looses his partner of 15 years and goes off into near isolation to the place where he feels he and his late partner had the best of time.

The attraction to Mac was quite unexpected for Brad and I kinda like the way the author gave the inner turmoil that both men went through before they vocally expressed their interest in each other. With a venture to pull them together – they became good friends of sort before they pursue their shared emotional interest.

Their are multi POV in this book which was frustrating at some point – as it slowed the pace some and some of the abrupt switch in  POV actually toss me off track a time or two. The second chance story line of the book was most enjoyable and the GFY was rather sweet I thought – I was rather pleased the author concentrated on the men trying to make their relationship work based on shared interest and life experience rather than sex.

If I had any major niggles with this book it would probably be with the big misunderstanding at the near end of the book, these were mature men, who knew how to deport themselves professionally, being so petty let them down a bit in my eyes. The few “too convenient” scenarios that happened with regards to Mac’s family was also too pat  for me - while it gelled certain portions of the books together, It was just too easy...   

Overall I liked this book alot – there wasn’t an overload of plotline and the Alaskan mountains setting of the book was a definite plus for me. As a new to me author, there is enough positive here to ensure I will be looking out for more from Scotty Cade.

 

 

Accidentally His

Author: Shawn Lane

Buy  Link

Ms Lane is a firm favourite of mine and I so like this cute little offering. Two guys ride the bus together for months and it takes an accident for them to make a connection.

Kirk Matheson and Elijah Cartwright are your everyday working stiffs – Kirk is the one who seems the aggressor of the two and from the start of the book he sums up his situation in life rather neatly I thought and goes on to gives a rather sweet description of Elijah, the guy who sits in front of him on the bus who he has had the eye on for a while now, he even goes as far as to label him my nerd – which just pushed this book into cute over load zone for me – I am so easy for stuff like that.

Elijah however comes to the party with the angst and a  little bit of baggage in the form of a brother who has been a curse and a blessing in his  life. Although a short story – the author captured Elijah and Kirk intrepid steps to making a connection rather neatly I thought, she gave them issues that were easily dealt with within the short story time frame and so even with the big misunderstanding making an appearance all the issues they had were dealt with.

This is probably one of the most light-hearted read in this authors repertoire in my opinion, but with crisp scenes and endearing support cast her style is very clear. I do hope she revisit two of the characters in this books – they were rather sweet and brought that added charm to the book.

Check out Janna summary -

 

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Wednesday Musings – To She who will be missed

A few day ago an author who I have the utmost respect and regard for passed away. She was one of those author who I have always considered to be one of the stalwart of the industry – she wrote my preferred genre (romance suspense) and I have been reading her for years – literally years.

She was old school in quite alot of how she handled herself as a professional.

She will be missed… I’ll miss her..

Beverly Barton (1946 – April 21, 2011)

 

WITHOUT CEREMONY

It was your way, my dear
To be gone without a word
When callers, friends or kin
Had left, and I hastened in
To rejoin you, as I inferred.

And when you'd a mind to career
Off anywhere - say to town -
You were all on a sudden gone
Before I had thought thereon,
Or noticed your trunks were down.

So, now that you disappear
For ever in that swift style,
Your meaning seems to me
Just as it used to be:
"Goodbye is not worthwhile!"

© Thomas Hardy

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Review - Werewolves in Love #1 – 2 © Kinsey W. Holley

 

 

Kiss and Kin  (Werewolves in Love #1)

Author: Kinsey W. Holley

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: Paranormal (Werewolves)

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Brotherly love? Oh hell no…

A Sexy Shifter story.

On the surface, court reporter Lark Manning looks like the luckiest girl in the world, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Underneath, she harbors a hopelessly unrequited love for the sexy werewolf everyone thinks of as her cousin. Taran rarely notices her except to condescend or lecture. He’s treated her the same way since she was eight years old, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever change.

Taran Lloyd, a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU), lives for those rare moments he gets to spend around Lark, torturing himself with what he can’t have. Kin only by marriage, she thinks of him as her big brother. He couldn’t bear her pity—or her disgust—if she learned he wants her for his mate.

When weres from a rival pack attack her, Lark screams out the first name that comes to mind—Taran. Only this sexy alpha can keep her safe until they find out who wants her dead, and why. But keeping her safe means keeping her close. And the closer they get, the harder it gets for these not-really-cousins to honor their commitment to keep their paws off.

 

My Thoughts

On one of my trawls through the Samhain author listing I found this author and as I am a lover of all things wolfy I  decided to give her Werewolves in Love series ago . 

KISS AN KIN was an odd little story for me – coming in at just a little over 80 pages the author packed a whole bunch of happenings into those pages. The main plot line follows Taran and Lark who has always lived as cousin through some family connection – but as these things goes they both have “feeling for each other” which they have never tried to explore as although they are not biologically related – it’s a family thing and both have lusted from afar for years.

For Taran it’s a little bit more difficult as he is a werewolf and Lark is human and his mate as well – using his tough detective persona he keeps himself closed off from any sort of emotional connection with Lark and this has been the status quo between the two until Lark is struck down by foul play by a rival pack.

This one event is the catalyst that moves the book from a sweet average read to just plain all over the place for me. A mystery is introduced – (Girls are being kidnapped  and killed – Taran and his team needs to find them). Taran and Lark also grows closer and starts opening up to each but once again the big misunderstanding pops up and rather than a smooth mating – it goes all pear shaped and just silly for me.

One of the things that really popped out of this book for me was the new spin that the author gave to her wolves, I love when something different is added to the same old same old wolfy thing I love. A few support cast were also introduced and they did their thing but one set came with some sweet angst that makes me wish for their story – even now I have a grin thinking of Nick and TJ.

As a new to me author I will certainly follow up on the second in the series as I want to know more about the world that Ms Holley placed her characters in. As an old hand at the werewolves genre – too much was condensed in too little page time, even with the new spin on the species too much was left unresolved and or wrapped up in haste right at the end of the book.

 

 

Yours Mine and Howl  (Werewolves in Love #2)

Author: Kinsey W. Holley

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: Paranormal (Werewolves)

Buy Link

Sometimes happily ever after is on the wrong side of death’s door.

Thirteen years ago, Ally Kendall died defending her young cousin from his werewolf stepfather.

She hasn’t been the same since.

Ally returned from the hereafter with strange new powers, burdened with the secret of why and how she survived. She managed to scrape her life together and raise her cousin, but now he needs a pack to guide him into adulthood. That means pulling up stakes yet again and heading for Colorado to find the only werewolf qualified for the job. A werewolf, she discovers, who tempts her to give up control in a thousand sinful ways.

Cade MacDougall, Alpha of an unrecognized pack, has a tragic history, a sizable ranch, and a daughter who thinks she’s a cat. Time to find a mate? Don’t make him laugh. Until Ally shows up with a smokin’ hot, preternaturally strong body that smells like mine, and introduces him to a nephew who holds the key to unraveling mysteries about Cade’s family—and himself.

But Ally’s holding something back. As Cade’s enemies gather, the cowboy and his secretive new mate must come clean about their mysterious pasts…or else all hope of protecting their newly formed family—and their future—will be lost.

My Thoughts.

With the odd name of YOURS MINE AND HOWLS, I started the second book in the series and Ms. Holley came back with something a bit different.

The second books in the series is not a plotline follow up to KISS AND KIN, I was introduced to a whole new set of drama and for the most part a whole new pack of wolves.

Ally is the main player in this tale and though only young when I met her – she had a level head and a lot of common sense which she needs taking into consideration the family that she has. When a domestic affair goes horribly wrong Ally is left holding the kid (her cousin) literally and in charge of moving her little band of misfits to a safer place..

The only thing was Ally is meant to have died on that fateful night,  she knew she died, she remembered dying – but she also knew she got a second chance to do one thing, make sure the kid was safe and grew up right.

And this is where the story begins, thirteen years later.  Ally needs to provide for her now teenage charge and her little band of misfits and the only and best person to do that is werewolf Alpha Cade MacDougall who just also happens to be her little boy’s uncle.

Lets just say Cade does not accept Ally with open arms and he was not afraid to say is piece about what was on his mind. Once Ally turned up on his ranch all hell seems to break lose for Cade, with a whole slew of unwanted characters turning up on his doorstep and some rather nasty undercurrent afoot his household was turning into a  circus.

Something had to give and that was the connection between Cade and Ally – despite the suspicions they harboured towards each other, despite the chaos, something clicked between them and they couldn’t resist.

YOURS MINE AND HOWLS was another roller coaster ride of a read, and took some time to for me to settle down to it. After reading this second book I will say that packing alot of drama into her books probably will be apart of Ms Holley style – there is alot of stuff happening that made this read a bumpy journey for me.

The positive

Despite the roundabout way the plot line seemed to go – I liked the author’s style. Her characters had a snarky senses of humour and there was quite a mix of them involved in YOURS MINE AND HOWLS for me to love and hate to my heart content.

The author mixed in some mythology along with the werewolves lore – which I thought was a nice touch.

Loved Cade’s character – Very in-charge of his pack, had a clear idea of how he envisioned the future and did not back down from alot of thing – even when the odds where stacked against him.

Cade’s daughter was a treat and quite alot of the drama surrounded her – if you have issues with kids in books, pass this one by. This little madam had everyone at her beck and call and took up quite a bit of the book.

Really nice smexing… really nice.

Niggles

The plotline was shrouded in too much secrets and unanswered question for me and carried on for far too long in the book.. I am not a fan of too much secrecy that gets resolved at the last moment.

As mentioned before there was so much happening in this second book – I had to really keep up or I would miss out on what was going on. Some readers might not mind this – but I have problems with books where I have to think too hard.

There was very little development to some of the plotline and this made connecting with the overall story a problem for me.

I mentioned there a mix of mythology laced into the wolf lore – which I enjoyed – but only because I like mythology in general. The mythological name dropping and discussion through the book may toss readers off their game a bit if this in not your thing.

Bottom Line 

I cant say that I close the last page of this book with any deep satisfaction, the bad guys got theirs, Ally and Cade definately got theirs – but I couldn’t connect with the story or most of the characters, they all felt like they were passing through so made no lasting impression on me.

I am hoping the next book in the series will see the two packs from both books connect with a smoother storyline to close off quite alot of the lose ends.

This author does have a certain something that I cant quite put my fingers on to her style that I like – so  I will be looking out for more from her in the future..

 

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