Blog Tour + Review & Giveaway: Death Doesn’t Bargain by Sherrilyn Kenyon


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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Death Doesn’t Bargain by Sherrilyn Kenyon!

Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Deadman’s Cross #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 8th 2018
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Death Doesn’t Bargain is the second historical fantasy title in New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Deadman’s Cross series. Where Deadmen tell their tales, and every soul is damned or redeemed by the final choices they make.

The Deadmen are back…

But so are the demons who have broken free of their eternal prison and are bent on mankind’s destruction. The worst of the lot is Vine, determined to claim their lives for taking hers. She will see the world burn…and has the perfect lure to destroy them all. One of their own.

Kalder Dupree has never known a day of mercy. Born to the cruelest of mer-races, he sacrificed himself for his crew and is in Vine’s hands. He expects no mercy or rescue.

Yet Cameron Jack is determined to set Kalder free. As a Hellchaser, it’s her calling, and she cannot allow even a not-so-innocent to be tortured for an act of kindness that spared her damnation.

To defeat evil, it sometimes takes an even worse evil, and Cameron is willing to do whatever she must to make this right. If Vine thought she had her hands full before, she hasn’t seen anything nearly as powerful as Cameron’s resolve.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleThe Book Depository

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The second installment in the Deadman’s Cross series is jam-packed with action and drama. You’ll definitely need to have read the first book, Deadmen Walking, before starting this one, as it continues with Cameron Jack, Kalder Dupree, Devyl Bane, and Vine. We get to delve deeper into this historical fantasy world Sherrilyn Kenyon has created, learning more about the pirates, demons, and monsters that inhabit the seas. If you enjoyed the first Deadman’s Cross book, you’ll want to get your hands on this great sequel.

After losing Kalder, the Deadmen are determined to find and get back his soul. He’d sacrificed himself to save Cameron and her brother – and now Cameron wants to set Kalder free. They are our main couple, and their romance is just as intriguing to read as the action part of the plot. They’ve got plenty of demons in their past that they need to overcome in order to be together, and those demons don’t make it easy. We learn much more about the history of Kalder’s Myrcian heritage, with plenty of plot twists to keep the action going. There really wasn’t a dull moment in Death Doesn’t Bargain.

I’m amazed at the world SK has created with this series. Yes, there’s a lot of info dumping, but once you get into the groove of reading, you get a better understanding of the mythology behind this world. Now, I haven’t read SK’s other popular Dark-Hunter series, but fans of DH will definitely love seeing a surprise cameo of Acheron in this book. I know there is also a lot of overlap between the DW and DH series, so you’re sure to catch that if you read both series!

Pirates, magic, mythology, romance, and action – is there more you can ask for in a historical fantasy? If you’re interested in the genre, this series is definitely one to check out. I can’t say that I’ve ever read anything quite like it! The book ends in quite the cliffhanger, but I’m excited to see where SK will take us with the next installment.


lacey

Reading Order: Deadman’s Cross series

 

#1 ~ Deadmen Walking: My Review • EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Death Doesn’t Bargain: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads

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New York Times and International Bestselling author, Sherrilyn Kenyon, is a regular at the #1 spot. With legions of fans known as Menyons (thousands of whom proudly sport tattoos from her series and who travel from all over the world to attend her appearances), her books are always snatched up as soon as they appear on store shelves.

Since 2003, she had placed more than 80 novels on the New York Times list in all formats including manga and graphic novels. Current series are: Dark-Hunter®, Chronicles of Nick®, Deadman’s Cross™, Nevermore™, Silent Swans™, Lords of Avalon® and The League®. Her books are available in over 100 countries where eager fans impatiently wait for the next release. The Chronicles of Nick® and Dark-Hunter® series are soon to be major motion pictures while Dark-Hunter®, Lords of Avalon® and The League® are being developed for television. Join her and her Menyons online at SherrilynKenyon.com and www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrilynKenyon

Website • Twitter • Goodreads • Facebook • Pinterest • YoutubeInstagram

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3 Winners will receive a Set Copy of both books in the Series and a Pin (DEADMEN WALKING & DEATH DOESN’T BARGAIN) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

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Blog Tour + Review & Giveaway: The Greatest Risk by Kristen Ashley

The Greatest Risk by Kristen Ashley
Series: Honey #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
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A woman unable to connect, struggling to hide another part of her. A man burning to learn her truth, and make her whole. Through explosive passion and deep exploration, they are about to take the greatest risk of all. But will they be able to take that leap, and come out on the other side together? In this next passionate novel in the Honey series, New York Times bestselling author Kristen Ashley delivers a stunningly romantic and intensely sexy novel that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionIndieBoundPowells

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I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy – LOVE – The Greatest Risk as much as I did. I love KA but the first Honey book just wasn’t for me and I had to DNF it. I thought I had given up on the series but I couldn’t resist the chance to read KA one more time – and I am SO glad that I read this one. I was swept away by Stellan and Sixx’s story. If you know KA, then you know her books are long-winded, but with TGR, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages to see what would happen next for this fascinating couple. This book won’t be for everyone – it’s erotica/BDSM, but if you’re looking for something that’s unique and outside the box, I highly recommend this one.

“Undeniably mine,” he stated the answer she refused to say. Then he went in for the kill. “Forever, sweetheart.”

Sixx is known as the Ice Princess of The Honey. She’s a badass Mistress that doesn’t let anyone into her heart. She’s got demons and scars from her past, and she’s not about to let them hurt anyone she grows to care for, and certainly not the man she wants but can’t have. But when the man who will become her everything sets his sights on Sixx, there is no way to protect her heart from the onslaught that is Stellan Lange.

“Sweet pussy is worth any hassle. But to earn the attention of a queen . . .” He curled his hand around her jaw and used it to force her to look at him. The touch was dominant, but gentle, and achingly sweet, and when he caught her eyes, he concluded, speaking every word in a way each was laced with steel, “I. Will. Do. Anything.”

I love a good alpha male, and if there’s one thing KA is known for, it’s her alpha males. Now sometimes, they can get a little domineering and overbearing, but Stellan was absolute perfection. I adored Stellan and his determination to win the heart and love of the Ice Princess. He is kind and caring when it comes to Sixx’s heartbreaking backstory, but can be ruthless when it comes to protecting those he loves. He is the perfect Dom for Sixx, capable of handling her need to switch and submit. He’s all in for his queen right from the start, and I loved every minute of him building them the perfect life he knows they are meant to have.

“Be strong for the world, darling, if that’s what you need to be. But here, with me, you can be whatever you care to be.”

I went into The Greatest Risk essentially as a standalone, but I am definitely thinking about going back and trying this series from the beginning again. Sixx and Stellan’s romance held me captivated, their journey towards happiness as beautiful as it is heart-wrenching. My one complaint is that I do wish that the book could’ve explored more of Sixx and her being a switch. I felt like this aspect of her was a bit glossed over when it came to her and Stellan’s relationship, because with him, he was her Master, she was his sub and not a Mistress. But the chemistry itself in this book was a glorious thing. KA knows how to write steam, and she brings her A-game in TGR.

If you’re a fan of the author, I definitely urge you to read this book. I really enjoyed the way KA explored a BDSM relationship between two Doms. She gives her own unique take on the lifestyle, and I’m glad to have read it. I really hope we will be getting more Honey books after this!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Honey series

  

#1 ~ The Deep End: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Farthest Edge: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Greatest Risk: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

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Kristen Ashley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels, including Mystery Man, The Gamble, and Own the Wind. She grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Colorado and the West Country of England.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads

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(1) Paperback of The Greatest Risk by Kristen Ashley
(US Only)

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Blog Tour + Review: Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Love & War by Melissa de la Cruz! We’re a week away from its release, and to celebrate, I’ve got a review for the first book, Alex & Eliza!

Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: Alex & Eliza #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and the Descendants series comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon HardcoverBarnes & NobleBAMIndieBound

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I’ll admit that I don’t know the first thing about Hamilton, and I’ve never seen the musical. So I was able to go into this book with no preconceived notions, which I was thankful for. I don’t remember the last time I read a YA historical fiction, so I don’t have much to compare Alex & Eliza to, but this one hit all the marks for me – Melissa de la Cruz’s writing was easy to read, the historical aspect was well done (at least I thought so), but what I really enjoyed was the main focus of the novel: the romance between Alex and Eliza.

The book takes place during the winter months of 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, so we don’t get much of the actual fighting/action between the soldiers. Colonel Alexander Hamilton is George Washington’s aide, so he himself doesn’t experience the harsh realities of the war. While he longs to prove himself, things turn up when he hears that Eliza Schuyler is on her way to where Washington’s troops are staying. It’s been two years since Alex has last seen her, but he’s only missed her in their time apart.

I know the author has taken creative liberties with Alex and Eliza’s love story, since not much is known about it, but I adored the direction that Melissa de la Cruz took with it. They have a bit of a whirlwind romance, with lots of swoons, sweet moments, and chemistry. Eliza is witty, sassy, and a strong female character that I admired. I really enjoyed the portrayal of female characters in this novel, with Eliza and her sisters. These ladies are headstrong and command a room not just with their beauty, but with their sharp, intelligent minds too. I liked learning more about both Alex and Eliza, and would definitely do some research about them as they are fascinating characters. We get some old-fashioned courtship mixed within all the American Revolution historical details, and there was the perfect balance of both. I never once felt like the story lagged or was bored!

I’d definitely recommend this YA historical romance fiction if you love anything historical or romance, and especially if you’re a fan of Alexander Hamilton. Melissa de la Cruz was able to bring the history and romance to life, and I enjoyed reading every bit of it. Right now I am diving into the sequel which I have high hopes for if the first book is anything to go by!


lacey

Reading Order: Alex & Eliza series

 

#1 ~ Alex & Eliza: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Love & War: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads (April 17, 2018)

about the author button

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Goodreads

Tour Schedule

WEEK ONE

4/2 – Quite the Novel Idea – Creative: Hand-lettering Piece
4/3 – Lo’s Lo-Down on Books – Spotlight
4/4 – Bette’s Pages – Creative DIY – Alexa & Eliza Inspired Soaps
4/5 – The Gypsy Road – Review

WEEK TWO

4/9 – Booklovers for Life – Spotlight + Review
4/10 – Just Reading It – Spotlight
4/11 – The Heart of a Book Blogger – Book Aesthetics

LOVE & WAR: AN ALEX & ELIZA LOVE STORY

WEEK THREE

4/16 – The Blonde Bookworm Reads – Review + Spotlight
4/17 – The Clockwork Bibliophile – Review + Insta Post
4/18 – Reading with Wrin – Review
4/19 – A Page with a View – Favorite Historical Fiction Reads
4/20 – BookishNel – Creative Photos + Mini Review

WEEK FOUR

4/23 – Librariel Book Reviews – Review
4/24 – Teachers Who Read – Review
4/25 – The Plot Bunny – Creative
4/26 – Fiktshun – My Top 10 Favorite Things about Love and War


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Blog Tour + Excerpt: Collision Point by Lora Leigh

Collision Point by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
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From #1 bestselling author Lora Leigh comes Collision Point, part of the thrilling Brute Force series—packed with powerful men, steely women, and explosive passion.

SHE’S NOTHING BUT TROUBLE

Riordan Malone is more than a bodyguard. As an Elite Ops agent, he’s ripped, raged, and ready to rumble—a true warrior, inside and out. But no war zone can compare to the battle in Rory’s heart when he lays eyes on the only woman he’s ever loved—and thought he had lost forever. . .

HE’S EVERYTHING SHE NEEDS

As the daughter of a crime lord, Amara Resnova has endured the cruelty of her father’s enemies—and has tried to escape that world ever since. Now, she must reach out to the one man who saved her life, even if she’s never forgiven him for breaking her heart. But Amara is tougher today than she was then. She’s also more desirable to Rory—and dangerous to love. Can he protect her from her father’s enemies without surrendering to his own passions…or will love seal their fate for good?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Macmillan • Barnes & Noble • Books-a-Million • IndieBound • Powells

Now here’s an excerpt from Collision Point! ❤

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Chapter one

Six months later

She’d been told that West Texas in the spring wasn’t much different from West Texas in the fall, but as Amara Resnova pulled in the driveway of the small house outside Alpin, she felt she had to disagree with that summation.

Stretched out in front of the house with its wraparound porch was a lush green valley fed by a lazily running stream winding through it. Sunlight speared from the cloudless blue sky, bright and warm, spreading its heat in a comforting embrace.

And the charming little house sat just beneath the warming sunlight. Spreading out in front of it was the picturesque valley; behind it, the normal West Texas part-grass, part-scrub, potential-desert landscape that never failed to amaze her.

On a rising knoll stood a lone tree, thickly branched and heavily leafed, shading what appeared to be a small cemetery. Rather than looking desolate and lonely, that little plot of land with its surrounding black iron fence, appeared instead to keep watch over the land below it. As though those buried there kept a gentle eye on those who came after them.

As isolated as the property was, it should have appeared stark. Instead, an air of contentment and peace lay over it. As though the land, the house, the vibrant green of the valley, and the cemetery that overlooked it all, knew all there was about life and love and had locked all those secrets within it to sustain it.

Drawing in a deep breath to steady herself against the fears she hadn’t been able to push behind her even in such a lovely setting, Amara turned off the engine, forced her hands not to shake, and opened the door before stepping into the warmth that filled the valley.

It wasn’t a blazing heat, but rather a gentle wave that filled the air and wafted around her. And in it there was a strange sense of familiarity. A “been there before” feeling that had her heart racing, her mouth drying as she stared around and drew in the sights and whispered sounds of a land as yet untouched by civilized life.

Here, a person could see the stars at night rather than the city lights. The sound of the lonely coyote rather than the rush of traffic. Peace rather than a hectic race.

Here, perhaps, she could find some answers. And maybe there was a chance to find everything she’d lost.

Tugging the hem of her tank, she straightened it over the band of her jeans beneath the light denim jacket she wore as she walked slowly from the car to the stone path that led to the porch. The thick carpet of grass stretched from the valley to surround the house, but she’d noticed as she parked that it became sparser at the back. As though that carpet of green with its lazy stream could only struggle so far to embrace the weathered home.

The dark blue pickup parked at the side of the house attested that someone lived there. And she knew the vehicle belonged to the man those in town called Grandpops Malone.

Riordan Malone Sr. was grandfather to Riordan Malone the younger, she’d been told, when she stopped at the gas station and auto repair garage outside town that bore the name MALONE AND BLAKE—SERVICE AND REPAIR. There, she’d learned Riordan the younger was part owner but currently out at his “grandpops’” place.

Riordan.

That name haunted her dreams, her fantasies. Though the man in those dreams wasn’t an old man. The one who came to her in those nightly images was tall, strong, impossibly sexy.

As Amara forced herself to walk to the porch, she looked around, searching for the face, listening for the voice of a man she knew only in those dreams. The man she’d escaped her father’s protection to go search for.

Was he friend or foe?

Even she couldn’t answer that question, not fully. But for some reason, she couldn’t seem to help the need to learn which he would be.

As her foot lifted to the first step, the front door creaked, causing her to pause, to wait with bated breath as it slowly opened to reveal an aged, gray-haired gentleman she suspected was Riordan Sr., Grandpops.

In his worn loose jeans, well-washed white shirt with sleeves folded neatly back below his elbows, scuffed leather boots, and with that serene expression, the man looked as old and wise as the mountains themselves. And there was no doubt he was just as damn stubborn.

“Well, hello there.” The smile that lifted the corners of his mouth was reflected in his dark blue eyes. “Can I help ya, young lady?”

There was a whisper of a lyrical accent. Irish. Just a whisper though, not the full, male lilt she sometimes heard in memories that never fully revealed themselves.

“I’m looking…” She swallowed nervously. “I’m looking for Riordan Malone.”

His head tilted to the side, his thick graying hair neatly trimmed but giving a hint of the rogue he must have been in his youth.

“I’d say you’re looking for my grandson rather than myself,” he said gently. “He should be along in a bit. His da just called to say he’s done stole that wild pony again and headed this way.” A chuckle filled the air. “Come along up to the porch and sit with me till he arrives. That wild beast always gives a show when he comes barreling through the valley.”

Moving gingerly up the steps to the porch, she followed him to the comfortable-looking cushioned rockers that faced the valley.

“Does he steal ponies often?” She frowned as she sat down, feeling more off balance than she’d felt in her life—which was saying something considering the past six months.

“Just that wild-assed black son of a satan that took a liking to him.” He grinned back at her, his gnarled hands gripping the arms of the rocker loosely. “His da threatens to kill the beast every time Riordan takes it out. He swears it’s gonna kill the boy.”

Boy.

That didn’t sound like the man she was searching for. But, everything she learned assured her this was the one place she was certain to find him.

“Ahh, here he comes now.” Fondness filled the old man’s tone as he motioned to the valley.

He appeared at first as no more than a storm of dust rising beyond the verdant green of the valley.

Amara watched, her heart racing as that trail of dust grew steadily closer.

It was an imposing sight, she had to admit.

A sensual, exhilarating sight.

The horse, black as midnight, neck extended, flying across the deserted landscape, was enough to hold the eye. But the sight of the man, bent low to the horse’s neck, black hair flying back from his face, riding without a saddle, was a bit more than simply imposing.

It was exhilarating.

Imposing and savage and wildly erotic.

Amara could feel her body responding to the sight, weakening, filling with a sensual lassitude she couldn’t combat.

“Be watching this now. That horse loves ta take him on a wild ride he does,” Grandpops said softly.

The horse flew over a gully as though he had wings, before jumping the stream, neck and legs extended as it went airborne for precious seconds. The animal then took a series of fences as though they were nothing, and as she stared, she felt she knew how those women felt from centuries past as they watched a conquering warrior bearing down on them.

When the horse flew over the fence that enclosed the house yard, Amara was certain there was no way it could pull up before slamming headfirst into the porch itself.

With no more than a few yards to spare, the beast came up on his hind legs, a triumphant equine scream filling the air before landing again and prancing about with pure high-spirited joy before finally settling.

And Riordan sat firm on the animal’s back the whole time, holding onto the horse’s mane rather than a bridle, thighs gripping the animal’s heaving sides as he stared at her with blazing, furious blue eyes before turning them on his grandfather.

The younger Riordan dismounted smoothly, the soles of his moccasined feet hitting the ground as he slapped the beast on the rump. It came up on its hind legs once more in another display of savage beauty as it reared up, pawed the air, then shot off back the way it came the second it landed.

Flying like the wind, strong legs launching it over the fence, the gully, then the stream before a trail of dust followed it around the bend of the mountain.

So much beauty, she thought. A display of savage male temper and strength, and no less showed in Riordan’s expression as he propped his hands on his lean waist and glared up at her where she sat next to his grandfather on the porch.

Well-worn denim encased his hips and legs, and the moccasins that covered his feet weren’t fringed or fancy, just well made. A black T-shirt stretched across a broad chest, emphasizing his muscular abs and making her fingers itch to remove it.

Yes, this was him. The savage who invaded her dreams, the fury who slashed at her nightmares. Vivid sapphire eyes, daunting features, proud, imposing. A man who knew his own demons as well as those that inhabited other men. Or women.

She rose slowly to her feet, aware of Riordan’s “grandpops” as he sat comfortably in his rocker, watching in interest.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” the words that passed from his lips caused her to flinch; their icy tone caused her heart to sink.

The tender tone, the edge of lust and hunger she’d dreamed of, was nowhere in sight.

His gaze raked over her and there was none of the sensual promise she’s seen in his eyes when he’d invaded her dreams, none of the dominant sensualist who tormented her with his touch in her fantasies.

She hadn’t expected this. This wild fury and enraged demand. He didn’t seem the least bit glad to see her, she had to admit. What made her think he would be? she wondered.

Was she wrong? Did she not know him?

She was certain she had to have known him, certain that somehow, someway, they must have meant something to each other. Could she have been so wrong?

“Riordan!” Grandpops’ surprised tone had a grimace contorting Riordan’s face.

Evidently the grandfather thought little of the grandson’s language.

“Grandpops, perhaps you should go back to Grant’s.” He turned to his grandfather, his voice firm. “Noah, Sabella, and the babies will be there in a bit.”

Grandpops continued to glower at him.

“I’m certain I can handle whatever language he wants to use, Mr. Malone,” she assured the older man. “I’m not exactly a stranger to it these days.”

Her father cursed more often, brooded more often, and Amara knew the situation she’d found herself in was weighing on him. If she didn’t do something, didn’t fix things, then she was terrified of what may happen. Of what her father would do to fix things himself.

“But can his grandmother?” The old man sounded disappointed rather than angry. “Remember whose home your using that language in, boy.”

Rising from his chair, Grandpops moved to the steps stiffly and made his way down, casting his grandson yet another warning glare.

“Drive carefully, Grandpops. No more racing with those Brickford boys,” Riordan stated as his grandfather passed by.

And Amara could have sworn she saw a gleeful grin tease at the older man’s lips. But he merely grunted as he passed.

A few moments later the truck started, and they watched Grandpops ease around the circular drive and onto the road that led to the small valley.

The silence that stretched between them was heavy—with his anger and her uncertainty.

As the truck took the curve around the rising hill, she turned back to Riordan and tucked her hands into the pockets of her light jacket, her fingers curling into fists.

She’d faked the last six months with friends and most of her family. Taking cues from her father and his assistant Nikolai, she’d smiled and faked her way through every damn meeting and gathering she’d been forced to attend until she slipped silently from her father’s estate the week before and, in essence, ran away from home.

Not that he was letting her run without giving chase. He and his men weren’t far behind her and she knew it. They’d almost caught up with her the night before, outside Houston. If she didn’t do something, if she didn’t find a way to eliminate the threat shadowing her, then her poppa could do something she may not be able to live with. And it was that decision that sent her running to Alpine and the man who shadowed her dreams.

She was here now. She’d found the man she’d gone searching for, and she knew the days of lying and pretending to be who she’d been six months before were over.

She lifted her head, straightened her shoulders, and stared up at him in determination.

“Whatever I did to you, I’m sorry,” she told him, miserably aware that if she’d offended him in the past, angered him, then there was the possibility it couldn’t be fixed with an apology. She hadn’t been the nicest person she could have been in the past.

His eyes narrowed on her before once again moving to sweep over the landscape. There was a tension that surrounded him, a steady watchfulness she’d noticed her father and Ilya always carried as well. That prepared and ready-for-action thing strong men always seemed to carry with them.

“Go home, Amara,” he told her when those brilliant eyes turned back to her. “Go back to daddy. This is no place for you.”

He knew her. He was angry, but for a second, she swore she saw something more in that flash of heat in his expression.

“No. Riordan, please.” He couldn’t make her leave. Not yet, not until he knew what was coming, because what was coming didn’t affect just her. She could sense it, her dreams assured her of it.

Turning, Riordan dismissed her just that easily and strode up the steps to the porch, leaving her to stand alone as the storm door slammed behind his retreating back.

Alone.

Strange, but this feeling of “alone” didn’t seem nearly as unfamiliar as it should have.

Inhaling deeply, she followed him rather than doing as ordered. Not that she often did as she was ordered. That was probably how she found herself where she was now. Opening the door quietly, she stepped into the house, her gaze taking in the homey atmosphere of the large living area.

A comfortable leather couch, recliner, and matching chairs were grouped around a cold fireplace. The mantle held a variety of family pictures that she would have loved to have time to check out. The wood floor was smooth, aged with a sheen of time and caring.

There were more family pictures in frames on the wall, many appeared old and passed down through the years, the frames lovingly polished, the photos a bit faded from time.

As she stepped into the room, Riordan watched her silently, leaning against the wide doorframe into the kitchen, his arms crossed over his broad chest as he simply stared at her, his expression still and remote.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he asked, that rumble of his deep voice sending a stroke of sensation up her spine.

What was she doing here?

Trying to survive, to live.

“I need your help.” She had to force herself to say the words, and still they came out as barely more than a whisper. “Please, Riordan. I need your help.”

* * *

Six months.

For six bloody months this damn woman had tormented his dreams while asleep and his thoughts while awake. He’d given his life for her on a dark, blood-filled night, then again on an operating table, only to be told she never wanted to see him again when he’d been released. And now, two months after he’d returned to Texas, here she was.

Son of a bitch. Just when he thought he could get through a night without being tormented by her, she just showed up out of the blue. And it was all he could do not to touch her, to jerk her to him and show her exactly what she was dealing with in coming to him.

But, she’d been his weakness from the moment he’d met her, hadn’t she? From the second his gaze touched hers, she’d been the one woman he couldn’t get out his head. And God knew he’d fought it.

Tiny and delicate, she made a man want to wrap her in cotton and hide her away from the world. Resilient, stubborn, and independent, she made a man realize fast that she wouldn’t allow him to do so.

Her once-long, straight silky black hair was shorter now, courtesy of her abductors. At first jagged and close to her scalp, it had grown a good six inches or so and feathered around her delicate face becomingly. Piercing gray-blue eyes stared back at him, somberly.

Frightened.

Riordan straightened from the doorframe, his eyes narrowing on her. That was fear in her eyes, along with the uncertainty and the heat he always saw there.

“You need my help?” he couldn’t help the mockery that tinged his voice simply because it flooded every corner of his mind. “Strange, two months ago you never wanted to see my damn lying ass again. What changed?”

What had changed? For a moment, that question had her pausing.

God, if only she could tell him. She was damned if she knew herself what had changed. All she knew was that now, six months after she’d awakened, she was unable to remember what had happened or who had abducted her or what they had wanted. The nightmares had grown worse, the sense of imminent danger and panic that fueled them had become overwhelming. In each one, this man stood with his hand outstretched, his voice whispering to her, urging her to find him. To come to him.

She swallowed tightly, uncertain what to say, how to explain. She didn’t trust him, not by any means. But she didn’t trust anyone now. She didn’t know who to trust.

“I’m sorry.” But she was damned if she could remember telling him he wasn’t wanted.

No doubt she’d had a good reason. Savagely hewn, rough and sexy, and a cowboy to boot. No doubt he had a wandering eye and hands that had no idea how to be faithful. The one type of man she despised. But personal fidelity and the ability to protect weren’t always intimately acquainted, she’d since learned. The man who cheated on his wife and walked away from his children could also be the very man willing to give his life for that same woman, or those children.

Men had never made sense to her, even from an early age. But she didn’t need him to make sense to her, she needed him to fulfill the promise he made in her dreams and help her figure out who was determined to see her dead and why she was so certain it was someone she knew and loved.

“You’re sorry?” he snorted, flashing her a look filled with disgust. “Fine, go home and be sorry there. I don’t have time for it here.”

The panic was beginning to build inside her chest. It thundered through her veins and raced to her heart. If he made her leave, if he threw her out and forced her to run again, she was going to die, and she knew it.

“You promised you’d help me,” she snapped, her tone more demanding than she would like despite her uncertainty and the fact that the words tore from her almost involuntarily. “You swore it. You can’t renege now.”

Had he really promised, or had she just dreamed it? Was the memory of that dark little hole and the pain that filled her just another nightmare? Had he really been there, swearing he’d always save her, or had she just imagined it?

“Did I now?” Softly voiced, the question held that bit of Irish sexy, lyrical sound that she often heard in those fantasy dreams filled with pleasure rather than pain. “And when did that happen?”

She shook her head. Memory or nightmare?

“You swore you’d always be there if I needed you.” She fought to believe it was memory. “All I had to do was reach out to you. Well, dammit, I’m reaching out. Do you want me to beg too?”

She could see his hand outstretched, his expression somber, demanding. He wouldn’t come to her, she had to go to him.

Riordan felt as though his world had narrowed, that nothing existed but this moment, this woman, and the dreams that had haunted him. Dreams of her cries, her pleas that he come to her. And no matter how desperately he tried to reach her, she was always but a touch away. No matter how often he’d urged her to take his hand, to come to him, just reach out to him, she never did.

The dreams had become so insistent over the months, he’d actually contacted his former security team members who still worked for her father to check up on her.

All was well, he’d been told. Princess Resnova was still the princess, and the czar still protected her like the cherished daughter she would always be. And still, he dreamed, reached out to her, and urged her to take his hand.

I’ll always be here for you. Just reach out to me.

He hadn’t told her that, he’d whispered those words in a dream.

And son of a bitch if that wasn’t enough to make a man force himself not to shake in his boots.

“Why?” he demanded. “Why the hell do you need me when your father has over fifty protection agents, and every damn one of them is on call in case they’re needed to protect you? What the fuck do you need with me?”

Damn her. She’d waited six months to come to him. She’d let him lie in a hospital out of the country, half alive for weeks, and hadn’t once called or reached out him. Why the hell was she short circuiting his brain now?

“I need you to help me,” she whispered again. “I need someone I can trust with my life, Riordan, before I die because I don’t know anymore who’s a friend and who’s the enemy. But you might know. I need someone I can trust to watch my back while I figure out who the hell is trying to kill me and why.”

Kill her?

According to every source he had in her father’s organization, she was safe. The men at the farmhouse where they’d found her were all killed. The bodyguard they’d identified as being behind the abduction and her beating was dead as well.

“Your father’s men can protect you.” God help him. If he even tried, he’d get them both killed—because he wouldn’t be able to stay out of her bed.

She was shaking her head even as he spoke. “I don’t trust them. I don’t trust anyone.” Desperation filled her expression now. “You don’t understand, Riordan. All I have are these crazy dreams of you. Every nightmare I have you’re at my back, protecting me. That’s all I have because I don’t remember what happened before my abduction or the abduction itself. I’ve lost a year of my life and I don’t know why and I damn sure can’t force those memories back,” she cried out, fury filling her tone. “All I have are the nightmares and dreams, and the only person I can see, the only person I can trust in them is you. And by God, I want to know why.”

She faced him, fists clenched, anger flushing her face, but that was heat in her eyes. It wasn’t just nightmares she had, it wasn’t simply dreams.

It was this bond he could sense between them even as she stared back at him, furious, frightened.

And he’d waited long enough.

Taking the steps that separated them, he jerked her into his arms, his lips stilling her cries, his arms tightening around her, holding her to him.

Her lips parted in shock, and he took full advantage of it. He tasted her. Lips and tongue possessed her kiss, and he let his senses grow drunk on her.

Because somehow, someway, she’d shared not just her dreams with him, but those incredibly erotic fantasies that filled his head as well.

And now, he wanted a taste of all that passion, that feminine hunger and need he hadn’t nearly had enough of before her abduction.

Then they could discuss the rest.

Copyright © 2018 by Lora Leigh in Collision Point and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Reading Order: Brute Force series

 

#1 ~ Collision Point: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Dagger’s Edge: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Aug. 28, 2018)

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#1 New York Times bestseller Lora Leigh is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.

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Blog Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: Darkest Night by Tara Thomas

Darkest Night by Tara Thomas
Series: Sons of Broad #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
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In this first novel in the explosive, brand-new romantic suspense Sons of Broad series from Tara Thomas comes a novel of deadly secrets and hidden danger. In the sultry streets of Charleston, one family, ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons, has risen to the top. But a merciless enemy is out to destroy them…and everyone they hold close…

SHE THOUGHT SHE’D LOST HIM FOREVER
Tilly Brock has learned—the hard way—how to take care of herself. Once a pillar of Charleston society, her family lost everything in the wake of a shocking scandal. And then Tilly lost the only boy she ever loved.

BUT NOW THAT HE’S BACK IN HER LIFE
Keaton Benedict is Charleston’s most notorious bachelor. But in spite of all his advantages—the money, the women, the family name—he longs for more: the heart of the young woman he still can’t forget.

THE DANGER HAS JUST BEGUN…
When Keaton re-enters Tilly’s life, after all these years, she is torn between feelings of doubt and desire. Can they put the past behind them and learn to love again? Tilly is willing to try. But Keaton is afraid that a vengeful enemy is watching—and waiting to destroy them. Can the rekindled flame of their love defeat the deadliest rival and light their way forward in the darkest night?

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Now here’s an excerpt from Darkest Night! ❤

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Two scantily clad women strutted out onto the stage.

Keaton was too far away to see details. All he could make out were tiny bikini tops and even tinier thongs. Blondes. And pretty enough to make any red-blooded man fantasize about ripping the scraps of fabric off them. A movement to the side of the stage caught his eye. A server. He only saw her profile, but there was something about her.

He slid off the barstool to get a closer look.

“Hey, man,” Michael called after him. “Where are you going?”

Keaton didn’t reply.

“Where’s Benedict going?” he heard someone ask. “He’s interested in a dancer? Here?” someone else asked.

Keaton shook his head; it wasn’t a dancer that captured his attention. He wasn’t a stranger to the numerous clubs around the city that catered to wealthy men and their carnal needs. However, he’d never singled out any particular woman while at one. After all, he’d al- ways said, one half-naked woman was just as good as another. As made evident by the number of times his picture was in the society pages, but never with the same woman twice.

And yet, here he was, eyes fixed on the petite waitress at the side of the stage, currently trying to blend into the background and not take away from the duo on the stage. It was a horrible failure. He wasn’t sure why the management even felt the need to put anyone onstage with her working here. How could anyone look at those two with her in the room?

She moved with a grace that made the two blondes look like ducks swimming alongside a swan. She stretched out her hand to pass a glass to a man sitting on the far inside of a booth. Everyone in her vicinity turned to watch her lithe body.

“Drooling over a topless dancer?” Michael asked, coming up behind him. “I have to say, I’m a bit surprised. They look a bit rough.”

“Not a dancer,” Keaton let slip before he could stop himself.

Michael moved to stand beside him and followed his line of sight. His low whistle signaled he saw the woman in question. “Hot damn. Wait until a certain blonde hears about this. I’m sure Miss Elise Germain will love the fact that her intended is drooling over a half-naked barmaid.”

“Shut the fuck up.” Keaton didn’t shift his attention from the goddess taking drink orders. “I’m not engaged.” “Please,” Michael’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “You two have been promised to each since you were what? Fifteen?”

Keaton mumbled a curse under his breath, but right now, he couldn’t focus on anything other than the serving siren. It sounded so crazy, he couldn’t even verbalize it, but he thought he knew her from somewhere. Some- thing about the way she moved called to him. Pulled him forward for a better look.

He took another step toward her.

She was magnificent. And the way she moved continued to captivate the audience near her. Keaton’s eyes traveled over her body, taking in as many details as possible: her light brown skin, the curve of her hips, and the slope of her breasts covered by a tight cropped shirt. He knew they would be oh-so-soft to touch. His eyes drifted higher at the same time she turned her head his way and he froze.

Tilly.

He couldn’t breathe. It couldn’t be.

What was she doing in Charleston? The last he’d heard, her family had moved to Texas. Granted, they’d both been fourteen at the time, but he’d never forgot- ten the day he’d got home from school, walked into the eerily quiet kitchen, and discovered his life had changed forever.

Tilly always came over to his house after school to help him with his homework. Usually her mother would come over with her and gossip with his mom. But there was nothing that day. He’d looked out the back door to get a peek of their house and gasped. There were men all over the yard, carrying furniture.

He’d run back inside and up the stairs to his mother’s room and, with a stomach filled with dread, asked where Mama Ann and Tilly were. His mother arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow. She didn’t like that her children called their neighbor Mama Ann, but every- one called her that. It was just her personality. She was so kind and loving, the name came naturally.

“They’re moving to Texas,” she said, and his world shifted out of focus.

“Why?” he managed to croak out. Texas was so far away. It made no sense why they would move away from their family like that and so suddenly.

“It’s been discovered that Mr. Brock has been embezzling money from your father.”

“What?” He couldn’t believe it. Not Tilly’s dad. He was stealing from them? Something didn’t sound right. His mother gave him a sad smile. “I’m afraid he was caught red-handed. The Brock family’s basically ruined now. Best they move and try to start over.”

His parents had always joked that he and Tilly would get married one day. Everyone talked about it and he didn’t even care because Tilly was smart and pretty. The week before, he’d kissed her for the first time. Her lips had been soft and sweet, and he’d looked forward to kissing them over and over. How could he kiss her if she were in Texas?

“Your father’s going to promote Howard Germain.

Isn’t his daughter in your class, too?”

Elise. Tilly’s best friend. Or was. He felt sick. He mumbled a half-intelligible answer to his mom and ran down the stairs to the living room. He had to call Tilly. Had to talk to her, even if it was only to say good-bye. But their phone had already been disconnected and when he went to their house, the men moving all the furniture told him they’d already left.

Tilly Brock put on her best plastic smile and muttered a soft, “Excuse me, please,” to the man blocking her path to her customer. She recognized the move for what it was: an attempt to make her reach across him. Two more months. Two more months. She grit her teeth and made sure the men saw just enough of her cleavage as she handed the drink to the waiting customer.

“Thank you, darling,” he said, eyes firmly planted on her chest, never once looking her in the eyes. “Why ain’t someone as pretty as you up onstage?”

Like she didn’t hear that ten times a night. Her mother might not roll over in her grave at the thought of her daughter serving drinks at a gentlemen’s club, but Tilly knew she’d come back from the dead for the sole purpose of telling her how disappointed she was if she even thought about dancing topless.

“Two left feet,” she told the guy instead.

“Trust me.” His laugh gave her chills. “It ain’t your feet we’re interested in.”

Two more months. I can do two more months.

Onstage, the dance was almost over. One of the blond twins glared at her and in doing so, tripped and almost fell. Several men booed. The other twin shot her a look that told Tilly they were blaming everything on her. Oh well, what else was new. It wasn’t a day that ended in “y” if she didn’t piss off the Wonder Twins.

She gathered several empty glasses and nodded as a few drink orders were given. Her tray was heavy, but she thought she could make it back to the bar. She turned that way and suddenly felt someone’s eyes drilling holes into her from the back of the room. Out of habit, she lifted her head to try and find who was watching her so intensely.

She scanned the crowd, but no one looked out of place. Then she saw him, standing slightly off to the side, watching her with an easy confidence, but with a tilt of his head that somehow seemed familiar. He recognized her at the same instant she recognized him.

Keaton Benedict.

Her tray and glasses fell to the floor.

Copyright © 2018 by Tara Thomas and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

Reading Order: Sons of Broad series

  

#1 ~ Darkest Night: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Deadly Secret: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (March 27, 2018)
#3 ~ Broken Promise: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (June 26, 2018)

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Tara Thomas’s love of books and writing started as a child and though she wanted to be an author, she decided a degree in science was more practical. After fifteen years in the pharmaceutical industry, she returned to her first love and hasn’t looked back since.

She writes erotic romance as Tara Sue Me. Her Submissive Series novels have been on both the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists. Her novel The Master earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was awarded Best Romance of 2016 from Best Book Awards.

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1 print copy of Darkest Night by Tara Thomas
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