Blog Tour + Excerpt: Rehearsal Dinner by J.R. Ward (Free!)

Don’t miss #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense Consumed (available in Fall 2018) takes us back to where it all started between arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire. The Wedding From Hell is a sexy standalone novella that sets up Consumed’s storyline, leaving fans hungry for more and dying to snatch it up.

Rehearsal Dinner by J.R. Ward
Series: The Wedding from Hell #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 17th 2018
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It’s a classic recipe for disaster: Take one bridesmaid who thinks pink is the root of all evil, mix with a best man who’s hotter than a four-alarm fire, add in their explosive sexual attraction, a nightmare bridezilla, two cat fights, and an emergency call, and you have the wedding from hell.

Experience the sizzling start of Anne and Danny’s intense relationship. Is this the start of something good…or just an erotic one-night stand that rocks their world, but must never be repeated?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiBooksGoogle Play

Now here’s an excerpt from Rehearsal Dinner! ❤

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Thursday, October 29
T minus 48 hours ’til blastoff
College Row, New Brunswick, Massachusetts

Because women are not frickin’ groomsmen! That’s why she can’t be in the goddamn wedding!”

As Anne Ashburn walked in the back door of the shotgun apartment, that happy little explosion was not only what she’d expected all along, it also offered her the out she’d been praying for. And it was probably the one and only time she was ever going to agree with the bride.

Not about the role of females in bridal parties, but that Anne wasn’t going to be in the “goddamn wedding.”

Everyone standing in the kitchen turned and looked at her: Deandra Cox, the impending wearer of the white dress; Robert “Moose” Miller, her exhausted fiancé and Anne’s fellow crew member down at the 499 fi rehouse; and . . . Dannyboy Maguire.

Who was the only one she really noticed and, for that reason, the person she refused to look at.

Too bad Danny always made an impression. Like most firefighters, he was in great physical shape, his big body thickly muscled and ready to snap into motion in an instant. With his heavy arms linked over that chest and his long legs crossed at the boots, he was leaning back against the chipped countertop, his too-blue stare missing nothing. He was fresh from a shower, his glossy black hair wet, and Anne tried not to picture him naked under the spray, his tattooed torso arching as he rinsed the shampoo out of his—

She put her hands up to stop herself as much as the argument. “Look, I don’t want to cause any problems. I’m happy to step aside—”

“And now I have one too many bridesmaids.” The bride-to-be refocused on her intended. “My count is wrong. You wait until two days before the wedding to tell me this when you know I’m not going to like it, and now my count is off!”

As the groom focused on the linoleum floor, it was impossible not to picture a wax version of the couple on a multi-tiered cake: Deandra in skinny jeans and that tight cashmere sweater, her dark hair streaked blond, her body cocked forward like she was going to throat-punch the man she was going to marry; Moose in his New Brunswick Fire Department T-shirt, all broad-shouldered and bearded around the face, easing back like someone with the flu was about to sneeze in his face.

Ah, true love.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Moose muttered. “Anne’s a member of the four-nine-nine crew, and everyone else is with me.”

“She’s a girl.” Deandra pointed at Anne. “It throws off everything.”

“I really don’t want to cause any problems.” Anne put her hands up again. “So I’ll just be in the congregation. It’s perfectly fine—”

Deandra’s glare swung Anne’s way. “The count is still wrong. And my friends have already paid for their dresses. They were a hundred and twenty dollars apiece.”

And that’s my cue to go, Anne thought. Moose may have volunteered for this, but no one else had or needed to—

“I think women can be whatever they want.”

As Danny spoke up, everyone looked at him—including Anne, who suddenly felt shades of what Deandra was throwing out.

Don’t you dare, she mouthed at him behind the bride’s back.

Danny just shrugged like he’d thrown on a pantsuit and was channeling Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton all at once. “I mean, Deandra, you’re above all that sexism, aren’t you? No one’s going to tell you what’s right and wrong for your own wedding. You’re more secure than that.”

I am going to kill you, Anne vowed. “I think Deandra wants things done properly for her only wedding.”

Danny frowned in pseudo-confusion. “So you’re saying it’s okay to have a double standard for men and women? That’s a shocker given how you are at the station. I thought you believed in equality.”

“I do,” Anne snapped. “But this isn’t about equality.”

“You sure? I don’t know how you can support traditional gender roles when it comes to a wedding ceremony at the same time you defend the right for women to be firefighters, cops, and on the front lines in the military.”

“Spare me someone who’s never been in a dress having an opinion about women’s issues, okay?”

“I’m just pointing out that you don’t want women out of dresses.”

“It’s her wedding.” Anne jabbed a finger at Deandra. “She’s the bride. She gets to say what’s right and wrong for her, and she does not need some man telling her what to do.”

“Even if I’m defending the rights of women?”

“Until you grow a set of ovaries, you can shut the hell up about our rights!”

As Anne’s voice ricocheted around the kitchen, she realized that she’d marched right up to Danny—and that Deandra and Moose were watching the two of them in total stillness.

She cleared her throat and took a step back. “Anyway, Deandra’s made up her mind. And I support her decision.”

Deandra’s eyes narrowed on Danny, and something about the way the woman looked at him didn’t seem right.

“Actually,” the bride said, “maybe she should be in the wedding party.”

Anne prayed her expression stayed neutral. “Don’t compromise your vision on my account.”

“I won’t.” The woman stared at Danny. “Fine. Let’s put her in a tuxedo like the rest of the men. She can walk my sister down the aisle, just like a man should. Her shoulders are too big for a gown, anyway, and that way my count stays the way it should.”

Anne rolled her eyes. Let’s hear it for girl power.

“So it’s settled,” Deandra said with a tight smile. “You need a tux. Unless you already own one.”

For a moment, Anne waited for somebody to argue with the woman. Like Moose. But he was clearly done falling on swords over the wedding details, and Danny had just gotten what he wanted so he wasn’t going to say a damn thing.

And the truth was, after how many years of fighting fires with these men, they were her brothers in all but blood. Even though she thought Moose had lost his ever-loving mind marrying this beautiful but sour woman after knowing her for a matter of months, Anne was still going to stand up for the guy if he wanted her to—and he did. He’d asked her down at the stationhouse specifically.

“Where did you guys rent your suits?” Anne said to him.

“Tuxedoes,” Deandra corrected.

The groom blinked like he’d forgotten how to speak English. Then again, he’d been doing that a lot at the firehouse lately. “You’re actually going to wear one?”

“What the hell do I care?”

“Yes, she is wearing one,” Deandra cut in.

Danny spoke up. “I’ll go with you. I know where the place is.”

Reading Order: The Wedding from Hell/Firefighter series

 

Rehearsal Dinner: EbookGoodreads
Consumed: EbookHardcoverAudibleGoodreads (Oct. 9, 2018)

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J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

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Blog Tour + Review & Excerpt: Mogul by Katy Evans

Mogul, an all-new standalone from Katy Evans is available now!

Mogul by Katy Evans
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: May 31st 2018
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He’s my most delicious secret.
The hot Suit I had a one-night stand with one evening.
I didn’t know anything about him, not even his name.
Only that we shared a taxi, and he was staying at the hotel where I worked.
We met in room 1103. Where he commanded not only my body but my soul.
The next day he was gone and I only had a memory of him.
I could still taste his kisses, feel his demanding touch.
I searched for him for months. Daydreaming about him. Wondering if I’d ever find him.
Until the day I find myself staring face to face with his jeweled black eyes again.
He says lets keep it casual, and my heart knows that falling for this workaholic in a three-thousand-dollar suit is off the table.
Because he has a secret. One that’s a deal breaker for me.
My Suit has a name.
Ian Ford.
And this is our story.

Buy Links:
Amazon Ebook • Amazon Paperback • Audible
Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

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There’s no one who writes a better man-in-a-suit than Katy Evans. I adore her alpha, possessive heroes, and the women who knock them off their feet. Mogul is her latest standalone, and though it is connected to a previous novel of hers, Tycoon, it can be read as a standalone. It’s sexy, intense, and romance, basically everything I hope and expect from a Katy Evans book. If you’re a long-time fan, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on Mogul!

When Ian and Sara meet, they experience a chemistry that neither of them can deny. They fall into temptation when Ian checks into the hotel Sara works at and have the best night of their life – but they leave each other without exchanging names or numbers. Sara unfortunately gets fired and they have almost no way of finding each other again… until a chance encounter with Sara’s new job as a dog walker for Ian’s grandmother has them reuniting. But Sara finds out that Ian is currently in the middle of a divorce with a wife he’s been separated from for years – can she trust Ian’s true intentions, or will she forever be on the sidelines?

I love how slightly obsessive both Katy’s heroes and heroines become when they meet the love of their life. Katy writes her characters falling in love in such a magical way that I feel as if I’m falling alongside with them. I highly enjoyed getting to know Ian and Sara and watching them work their way towards a hard-earned HEA they deserve. Sara teaches Ian to give love a second chance and that there’s more to life than work, while Ian teaches Sara to go after her dreams. I couldn’t get enough of these two, and that’s my only complaint: that the book was too short. I would’ve loved delving a little more into Ian and Sara’s lives, but I’ll take what I can get from Katy Evans. Right now, I’m dying for a certain secondary character to get her book!

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Now here’s an excerpt from Mogul! ❤

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My eyes lock on a third figure sitting with them. As I near, the man glances my way before quickly shifting his gaze. I continue to stare at him as I approach, and it doesn’t take long for his gaze to return to me. His large figure rises to full height as he stands to greet me, and I feel a bolt of electricity hit me in the chest as familiar eyes stare back at me.

He’s tall. Dark-haired. Gorgeous. With deep, thick-lashed eyes you want to sink into. And lips to suck on like they’re all that exists between you and heaven. I stop walking, stop breathing, because . . . he is here.

A moment passes and Bryn seems to notice my shock.

But shock doesn’t come close to it.

Because never in my whole life has my heart leapt so far and fast. It feels as if it’s ripping out of my chest. I can barely force my legs to move for fear of hearing my knees knock together. I struggle for air, but it feels like someone cut off my windpipe connecting my nose and lungs.

He wears a white dress shirt and black slacks, and his face is chiseled and brooding. The real shock lies in the intensity brewing in his dark eyes as they stay locked on mine. My heart speeds up as I hold his gaze. The city bustles around us. Making eye contact is not something I do often, living in a city of millions, but I can’t take my eyes off him.

The memory of having him inside me returns with a vengeance.

Bryn begins to introduce us. “Um. Ian, this is—”

“Sara. We’ve met,” Hot and Dirty Workaholic interrupts with a stiff smile.

Our eyes meet, and for a moment it feels like nothing else exists.

His name is Ian.

Fucking Ian, with his serious, handsome face and shiny, black hair. He’s as lit as I remember. Straight out of a Suits episode, and I am dying.

Though Mogul can be read as a standalone, there are characters that have first appeared in Tycoon.

My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible

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Katy EvansKaty Evans is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her debut REAL shot to the top of the bestselling lists in 2013 and since then 9 of her titles have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages across the world.

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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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Spotlight Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
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The riveting conclusion to The Kingmaker Chronicles! 

GODS. I’M AN IDIOT.

Without Griffin—and apparently a few meddling Gods—to push me along, I’d still be telling fortunes at the circus, lying about my past, ignoring my future, and living as far away from my tyrant mother as humanly possible.

True understanding thuds into place. Hope isn’t just an abstract concept; it’s me. Flesh and blood me. Griffin knew it all along. Probably everyone did. I’m an idea in human form.

I have the power of the Gods at my fingertips.

The only thing ever stopping me has been me.

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Now here’s an excerpt from Heart on Fire! ❤

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Griffin’s hand tightens on my arm.

I roll my eyes. “I’m not going to fall in, you know. The cliff is all the way over there.”

He loosens his hold. Sort of.

I glance up at him, trying to tame my sudden smile. Domineering and overprotective doesn’t even begin to describe my husband. There’s also deliciously jealous, but that’s another subject all together. The black stubble framing his mouth makes his full lips look impossibly kissable. It’s been hours since they were last on mine. And I love to kiss the hawkish curve of his nose. So strong and masculine. I adore that nose. And the rest of him. His powerful body. Muscle. Sinew. Bone.

I gaze up at him, nearly sighing. “I love you.”

Griffin stops dead in his tracks and glares down at me. “That’s it. We’re leaving.”

I blink. “What? Why?”

“You think something terrible is going to happen.”

“No, I don’t.” I frown. “I don’t think so.”

His eyes narrow, wariness hardening his expression. “You do.”

“What are you talking about?”

He scowls at me.

“Well, something terrible could happen,” I concede. “But that’s always true, no matter where or when. Tomorrow, I could trip over my own feet and break my neck for all I know.”

Judging by the look on Griffin’s face, I don’t think that helped.

“You only say you love me or you’re sorry when you’re scared or almost dead. You’re not almost dead, so what’s scaring you?” he demands.

“I say I love you all the time!”

“When we’re in bed. When I’m so deep inside you that you can’t feel anything but me. Not when we’re about to knock on a stranger’s door. What’s scaring you?” he demands again.

I huff. “At the moment? The way your jaw is popping like it’s alive.”

Griffin crosses his arms. “I want honesty. Right now.”

Right now, Your Imperialness?”

His nostrils flare. His hard look is spectacular.

I’m not intimidated. It makes me hot. Then again, so does just about everything at the moment, but not in the same way.

“If you must know, the magic around here is a little intense and…disturbing, but it’s not scaring me. Not really. It’s probably just something coming from whatever is down there in that God Pit,” I say, waving toward the cliff. “I’m a shade nervous. That’s all.”

His eyes stay flinty and unconvinced. “That’s all? That’s not generally cause for a heartfelt declaration, at least not from you.”

I toss my hands in the air. “Fine. I take it back. I looked at you, found you incredibly desirable, and my body got all hot and tingly. I blame pregnancy for an excess of sentimentality and…and…urges!”

Griffin stares at me. Then his mouth splits into a grin that makes me all kinds of angry. He reaches for me again, his grasp lighter this time.

“Incredibly desirable?” Looking smug, he threads his fingers through mine.

Scowling, I poke him in the chest with my free hand. “Well, you do have that whole overbearing warlord thing going on. Plus, plenty of muscles in all the right places, some good ideas, and, you know, a really big sword.”

A laugh cracks out of Griffin, and my heart swoops like an off-balance bird. He’s rarely free with humor these days, or maybe there’s just not enough of it in our lives anymore. The happy flutter that wings through my chest takes any lingering irritation away with it.

Gah! Talk about mood changes!

Griffin captures my other hand and then pulls me in to him until I’m standing between his legs. “I love you, too, Cat.”

He kisses me, his mouth pressing softly against mine. Warmth rolls straight from his lips to my toes, which curl in my boots.

“Tell me again,” he coaxes.

I shake my head, our noses brushing.

“Say it,” he demands against my mouth.

“I don’t think so.”

“Last chance,” he warns, gently nipping at my lower lip.

“Big sword.”

Chuckling, Griffin swats my bottom. “There’s more where that came from.”

I look up at him through my lashes. “I sure hope so.”

He grins. “I think you just managed coy.”

“Good Gods! Has the Underworld frozen over?”

“Next, Centaurs will fly.” He brushes his lips over mine again, not lingering, and when he lifts his head, his black hair ruffling on the faintly sulfurous wind, the teasing gleam is already absent from his eyes. “You’re sure there’s nothing else?”

“Nothing besides our baby wreaking havoc on my moods?” I shake my head. “But I wanted you before. I want you always.”

He lifts his hand and brushes his thumb across my lips. Then his fingers fall away, trailing lightly down my arm until I shiver.

“You’re the air I breathe,” he says without a trace of humor in his voice.

My whole chest clenches hard, squeezing a tight, almost painful beat from my heart. “I admire you,” I reply. “I need you. I love you with all my heart.”

Griffin offers me a different kind of smile this time, small, lopsided, gentle, and so entirely genuine. It fades almost immediately, though, and he straightens to his full, imposing height, abruptly pinning me with his warlord stare. “If you feel anything off here, we leave, with or without the potion we came for. You’ve got great instincts, Cat. Trust your gut.”

I nod. I will. I always do.

Reading Order: Kingmaker Chronicles series

  

#1 ~ A Promise of Fire: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Breath of Fire: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Heart on Fire: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads

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USA Today bestselling author AMANDA BOUCHET grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France, in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French. Connect with her at www.amandabouchet.com.

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Enter to win a bundle containing A Promise of Fire and Breath of Fire, the first two books in Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles!

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