Review: The Lady and the Laird by Nicola Cornick

An Indecent Proposal!

Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn't mean she won't agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother's friends - letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she deliberately ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird, Robert, Marquis of Methven.

Past centuries of bloodshed have left the Methven and MacMorlan families bitter enemies and Robert is furious that Lady Lucy's letters have cost him the bride he needs so urgently to save his ancestral clan lands. Now he makes Lucy a shocking proposal; in return for his silence she must become his wife and provide him with the heir he needs. It is an inconvenient marriage of convenience but can the rugged laird and the bluestocking beauty fight against the power of love?


Lord Methven needs a wife in order to fulfill an ancient treaty and to keep his lands. He needs to marry someone from a particular family line (the family the treaty is bound to) but after being left at the altar by one woman there’s only one left and that is Lucy MacMorlan. Lucy, however, has no desire to marry nor have children...ever...due to a tragedy involving her twin when she was 16.  The treaty says Methven must marry within a year and have an heir within 2 years. Nothing like rushing things. Methven likes Lucy a lot so he’s not having a hard time imagining her as his wife but Lucy would rather face a horrible reputation than marry anyone. Robert manages to work his charms and after traveling on their own with no chaperone Lucy knows she has to marry.

The first part of the story is Robert and Lucy and their struggles with themselves and each other – with Robert asking Lucy to marry him at every turn – as well as dealing with the villain of the story, Lucy’s cousin Wilfred. Wilfred will claim the Methven lands if Robert can’t fulfill the treaty so of course he’ll do anything to stop Lucy and Robert. In the second part of the story Robert and Lucy are still dealing with Wilfred but Lucy is also struggling with Robert as they head to the island where he grew up and he becomes stoic and uncommunicative as the island holds such good and some horrible memories.

The story was very well done and I really enjoyed it. Lucy did pull a couple of stupid stunts during the story and those were frustrating as she just seemed too smart to do what she did. I liked the different stages that the characters went through with their emotions. Lucy was so proper yet had an underlying passion for life in her that she tried to squash down. Coming to terms with her true self and facing the emotions and fears she had been carrying around for the past eight years wasn’t easy but she did it well and the author didn’t rush this which I appreciated.

Robert was gorgeous and charming yet could be a jerk. The thing I liked about him though was that he knew when he was being a jerk and always apologized for it. I liked that about him. He was fiercely loyal to those under his care and it showed what kind of a man he truly was. He was a good match for Lucy, that’s for sure.

Overall a story well done. I look forward to reading more in this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Nicola Cornick

#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Just What He Wanted by HelenKay Dimon

Book Four of The Holloway Series

Travis Yardley thought he had everything he needed, but one look at Andrea Patterson shows him he was wrong. Andie is a gorgeous, curvy, blonde, who moves to town to manage a nearby campground. Seizing the chance to get close to her, Travis volunteers as tour guide and “bodyguard.”

After a bad breakup, Andie is looking to start over and determined to put her heart on hiatus. She’s working on her self-esteem, and she is not ready for the likes of Travis. He comes on strong, with all the energy of a guy almost ten years her junior, which is exactly what he is.

Even as Travis’s troubled past catches up with him, he pulls out all the stops to convince Andie he deserves a chance. And with the spring thaw hitting the Mountain View Resort, Andie discovers her own temperature rising whenever Travis looks her way…



Excerpt:

The sound of tires against gravel grabbed Andie's attention. A guy climbed out of the pickup. Through the rolled-down window she could make out a dark T-shirt and sandy brown hair. Then he shut the door and started toward her.

Damn. The heavens sure did shine on country boys. This one had a confident walk to match the could-lift-a-bus shoulders. Add in the faded blue jeans and skin that looked smooth enough to eat off of, and a woman could get a bit breathless.

She would have if he weren’t, like, twenty. Good grief, it was a wonder he could even grow that sexy scruff around his chin at his age.

Doing a little dip with her gaze, touring it all over him, made her feel like a dirty old woman even though she was right on the edge of thirty-five. Not that she was quite ready to look somewhere else. Not when the young hottie stopped right in front of her.

He was six-feet of hello-there-handsome. She ignored that and pretended to be a mature professional, though him looking like that didn’t make it easy. “Good afternoon.”

Up close, only a few feet away, she got a nice view. Green eyes, not dark or almost brown. A pale shade of green.

He smiled. “I’m looking for Andy Patterson.”

And he had one of those deep voices with a slight southern lilt. Man, he got sexier by the second. “You found her.”

His smile faltered. “Excuse me?”

The cute one seemed a bit slow. “I’m her.”

“Her?”

The conversation seemed stuck. She tried again. “You seem to like asking questions.”

“What?”

Well, that didn’t work. She thought the 38Ds would give him a hint, but she spelled it out anyway. “You’re looking for Andy with a ‘y’ but it’s Andie with an ‘ie’.”

“Ma’am?”

“You don’t need to call me ma’am.” Mostly because it made her feel ninety.

“Okay.”

The poor thing looked like he’d been hit with a big stick. “Andie as in Andrea, but no one ever calls me that. Well, not more than once.”

“Andie.”

“There you go.” He’d stopped frowning and making every response sound like a question. She decided that amounted to progress. Of a sort.

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Review: The Highlander's Desire by Margo Maguire

Lachann MacMillan's watched his older brother, the laird of his clan, find a passionate marriage, but he suffers no illusions that his path will be the same--especially as the woman he loved was stolen from him years ago. He's ready to leave his homeland and make his mark. He'll even enter into a passionless marriage to the daughter of the Laird of Kilgorra if it means a chance at his own land…and leaving behind his painful memories. A simple enough plan until he meets Anna MacIver, a mere serving maid with the face of an angel who ignites a fire in him that is anything but angelic.

Anna has been a lowly servant in her uncle, the Laird of Kilgorra's home, since her mother died years ago. She has no envy for her cousin's matrimonial fate as observation of has taught her that freedom--no matter the serving chains--is far more precious that being under the command of a husband. But when Lachlann arrives to marry Anna's cousin, she finds herself longing for something she never knew she wanted. Together the maid and the highlander may find that some things are worth having, no matter the cost.


Lachann MacMillan’s goal is to protect his home, Braemore. His family lives there and he’ll do just about anything to take care of them – even marry a woman he’s never seen before. He’s made an agreement with the Laird of Kilgorra that Lachann will be made Laird if he marries the current Laird’s daughter. The agreement says, however, that the daughter, Catriona, has to make up her own mind. Lachann does secure permission, in writing, to take measures to try and protect the island and in doing so will protect the waters that lead to Braemore, thus protecting his family. Lachan REALLY wants the lairdship and has no qualms about marrying a woman he’s never met as he got his heart broken years ago and swore to never love again. (Yeah, I’ve heard that before! lol)

Lachann doesn’t particularly care for Catriona when he arrives but he’s a determined man. He is put off by the fact that his enemy, Cullen Macauley, is also in residence at Kilgorra and is courting Catriona as well. Lachann’s eye is actually caught by a serving girl named Anna and he can’t seem to get her off of his mind, nor can he seem to stay away from her.

Anna is actually the Laird of Kilgorra’s stepdaughter but when her mother died years ago it was like she was forgotten completely by her stepfather. Catriona, being the evil girl she is, relegated Anna to the kitchens and to being a maid. Catriona also has made Anna’s life a living hell for years and when she thinks that Anna might be getting attention from Lachann, she’s livid and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Anna is as attracted to Lachann as he is to her but as he’s slated to marry Catriona she tries to hold her feelings back –without any luck.

I’ve liked the novels that I’ve read from Margo Maguie and this one wasn’t any different. She also tells a good tale and as this one had braw highlanders in it, it was made that much better. lol I really enjoyed seeing Lachann discovering this new island he planned to call home. Getting to know the villagers, and starting the men to training for defense of the island, as well as taking care of any troubles that came up made me see him a great light. He was a kind, caring man who thought about others before himself. He knew that Catriona was his ticket to the lairdship but the more he got to know her the more he realized that he needed to get the lairdship without marrying the shrew. I was quite happy that he didn’t fall for any of Catriona’s tricks and saw that Anna would definitely be the woman for him.

Now I did have a little issue with the romantic element at first. Other than physical attraction the hero and heroine didn’t really know each other. It seemed that their feelings came out of nowhere other than lust and I had a hard time seeing where the connection was. However as the story went on I saw what brought them together and very much enjoyed their love story.

A good medieval read that’s for sure!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Margo Maguire

#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: The Dimple of Doom by Lucy Woodhull

It may sound like common sense, but never hump an art thief. Turns out, Samantha Lytton's Common-Sense-O-Meter is super duper broken.

Failed actress Samantha Lytton is getting along just fine in her lonely little life when a charming criminal called Sam or Nate or maybe even Richmond kisses her, square dances most provocatively, opens his not-so-wicked heart, and gets her in trouble with not one, but two international art theft rings as well as the LAPD.

She's either gonna end up in jail or famous. Maybe both.

Along the way, she fights for her life and falls for this funny, sexy disaster of a man… and learns that finding happily-ever-after with yourself is the first step to real contentment. A cute dimple is just the second. 


THE DIMPLE OF DOOM
by Lucy Woodhull
Release from Total-E-Bound July 5; All outlets Aug. 2.

Setup: This is mid-chapter one. Our heroine, Samantha, has skipped out of the Steak on a Stick office Christmas party for a little secret nookie with her crush, Sam, from accounting. But there may be more to him than meets the eye.

I unlocked the door and tiptoed into the CEO’s well-appointed office. It smelled of leather furniture and large, ridiculous bonuses. I had been Oliver Taylor’s second assistant for over a year at Steak on a Stick, whose slogan read, ‘What doesn’t taste better on a stick!’ It wasn’t the best rhetorical question ever. I’d gone to school to learn how to act. Now every day I acted as if being a secretary at Steak on a Stick didn’t murder my soul one beefy bite at a time.

Sam hadn’t arrived yet. I planted myself on Oliver’s desk and turned off the negative voices in my head. After all, I wasn’t here to rehash my disastrous acting career—I was here to begin a disastrous affair.

I didn’t wait long. A couple of minutes later, he sauntered into the room, cool, collected, debonair. Ellen’s cock-blocking face filled my brain. I tried to conjure chaste thoughts—nuns, priests, naughty monks…hot priests listening to dirty confessions…

I wasn’t very good at chaste thoughts. Whoever it was who said that only men thought about sex all the time was dead wrong, or simply rubbish at picking up ladies.

Sam paused a moment in the dim light, then came towards me, slowly, almost prowling like a jungle cat. That was what romance novels always said the hero did and boy, did Sam panther with the best of them. Appropriate, for while my bodice hadn’t exactly been ripped, it had been stained thoroughly.

“Hello,” he said.

I jumped. The room had been so quiet. He threw me a cheeky smile that said he wasn’t sorry for making me jittery.

“I’ve never been in here before.” He ran his hand across the back of a sofa that probably cost more than my car.

The twinkling lights of downtown Los Angeles filtered in through the enormous executive windows, illuminating him in warm, sultry yellows—Hollywood’s modern version of candlelight. I slid off the desk and jutted out a curvy, come-hither hip. “Well, here is where it all goes down.”

“Where all what goes down?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t care. I avoid thinking about my job any more than I have to as a tremendously dedicated professional.”

He laughed and said, “But he never sees people up here, right? That’s the scuttlebutt.” Sam’s eyes caressed every inch of the room instead of caressing every inch of me.

“Yes, that’s true, I guess. It’s a secret office,” I joked. He didn’t say anything. I glanced in the ornate wall mirror and floofed up my hair.

Sam made a slow circuit of the room while I almost jumped out of my skin. I ought to be the jumpee, not the jumper—why was he ignoring my obvious signals? My seduction techniques were rusty. Perhaps in true Tinseltown fashion I should have sent him a sex tape as a warm-up act.

“I heard there was a secret, secret room.” he said.

My heart tripped just enough to make me flustered. “How do you—?” Shit. A good assistant would have denied the secret, secret room. Truth be told, I was a competent, bored assistant at best. “I mean, what room?”

* * *


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#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Waiting Fate by W.B. Kinnette

Sometimes Fate hides in plain sight while you stumble through darkness.

Ivy escapes from an abusive husband, finding peace with her daughter in her childhood home. She’s determined to keep her past a secret to protect those she loves.

Archer has been in love with the same girl since seventh grade. When Ivy comes back into his life—bruised, broken, and haunted by secrets—he knows he can’t lose her again.

But Ivy made a promise to her daughter. No one would hurt them again. She’s afraid to trust, afraid to be wrong again, and afraid that the one man she’s loved forever will break her heart.

Fate might take its time, but it won’t wait forever.


Excerpt:

As he walked her to her door, she slid her small fingers into his, and he ran his thumb across the back of her hand. The night was cool. At the door she turned, smiling up at him. “Thank you Archer. It was… fun.”

He couldn’t see clearly, but he could swear she was smirking. Yeah, you blew your chance. Way to go. So he hugged her, wrapping his arms around her waist, like he’d done a hundred other times before. They were a huggy group.

He was surprised when she rose on her toes and slid her arms around his neck, holding tight like he was a lifeline. He pulled back, just a bit, hoping but afraid to hope as he searched her eyes. They sparkled, just a bit, and then she leaned forward, closing the gap between them and brushing her lips against his.

Time stopped. The world stopped and he froze in shock. It took him several seconds to realize what was happening, and then he kissed her back, holding her tight against him. He could feel her heart racing, matching his. When she relinquished his lips, he sucked in a breath, struggling to breathe. “I’ve wanted to do that since high school,” he muttered, almost without realizing it. 


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What I Read Last Week

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to physical therapy for a rotator cuff issue. Well, the therapist discharged me back to my doc – not because I’m better but because I wasn’t getting any better. Ug. So he injected my shoulder with cortisone and told me not to move my arm for a week and to stop taking my naproxen. A) Not move my arm for a week? Really? Damn near impossible! B) I lasted 4 days without the naproxen and was in such pain I finally broke down and took one. *sigh* I just want it better! Oh and I’m bringing this edition of WIRLW to you one-handed (as my other arm is in a sling to try to keep it immobile) - so if there are a lot of typos, so sorry.

I have a request this week – if you’re the praying sort then please send up a prayer for David. David is my youngest daughter’s best friend’s father (make sense?) and a friend of the family. He was playing with his daughter and they were walking/running backwards, he fell and cracked his skull big time. He has bleeding on the brain and is in ICU. At last report he was improving slightly, which is good, it’s just slow going.

Ok so you’re here to hear about books, right? Then let me get on with it… 


First for the week was a story called Bedding the Wrong Brother by Virna DePaul. The story is about a woman who has been told that she’s bad in bed. She wants her best friend, Max, to teach her how to please a man but he plays a fast one and replaces himself with his twin, Rhys. Rhys and Melina have had the hots for each other for years but never did anything about it. Obviously they’re upset at the switch but it all works out and it was a sweet romance. 4 out of 5 

Next was Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae – the story of Kelli who runs an alibi service for wealthy kids in her town. You can read more in my review by clicking here. 4 out of 5 

Lover at Last by JR Ward is Blay and Qhuinn’s story…finally. I was satisfied with that relationship in the book but felt that she definitely could have spent more time on it. Ward always has a ton of other things going on in her books and this one was no different which was a bit frustrating. I must say that I think this is my fabor BDB cover – just uber-yummy. lol 3.75 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Next up was The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes. Anthony meets the woman he wants to marry at his mother’s masked ball but doesn’t know who she is. He finds her but even though he’s a Duke – especially because he’s a Duke – Isabella’s parents refuse to let her marry him. He doesn’t give up though and I loved that about him. Flavored with a bit of Cinderella at first it was a great story (releases 8/27/13) 4 out of 5 

Smokin’ Hot Firemen: Erotic Romance Stories For Women is an anthology edited by Delilah Devlin filled with lots and lots of – you guessed it – smokin’ hot firemen. The anthology on the whole was really good with only a few stories I could have done without. Definitely erotic but could be sweet as well. I liked it. 4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge) 

A friend of mine recommended a series called The Rocker by Terri Anne Browning to me. I read book 1, then immediately picked up 2 and then 3. The stories are full of editing and spelling errors which could have easily been fixed and there’s an inordinate amount of crying. That being said, I couldn’t put them down! lol 

The Rocker That Holds Me is book 1 and shows us 4 rockers, Nik, Jesse, Shane and Drake who make up the band Demon’s Wings. From the time they were all living in a trailer park they took care of Emmie (Ember) who was abused and starved by her druggie mother. The boys grew up and became famous and when Emmie was 15 she came to live with them and helps them in tons of different ways. They all love her deeply but Emmie has always loved Nik in a “not a friend” way as well. The book gives us great yet heart breaking background on Emmie, her journey to adulthood as well as how hard it is to see the man you love sleeping with groupies constantly. This is Emmie and Nik’s story but we get a boatload of everyone else as well. 4 out of 5 

The Rocker That Savors Me is book 2 and is Jesse’s story. The group has bought a home in Malibu and Emmie hires Layla as a housekeeper. From the moment that Jesse sees her he knows she’s the one. It takes Layla a little longer but eventually she falls as well. Layla has custody of her two sisters as well – 6 year old Lucy and 17 (at first) year old Lana. Problems with Layla and her father (and her father and Jesse) come up as well as a misunderstanding. This one was much lighter than book one with far less drama. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely drama, but not as much as book 1, not still really good. 4 out of 5 

The Rocker That Needs Me is book 3 and this one is Drake and Lana’s story. Lana is 18 now and though Drake and Lana tried to be friends they just couldn’t keep it that way. After Lana gets her heart hurt when Drake sleeps with a groupie while drunk (he’s ALWAYS drunk) she decides that a local college is out and she decides to go to NYU to get away from the daily sight of Drake. This lasts until Drake takes a gig as a judge for a rocker program (kind of like the X Factor or America’s got talent but with rockers) and ends up in NY. The story was good but both the hero and heroine drove me nuts at time. Neither was all that mature – even though Drake was 32 he’d spent most if not all of his adult life in a bottle and didn’t know how to handle some things. I understood this but it was still annoying. lol We get to see all the characters from every book in all the books and I love that. It’s not like they cease to exist just because it’s not their HEA. They’re a family and they are close knit and stay that way. I’m looking forward to Shane’s book. 3.5 out of 5 

Not Planning on You by Sydney Landon was next and this story is about Gray who has had a thing for his soon to be co-worker, Suzy, for almost a year. She’s refused to go out with him but she finally caves. After an accident where she is then laid up and he takes care of her quite sweetly she falls in love with him. Unfortunately he’s got a woman from his past who’s stalking him and then says that the baby she’s carrying is his. Gray then turns into an ass and treats Suzy horribly, imho, and there’s nowhere near enough groveling at the end of the book. This was a decent read but Gray pissed me off. lol 3 out of 5 (read for Book Binge) 

Last for the week was Defiant in the Viking’s Bed by Joanna Fulford. This story was about an Earl’s niece, Astrid, who is promised in marriage to a horrible man, just like her uncle. She plans to run away with another Earl, Leif, to be his mistress as even that is preferable to her fiancĂ©. Leif is captured and the uncle makes him believe that Astrid set the whole thing up. When Leif escapes he takes Astrid as his captive to pay her back for her scheme. This story was even better than I thought it would be. Leif has issues with marriage and family because of his first wife and of course believes that Astrid betrayed him, which she didn’t. He eventually sees the truth but won’t commit to her which causes strife. Definitely put this one on your to-be-bought list if you like a good Viking story. (releases 9/17/13) 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Awakening by Serena Grey
Anybody But Him by Claire Baxter
The Care and Feeding of an Alpha Male by Jessica Clare


Happy Reading! 

 

#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Texas Two Step: The Prequel by Cynthia D'Alba

Their love never died, but her secrets could break his trust beyond repair.

Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 1

After six years and too much self-recrimination, rancher Mitch Landry is ready to admit he was wrong. He’d loved Olivia Montgomery but commitment wasn’t high on his list back then. That was his first mistake. He’s just divorced his second, and he’s set to do whatever it takes to convince Olivia to give him another try.

Through hard work, determination and more than a few tears, Olivia survived the break-up with Mitch. She’s rebuilt her life around her business and the son she loves more than life itself. She’s not proud of the mistakes she’s made—particularly the secrets she’s kept—but when life hands you manure, you use it to make something better of yourself…lest you get stuck in it.

At a hot, muggy Dallas wedding, they reconnect. Olivia’s first instinct is to play it cool, but after one devastating kiss things flare real out of control, real fast. Maybe a quick roll in the hay will get him out of her system once and for all. Funny thing about hay though, once it’s tangled in your hair, getting it out risks revealing things that were never meant to see the light of day.



Product WarningsContains hot sex, a vindictive ex-wife, and hot chocolate chip cookies.


Excerpt: Texas Two Step 

Mitch stepped up beside her, took her fingers and pulled them into the crook of his arm. Trapped between the heat of his palm and the hard muscles of his forearm, her hand burned. She tried to pull away but he tightened his grip to keep her firmly in place.

“You look beautiful,” he whispered in her ear. “Thank you for wearing the necklace. Did you put pictures inside?”

The combination of warm breath in her ear and the softness in his voice sent chills rippling down her spine. Everything inside her tightened. Reflexively, she touched the locket then shook her head. “No,” she lied. “Never did.” She shivered and he gave her hand another light squeeze.

“You okay?”

She nodded, unable to force words past the knot in her throat. Oh Mitch, if I could tell you everything, would you understand? Would you hate me? Would you have come if I’d called?

Mitch was her past and she needed to keep reminding herself of that reality. Until today, she’d been positive her love for Mitch had died years ago. As she walked beside him, touching him, smelling him, her heart inflamed with feelings, she feared she was no longer in control of her emotions. Heck, she was pretty sure she was close to out-of-control. And right now, she wasn’t sure how she felt about that.

Together she and Mitch followed the rest of the wedding party to the staircase leading down to the hotel’s wine cellar. Shoes thumped on thick carpet. Voices filled with laughter and joy echoed off the walls as the wedding party trooped down to an area designed to hold far fewer people than were currently filing in.

Olivia stepped through the door with Mitch close behind, the palm of his hand scorching her lower back through the silk of her dress. Her heart throbbed painfully in her throat. How could she possibly swallow food around the boulder resting there?

She stepped forward, trying to put some distance between them, but he moved swiftly, matching her step for step, staying close, continuing to touch her.

She glanced at the single, round table set with fresh flowers, candles and seventeen place settings of fine china. Seventeen chairs crowded around a table meant for fifteen. Flickering flames from the candles tossed dancing shadows along the walls and on the ceiling. All in all, an incredibly romantic setting with extremely cozy seating.

A setting she did not feel safe sharing with Mitch Landry.

Too close.

Too intimate.

Too painful.

Before she could escape to the far side of the table away from him, Mitch pulled back a chair. He tipped his head toward the table and said, “I believe we’re supposed to sit here.”

Olivia looked at the china then noticed the place card with Ms. Olivia Montgomery Gentry mocking her from above the plate. Her gaze slid to the right. Mr. Mitch Landry.

What she said was, “Oh, okay.”

What she meant was damn it.

She sat and Mitch took the chair next to hers. She scooted to the left. He followed. His thick, muscular thigh pressed against hers. She pulled her legs together and broke contact, but not for long. Within seconds, he was pressed against her again.

She didn’t need the heat from his leg to remind her he sat beside her. His unique spicy cologne filled her nose. The taste of him remained on her lips, in her mouth. Her back still burned from the branding of his palm. Her fingertips stung from his touch. Her body was on fire. Her nerves were arcing like a clipped electrical wire.

Hotel staff poured champagne into the flutes on the table. She didn’t need any champagne tonight. She was already drunk on Mitch Landry.

The food must have been good. The Grayson staff was known for excellent cuisine, but one would never know from her plate. She barely touched her steak or the vegetables, or even the turtle cheesecake, her absolute favorite dessert. Mostly, she moved the food from one side of the plate to the other. The food she did put in her mouth tasted like Mitch’s tongue. Every aroma smelled like Mitch, dark and sexy.

She was in heaven…and hell.



Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 2

Go back to where it all began…When Olivia Montgomery met Mitch Landry and their lives were changed forever.

Texas Two Step:The Prequel is a short story. It serves as an introduction to Olivia Montgomery and Mitch Landry, the primary characters in the novel, Texas Two Step. The Prequel covers their college dating years up to their break-up. Texas Two Step, the novel, continues the story six years later.

Excerpt:
Texas Two Step: The Prequel 


Tuesday morning’s arrival brought some relief. She’d scheduled a pedicure to go with her standing manicure appointment and frankly, nothing but a full body massage relaxed her more than a pedicure. As she crawled into the Pedi-chair and stuck her abused feet into the warm swirling water, she released an audible sigh.

“Too hot?” Tonya, her manicurist, asked.

“No. Perfect,” Olivia said, settling back into the seat. She flipped on the chair’s rolling massager. “I needed this.”


Tonya looked at Olivia’s feet. “You sure do. Those toenails are long enough to peel bananas.”

“Ha ha. There goes your tip.”

Tonya lifted one eyebrow. “I have sharp instruments and I know how to use them.”

Olivia grinned. “Got it. Tip restored. So, tell me about your date this weekend. Was he the one?”

Tonya began telling one of her long-winded date reenactments, which Olivia usually loved, but today found herself struggling to follow. She nodded in the right places, clucked her tongue when Tonya’s date did the funky chicken on the dance floor at the hottest nightclub in town, and shook her head in commiseration when Tonya described his overenthusiastic, lip-sucking, tonsil-swabbing good-night kiss.


“So, when’s the next date?”

Tonya popped the top of Olivia’s foot with a nail file. “I am not going out with him again. Never. I’ll stay single if that’s the best that’s out there.”

“You know, there’s always playing for the other team.” Olivia bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing.


“Sorry, chicko. I know you’re hot for me, but you just don’t have the right equipment.”

Both women laughed.


“What about you? Do anything fun this past weekend?”

Olivia shrugged. “Emily and I went to The Bourbon Cowboy Friday night to celebrate our birthdays, but that’s it. Saturday night I watched a Hallmark movie that made me cry and Sunday I cleaned house. Other than Friday, does any of that sound fun to you?”

Tonya tapped Olivia’s foot. “Put that back in the water and give me the other one.” After Olivia did as instructed Tonya said, “So no exciting men at the bar? I hear The Bourbon Cowboy is the place to husband-hunt if you’re looking for a lawyer. Neither of you met anyone interesting?”

“Emily did.”

“Really. Tell all. Keep your foot in the water.”


“Guy named Wes Benton. They had dinner Sunday night and again last night. I’ve barely seen my roomie.”

“No kidding. Good for her. He a looker?”

“Tall, dark and handsome.”

Tonya shook her head. “That Emily has all the luck.”

“Ain’t that the truth. Of course the fact that she’s tall, curvy and gorgeous doesn’t exactly drive the men away.”

“Maybe you need to find some ugly girlfriends to run around with, you know, to make you look better.”

Olivia chuckled. “Sounds like a plan. You busy next weekend?”

“Har har. Sharp instruments, remember?”

Olivia laughed, but before she could respond her cell phone began playing “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. Pulling it from her pocket, she read the display but didn’t recognize the number.

“Hello?”

“Olivia? This is Mitch Landry.”
His deep voice saying her name sent her stomach into a pitch and roll. “Hi.” Good lord. She sounded all breathy, as though trying too hard to sound like Marilyn Monroe. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Sorry. Had a frog in my throat. Hi. How are you?”

Tonya tapped her foot. Olivia pulled both feet from the water.

“I’m good. You?”

“Good.”

“Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“Oh, no. This is fine.”

Tonya pointed to the phone and mouthed, “A guy?”

Olivia nodded.

Tonya mimicked kissing.

Olivia grinned and looked away before Tonya could become more animated in her mime show.

“I enjoyed Friday night. I was glad you got home safely.”

Ah. He’d been talking to Wes.

“We did. Thank you. What do I owe you for the cab?”

Could this conversation get more formal and awkward?

“What? The cab? Nothing. I was glad to do it.”

Okay, she wasn’t letting him get away so easily this time.

“I would like to pay you back. How about I buy your dinner?”

Tonya chuckled.

Olivia glared down at her and mouthed, “Hush.”

“Dinner. I’d love to, but I’m paying. I insist.”

“Okay. When?”

The pause was long enough that Olivia checked the phone’s screen to see if she’d lost the call. She hadn’t.

Oh lord. Had she pushed too hard? Maybe he was having second thoughts about dinner with her.

“Sorry about that,” Mitch said. “I had to grab my class schedule.” There was another pause. “I’ve got a bear of a test on Thursday. What about Friday night?”

“I can do Friday night.” Olivia’s heart danced the jig. She had a date with Mitch Landry.

“Great. Why don’t I pick you up about six-thirty. That work for you?”

“It works for me. Where are we going? I mean, I need to know how to dress. Casual or dressy?”

“Dressy. I was thinking The Fireplace Room at Grayson Mansion. Have you been there?”

The Fireplace Room? The most expensive and exclusive restaurant in Dallas? 

Was he kidding? Calm down. Act like you go there every weekend.

“I’d love to go back to The Fireplace Room. It’s one of my favorite places.” Or it would be if she’d ever got to see the inside of the legendary eatery.

“Great. I’ll see you Friday.”

“See you then.”



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Review: How to Marry a Highlander by Katharine Ashe

With seven troublesome half sisters to marry off, Duncan, the Earl of Eads, has one problem: he's broke.

With the prospect of marriage to the pompous local curate, Miss Teresa Finch-Freeworth has one dream: to wed instead the handsome Highlander she saw at a ball.

How does a desperate lady convince a reluctant laird that she's the perfect bride for him? She strikes a wager! If she can find seven husbands for seven sisters, the earl must marry her.

Duncan has no intention of wedding the meddlesome maiden, and he gives her a deadline even the most audacious matchmaker can't meet—one month. But Teresa sets terms, too: with each bridegroom she finds, the earl must pay her increasingly intimate rewards . . .


Teresa is a bit desperate. She longs for something more than living as the local vicar’s wife but it seems that is exactly what her parents have planner for her. She can’t stop thinking about a certain Scottish Earl that she saw in a ballroom a year and a half earlier. When she hears that that same earl is in London she does some fancy talking and gets herself to London.

Teresa approaches the Earl of Eads in his flat where he’s living with his seven sisters. She proposes marriage to him and he all but laughs in her face and refuses. He has no plans to marry at all and he is just in London to try and find husbands for his seven sisters. He truly doesn’t hold out much hope as they’re not exactly quiet and agreeable but he tries to be optimistic. Teresa offers him a wager (one he has no plan on going through with) and that starts the ball rolling with Teresa trying to get to her end game – win the earl.

This is just a charming novella that I so enjoyed reading. Teresa is quirky and cute and determined to make her own fate. Duncan is stoic but yet he also remembers Teresa from that ballroom and he’s not been able to get her out of his mind. He doesn’t want to be pulled in by her but he totally is. When it happens it’s oh, so good and definitely worth reading about.

The sisters are fun as well and though we don’t get to know them all that well (and we didn’t need to in order to move the story along) they all seemed to make matches that would last. The story all takes place in a month so it’s pretty fast but it didn’t seemed rushed if that makes sense.

I didn’t read the other novels in this series but I didn’t need to in order to read this one and thoroughly enjoy it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Katharine Ashe

Review: Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae

In the wealthy town of Sundale, Kelli Pinkins has hatched the perfect plan to capitalize on her sweet reputation. For a generous fee, she will be every trust-fund baby’s dream: a Friday-night alibi, the “girlfriend” or “BFF” that parents dream about. With college approaching in the fall, Kelli’s services are in demand more than ever, which means that her social life is nonexistent. But Kelli is A-okay with that. She’s raking in cash for school. Besides, relationships are tricky, and sometimes very messy. She’d rather be at home on Xbox LIVE, anyway. Then the unexpected happens: She meets college stud Chase Maroney.

Chase isn’t like the preppy, privileged guys Kelli usually meets in Sundale. For starters, he’s twentysomething, always wears black., and he shoots back one-liners as fast as she can dish them out. But Kelli’s attempts to drive Chase away falter when she realizes that he treats her like he really knows her, like he cares about knowing her. When Kelli finally gives in to the delicious kiss she’s been fighting for so long, she faces a tough decision: make Chase a real-life boyfriend and risk her heart . . . or keep her clients and lose her first true love.


Sundale is an upstanding community where the children are expected to only associate with those who are of their station and certainly not do things like, party, go to bars, date someone who is considered inappropriate, etc. If this happens these children lose their trust funds. It seems a rather harsh thing to hold over someone’s head but apparently they can’t have their young adults thinking for themselves.

Kelli is a resident of Sundale and understands how important it is to kids her age (18) to be able to stay on the straight and narrow – well, at least have it APPEAR that they’ve done that. Kelli offers a service - she's a Friday Night Alibi.

 

So...You need an alibi?

All packets are “Sundale approved,.” and with me, Kelli Pinkins, as your partner in crime, there will be NO WORRIES about losing that trust fund. All you have to do is pick a packet, memorize, and if the parentals give you the Q&A, you’ll have your alibi all set for your Friday night.

Drive-In Packet – $100.00
Need a few hours? Well, the drive-in is the perfect place, with double features on Friday Nights!

Things you’ll need to memorize:

Movie plotlines and actors.

What refreshments we ate.

Dinner and Dancing Packet – $100.00
All dance and restaurant selections are Sundale approved! Ballroom and Salsa. No clubs!

Things you’ll need to memorize:

What both of us ordered, and if we liked it.

What dances we learned.

Slumber Party Packet – $200.00
Need an all-nighter? Well, party at Kelli’s place! (Ladies only. Sorry, gents, but saying you’re spending the night with me wouldn’t help much.)

Things you’ll need to memorize:

What movies we watched.

What color we painted our nails.

What games we played. (Ouija boards are not approved!)

Each packet also requires you to memorize four topics we discussed. (Nothing general either. In depth stuff, I’m talking here. This will all be in your own personalized packet once purchased. All short notice packets are double.)

These are just a few samples of what I offer. There are many, many more, including museum dates, movie nights, shopping sprees, etc. Whatever you need, I got!
You know how to reach me if you need. I look forward to helping you.

Kelli is a bit of an entrepreneur but this means that she’s doing nothing on Friday nights except sitting in her room and playing her XBOX Live. She really has no problem with this at all…or so she says. Kelli is the only daughter of parents who are never around. Her father was a stay at home dad until Kelli was 7 but then he bought a business and from that point on Kelli pretty much raised herself – with the help of the part time housekeeper. She’s used to being on her own with no one paying attention to her so staying home a Friday night by herself is kind of old hat. She figures that’s what she’d be doing anyway.

On one of those Friday nights Kelli’s best friend Sadie talks Kelli into heading to a bar/bowling alley/pool hall. Before Kelli has even had a beverage she sees someone she knows and ducks behind the air hockey table – she can’t be seen out and about or her client will be in jeopardy. Crawling on the disgusting floor she happens to meet a guy named Chase. Chase throws out a line to Kel and she can’t help but roll her eyes. She immediately thinks that he’s a perv and can’t wait to get away from him. The next day when she heads to the Club to play tennis, Chase is there front and center – invited by Sadie. Sadie tries to tell Kel that Chase is her epic romance but as Kel doesn’t even like Chase she highly doubts that.

As time goes on Kel and Chase keep seeing each other here and there. They decide to call a truce and Chase even goes so far as to visit her when she’s sick and take care of her – awwww. Chase is obviously falling for Kel but she refuses to believe that he’s anything more than a make-out pal. Kel is in denial but she may lose Chase before she figures out why.

This was such a good little book. I’m not sure what I expected with this New Adult story but it just charmed me. The characters were engaging and the story well told.

Kelli – OMG I felt for this girl so very much. She was so very alone and frankly, quite lonely. She spent dinners with her parents not talking. They planned weekends away and vacations without even thinking that she might like to go – they just gave her money to make up for it. I wanted to crawl into the book and hug her to pieces. Because of the life she led she was afraid to open herself up to anyone and it ended up causing a huge problem with Chase.

Chase was a good man. At 21 he had lived a life that was hard – not financially but emotionally. He hadn’t let anyone into his life in a while and Kel had been the only one. When you scratched under the surface of his smirk and his ridiculous lines you found a really good guy who wasn’t anything like you originally believed him to be.

The story is about love, friendship and trust as well as learning how to deal with your own emotions. It was a great book that had me smiling a great deal while I read. Oh, and while there’s a lot of kissing a slight slide into second base this book is rated PG. :)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Cassie Mae

#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Discovering Alicia by Tessie Bradford

Four glorious weeks in a cabin nestled deep in the wilds of Northern Michigan is exactly what Alicia needs. Fishing, sleeping and reading are the only things on her agenda until she finds herself on the forest floor with a gorgeous man running his strong hands over her body. When she realizes they know each other she’s surprised, but when he revs her into a sexual frenzy in a hot minute, Alicia is stunned. The last thing she needs to do is to repeat past mistakes.

Brad can’t believe his college crush is literally sprawled at his feet. It’s been ten years, but she still heats his blood to boiling in an instant. She’s in his neck of the woods for an entire month, the perfect amount of time for a steamy, no-strings-attached fling.


Alicia and Brad soon discover they are both looking for far more.


Excerpt
Copyright: Tessie Bradford, 2013 

He stopped mere inches away and reached out to tuck a piece of her wet hair behind her ear. “I’m a big believer in honesty, Alicia.” He trailed his finger down her cheek. “You’re as pretty as a picture, all flustered and staring at me with those big doe eyes. If you don’t want me to kiss you, now would be the time to speak up.” 

She wouldn’t have uttered a word if the hounds of hell were snapping at her butt. Ali was stunned to see his pupils dilate with desire. Brad cupped the back of her head and placed his lips gently on hers. His kiss was tender, coaxing, and magical. She tentatively rested one palm on his side, just above his waistband. His skin was warm and smooth, the muscles underneath taut. He adjusted his stance slightly and wrapped his arm around her, his hand lying scandalously low on her back. Ali sighed and snuggled at bit closer. Her heart threatened to pound out of her chest when he responded immediately. He pulled her tightly against his body, delightfully crushing her breasts against his chest. Tastes and nibbles quickly escalated to feverish parrying of tongues. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he massaged her back. 

When they were finally forced to break the kiss in order to catch their breath, Alicia dropped her head to his shoulder. Brad cradled both cheeks of her ass and moved her seductively against his massive erection. The reality of what she’d just done, what he obviously and naturally wanted to do next hit her like a ton of bricks. She wiggled out of his embrace, desperately needing space to get herself under control. 

What the fuck was she doing? Granted, they weren’t strangers, but spending time in a lab, three days a week, for one semester, almost ten years ago, didn’t warrant this level of friendliness when running into each other in the woods! Hell, she hadn’t even recognized him at first. She closed her eyes and ran shaky fingers through her long, damp hair. 

“You wanna tell me what’s wrong, Ali?” he asked quietly. 

“Nothing, everything’s great. The kiss was great. You’re great.” She attempted a smile. “Wow, it’s really getting dark fast. I should go back.” She fumbled for the flashlight hanging from her belt, and after a few tries, was able to turn it on. She then pulled the soaking, crumpled up map out of her pocket. “It was great to see you again, Brad. Maybe we’ll run into each other again while I’m here.” Ali turned and headed in what she hoped was the right direction, but in less than two steps, a large hand wrapped around her arm. 

“Freeze, woman.” She did as he ordered. “I, too, appreciate all of the greatness that’s happened tonight,” Brad whispered against her ear. “Especially when you melted in my arms.” Ali gasped when he pressed firmly against her backside. “Why are you running away, skittish as a scared rabbit? Nothing’s gonna happen that you don’t want, and you want badly.” 

Alicia spun around to face him, so embarrassed and horny she couldn’t think straight. In a hot second, Brad Compton, geeky science guy, now ultimate sex-on-a-stick guy had her almost forgetting the lessons she’d learned the hard way. “I’m so, so sorry, Brad; please…” She stared up at him, horrified when a single tear trickled down her cheek. 

He brushed it away with a feather-light touch of his thumb. “Come on, Ali; let’s get you home.”


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Review: Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

Joan Bennet is tired of being a wallflower. Thanks to some deliciously scandalous—and infamous—stories, she has a pretty good idea of what she's missing as a spinster. Is even a short flirtation too much to ask for?

Tristan, Lord Burke, recognizes Joan at once for what she is: trouble. Not only is she his best friend's sister, she always seems to catch him at a disadvantage. The only way he can win an argument is by kissing her senseless. He'd give anything to get her out of her unflattering gowns. But either one of those could cost him his bachelor status, which would be dreadful—wouldn't it?


When Tristan Burke meets Joan Bennet once again, after not seeing her for years, he’s not really impressed. Yes she’s a tall woman, which he actually likes, but he hates the dresses she wears and the way she styles her hair – it’s just not flattering. She’s also extremely impertinent and he soon dubs her the Fury. Her impertinence doesn’t stop him from seeking out her company, however.

Joan isn’t impressed with Tristan Burke at all. He’s a known rake and her mother has said for years that she doesn’t approve of him. When her mother takes sick and has to leave town and then her brother gets sent off to help with reconstruction on a house Joan’s brother, Douglas, asks Tristan to watch over his sister. You know, got to tea, dance with her at a ball – generally make sure she’s not moping about their mothers’ health. He only asks Tristan because his other friends are even worse reprobates than Tristan. He’s not thrilled at his new task but it seems that every time he sees Joan there’s one more thing about her that he notices.

The pair become friends of a sort and Tristan asks Joan out for a drive and surprises her with an adventure. He finally realizes that he’s fallen in love with Joan but he’s not sure her family will approve.

This was a lovely story that I loved reading. When I think back on the story it was quite a simple one in that there weren’t villains to worry about or anything of that sort. It was just the story of two people meeting and falling in love. Now for some people that’s not exciting enough for them but for me it was wonderful. The simplicity of the romance is what I loved about this story. The feelings that are stirred, the chances that are taken to be together, the tension between the couple as they metaphorically feel their way around each other – just so good.

There was so much about Tristan that I liked. One of the things was that he was quite an intelligent man. Now it’s not like a lightbulb went off in Joan’s head telling her this but as the story evolves we see Tristan’s curiosity with mechanical things and his ideas that he uses. I loved that a big deal wasn’t made of this but it was definitely brought to our attention. His admiration for Joan was slow and steady and I loved seeing his indecision when it came to her – even though it was mixed with cockiness. :)

Overall the story was one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Caroline Linden 


#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: The Dungeon by Velvet

THE DUNGEON…where lust hurts so good.

Chef Kendall Hall had it all, a successful restaurant in Manhattan and a budding career as a television chef. With all of her accomplishments, there was still something missing… a satisfying love life. All that changes when she becomes a member of The Dungeon a sensual, sexy and stimulating club where role play and a wide spectrum of BDSM activities take place. It’s at The Dungeon where she meets her sub, whom she dominates, commanding him to do more than lick the bottom of her dirty boots. Dressed in black latex, wig, slutty make-up and shades, Kendall’s true identify is well hidden. 


Casino owner Magnus Richards is handsome, charismatic and a member of The Dungeon. He has no idea that his Dominatrix is also his business partner. With his face concealed underneath a leather hood, Kendall is also clueless as to Magnus’s identity. As they work closely together on opening a new restaurant, Kendall and Magnus fall in love. When their identities are revealed, will it destroy their chance at true happiness?

Excerpt

Magnus was in the conference room waiting on his third appointment of the day. Jan had set up meetings with a few restaurateurs regarding leasing out the casino’s new space. The first two guys whom Magnus met with didn’t share his vision; they each wanted to open a family-style restaurant. Magnus was taken aback, since they each had swank Manhattan establishments. He had assumed that the owners would want to replica their New York places in Atlantic City, but he was wrong. Magnus didn’t waste any time telling them that the new restaurant at ACES was going to rival the topnotch restaurants in New York and Vegas. He wasn’t looking for another all-you-can-eat buffet, so needless to say those two meetings were short.

As he waited for the next meeting to start, Magnus couldn’t help but think about last night. He was back at his favorite place… The Dungeon, and as usual had the pain of his life. The scars from his previous visit had healed and he was ready for more punishment. The Grand Domme was busy breaking in a newbie, so Magnus started off the night in the Red Room. As he was languishing on the floor, in the corner, a vision appeared. She was dripping in black latex, wearing a long, flaming red wig, shades, and slutty makeup, which he loved. Through the eye slits in his black leather hood, he saw her strut in, order a drink and look around. He prayed that she picked him for the night, and sure enough, after finishing her drink, she walked straight over, and stood directly in front of him.

“Come with me,” she had said.

Magnus rose, and followed her out of the Lounge to a private suite. He could tell by her conversation that she was new to the game. Dominates never asked Submissives what they wanted – and he should know, since he played both roles – but the minute they entered the room, she asked, “Should we devise a safe word, before we get started?”

As the Top, she should have told him the rules, not asked. Magnus started to go back to the Lounge and wait for a more experienced partner, but she intrigued him. Although her face was practically disguised with the heavy make-up, wig and dark glasses, her body was banging, and he was anxious to find out what type of game she had. After deciding that kumquat was going to be the safe word, the party began.

She held up her whip, waved it twice in the air, making a cracking sound. “Get over here and kiss my ass.”

Magnus began slowly walking towards her.

“STOP!” she shouted. “Did I say walk? Get on your hands and knees, you dog!”

Sure didn’t take her long to get in the groove, Magnus thought, and smiled behind his hood. Now she was talking his language.


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Review: How To Lose A Bride In One Night by Sophie Jordan

He saved her life...

When Annalise Hadley is tossed over the side of her honeymoon barge, the newly-minted duchess knows she's been left for dead -- for her husband's only interest is in her vast dowry, not her muddied lineage. However, she didn't count on a savior. Especially not an honorable, sinfully intriguing earl who will tempt her to risk everything—again.

Now he will seduce her heart and soul

A man with his own demons, Owen Crawford, the reclusive Earl of McDowell, is enchanted by the mysterious, courageous woman he rescued. He will help her heal, teach her to protect herself, and then send her away—so that she’ll never see he’s far from the hero she believes him to be.

But days and nights alone prove that some secrets are meant to be discovered...some desires are too powerful to resist…and some wounds can only be healed by love. 


Annalise Hadley, the bastard daughter of one of the wealthiest men in England, was working as a seamstresses assistant just one year ago. That's before her father found her, brought her to London and got her engaged to the Duke of Bloodsworth. Now it's their wedding day and Annalise is shyly attracted to her husband. He seems to be besotted with her as well even though she's a bastard, kind of plain, and has a limp.

The newlyweds get on to their wedding barge and soon it's night time and Annalise is excited by nervous. Little does she know that her husband will come in and try to kill her then leave her for dead in the river. She does almost die but is saved by Owen Crawford. He can't get to a town quick enough so waylays a gypsy caravan and pays them to heal her, which they do.

When Annalise comes to she doesn't know the people surrounding her but she knows that she has to be very careful about who she trusts. She trusted her husband and look where that got her. She tells Owen that her name is Anna and that she has no memory of what happened or where her family is. He eventually takes her to his town home in London for her to heal.

During the healing process Annalise gets closer to Owen even though she knows she can never be with him. Owen has his own demons from the bloody work he did in India and feels that he's unworthy to be with anyone. He also has no desire to marry. But yet...he can't seem to get enough of Anna. He knows that she remembers more than she lets on but that doesn't seem to stop him from wanting her more. But when the truth about her comes out will he stand by her side?

This was really not the book I expected. The title of the story should have been something like along the lines of How to Find a Bride in One Night – referring to Owen finding Annalise. :)

This was a sweet tale with Annalise trying to find out who she really is and where she fits in in the world. She was determined not to be fearful any longer and no longer go along naively with what men say – being the totally trusting type. After what happened to her I was happy to see her stand up for herself and take a stand.

Owen was a tortured soul that found peace with a woman. Not what he expected from his life I'm sure. I really did love seeing him argue with himself about his feelings as well as what his actions should be in a certain situation. I believed that Annalise and Owen were perfect for each other and loved reading about their romance and love story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sophie Jordan

#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Falling For Sarah by Cate Beauman

Widow Sarah Johnson struggled to pick up the pieces after her life was ripped apart. After two years of grieving, she’s found contentment in her thriving business as photographer to Hollywood’s A-list and in raising her angel-faced daughter, Kylee…until bodyguard and long-time friend Ethan Cooke changes everything with a searing moonlight kiss.

Sarah’s world turns upside down as she struggles with her unexpected attraction to Ethan and the guilt of betraying her husband’s memory. But when blue roses and disturbing notes start appearing on her doorstep, she has no choice but to lean on Ethan as he fights to save her from a stalker that won’t stop until he has what he prizes most.




Excerpt:

Sarah lay Kylee in her crib, covered her with a light blanket. Her daughter slept soundly in the center of the mattress, unaware that their lives were forever changed. She stared at the photograph of Jake hanging on the wall above the crib. She had taken the picture the day before he left to finish his deployment, before they were aware they’d made Kylee. His big, cheesy grin and smiling brown eyes filled the frame. Oh God, Jake. You’re gone. How can you be gone? I need you. I can’t do this by myself.

The dredges of shocked disbelief were melting away. Panic and dread quickly took their place. How was she going to live without him? Sarah glanced down at Kylee again as a thought circled through her mind. It brought such crushing pain she could hardly breathe. They would never meet. Jake would never touch the daughter he had helped create. Kylee would be robbed of ever knowing her father’s love.

Jake’s deep, infectious laugh echoed in her head and Sarah buckled. She would never hear it again. He would never kiss her or hold her again. Her breath shuddered in and out.

Ethan’s hands rested on her shoulders and she flinched. He turned her toward him. She stared into his eyes, saw the grief settled there, and a tear rolled down her cheek. “Tell me this isn’t real, Ethan. Please tell me this isn’t real,” she said on a sob.

He pulled her into his arms, holding her tight. “Come here.” He picked her up, sat with her in the rocking chair. Her long legs hung over the side, just skimming the floor as the chair swayed back and forth. Ethan cradled her close to his chest.

Finding comfort in the arms of her friend, Sarah wept as Ethan’s hand ran through her damp hair. “He’s really gone. I can’t believe he’s really gone.”

He lifted her chin as he spoke, choking on his own sorrow. “I’m making a promise to you right now, Sarah. You’ll never be alone through this. I’ll be here for you every step of the way, for as long as you need me.”

“I’ll always need you.”

“Then I’ll always be here.” He rested her head against his chest again as their tears fell, mixing together on the hands they held clutched together. 




About the author:
I currently live in Tennessee with my husband, two boys, and our St. Bernard, Bear. I recently resigned from my day job to concentrate on this thing I refer to as ‘My Dream Come True’ career!

I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, two years later, I’m working on the fifth novel in my best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards Of L.A. County.


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#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Medium Well by Meg Benjamin

Danny Ramos has always had a gift when it comes to selling houses; it’s as if the homes talk to him. When his jealous boss, Araceli, assigns him to an old and neglected carriage house, he discovers that perhaps his abilities are more than simple intuition. Danny sees and feels the history of the house and the bloody murder that happened there while Biddy, his assistant, feels nothing. If Danny’s going to sell this house, prove to his boss that he isn’t crazy, save his job, and get the girl, he’s going to need all the help he can find, especially when the demon inhabiting the house possesses a client. Lucky for Danny, his sixth sense runs in the family.

Excerpt


Danny closed his eyes. He was a lunatic. That much had been clearly established by the events at the carriage house. But he wasn’t a stupid lunatic. He was not—repeat, not—going to put any moves on Biddy Gunter.

“Danny?” Her voice sounded anxious. “Are you okay?”

“Super.” He managed to come up with a smile that seemed halfway authentic, although he’d never used the word super before, outside of the McDonald’s drive-through line.

“Well . . .” She didn’t sound entirely convinced, but she produced a slightly shaky smile of her own.

And then he did something absolutely boneheaded—he leaned close enough to smell her faint scent of performance sweat and gardenias, the mixture of sweetness and musk, the essence of woman that clung to her skin. Immediately, he was a goner. Almost before he knew what had happened, he leaned further and pressed his lips to hers.

Her mouth was warm and soft and faintly startled. Or maybe it was her eyes that were startled. He tried his best to pull back, not to lose it completely. But pulling back suddenly didn’t seem to be an option.

His logical half screamed at him. Get the hell back. Make it quick. Say something clever and move on. Do not—do not—get involved with Biddy Gunter. Your assistant. The manager’s sister. The one who’s watched you becoming a first-class nutcase day by ghastly day.

And then Biddy’s arms looped shyly around his neck, almost as if this was her first kiss, yet when her mouth moved against his, he knew it was far from her first. He pressed his hands along her sides and gently pulled her closer, feeling the warmth and softness of her breasts pressed against him. His logical half shrugged its metaphorical shoulders and took a hike, while other parts of his body began to clamor for attention.

For a few moments, he let himself feel the heat, the clenching in his chest, the rush of need in his groin, and then he pulled back, slowly, to rest his forehead against hers. “Holy crap, Biddy,” he whispered. “What was that? What just happened here?”

A millisecond later he wished mightily that he’d confined himself to a simple Wow.

She stared up, her forehead furrowed.

“That was . . .” He fumbled through the meager stock of adjectives his numb brain could supply. “. . . very terrific. Very, very terrific.”

Okay, the results were official. He was both a lunatic and a moron.

Her brow had furrowed even more. Of course it had. He was obviously certifiable and an idiot to boot.

“Terrific,” she said, slowly. “Very, very terrific.”

Her lips trembled, and, for one agonizing moment, he thought she might cry. Then he realized she was more likely to giggle.

He closed his eyes again. Once upon a time, he’d been able to handle a simple kiss without making his partner crack up. Of course, it hadn’t been exactly simple, had it?


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#DFRAT Excerpt and Giveaway: Watershed by Cd Brennan

Love Where You Roam - Contemporary Romance Series 
Debut Release - Book 1: Watershed - Out now!



She left home to find herself...and found love along the way.

Maggie isn’t looking for love on her backpacking trip through Australia. She’s got enough man troubles back in Ireland. Australia is her escape, a place of adventure where she can create memories to last a lifetime.

But some memories won’t be left behind.

Gray is ready to quit hiring backpackers to help with the work on his remote Queensland cattle station when Maggie turns up. She’s just passing through, but the connection they forge during the long nights herding cattle won’t be so easily cast aside.


CONTENT WARNING: A strong-willed Irish heroine, a stubborn Australian hero, and oceans of difference to bridge for love.

A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance


Excerpt 

She couldn’t figure him, and this was the first chance they’d had to be alone since that night. She put on her best teasing smile. “How did a seasoned bushman like you let a bull get the best of ya?”

As soon as it came out of her mouth, she knew it was the wrong thing to say.

His brow furrowed, anger lighting his eyes. “It happens to the best of us.” He ripped another piece of bark from the tree and turned to go.

“Did you have a good time last night?” Maggie hurried on. “I mean, other than the incident with the bull.”

He shrugged. “It was all right. Did you?”

“It was brilliant. I had a fantastic time.”

“Yeah, it looked like you were having a good time with ol’ mate there.”

Maggie raised an eyebrow. “Jason?”

“Yeah, that skeg.”

He had noticed.

“What does that mean? Skeg?”

Gray shook his head. “It’s nothin’, forget it.”

Maggie’s temper flared. “I might not be an Aussie, oi-oi-oi,” she mimicked, “to know that it’s rude.”

Gray shrugged. “Anyway, looked like you guys were getting pretty close. Are you going to stay with him next?”

Now her temper kicked in. She pumped harder on the swing. If he would only step a few feet closer, she’d be able to get him with her legs. That’s what he needed, a kick in the bum.

“Maybe I will.” She raised her chin in defiance. “With Lizzy here, you don’t need my help anymore.”

Gray narrowed his eyes at her. “Who told you that you were any help?”

Her mouth fell open. How rude! He was treating her like he had when she first arrived.

Suddenly, a loud crack sounded, and then snap! The next thing Maggie knew, she was lying on the ground on her back, the rope in her hands.

Gray squatted down over her. “Are you okay?” He appeared genuinely concerned.

She let go of the ropes and let her head fall onto the grass. “I’m grand, just need to catch my breath a moment.” There she was lying on her back again, looking up at him, wondering what the hell had happened. This was twice now. Was it divine intervention? Maggie wasn’t superstitious like most of the Irish, but she was smart enough to know not to push her luck if things looked grim.

He hovered over her, and she could feel the energy building between them like it always did when they were close. He smelled of earthy oats. His eyes were darker in the shade, not the usual golden reflection from the sun. She gazed into them, feeling herself being pulled deeper into everything that was Gray. “Thank you for bringing my journal and phone to me at the hospital.”

His features softened. “No worries.”

She dropped her eyes away to play at the blades of grass, pinching individual stems and running them through her fingers. “You came like you promised.”

He grabbed her hand with both of his, forcing Maggie to return her gaze to him. He gently rubbed the outside of her hand with his thumb. “We ride out early tomorrow. Be saddled up by first light.”

He dropped her hand suddenly and stood to go.

Maggie yanked a bunch of grass from the ground and threw it at his retreating figure, letting her head thump onto the ground. God, was she in love with him.



Media Links

www.cdbrennan.com
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www.twitter.com/CdBrennanauthor 
www.goodreads.com/CdBrennan 
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Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Watershed-ebook/dp/B00BNDFJX6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362277880&sr=8-1&keywords=Watershed+Cd+Brennan
iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wayershed/id593848163?mt=11 
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/watershed-cd-brennan/1114744167?ean=2940016262345 
Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Watershed/book-9Js6iPtS1EaZzf1UQuTjaQ/page1.html?s=jeMyN42T6UW3dzCXeWFfMQ&r=1


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