Review – Live Me by Celeste Grande

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Live Me
byCeleste Grande

My rating:6 of 5 stars


”To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” ~Audrey Hepburn

Here I sit with tears still stinging my eyes from a story that sank its soul into my soul from the very first page and never stopped. LIVE ME is a HEART-WRENCHING, SOUL-SHATTERING story of survival and a second-chance at love and life. This touching tale reached in and grabbed my heart, holding it tightly, and stealing a part of my heart I may never get back. I’m still breathless, broken, and bleeding from this book. This book BROKE ME IN THE BEST WAY, shattering me again and again.

Celeste Grande paints a passionately powerful portrait of a broken heroine brought back to life by a big-hearted hero in Live Me, a soul-shattering and heartfelt journey threaded with the #metoo message, so masterful and so moving for so many.

”I’m dying a slow death.
Body parts frayed and chewed away.
Demons come and find me.
And claim me as their prey.”

This new adult romance uncovers abuse while shedding light on tough topics often stuck in the dark. Celeste Grande gives one heart-wrenchingly real voice to a teen heroine who slowly tells her soul-shattering story alongside a hero who quickly becomes her savior. A hero who is hope. A hero who is everything.

”You’re my hope when I have none.
A gleam of light inside my grave.
Oxygen when I feel I’m drowning.
Rescuing me on a gentle wave.”

Reality bleeds with fiction where you will BREATHE THIS BOOK and become BREATHLESS. Live Me, this story of survival after shattering, is ACHINGLY HONEST, a young woman’s journey of life after feeling dead inside. If you’ve ever been a victim of abuse or assault, you’ll find this journey YOURS too.

”When you hurt, I hurt. You reside right here.”

He took the hand still blanketing his cheek and placed it to the center of his chest, each pulse reaching out to touch me.

Unequivocally raw, Live Me MOVED ME, SPEAKING TO MY SOUL with heart-hitting words and compelling characters that felt REAL. I forged a deep connection with the heroine, Eva, and hero, Blake. I bonded with the heroine and admired the hero. A broken beauty and a white knight of a hero blend into a beautiful book as Blake gives Eva the wings she needs to fly. Live Me is about a heroine living in darkness and a hero who helps her find the light, and oh is it lovely!

”I’m not giving up on you … Plant your feet with mine and stop running from me and from yourself.”

Live Me, oh did I live this HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL book—its broken pieces penetrating every part of me—as I felt every word, every word that crashed into me with a force I did not see coming. I FELT EVERYTHING!

”You make me want to battle the world just to keep you safe.”

Live Me shines like a diamond amidst broken glass, so broken yet so beautiful. Its paralyzing intensity increases with each page. Live Me spoke to me. This soulful spirit in words struck me personally, one resonating so strongly in the era of #metoo. I’m still AWE-STRUCK that this is Celeste Grande’s debut book!!! I didn’t expect this book to tilt my world on its axis. I didn’t expect this book to BLOW ME AWAY. I didn’t expect this book to BREAK ME IN THE BEST WAY. I truly lived through Live Me. This heartfelt journey has left an indelible mark on my heart and soul.

”You’re a part of my makeup now. My me. Let me be your you.”

💋💋💋💋💋💋 ’forget me not’ kisses

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Broken…
Shattered…

Evangelina Ricci is trapped in a world that’s a never-ending nightmare, a constant ache in which consumes her every breath. Unable to bear the torture any longer, she does the one thing she can to take back control. 

Run.

With her best friend Jace in tow, Evangelina attempts to escape her darkened past by leaving for college and diving head first into an aggressive schedule, determined with everything she is to make a name for herself. There’s only one problem—she can’t run away from the demons she struggles with. The demons that’ll forever be there, locked inside, battering her soul. Hiding behind a flawless façade, Evangelina faces her ghosts until her world is turned upside down, invaded by…him. 

Blake Turner. Sweet, witty, flirtatious and drop-dead gorgeous, he finds Evangelina at every turn. Scared he’ll uncover the truth she keeps so well guarded, Evangelina tries her best to put on her act, deterring him like she has so many times before—only this guy’s different. He’s relentless. Utterly, absolutely and completely relentless. He sees her and he wants her and won’t stop until she’s his.

Will Evangelina succeed in pushing Blake away? Or will he break down her walls and be the person to make her realize life is worth living?

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A NEW TOP ROMANCE AND MUST-READ, LIFE-ALTERING LOVE STORY!

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Review – Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

6 out of 5 stars

I can’t believe I’m saying this (sorry Josh and Gabe. I still love you. ) but Rush and Lincoln have taken over my heart. This is my top read this year. My eyes couldn’t keep up with how fast my brain was insisting I read the words. Second chance tropes are my absolute favorite and Aimee has even further solidified this!

As I was reading, I couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful of a movie this book could be made into. I know I would live in the theater and watch it over and over and over….. Yes, it’s that PERFECT! The raw emotions, the heartbreak, the pain, the mending of souls, the ability to forgive, and the TRUE MEANING OF LOVE is what this book embodies.

My heart is seriously bursting at the seams right now with this absolutely perfect story that touched me to my soul. I felt the physical pain of my heart breaking as well aa cried tears of joy when it was pieced back together with all the love and happiness in the world!

SECOND WIND

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.14.18

COVER DESIGN: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER: WANDER AGUIAR

Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance: an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

Second Wind is a funny, sexy, and endearing standalone romance novel about love, loss, and rediscovery. It contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

BUY LINK: http://mybook.to/SecondWind

I suddenly felt an invisible pull to go to the pier and ride the damn thing. No, Rush wouldn’t be with me in person, but the memory of him would be. I walked the short distance and bought tickets for the Centennial Wheel. The pier was packed with families and friends just looking to have a good time and enjoy the beautiful June weather before the serious humidity hit later in the month.

I felt a little silly as I approached the long line by myself, but I passed the time by texting Phee and checking my email. The line had suddenly stopped advancing, and I wondered if the ride broke down or something. Then I heard the chatter about newlyweds posing for photos with the grand Ferris wheel in the background.

“Look how handsome the grooms look,” someone said.

“It so good that people don’t have to hide any longer,” another person added.

I stepped out of line to see for myself, and my heart thudded to a stop in my chest before it raced with recognition. It wasn’t the grooms that held me spellbound; it was the photographer. I’d know that stance anywhere because I sure as hell had seen it enough times growing up. The camera he held in his hand was a lot different and more expensive than the ones he used to own, but the way he stood and cradled it like a rare treasure was all the same. Rush! But how was this possible? My mind had to be playing tricks on me. This moment was nothing but a fantasy brought on by all the trips down memory lane I’d made the past twenty-four hours. I would wake up to find that I fell asleep in the hotel room instead of walking to the pier.

There was no way in hell that Rush, my Rush, was a few hundred feet away from me. It had to be someone who resembled him. The photographer turned around and smiled at something his assistant said to him. I started walking toward him without stopping to think if I should. For the first time in more than twenty-six years, my world felt right. My Rush.

It felt like I’d caught my second wind.

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees. I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever- after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

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REVIEW – Sordid by Ava Harrison

THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH WORDS PEOPLE!!! NOT. ENOUGH. WORDS.
Ava Harrison I applaud you.
Sordid is a masterpiece.

Sordid will easily sit in my top reads of 2018 list. The writing, the story, the characters, the development, the connection, the intensity, the angst. EVER-Y-THING was STELLAR!

Who doesn’t love a wounded hero?
Grant Lancaster is a tempting, sinful dish of a man. His wounded, broken life and soul drew me in and gripped me SO TIGHT. I was addicted to his cold demeanour, it made him seem so much more perfect as his walls came tumbling down and his love for Bridget magnified. Bridget is strong!! She’s powerful and she owns herself. I connected with her. I related to her. I applaud her. She is my favourite Ava heroine yet!!

Sordid takes every raw emotion and pulls them apart until you’re left dangling by a thread. The angst and tension pulsates from this novel in huge tidal waves that crash and burn relentlessly against the heart and soul. Grant and Bridget are intense and explosive and damaged beyond compare. Their HEA is the sweetest reward.

Ava Harrison is a writer that not only draws you into her stories but practically writes you into them too. The feeling I get when reading Ava’s words are insane. I can picture everything, as though I’ve been written in as a side character, sat in the same places her characters are. Her delivery makes me FEEL every single thing she writes about. Overall the experience you get when reading an Ava Harrison book is breathtaking!

I cannot express how much I loved this one. It’s a top, top, top read. 5 stars doesn’t come close to expressing how amazing it actually was!

It was his lips.
The way his stare sent shivers down my spine.
The way his rough voice whispered my name.

So I caved.
I did what I knew I shouldn’t.

But as quickly as he’s there, he’s gone.
Leaving me confused.
Devastated.
I hope I’ll never see him again…

Then I do.

He’s my new boss.
And he has secrets.

*Sordid is a COMPLETE standalone novel.

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Review – Hostage by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

5 out of 5 stars

If I could only write one word to describe this book, it would be Perfect! This book was pure utter perfection. Annika and Skye completely slayed it. I did not read Prisoner so I wasn’t privy to what the book would be like, but oh was I so enthralled. It’s like a drug. You just can’t put it down.

Dark and taboo but oh so beautiful, really. Two souls who come from different worlds collide and give us the explosion of a lifetime. Knowing you’re in danger, but not being able to walk away from the man that could end you, is a story that makes for a beautiful addiction.

Watching these 2 souls become one was indescribable. All the pain and hurt Stone endured as a kid, made him the man he is today, but he just can’t walk away from Brooke and she can’t walk away from him. This is for sure a must read, especially those who love dark reads. Like it’s title, this book will hold you Hostage.

Hostage by Skye Warren & Annika Martin
Publication Date: January 30th, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense

I never knew when he’d come to me. Only that he would.

I’d never even kissed a boy the night I met Stone. The night I saw him kill. The night he spared my life. That was only the beginning.

He turns up in my car again and again, dangerous and full of raw power. “Drive,” he tells me, and I have no choice. He’s a criminal with burning green eyes, invading my life and my dreams.

The police say he’s dangerously obsessed with me, but I’m the one who can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe it’s wrong to let him touch me. Maybe it’s wrong to touch him back. Maybe these twisted dates need to stop. Except he feels like the only real thing in my world of designer labels and mansions.

So I drive us under threat, until it’s hard to remember I don’t want to be there.

Until it’s too late to turn back.

HOSTAGE is a dangerous standalone romance by New York Times bestselling authors Skye Warren and Annika Martin. It’s set in the same world as PRISONER, but can read separately!

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It’s him or me. It’s stand here and let a man die, or do something—for once in my life, do something that’s not wearing a dress and smiling and getting it all wrong.

So I run out there. I watch myself do it, like a movie almost. “Stop it,” I yell.

The attacker just keeps on, a dark storm, all fists and fury. My presence means nothing to him. My words don’t touch him. It’s as if I’m yelling at thunder.

My heart beats out of my chest. I’ve risked everything, come out in the open, but it’s not enough. I stamp my foot to get his attention, crushing gravel beneath my mother’s Louboutins.

“The cops are coming,” I say.

The man stills and looks up. It’s a shock when it happens, even though I’ve been trying to get him to see me. His eyes seem to blaze into my chest, hot and bright.

Breathless, I back away.

He stands, leaving the man in a groaning, whimpering heap.

I retreat slowly, showing him my phone, as though that might protect me. “Cops are coming,” I say again. A lie. I couldn’t punch in the code.

He’s coming at me, expression unreadable. He’s a few years older than I am—late twenties, maybe.

My back hits something hard. The van.

He keeps coming. I try to spin and run, but he grabs my arm and slams me back into the van. “Where do you think you’re going, little girl?”

I stare up at him, panting.

His warm breath is a feather on my nose; the heat in his eyes invades me. He grabs my hair and tilts my head back, forcing me to stare into his face, as if he’s trying to read my eyes.

A moment later, he looks up at the night sky. He seems almost wolfish, and I’m conscious, suddenly, of my bare neck so close to his snarling mouth. I wonder if he’s staring at the moon. It’s like he’s going to howl or something.

Then I get it. He’s listening for sirens.

“You’re a little fucking liar.”

Meet the Authors:

Skye Warren:

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance such as the Endgame trilogy. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.

Connect with Skye:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skye_warren
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Instagram: https://instagram.com/skyewarrenbooks
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2CnW33B
Website: http://www.skyewarren.com
Newsletter: www.skyewarren.com/newsletter

Annika Martin:

Annika Martin loves fun, dirty stories, hot heroes, and wild, dramatic everything. She enjoys hanging out in Minneapolis coffee shops with her writer husband, and also likes birdwatching at her bird feeder alongside her two stunningly photogenic cats, especially when she should be writing. She’s heavy into running, music, saving the planet, taking long baths, and consuming chocolate suckers. She’s worked a surprisingly large number of waitressing jobs, and has also worked in a plastics factory and the advertising trenches; her garden is total bee-friendly madness and her most unfavorite word is nosh or possibly fob. A NYT bestselling author, she has also written as RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.

Connect with Annika:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnikaMartinBooks
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Website: http://www.annikamartinbooks.com

Review – Baby, I’m Howling For You by Christine Warren

5 out of 5 stars

Oh man have I missed the shifters that can be written as well as Christine does. I have loved this author for many years and can’t even tell you how many times I re-read the Others series. To get a whole new series headed our way excited me to no end!

Action packed until the very end and full of a huge mix of stubborn shifters, this book makes for a perfect mind drugging read. You just can’t put it down. It definitely contains the heat that come with these hot as sin alpha male shifters. They don’t get more alpha that that.

Renny is on the run. She’s been on the run trying to escape the disgusting coyote shifter who is stalking her. No matter where she runs, he finds hers, so she decides she needs to make it to Alphaville where she can be free to live among the shifter sanctuary. The pack of coyotes are hot on her tail though and she doesn’t know if she makes after being taken down and passing out until she wakes up in the arms of her mate.

Mick is literally a lone wolf. He lives away from town and lives in misery after the death of his mate 8 years ago. When he hears the commotion on his property, he has no idea what’s in store for him. His wolf is Claiming this female, but he denies it through and through. His mate is dead. There is noone else for him. Or is it??

It sure turns into quite the debacle caused by this band of coyotes and there will be casualties, but you don’t want to miss a second of the action, so be sure to one click right away. I promise YOU WILL LOVE IT!!

BABY, I’M HOWLING FOR YOU:

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.

Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?

SOMETHING TO HOWL ABOUT:

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps, in a brand-new paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren.

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don’t quite fit in in the “normal” shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home…if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it’s not much of a favor when you’re helping the hottest shifter in town…

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven’t had a child born in over a hundred years…and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn’t count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn’t about to let her go…

Chapter One

The valiant old Nissan ran out of gas thirteen miles short of her destination. Renny would ponder the irony of that number some other time. Right now, she needed to run, and run fast.

She jumped from the car the minute it stopped moving, abandoning the vehicle on the shoulder of the two-lane highway. Before she reached the tree line, she was already tearing off her shirt, ignoring the chilly bite of the pre-spring March air. She threw the garment aside and immediately reached for the button of her jeans. She continued to hop forward as she struggled out of the confining denim, but the minute that last restriction fell away, she shifted.

Fur replaced skin, arms became forelegs. Between desperate breaths, humanity slid away, and in the place of the panicked woman, a sleek red wolf began to weave through the trunks of the trees.

Her claws dug through the lingering patches of wet, heavy snow and soft leaf litter to the soil of the forest floor, flinging small clumps of mud into the air in her wake. She needed to put as much distance as she could between herself and her pursuers. She might not have seen them on her tail from the highway, but it wouldn’t take much longer. They were the reason she hadn’t been able to stop for gas for the last couple of hours. They’d already chased her across two state lines and more than five hundred miles, and that was just this time. Somehow, she couldn’t picture them giving up now.

She didn’t bother to think about what she’d left behind on the roadside. If the pack caught up to her, it wouldn’t matter whether or not someone ransacked her car and stole all of her worldly possessions. She didn’t think she’d need a good book or many changes of clothes in the afterlife.

If there was such a thing. Frankly, Renny wasn’t all that anxious to find out.

Keeping her head down and her feet moving, she continued to track north and west from the roadside, calling up the map in her head to guide her in the right direction. The last road sign she’d seen had put the Snoqualmie Pass about twenty-five miles northwest by the highway. Heading directly north instead should put the town center of her destination somewhere in that thirteen-mile range, so she had to keep running. Just a little farther.

Alphaville, or die trying.

The town of Alpha, Washington, had shimmered like a mirage on her horizon for years now. As a pup, she’d heard stories—everyone heard stories—of the northwestern town founded and run by shifters as a haven for those of their kind with nowhere else to go. Wolves driven from their packs, bears with injuries and scars inflicted by careless hunters, lions who couldn’t control their shifts, leopards who needed to change their spots—they all went to Alpha, and they all, eventually, got better.

Surely a town like that could provide a safe haven to one small wolf with a teensy-tiny little stalker problem. Right?

Please, Goddess, let her be right.

Renny’s ears swiveled back and forth as she ran, their extra-large proportions helping to catch and funnel in the sounds of pursuit. And damn it, she thought she heard the first indications of it already. They’d found the car, and even if the muddy snow weren’t perfect for holding tracks, they knew she would have fled into the forest. That was what wolves did, after all.

She poured on another burst of speed, paws barely seeming to skim the cold ground as she flew toward sanctuary. Or what she prayed was sanctuary, anyway. If she was wrong, she wouldn’t live to regret it.

The first staccato bark confirmed her fears. One of her pursuers had picked up her scent trail and was alerting the others to the location. Now it was only a matter of time before they found her. All she could do was run and pray she made it to safety before they all caught up.

If just one came at her, she could handle it. In a fight between a lone wolf and a single coyote, the wolf almost always won, even a smaller and lighter red wolf like her. Which was why Geoffrey had sent five of them after her. No way could she beat those odds. Five trained male enforcers of any species against little ol’ her? She’d need to be a polar bear to survive that.

Branches snapped behind her, urging Renny to move even faster. If the coyotes on her tail weren’t worried about making noise, then they wouldn’t bother choosing a clear path to follow her. They’d plow through anything to take the straightest line right to her. Clearly, her nemesis had instructed them not to mess around anymore.

A sharp yip of anticipation gave her a single instant of warning, and that will to survive made her dip her shoulder and twist into a sharp right turn. She dove into the underbrush, ignoring the clumps of snow that plopped onto her head and the way the thorns ripped through her thick fur to scrape at the skin beneath. She could warm up and lick her wounds later, when she was safe.

If she managed to save herself at all.

The unexpected maneuver may have gained her a few inches of distance between herself and the lead coyote, but that didn’t last. She could feel the enforcers closing in again, harrying her as if she were some kind of prey animal, like a wounded deer on the way to becoming the pack’s next meal.

The comparison fit way too close for comfort.

She tried to calculate how far she’d traveled in the last frantic minutes, but all she could do was guess. Running flat out, she could probably manage thirty-five miles an hour, but she couldn’t keep it up for more than a few minutes. Already, burning muscles and oxygen-starved lungs begged her to drop down to something more reasonable. So where had her panicked flight left her in relation to shifter Shangri-la?

Not fricking close enough. If she was lucky, she’d covered eight of the thirteen miles between her and safety. Nine, if the Goddess happened to be looking out for her. It wasn’t nearly enough.

Then something changed.

A new smell cut through the atmosphere of pine needles and wet soil, rocks and wildlife. Something heavier, muskier. Male. Wolfish. Alpha. The realization almost made her slide to a terrified halt.

Shit. She’d just stumbled into someone else’s territory—another shifter’s, by the scent of it—and that could be either good for her or very, very bad. A wolf shifter might take her side against a pack of coyote goons, or he might decide to kill her himself for trespassing on his territory. There was no way to tell.

Maybe now would be a good time to dedicate herself to serving the Goddess and a life of prayer?

She sent one up, hastily but earnestly begging the Moon and all Her Sisters for a miracle. Something, anything to get her out of the reach of the coyotes, who would drag her back to Sawmill, California, and her death at Geoffrey Hilliard’s brutal hands.

Zigzagging through the underbrush, Renny spotted a pinpoint of light in the distance and made a beeline for it. Maybe the prayer had worked, and the light represented the town of Alpha, or at least its outskirts. Town meant people, and a town like Alpha meant people capable of holding off a small band of coyote enforcers long enough for her to beg for help.

It meant a spark of hope.

She called up the last of her reserves of strength and flew toward the light, but the attack came so fast, she didn’t even have time to second-guess that whole prayer strategy. She’d gotten too busy bleeding.

She yelped as a set of fangs sliced into the back of her hind leg.

The pain jolted through her, but her attacker had missed the big tendons, so at least she didn’t fall or lose the use of her limb. That would have ended things fast. But Renny could keep moving, for the moment. So she did.

Stubborn, desperate determination welled up within her. Damn it, she had not lived this long, come this far, or run this hard to let herself be caught now. She refused.

With a frantic yip, she leapt forward toward the clear pool of moonlight she could see through the branches. The beckoning light reflected off a patch of snow dead ahead, just a few hundred yards away. If she could get there, this would be over. One way or another. She’d have reached safety or not, and in either event, she’d be out of options.

She broke out from a thicket of salal bushes, almost blinded by the glare of moonlight off the lingering puddles of white snow, but it didn’t slow her down. She didn’t need to see to know she had to keep moving.

Run or die.

Heart pounding, lungs burning, muscles screaming, Renny raced ahead, no chance to take a breath, no chance to scream, no chance to think. She just focused on that light as it flickered closer.

Almost there.

Almost—

He hit her from the side this time, a cannonball of momentum that knocked Renny clean off her feet and sent her skidding through the detritus of slush, twigs, and leaves covering the forest floor. The shock left her dazed, but she still recognized the stink of him. Bryce. Geoffrey’s beta and one of his closest friends.

And almost as evil as the alpha coyote himself.

She scrambled for purchase, trying to halt her slide and get her feet back under her before the other four caught up to them. If she let them surround her, it was over. She had to keep them off her back.

Bryce snarled at her, lips curling back to expose fangs that dripped with anticipation. At least she knew he was anticipating her death, not her rape and then death, as Geoffrey would. Bryce wanted only her blood, and in the heat of the moment, she suddenly wondered whether he’d bother following his leader’s orders. Tearing her throat out himself would bring the big coyote a lot more personal satisfaction than hauling her ass back south and watching while his alpha did the honors after a day or two at Geoffrey’s mercy. Bryce had performed the hunt, now his beast would want the kill.

He positioned himself between her and the light she’d tried so desperately to reach. He held his head low and forward, his hackles raised as he stared her down with his malicious yellow gaze. He was waiting for her to move, knowing she was already injured, knowing that if he remained patient long enough, either she’d come at him and expose herself to a counterattack or his buddies would reach them. Five against one would see her dead or captured in the space of a heartbeat.

Renny didn’t like either of those options.

Her ear flicked backward, catching the sound of the others gaining on them. She had seconds, if that, to find a way out of this. It wasn’t as though she had much choice. The only way open to her was up.

She crouched down, mirroring the coyote’s attack posture, but she didn’t bother going for his throat. She knew that even if she managed to take him down, the others would be on her before he started bleeding. She wouldn’t get out of this by fighting. She had to take a leap of faith, literally.

Powerful muscles coiled and released with a shocking force, launching Renny into the air and toward her enemy, but she hadn’t aimed for him. She’d aimed for the space over his head, behind him, and she’d almost cleared Bryce’s tail before he realized what she was doing. He jumped up, teeth flashing, and caught her in the side, slashing a deep, bloody furrow over her ribs.

She screamed, the sound emerging from her canine throat as a sort of high-pitched howling yelp, but she didn’t bother to assess the damage. She just ran straight toward the light.

Behind her, Bryce gave a yip-howl of rage and frustration and leapt after her. She could practically feel his hot breath stirring the hairs at the tip of her tail, and that only made her run faster.

She’d broken through another stand of trees before she realized that the distant light she’d prayed was the outskirts of Alpha wasn’t quite so distant, and it wasn’t anything like her long-sought sanctuary. The light shone from a single spotlight mounted in the apex of the peaked roof of a lone, otherwise darkened cabin.

A cabin that smelled so strongly of wolf, she was surprised the siding hadn’t sprouted fur.

Her heart barely had time to sink before a distinctive metallic rasp caught her attention. The sound was almost immediately followed by the sharp, echoing report of gunfire.

Bryce yowled, and suddenly Renny couldn’t sense him at her back. She chanced a look over her shoulder and saw the coyote spin on his heels, making a diving retreat into the cover of the trees. Drops of blood sprayed the snow and mud behind him.

In front of her, a tall figure stood on the porch of the cabin, almost hidden in shadows. The stock of a rifle remained braced on his shoulder, his head bent toward the barrel as he sighted for another shot.

Huh. After all these days of running and fearing her death might be just around the corner, Renny had never even considered the end might hit with the impact of a bullet. Who’d have thought?

Her paws stumbled over the uneven ground at the edge of the cabin’s yard, and she felt her knees buckle. Her hind leg throbbed in time to her racing heartbeat, and the gash in her side felt like a burning stripe of fire. She could feel blood streaming from both wounds and thought it almost didn’t matter if the man fired again. A bullet in the head sounded like the better choice when compared with bleeding to death in front of a stranger, and either was preferable to what Geoffrey planned to do to her.

That was her last (semi-)coherent thought.

She folded like a cheap card table, collapsing onto the wet ground with a low grunt. Her head bounced once before darkness claimed her, and in that last dizzy moment, she could have sworn she heard another wolf growling.

It sounded a lot as though he’d just muttered, “Shit.”

* * *

Sitting alone in the light of the dying fire, Mick decided he made a damned pathetic sight. Here he sat, home alone on yet another Friday night, nursing a warming beer and trying to keep his mind clear of old, familiar memories. So far, he was failing miserably.

He swallowed more warm, bitter liquid and stared into the glowing coals in his living room hearth. Nights like these, when spring had begun to stir and his latest project was packed off to his publisher, sleep became sadly elusive, and he found himself right here on his battered sofa, trying not to think.

Actually, he could have slept if he’d tried, he admitted. He just didn’t make the effort. Sleeping opened the door to dreaming, and lately every dream led back to the same place. His wolf seized control and steered them straight back to their dead mate. It wasn’t what Mick would call restful.

Fuck. It had happened more than eight years ago, he reminded himself. You’d think he’d be over it, that he’d have done his mourning, let go of the past, and settled into his new life here in Alpha.

But you’d be wrong.

Maybe the eight years was the problem. Few wolves survived losing a mate as suddenly and traumatically as Mick had. Most followed the other half of themselves into the darkness and never had to endure the passing of time. He still didn’t know why he hadn’t, but after all these years, he wondered if his wolf was maybe coming unhinged from the loneliness.

He snorted, disgusted with himself. One more sleepless night and look at him—he was getting fucking maudlin. Maybe it wasn’t loneliness at all, maybe he was just losing his damned mind.

A scream of canine pain hit him like a sucker punch to the back of his head.

Mick jumped to his feet, his hand already reaching for his rifle before his mind could grasp what was bothering him. He’d lived out here in these woods long enough to have become used to the sounds they made at all hours of the day and night. He could tell a gust of wind from the rustle of the underbrush, the step of a buck deer from the footfalls of the rare moose calf.

He also knew which of the locals had the balls to run and hunt on his property in the middle of the night, and none of them had given him a heads-up about their presence. Which meant that somewhere outside his small house, he had some uninvited guests.

Cursing under his breath, Mick almost put down the rifle and flung open his door bare-handed. If the teenagers of Alpha were daring one another to play chase in his woods again, a bullet would probably be overkill. Most of them were so scared of him, he wouldn’t even have to raise his voice to send them scattering like frightened bunnies. Seeing a gun in his hand might make the little shits pass out, and then it could be hours before they got the hell off his property. Besides, that scream had indicated someone was injured. He couldn’t shoot a wounded kid, no matter how much they’d pissed him off.

A distinctive bark-howl cut off that line of thinking and had his fingers tightening around the barrel of the weapon. He recognized that sound, as out of place as it was, and it had the hair on the back of his neck standing on end. That was a coyote calling his pack to the hunt. Last time he’d checked, they didn’t have any coyotes in Alpha, let alone a pack of them. So what the hell were they doing in his woods?

He shifted his grip on the rifle and checked through the front window before opening the door and stepping out onto his unlit front porch. The room behind him remained illuminated only by the fire, but something had triggered the motion sensors that activated the spotlight near the roof. It shone onto the hard-packed dirt of the drive, but the glow managed to extend a little way across the scattered islands of lingering snow toward the edge of the woods to his right.

Mick faced that way and peered into the darkness. At first, he couldn’t see worth a damn, but his eyes adjusted quickly and his ears were already picking up the sounds of flight and pursuit through the dense northwestern forest. Two more short, sharp cries answered the first bark-howl, followed by a third and a fourth. Definitely a pack, or at least a hunting party. But what were they doing here, in Alpha, on his land?

And what the hell were they hunting?

He got his answer an instant later. A sleek, fur-covered form launched itself from the trees into the cleared area around the cabin. Reflex had the rifle to his shoulder, but instinct kept him from pulling the trigger.

The calls he’d already heard had him thinking coyote, and if the animal hadn’t landed near enough to the edge of the light, he might have kept thinking it. But something about that shape bothered him.

It looked on the large size for a ’yote, maybe seventy or seventy-five pounds, and sturdy as much as lithe, too substantial for the average coyote. Its ears seemed out of proportion to its skull, too large for the breadth of it. Then the light caught its fur, and he could see the russet coloring around its ears and neck, a rusty shade that seemed to darken to near black along its spine. That same rich red also decorated its flank near the site of a bloody tear in the muscle.

That was no coyote. It was a wolf, or a hybrid at best, half wolf and half coyote. He should recognize one when he saw it. Instinct had him drawing in a breath, and the scent cleared up his confusion. His yard had been invaded by another wolf shifter, a red wolf, he realized, and she was badly injured.

His supposition was confirmed when another shape crashed into the yard, this one lighter and leaner, looking almost delicate when he compared it with the wounded shape. This one was pure coyote shaped, and the dark, wet stains around its muzzle identified it as the cause of the female wolf’s injuries.

He squeezed the trigger almost before the reality finished registering and felt the rifle’s stock nudge back into his shoulder. The bullet grazed the side of the coyote’s shoulder, making it yelp in pain and surprise. Its head swung around, yellow gaze fixing on him for an instant before it turned tail and dove back into the cover of the trees.

Mick waited for a minute to see if any of the others in the hunting party felt like trying their luck to get to the she-wolf. Driven by the instinct to kill or mate, a regular coyote might press its luck, but a shifter would think twice. When no other animals appeared, he slowly lowered his gun and stepped down into the yard.

The female was unconscious, but her sides still heaved as if she’d been running a marathon. The sharp aroma of blood hit him first, and he knew from the way it almost overwhelmed her natural scent that she was losing a dangerous amount of it.

He also knew from one more deep inhalation that he’d been correct in identifying her species. She was more than a rare red wolf; she was a red wolf shifter, and she was in serious trouble.

“Shit.”

He muttered the word even as he crouched down beside her, setting his rifle near his feet within easy grabbing distance. A swift rake of his gaze took in her condition—good muscle tone, healthy size, but clearly exhausted—as well as the extent of her wounds. In addition to the gash he’d noticed on her rear leg, he could see blood saturating the cream-colored fur of her belly where her side pressed against the ground.

He rolled her gently over and muttered an even stronger curse. The wound on her flank had looked ragged and bloody, but the damage to her side made it seem like a love bite.

Fangs had torn deep under her fur and opened a laceration almost as long as his forearm. It extended from just behind her shoulder, across her rib cage, and nearly to her groin. The ugly slash had been ripped open by her exertions and it continued to bleed heavily under the layer of mud and debris that now clung to the surface. Shifter or not, it looked deep enough to need stitches.

Damn it, he’d have to make a phone call.

But first things first.

He scooped the limp wolf into his arms, catching his rifle in his fingers as he rose. She flopped in his hold like a sack of grain, but he’d hauled heavier burdens on one shoulder, so the weight didn’t bother him. What bothered him was her stillness and the way she didn’t even twitch when he lifted her.

It took just a minute or two to carry her into the cabin and kick the door closed behind them. After depositing her on his sofa, he returned immediately to bolt the door and engage the security system he’d installed the first day he’d moved in. If those coyotes decided to try for her again, Mick wanted some advanced warning.

Secured inside, he strode into the hall to grab a stack of clean towels from the closet. On the way, he snagged his cell phone from the coffee table and dialed a familiar number.

“What?”

Mick ignored the annoyed tone of the greeting, filled his arms with terry cloth, and returned to the sofa. “I need you out at my place. Now.”

Zeke Buchanan muttered something foul under his breath. “It’s fucking three o’clock in the morning, asshole, and I’m not on duty. Call the office.”

“I’ve got an injured shifter in my living room, and I just shot the coyote who was trying to kill her. Only grazed him, but it sounded like he had friends, and I don’t know how determined they might be. Get out here. And send an ambulance.”

He didn’t bother to listen while Zeke swore again. The snap and rustle of fabric and the squeak of mattress springs told him what he needed to know. The sheriff’s deputy would be here as soon as he got some pants on. In the meantime, Mick needed to stop the she-wolf on his sofa from bleeding to death until help arrived.

His knees hit the floor, his hands reaching to press a folded towel to the more severe of her wounds, when the air around her wavered and fell out of focus. While he blinked, the figure of a wolf blurred and shifted, leaving a petite, naked, and badly injured woman passed out in his living room.

A very attractive naked woman.

Shit.

He told himself to avert his eyes, but damned if the damage hadn’t already been done. His man and wolf had already both sat up and taken notice. He could almost feel the twitch of a whiskered black nose in the back of his head as the beast pushed itself forward to take in her scent.

She smelled amazing. Under the sweet coppery note of her blood, he could detect notes of citrus and green leaves and something deeper and spicier that simply reminded him of home. He hadn’t smelled anything like it in more than eight years, not since—

He cut that speculation off at the knees—not boarding that train of thought, thanks—and made himself focus on assessing the female’s wounds.

Her change of shape had jump-started her shifter ability to heal quickly, but it would take more than one trip from fur to skin to close a wound as serious as the one on her side. The ragged gash now covered a swath of milky skin from just to the side of a pretty, pink-tipped breast, all along her torso to the crease between her hip and thigh on the right-hand side.

Dirt still clung to the torn and bloody flesh, which Mick almost found a relief. It helped pull his attention away from all the uninjured bits he could see and focus it where it needed to be—on helping her, not ogling her.

Gritting his teeth and fixing his gaze on the injury, Mick pressed a towel hard against her ribs with one hand and used the other to tuck more towels under her opposite hip where he’d seen the less serious laceration. Her weight should provide the necessary pressure to stop the bleeding on that side, but he had to lean into the deeper wound. Thank fuck she remained unconscious, because if she’d been awake, she’d probably have been screaming from the pain.

He lost track of time while he knelt there applying pressure and waiting for help to arrive. Even if Zeke floored it all the way from town, it was at least a ten-minute drive out to Mick’s place, which left way too much time for him to get a good, long look at his uninvited guest.

It made him feel like a pervert, staring at her while she remained completely out of it, but he couldn’t help himself. Something about her drew his gaze like a magnet, and he really wished his subconscious weren’t so anxious to needle him about what it was.

Her wolf looked like Beth.

A corner of his mind gave thanks that she had shifted back to her skin, because it cut the resemblance considerably, but when he’d first seen her burst out of the forest, he’d thought for one wild, insane second that his mate had come back from the dead. It had nearly stopped his heart.

The two animals had the same delicate build, the same pointed muzzles, the same creamy coloring on their chests. Beth had been a little taller, a little more muscular, but she’d been mistaken for a red wolf more than a few times in her shifted life. She hadn’t been just a hybrid—half gray wolf like him, half coyote like her father—but her looks in her furred form bore a strong resemblance to the woman who had almost died tonight in his front yard.

That was an image he had never wanted to see again—a woman bloody and broken, torn apart, and left for him to find. He’d left that nightmare behind him, buried it in California before he’d moved north and settled here in Alpha. Not even the devil himself had the power to drag him back to the town where he’d been born. Not on the coldest day in hell.

A pounding fist shook his front door in the frame, jerking Mick back to the present. His wolf sprang to attention, ready to tear out the throats of any coyote who tried to get inside his home. It took a second for him to realize that it had been long enough for Zeke to have arrived. He opened his mouth to call for his friend to come in, then remembered how he’d double-locked the door as a precaution. He’d have to go open it himself.

A quick check at the underside of the towel revealed way too much red soaked into the cotton, but the active bleeding appeared to have slowed to a trickle. At least it looked safe enough for Mick to step away for the seconds it took to disarm the alarm system and flip a couple of locks.

Zeke pushed inside almost before Mick released the dead bolt, and the aggressive move ripped a snarl from his wolf before he managed to get hold of himself. He’d known who was on the other side of the door from both the knock and the smell, but the night’s events had riled up his beast, and the wolf didn’t like another male forcing his way into its den, even if he’d been invited.

Mick smacked the animal down and stepped back to let the other man enter. “C’mon in.”

Zeke grunted and moved aside to reveal a second, much smaller form standing behind him. Molly Buchanan smiled and waved with one hand. In the other, she carried a large plastic case like her brother’s favorite tackle box, only this one was bright yellow and had a big red cross emblazoned on the lid.

“Hey, Mick,” she chirped, bouncing on her toes as if it weren’t the middle of the night and she hadn’t been dragged from her bed minutes ago to come racing out into the woods. “You called for the cavalry?”

Mick supposed that, as an EMT, racing places in the middle of the night wasn’t so odd an experience for Molly. He waved her inside. She might not be in an ambulance, but she rode in one most other nights. She’d be able to help the she-wolf.

Molly stepped inside while her brother laid a hand on Mick’s shoulder and squeezed.

“Okay,” Zeke grumbled. “Why don’t you tell me exactly what the hell is going on? Injured shifters? Coyotes? And you shot one of them? What the fuck, Mick?”

“Yeah, Mick. What the fuck?”

The third figure to appear in his front door caused the greatest surprise. John Jaeger had dropped by Mick’s house on precisely two previous occasions. The first had been a thinly veiled evaluation when he’d first arrived in town. As mayor of Alpha, Jaeger took his duty to protect and manage his town seriously. To have a new, lone wolf move in but refuse all attempts from the locals to integrate him into their community had raised an alarm for the mountain lion shifter. He had wanted to ensure that Mick didn’t intend to make trouble.

The second visit had been harder to anticipate but infinitely more entertaining. Jaeger had dropped by to return a pair of boxer briefs he had found in his truck bed after the woman he’d been seeing had borrowed the vehicle to “move some furniture.” The only thing that had gotten moved were the bodies in the bed of the pickup when she’d invited Mick out for a moonlit picnic. The boxers came with an offer to let Mick keep the woman, too, but as it turned out, neither he nor the mayor had much keeping in mind for the woman in question. They had all gone their separate ways, and the two men had never spoken of the incident again.

“Jaeger.” The growl rumbled up in Mick’s throat before he could stop it. Adrenaline still rode him enough that his beast was expressing its displeasure at both the man’s unexpected appearance in his territory and the deputy’s belligerent manner. “What are you doing here?”

The man lifted an eyebrow and jerked a thumb toward the woods behind him. “Zeke told me you had some trouble out here tonight. Something about injured strangers, coyotes, and bullets. I came to make sure it wasn’t the kind of ruckus that called for shovels.”

“Not yet.”

Molly cleared her throat loudly. “Um, not to inconvenience anyone, but I heard someone was bleeding around here. Would any of you big, strong men like to point me in that direction before the patient runs out of the red stuff? You know, if it’s no trouble.”

The lioness might be a head shorter than the smallest male in the room, but such an insignificant detail never had done much to hinder that smart mouth of hers. Mick gritted his teeth and swallowed another rumble of displeasure. His wolf seemed ready to go on a tear.

Of shifters’ throats.

“She’s in here.” He turned on his heel and led Molly and the others into the living room.

The lioness strode to the sofa and crouched in the same spot where Mick had been kneeling. In seconds, she had her fingers on the woman’s pulse and her kit open on the floor beside her. She nodded to herself, then snapped on a pair of bright blue gloves before she briskly and competently began to examine the unconscious woman’s side.

“Her temp’s a little low, but it’s cold out tonight, so I imagine that will come up on its own. That last snowfall just won’t go away, will it? The wounds look messy and painful, but not life-threatening,” Molly proclaimed, poking gingerly at the lacerated tissue. “Not for a shifter, anyway. I can clean it up and bandage it, but it should heal on its own.”

Mick scowled. “No stitches?”

“You know stitches just piss shifters off. They itch like crazy, and they pull at all sorts of weird angles when we try to shift. Bandages are better.”

She didn’t bother to look up, just reached for a bottle of clear liquid and a handful of gauze. She began irrigating the wound, washing away the mud and debris that had contaminated it when the wolf collapsed. Her calm manner and sure movements seemed to calm Mick’s wolf, and he felt himself take his first deep breath in what felt like hours. It had probably been less than twenty minutes.

Jaeger shifted his weight and stepped forward, peering over Mick’s shoulder at the injured woman. “Who is she?”

Mick shrugged one shoulder, the movement still short and tense. “No idea. She just showed up in the yard, bleeding like a butcher’s hog, and keeled over. Didn’t stop to exchange pleasantries.”

“And at what point did you find yourself shooting at strange coyotes?”

“When one of them came after her with her blood on his jaw and a few friends at his back.”

The mayor looked grim. “You sure you hit him?”

“I saw blood in the snow, and it wasn’t all hers. He yelped, too. I figure I at least grazed him.”

“It was a male?”

“The one I saw was. I didn’t see any others, but I could hear them coming through the woods. They must have backed off when they heard the gunshot.”

Zeke didn’t look up from the small pad where he’d been jotting down notes. “They were definitely shifters, not regular coyotes?”

“Like I said, I only saw the one, but I got a look at his eyes, and I got a whiff of him. He was Other, which means his buddies probably were, too.”

Jaeger agreed. “Most likely. We’ve got our share of coyotes in this state, but not many in the area around Alpha. They know they can’t compete with the bigger predators we have roaming these woods, so they tend to give us a pretty wide berth.”

“Right.” Zeke snapped his notebook shut and shoved it into a pocket. “I’m going to take a look around outside while Molly bandages up the victim. I’ll need to ask her a hell of a lot of questions, but they can wait till she’s conscious.”

“You’ll get better answers that way,” Jaeger said, mouth curving.

The lion shifter shot the mayor the bird on his way out the front door. The other man just chuckled, then turned back to Mick. “So.” He rocked back on his heels and hooked his thumbs into the front pockets of his jeans. “It’s three thirty in the morning, you have an unconscious and wounded female on your sofa, an EMT patching her up, a deputy nosing around your property, and a mayor in your living room who’d be willing to consider performing several illegal acts for a good hit of caffeine. Ideas?”

Mick rolled his eyes. “I’ll make coffee.”

He spun around and stalked toward the kitchen, Jaeger hot on his heels. What else was there to do? Molly was treating the she-wolf, Zeke was playing cop, and his wolf had no intention of letting him sleep anytime soon. Not with that intriguingly scented female currently passed out in his living room.

Might as well drink a pot of coffee. He’d take it black, like his mood at having all these uninvited guests in his den. So much for his wolf feeling lonely.

Copyright © 2018 by Christine Warren in Baby, I’m Howling For You and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

AUTHOR BIO:

CHRISTINE WARREN is the bestselling author of The Others series, including Wolf at the Door, Big Bad Wolf, Born to Be Wild, Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here, and Black Magic Woman. Born and raised in coastal New England, she now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. (She completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her phobia of being landlocked). When not writing, she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

Twitter – @ChristineWarren

Facebook– @ChristineWarren

Author Website

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Review – Dirt by Cassia Leo 

Dirt by Cassia Leo 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

WOAH!! 

That’s my initial thought as I sit here post Dirt by Cassia Leo. I honestly think Dirt had one of the most hard hitting, emotional prologue I’ve ever read. The whole opener just GUTTED ME! As did the rest of the book in all honesty. 

Dirt is angsty and heart wrenching. Every page punches deeper and harder. My heart was POUNDING while reading this book. The tension is as REAL as it gets! It’s so, so hard to fully explain any of it because it’s only the first book and there are SO MANY THINGS I NEED TO KNOW! 

Jack & Laurel are hotter than the rising Sun but more broken than a shattered glass. Together this mix of heat and emotion really played well in building up the story and making so much more. 

I am GUTTED that it ended like it did! So gutted. And DESPERATE for book two!


The hard-hitting, emotional first installment in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.

Jack and I had everything. Then, in one brutal instant, the universe tilted on its side, discarding us into black nothingness.

Now, I have a cocky a**hole for a husband.

The only way we communicate anymore is when we’re fighting or f**king.

With nothing left to lose, I write Jack a goodbye letter and head for Portland, where I quickly meet a neighbor who helps me find a job.

My new neighbor—hot, tattooed ex-soldier Isaac Evans—is complicated. Nevertheless, we form a fast friendship, bonding over our mutual desire to create something beautiful from the wreckage of our lives.

But despite the distance between us, Jack and I are still trying to make things work—fighting and f**king dirtier than ever. And he doesn’t appreciate my new friendship with Isaac. Not one f**king bit.

US: http://amzn.to/2Eg86OO

UK: http://amzn.to/2DR77Xu

Review – Tempt Me by Carly Phillips

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I have some it before and I will say it again. Carly’s books just make me so happy! I so enjoyed this second book in the Bodyguard Bad Boys series. A sexy bodyguard meets his match in a determined nanny. And let’s not forget on adorable little girl who steals the show!

Austin Rhodes has a serious problem – his nanny. No matter how much he wants to, he cannot deny that Mia Atwood has gotten under his skin. Why wouldn’t she? She’s beautiful, strong and believes in the goodness of people. In spite of her past and all of her struggles, she still manages to put all that aside to be there for his daughter. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Bailey adores Mia. Just like Austin, Mia has tried to forget what she feels for her boss. She knows combining business with pleasure is something that she must steer clear of. She already knows how business can destroy and she won’t sacrifice her position – and Bailey – for a quickie with the boss. Oh, but when these two give into what they have been feeling, it is stunning. They have so much chemistry! Still the past is never far behind and when it creeps its way into what the couple is trying to build, it will be up to Austin to protect everything that he loves. Let the angsty twists and turns and those intense steamy moments begin!

Tempt Me was a wonderful quick read. Truly just wonderful! There was something for all of her fans. There was the sexy alpha, the brilliant leading woman that you cheer on loudly, a character or two that you loathe and a beautiful little person that makes it all worthwhile. There was the push and pull of attraction, the will they or won’t they moments and page turning suspense. A great addition to the Bodyguard series that is not to be missed!

FANTASTIC, Carly! So well done!

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The single dad & the nanny …

Burned by an ex with a wandering eye, Austin Rhodes has sworn off women. His sole focus is his young daughter – and despite his good intentions, the little girl’s live-in nanny. He hired Mia Atwood to care for his child but he finds himself lusting after her instead. Keeping his distance isn’t easy but he’s determined to be a gentleman. Until Mia’s past comes back to haunt her and she’s in need of Austin’s brand of protection. Suddenly she’s his in every sense of the word — and he’ll do whatever it takes to shield the woman who tempts him beyond reason.

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“So what’s your end game?”

“She paused, lowering the cup from her lips. “You’ll laugh. Or at the very least you won’t think it’s overly ambitious.”

He ignored his coffee, more interested in the fascinating woman sitting beside him. “Try me.”

“Someday I’d like a family of my own. A lot of kids not all mine. Kids who’ve been in foster care too long and never adopted because everyone wants babies.”She rubbed her cup between her palms, not meeting his gaze. “See? Nothing all that enterprising, like becoming a teacher or succeeding in business.”

He couldn’t stop staring, enthralled not just by her beauty but by her heart. “I think it’s inspiring, what you want to do.”And the man by her side when she fulfilled her dreams would be one lucky SOB. “Not for me, because been there, done that…the family and marriage thing, but I’m sure it can work for the right couple.”He shrugged, realizing he’d admitted way too much. “I hope you find what you’re looking for,”he said, meaning it.

She glanced down, her gaze sweeping over her watch on her wrist. “Oh! It’s time to pick up Bailey.”She crumbled the napkin beside her and picked up her cup as she rose to her feet.

He stood, joining her as they tossed their half-finished drinks in the trash. They headed to the car and he beat her there, opening the passenger door before she could grab the handle herself. He turned back and she stopped short. He caught her before she bumped into him, grasping her around the waist and pulling her close. She sucked in a surprised breath but didn’t back away, her face inches from his. Her mouth so damned close.

He knew better, he really did but he was tired of denying himself what he wanted and his body was definitely on board. He waited for a sign she wasn’t right there with him. If she pulled back or jerked away, he’d apologize and they’d move forward from there. Instead she swayed toward him, sealing her fate.

He grasped her waist, anchoring himself by touching her, the soft sweater doing little to hide her slender body or delicate curves. He tipped his head, sliding his tongue across her lips and with a soft moan, she parted her mouth and let him inside. She tasted of vanilla and coffee, a sweet flavor that was all Mia.

Their tongues touched, tangled, and his body came alive with a hunger he hadn’t known before.

She raised her arms, hands coming to his biceps, holding on for a brief second before she gave in and wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close, giving him all the excuse he needed to deepen the kiss. He tilted his head and consumed her, swirling his tongue around the further recesses of her mouth.

He had no wall, no car door to push her against, which was a good thing because he wouldn’t have been able to control himself if he crushed his body against hers.

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Start the Series of Standalones Today!

Rock Me

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Carly

Meet Carly Phillips:

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

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Review – Awaken Me by Alex Grayson 



5 out of 5 stars

 This series has been one of the best ever, and I’m so sad to see it go. We all knew leading up through the previous 3 books, that this book was going to be the hardest. I was so right. I suggest tissues and to be ready for an ugly cry. 
Alex quickly became a go to author to me, and after this series, I will never miss a book of hers again. We got to see the pain and torment going through Nick throughout the whole series. He was headed down a oath of destruction, so lost. I felt for him and knew his book would be the death of me. 
Chris, oh poor Chris. Bless her heart. She loved that man so much but you can only be pushed so far. No matter what, she was always there for him. 
I really won’t spoil the story for anyone because this was in my opinion, the most anticipated book of the series. Well done Alex. Well freaking done! 


 The highly anticipated conclusion of The Jaded Series, featuring the beloved Nick and the relentless Chris. Be prepared to experience an emotional roller-coaster of a life time!


What do you do when you lose the single most important thing in your life? You grieve. You sink so deep in a hole, you can no longer see the top. All you see is dark. Your life becomes dull and dreary. You withdraw from your friends, lash out at the ones you’re closest to, and become so absorbed in your pain, you feel the only way out is to end it permanently. Your heart no longer pumps properly and you can never get enough air in your lungs. You drink, you neglect your health, and you rent dirty hotel rooms with the sole purpose of ending your pain in them. Guilt eats at you for not being at the one place you were needed the most. And you become angry because you were left behind.


Or at least, that’s what I did. Until she came along…


Chris, the bane of my existence. She’s always there in the background, watching me, trying to ‘be there’ for me. But I don’t want her help. I don’t need her to butt in where she’s not wanted. I just want to be left alone in my dark world. But she’s not giving up, even when I’m a bastard to her. Every time I turn around, there she is. And what’s worse, she’s starting to make me want things. Things I never thought I could have again. She’s making me forget the pain and bringing color back into my life with her fiery red hair, bright green eyes, and the silly faces she makes at herself in the mirror. But what happens if I let her in? Could I be brave enough to open myself up, knowing the possibility of having it snatched away again. Once I know the feeling of touching Chris, of having her heart and soul blend with mine, I would never survive losing that.


Can I take the chance of her being my savior, even knowing that she could also be the one that could push me other the edge of self-destruction?

Awaken Me can be read as a stand alone, but it is HIGHLY recommended to read at least the first in the series, Shatter Me. Through Shatter Me, you will understand the emotional ties between Nick and Chris and why Nick is the way he is. Without reading Shatter Me, Nick’s behavior may seem too harsh for some readers. This is not a light read. Deals with mental abuse through extreme grief. Intended for readers 18+.



  The darkness of grief has consumed him. Can he trust anyone to help him heal?

Awaken Me, book four in The Jaded Series by Alex Grayson, is now #FREE in KindleUnlimited!!!


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  Alex Grayson is the bestselling author of heart pounding, emotionally gripping contemporary romance including The Jaded Series, The Consumed Series, and two standalone novels. Her passion for books was reignited by a gift from her sister-in-law intended to distract Alex and help her pass the time while her husband was away for work. After spending several years as a devoted reader and blogger, Alex decided to write and independently publish her first novel in 2014 (an endeavor that took a little longer than expected). The rest, as they say, is history.


Originally a southern girl, Alex now lives in Ohio with her husband, two children, two cats and dog. She loves the color blue, homemade lasagna, casually browsing real estate, and interacting with her readers. Visit her website, www.alexgraysonbooks.com, or find her on social media!


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Review – The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

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The Spring Girls: A Modern-Day Retelling of Little Women by Anna Todd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

”Never, ever, let anyone take your strength. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than whole, and if they try, show them who you are.”

A CHARMING and COMPELLING coming-of-age saga that paints a vivid picture of sisterhood and the strong family bond, The Spring Girls grabs you and never lets go. This Little Women-inspired read is so RIVETING and RELATABLE. The setting of New Orleans and Germany were places I’ve lived or heavily frequented. I instantly related to the mother, Meredith, an Army wife of four children like me. I saw some of myself in each of the Spring girls. Each sister is so UNIQUE and CHARISMATIC that you’ll be pressed to choose a favorite Spring girl. I LOVED EVERYTHING about this spellbinding story of sisters.

We were a force of nature, the four of us Spring girls.

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The Spring Girls is a POWERFUL and PASSIONATE story of love, acceptance, and identity discovery. This tale is brilliantly told with multiple heroine viewpoints that flawlessly flow into the overarching family saga. The Spring Girls is fresh, fun, and full of feels. I couldn’t put this book down. What an ENTHRALLING and EVOCATIVE journey!!! My only problem is that I NEED MORE!!!

I loved the plot twist. I loved the entire idea that people were never who we thought they were.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 strong ‘sisterhood’ stars

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Four sisters desperately seeking the blueprints to life—the modern-day retelling of Louise May Alcott’s Little Women like only Anna Todd (After, Imagines) could do.

The Spring Girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—are a force of nature on the New Orleans military base where they live. As different as they are, with their father on tour in Iraq and their mother hiding something, their fears are very much the same. Struggling to build lives they can be proud of and that will lift them out of their humble station in life, one year will determine all that their futures can become.

The oldest, Meg, will be an officer’s wife and enter military society like so many of the women she admires. If her passion—and her reputation—don’t derail her.

Beth, the workhorse of the family, is afraid to leave the house, is afraid she’ll never figure out who she really is.

Jo just wants out. Wishing she could skip to graduation, she dreams of a life in New York City and a career in journalism where she can impact the world. Nothing can stop her—not even love.

And Amy, the youngest, is watching all her sisters, learning from how they handle themselves. For better or worse.

With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls revisits Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, and brings its themes of love, war, class, adolescence, and family into the language of the twenty-first century.

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Meet the Springs

Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” Jo declared from her spot on the rug.

She sat at the feet of her oldest sister, Meg. Jo’s long brown hair was unruly, as it always was. She was my strong girl. She was the only one of my girls who didn’t hog the bathroom. Her delicate fingers, the black polish on their nails chipped, picked at the frayed edges of the Afghan rug under her folded legs.

The hand-woven black-and-red textile had once been bright and beautiful, and I remembered when my husband had sent it to our house back in Texas from his former post in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In my head, Denise’s scratchy voice reminds me to use proper military lingo: my husband’s FOB in Kandahar. The biggest forward operating base in Afghanistan, she would also necessarily add. Denise was always on my case. Come to think of it, she even had comments about the rug when I got it. She said he could have sent it to the base and paid no fee.

None of that mattered to my girls. From the moment it arrived, they loved that rug as much as I did. When I ripped open the package from their dad, who had been living across the world for the past eight months, the girls—particularly Jo—were excited to own such a beautiful, culture-filled treasure from the other side of the world.

Meg loved that we now had a lavish handcrafted object in our simple home. She was my most materialistic daughter, but I always knew that if I tried to teach her right, she would use her love of shiny things to do something magical and worthwhile with her life.

Amy was too young to really care about the rug, and of course Beth knew it was coming because her daddy knew that she was the only Spring Girl who could be trusted to keep the secret. Plus, on a more practical level, since Beth was basically homeschooled, Frank knew she could watch out for it.

Later, he explained to me that he wanted to mail the package straight home so that we could be treated with the rug as a surprise on our doorstep, rather than as a pickup chore on the base. I’m not sure if I told Denise that she would understand.

Of late, our beautiful rug wasn’t as beautiful anymore. Dirty shoes and heavy bodies had worn it down, and the colors blended into a mud brown that I tried my best to clean, but the color just wouldn’t come back. We loved it not one bit less.

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Anna Todd is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of the After series. Hailed by Cosmopolitan as “the biggest literary phenomenon of her generation,” Anna began her literary career on the social storytelling platform Wattpad. Serialized on Wattpad in 2013, After has over 1.5 billion reads on the site. The print edition, published in 2014 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has over 15 million copies in circulation, has been published in over 30 languages and is a #1 bestseller in Italy, Germany, France and Spain.

A native of Ohio, Anna was a voracious reader all her life, citing Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights and Fifty Shades of Grey as some of her favorites. In 2012, after discovering the world of fanfiction for fandoms like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Mortal Instruments, Anna began writing as a way of continuing the stories she so loved from fanfiction community.

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http://www.annatodd.com

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Website: http://www.bookaliciousbabes.com
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Review – Can’t Let Go by Barbara Freethy 



5 out of 5 stars

 This was my first venture into a Barbara Freethy book, and I was pleasantly surprised. The development of the characters and the way they contrasted each other kept for an intriguing story. 
Annie is from a large family of FBI agents, cops, and firefighters  but she didn’t inherit that gene. She’s the curious artsy free spirit. She lands in a beach town sub letting a house on the beach for a friend that’s out of town for 6 months. She’s hoping it will get her creative juices flowing again. One day she decides to try to overcome her fear of water, which leads her in a huge predicament… Shark!!  She gets rescued by the gruff sexy surfer  Griffin who skips out before she can thank him. She is determined to find him and express her gratitude. 
Griffin is a quiet guy that keeps to himself and for good reason. When the feisty Annie tracks him down, he knows no good could come of it. He has to push her away while at the same time fight the attraction he’s feeling. These two lead us on quite a journey. 
It was an excellent read that I definitely recommend. You don’t have to read the others in the series to read this. 

 CAN’T LET GO

Callaway Cousins #5

By Barbara Freethy

Release Day: DEC 26, 2017

From #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes another stunning blend of heart-warming romance and spine-tingling suspense in her popular Callaway Series…

Talented graphic artist and animator Annie Callaway has been commissioned by a Hollywood studio to create the next superhero blockbuster movie, but a bout of creative block has Annie searching the Southern California beach scene for inspiration. A local Irish bar in an old train depot, run by the ruggedly attractive and somewhat mysterious Griffin Hale, piques her interest, and she finds herself weaving fantasies about not only Griffin but also the quirky characters who work there.

The last thing Griffin Hale needs at his bar is a nosy artist looking for personal stories to turn into movie plots. He has carefully cultivated a scene of complete normalcy for people who need it more than Annie could possibly imagine, and it’s his job to protect them. But the beautiful redhead with the compelling green eyes is difficult to turn away. Annie’s fantasy world where good always conquers evil is not the life that Griffin has lived, and he can’t help but think she’ll never be satisfied with anyone less than a superhero.

After a string of bad relationships, Annie willingly admits that most real men don’t live up to her muscle-bound, cape-wearing protectors of the world, but when her stubborn curiosity propels her into a danger she never expected, she begins to realize that some heroes work in the dark…and a man who fights for you is a man worth fighting for.

While Griffin is determined to keep Annie alive, he’s not at all convinced he can give her the happily-ever-after she’s looking for. But then some stories take an unexpected turn… 


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Barbara Freethy Bio

Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of 60 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Traditionally published for many years, Barbara opened Fog City Publishing in 2011 and has since sold over 7 million books! Twenty-three of her titles have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists, including one title, SUMMER SECRETS, which hit #1 on the NYT. In 2014 Barbara was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of all time! She was also the first Indie writer to sell over a million books on Barnes and Noble.

Known for her emotional and compelling stories of love, family, romance and suspense, Barbara is a six-time finalist and two-time winner in the Romance Writers of America acclaimed RITA contest for her novels DANIEL’S GIFT and THE WAY BACK HOME.

For more information, visit her website at www.barbarafreethy.com

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | YOUTUBE | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 PRAISE FOR BARBARA FREETHY BOOKS


“Powerful and absorbing…sheer hold-your-breath suspense.”– NYT Bestselling Author Karen Robards on Don’t Say A Word


“A fabulous, page-turning combination of romance and intrigue. Fans of Nora Roberts and Elizabeth Lowell will love this book.” NYT Bestselling Author Kristin Hannah on Golden Lies

“In the tradition of LaVyrle Spencer, gifted author Barbara Freethy creates an irresistible tale of family secrets, riveting adventure and heart- touching romance.” — NYT Bestselling Author Susan Wiggs on Summer Secrets

“This book has it all: heart, community, and characters who will remain with you long after the book has ended. A wonderful story.” — NYT Bestselling Author Debbie Macomber on Suddenly One Summer

“Freethy has a gift for creating complex characters.”– Library Journal

“Barbara Freethy is a master storyteller with a gift for spinning tales about ordinary people in extraordinary situations and drawing readers into their lives.” — Romance Reviews Today

“Freethy’s skillful plotting and gift for creating sympathetic characters will ensure that few dry eyes will be left at the end of the story.” — Publishers Weekly on The Way Back Home

“Freethy skillfully keeps the reader on the hook, and her tantalizing and believable tale has it all– romance, adventure, and mystery.”– Booklist on Summer Secrets

“A page-turner that engages your mind while it tugs at your heartstrings…Don’t Say A Word has made me a Barbara Freethy fan for life!” — NYT Bestselling Author Diane Chamberlain on Don’t Say a Word

“I love The Callaways! Heartwarming romance, intriguing suspense and sexy alpha heroes. What more could you want?” — NYT Bestselling Author Bella Andre


A man walked into the bar. He wore dark-gray slacks, a white button-down shirt, and a striped navy-blue tie. His brown hair was cut very short, his face cleanly shaven. And he was the last person Griffin wanted to see. But whatever Paul Daniels had to say needed to be said with a bit more privacy.

He tipped his head toward a table in the corner, then poured two shots of bourbon and walked around the bar, sitting down across from a man who inspired both loyalty and frustration whenever they met up. “Could you look more like a fed?” he asked.

“I didn’t have time to change,” Paul Daniels replied. He took the shot with a swallow of satisfaction. “Smooth.”

“You must be off the clock.”

“Almost.”

That answer didn’t make him happy. “I told you we need to take a break.”

“And we did. It’s been two months,” Paul replied. “Megan is a twenty-four-year-old woman. She’s jittery, fragile, and isn’t doing well in isolation. She needs people around her that she doesn’t have to lie to. It won’t be for long—a week, maybe ten days.”

“You always say that.”

“And I’m mostly telling the truth.”

He drank his shot, breaking his own rule about not drinking while working, then said, “Where is she?”

“In the car.”

“Alone?”

“Rob is with her.” Paul paused, resting his forearms on the table, as his brown-eyed gaze settled on Griffin’s face. “She’s not any happier about this than you are, but I think this would be a good place for her.”

“Where is she from?”

“A long way from here. I’m not worried about danger finding her; I’m worried about her cracking or running. Some people can live a lie with no problems. Others can’t.”

He knew that better than anyone.

The door opened again, and for a split second he thought it might be the person Paul had brought to the bar, but the woman with reddish-blonde hair and sparkling green eyes was much more familiar and even more disturbing. She’d been very attractive in the orange bikini she’d had on yesterday, but it had been hard to get past the enormous fear in her eyes. Today, wearing white jeans and a clingy blue top, she looked beautiful and back on her game.

But why was she here? He couldn’t believe it was a coincidence.  

“Damn,” he muttered.

“Ex-girlfriend?” Paul asked, raising an eyebrow as he followed his gaze.

“No, but not someone I wanted to see.”

“You never want to see anyone. I’m still surprised someone as unfriendly as you decided to open a bar.”

Sometimes—like today—he asked himself the same question. But while there were a lot of people in the bar, he didn’t have to interact with very many of them.

As the redhead’s gaze lit on him, a smile spread across her face. He felt like he’d just been struck by a hot, bright ray of sun. It warmed up places in his body that had gone cold a long time ago.

“I’m going to get Megan and bring her in,” Paul said, getting to his feet. “I’ll let you deal with whatever this is.”

“What?” he asked, a little distracted by the woman making her way across the bar.

“I’ll be right back.”

He had a lot more he wanted to say to Paul, but his friend was already gone, and the woman he’d pulled out of the ocean yesterday was almost at his table. He stood up, his nerves tightening. He could sense danger from a mile away. He didn’t know why this woman was trouble; he just knew that she was.