Hunter’s Quest and a Less Well-known Law Enforcement Agency By Karen McCullough

 

As a genre, romantic suspense frequently features characters in law enforcement professions. The pairing is a natural one. You have characters who are in some kind of danger or trouble. They need help from others whose job is to defend and protect. Most people in law enforcement are willing to put their lives on the line. The nature of the job is to be in danger. They’re trained in ways to root out evil and fight for right.

When I began writing Hunter’s Quest, I knew that one of the two protagonists would be in law enforcement, but I wanted to go with something a little different. There are plenty of police officers, FBI, and other alphabet agency characters in romantic fiction. In my home state of North Carolina, there have recently been several major stories involving the State Bureau of Investigation and I decided that would do nicely, so my hero is a special agent with the NC SBI.

It really worked out well for the story, though telling you why would be a bit of a spoiler.

Instead I offer an excerpt from near the beginning. To set it up, Kristie Sanford has been driving in the mountains when she’s stunned to hear a rifle shot close by and then a man runs out into the road. He jumps out of the way of her car at the last minute but appears to be injured.

BLURB

Kristie Sandford’s vacation is interrupted when a man jumps out in front of her car. She avoids hitting him, but when she stops to see if he’s hurt, he demands she help him escape from the people chasing him. Kristie has an odd “gift”-she occasionally gets warning messages, and she gets one saying he needs her help or he’ll die.

Jason Hunter is an SBI (N.C. State Bureau of Investigation) agent working on his own time searching for a friend, an investigative reporter who disappeared while tracking down rumors of corruption in the bureaucracy of a small, North Carolina mountain town. Jason is grateful to Kristie for rescuing him, but dubious when she insists she has to continue helping him. Kristie is attracted to Jason, but the edge of danger she senses in him reminds her too much of the abusive family she escaped as soon as she could. Still, the message said he’d die if she didn’t help him, and the messages have been right before.

EXCERPT

She dragged her cell phone from her purse, hoping, praying even. It still showed the blasted “No Service” message. She tossed it onto the seat and pounded the steering wheel with her fist, then opened the door and approached the man cautiously. He lay on his side, back to her, so she couldn’t see his face. Torn, dirty jeans covered long legs, with well-worn running shoes below. Sweat, dirt, and blood stained the cotton work shirt stretched tight across broad shoulders. Medium brown hair just brushed his collar.

Her stomach clenched tighter when she surveyed the area around him. The tree he’d hit had saved him from a worse fate. A few feet beyond it, the ground dropped off sharply, diving into a ravine some forty feet down. If he’d gone over the edge he would have been seriously injured or killed. She couldn’t even think about what would’ve happened if she’d swerved too much to avoid him.

He might be dead already. Kristie sucked in a deep breath and walked across the grass to stand over him. With his face turned down toward the ground, all she could see was the hard angle of one cheek, smeared with dirt, streaked with blood and sweat. He lay very still.

She reached down to put a hand on his shoulder, but stopped short when he spoke. Without moving any other muscle of his body, he said in a low, urgent whisper, “Do you see two men on the other side of the road?”

The breath she’d been holding slipped out on a sigh of relief. “You’re not dead. I didn’t think I’d hit you, but you were laying so still–”

“Shut up and listen!” The words cut across her relieved babble. He made no move other than to speak. “Do you see two men across the road?”

Kristie stared at him in shock for a moment before she looked up. Beyond her car the woods on the other side of the road were still. “No.”

“They’ll be here any minute.” He collected himself and sat up so suddenly Kristie backed away. He winced as he levered himself upright. A large smear of blood surrounded a ragged tear in the left sleeve of his shirt. Something more than a scrape had caused that injury. He looked around. The man was probably about thirty. The face that studied his surroundings was lean and had too many sharp angles to be called handsome, but a rugged strength shone through the grime, blood, and bruises. His skin was almost the same shade of brown as his hair, too deep and even to be a suntan. A large abraded area reddened his left temple, and blood from a scratch across the cheekbone tracked toward his ear.

The snap of a twig on the other side of the road made them both swing around to look that way. Kristie still didn’t see anyone. The man sitting on the ground looked up at her. His eyes were very light, either pale blue or gray, the color a startling contrast to his skin and hair, but they held a penetrating intelligence and force. “Tell them I went over the edge,” he ordered.

He offered no further explanation. Without waiting for her response, he crawled swiftly to a thicket of rhododendron bushes ten feet away and disappeared into its depths. Since he stayed low, her car would hide his movement from the person approaching. She winced when she thought about how many more scratches he’d collect in his passage through the shrubbery.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X3Z8VLB

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/705030

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hunters-quest-karen-mccullough/1125808779?ean=2940157500979

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/hunters-quest/id1211862427?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hunter-s-quest

 

BIO

Karen McCullough, a former editor for a series of trade publications and web designer, is also the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres. Her publishers include Avalon Books, Harlequin, Kensington, Belle Bridge Books, and Five Star/Cengage. She’s won several awards including an Eppie Award for best fantasy novel and been a four-time Eppie finalist, a Daphne finalist, Prism finalist, Rising Star Award finalist and several others. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and small press publications in the mystery, science fiction, and romance genres. Her most recent publication is a short story in the Triangle Sisters in Crime anthology: Carolina Crimes: 21 Tales of Need, Greed and Dirty Deeds, published July 31 by Down and Out Books. She has three children, eight grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband of many years.

Website: http://www.kmccullough.com

Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMcCulloughAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough

 

SPOTLIGHT: A Highland Emerald by Brenda Taylor

Blurb:

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

 

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

 

Excerpt:

Isle of Mull

Scotland, 1486

 

My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events  around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck.

He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ‘Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

“Come here, lass.” Da rose, grabbed my hand and pulled me to face him, wrapping his powerful arms around my shoulders. He stroked my hair and planted a kiss atop my head. Disturbed, the great dog stood.

My heart ached to please Da, I loved him so. His tender embrace brought back memories of my childhood when he comforted me after a fall or some aggravation caused by my three older brothers. We stood for a long while.

He pushed me away, looking into my eyes and planting a kiss on my forehead. “I only want the best for you, sweeting. Your my heart, you ken. I dinna wish to leave this world without you being in the care of a good mon. The Munro is a good mon.” He hesitated then added, “With wealth and title.”

I looked into his faded blue eyes that once shone with the brilliance of the azure sky on a sunny day. He could only see the outline of my face while standing close, now. “If you truly desire the best for me, you’ll let me marry the love of my heart, not some bloat because of his title. Titles mean naught to me, Da.” Tears streamed from my eyes, wetting my cheeks. I pulled away from his grasp, swiping at the wetness with a smock sleeve.

“The Munro is a good mon and a fierce warrior. ’Tis nae better for a husband. He’ll be here on the morrow. We’ll have a feast to celebrate your marriage.”

“He’s old. I’m only eighteen summers. I shan’t attend.” Sometimes the stubbornness of my nature overtook good sense. I knew not to speak to my father in such a manner. He also possessed an immovable streak, and his word overruled my desires.

“He’s no’ old, Aine. A few years your senior, but no’ old by any means. When he’s my age, then he’ll be old.” I continued to sniff, wetting the front of his léine. All right, Aine. If that’s the way this game is to be played. You’ll be watched until after the celebration and the Munro departs.” The words spewed from Da’s mouth. A sinister, dark shadow cloaked his face. Muscles twitched in his jaws and his hands clenched in tight fists. I stepped back.

He abruptly turned and made his way up the stone steps to the upper story bed chambers, feeling the wall for security. When his foot struck the arisaid I dropped on the stair, he reached down, seized the garment and flung it with a vehemence I rarely witnessed from him, and continued up the staircase. The large dog followed at his heels. Not knowing what to do, I grabbed the arisaid, wrapped it closely around my shoulders, pulled the hood over my head, then ran toward the door of the great hall. Ellic waited in the garden. I wanted to be near him, feel his embrace, and listen to the sweet words he would whisper in my ear.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

iBooks

Smashwords

 

Author Bio:

The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

 

Author Contact Information:

Historical Heartbeats

Book Bub Author Page

Amazon Author’s Page

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Tumblr

Google +

Interview with Cherie Claire

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

Call me a mass market novelist.

I started writing historical romance years ago, focusing on Acadian (Cajun) history. I sold my first book, “A Cajun Dream,” in 1999 to Kensington and it was followed by a novella and a four-part series. All six of those books are now ebooks (The Cajun Series) and available at all online bookstores. I also penned a three-book contemporary romance-girlfriend series called The Cajun Embassy series and it’s also online.

Now, I’m veering into paranormal mysteries.

Tell us about your current series.

My latest series is the paranormal Viola Valentine Mystery Series, starting with the first book, “A Ghost of a Chance.” It concerns a Katrina survivor named Viola Valentine who decides, after the storm, to reinvent herself and follow her dream of becoming a travel writer. But the storm also blew open a psychic door and now she sees ghosts who have died by water as a SCANC, a person who experiences “specific communication with apparitions, non-entities and the comatose.” As she enters her new career, solving mysteries that appear with apparitions everywhere she goes, the one person she hopes to speak to — her daughter who died of leukemia years before — continues to elude her. Or does she?

What inspired your latest book?

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, my heart shattered into a million pieces. I knew I had to do something to help my hometown of New Orleans so I quit my newspaper job and was hired for a Unitarian Universalist recovery program. At the same time, I started freelance writing on the side. One thing I was never able to do as a newspaper editor was travel writing, my dream job, and my new flexibility allowed me to do that.

Both experiences inspired me to write “A Ghost of a Chance,” a story about a newspaper reporter named Viola Valentine who ends up on her roof after Katrina floods New Orleans and experiences an epiphany of sorts. She leaves her loveless marriage, boring job and overbearing family and follows her dream of becoming a travel writer.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Making things up!

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Editing. It’s a necessary part of creating a book but it’s tedious, not much fun.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

The second book in the series, “Ghost Town,” is now available, continuing Viola Valentine’s story. I’ve discounted “A Ghost of a Chance” to a free download to encourage readers to check out my new series.

Here’s the description of “Ghost Town”: Every day at dusk, in a small Louisiana town, the dead emerge from Lorelei Lake. And travel writer Viola Valentine must use her “gift” of seeing ghosts to rid this town of its apparitions. Viola struggles not only with the task at-hand, but hopes that this evolving ability she obtained after Hurricane Katrina will help her reach her beloved Lillye.

Yet, the more Viola struggles to talk to her departed daughter, the more frustrated she gets. Plus, it’s 2008, the height of the Great Recession, travel jobs are hard to come by, and her suffocating family and ex-husband keep making demands. She takes solace in a new love interest, one who teaches her how to harness her anger.

In the end, Viola realizes that only love can solve her problems, from ridding ghosts of lakeside towns to healing a broken heart.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

From real life. My day job, so to speak, is travel writing. Some of my journalist friends are now scared I will put them into my books.

Do you write under a pen name?   Why or why not?

My pen name is Cherie Claire. I was told by my editor at Kensington, when I was first published with them that my real name, Cheré Dastugue Coen, didn’t work because there’s an accent, an unpronounceable French name (which is my maiden name) and Coen is too ethnic. I made Cherie sans accent and Claire was my favorite aunt. On social media, I claim that Cheré is my twin. When you have two lives as freelance writer and author, it feels like there are two people.

What are you currently working on?

Book three in the series, tentatively titled “Ghosts of Mississippi,” and I’m sure you can guess where the story takes place.

Describe the genre of this particular title? 

“A Ghost of a Chance” in my Viola Valentine series is part paranormal, part mystery and a little romance/sensuality with a chick-lit narrative. Hard to find an appropriate genre — fantasy, mystery, ghosts — but I believe fans of Charlaine Harris will enjoy my books.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped.

I’m a member of Novelists, Inc., which has helped tremendously. I highly recommend it for those pursuing a career as a novelist, especially if they want to tackle self-publishing.

EXCERPT

I quickly shampoo my hair, feeling better despite the anchor attached to my heart, and step out of the tub. I grab the lush bathrobe on the back of the door and slip inside its comfort, but the ever-present pain won’t let me relax.

It was like this when Lillye died, the endless crying, the dark hole of depression. I could never understand how human beings don’t dehydrate from the amount of water we exude through grief.

I gasp for breath, then exhale, ready to steady my emotions and face the world when I see her in the mirror, faintly, the line of her figure like a shadow marked by a Sharpie. She wears the schoolgirl outfit of the blond in the cave, but her hair combed back into a bun is a muddy red, the unfashionable color, not the one everyone emulates through Clairol. She stares at me sadly through pin-prick eyes above an unremarkable nose. Plain Jane is what comes to me in a flash. And although this apparition, if that’s what I’m seeing, isn’t offering emotion of any kind, I feel her pain. Loneliness, heartbreak and something much more acute.

The loss of a child.

Links

Website: https://www.cherieclaire.net/

Amazon: http://littl.ink/GhostChance

B&N: http://littl.ink/GhostChanceBN

Kobo: http://littl.ink/GhostChanceK

iTunes: http://littl.ink/GhostChanceA

Blog: https://www.cherieclaire.net/my-louisiana-home

AUTHOR BIO

Cherie Claire is the award-winning author of several Louisiana romances. “A Ghost of a Chance,” begins a paranormal mystery series featuring New Orleans travel writer and ghost sleuth Viola Valentine. Cherie lives in South Louisiana where she works as a travel and food writer when not indulging in Cajun culture. Visit her website at www.cherieclaire.net and write to her at CajunRomances@Yahoo.com.

An Unlikely Mother by Danica Favorite

Hi Cindy’s readers! I’m so thankful Cindy agreed to have me on her blog. I’ve written a couple drafts of my post, and to be honest, I didn’t like any of them. There is so much I want to say about An Unlikely Mother, because it captured my heart in so many ways. So I’m going to give you a brief rundown of the three characters I love the most.

Flora is the heroine. I didn’t want to like Flora. After all, why should the most hated girl in town get a happily ever after? But I realized a couple of things. One, I fully believe that no one is beyond redemption. People can learn and grow. Two, in a lot of ways, we’re all like Flora. Maybe we weren’t the town gossip, but we all have flaws. Some greater than others. And so, for me, Flora is a symbol of the hope that no matter how far any of us fall, we can always get back up again and be something greater.

George is the hero. I’ll admit that even though I live in the mountains with no television reception, if I’m somewhere where I can watch Undercover Boss, I do. I love the idea of a boss taking the time to become one of the employees to learn what’s really going on. I’d like to think that brings lasting change to the boss and how he or she views the people around them. I know it did for George, and it’s a really good reminder for me to think about what the world likes like from perspectives different from mine.

Pierre is the darling little boy they help. How can you not love a little boy? For me, though, the most fun was that I finally got to use all those years of French! I’ve been sad that I spent so long studying it in school, and I’ve never used it. I was also very proud of myself, because I had a couple of French experts read those parts, and they said I did great.

So that’s the brief rundown of my characters. A lot of different pieces, but I enjoyed finding ways to fit them all together. I hope you enjoyed getting to know the characters I love. I’d love to hear about the kinds of characters you love and why you love them.

About Danica:

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She and her family recently moved in to their dream home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado.  Danica loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun.

You can connect with Danica at the following places:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Danica-Favorite/e/B00KRP0IFU

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/danica-favorite

Website: http://www.danicafavorite.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danicafavorite
Instagram: https://instagram.com/danicafavorite/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanicaFavoriteAuthor

 

Book links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Mother-Love-Inspired-Historical-ebook/dp/B01M9C3M1G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498799660&sr=8-1

BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/an-unlikely-mother-danica-favorite/1124880608?ean=9780373425242

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/an-unlikely-mother/id1173001759?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/an-unlikely-mother

RE-INTRODUCING… Heroic Rogue Series by Marie Higgins

Reviews

* This was a very intriguing book; it held my attention from start to finish–so much so that I read it in one day! I liked it and would highly recommend it as a worthwhile read. ~Amazon review

* I am so pleased to be able to give this book my highest rating and recommendation. It was an absolute delight to read, and I cannot think of any portion of the book I did not like. ~Barnes and Noble review

* One of the best stories I’ve ever read! ~Wattpad review

* Well done❤

I count always count on your books to be well written and well thought out. I don’t get to see that very often. I really love your stories. They make me… happy!

When I first wrote the Heroic Rogue Series, each book was set in the Colonial era in the US, just before the Revolutionary War. I have revised them and placed each story into England during the Regency era. It surprised me how differently the stories turned out.

GIVEAWAY – leave a comment on this blog with your name and email, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a free book of your choice! (I have 42 to choose from)

Heroic Rogue Series – Heroes who fight to protect their country from Napoleon’s controlling hand…and men who won’t give up on the women who have captured their hearts.

“Pretending You’re Mine” (previously published as Take My Heart) – Portraying her twin is the only way Mercedes Maxwell can get close to her sister’s husband to learn his secrets. William Braxton is confused about the sudden change in his wife, and yet, now he’d drawn to her like never before. Can they fall in love with numerous secrets between them? http://a.co/9899GMP

 

“After the Loving” (previously published as Falling in Love Again)  – Marcus Thorne / Captain Hawk is determined to capture Napoleon’s spies, even if one is so very lovely and seductive. Isabelle Stanhope gives her heart to her captor, even if she’s forced to marry a man she doesn’t love. Can they fight against fate’s rules? http://a.co/4A2MMbm

 

“Wonderland by Night” – Nobody must know that Lady Emiline Lucia’s uncle is Napoleon Bonaparte. She must protect herself against those who hate France’s emperor. Gabriel Lawrence hides his identity as a spy. How can he protect them both if a spy against the crown is always one step ahead…and wants Gabe dead? http://a.co/gCyWsns

 

“Worth Fighting For” – Lindsay Lennox, youngest daughter of Turkey’s governor, will do anything to meet and kiss a man…even sneak aboard a ship that is sailing to England. Captain Barry Braxton is heading home to take over his dying father’s place, co-partnering with his uncle (William Braxton). Will the lovely stowaway stop his plans? http://a.co/hu8dWdQ

 

Author’s Bio

Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of Christian and sweet romance novels; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. She’s been with a Christian publisher since 2010. Between those and her others, she’s published over 40 heartwarming, on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories and broadened her readership by writing mystery/suspense, humor, time-travel, paranormal, along with her love for historical romances. Her readers have dubbed her “Queen of Tease”, because of all her twists and turns and unexpected endings.

 

Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – www.mariehiggins.com

Find her on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/marie.higgins.7543

And Twitter – https://twitter.com/mariehigginsXOX

HER UNDERCOVER DOMS by Anya Summers

Excerpt

“You have much to answer for, Sherry.”

The ominous tenor of Jared’s voice chilled her to the bone. She’d been hoping—nay, praying—that he would finally see the light where they were concerned, but the angry set to his jaw and stern gaze directed her way as she knelt before his throne made her heart drop into her toes.

Jared reclined on his throne like a lavish Scottish king of old over the club. He was still one of the most stunningly handsome men of her acquaintance in his leather pants and bare, muscular chest. She remembered how it had felt against her skin, and running her hands through the silken threads of his dirty blond hair, tinged with hints of Scottish red. Although tonight was different. Tonight, Patrick Manning and Nick Santos flanked his throne, which was peculiar in itself. And having them there filled her with a startling amount of unease. Sweat slicked her back and the underside of her hair was damp.

Both Doms up on the raised dais with Jared were also fine specimens of manhood, and well built. Quite a few of the subs thought they were just as handsome as Jared. They were beautiful men, but Sherry always felt a little unsettled around them. She didn’t know why. She’d heard through the grapevine that both men were former military and it showed. Patrick was lean in his black jeans and matching tank top that fit him like a second skin. His slate colored eyes gave nothing away. And Nick towered over every male on the island. He was over six and a half feet tall. He was one of the few men of her acquaintance who made her feel small and feminine which, considering she was five foot ten inches tall herself, was rather impressive. Patrick and Nick worked in the pool area but she didn’t understand why Jared had them with him.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” Sherry said to Jared, her knees aching on the glossy black flooring as she knelt before him. She kept her eyes downcast and head bowed out of respect. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”

Jared didn’t hold back or decrease his volume as he questioned her and snarled, “From what I understand, you lied to impugn my honor that our relationship was anything other than what it was, scratching an itch between us.”

His words were akin to arrows piercing her heart. Sherry replied, trying to keep the tremor from her voice, “Sir, I thought that there was more. It’s why I came here. I—”

“Regardless of what you believed, I never indicated that I wanted anything more beyond the handful of times we scened in the club. I apologize if I didn’t make that clearer to you. I assumed you understood the nature of it. That does not excuse your behavior on the island. You have been willfully deceitful to other employees about the nature of our relationship to cause harm to myself and others. For that, you will be punished.”

Sherry wanted him to punish her. If he put his hands on her, he was such a randy Dom, surely she could entice him into her bed. She hid her smile, however, otherwise he would make sure she didn’t sit pretty for a week. Although, it might be worth it. She said, “Yes, Sir. I submit to whatever punishment you deem I have earned.”

Jared smiled then. A harsh, unyielding smile, and in all of two seconds, Sherry understood that she wasn’t going to like the punishment he had planned for her. Not. One. Bit. Then Jared commanded, “You will belong to Patrick and Nick for the next week. Perhaps they can teach you the true meaning of submission.”

Sherry’s jaw dropped and then she sputtered, “But Sir, I can’t. I won’t. You can—”

Jared rolled his eyes and gave her an exasperated expression, as though he didn’t want to waste any more of his time with her. He said sternly, “Sherry, enough. Either you submit to Patrick and Nick this next week, or I will have you on the first boat off the island in the morning and you can go back to Scotland. Take your pick.”

Go back to Scotland. Was he daft or just mean? She didn’t want to go back to Scotland.

 

 

HERO UNDERCOVER Anthology ~ Only $0.99!!!

SUMMER IS COOLER WHEN YOU STAY UNDERCOVER!

25 New York Times, USA Today, and award-winning bestselling romance authors have created a smoking hot collection of torrid tales starring hunky bad-boy heroes and feisty strong-willed heroines. Heat up your nights with dark fantasies, seductive sci-fi, and breathtaking passion. Our alpha males range from swoon-worthy cowboys and take-charge military men to deliciously decadent dominants, and each page-turning story ends with the happily ever after you crave.

Hours upon hours of breathtaking romance for only .99 cents. Turn up the AC, lie back, and escape into these brand new, red hot, riveting reads. Grab this blistering box set now before the price goes up.

Authors include: Annabel Joseph, Addison Cain, Renee Rose, Maggie Ryan, Maddie Taylor, Emily Tilton, Trent Evans, Jennifer Bene, Sophie Kisker, Megan Michaels, Katherine Deane, Maggie Carpenter, Jane Henry, Maisy Archer, Alyssa Bailey, Claire Conrad, Stevie MacFarlane, Piper Stone, Anya Summers, Lucy Wild, BJ Wane, A.C. Rose, April Hill, Amelia Smarts, and Meredith O’Reilly

Don’t miss the next installment in Anya Summers’ bestselling Pleasure Island Series, HER UNDERCOER DOMS, exclusively in the HERO UNDERCOVER Anthology!!

AMAZON https://goo.gl/Jp41Wd
NOOK https://goo.gl/9H2WoY
KOBO https://goo.gl/HtHFnN
BLUSHING BOOKS https://goo.gl/uHc0dg
IBOOKS https://goo.gl/5LTgnG

Bio

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here:

www.anyasummers.com

Visit her on social media here:

http://www.facebook.com/AnyaSummersAuthor

Twitter: @AnyaBSummers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15183606.Anya_Summers

Sign-up for Anya Summers Newsletter

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Anya-Summers/e/B01EGTVRKC/

 

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers and Blushing Books!

 

Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

Her Highland Master, Book 1

To Master and Defend, Book 2

Two Doms for Kara, Book 3

His Driven Domme, Book 4

Her Country Master, Book 5

Love Me, Master Me, Book 6

Submit To Me, Book 7

Her Wired Dom, Book 8

 

Pleasure Island Series
Her Master & Commander, Book 1
Her Music Masters, Book 2
Their Shy Submissive, Book 3
Her Lawful Master, Book 4
Her Undercover Doms, Book 5
Her Rockstar Dom, Book 6
Duets & Dominance, Book 7
Ménage In Paradise, Book 8
Huge Giveaway! Win a copy of the HERO UNDERCOVER ANTHOLOGY with 10 Kindle ebooks and 10 Nook ebooks up for grabs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Rancher’s Request by E. Ayers

Note from Cindy: I love E’s cover for this book. It’s one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s always exciting to be here on Cynthia’s blog. It’s especially exciting because my newest western is on pre-order for 99c, and once it releases, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, the price will go up. Okay, 99c is dirt cheap, but why even consider it, if you don’t know who I am? Lots of great reasons!

I love writing historically accurate westerns. I never dreamed the day would come that I would say this, but I really do enjoy digging for information. This one was no exception. Using two local places as hometowns for the hero and heroine meant I had to do some local research.

A Rancher’s Request seesaws between Franklin, Virginia and Creed’s Crossing, Wyoming. So how did such a situation occur? Quite simply, it was not uncommon. In fact, it was rather normal. We love reading about mail order brides going west to meet someone they did not know. They were the exceptions, and now there are more mail-order bride stories then there were mail-order brides. Most of the young women going west to marry actually had some sort of tie to the young men they were about to marry. Frequently, the couple knew each other before he left. Many times the arrangements were made because the parents knew each other or someone knew both young people.

Arranged marriages were extremely common and had been for hundreds of years. The only difference, during Victorian times, was that women could reject the suitor without upsetting the parent who made the arrangement. It also wasn’t unusual for her to go to her father and ask for him to arrange a marriage to a particular man. Arrangements allowed the couple to get to know each other. If he was nearby, he could court his bride-to-be. Long distances usually meant letter writing.

Zadie Larkford wasn’t exactly typical of women her age. She was educated. Her father, as the town’s doctor was a college grad. She graduated from what is now known as Longwood College. (Today it is co-ed, but it has a very long history of being a college for women. It’s a beautiful old school tucked in the rolling hills of Virginia.) But a small town girl with a college education wasn’t exactly marriage material for poor farm boys, or local sawmill workers. She had rejected every suitor and had also failed, according to her father, to find a meaningful job. Zadie was an artist and perfectly content to spend her life painting, while wrapped in the comfort of home.

Duncan was one of Reginald Lorde’s sons. The problem was he didn’t like what his father and older brothers did for a living. He didn’t like being on a boat or even the idea of running a fish packinghouse. He found a job on a nearby farm and discovered he enjoyed it. So when the opportunity came to go west and homestead, he did.

These two young people had fathers who were childhood friends. Life had put some distance between the older men, and the children never got to know each other. When Duncan had settled into his land in Wyoming, he began to realize he needed more than his horse, Rocky, to keep him company. He wrote to his father for a wife. It didn’t take much for that father to turn to his old friend who had a daughter.

When Zadie Larkford discovers what her father has arranged for her, she is furious. She is forced to learn to cook, clean, and do all the chores relegated to the woman of the house. Her mother’s assurances that the Lordes were good people did little to soothe Zadie’s ire.

Maybe the best way to get out of this arranged marriage was to make Duncan Lorde change his mind about wanting a bride.

***

Enjoy this excerpt from

A Rancher’s Request

 

“If my daughter keeps baking all those delicious things, I’ll have to buy new clothes. I do hope that young man of hers appreciates a good meal.” He took a sip of the tea and then reached in his coat pocket. “Here’s another letter for you.”

Zadie’s breath hitched as she took the envelope. “Excuse, me. I want to return to my painting.”

As she stepped outside, she heard her father say, “You only want to read that letter where no one will see you blush.”

She giggled as she opened the note, then called back to her dad, “He doesn’t write such things.” Well, maybe.

Quickly, she read through the letter and knew she’d reread it several times until she had absorbed everything. This one was serious as he wrote about his life, his family, and living in the west. He had enclosed several tidy sketches of floor plans for a house. She looked at them, and then continued to read.

Since I don’t have a picture of myself to send to you, I figured I could show off my artistic skills and draw my image for you. This is Rocky and I. I hope you know which is which.

Zadie grinned as she looked at his sketch. Oh, Duncan, you look a little long in the face, and I didn’t realize that living in the west would cause your hair to grow so far down your neck. I’ll have to ask him if Rocky has a frown or a mustache. She folded his letter and returned it to the envelope. You are asking for it this time. Just how ugly can I make myself? You’re going to think twice before accepting me as a bride.

Spotlight on OH DANNY BOY by Josie Riviera

Blurb

This pot of gold could hold more than they bargained for…

Grand. Just grand. Clara Donovan’s failure to keep her brother from going off the rails—again—is a public spectacle. Including a handsome stranger who puts down his guitar case to help her talk Seamus down from Farthing’s tallest bridge.

Everything about Danny Brady reminds Clara how many times she swore she’ll never again be that pathetic, weak woman who got taken in by a good-looking man. Especially when, the next day, she walks into a new coffee shop in her little Irish town and discovers Danny’s secret.

Danny didn’t lie—technically—about his coffee shop chain. He’s just tired of women going after him for his wealth. Clara is a graceful, fiercely loyal, non-Irish Irish damsel in distress, a combination that tugs at his heart. A heart that’s spent its share of time in pieces.

Danny has never hesitated to go after what he wants, but melting Clara’s defenses will take more than hot tea and charm. He’ll have to prove he’s made of stronger stuff—even when her past threatens to tear her carefully reconstructed world to shreds.
AMAZON Link
http://a.co/fl9Sj6E

This book will be featured on Kindle Unlimited and was Kindle Scout approved

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE

“Seamus, don’t jump!” Clara Donovan heard her own cries, the shouts resounding through the misty night air. She raced across the sidewalk toward Farthing Bridge, her gaze riveted on a horror she didn’t want to believe. Her older brother Seamus sat on the edge of a tall bridge with his head slumped in his hands, a bottle of whiskey beside him. The arched stone bridge spanned the River Farthing, connecting the town to a once-popular marketplace.

No. It couldn’t be. Her breath burned in her chest as she took in gulps of dampness and drizzle. Don’t stop. Run faster.

When she reached the bridge, she elbowed through a group of late-night revelers. Several pointed up at Seamus. “He’s off the rails!” someone shouted.

Her brother seemed unaware of the gathering crowd. He swung his legs back and forth like an underwound metronome and stared into the ice-cold river below.

She shook off the image of him on her living room floor several days earlier. He’d been passed out drunk. Should she have phoned a treatment center? No. She could fix her brother’s problems. He simply needed encouragement, surrounded by his loving, supportive family.

Seamus. Gentle Seamus. Kind and fiery-haired, quick to temper, quicker to make amends. Her heart squeezed at the scruffy, dejected man he’d become since his wife had died.

Clara put her hands on her knees and took in calm, even breaths. Quickly, she assessed the corroded pedestrian catwalk leading to the top of the bridge, the skull and crossbones sign that warned Danger.

She stared upward at her sweet brother. “Dear saints in heaven, Seamus,” she whispered. “You promised me that you’d never drink again.”

She stuffed her wool gloves into her jacket pockets and bent to lace her weatherproof boots tighter. There was no time to dash around the river to the street that crossed the bridge, and she certainly wouldn’t ask anyone in the crowd to lend a hand.

She yanked off the “Danger” sign and threw it to the ground. That pressing feeling in her chest, like she was running out of air, slowed her movements. Dragging in another breath, she grasped the slippery wet handrails and stepped onto the bottom rung of the catwalk.

“Missus, are you trained for this?” a man from the crowd inquired.

She glanced around. The man stood a hairsbreadth away. He was tall with piercing blue eyes and carried a guitar case. His dark brown hair had a reddish tinge and his navy wool jacket strained against his athletic form.

Why (and How) I Write Medical Fiction by Jacqueline Diamond

From the moment a cave man, gored by a mastodon, gazed up adoringly at the cave woman rubbing his wound with medicinal frog slime, love has flourished in medical settings.

 Handsome men in white coats (or blue scrubs). Sharp-eyed women who wield a scalpel with a steady hand. Life-and-death issues and babies on the way, whether long-sought or unexpected—these are the stuff of riveting romantic drama.
 
My interest in medical fiction grew in part from personal experiences. My father spent many years as a small-town doctor, and delivered my brother and me at home. Later, as a reporter for a newspaper and the Associated Press, I was drawn to stories about medical discoveries and developments.
 
When my husband and I got ready to start a family, we ran into problems. Like it or not, I was researching the latest fertility techniques in person. I’m happy to report that, ultimately, I gave birth to two healthy sons and a number of romance novels about fertility treatments, babies, couples, and the hopes and dreams that bind them.
 
In writing medical romance, research is vital. The Internet has been tremendously helpful, as has the wealth of books by doctors, nurses and other professionals. I’m fortunate to have several friends who fact-check my books, including an obstetrical nurse. Another friend, forensics expert D.P. Lyle, M.D. (author of Forensics for Dummies), answers my questions in detail.
 
In addition to romances, I write medical mysteries. I rely upon my years as a police reporter, on considerable research, and on another friend who’s a retired sheriff’s investigator.
 
Although I had written about doctors and nurses previously, my longest series is Safe Harbor Medical®. It began with a three-book proposal for Harlequin about a California hospital remodeled to focus on women’s issues and fertility treatments. With each novel featuring a different couple falling in love, the series grew to encompass 17 books plus a spin-off mystery series, which I’m self-publishing.
 
I’m currently reissuing some of the romances as ebooks, and am happy to put the first of the series, The Would-Be Mommy, on sale for 99 cents this month. Plus, I recently published the second Safe Harbor Medical Mystery, The Case of the Surly Surrogate.
 
My characters and settings have become so real to me, I sometimes forget that I made them up. I hope you’ll find them real, too!
 
 
Blurb for The Would-Be Mommy:
 
Babies, babies, everywhere! When journalist Ian Martin stirs up trouble with his story about a hospital welcoming abandoned babies, the roguish reporter accidentally ignites a firestorm around public relations director Jennifer Serra. Now she faces losing her heart to a baby she can’t keep, and losing her job because of a scandalous secret. Cataromance.com called this a “brilliantly moving story.”
 
Excerpt from The Would-Be Mommy:
 
He located Jennifer Serra outside the auditorium. Dark hair tumbled appealingly from a knot atop her head, and the exotic tilt to her dark eyes intrigued him, as did a hint of sadness that made him wonder what secrets she harbored. But although he was known as much for digging into personalities as for rooting out facts, Ms. Serra wasn’t his target tonight. Too bad.
“Mr. Martin!” Her full mouth perked into a smile. “We’re almost ready to start the press conference.”
“Actually, I’d like to talk to someone first.”
“Who?”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
Her chin came up. “Anything I can do to help, I’d be glad to.”
She shouldn’t make tempting offers like that, Ian reflected. On the other hand, being helpful was her job. “Who’s the most ticked-off doctor at this hospital?”
“I’m sorry?” Her expression turned wary.
“The one who makes trouble.” Kind of like I do.
She swallowed. He’d scored a direct hit, Ian could tell. “We’re a team here,” she responded gamely.
“And it’s your duty to say so. But we both know better.” He stretched out an arm and leaned against the wall, deliberately fencing her in. She’d either have to retreat or duck beneath his arm to escape. “A giant corporation buys a community hospital and turns it into a money-making machine. That’s got to rub somebody the wrong way.”
His peripheral vision caught his photographer’s approach. Jennifer’s face tightened at the sight of the camera, but with what must have been considerable effort, she relaxed into another smile. “If anyone’s unhappy, you can hardly expect her to show up at an event like this.”
“Her?” So there was someone.
Jennifer adjusted the short, fitted jacket she wore over a figure-skimming dress. Ian assumed that bought her a moment to regain control and find the appropriate glib answer. Sure enough, here it came: “Mr. Martin, this is a wonderful facility that brings hope to couples struggling to start a family.”
“Of course it does.” He filed a mental note to sniff out the disgruntled doctor later, but tonight he needed another angle. “Do you have children?”
“No, not yet.” There it was again, that trace of sadness.
 
 
Author Bio:
USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond has published 102 books, including romantic comedies, medical romances, Regency romances and mysteries. A former Associated Press reporter, Jackie has been honored with a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and is a two-time Rita Award finalist. She and her husband live in Southern California. You can learn more about her at www.jacquelinediamond.com and visit her on Facebook at Jacquelinediamondauthor.
 
Also available on B&N, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords.

Sneak Peek – Not Without Risk by Jennifer Lowery

Hi Cynthia Woolf’s Blog and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! I’m super excited to be here! The second book in my Wolff Securities series is now available for pre-order—Woot!! It’s been a long time coming, but I’m hoping it’s worth the wait! Nate and Macy were particularly tight-lipped during the writing of this book but I finally managed to get them talking, lol. I’ve included a little taste of what’s to come when the book releases on July 6th!

Not Without Risk (Book #2, Wolff Securities)

Romantic Suspense

Blurb:

He always keeps his promises…

Private security specialist, Nate Wolff promised to rescue humanitarian aid worker, Macy Gibbs, not harbor a fugitive. Determined to keep his promise and not make the same mistakes his brother made, he risks his life to protect her from the terrorist group hunting her.

Keeping this one will be the hardest thing he’s ever had to do…

With a bounty on her head for the murder of a man who bought her in an illegal human trafficking ring, Macy Gibbs puts both her life, and the life of the tall, handsome stranger who’s vowed to rescue her, in danger. Emotionally scarred from her ordeal, she trusts no one. But, can the biggest danger she’s about to face be the impact this former SEAL has on her heart?

Content Warning: Sexual content.

Excerpt:

Copyright ©2017 by Jennifer Lowery

 Blood. Everywhere.

Macy Gibbs looked down at her shaking hands, stained red, still clutching the bloody knife. Her gaze dropped to the man lying on the floor at her feet. His eyes stared empty into space. Fluid oozed from the wound in his chest where his heart should beat.

Her ears began to ring, her vision dimming. They would execute her for this. In this country, she wouldn’t get a trial. Women had very few rights here. An American woman had none. Especially one married to an Azbak man.

Revulsion turned her stomach. Married. What she’d been in was anything but a marriage.

The sound of the door handle turning snapped her out of her stupor. One thought ran through her head as she dropped the knife. Run.

Panicked, she spun in a circle, searching the small bedroom for an escape she knew she wouldn’t find. She’d been locked inside this room for weeks. Had there been a way out she would have found it.

Her eyes trapped on the door. Only one way out. One choice.

To keep fighting.

Forcing her legs to move she slipped behind the door just as it opened. A tall figure moved stealthily into the darkened room, lit only by a dim lamp in the corner. On auto-pilot, Macy struck, aiming for his jugular.

He ducked her blow, his hand coming up to capture her wrist. With a forceful tug, he had her arm pinned behind her, her back pressed to the wall and a forearm against her throat. Not enough to hurt her, but it felt like an iron bar across her neck. Afraid to breathe, she looked up into a pair of stunningly beautiful green eyes. The way he stared back at her made her blood race. Direct, lethal.

Her vision narrowed. Warmth slid down her leg but she didn’t feel the pain of her injury. Memories of what her bastard husband had tried to do to her filled her head. If she hadn’t fought back…

“Hey, breathe.”

Her attacker’s voice, low and smooth, broke through her thoughts. Macy blinked. Why did he sound so far away when she could feel every hard inch of him?

The arm on her throat loosened. She drew in a breath that made her head spin. “American,” she whispered, fighting to remain upright. He wasn’t one of Aziz’s men. Where were the guards? Surely, they must have heard her tussle with their leader. Then again, they were fully aware of what went on in this room and had not once intervened.

A hand gripped her chin, warm despite the chill in her bones. Gave her a shake. Her eyes snapped open.

“Come on, we’re getting out of here.”

Pre-order Your Copy Now!!

Amazon

(Kindle Unlimited Subscribers Read for Free!)

Meet Jennifer

NY Times & USA Today bestselling author, Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer.  Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.

Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers.  She loves everything there is about romance.  Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines.  She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.

Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children.  When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

 

Connect with Jennifer:

Read more about her books on her website: http://jenniferloweryauthor.com/

Join her on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenniferlowery/

And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JLoweryauthor

Please “like” her Facebook author page! https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferLowery/

Sign up for Jennifer’s Newsletter and get a FREE book: http://jenniferloweryauthor.com/join-my-newsletter/

Join Jennifer’s Street Team: http://jenniferloweryauthor.com/join-my-street-team/

Join her on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JenniferLoweryauthor

And Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferloweryauthor/

Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferloweryauthor/

 

***BONUS***

For everyone who signs up for my NEWSLETTER you will receive an e-book copy of my short story, Taking Chances ($.99 value) for FREE!

 

Thank you for having me today, Cynthia Woolf’s Blog!! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one-day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support! 

All my best, 

Jennifer