Review of “Bet Me: A Romantic Comedy” – Lila Monroe

What happens when your sex strike goes viral — and suddenly every man in town has their eye on your prize?

All I wanted was little old-fashioned romance. After a parade of Tinder disasters who think chivalry is giving me a pearl necklace on the first date, I made a pledge: until guys step up their game, this girl is off the market.

But one bottle of chardonnay later, and my drunken rant has gone viral. I’m the most famous person NOT having sex since the Jonas Brothers put on their purity rings. A men’s magazine has even put a bounty on my (ahem) maidenhead: fifty Gs to whoever makes me break the drought.

Be careful what you wish for…

Now my office looks like an explosion in a Hallmark factory, I’ve got guys lining up to sweep me off my feet – and the one man I want is most definitely off-limits. Jake Weston is a player through and through. He’s also the only one who sees through the mayhem to the real me, but how can I trust he’s not just out to claim the glory?

And how will I make it through the strike without scratching the itch – especially when that itch looks so damn good out of his suit? The thrill of the chaste has never been so sexy in Lila Monroe’s hilarious, hot new romantic read!

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Lila showed men and women at their highest and lowest points. Yes, both genders can and will excel and falter in showing their love, romantic side, and take for granted their lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife.  Whatever label you are using, the end result should be the same. Want to keep a good man or woman? Then, kiss them. Not because you want sex but because you want them to feel loved and appreciated. Don’t allow your significant other do all the cooking, cleaning, chores, and so forth. PUT IN AN EFFORT! Oh and I firmly believe you should do small things every chance you get and not wait until Valentine’s Day. 

Lila Monroe made sure readers understood that to keep your sweetums happy, don’t let the romance die because if you do your sex life (relationship) will feel the strain.

Men, you know stroking it gets old. Fake holes aren’t the same as the real deal.

Women, self pleasure isn’t always so fulfilling at the end of the day.

So heed Lila’s words and go give your man or woman some attention. Not because you want sex — expect it. No, give them it because you’re honored and amazed they chose you as their partner. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Author Showcase – Susanne Leist (The Dead Game)

 

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~~ EXCERPT ~~

 

Linda was passing the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged—very hard. Before she could react, she found herself being forcibly dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.

Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”

“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.

Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”

“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”

“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”

“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”

“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.

Oops, she did it again. Her big mouth had now sealed her fate. She had to learn how to be more assertive without getting herself into trouble.

Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.

“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.

Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”

Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.

“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”

Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave; didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.

He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. She tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. She begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.

While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.

She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.

Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”

Then he was struck down by Wolf.

They began circling each other like two wild animals. Todd thrust his body at Wolf, causing Wolf to lose his balance, and they crashed together to the ground. Wolf pushed Todd aside and stood back up. He lunged at Todd, who sidestepped his maneuver. Todd retaliated by lifting him high up in the air and flinging him through one of the glass doors to the house. Wolf rose up and dusted glass off his clothing.

He said to Todd, who stood before him, “We are not anywhere near finished, my dear friend. The next battle between us will be more private—without so many witnesses. If I were you, I would watch your back…and your pretty little girlfriend.” Wolf stalked away with Hayden following close behind. Todd quickly followed.

Linda was left standing alone outside. She felt bereft without the touch of Wolf’s lips on hers and the solid strength of his arms holding her. She had felt the unmistakable pull by him on all her senses. In his arms, she’d felt weak and needy—as if she needed him to live. Todd and Wolf were extremely powerful and both had taken hold of her senses.

 

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If I had known it was going to be so hard,

 involving computer skills to the extreme,

 I might have thought twice about it,

 thought twice about writing my book.

 Writers must write each and every day.

 We must promote our books daily.

 We must post on our blogs each day.

 But there’s not enough hours in a day.

 How do other writers accomplish all this?

 How do they leave free time for their families?

 They must be expert jugglers.

 Experts at writing, blogging, and juggling.

 I must learn this dance,

 this high-wire walk,

 this never-ending battle.

 I must learn to juggle.

 I will do it.

 I will do it all.

 Just give me the chance.

 Book two is being written.

 I feel free.

 I feel empowered.

 I will survive.

 James Patterson, eat my dust.

 

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Author Showcase – Cher Lane (Get Married or Get Dead Trying)

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Kara Kay George had agreed to be on The Stag as a favor to the producer, her old sorority sister. “I just need you for one night,” Noreen had begged. “Then you can go home.” But going home was not an option. As luck would have it, the Stag took a liking to her and decided to keep her around. No way would she fawn over him as the other women were doing. She had a business back home to run and no time for a silly romance, especially not with a man who had his eye on twenty-four other girls.

Tree Gunner had lost a bet at his best friend’s bachelor party, meaning that he had to apply to be on the popular TV show, The Stag. Of course the handsome son of a Houston building magnate was a shoo-in. Certain that he will not fall in love with any of the girls, Tree arrives on the show feeling smug and confident. He’ll enjoy the attention of twenty-five vain, beautiful women, all hoping to marry him and his money, and then haul it back to Houston, alone.
Luana Deneux goes on The Stag with one purpose in mind – to marry Tree Gunner. An heiress with a disappearing inheritance, she and her brother are desperate for her to marry The Stag in order to restore the family’s dwindling coffers, and they will stop at nothing to insure it happens.

 

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Tree Gunner stood in the immense ballroom, looking much calmer than he felt. Known as Houston’s Stud Man, he shouldn’t feel nervous about meeting a group of women, but he did. After all, these weren’t just any women. They were here hoping to marry him. The very word gave him the heebie-jeebies. Him, get married?His buddies must be laughing their heads off.
            The cameras were readied, aimed at him, their lights blindingly bright. He could hear the crew cracking jokes. Something about how, “if I were in his shoes,” and “lucky dog.”  He’d happily trade places with any one of them. It had been just his luck to win, or lose was a better word, the bet with his buddies. They’d been sowing wild oats at Jed’s bachelor party when someone had come up with the bright idea. Winning the bet meant that he had to apply to be on The Stag, which didn’t mean he’d get chosen, but, when you were the handsome son of a building magnate, what was the chance you’d get turned down? So, here he was, nervously awaiting the twenty-five beautiful young women who were coming to meet him to cast their spells and try to drag him to the altar. He cringed inwardly at the thought and looked around, having heard his name called.
            “Tree.”  He turned to see Noreen, the show’s producer, approaching. She was a saucy redhead with bright blue eyes and a ton of energy.
            “The girls should be arriving any moment now,” she said, beaming. “Just smile and look at the camera.  That’s right,” she cooed, her hands busy adjusting this and smoothing that. She tilted his chin at just the right angle, then placed her hands on his broad shoulders and turned him slightly.  “Okay, just stay put, it’s almost show time.” She gave him an overly bright smile and hurried off to yell orders to Hal and Tom, the show’s cameramen.
            “Take it easy,” Tree murmured to her back.  “It’ll be okay.”
             If she heard, she gave no indication, suddenly picking up her heels and running for the entrance.  “They’re here!” she called.
            The show’s announcer, a pleasant looking middle aged man, called out the first girl. Tree watched as she walked across the stage towards him, a fake smile plastered on her heavily made-up face.  He murmured something polite, decided she’d be the first to go, and turned to wait for the next one.  A whole parade of artificial smiles came by, none of them making a lasting impression. Some insinuated that they were “available.” Others claimed to be virgins waiting for the perfect man.  He breathed a sigh of relief. He was safe. None of these women was a threat to his bachelorhood.
            They were almost to the end of the line when he heard a commotion.  He strained his eyes, trying to see beyond the bright camera lights to where two girls stood. They seemed to be having an argument over who would come out first.  At last, a saucy brunette emerged, hips swaying rhythmically to the beat of the Hawaiian music.  She pranced up to him, put a hand around his neck and kissed him soundly on the lips.  “Hello, Mr. Dream Man,” she said huskily, and then gave his butt a pinch with her other hand.
            Tree’s eyes opened wide in surprise, and he gave her a second look.  Her ebony eyes were dark with passion: seductive, materialistic, and sexy as hell. Things were looking up. He grinned and kissed her back, and then turned his attention to the last girl. 
            She walked nonchalantly towards him, her chin stuck up in the air. Tree felt the breath die in his throat as his heart began pumping double time and his… “Oh no, stay down, boy,” he ordered under his breath. Unlike the other women, this one seemed totally unaware of her charms and confident as hell at the same time. His gaze roamed over her body, itching to run his hands over every inch of it. She filled out the sarong perfectly with softly rounded hips and bosom, a tiny waist, and mile long legs. To top it all off, she had a healthy natural tan that let him know she enjoyed being outdoors. Her hair was the color of spun gold and swung freely about her shoulders. Then his eyes collided with hers. They were a dark lavender that reminded him of an exotic flower. A wave of hot passion shot from them, turning his insides to molten lava. She quickly lowered them, and when she looked up again, those lovely exotic eyes looked bored and uninterested, making him wonder whether he had imagined it.
            Reaching him, she extended a neatly manicured hand and smiled politely. “Hi, I’m Kara,” she said in a silky voice.  He ignored the outstretched hand and gripped her shoulders, pulling her against his chest. He heard her gasp just before he leaned down and his lips grazed that luscious mouth. The high heel that suddenly ground into his toe brought him back to his right mind with a jolt.  She gave him a smile of pure innocence, murmured, “sorry,” and walked away to join the other girls, hips softly swaying. 
            Pinched by one and maimed by another.  He didn’t know whether to rub his butt or grab his toe.  He did his best to hide the pain behind a pleasant smile as the camera came in for a close-up.  Then Noreen was there, sticking a microphone in his hand, and asking him questions.
            “Cut,” she called, and then shoved a list into his hand.  “These are points to consider when you qualify the girls.  You won’t want to let them see it, so just take a moment to look it over, and then stick it in your pocket.”  Noreen looked him up and down, patted him on the shoulder and then turned to yell directions to Hal and Tom.  
            Tree looked at the piece of paper in his hands. Points to consider huh?  He scanned down the list.  It sounded as if he was choosing a prized thoroughbred.  This evening, he should approach each girl and determine her breeding, financial status, social standing, and morals.  How was he supposed to remember all these details about twenty-five girls?  Ah, but here came Noreen now, with a small PDA in her hand.
            As if reading his mind, she held out the PDA and said, “You’ll use this to keep track of each girl’s qualities.  After you talk to each girl, pull out your PDA, bring up her name, and enter the details. At the end of the evening, just total the points for each girl and the PDA will let you know which ten girls you’ve selected.  Easy huh?”
            Tree looked at it and frowned.  A computer was going to choose his wife?  “I don’t like this.”  He turned the little PDA over in his hands, and then shoved it at Noreen.  “I’ll talk to each girl and make my selections based on who I like best.”
            Noreen tapped her foot and gave him an impatient look.  “I don’t have time for this nonsense.  Use the PDA.  You’re the one making the entries. You’re the one making the decision, not the computer. It just keeps track of your thoughts so you know who you liked best.” 
            “Like a little black book, huh?”
            “Yeah, like a little black book,” Noreen agreed.  “Just remember, it’s confidential and top secret.  Don’t let it out of your sight.”
            Noreen rushed off, and Tree spent a few minutes familiarizing himself with his little black book.  He pulled up Kara George’s name and read the brief biography.  “Thirty-two years old from Murphy, Texas, Miss George owns and operates a successful cruise and tour business,” he read. “Miss George is hoping to find love and lasting happiness with the Stag, Tree Gunner.”  He laughed aloud.  No way did Miss George look eager to fall in love with him. Other than that brief moment when her eyes seemed to gleam with passion, she looked put out at having to be here at all. He pulled up the comment page and typed:  “Keep this one around, no matter what,” snapped the PDA closed, and stuck it in his pocket, a smile of satisfaction on his face.  He was going to make her pay for the feelings she had aroused in him, whether purposely done or not.
 
 
 

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Cher Lane lives in Texas with her husband, four cats and a dog. She has three sons and one daughter, two step daughters, 15 grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she enjoys working out, going for walks, swimming, sewing and cooking.
 
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Review of “Bliss (Fae Warriors Book 2)” – Gini Rifkin

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Fae Warrior, Bliss Goodeve, fires up her empath skills to battle the Reptiles invading Earth. But when it comes to her new human partner, Nathaniel Calhoun, Bliss would rather make love than wage war. A man of mystery, she wonders what he’s hiding behind the horn-rimmed glasses and white lab coat.

Nate admits to being a brainiac, at least that’s the persona he shows the outside world. If his boss discovers his troubled past, life could get complicated. The bad boy in Nate wants the beguiling Bliss in the worst way. Yet, the scientist inside him calculates high odds of being left broken-hearted.

After one Reptile goes rogue, it’s up to Bliss, Nate, and an alien critter named Noodge to bring him down. But time is running out, and things are heating up—especially romantically. Bliss is all for living in the moment. But will that be enough for Nate?

 

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He wasn’t a muscled-bound jock who looked like he lived at the gym, but rather he was tall and lean, with the broad shoulders and narrow hips of a Soccer Pro. Or on her planet, a three dimensional air jockey. She could watch those bad boys for hours.

“Does this mean you’ve come to terms regarding where I come from.”

“I’m not sure what you mean by terms. And I really don’t know where you come from other than out there.” He randomly pointed toward the ceiling. “I’ve had sufficient time to digest the concept, of course, but there’s still too much undiscovered data to come to a conclusion. But then we all have secrets.”

“Do we now.” Her favorite superhero, Bruce Wayne, he had secrets. Did Dr. Calhoun have an alter ego? Was there a bat-cave nearby, and someone equivalent to Alfred waiting for him? “Have you been briefed on why I’m here, and what we’re up against.”

“Again yes. And again, still working on it. I try to keep an open mind. After all, I’m a big supporter of SETI. Did a “tour of duty” at the Lick Observatory for my postgraduate work.”

Lick, such a nice four letter word. And in her mind, one that did not conjure telescopes and long boring hours of record keeping with hopes of alien contact.

“So you see,” he continued, leaning against the doorjamb, arms crossed over his broad chest. “I certainly believe in the potential for you to exist.”

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

When we shop for books, readers scan the covers and seek out what captures our interest the most. When we find something appealing, we read the book summary and decide if it’s worth the cost. For those who wonder if Bliss is worth the price tag attached, my opinion is YES!

Between the cover (courtesy of Debbie Taylor) and the book’s description, I had a feeling Bliss was going to be as memorable as Solace (book 1) and I was correct in my assumption. How can you go wrong with Fae triplets, an ex-army ranger, a cowboy/nerdy scientist, pet Rapran (defined on page 1 and/or see glossary, page 238), and the Reptilian creatures.

No joke, if I saw the transformation from man to reptile, a few things would’ve occurred.

1.) Cue scream 2.) Hello, pee pants. 3.) And timber….. I’ve passed out!

Maybe, I should sign up for martial arts lessons so I can do those fancy moves like Bliss or swing a staff like a ninja master. You know, just in case aliens do exist and they don’t come in peace. :mrgreen:

As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed Bliss and I know you will too. So get it and get Solace — if you haven’t yet!

Side note: Portence is up next and, based off the hospital scene and sneak peek, it’s going to knock my (our) socks off. 

 

Heart Rating System

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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In case you missed it. Click on this —-> link <—- to read my review of  Solace, book 1 in the Fae Warriors’ series. 
 
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Gini Rifkin lives on a little patch of land in Colorado where she cares for her Noah’s Ark of abandoned farm animals. Rather than rescuing them, they have rescued her…over and over. She loves reading and writing, but not arithmetic, and doing research for her books. Her greatest treasures are her friends and family. Please visit her blog and follow on Facebook.
 
 

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Author Showcase – Cher Lane (Even Love)

For Mackenzie Barton Taylor, known to the world simply as Kiz, modeling is beginning to lose its luster. She keeps thinking about her home in Texas, the baby she left behind, the man she loved and married. No other man has ever touched her heart the way he did. It is time to go back. Therefore, when her model agency opens a branch in Dallas, Texas, she jumps at the opportunity to run it.

But can a girl who abandoned all for a star-studded career in the big city go home to the small town she was raised in and reclaim the man she loves and the baby she abandoned, now fully grown? Can she convince them that she is sorry, that she’ll give up her life as a supermodel to be with them? As her husband has divorce papers prepared, Mackenzie fights to save what was once hers.

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“I hate this stinky room. I hate this disgusting food. And I hate this ugly green hospital gown with no back in it,” Mackenzie Barton Taylor whined, a disgusted look on her perfect, young face.
 
Margaret Barton pulled her gaze away from the small bundle in her arms long enough to sympathize with her spoiled daughter. “Don’t worry, honey, I’ll get you out of here soon. In the meantime, eat your lunch. You need the strength.” Margaret eyed the food on her daughter’s tray and caught herself just in time from wrinkling her nose. She wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Mashed green beans and shredded turkey it looked like. Double yuck!
 
“I can’t eat that,” Mackenzie pouted. “Have you seen my body? My god, Mama, I’m fat! What am I going to do? The agency will never want me now,” she wailed, lying her head back on the pillow, she squeezed her eyes shut, hoping her figure would magically morph into her ‘before baby’ silhouette.
 
“You can and you will,” her mother said firmly. “I ordered a special, low fat diet for you. Within six weeks you’ll have your old figure back.” The baby cooed in Margaret’s arms. “Yes, that’s right,” she cooed back.
 
Mackenzie rolled her eyes at her mother’s obvious admiration for the infant. The baby was her infant, her daughter. A momentary feeling of jealousy struck her to the core. “She doesn’t know what you’re saying,” she scoffed.
 
“Yes her does,” Margaret insisted, making kissy noises with her  mouth as she gazed adoringly at the baby. Her first grandchild. Oh, my, that made her a grandma now. Not that she looked it. Margaret took impeccable care of her own self and had taught her daughter to do the same, just as she’d teach this little one in her arms. The women were beautiful. Not that the Barton men noticed, so the women had to keep telling themselves. “You’re beautiful, yes you are,” she crooned to the infant.
 
“Mama, let me hold my baby,” Mackenzie demanded. That got her mother’s attention. She smirked in satisfaction at Margaret’s expression of disbelief.
 
“I thought we agreed that it’d be best if you didn’t, honey,” Margaret protested.
 
“Why? Because I might change my mind and decide to stay?” Mackenzie asked belligerently. “Don’t worry, Mama, that won’t happen. I’m not going to be one of those young yay-hoo mother’s, pushing the stroller down the street and eating an ice cream cone, butt cheeks hanging out of too short short-shorts. Yes, I’ve seen ‘um,” she assured her mother, at her shocked expression. “You try to keep me away from that side of town, but I’ve driven through it. Me and Katina did one day. We wondered what happened to the girls who got pregnant and dropped out of school. Slumville, that’s where they go.”
 
“Katina and I,” Margaret corrected. “Well, good, then you understand why Josh must never know about this baby,” she declared triumphantly. “He might insist on keeping you here. The boy can’t support himself, let alone you and a child. You’d be just like those yay-hoo girls.”
 
“No, I wouldn’t,” Mackenzie protested. “You and Daddy would take care of us. Wouldn’t you?” She loved taunting her mother and making her re-avow her maternal love.
 
“Mackenzie,” her mother said in a threatening tone. “Behave.”
 
“Ow! Mama,” Mackenzie complained, trying to shift to a more comfortable position in the bed. “Why did you let this happen to me? Huh?”
 
“Don’t put the blame on me, missy. I’m not the one who went out her window at night to go fuck that no good Josh Taylor,” Margaret admonished.
 
“Mama, how can you say that word?” Mackenzie asked, astonished. “You’d wash my mouth out with soap if I said it.” “Yes I would,” Margaret agreed, “so don’t even think about repeating it.”
 
“Don’t worry, Mama, it’ll be a long time before I can fuck anybody again,” she groaned, turning over on her side. “I’m not even sure I’ll want to, after going through this.”
 
“Mackenzie,” Margaret warned, giving her daughter the evil eye.
 
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, Mama. Now go ahead, wash my mouth out with soap. It’ll take my mind off the pain in my ass,” Mackenzie taunted.
 
“Mackenzie Page Barton,” Margaret threatened, “just wait until I tell your Father.”
 
“Taylor, Mama. You forgot Taylor. I’m Mackenzie Page Barton Taylor now and I’m not afraid of Daddy. He’s not around enough for you to tell him anything,” she scoffed. “Now hand me my baby.”
 

 

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Cher Lane lives in Texas with her husband, four cats and a dog. She has three sons and one daughter, two step daughters, 15 grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she enjoys working out, going for walks, swimming, sewing and cooking.
 

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Author Showcase – Kat Martin (Into the Firestorm: BOSS, Inc.)

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At Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc., following your instincts is company policy . . .

M. Cassidy—Luke Brodie had heard the name before, some novice bounty hunter working Seattle, catching tricky skips with more success than a newcomer should expect. But the dark curls, sparkly top, and impressive cleavage were not what Brodie had pictured.

Emma Cassidy is tough and smart and sexy as hell. She’s also popping up a step ahead of him every time he’s close to the capture he wants most . . . and there’s no room for learning on the trail of this monster.

Emma has idolized Luke Brodie, the bounty hunter who can bring anyone in. The big man in the soft shoes, with a face like a fallen angel and a reputation for breaking hearts. Watching him in action is intoxicating. But her fight with Rudy Vance is fiercely personal. If he gets too close, Brodie will find out just how ferocious she can be . . .

 

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~~ Excerpt From Into The Firestorm ~~

 

Sitting at the long, neon-lit bar in Rocker’s Karaoke Lounge, Luke Brodie sipped a cold Corona and eyed his quarry.  A bail skip named Skinner Digby leaned back in a chair at a round Formica-topped table a few feet away.

“You here for Skinner?”  Eddie Mullens, the bartender, a string bean of a guy with gold wire-rimmed glasses, followed Luke’s gaze to where Digby sat nursing a Jack and Coke.  Eddie knew everything that went on in this part of Seattle.  For a little cash once in a while, he kept Luke informed if anything interesting went down.

Luke took a sip of his beer.  “Digby skipped on a DUI.”

“Seems like small potatoes for you.”

Luke was a bounty hunter.  He went after FTAs, failures to appear, guys released on bail that didn’t show up in court.  He got twenty percent of whatever the bondsman had posted for their release and would have to forfeit if the fugitive wasn’t rearrested.  Luke specialized in the toughest and most profitable cases, bail skips whose bond sometimes ran into the millions.

“I need to ask Skinner some questions.”  That was the way it worked.  You went after the small fish to get your hands on the big ones.  “Figure I might as well make a few bucks while I’m at it.”

Luke took a swallow of beer and returned his attention to his quarry.  Digby had been flirting with a petite little brunette no more than five-foot-three in a tight black skirt and low-cut silver top who laughed at his dirty jokes.

Luke was getting irritated.  Skinner, with his bulldog face and beer belly, was no ladies’ man.  Luke wished the woman would just take the free drink he offered and move on.

Instead, she sidled a little closer and leaned down to whisper in his ear, giving him a bird’s eye view down the front of her sparkly top at some very impressive cleavage.  Skinner pulled out a chair, inviting her to join him.

Luke softly cursed.  If the woman was going to hang around, he was going to have to make his move.  He didn’t like putting a woman in the middle of a situation that might go bad, but he needed to talk to Digby.  The lady was giving him no choice.

He set the beer bottle down on the bar and came off the stool.  Luke couldn’t hear what the little brunette said, but Skinner snarled a curse and started up from his chair.

Luke couldn’t believe his eyes when the lady grabbed Digby by the nape of the neck and shoved his head down, slamming him hard onto top of the table.

Skinner groaned and his muscles went limp.  The brunette twisted one of Skinner’s arms up behind back, pulled a pair of handcuffs from the handbag on her shoulder, and shackled his wrist, did the same to the other one.  Looking even more stunned than Luke, Digby swayed, his legs wobbly, as the brunette hauled him to his feet.

Sonofabitch.  Luke turned to Eddie, who stood chuckling behind the bar.  “What the hell just happened?”

“She’s something, ain’t she?  Looks like the lady got to your bail skip first.”

“Who is she?”

“Name’s Cassidy.  She’s a bounty hunter.  Pretty amazing, huh?”

Luke was torn between annoyance and curiosity.  “That’s M. Cassidy?”

“Short for Emma.  The guys call her Em.”

Em Cassidy.  He knew the name, thought it was a man.  He watched the petite brunette–nine inches shorter than Digby’s six foot frame and no more than a hundred ten pounds–haul Skinner out the side door into the parking lot.  Luke reached for his beer, took a last swallow, tossed a little extra cash on the bar, and followed the lady outside.

It took him a minute to spot her beneath a lamp post at the edge of the parking lot.  He sauntered into the shadow of a car in a nearby space, got a real good look at her this time.

Late twenties, petite, but curvy in all the right places, thick dark hair that hung in heavy curls around her shoulders.

A bounty hunter.  That was a laugh.

The smile on his face slipped a little as he watched her handle Skinner.  She had the guy sitting cross-legged on the grass, hands cuffed behind him.  She was pressing him to answer her questions–exactly the same questions Luke wanted to ask.

“There’s a guy you know,” she said.  “His name is Felix Riggs.  He’s your supplier.  I want to know where to find him.”

Felix Riggs.  Same guy Luke was hunting.

Skinner just grunted.  “Yeah, right.  Like I’m gonna tell you anything.  You damned near knocked me out, you bitch.”

Emma lightly cuffed the back of Digby’s head, and Luke bit back a grin.

“You skipped on a drunk-driving charge,” the lady said, “third offense, Skinner.  They’re going to stick your butt in jail for at least a year.  Tell me what I want to know and I’ll let you go.”

She’d let him go?  Luke hadn’t expected that.  Now he was even more intrigued.

Digby sat quietly, considering his options.  “Take off the cuffs, then I’ll tell you what you want to know.”

“Not a chance.”

Digby shook his head.  “If Riggs finds out I told you, he’ll kill me.  He don’t like snitches.”

Frustrated, Emma nibbled her bottom lip.  It was plump and damp, and Luke felt a curl of heat he hadn’t expected.

“You want to walk or go to jail?” she asked, pushing, but not quite hard enough, only willing to go so far.

Luke glanced around.  If Digby didn’t spill in the next few minutes, there was a chance the cops would arrive.  Always somebody there to dial 911.

He stepped out of the shadows and Emma spun toward him, went into a wide-legged, self-defense stance.  He pointed to the bail enforcement badge clipped to his belt and she relaxed.

“I didn’t hear you walk up,” she said.

Luke ignored her, zeroed in on Skinner Digby, crouched down in front of him.  “The lady asked you nice and polite where to find Felix Riggs.  You know who I am?”

Skinner grunted.  “I know who you are.  You’re Brodie.”

“That’s right.  I’m going to ask you the same question just one time.  You don’t answer, you won’t have to worry about dealing with Riggs.  You’ll have to deal with me.”

Skinner swallowed.

“Now…where is Felix Riggs?”

Skinner ran his tongue over his lips.  There was a lump turning purple in the middle of his forehead.  “Riggs is…he’s out of town.  Won’t be back till Monday.”

“Where can I find him?”

Skinner gave a sigh.  “Hangs around The Polo Club.  There’s a bitch he’s got the hots for.”

“What’s her name?”

“Lila Purdue…like the college, you know?”

“Yeah, I do.”  Luke rose to his feet, turned to the lady standing a few feet away.  The moon was out.  She was prettier than he had first thought, with big doe eyes, fine features, and a firm little chin.  He was a boob man and from what he could tell, hers were prime grade A.

“Emma Cassidy,” she said by way of introduction.

“Luke Brodie.”  He glanced down at Skinner, who was grumbling beneath his breath, then looked back at Emma.  “Nice work,” he said.

“Thank you.”

Luke glanced across the parking lot.  “Here comes Skinner’s ride.  I’ll see you around.”  He started walking as a black and white patrol car rolled into the lot.  Interesting lady, he thought, ambling over to his battered old Bronco.  Pretty and feminine with a hot little body.

The very last person who should be running around trying to hunt down criminals.

Luke just shook his head.

He wondered why she was interested in Felix Riggs.  Riggs wasn’t wanted, though he should be since he was a low-life scum.  Maybe he knew something about another bail skip she was hunting.  Luke hoped like hell Emma Cassidy wasn’t going to confront the guy.  He didn’t think she’d come out as unscathed as she had tonight.

None of your business, he told himself as he crossed the lot, slid in behind the wheel of his beat-up old Ford, and fired up the powerful V-8 engine.

The Bronco, the perfect, non-descript surveillance vehicle, had been completely rebuilt.  A powerful Ford Racing Aluminator XS 5.0 liter Coyote Engine–500 plus horses–idled like a predator under the hood.  The Bronco had a Cobra jet intake manifold and fully CNC ported aluminum heads.

Welded restraints had been fitted into the back to hold any prisoners he had to transport to jail.  Luke loved the Bronco.  Like driving a rocket disguised as a paper airplane.

He checked the rearview mirror, saw little Emma Cassidy hauling butt-ugly Skinner Digby over to the patrol car.  Why she would want to be a bounty hunter he couldn’t begin to guess.

He’d never understood women.

Clearly that hadn’t changed.

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Review of “Proper Goodbye” – Connie Chappell

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Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and, eventually, draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father, Cliff.

Months earlier, Cliff stood back from that sparsely attended funeral, unaware the woman’s passing made him a widower. Cliff, devoted caretaker of the cemetery, doesn’t know he’s tending to his wife’s grave. Beebe must find a way to tell her father that the homeless woman was misidentified. In reality, she was the wife and mother who abandoned them decades before.

Oddly enough, the first person Beebe meets upon her return is a young man who’s new in town. Yates Strand is also chasing the secret behind the homeless woman. He has another story to tell.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Death, no matter how it happens, takes a toll on the living. It can bring people together or tear them apart. In the case of Abigail (also known as Terri), it helped reunite a father and daughter. Two people who were harboring a lot of anger and hurt, all centering around the abandonment of a wife and mother.

Abigail/Terri, like most of us,  made some bad decisions in her life. In her case, she lost her family, job, respect, and her body to AIDS. However, despite her mistakes, she was a good person. She used her nursing skills to save lives. Unfortunately, through a chain of events, she couldn’t be there for her family. An accident, painkillers, drug addiction and trouble with the law led to the loss of her loved ones.

For three decades, Cliff and Beebe had no clue if she was alive or dead. When you are faced with that question, you hold onto hope. When you finally get the answer, you must then face your true emotions and deal with them accordingly.

I can’t imagine living in this type of limbo or the aftermath of such an event.  Connie Chappell illustrated beautifully the pains, the internal battle people face in this type of predicament. She made a dark, dismal story come to life. After I read Proper Goodbye, I immediately hugged my family. I imagine you will too. 

 

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Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Connie Chappell is a bestselling author of both literary fiction and cozy mysteries. Proper Goodbye, the long-awaited standalone sequel to her debut novel, Wild Raspberries, is now available for purchase. In Proper Goodbye, Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and eventually draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father.

Connie’s other books, Wild Raspberries and Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, were awarded the 5-Star Readers’ Favorite distinction. Two additional awards were received by Connie and Wild Raspberries in 2016: the Maxy Award for Best Literary Fiction and the Readers’ Favorite Book Award for Women’s Fiction.

In Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson solves a double mystery in her hometown of Havens, Ohio. A murder, coupled with a theft, pulls her away from her duties for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge and her after-hours job of writing historical articles for the local newspaper. Wrenn’s knowledge of hometown history, specifically the old train station, plays into this mystery. Connie’s inspiration behind the inclusion of a Havens train station extends from her hometown, Springfield, Ohio. A postcard and short history of the Big Four train station are uploaded to this profile. A second Wrenn Grayson mystery has been hatched, so stay tuned.

Wild Raspberries, released in April, 2015, is especially dear because memory quilts are stitched to it. Photos of the memory quilt Connie sewed are uploaded to this profile. Like hers, the memory quilts described in Wild Raspberries were sewn with squares cut from favorite clothing a loved one wore in life. The quilts tell a life story, and through them, the reader meets the loved ones the women in Wild Raspberries have lost.

Connie’s novels are published by Black Rose Writing.

Learn more about Connie and her novels on her author webpage: www.conniechappell.com. Reviews of her books are there as well, so take some time and look around. In addition, she’s written several short stories—all ready for viewing on her website. Also available are a host of interesting podcasts.

Connie is a lifelong resident of Springfield, Ohio, where she serves its citizens from her office in City Hall. She also produces videos about Springfield, government projects, and community events for the local government-access channel. She devotes as much of her free time as possible to anything out-of-doors. Flowerbeds, golf, walking, and riding her bicycle are particular favorites.

 

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Sexy Bookworms!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sources unavailable. If source(s) are known, please message me and I’ll give credit where credit is due. Thanks) 

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Review of “Pumpkin Farmer” – Michael Hughes

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The year is 1979. Malaise, stagflation, turmoil in the Middle East, and a gas crunch; these things are but background noise for what unfolds when a lovesick businessman and a sociopathic drifter cross paths. John Nix, business manager of a Silicon Valley semiconductor startup, picks up Horace Fullworth, a ne’er-do -well heir of a wealthy California family, who has returned to San Francisco after surviving the Jonestown Massacre.

After John discovers his girlfriend cheating, he drives to a bar in the small rustic town of La Honda. He meets Ellie O’Neil, a pretty young woman he offers to drive home. Feeling misled by her, he leaves her on the side of the road, where Horace finds her. John hears that Ellie has gone missing and is overcome with guilt. His struggle with his conscience leads him back to those rugged coastal foothills of the San Francisco Peninsula.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

It was fascinating witnessing the ways Horace and John’s paths keep intercepting each other’s. With the level of detail surrounding their daily lives and happenings, you almost feel like you are watching these two men through binoculars. Let me tell you folks, these two gents weren’t sitting around watching pumpkins grow. There was a lot more going on at the pumpkin farm than meets the eye. 

In Chapter 34, the story really picks up steam —- the unthinkable happened. Be prepared for more than one shocking development, which included a surprise revelation. Yes, we had to wait until almost the end of the book. Yes, the big game changer could’ve been touched on a bit more and way sooner. Yes, I would have most definitely altered John and Ellie’s roles at the end.

When you think of sociopaths (Horace), when you read what became of Ellie, and Horace’s discovery, you’ll probably understand my cryptic meaning more clearly. I could describe my plot twist in more detail but I’m afraid it would give away spoilers which I won’t do.

But I will say this, those ending chapters were freaking fabulous and had me saying, “What the f*ck?!” and not in a bad way. Seriously, nice twist!  

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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I’m 25 and currently work for a bank in compliance in Los Angeles.  Pumpkin Farmer and The Crimson Shamrock are my two published paperback novels; I also self-published a novel titled Loafing by La Brea. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Author Showcase: Jeffrey L. Kohanek – “The Emblem Throne” ~ (CONTEST INCLUDED)~

You might recall, back on January 7th, Jeffrey was here giving away a signed print copy of The Buried SymbolHe was so overwhelmed by your support, he asked for a return engagement so he could present The Emblem Throne and once again offer ONE LUCKY WINNER a FREE COPY of The Buried Symbol. This time for your kindle !

He just knows (like me) that once you embark on this journey with Brock, you’ll be eager to ride shotgun on his next adventure, The Emblem Throne. Which will include friends he made from the Ministry and, of course, Tip. Plus, we shall meet many new faces. 

First though, lets take a peek at The Emblem Throne before you leave us a comment and/or question. Reminder, your feedback makes you eligible to WIN The Buried Symbol so, don’t be shy, drop us a line! 

(Contest runs from now until  January 28th, midnight – central time. Winner is selected January 29th and his or her name will be posted on a comment below! BTW: No matter where you call home, you may enter. So enter, my fellow bookworms!!) 

 

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As they strive to become Masters within the Ministry, Brock and his friends resume their training at the Academy, an institution founded on magic, science, knowledge, law, and combat. They soon discover an expansive web of conspiracies and deceit within the Ministry, hidden behind a veil of benevolence and piety. The exposure of one of those secrets forces Brock and his friends to flee the institution with their lives in the balance.

Joined by a fierce Tantarri warrior, the group embarks on a quest to locate a mysterious throne that has been lost for centuries. Guided by the cryptic words of an ancient prophecy, and backed by a forbidden magic that they are still learning to wield, they journey across the continent to save humanity from extinction.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Many characters we met in book one, The Buried Symbolare back and ready to assist Brock in his mission to save the world. Along the way, we meet several of their family members and begin to understand why they joined the Ministry. Cameron has two jealous older brothers. Ashland has an evil uncle but the sweetest and most loving parents. Benny, his father is a sweetheart and now sporting a wheelchair thanks to Benny’s ingenuity. As for Parker, his father made the biggest impression of all but I won’t disclose more. (No spoilers)  

Along with meeting the kinfolk, the group encounters mystical beings. Wraith: A bacabra, big dog but 3-4 times larger than your normal thought of canine, whom became a great ally. Also, they battled a horde of banshees. 

 

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Ten feet tall, red eyes, and sharp talons — These creatures are the things of nightmares. And unfortunately, the battle with them brought upon more than one death. However, not everything was a loss. Love did bloom despite the bleak future ahead. And with the end of the book came…… a promising start to book three, An Empire in Runes: releasing in Spring of 2017. I’ll be on the look-out for it and I’m sure you’ll be too. 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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~~ Special note from  Jeffrey L. Kohanek ~~

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Book III, An Empire in Runes, is set to release in Spring of 2017, widening the story’s scope, further expanding the cast of characters, and uncovering the depths of the conspiracy that lies within the Ministry. Find out how this epic adventure ends, for the world will be a much different place at the conclusion of the trilogy. 

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