Author Showcase – Kristina Knight (Christmas in a Small Town: A Slippery Rock Novel)

Running out on her wedding was the best decision ever!

A cheating fiancé sends Camden Harris fleeing to her grandparents’ home in Missouri. When her ex follows, determined to win her back, Camden makes a deal with neighbor Levi Walters: they’ll pretend to be in love and she’ll support his plan to buy her grandparents’ land. 

The boy from her childhood has grown up into an impressive man. His charm, good looks and sweet gestures make it difficult for Camden to remember this is fake. And Levi’s kisses only confuse her more.

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“You guys didn’t play with me when I went to defense. How would you know what I looked like?”

Collin blinked. “High-definition TV. Replay shows. And, you know, we did play with you all through junior high and high school. Doesn’t matter if you’re quarterbacking or playing the defensive line, like you did in college and the pros—the Levi Walters focus is the same.”

“Also, and I don’t think we can emphasize this enough, at least three of your throws pushed the dart through the board and into the wall. So what’s up?” Aiden rolled his bottle of beer through his hands, making it scrape against the table.

It grated on Levi’s nerves.

Just because he had a few strong throws didn’t mean something was bothering him. He certainly wasn’t upset. Levi Walters didn’t get upset. He focused on the job at hand until it was done. Then he focused on the next job. He didn’t get upset. He didn’t get bothered. He didn’t wonder why good things happened to other people.

Which made it all the more weird that he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the guys and their new relationships.

But he definitely wasn’t bothered.

“What do you guys think about the bike trail they’re talking about? The one that will follow the old railroad tracks?”

Collin and Aiden exchanged a look. Neither said anything.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. That land is undeveloped, but it’s adjacent to the ranch, and to the Harris property, too. Could lead to mischievousness, especially during the summer months.”

“He broke out a twenty-five-cent word,” Aiden said.

“Still avoiding the actual conversation, too,” Collin replied. As if Levi weren’t sitting right there with them. As if he weren’t trying to hold a legitimate conversation instead of whatever it was the two of them were trying to get him to admit to.

“Nothing’s bugging me.” He settled his shoulders against the back of the booth. “Just here to throw darts.” The guys stared at him. “And that bike trail could lead to all kinds of other prob—”

The door to the bar opened, and Levi stopped talking. He couldn’t breathe, and that didn’t make any sense at all. It was just a woman. Pretty brown hair pinned up on her head. Pale, creamy skin. He couldn’t see her eyes from this distance, but her lips were red and turned up at the corners. She twirled a set of car keys on her finger, and gathered the train of her dress—a wedding dress, and that was weird—in her other hand, saving it from the closing of the door.

“You were saying?” Collin prodded him, but Levi couldn’t remember what the three of them had been talking about. He’d been a little annoyed with them. Something about the bike trail that still hadn’t been decided on by the county commissioners.

His mouth went a little dry, and he forced himself to take a long breath. Tried to make his heart stop galloping in his chest. She was…the most beautiful figment his imagination had ever created.

“Something’s definitely wrong with him,” Aiden said. And Levi realized his friend was right.

There was something very, very wrong with a man who hallucinated a beautiful woman in a wedding dress. Something really wrong.

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Famous in a Small Town (A Slippery Rock Novel, book 1) 

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Rebel In A Small Town (A Slippery Rock Novel, book 2)

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Breakup in a Small Town (A Slippery Rock Novel, book 3)

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 Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. Kristina writes contemporary romance with a smattering of sass, sex and (of course) drama, and she loves hearing from readers. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

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Author Showcase – Mary Morgan (A Magical Highland Solstice) (A Highland Moon Enchantment)

Laird Cormac Murray has witnessed how love destroyed his own father after the death of his mother, and he vows to never take a wife. Yet, when he comes upon a bewildered lass traveling alone, he finds his heart will no longer listen to his mind. In the end, Cormac risks everything to claim the love of a woman not of his time.

Eve Brannigan loves helping others and baking. After winning a contest, she is stunned to learn that the Clan Murray has requested her assistance to cater to their guests during the holiday season. When a lost path in Scotland leads her to a handsome but gruff Highlander, Eve fights the temptation to allow love to enter her heart for the first time. 

Can the Fae and the magic of the Yule season bring together two souls who have forsaken love? Or will tragedies from the past separate the lovers forever?

 

~~ Excerpt ~~

 

Giving her no time to protest, he grabbed her around the waist and hauled her up onto Fingal. When he mounted his horse and settled behind her, Cormac felt her body stiffen as he placed an arm around her waist. He leaned next to her ear. Her mass of curls brushed his face, and he inhaled her scent—one of different spices. Lust instantly surged forth, powerful and intense. “Relax,” he urged in a hoarse voice. Though he found it difficult to do so himself.

He felt her tremble, but she nodded. Giving a tug on the reins, they moved up the path.

With each steady trot, her body swayed and Cormac tried to focus on the road. The castleFighting in the lists. Bathing in the icy waters of the loch. Anything, but the soft curves of the lass’s body pressing against his own. What was wrong with him? He prided himself on being a man always in control of his emotions—especially his lustful ones. Yet, now he found himself confused, tongue-tied, and his gut twisted into knots.

So deep in his thoughts, he did not notice Fingal veering off the main road until the lass let out a giggle. She had the most musical sound, and he found himself smiling. Guiding his horse back to the path, he could hear his men doing their best to contain themselves. A glance back confirmed William was coughing loudly and Gordon trying his best not to fall off his horse.

“I swear Fingal, I am tempted to trade ye in for another horse. Ye must be going blind, or worse, old.”

His horse let out a large snort.

Eve clicked her tongue in disapproval. “For shame, Mr. Murray. How cruel. I think he’s a kind animal. Perhaps it’s the man holding the reins who can’t see clearly the path in front of him?” 

The lass was quick with the wit, he mused. “I dinnae ken your word, but ye may call me Cormac.” He leaned near her again. “And I can assure ye, I am nae blind, nor old.”

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Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart. Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow. When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them?

 

 

~~ Excerpt ~~

His mind screamed to stay rooted in his chair, but his body betrayed him. Standing, he reached for her hand.“I will escort ye to your chamber.”

She eyed him with curiosity and stood. “Nae. Take me to the north wall. I hear the view of the loch is one that steals the breath from your lungs.”

“Done.” When her fingers slipped into his, Desmond fought the urge to crush her to his chest. Placing her soft hand in the crook of his arm, he led her quickly out of the hall and up the stairs. Bending to the left, he took her along a corridor and up a narrow circular pathway. The torches flickered as he approached the door leading to the north wall.

A cold draft blew by them, and she shivered. Instantly, regret filled him realizing he had not considered to bring a cloak for her.

Desmond paused by the door. “Ye should not venture out into the biting cold without a cloak.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I simply wish to capture a quick look, not spend the night sleeping out there.”

Shaking his head, he pushed open the massive oak door. Brittle air slapped at his face while they made their way up along the wall.

“’Tis cold,” she muttered, but chuckled softly and hugged his arm. “But ye are warm.”

“We shall not tarry long,” he assured her and placed a warm hand over hers.

“Oh, sweet Goddess. Look at the moon, Desmond. Her light shimmers over the water. I have now witnessed the charm of the loch in sunlight and moonlight. Though our rivers are stunning on their own, they cannae rival this view. As I have told ye, our island is shrouded in mists, so ye cannae see verra far out into the sea.”

Desmond’s focus was not on the moon, but the beauty standing beside him. To take what he dared not possess. He marveled at her delight of the striking scene.

Ailsa turned toward him. “Thank ye, Desmond, truly.”

Her nearness was overpowering, seducing him in a way he had never known. Desmond cupped her chin. Her eyes widened, and her lips parted in invitation. Moonlight and lust danced within her eyes. No longer did he battle with his mind and body, and he slowly lowered his head.

And under the silent whisper of a full moon, Desmond captured her soft lips within his own. He could taste her sweetness mixed with the wine, and desire shot through his veins. His hands shook as he placed them securely on her waist. As he deepened the kiss, she placed her hands around his neck. Desmond groaned, crushing her body against him.

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Award-winning Celtic paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California, with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.

Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. She spent far too much time daydreaming and was told quite often to remove her head from the clouds. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling—writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.

If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.

 

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Author Showcase – Judith Sterling (Soul of the Wolf: The Novels of Ravenwood, Book Two)

A Norman loyalist, Lady Jocelyn bristles when ordered to marry Wulfstan, a Saxon sorcerer. She nurses a painful secret and would rather bathe in a cesspit than be pawed by such a man…until her lifelong dream of motherhood rears its head.

A man of magic and mystery, Wulfstan has no time for wedded bliss. He fears that consummating their marriage will bind their souls and wrench his focus from the ancient riddle his dying mother begged him to solve. He’s a lone wolf, salving old wounds with endless work. But Jocelyn stirs him as no woman ever has.

Their attraction is undeniable. Their fates are intertwined. Together, they must face their demons and bring light to a troubled land.

 

 

Wulfstan’s expression shifted faster than the midnight clouds. “Why are you here?” he asked in a low, tight voice.

Keeping her distance, Jocelyn eyed the wolf behind him and willed her voice to sound calm. “Why do you think?”

 Wulfstan’s eyes were like ice. “I think…that you’re spying on me.”

 She held his wintry gaze. “Then you think rightly.”

 “What? No denial? No protestations of innocence?”

 “Would you have me lie?”

 He clenched his fists. “No.”

 “Then you cannot—”

 “Nor would I have you pound your pestle into my private affairs.”

 Heat swept through her. “Pray, what affairs have you that are not private?”

 “I’ve given you a free hand with the servants and the keep. What more do you want?”

 The wolf turned away and padded toward the forest. Her courage doubled. “More.”

 Her mind made up, she strode past Wulfstan and approached Woden’s Stair. She raised her foot above the first step.

 “Stay!” he shouted above the wind.

 She stopped short and turned to him. “Are you addressing me?”

 He tore his gaze from the forest and settled it on her. “No. The wolf.” With powerful strides, he bridged the gap between them.

Her stomach quivered. He stood but a foot away. “Good,” she croaked. Then she cleared her throat. “For a moment, I thought you ordered me to stay, as you would order a dog.”

Humor softened his features. “Now there’s an idea. I must say, it does have a certain appeal.”

 “Be serious.”

 “A dog can be trained to please its master, but the master also enjoys pleasing the dog. Some hounds are spoiled, in fact.”

She frowned. Something in his tone was…suggestive. “Were I a bitch, I would not be so easily managed.”

He grinned. “That I believe. And I know you’re no animal to be trained. You’re a strong woman with a mind of your own. But even the strong-willed like to be pampered. Wouldn’t you like it?”

“I…I wouldn’t mind being pampered.”

“And pleasured?” His hair looked like spun starlight.

She stepped backward, and the heel of her boot met stone. Flustered, she clambered onto the step.

Wulfstan’s demeanor darkened. “Get down from there.” His large hands invaded her mantle and encircled her waist.

She wriggled free of his hands and backed onto the second step.

He crossed his arms. “Didn’t you hear me? Come down. That’s an order.”

Her body heat flared anew, and she climbed three steps higher. “I heard you, but I’ll not play the bitch to any man.”

“This isn’t a game.”

“No? What would you do if I ran all the way to the top?”

His words, exactly measured, were a promise. “I would stop you.”

“You could try.” She whirled around and started upward.

He grabbed her from behind and hoisted her several inches off the stairs. She struggled and kicked, and her left foot connected with his flesh.

“Woden’s blood!” He hauled her away from the stairs and planted her on the ground.

She twisted in his arms to face him. “Your nerve is unparalleled.”

His face was mere inches from hers. “Trust me, it bows to yours.”

“You’ve a clever tongue, my lord.” The hard, hot length of his body pressed against her.

His eyes were now dark and inviting. Expectant. “Would you care to see how clever?”

 

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~~ Check these out! ~~

The Novels of Ravenwood, Book One

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The Novels of Ravenwood Book 3

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Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven, Soul of the Wolf, and Shadow of the Swan are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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Author Showcase – Nan Reinhardt (A Small Town Christmas)

Winemaker and single father Conor Flaherty is determined to make this Christmas holiday special for his daughter even though his family’s winery, Four Irish Brothers, is facing some challenges.

High-octane Chicago attorney Samantha Hayes is looking forward to some delicious food, fine wine, small town charm, and a break from her hectic big city life when she agrees to do a favor for her boss and help his younger brother with a lawsuit that’s been slapped on his family’s historic winery in River’s Edge. She’s not expecting that her sexy new client will have a smile that will melt her heart and remind her that there’s more to life than work.

Sam falls hard for Conor, his daughter and the small, friendly town, but can she trust her instincts and risk her heart? Sam hasn’t seen a lot of happy-ever-afters in her life, but Conor and the magic of Christmas make her want to believe.

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“Get in here!” the voice commanded, but this time it sounded familiar. “You have got to taste this.” Heavy footsteps hurried toward her and around a tank appeared . . . the man who had changed her tire yesterday? He was holding a bottle in one hand and a small tumbler in the other, but practically squealed his tattered running shoes as he halted mid-step. “It’s you.”

They gazed at one another for a long moment, his blue eyes narrowing, color staining his cheeks. “Um, you want to try this? It’s pretty amazing,” he blurted as the flush on his face deepened from pink to scarlet.

She stepped back. “It’s nine o’clock in the morning.”

He eyed her, clearly debating what to say next. At last, he shrugged and the love of his product won out. “I know. But I wanted to taste it one more time before I put it up in the racks for sale.” He held the wine up to the sunlight streaming in through the high window. “You can just spit it on the floor here if you want. I usually do but, man, this is too good not to swallow.” He swished the wine around in the glass and extended it toward her.

Everything Sam knew about client meetings was suddenly upside down and, for a moment, she was at a loss. One didn’t drink wine at a morning meeting or dress in jeans and a sweatshirt to meet their attorney. At least not in Chicago. She hesitated, meeting his blue, blue eyes over the tumbler and something in her released ever so slightly. Finally, she reached for the glass and offered a tentative smile.

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Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last 22 years, she’s earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. But writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing–she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten. She’s still writing romance, but now from the viewpoint of an older, wiser, slightly rumpled woman who believes that women only grow more interesting and everybody needs a little sexy romance.

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Review of “Death’s Desire: Siren’s Lullaby Anthology” – Tracy A. Ball

Enchanted Anthologies presents Siren’s Lullaby, an intertwined novel told by six authors. 

‘The madness of the eyes is the lure of the abyss.’

Three women are left stranded on a small Island near Sicily, Italy, to starve, but they won’t give up easily. Joining together to fight to survive, they make a deal with a demon of the sea. 

The only catch is they must lure ships to the rocks using their voices and sink the ships along with the men aboard. 

Three pirates–brothers–who haven’t agreed on much since their mother died get back together for a long journey. They long to rid themselves of the curse placed on them by a sea witch. 

An insatiable hunger felt by the seductress sirens and the deadly pirates will join them together in more ways than they could ever have thought. 

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I didn’t know where the others were, but Tristian, Rauel and I were taken to a pen. It wasn’t large or particularly comfortable but a small cave with bars that appeared to have been salvaged from some-long forgotten ship. I imagined lots of things from long-forgotten ships were hoarded in these caves.

Tristian and Rauel belonged to my vanguard. Deadly fighters and trustworthy men. That was, if you considered men who plunder to be trustworthy. I knew enough about them to anticipate what was coming. Tristian was claustrophobic. He hesitated at the cave’s entrance and turned on the siren. 

I drew my sword and turned on him. “We all must die sooner or later. Your choice.”

Rauel went into the cave without a backward glance. He had called me unpredictable on more than one occasion.

“Baldassare, I can’t go in there,” Tristian said.

“You can, and you will.” I nudged him with my sword tip.

It was low, almost inaudible. I felt it before I heard it, snaking its way around my heart. My sword arm went limp. Tristian didn’t notice. He, too, was captured by the siren’s magic. Rauel came forward, enchanted, called by this temptress. The bitch. I didn’t understand what she was doing, but I didn’t want her to stop.

All too soon, she did stop. I was sure we looked as stupid as we felt. 

“Get in the pen.” Her words were cold, but her eyes were black magic. My member stiffened, not for the first time since I’d seen her.

She noticed. 

“There are seven deadly sins,” she said. “I can sing and make you guilty of all of them.” She locked the cage behind us. 

“Wait,” Rauel called before she moved away. He didn’t have anything to say. He just didn’t want her to leave.

She paused.

“Who built this?” He touched the bars.

While he talked, I committed her to memory. I wanted a detailed image when I pampered my erection. 

“You are not the first men to make landfall.” She spoke as if he was impertinent for asking. 

Tristian knelt, pressing his face against the bars, taking deep breaths. “There are other men here?”

“Not any longer.” She thought a minute, then said to me, “Perhaps, you’ll be next.”

“Then I best get busy.” I nodded my head once in the direction of my crotch.

Her exquisite bottom lip dropped open. It quivered like she had something naughty to say. She came very close to me, reached out to touch me…only she didn’t. Damn. I wanted her to touch me. Her fingers were a wisp away from cupping my groin. Oh, please… 

“I can sing all seven sins.” This time, she did not look back.

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(review request of “Death’s Desire” submitted by the author, Tracy A. Ball,  for an honest critique) 

“Death’s Desire” conveyed beautifully the enticing power of a siren’s call, the magnitude of their power, and the lure of their body.

As we know from mythology, sirens are irresistible and bloodthirsty beings. Tracy capitalized nicely on illustrating their seductiveness and their insatiable hunger to feed on victims that cross their path. She also allowed readers to witness their capacity for the emotion – love.

Twist and turns, love and death, “Death’s Desire” could’ve went on to a full-length novel. As “Death’s Desire” came to a close, I came to realize I didn’t want Baldassare and the sirens’ story to end.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Novelist, Reviewer, Content Editor, Blogger, T-shirt Wearer, and Professional Snacker; Tracy A. Ball is a native Baltimorean and a veteran West Virginian whose family is blended from three cultures. She has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She knows people who have committed murder and people who have dined with the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love…and takes naps.

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