Blog Tour: All For Love by Susanne Matthews #Giveaway

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This is my stop during the blog tour for All for Love by Susanne Matthews. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 26 may till 8 June, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

All for LoveAll for Love

By Susanne Matthews

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Age category: Adult

Publisher: Anaiah Press

Release Date: May 26, 2015

Blurb:

To overcome your fear, you must first face it.

Someone is out to destroy Greg Simmons and everyone he has ever loved. After an accident leaves his teenage daughter depressed and distraught, Greg will do anything to make her happy again.

Olivia Marshall lost both her fiancé and her cousin in a deadly avalanche. She has vowed never to set foot on a ski hill again. But now, working as a bodyguard with Anderson Security, Olivia must face her greatest fears to save Greg and his daughter.

Something about Olivia’s determination strikes a chord in Greg, but will she be the salvation he needs, or will he be her destruction?

Excerpt

Jack frowned and grunted. “Do you think it’s someone in the family looking for a bigger share?”

“No, I don’t. Besides, the police have checked that aspect and found nothing. If money is the goal, it has to be someone who stands to profit from my death who isn’t getting much from me alive. That’s the only thing that makes sense. With an heir, forty percent of my literary gains go to my publisher and agent. Without an heir, all revenue from the movie and all of my books reverts to them.”

Jack shook his head. “That’s the problem with you celebrities. Someone always wants to get a piece of your pie. You might as well have painted a target on your back. You’re too attractive dead.”

Greg grimaced. “Unfortunately, that’s true, but painting a target on George Stanton’s back is one thing, painting it on my daughter is quite a different story.”

“So, what do you want from us?” Jack’s voice was determined, showing Greg whatever it was he wanted, it was his for the asking.

Greg relaxed. “I need you to help me keep my daughter safe.”

“How?”

“Sheena’s a world class skier, but she was badly injured in the accident. While she’s recovered well, there’ve been a lot of changes for her. I want to give her the opportunity to ski competitively again, meet new people, and make new friendships. I want to give her back her dream, and this is where I need your help, but with a maniac after me, it will be dangerous.”

Lord, if you’d like to give me the words to convince them to help me, it would be grand. The prayer would probably fall on deaf ears, but he couldn’t help uttering it. He wasn’t asking for himself. Sheena was just a child, and wasn’t God partial to helping children?

He took a deep breath and renewed his pacing. “I want to send her to ski trials in late January in Vermont—give her a chance to train with others. Her injuries have given her a new face, but she’ll need a false identity and an undercover bodyguard who can ski. I know I’m asking a lot, and you may not know someone who can handle that challenge, but that’s not all.”

“Go on.” Jack prodded.

Greg glanced at Tim who nodded.

“Although my daughter hates me at the moment, I won’t let her go anywhere without me. Tim is going to let me use one of his former identities … that is if you agree.” He looked pointedly at Vicki who scowled, and Greg read the uncertainty on her face.

Veronica stood up, seemingly oblivious to her twin’s inner agony. She clapped her hands and turned to her husband. “And I know exactly who can help. Livy’s perfect for this job, and you know it.”

Jack frowned and grunted. “Do you think it’s someone in the family looking for a bigger share?”

“No, I don’t. Besides, the police have checked that aspect and found nothing. If money is the goal, it has to be someone who stands to profit from my death who isn’t getting much from me alive. That’s the only thing that makes sense. With an heir, forty percent of my literary gains go to my publisher and agent. Without an heir, all revenue from the movie and all of my books reverts to them.”

Jack shook his head. “That’s the problem with you celebrities. Someone always wants to get a piece of your pie. You might as well have painted a target on your back. You’re too attractive dead.”

Greg grimaced. “Unfortunately, that’s true, but painting a target on George Stanton’s back is one thing, painting it on my daughter is quite a different story.”

“So, what do you want from us?” Jack’s voice was determined, showing Greg whatever it was he wanted, it was his for the asking.

Greg relaxed. “I need you to help me keep my daughter safe.”

“How?”

“Sheena’s a world class skier, but she was badly injured in the accident. While she’s recovered well, there’ve been a lot of changes for her. I want to give her the opportunity to ski competitively again, meet new people, and make new friendships. I want to give her back her dream, and this is where I need your help, but with a maniac after me, it will be dangerous.”

Lord, if you’d like to give me the words to convince them to help me, it would be grand. The prayer would probably fall on deaf ears, but he couldn’t help uttering it. He wasn’t asking for himself. Sheena was just a child, and wasn’t God partial to helping children?

He took a deep breath and renewed his pacing. “I want to send her to ski trials in late January in Vermont—give her a chance to train with others. Her injuries have given her a new face, but she’ll need a false identity and an undercover bodyguard who can ski. I know I’m asking a lot, and you may not know someone who can handle that challenge, but that’s not all.”

“Go on.” Jack prodded.

Greg glanced at Tim who nodded.

“Although my daughter hates me at the moment, I won’t let her go anywhere without me. Tim is going to let me use one of his former identities … that is if you agree.” He looked pointedly at Vicki who scowled, and Greg read the uncertainty on her face.

Veronica stood up, seemingly oblivious to her twin’s inner agony. She clapped her hands and turned to her husband. “And I know exactly who can help. Livy’s perfect for this job, and you know it.”

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susanne-matthewsAbout the Author:

Susanne Matthews grew up as an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. A retired educator, she now gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Susanne lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her husband. She has three adult children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers.

You can find and contact Susanne here:

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There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of All for Love. These are the prizes you can win:

– 2 $10 gift cards (US Only)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Blog Tour: The Closer You Get by Carter Ashby #Giveaway

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Book Title: The Closer You Get (A Fidelity Novel)
Author: Carter Ashby
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 21, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

If there’s one thing Rye Holcomb hates, it’s small, tight-knit towns with high virtues and zero tolerance for outsiders. Fidelity is just such a town. And Rye is just such an outsider. So when he and his brother, Cash, take jobs in Fidelity, Rye decides not to get too comfortable. Which is why he is avoiding some rather confusing feelings for his new boss, Cora McKay.

Cora was born, raised, and baptized in Fidelity. She owns a thriving construction business, has a close circle of friends, and is the breadwinner for her mother and four sisters. The one thing she lacks is a sex life, something she’s never longed for until now. One conversation with Rye sparks her sexual awakening, and, in spite of his reputation as a man-whore, Cora can’t resist giving in to his advances.

As Rye enjoys initiating his virgin employer, and Cash experiences a relationship with a man for the first time in his life, they begin to think of Fidelity as home. But small towns have brought them trouble in the past, and it appears Fidelity holds trouble for their future. Can their newfound relationships be enough to overcome a past that relentlessly follows them? Can two men who have been burned by love learn to trust again?

excerpt

He took one step toward her, closing the distance between them a little bit. “I’m sorry I hurt you, Cora. I’m sorry for what I did Sunday. That was just really shitty of me, and I got no excuse. But I figured out that I’ve done this to myself. You have every right to think badly of me. I walked into this town figuring it was just like any other town, so I might as well get mine while I could. I already had my mind made up, so when something sweet and amazing came my way, I didn’t have a fucking clue how to handle it.”

Her heart pounded hard in her chest, and she found she couldn’t keep staring into his eyes.

“Cora, when you smiled the first time, you changed my life. I haven’t been able to get you out of my head this whole time. I’ve been praying to God all week that I haven’t messed things up for good.”

Now she felt she could barely breathe.

“Did I? Did I mess things up for good?”

She couldn’t even turn to look at him. He must have sensed it because he touched her chin with the tip of his finger and turned her head toward him. His eyes were so incredibly beautiful and earnest.

She cleared her throat and in a husky voice, asked, “What is it you want with me?”

“Just a chance. Let me prove to you that the guy you’ve known the past month isn’t really who I am. It’s just who I became after giving up on people. I can fix this, Cora.”

She opened her mouth to answer though she didn’t know what to say. Thankfully, the sound of trucks approaching interrupted them. She turned toward the noise. “We should get back—”

He spun her into his arms and pressed his lips to hers as he smoothed her hair off her forehead, leaving his hands to gently cup her face. The urgency and sincerity in his kiss undid her. She fisted her hands in his shirt and held on.

“I want you,” he whispered against her lips. “I’ve never wanted anyone like I want you, Cora.”

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Meet the Author Carter Ashby is a hardworking housewife and homeschool mother by day, and a romance reader and writer by night. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs.
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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Cover Reveal: That One Night (That One Series: Book One) by Josie Wright #Giveaway

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Book Title: That One Night (That One Series: Book One)
Author: Josie Wright
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 26, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

All it takes is just one moment to change the course of your life. For me, it was one perfect night.

I have always had a thing for my brother’s best friend, Ben. When I found him on my parents’ couch, drowning his sorrows in a whiskey bottle, my attempts to comfort him quickly turned into a night of raw and intense passion.

My foolish heart hoped he might feel the same way I do.

But Ben wasn’t there to stay and I woke up the next morning alone with a broken heart.

I attempted to forget the guy with a smile to die for and a touch that sets me on fire.

I thought I was over him.

I thought he was gone forever.

Until, eighteen months later Ben returns and learns my secret. Now, he is hell-bent on winning me back.

He plays dirty.

And he won’t stop until he gets what he wants—me.

But he has secrets of his own.

Secrets that could destroy everything we might have and everything we are.

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Meet the Author

Josie Wright has always been a bookworm, spending every free moment with her nose buried in a book. While Josie Wright has always been a bookworm, spending every free moment with her nose buried in a book. While others were out partying, she spent her evenings with Heathcliff, Sydney Carton or Snape. Romance, fantasy, thrillers – you name it, she read it.

Thanks to the Kindle, she finally arrived in the 21St century and discovered the Indie literature world. Josie has been lost to it ever since. With her love for the written word and her promiscuous feelings for countless book boyfriends, the next logical step was to start writing. The voices in her head and her imaginary friends wanted out to play and so she wrote her debut novel “That One Night”, that’s to be released early summer 2015. And the good news is, there are more voices and imaginary friend where Ben and Frankie came from.

Josie is a financial expert by day and a writing junkie by night. The rest of the time she’s a bit of a hippie, a bit of a goth and many things in between. Josie loves to spend time with her husband when she can tear herself away from her book boyfriends. She loves video games, movies, good food and even better music. She’s addicted to chips, long baths and shoes. Oh, and books of course. Definitely books.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of Serpentine by Cindy Pon with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

Stay tuned for news on special brush painting card by Cindy with
Serpentine pre-order through Mysterious Galaxy in June!

M9B Friday Reveal: Chapter One of Serpentine by Cindy Pon with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals

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Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!

This week, we are revealing chapter one of

Serpentine by Cindy Pon

presented byMonth9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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SERPENTINE is a sweeping fantasy set in the ancient Kingdom of Xia and inspired by the rich history of Chinese mythology.

Lush with details from Chinese folklore, SERPENTINE tells the coming of age story of Skybright, a young girl who worries about her growing otherness. As she turns sixteen, Skybright notices troubling changes. By day, she is a companion and handmaid to the youngest daughter of a very wealthy family. But nighttime brings with it a darkness that not even daybreak can quell.

When her plight can no longer be denied, Skybright learns that despite a dark destiny, she must struggle to retain her sense of self – even as she falls in love for the first time.

Vivid worldbuilding, incendiary romance, heart-pounding action, and characters that will win you over–I highly recommend Serpentine.Cinda Williams Chima, best-selling author of the Seven Realms and Heir Chronicles fantasy novels

Serpentine is unique and surprising, with a beautifully-drawn fantasy world that sucked me right in! I love Skybright’s transformative power, and how she learns to take charge of it.” ~Kristin Cashore, NYT Bestseller of the Graceling Realm Series

Serpentine’s world oozes with lush details and rich lore, and the characters crackle with life. This is one story that you’ll want to lose yourself in.” ~ Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites

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Title: Serpentine
Publication date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Cindy Pon

Pre-order Links:

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excerpt

Chapter 1

The mountain was still shrouded in mist.
Skybright felt its cold tendrils against her nape as she climbed the giant cypress tree. She could almost believe she was in the heavens and the immortals themselves lived beyond the high monastery walls. A strange quiet had settled over Tian Kuan mountain, as if the mist had turned into something solid, blanketing their surroundings in silence. Skybright loved mornings like these. She scooted further up the thick gnarled branch, clinging with her legs, not daring to look down. Rough bark scraped her palms, and she held her breath as she grabbed a branch above her with both hands and eased herself onto her feet, crouching low, like a cat about to spring. She glimpsed the far edge of a square; dense fog hovered just above the green stone tiles of curved rooflines.
Zhen Ni gasped from below.
Skybright glanced down at her mistress. Zhen Ni’s pale face was turned upward, her eyes wide. Skybright quickly looked away and gulped. She had never been this high up before–if she fell she’d surely break her neck.
“Take care,” her mistress said.
Take care! Zhen Ni was the one who had concocted this mad plan to begin with, convincing Skybright the monastery wall truly wasn’t that high, and that she could climb the cypress tree with ease. Curiosity was her mistress’s weakness, and she simply had to know what went on within the monastery, behind its grand facade. Of course, Skybright would have to do the climbing. She couldn’t glare at her mistress, as it meant risking a glance downward again. Instead, Skybright rose slowly, willing her legs to keep steady, until she finally stood, her cloth shoes digging into the wood. She hugged the higher branch to her chest and murmured a prayer to the Goddess of Mercy.
Standing, she had a full view of the immense square hidden behind the walls, flanked by two red rectangular temples. A pair of fierce stone lions guarded each temple, and tall cypress trees dotted the edges of the square. Hundreds of monks, dressed in slate blue sleeveless tunics and trousers, sat cross-legged on the gray stone floor. While Zhen Ni and Skybright had been ascending the mountain, the monks’ strong voices had reverberated across the tall peak, counting as they practiced their forms. Now, they were so still and silent that Skybright blinked, wondering if they were statues as well—or an illusion. Each monk’s head was closely shaved, and they sat with their elbows resting against their knees, exact replicas of one another.
Not even the wind stirred.
“What can you see?” Zhen Ni asked, her impatient voice too loud to be a whisper.
Skybright ignored her. She scanned the endless rows of monks, each offering a three-quarter profile, when her eyes rested on one that did not appear like the rest. His hair wasn’t shorn, but shoulder length, and tied back. His tunic and trousers were tan. He sat in the very back, near the edge. As if he sensed her watching, he tilted his chin until their eyes met across the great distance.
She froze, feeling caught. And in those few quick moments, his gaze swept across her, seeming to take in every detail, before he turned his head back toward the magnificent temples, his expression never changing. Heart thudding, Skybright maneuvered until she was straddling the branch again, then scrambled as fast as she could down the giant cypress.
Her legs trembled when she finally reached the ground.
“Well, what did you see?” Zhen Ni tugged at her sleeve, her face shining with curiosity.
“Monks. So many of them.” She began walking back toward town, not waiting for her mistress as proper decorum dictated.
Surprised, Zhen Ni picked up her skirt so she wouldn’t trip on the embroidered hem and followed. “Could you see their faces?”
She shook her head, even as she recalled the slender eyes of the boy who had seen her. “They were meditating.”
The two girls hurried now through the trees. The fog had begun to lift, allowing glimmers of sunlight, and the earth was soft and damp beneath their feet. Skybright and Zhen Ni clasped hands and ran—they would be in trouble if their absence were noticed.

 

Skybright brought a late morning meal of rice porridge to Zhen Ni’s spacious reception hall and dined with her mistress. The two girls were now draped across Zhen Ni’s expansive bed, playing a game of Go. Her mistress was the better player, yet Skybright still had to keep an eye on the game, to be sure she never won by chance or from carelessness on Zhen Ni’s part. The last time she had won, Zhen Ni had pounded the bed so hard with her fists, the black and white stones scattered and bounced to the floor. Skybright never did find all of the pieces.
Morning light filled the bedchamber through lattice windows cast wide open. The walls were papered in the palest green, and Zhen Ni had decorated them with several magnificent lotus paintings—her favorite flower. Despite the open windows, the bedchamber was warm, and Skybright felt her chin dip, her lids growing heavy. Zhen Ni gave a languid yawn and stretched like a cat onto her side, leaning her head against her arm. A sharp tap on the reception hall’s door startled both girls. Skybright jumped from the tall platform bed as Zhen Ni swung her legs down the side, patting the gold ornaments woven in her hair.
“Your mother’s bringing a guest to visit, mistress,” Rose, another handmaid, said from outside.
“Now?” Zhen Ni asked as Skybright smoothed her mistress’s peach tunic and skirt.
“She’s on her way, mistress,” replied Rose’s muffled voice.
Zhen Ni sighed and gave Skybright an exasperated look before saying, “Thank you, Rose.”
Lady Yuan entered the quarters soon after, trailed by a woman in her forties, but dressed much more plainly, with her hair pulled into a tight bun. If Lady Yuan was an iridescent king fisher, then this woman clad in brown and gray was a dull hen. Yet there was a keen sharpness to the woman’s eyes as she took in the opulent reception hall, decorated in pale gold and pink, before her gaze glided to Zhen Ni’s face.
“I’ve brought a special surprise for you today, Daughter. Madame Lo is the best-regarded seer of our time. We’re fortunate to have her visiting so far from the Capital.” Lady Yuan smiled at both girls, her excitement obvious. She had grown plumper in these past few years; it had softened her features and rounded her chin.
Madame Lo inclined her head. “You honor me, Lady Yuan. It’s been too long since I’ve visited the mountains. I consider it a retreat.”
Zhen Ni bowed to the woman. “The honor is mine.” A flush colored her cheeks as she turned to her mother. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I wasn’t certain if Madame Lo could make it until she actually arrived at our door,” Lady Yuan said.
Zhen Ni swept an arm toward the curved-back chairs. “Please sit.”
“You’ve not yet started your monthly letting,” the seer stated, and everyone froze as if she had picked up a vase and smashed it to the floor.
“Mother?” Zhen Ni’s voice was barely a whisper.
Lady Yuan sat down, arranging her silk skirt with nervous fingers.
“Dear girl, the fact that you’ve not reached womanhood shines as bright on your face as the moon in full bloom. I’m a seer, after all.” Instead of following her hostess’ lead and sitting, Madame Lo stood before them and scrutinized Zhen Ni. Despite her plain dress, two stunning jade bracelets encircled the fortuneteller’s fine-boned wrist. One in a clear crisp green, and the other a deep lavender, both wrought with delicate gold details. They flashed and gleamed under the bright lantern lights, mesmerizing Skybright. Madame Lo lifted a hand to her chin, and her dark, piercing eyes slid to Skybright’s own face for a breath before she said, “But don’t fret, Mistress Yuan, your monthly letting will start soon enough.”
A chill slithered down Skybright’s spine when her eyes had met the seer’s, and she retreated a step to leave when Zhen Ni grabbed her hand and pulled her to the plush chair beside her own. “So, Madame Lo, how do you tell your fortunes?” Her mistress wore a faint smile, but Skybright heard the hesitancy in her voice.
The seer gathered her brown skirt and finally seated herself. “I use your birth date and time, and study your facial features as well.”
Zhen Ni ducked her head, staring at her folded hands. “I see,” she murmured.
“Tell us what you’ve divined,” Lady Yuan said, turning to the other woman across the enameled table. “Will she have a good husband? And many children?”
Zhen Ni caught her lower lip between her teeth, something she did when she was anxious. The familiar clatter of china against lacquered trays, a pleasant sound, carried from the covered corridor outside, along with the barely perceptible whisper of slippered feet. Rose entered, followed by another handmaid, Oriole, who set small dishes of lychees and sweets on the tables beside them. The delicate aroma of jasmine tea filled the reception hall. Pouring the brew into celadon cups, Rose then offered one to each of the women with both hands. Her dark eyes flickered to Lady Yuan, and the lady gave the barest nod before Rose gave a steaming cup to Skybright as well.
The two handmaids then slipped out, after bowing their heads.
They took time to sip their tea, quiet for a long moment, before Zhen Ni, with a raised chin, finally met Madame Lo’s knowing eyes and asked, “Will I fall in love?”
“Love!” Lady Yuan cut in. “Love comes later, Daughter.”
“When did you fall in love with Father?” Zhen Ni plucked at the delicate beading on her sleeve edge.
“Not until ten years after we were wed,” Lady Yuan said. “Love takes time.” She nodded at Zhen Ni, as if in encouragement. But Zhen Ni wouldn’t look at her mother.
“I’ve composed and read her star chart according to her birth date and time. And what they tell me confirms what I see in your features, Mistress Yuan.”
They all leaned forward while the seer pressed the tips of her long fingers together, her wide mouth drawn tense. Skybright wondered if the pause was for theatrics. But when Madame Lo spoke, it was with such care and authority that the thought disappeared from her mind.
“You’re a willful girl.”
Zhen Ni crossed her arms and reclined into the cushion. Skybright struggled to keep her face straight.
“This will pose challenges for you. Cause grief for you and your family. The shape and set of your chin only emphasize what your star chart indicates. You will love. Truly and deeply. The slight tilt of your eyes, the sheen to them, say as much. You’re a romantic, and sensual—see the shape of your upper lip, and the curve of your lower. You will suffer heartache.”
Zhen Ni’s dark brows had drawn together, and she gripped her hands so tightly that the nails bit into her skin.
Madame Lo rose from her seat. She was a slight woman and moved with an assurance that lent her grace. Her brown tunic and skirt were loose and edged with gray, worn only for function. Skybright tried to imagine the woman in turquoise or lavender—any bright color—but was unable. The seer didn’t need any extravagance but the glittering bracelets at her wrist, and the sharp light of her dark eyes. Madame Lo kneeled beside Zhen Ni’s chair and extended a hand to her face. Her mistress shrank from the older woman, as if her fingertips were barbed.
“Her ears are beautifully shaped. See how thick the lobes are? This coupled with the wideness of her nose all point to her fortune in having been born into such an illustrious family. You’ll find a very wealthy husband for her to marry, Lady Yuan.” Madame Lo stood and returned to her chair, before taking another sip of tea. “She’ll have at least two children. More, I cannot say.”
“Will she marry an eldest son?” Lady Yuan asked. “Will she bear a boy herself?”
“I fear I have nothing more specific, Lady Yuan.”
Zhen Ni had not relaxed beside her, but was still sitting rigid as a bamboo stalk, and leaning toward Skybright as if for shelter. “How can I marry well yet suffer heartache?” asked Zhen Ni.
“One does not exclude the other,” said the seer.
“We all suffer from the pangs of love at least once in our lives, Daughter. It’s nothing to worry over. The important thing is that you’ll marry well and have children!” Lady Yuan smiled, her face glowing with pleasure.
“I think I’ve heard enough, Madame Lo,” Zhen Ni said briskly, and her mother cleared her throat before taking a sip of tea. Zhen Ni blushed. “You honor me with a personal reading.”
“It was a pleasure,” Madame Lo replied. “I hope it has helped to ease your mother’s mind.”
“My gratitude, Madame Lo,” said Lady Yuan.
Skybright eyed the ginger candy on a plate beside her. It was Zhen Ni’s favorite, but she hadn’t touched any of the sweets since they had been brought. Skybright would have liked some lychees, but decorum didn’t allow her to eat until everyone else had taken something for herself first. Instead, she stood and refilled the teacups. The fragrant scent of jasmine rose with the steam.
“What about a reading for Skybright?” Zhen Ni asked after a long pause.
Skybright almost exclaimed aloud, but bit her tongue.
“Skybright? Of course.” Lady Yuan said. “But what’s there to tell?”
Madame Lo turned her attention to Skybright fully for the first time, and Skybright sank deeper into her seat, feeling exposed. “I would need her birth date and time. A star chart takes at least three days to prepare.”
“We don’t know when Skybright was born, exactly,” Zhen Ni said.
Madame Lo studied her face as if she were a painting. Skybright willed herself to keep her head raised. “You’re Zhen Ni’s handmaid?”
“Yes. And my companion since we were babes.”
“Let the girl speak for herself,” the seer said.
All three looked to Skybright, and she swallowed, feeling the heat rise to her cheeks. She wasn’t used to being noticed, much less being the center of attention. “I’m an orphan.”
“I see,” Madame Lo replied. “And you were taken in by the Yuans?”
“She was left on our doorstep in a basket–”
“She wasn’t more than a few days’ old–”
Lady Yuan and Zhen Ni spoke over each other but both stopped abruptly when Madame Lo slapped her palm against the carved armrest. Lady Yuan jolted in her chair and Zhen Ni attempted to appear contrite.
“It’s as they say, Madame Lo,” Skybright said. “I know nothing more beyond that.”
The seer beckoned with a curl of her fingers. “Come here, girl.”
Skybright rose and stood before Madame Lo, feeling the damp of her palms. She had spent very little time wondering about her past, her parents, where she came from. It seemed pointless and impractical. Her life was full with daily responsibilities and rituals, with being a handmaid and companion to Zhen Ni. Now, this stranger might tell her more about her future or her past—probably useless or false knowledge, as far as Skybright was concerned. If she had a family, if her parents were still alive and wanted her, wouldn’t they have come back for her by now?
“Kneel,” Madame Lo said.
Skybright lowered herself onto the cold stone floor. The seer took her chin in one hand, turning her face this way and that, as a merchant would study cattle before purchasing. Skybright held her arms still at her sides, her hands fisted.
“There’s an unusual symmetry to your face.” Madame Lo tilted Skybright’s head to examine her ears. “Your features reveal little to me.” Skybright wanted to jerk away, but steadied herself. “She’s no classic beauty,” Madame Lo went on, speaking to Zhen Ni and Lady Yuan directly. “See how the mouth is too full, the eyes set slightly far apart. The nose is narrow, the bridge too tall—there is no wealth there. No fortune. Yet the face as a whole—”
“I’ve always thought Skybright quite pretty,” Zhen Ni said.
“Yes. Not a classic beauty, but the features come together to create something quite alluring. Almost unearthly.”
“But this tells us so little, Madame Lo,” Lady Yuan said, choosing a candied persimmon from the tray.
“Will she meet a good man?” Zhen Ni asked.
“Daughter!” Lady Yuan reprimanded.
Because they all knew Skybright would be a handmaid to Zhen Ni for life, and never marry.
“She could take a lover,” Zhen Ni retorted.
Skybright bowed her head, and Madame Lo patted her hot cheek, as if in sympathy. Then the seer’s grip tightened, her long nails digging into Skybright’s face, and Skybright gasped in surprise and pain. Grimacing, Madame Lo dropped her hand, then pressed her knuckles against her eyes. “I’m sorry, Skybright,” she murmured. “This has never happened to me before.”
The seer’s complexion had turned ashen, and Skybright could see she was unsettled. Alarmed, she sensed that Madame Lo was rarely fazed, much less showing it as she did now. She jumped to her feet, lifting the ceramic pot so she could pour the seer more tea.
“What’s the matter?” Lady Yuan exclaimed.
“When I touched Skybright, her image changed. It was as if her true self was veiled, and I was unable to see her clearly. I’ve never encountered the like before in any of my readings, and I’ve done hundreds.” Madame Lo reached for her teacup and took a long sip. Her hand trembled. The seer drew a breath before saying, “But she’s strong. That much comes across.”
Zhen Ni nibbled on a ginger candy and watched Skybright with interest. “Have you ever thought of yourself as alluring, Sky? As strong?”
“Never, mistress,” Skybright replied. Madame Lo’s revelations meant little to her—they were only frivolous nonsense.
“I can see it,” Zhen Ni said, her dark eyes gleaming as she nodded to the seer. “I never noticed before, but now I can see it.”

 

Zhen Ni fiddled with the jars and bottles on her vanity as Skybright brushed her black hair then plaited it, weaving luminous pearls into the single braid. Her mistress had been quiet since Madame Lo’s visit earlier in the day, her usually animated face appearing pensive for much of the afternoon. In an attempt to coax her into a better mood, Skybright had suggested a new hairstyle and outfit in time for Zhen Ni’s evening meal with her mother in the main hall. Her mistress had agreed with a distracted wave of her hand.
“Mama said a family friend’s daughter will be staying with us through the summer,” Zhen Ni said and began chewing on her nail. “She’s our age.”
Skybright swatted at her mistress’s hand.
The smile Zhen Ni gave her lacked its usual mischievousness. “I hate waiting. I wish it would never happen.” Their eyes met in the bronzed mirror, and Skybright took the opportunity to adjust the jade lotus pendant encircling her mistress’s neck.
Skybright knew she wasn’t talking about the girl who would be visiting.
“I know Mama’s eager to show me that book as soon as my monthly letting begins.”
Zhen Ni’s older sister, Min, had sneaked The Book of Making to share with them when they were just fourteen years. All three had gawked at the dozens of illustrations depicted, teaching a bride how to best pleasure her future husband in the bedchamber and become with child quickly. Now, two years later, Min was wed and living with her husband’s family, already expecting her first babe.
“To think Mama’s so desperate to marry me off, she hired that seer!” Zhen Ni said. “You’re so fortunate not to have to … suffer through any of it.”
Skybright began making Zhen Ni’s expansive platform bed, straightening the silk sheets and plumping the brocaded cushions. Her mistress had lain in it for much of the afternoon, without ever falling asleep. “I’ll go with you when you marry, and have to leave the Yuan manor too.”
“You would come with me, Sky?” Zhen Ni grabbed her hand and smiled coyly, knowing Skybright had no choice.
Skybright rolled her eyes. “Of course.”
“It would be a great comfort to me to have you by my side.” Zhen Ni sighed, her shoulders drooping.
Skybright laughed and, because she looked so pitiful, gripped her mistress’s hand. Zhen Ni’s most beautiful feature was her eyes, almond shaped and a deep honeyed brown. They often appeared to have sheen to them, as if she were on the verge of uproarious laughter or dramatic tears. She was half a head taller than Skybright, and more slender of build.
And as Zhen Ni considered her, her mouth twisted into a scheming smile, one that Skybright knew all too well. Wary, she dropped her mistress’s hand.
“You know you’re supposed to help me. Teach me to be a better wife to my future husband.”
“Teach you?”
Zhen Ni nodded. “A good handmaid … practices with her mistress.”
Skybright blushed, finally realizing what she was implying. The illustrations from The Book of Making had always featured a man and a woman. It had never crossed her mind that … Skybright swallowed, before saying, “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“You wouldn’t have. But Min told me some households require it of their daughters before they marry, to make them better wives. It’s called mirroring.” Zhen Ni grinned wider, the same wicked grin as when she had plucked the eyeballs from the steamed fish when they were eight years and convinced Skybright to eat one, telling her it was a delicacy and would make her smarter. She would never forget the wet, gristly texture of it, the hard marble in the middle. How it had burst in her mouth. Zhen Ni had cackled when she spat it out, almost retching.
“Don’t worry, Sky.” Zhen Ni drew closer, then leaned forward and pressed her mouth against Skybright’s.
Skybright startled but didn’t pull back. Her mistress’s eyes were closed, and the delicate scent of peach cream enveloped her senses—the cream she had rubbed into Zhen Ni’s face and throat earlier. Her lips were soft, supple, making Skybright suddenly aware of how rough her own were.
Zhen Ni put her hand on one shoulder and squeezed, before she spun away and collapsed onto the bed, giggling. “Oh!” She rolled, quite unladylike, twisting the sheets. “Oh,” she snorted, “We just had our first kiss!”
After a few moments, she sat up and rubbed the tears from her eyes. “How was it?”
Skybright hadn’t moved, not knowing how to respond, afraid of what her mistress might suggest next. “Your lips … were soft.”
Zhen Ni covered her mouth with both hands and began laughing uncontrollably again. “Dear darling Skybright.” She shook her head. “There is no guile to you. It’s why I adore you.”
“How did it feel to you?” Skybright was too curious not to ask.
Zhen Ni scrubbed at her mouth with the back of her hand with exaggerated disgust. “It was like kissing my own sister!”
Skybright pitched a fat cushion at her, and Zhen Ni squealed, barely dodging it in time. She then fell into bed and laughed with her.

 

Skybright couldn’t fall asleep that night.
It was near the end of the sixth moon, and the summer air was heavy and hot. She kicked the thin sheet aside and wound her thick hair away from her damp neck, trying to find a cool spot on the narrow bed. Her mind kept returning to the kiss she had exchanged with Zhen Ni. The kiss itself had been chaste, like she had shared with Zhen Ni before on the cheek. But there was an undercurrent there, an expectation, a bated breath. It seemed to have stoked something deep inside of her, as if touching her mouth to someone else’s had kindled a hidden desire, dormant until now.
She let out a long sigh, feeling the back of her arms stick to the bamboo mat. The face of the young monk who had glimpsed her clinging to a branch bloomed beneath her eyelids, how his expression never changed as he assessed her, as if they stood in front of each other at arm’s length. Who was he? And why wasn’t his hair cut like all the others?
Her dreams, when she finally fell asleep, were scattered and warm.
Then insistent.

 

Skybright woke in a fevered haze, feeling as if she were drunk. It was still night, so dark that she couldn’t see. Heat radiated from her groin downward, pulsing through her legs, tingling her feet, then ricocheting back again. Her thighs and calves ached of it, of melding and severing.
She gasped, trying to rise. She clutched at her legs, and her hands sprang back as she cried out. No sound came and she whimpered, rubbing her ears. Had she gone deaf as well? Skybright touched her legs again, but they were no longer there, replaced by something sleek and supple that wasn’t her skin, wasn’t her flesh.
This must be a dream.
A nightmare.
She tried to swing her lower half off the bedside, but instead thrashed and thumped to the stone floor below. Its rough coldness scraped her torso and elbows. Unable to stand, she dragged herself across the ground toward the lantern resting on her small cherry wood dresser. Something knocked over and hit her back. She hissed. Pulling herself up, she grabbed the lantern and a match. Her hands shook as she lit the wick.
The light’s warmth was familiar, comforting. Skybright twisted, held the lantern over her lower half, and nearly dropped it. A thick serpent coil snaked behind her, where her legs should have been, the ruby red scales glittering even in the wan light. She glided her hand along its smooth length, and felt it as her own flesh. The serpent length began at her waist, but the scales covered her abdomen, rising to just beneath her breasts. She was naked. Where had her sleep clothes gone?
The lantern jangled in her grasp, and she set it on the ground, running her hands over her face, now in a panic. Her features felt the same. She pushed herself, slid back to the dresser, and grabbed the pearl hand mirror that had been a birthday gift from Zhen Ni. Her familiar face reflected back at her, although her eyes were dark and wild, and her long hair seemed alive, floating about her shoulders.
A silent sob shook her, tremored from her chest through to the tip of her grotesque tail. Then she glimpsed something that caused her heartbeat to stutter. Slowly, she opened her mouth, and a long forked tongue escaped from it, waggling, as if taunting her.
The hand mirror crashed to the ground, and Skybright clawed at her neck with both hands, unable to speak, to scream. Her serpent coil jerked, swept the lantern on its side, and the flame was doused, casting her into darkness.

 

Quiet knocking stirred her awake.
The door panel slid aside and Zhen Ni poked her head through, then tiptoed inside, closing the panel behind her.
“You’re late. Of all the days!”
Sunshine flooded the small chamber when Zhen Ni opened the lattice window and Skybright struggled to rise, hysteria smothering her chest.
“What happened in here?” Her mistress stared at the toppled stool and broken lantern with oil seeping out beneath, then looked at her and gaped. “Why are you naked?”
Skybright glanced down and saw her legs, stuck her tongue to the roof of her mouth. “I’m—” She choked with relief when she could speak, “I was hot. Last night.” It must have been a nightmare. She had a fever and was hallucinating.
Zhen Ni drew to her bedside and waved her hands at her torso. “When did you get those?” she exclaimed.
Skybright peered down again, momentarily terrified, to realize that Zhen Ni had been pointing at her breasts. She crossed her arms, flushing.
“You’ve become a woman,” her mistress said in a quiet voice, her expression serious and thoughtful.
She wrapped the thin sheet around herself, laughing from a mixture of embarrassment and disorientation. “We’re the same age!”
“I certainly don’t look like that.”
Skybright was familiar with her mistress’s physique, being the one to help her bathe, and Zhen Ni was willowy, lacking the curves that Skybright had. Curves hidden beneath loose tunics that, until now, Skybright had never given a second thought.
Zhen Ni stooped down so that they were eye level. “It’s happened, Sky,” she whispered. “My monthly letting came.”
Skybright clapped her hand over her mouth. “Mistress—” But something in Zhen Ni’s measured gaze stopped her short.
“I’ve bled onto the sheet. You must strip and wash them. Hide the evidence.” Zhen Ni paused. Skybright had known her a lifetime and had never seen this look of fierce determination in her mistress’s eyes. “Mama can never know.”

About-the-Author

Cindy Pon

Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at www.cindypon.com.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Book blitz: My Lea by E. Mellyberry #Giveaway

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Book Blitz

My Lea coverBook Title: My Lea
Author: E. Mellyberry
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 2014
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

When Lea Amelia landed her feet in San Francisco for her overseas study, her idea of freedom was simple, like eating junk food ten times a day, sitting in front of the TV in her PJs, or going out late with her friends without the need to check in with her mother constantly.

Then she met Andrew Jaya, her brothers’ best friend. A twenty-two-year-old guy whose physical appearance looked like he was crafted straight from God’s heavenly hands, but possessed a past as bleak as if it was drawn by Evil himself. A conflicted guy who wore sadness like nobody’s business beneath his mask, a perfect-looking mask she slowly peeled away.

He was also the guy who hurt her.

Suddenly, everything about her was no longer simple.

Andrew Jaya had convinced himself that not feeling was good for him. He’d been doing it splendidly for almost his entire life. But that was before his best friend’s sister stepped into his life and ruined it. After weeks of knowing Lea, all of those warm and wonderful feelings he’d long ago denied to himself started to reappear. Problem was, the brighter the light, the bigger the shadows that came with it.

His traumatic past refused to let him go.

When the unthinkable happened, the easiest thing to do was to run. But life often proves that the easiest way is usually the hardest.

excerpt

ONE LOOK AT her and his groin revolted. Just then Andrew realized that he’d never seen Lea in anything other than jeans and loose sweaters, hoodies, or blouses. Tonight was the first time he saw a glimpse of her long, toned, smooth-like-silk legs.

He’d never wanted to scream so badly like he did now. Ne-ver!

All of her legs were on display. All! Did the designer run out of material? Was that the reason why it looked more like a shirt than a dress? Where was the bottom half of the f***** dress? And of course it had to be sleeveless. With her lean arms on display as well. She was a f***** model on display. Everything on her was on fucking display. Too much skin—flawless skin…

She was so not going out like that. Not with Kris. Over his dead body. If Jo couldn’t act like a good brother and order his sister to change, he would step in with pleasure.

He stole a quick peek at her. The inside of his chest tingled, and it sent a lightning jolt to every part of his body.

He was so screwed.

Her caramel-brown eyes sparkled within the frame of her heart-shaped face. Her European strong posture perfectly supported her smooth Asian skin. She looked like an angel. A gorgeous, hot-like-hell angel of—

Goddamn it! Her face.

What happened to her face? To her eyes? Was it the lipstick that made her lips oh-so-deliciously-shiny?

He couldn’t tear his eyes off of her unless someone poked and blinded them. She wore her sleek hair down, and her side bang swung sexily around the left corner of her face every time she moved. Andrew couldn’t decide which action he preferred—get a pair of scissors and cut off her bang from the root, or smooth that very same sexy fringe with his gentle hand.

Yep. Probably, most definitely scissors.

Andrew’s heart hammered hard within the cage of his ribs, he was certain his body jerked along with its beat. He wouldn’t be surprised if he got a heart attack by just looking at her. In a way, he was grateful that she didn’t show up like this every day, or he would soon end up in a hospital for an unputdownable hard-on. And this was flat-out embarrassing for someone who was used to be surrounded by gorgeous girls, including the ones from showbiz.

Let’s see if I can convince her to change.

“You look…”

Gorgeous.

“—fat in that dress.”

He pointed to her midsection, which was perfectly flat by the way. Then, he gestured wildly in the general direction of her behind, which was perfectly rounded in his honest opinion, and said, “It makes your ass look huge. Like the bottom of a frying pan.”

The murderous look she gave him could wipe out the entire US continent. This was the first time he lost an eye-contact battle with someone. He wanted to worship her with his eyes, but at the same time felt shy for looking at her so blatantly. His strange expression was best associated with the expression of a twelve-year-old boy who read Playboy magazine for the first time. Guilty pleasure.

Jo laughed harder for some reason Andrew didn’t understand. Theo stood next to him and looked at Lea with amusement while the girl in question shot icy daggers in his direction. “You look great, babe. What shoes?”

And since when did Theo talk to her like that? Babe? Gee, yuck! And she was smiling! He was so f****** tempted to call her babe and see how well it would go.

Lea opened her mouth to answer Theo’s question, but then decided against it. She held up a finger, telling him to wait.

Was there any chance that she would put on her flip-flops?

Please let it be her flip-flops…

She walked to the corner of the room near the hallway and picked up a box. Andrew almost slapped a hand to his forehead reading the brand name that was printed there. She walked past him and Theo, and sat herself on the futon next to the excited looking Diana. Andrew was very curious about the choice of her shoes—

Oh.*****. Me.

No!

Strappy heels? On those legs?

Andrew’s mouth dropped to the floor and continued to drop till it reached the building’s ground floor. He hadn’t even gotten the chance to put his bulging eyes back into their sockets when they heard knocks on the door. As if she deliberately wanted to taunt him, she rose from her seat and walked to the door. With those heels on those legs on that body.

Walking in those heels should be illegal. Someone could get hurt. He was already hurt.

playlist

Lea, Toto — My Lea’s theme song.

Tong Hua (also known as Fairy Tale), Guang Liang — This song is the heart and soul of the entire series. It’s a beautiful but rather sad song. I often listened to it on repeat, still do, just to get me in the mood. What does a broken fairy tale feel like? The lyrics not only speak to me about despair, bitterness, and disappointment, but also love and happiness.

Live While We’re Young, One Direction

Whataya Want From Me, Adam Lambert

Fly Me to the Moon, Jason Mraz

Just A Dream, Nelly

Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore, Reo Speedwagon

Welcome to My Life, Simple Plan

You Don’t See Me, Josie and the Pussycats

Autumn in My Heart — This is the original soundtrack of a Korean’s drama I watched years ago. I have no idea who the singer is. I have no idea what the lyrics mean. I just know that it’s a sad, melancholy song that pierces through my heart.

Moments, One Direction

Belle of the Boulevard, Dashboard Confessional

Never Alone, Lady Antebellum & Jim Brickman

The Climb, Hollie Cavanagh

You’re All I Need, White Lion

When You Say You Love Me, Josh Groban

Love Me, Yiruma

All of Me, John Legend

Fix You, Coldplay

Kiss Me, Ed Sheeran

Angel, Robbie Williams

Arms, Christina Perri

Fade Into Me, David Cook

Meet the Author

Melly CaricaturesMelly is a full-time mom, wife, and fangirl. She used to work in a school and is very passionate about education.

Melly has been writing children’s books since 2011 under the name mellyberry. She loves reading all kinds of books in her spare time, mostly MG, YA, NA, contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy. She avoids horror and sci-fi as much as she can.

Melly was born in Indonesia and grew up in a multi-language environment. When she talks to people, she could accidentally string words from different languages into one sentence. When she does that, simply reminds her to speak properly.

Her ideal vacation always involves a beach; usually it’s the Nusa Dua beach, Bali. She spent a few years in USA to complete her Master degree. It was during that time that she’d fallen madly in love with San Francisco and the Bay Area. According to her, San Francisco is no doubt the most romantic city in the world.

She loves hearing from her readers and book-lovers everywhere.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Pre-Order Blitz; Hearts in Danger by Multiple Authors #Giveaway

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pre-order blitz

AHASetMED2Book Title: Hearts In Danger
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

FOURTEEN stories of thrilling romance to benefit the American Heart Association for only $0.99! These full length, Romantic Suspense stories come from NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND NATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHORS!

This box set was created to raise awareness for heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. It features New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors and will only be available for a limited time.

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Sharon Hamilton

Accidental SEAL

Newbie Realtor Christy Nelson holds her first Open House but is given the wrong address, and finds a hot naked SEAL in the master bedroom.


Roxanne St. Claire

Pick Your Poison

Meet Benjamin Youngblood – he’s sexy, smart, spectacular and … about to lose his job for the best security firm in the world. He’s got one chance to prove himself and nothing will stop him. Not even a flower farmer.


Paige Tyler

Protective Custody

Someone is stalking reporter Paisley McCoy, and police detective Gray Beckham is the only man who can protect her. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter.


Lynn Raye Harris

Hot Pursuit

When someone starts shooting at Evie Baker, there’s only one man dangerous enough to help her–the man who broke her heart ten years ago. Hostile Operations Team soldier Matt Girard uses all his considerable black ops skill to protect Evie.


Elle James

SEAL’s Honor

Two Navy SEALs jeopardize their lives and hearts in a battle-torn land when they vie for the love of one sexy Night Stalker helicopter pilot.


Carolyn Crane

Against The Dark

Angel is an ex-safecracker forced into one last heist. Cole is an undercover agent with big plans for his gorgeous thief–he’ll make her pose as his girlfriend to help with a dangerous mission.


Cheyenne McCray

Hidden Prey

Tori is in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the execution of a Federal agent by the son of the head of the Jimenez Cartel. Special Agent Landon Walker rescues Tori and sets out to protect her, but soon protecting her isn’t enough.


Nina Bruhns

Dangerous Curves

A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy–and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!


Misty Evans

Deadly Pursuit

When Londano escapes a maximum security prison and begins picking off Celina’s friends and coworkers, everyone she knows becomes a target. Including DEA agent Cooper Harris, the man who once broke her heart and is now assigned to be her bodyguard.


Susan Stoker

Protecting Caroline

Caroline helps foil a terrorist plot when she finds herself on a plane that’s hijacked (with the help of three members of a SEAL team), but after she gets home she finds herself still in the sights of the terrorists. She can only hope Wolf and his team will be able to save her in time.


Parker Kincade

One Night Stand

Amanda Martin decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises just hot, indulgent sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who gives her pleasure unlike she’s ever known. A stranger with a deadly secret.


Mandy Harbin

Brody

Brody thinks the skittish Xan is sexy as hell, but it’s not her hot body that has him rocked to his core. He knows her from somewhere, and in his line of work, that’s a dangerous thing. Following orders have never been this hard, but when he finds out she’s his next assignment, he will protect her at all costs.


Megan Mitcham

Enemy Mine

Born in the blood of Sierra Leone’s Civil War, enslaved, then sold to the US as an orphan, Base Branch operative Sloan Harris is emotionally dead and driven by vengeance. With no soul to give, her body becomes the bargaining chip to infiltrate a warlord’s inner circle.


Barb Han

Caught in the Crosshair

On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, private security firm owner Jaden Dean will need to work side-by-side with Lauren James to survive and find her brother. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe.

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl