Seducing the Groom by Cheryl Holt (Chapter 1, Giveaway)

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Cheryl Holt celebrates her years as “The Queen of Erotic Romance” with this sexy, yummy, and fun tale of a bride’s seductive antics on her wedding night…

Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, is in a bind. His father has cut off his allowance, so he’s had to rein in his decadent habits and split with his beautiful, spoiled mistress whom he can no longer afford. When an American heiress comes to London and dangles her fortune in Stephen’s direction, he sees it as the answer to his prayers. He’ll wed the pretty, delectable heiress, but he won’t let her interfere with his decadent lifestyle. He’s a confirmed bachelor and determined to have a marriage of convenience.

Ellen Foster has traveled to London for the express purpose of buying a titled husband. She’s been husband shopping for months and can’t make up her mind. All the available candidates seem tepid and boring. But when she lays eyes on handsome, dashing Stephen St. John, she knows he’s the one, and with her large fortune as bait, he’s easily snared in her web.

When he suggests a marriage of convenience, she pretends to agree. But she has no intention of living separate lives. She plans to enjoy every delightful, wicked minute that marriage to a rake can provide. With Stephen determined to avoid her, seduction seems the only choice.

Though Stephen doesn’t realize it, Ellen always gets her way, and as she turns their bedchamber into a den of erotic pleasure, poor Stephen doesn’t stand a chance…

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CHERYL HOLT is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon “Top 100” bestselling author of over thirty-five novels.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age forty, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance where she was stunned to discover that she has a knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is considered to be one of the masters of the romance genre. For many years, she was hailed as “The Queen of Erotic Romance” as well as “The International Queen of Villains.” She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year” by the trade magazine Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

She lives and writes in Hollywood, California, and she loves to hear from fans. Visit her website at www.cherylholt.com.

Purchase on Amazon: I will be posting the link soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the excerpt below.

 Cheryl Holt is giving away a set of The Lord Trent trilogy to one

lucky winner. 

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CHAPTER ONE

London, 1815…

“Well, good night then, Lord Banbury.”

“Good night.”

Stephen St. John, Viscount Banbury, eventually to be Earl of Stafford if his recalcitrant, impossible father ever dropped dead, glared at the interloper who’d now been his wife for all of ten hours.  The silence extended; the farewell grew awkward.

What repartee, precisely, was a man supposed to express at a time such as this?  Sleep well?  Pleasant dreams?  See you in the morning?  Or how about more aptly, What was I thinking, marrying a woman I don’t know?  Have I gone mad?

Nothing seemed appropriate.  Astoundingly, he blushed, his cheeks heating with an embarrassing dose of discomfort.

The wedding guests were gone, the house had been tidied by what was left of his domestic staff, and he’d been about to leave too, when he’d stumbled upon her floating down the stairs.  She was scarcely dressed, clad in a diaphanous green negligee and robe that hardly covered anything that ought to be covered.  Apparently, as she’d concluded that he was already off to his merrymaking, she’d believed herself to be alone in the massive, drafty domicile.  Unable to sleep, she’d descended to fetch a relaxing refreshment.

Her hair was blond, the shade of ripened wheat.  It was unbound and hanging down her back to brush her bottom, and he was gravely troubled by the display.  She was much too forward and assured, prancing about in her nightwear before an unfamiliar man, yet she didn’t appear perturbed.

Yes, he was her husband, but nevertheless, they were strangers.

Even though he hadn’t meant to, he evaluated her graceful figure.  He was only human!  He couldn’t be expected to avoid looking at what was flaunted in plain sight.

She was much too shapely, and he squirmed uneasily and inspected the floor, only to be confronted by her feet.

Her toenails were painted red!  The splash of bright crimson in the dull salon seemed immoderately sexy, out of place, incongruous and irreconcilable with the individual he pictured her to be. Continue reading Seducing the Groom by Cheryl Holt (Chapter 1, Giveaway)

The Homecoming: Book 6 of Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr (Excerpt, Review, Giveaway, Tour)

In a small town, reputation is everything. In her latest novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr explores the burden placed on a young man returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live  

At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.

Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a better, humbler version of his former self.

Winning over his father isn’t the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he’s finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?

Purchase The Homecoming in these formats (click one):

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THE HOMECOMING BY ROBYN CARR 
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Her highly anticipated new series, Thunder Point, will be released March 2013. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at www.RobynCarr.com.

My thoughts on the book:

Like the rest of this series, I have enjoyed each and every book along the way. I love becoming a part of a small town, in this case, Thunderpoint, and getting to know all of its residents. Most of the characters are introduced in one book or another and just as you are thinking that they need their story told, they end up with their own story, and off you go again.

The books are well written and if you enjoy a series, you’ll enjoy this series. It takes place in a factious town named Thunderpoint located on the west coast. Beautiful scenery. Wonderful characters. You can’t ask for more than that.

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Chapter One EXCERPT

            When Seth Sileski was a kid, Thunder Point had been his playground. From the time he’d been a freckle-faced, toe-headed little kid he’d held this town in the palm of his hand. He could run the fastest, hit the hardest, throw the farthest and charm the most cantankerous teachers. His two older brothers, Nick and Norm Junior, affectionately known as Boomer, had also had great childhoods in this little town, but almost nothing compared to Seth’s notoriety. He went from beautiful kid to adored adolescent to most popular and accomplished teenager – great grades, superb athlete, handsome and a good and loyal friend. And then, at the age of twenty, his life took a dramatic turn and all that great luck and good fortune seemed to blow away.

Or, if you listened to his father, Norm Sileski, he threw it away.

So now he was back in Thunder Point, a little scarred and damaged but whole. And definitely humbled. He’d traveled a long way since leaving at the age of eighteen and if you’d told him five or ten years ago that he’d come home he’d have called you a lunatic. Yet here he was, and by choice. This time he was wearing a deputy’s uniform. Thirty-four years old, his battle to regain a sense of pride and accomplishment had been mighty and difficult. Seth was taking over the Sheriff’s Department Thunder Point substation from Mac McCain. He’d be the officer in charge while Mac moved to a lieutenant’s position at the headquarters in Coquille.

Seth had been back to town fairly often over the last fifteen years. He visited his mother and at least tried to check in with his father. Every time he drove into this small coastal town he was surprised by how little the place had changed. People changed, the economy changed, the world changed and yet Thunder Point seemed to remain the same. The linoleum in the diner had been old and cracked when he was a boy, all the same fast food establishments were present, Wayland’s Bar was still the only real dive in town and it looked no better. In fact, Wayland still held the door open with a paint can, as if he intended to paint the place. It hadn’t happened yet.

It was the second week in September and school had resumed just a couple of weeks ago, so there was still a lot of optimism and excitement winding up the kids. Those on bikes weren’t staying out of the middle of the road very well, but little whoop-whoop from the police SUV moved ‘em over quick, followed by yelps of laughter and shenanigans.

He caught sight of Iris, his next door neighbor and childhood friend when he was growing up. She was still riding her bike to school, but now she wore a skirt with a briefcase in the basket. When the wind took her skirt it revealed tight, black bike shorts underneath. The kids raced her. The school buses passed her, tooted their horns and kids leaned out their windows to wave. She jingled the bell mounted on her handlebars and waved in response. She threw back her head and laughed as a bus driver laid on her horn for a long blast. She still had that wild, unrestrained laughter he remembered. Before she noticed him, he slowed down and turned off the main street, heading back to the substation to park.

The Sheriff’s Department substation was fairly new. The department had always had a strong presence here as there was no local law enforcement, but the substation office was only about ten years old. The clinic next door was new so he made that one of his first stops. He walked into the clinic to face a beautiful woman standing in the reception area. She could be mistaken for Catherine Zeta Jones with her dark straight hair and black eyes.

“Hi,” he said, smiling, putting out his hand. “I’m Seth Sileski and I’ll be your new neighbor. Mac starts working in Coquille in about a week.”

“Well, it’s a pleasure,” she said. “Peyton Lacoumette. And this is Devon Lawson, our office manager. Scott?” she yelled. “Do you have a minute?”

The doctor came to the front of the clinic wearing the native dress – blue jeans and denim shirt. “So, you’re the new guy,” he said with a smile.

Seth laughed and stuck out his hand. “I’m not exactly new. I grew up here. Norm Sileski is my dad.”

“No kidding. Which one are you? He said he had three sons and none of them lived in town.”

“I’m the youngest. I’ve only been back to visit since leaving for college.”

“Then welcome back,” Scott said. “We’ll be glad to have you. And we’re darn proud of Mac – moving up in the world.”

“Those are going to be hard shoes to fill.”

“Did you know Mac before now?” Peyton asked.

“Sure, from the department. I think I’ve known him eight years or so, though we worked in different parts of the county. He has a very good reputation. Before it’s down to me – are there any needs you have or issues you’re concerned about? Anything you want me to know?” He grinned. “As your neighbor and your cop?”

Scott chuckled. “Trash pick-up is Wednesday in the alley behind the stores. I’ll have to think about anything else.”

“Trash,” Seth said. “Good to know. Let me ask you this – how do you get along with the youth in town? Any problems I should be aware of?”

Scott shook his head. “I had to stitch up some wild ones in at the ER in North Bend – a fight at an unsupervised party. I haven’t dealt with any injuries caused by bad behavior around Thunder Point in the past year. Mac had some bullying issues before I opened up the clinic but I’m not sure of the details. I’ve just had the usual stuff and the kids around here are better than most.”

“Strict parents, for the most part,” Seth said.   “And a nosy town in general.”

“Do you have teenagers, Deputy?” Peyton asked.

He shook his head. “I’m not married and don’t have kids, ma’am. Asking about the teenagers is just something I do when trying to get a profile on a new town. The town isn’t new to me but the people are – the faces have changed after fifteen years. Right now I’m in orientation with Mac as my supervisor and part of the process is to introduce myself to the businesses. The stores haven’t changed much but the owners, managers and employees have.” He looked over his shoulder at the diner. “We used to go there after school and I hear Stu is still the owner and cook but now Gina is the head waitress. Gina’s mom was the waitress in charge when I was a kid.”

“And now Carrie has the deli next door and some of the best sandwiches and take-out dinners you’ll find around here,” Peyton said. “I haven’t cooked in a long time.”

“I’ll stop in and say hello to both of them.”

“What about Cliffhanger’s?” Peyton asked. “Was Cliff the owner when you were growing up?”

Seth shook his head. “His dad built that place about twenty-five years ago. I’m not sure when Cliff took over. Sometime after I left. Cliff’s family owns a lot of property around the marina. My dad used to say that place would never work here – too fancy for this town.”

“It’s full almost every night,” Scott said. “It’s where people around here go when they want a tablecloth.”

“I’ve been in there once or twice,” Seth said. “Good food, nice atmosphere. Listen, it’s nice meeting all of you.” He pulled out a business card. “I’m going to continue my rounds, but here’s the office number and my personal cell. Feel free.”

Peyton laughed and took the card. “It really kills me the way everyone gives out their cell numbers! Everyone knows Scott’s and Mac’s and now yours. I’m used to the city where you never do that.”

The doctor put his arm around the PA’s shoulders, gave a squeeze and said, “I have her cell number and with the right incentive, I can be talked into giving it to you. Until then, just call me if you need me. And I’ll call you.”

“Hey, if this is my town, I want to be called if there’s a problem. There are three ways to reach me – the office, the cell or 911 in emergencies. If you call 911 you’ll never get voicemail and whatever deputy is on duty will respond immediately. Don’t hesitate.” He smiled and gave them a little salute. “See you later.”

Seth made his way to the diner to say hello to Gina. They’d known each other growing up, but they hadn’t been in the same class or part of the same crowd. It was safe to say that he knew Carrie better; Carrie and his mother, Gwen, had been friends for years. He even went into Waylan’s. Damn if it didn’t look like the same crowd of old boys who had been in there the last time he stopped by at least ten years ago. Continue reading The Homecoming: Book 6 of Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr (Excerpt, Review, Giveaway, Tour)

Ethan Frost returns in the breathtaking conclusion to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff’s seductive novel Ruined

Addicted_new cvr (1)Ethan Frost returns in the breathtaking conclusion to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tracy Wolff’s seductive novel Ruined—perfect for fans of Release Me and Bared to You.

About ADDICTED:

As Chloe Girard discovers, there’s love . . . and then there’s addiction.

Ethan Frost is everything a woman could want in a man. He’s rich, gorgeous, powerful, one of the most eligible bachelors in the world.

But that’s not why I’m with him.

I love Ethan for all the things no one else gets to see: his innate kindness, his reckless spontaneity, his unwavering determination to use his brilliance for good. I love the way he looks at me, the way he touches me. The way he makes me forget the wreckage of my past and the twisted fear that still lives inside me.

But sometimes it terrifies me how much I crave him, how much I need him just to breathe. I always thought it would be my past that ruined us, but there’s a darkness in Ethan I never dreamed existed. Can we survive as his secrets surface—threatening to unravel us both?

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Tracy_blue_highresTracy is giving away a $50 gift card to www.spafinder.com to celebrate the release of ADDICTED! Enter below:
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Also in the Ethan Frost series: RUINED by Tracy Wolff, currently on sale at just $1.99 across online retailers!

Praise for RUINED:
“Tracy Wolff knows how to steam up the pages, and she proves it again in Ruined. If you’re looking for a hot read, curl up with Ethan Frost.” —New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner
“Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey will love Tracy Wolff’s Ruined! Heat sizzles off the page and the oh-so-sexy Ethan Frost will make you swoon!”—USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy

About Tracy Wolff:
Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she’d read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she’d found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes romances that run the gamut from contemporary to paranormal to erotic suspense.

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Excerpt 5: Broken

 

“There is no way to fix this, Ethan!” I bring my hands up and shove at his chest, hard.This time, he stumbles back, though I know it’s more from the emotional impact of the blow than it is from the blow itself. “There is no way to rewrite the past.

“I told you when we met that I was broken. I told you that you weren’t going to be able to fix me.”

“You’re not broken, baby.You’re not.” There are tears in his eyes, tears in his too-thick voice, and it hurts. Oh God, it hurts so badly to see him like this. To know that I’ve caused it, that I’ve reduced this strong, beautiful man to this when all he’s ever been is kind to me. It’s a blade deep inside me, an open, aching wound that can’t close because the knife keeps twisting, twisting, twisting.

“I am.”

“You’re not. Maybe you were, but you aren’t anymore.I wish you could see yourself the way that I see you.You’re strong, baby, so strong that some days it’s all I can do to believe that you’re mine. That I’m the one who gets to touch and kiss and hold you.”

He shakes his head, the look on his face saying that even now he can’t believe his luck.I know the look, because I wore the same one every day we were together when I thought about the fact that this as-gorgeous-on-the-inside-as-he-is-on-the-outside man was really mine.

“How you could have gone through everything you have and come out the other side this beautiful, brilliant woman . . .” He shakes his head. “It overwhelms me. You’re so smart and so talented and so sure of what you want, sure of how you’re going to get it. Don’t you see, sweetheart? That’s about as unbroken as you can get.”

“I’m not—”

“Yes! You are. I wish you could see yourself the way that I see you.Wish that you could understand. I’m in awe of you, Chloe.You’ve been to hell and back and you’re still here, still fighting to make a life for yourself. Still fighting to make the world a better place. None of that has anything to do with me. That’s all you, baby. It’s you, not me. You’ve healed yourself. Don’t let my bastard of a brother change that. Don’t let him ruin what you’ve built. Don’t let him ruin us.”

Now I’m the one crying. Again.I swipe at my cheeks, trying in vain to stem the flood of tears.

“Fuck.” Ethan breathes the word out and this time when he pulls me into his arms, I don’t fight him. I can’t, not when I crave his touch like a junkie craves a fix.I’m addicted to him, to his strength and his kindness, to the way he holds me and the way he makes my body burn with just a touch.

 

Love, Tussles, And Takedowns by Violet Duke (Release Media Blast, Giveaway)

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Title: Love, Tussles, And Takedowns (Cactus Creek #3)

Author: Violet Duke

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: June 27th, 2014



About Love, Tussles, And Takedowns (Cactus Creek #3):
love, tussles, and takedownsHe’s a better fighter

Hudson Reyes has been a fighter for longer than he cares to remember, with enough scars to last several lifetimes. After his combat injuries retire him from the life he wasn’t ready to give up yet, Hudson forces himself back on his feet, building a new post-military career as a fight scene and weapons specialist in the film industry, spending his carbon copy days doing what he knows best: surviving. Until he meets her. The one woman that makes him want to live again. The one woman with hidden wounds as deep as his…and a wicked roundhouse kick that almost knocks him out the day he finally learns her name.

 

…but she has all the weapons.

 

An antique arms authenticator by day and a self-defense instructor by night, Liana Lin has made a living turning the unthinkable demons of her past into the passions that fuel, and fill, her life. So when the unjustly handsome man she’s been unable to get out of her head literally takes her to the mat with fighting styles unlike anything she’s ever seen—all while pinning her with a molten hot stare that promises things she won’t even let herself imagine, Lia makes damn sure the barbed wire fence around her heart is closed up tight. Because if one man could find a way to disarm her carefully-built defenses, it’d be him.

 

Now if only they could stop sparring long enough to find out…

 

Available For Purchase (for 99c on release day only!):

Amazon US // Amazon UK // iBooks // B&N

 

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The Cactus Creek Series by Violet Duke:

A Little Combustible Chemistry (Cactus Creek #1) – FREE prequel novella

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

 

Love, Chocolate, And Beer (Cactus Creek #2)

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Coming soon:Cactus Creek #4: Love, Exes, and Ohs [Isaac & Xoey] — July 2014

Cactus Creek #5: Love, Sidelines, and Endzones [Grady & Sienna] — Sept 2014

Cactus Creek #6: A Little Holiday Meddling [Holiday Novella — Noah & Katelyn] — Nov 2014

Excerpt

“Used to be, I could handle a combat weapon with the kind of speed and precision that guys in my unit were gladly willing to trade their left nut for.” A hard edge darkened his expression for a brief moment before fading, softening when his gaze fell on her face again. “After the explosion, discovering that I wouldn’t ever have that level of fine motor control in my trigger hand again, or that I wouldn’t ever be able to fully process the feel of a weapon because of the nerve damage in my other hand…that just about destroyed me.”

He slid his hand over her skin gently. “But this—ˮ

She gasped, gripped the sheets to keep herself grounded mentally, emotionally. To keep her silly heart from acknowledging the fact that he was shattering her defenses with that one simple touch, owning her with the intense, single-minded focus his eyes held as they followed the path his fingers were tracing across her belly. Hungrily. Reverently.

“I thought that was the hardest thing I’d have to get over because of my injuries. But this right here,” he whispered, leaning down to wreck even more havoc on her senses by shadowing his touch with his words, his evil, evil lips only just barely skimming her flesh. “Not being able to do all the things I want to do to you with the pace and precision I want to with this hand…” She stopped breathing when she felt his other palm smooth up the back of her thigh. “And worse, not being able feel you fully with this one…”

“Hell, Lia. That’s killing me more than you can imagine.”

 

About Violet Duke:

 

violet dukeNEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. Her books have been Top 10 bestsellers on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, and have been featured on IndieReader and GalleyCat as breakout hits. When she’s not writing or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, Violet enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools, trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, and cooking ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. She lives in Hawai’i with her two cute kids (daughter Violet & son Duke) and similarly adorable husband.

 

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon Author Page // Goodreads

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$.99 Sale Alert! Love Chocolate and Beer AND Love Tussles and Takedowns by Violet Duke (Media Blast)

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Ready for some Violet Duke?

For a limited time Love, Chocolate and Beer is on sale for $0.99! Grab your copy before the sale is gone! (Sale ends this week!)

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Also, get ready for the next Cactus Creek book – Love, Tussles and Takedowns releasing on June 13th, 2014.

Special limited time fan appreciation pricing of $0.99! Pre-order your copy today:

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About Love, Chocolate and Beer by Violet Duke:

pLove, Chocolate and Beer“A new must-read series from Violet Duke.” –NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Kathleen Brooks

Romance has met its most unlikely match-up…

Luke Bradford is a chocolatier on a mission. After moving his chocolate shop, and newly single life, to the quirky town of Cactus Creek, Luke wants nothing more than to devote all his energy into making his business a success–by taking the romance market by storm. But his grand plans get thrown for a loop when he locks horns with the feisty beer-brewing beauty next door who calls his ‘romantic idealism’ a load of fairytale bull. Soon, driving the woman sparking nuts becomes another wickedly fun priority he simply can’t get enough of.

In his defense, she’s addictively easy to incite…and plain impossible to resist.

Beloved local brewmaster Dani Dobson is beyond riled up. It’s bad enough the new shop owner in town comes locked and loaded with both a distractingly rugged charm and sexy flashing dimples, but the whole only-in-the-movies variety of romance he’s selling–the kind her world has been crushed by before–is really doing a number on her allergy to unrealistic clichés. What’s worse, he’s created an annoyingly clever ad campaign that dubs ‘beer joints’ like hers as the “cave where romance goes to hibernate.” The nerve of that man.

Combustible chemistry or not, damn it, this means war. The stakes…very likely, her heart.

About Love, Tussles and Takedowns

LoveTusslesTakedowns_Final5-14_EBOOKeditHe’s a better fighter

A fighter to the core, Hudson Reyes has collected enough battle scars now to last several lifetimes. But after his combat injuries retire him from the life he wasn’t ready to give up, Hudson finds himself spending the carbon copy days of his new career as a Hollywood fight scene and weapons specialist just doing what he knows best: surviving. Until he meets her. The one woman who makes him want to live again. With wounds as deep as his own, she’s a scrappy little thing–an angel-faced paradox that comes as a package deal with an offbeat town of admirably protective, but downright nosy folks.

And a wicked roundhouse kick that’s become intimately familiar with his head.

…but she has all the weapons.

An antique arms authenticator by day and a self-defense instructor by night, Liana Lin has made a living turning the unthinkable demons of her past into the passions that fuel, and fill, her life. So when the unjustly handsome man she’s been unable to stop thinking about literally takes her to the mat with martial arts styles unlike anything she’s ever seen–pinning her with a molten hot stare that melts her like a marshmallow trapped between a graham cracker and a chocolate square–Lia flips into no-holds-barred fight mode. Because if one man could find a way to disarm her carefully-built defenses, it’d be him.

Now if only they could stop sparring long enough to find out…

 

About Violet Duke

Violet DukeNEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education who is ecstatic to now be on the other side of the page writing wickedly fun contemporary romance novels. Her NYT and USA Today bestselling books have been Top 10 bestsellers on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, and featured on IndieReader, GalleyCat, and USA Today as breakout hits. When she’s not writing or feeding her book-a-day reading addiction, Violet enjoys tackling reno projects with her power tools, trying pretty much anything without reading the directions first, and cooking ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. She lives in Hawai’i with her two cute kids (daughter Violet & son Duke) and similarly adorable husband.

Find the latest on her books and fan giveaways at www.facebook.com/VioletDukeBooks

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Relunctant Brides – When love is the key… by Cheryl Holt (Trilogy, Giveaway)

RELUCTANT BRIDES…When love is the key and dowry the bait, who can predict what a woman might do?

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cheryl-portraitCheryl Holt is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-nine novels. She’s also an Amazon “Top 100” author.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

Her books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year,” by the trade magazine, Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

Her hot, sexy, dramatic stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world, and she’s celebrated as the Queen of Erotic Romance, which is currently the fastest selling subgenre of women’s fiction. Due to the ferociousness of some of her characters, she’s also known as the International Queen of Villains.

She received degrees in music, languages, and education, from South Dakota State University, and her juris doctorate was obtained at the University of Wyoming. Her colorful and chaotic employment history includes such variety as public school teacher, cook, bartender, lobbyist, and political activist. She also did brief stints in metro-Denver as a deputy district attorney and administrative law judge.

Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.

 

DAY SEVEN

Mr. Oswald studied her face and grimaced.  “I’ve upset you.”

“I wasn’t aware that you’d been married so many times,” Rose said.  “It’s a shock to me.”

“If I’d told you the truth, I wasn’t sure you’d have come.”

“What became of all your wives?”

“They died.  What would you suppose?”

“Well, of course, they died.”  She was struggling for calm, for levity.  “How silly of me to wonder.”

“I’ve been blessed with longevity, Miss Ralston, and I’ve been cursed with brides who had frail constitutions.  I outlived them all, so on this occasion, I’m determined to settle on someone who is healthy and strong.  Miss Peabody swore you had the stamina of a plow horse.”

“How flattering.”  There was more aggravation in her tone than she’d intended.

“Don’t mock your youth or vigor.  They are precisely why I selected you.  It’s too late for me to fool with weaklings or ninnies.  Miss Peabody promised you would surprise me on both counts.”

“I hope I can live up to her high opinion.”

“I hope you can too.”  He clasped her hand and patted it.  “In all my marriages, I’ve only ever sired one child, and he passed away years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“So that is why you’ve been summoned.  I have no time to waste and need an heir—as quickly as it can be managed.  In exchange, I will give you all this.”  He gestured at the manicured grounds, the grand manor.  “It’s a fair bargain, don’t you think?”

“Yes,” she hesitantly concurred, not knowing what else to say.

“Heed me, Miss Ralston.  I’m older than you and more experienced in these sorts of affairs.  This is the best conclusion for you.  After you’ve reflected on it, you’ll see that I’m right.”

“I’m sure I will.”

They’d arrived at the house, at the steps that led up onto the rear verandah.  It was a beautiful day in early summer, and the drawing room windows were open.  Male laughter drifted out, and a merry tune was being played on the pianoforte.

Mr. Oswald frowned and muttered, “Those scalawags.  They’re home from the army and at loose ends.  No doubt they’re drinking all my liquor and smoking all my cigars.”

“Who is visiting?”

“Two of the most disreputable scapegraces who were ever born.  You’ll meet them soon enough.  Unfortunately.”  He guided her up the stairs.  “If you’ll excuse me, I’d better chase them off.”

Just that abruptly, he walked away, leaving her alone.

He stomped inside.  She wanted to tag along, wanted to ascertain who was home from the army, but she’d definitely been dismissed, so she didn’t dare follow.

Yet she was dreadfully curious.

She’d spent an hour with Mr. Oswald and hadn’t gleaned any information of value.  If she’d been a weepy type, tears might have flowed.  But she wasn’t weepy.  Nor was she prone to melancholy.

When she’d agreed to Miss Peabody’s scheme, there had been no guarantees of love or affection.  There had only been the prospect of marriage and fiscal security, and they were boons that couldn’t be discounted.

Eager to wash and rest a bit, she started across the verandah, but she couldn’t resist peeking in the window to the drawing room as she passed.  There were two men present.  Why was she not surprised to discover that one of them was James Talbot?

He slouched on a sofa, drinking hard spirits.  A handsome blond man who was probably his same age was seated at the pianoforte.  They looked lazy and bored.

Since his unexpected appearance in her bedchamber the prior evening, she’d tried to pretend he hadn’t been there.  She’d been dying to ask someone about him, but couldn’t figure out how to innocently inquire.

He’d studied her as if he knew things about her she didn’t know.  He’d alluded to Mr. Oswald with a derogatory comment about his being a seducing libertine.  Yet she couldn’t envision Mr. Oswald as a roué.  He hadn’t seemed flirtatious in the least, and Rose had no idea how to find out the truth of the matter.

Was it any of her business?  She was quite sure a husband could act however he liked, and she didn’t see how she—who was just beginning her official position as fiancée—had any standing to question him as to his personal habits or to complain over conduct of which she didn’t approve.

She heard Mr. Oswald inside.  “Why are you wastrels in my parlor?  Didn’t I tell you to keep yourselves busy this afternoon?”

“We are busy,” Mr. Talbot replied.

“Doing what?” Mr. Oswald barked.  “You’ve helped yourself to the liquor, and I’ve learned from past experience that—with Lucas in residence—you’ll consume it all before you depart for London.”

The blond man’s grin was as devilish as Mr. Talbot’s.  “You’re completely right, Mr. Oswald.  I’d offer to pay you for it, but you’ve always been so generous.  I wouldn’t want to insult you.”

“Don’t be smart,” Mr. Oswald snapped at him.

“I wouldn’t dream of it, sir.”

Mr. Talbot and the blond man, Lucas, shared a mocking toast, and Mr. Talbot said to Mr. Oswald, “Are you pleased with your bride?”

“She’ll do.”

“High praise indeed,” Mr. Talbot retorted.

He was sitting near the window, and he glanced out to the verandah to the exact spot where Rose was loitering and eavesdropping.  He stared directly at her, as if he’d known she was there the entire time.

She blanched and fled.

 

reluctant

 


Be My Bard – April 21st
Manic Readers – April 22nd
Night Owl Reviews – April 23rd
Susana’s Parlour – April 24th
Stuck in Books – April 25th
Romancing the Book – April 28th
My Life, One Story at a Time – April 29th
Reader’s Entertainment – April 30th
Novels Alive TV – May 1st

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