Monday, September 16, 2019

Dark Illusion by Christine Feehan ~ Review


A mage and a warrior must see beyond their facades and embrace the bond that links their souls in this powerful Carpathian novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

At any other time, Julija Brennan would find solace in the quiet of the Sierra Mountains, but now the mage is in the race of her life. Having broken free from her controlling family, Julija's attempts to warn the Carpathians of the coming threat has failed and put a target on her back—and those who hunt her are close behind...

After centuries locked away in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Isai Florea can't believe he's finally found his lifemate—the missing half of his soul. The second he sees Julija his world blazes with color. But despite their explosive connection Julija rebels against what she sees as Isai's intent to control her and rejects the bond that would prevent him from becoming a monster.

As their unfulfilled bond continues to call to them both, Julija and Isai aim to complete the task that brought them together. They are used to facing danger alone, but now the mage and the ancient warrior must learn how to rely on each other in order to stop a plot that threatens all Carpathians...




Fated mates are a favorite of mine.  I've read several of the books from this series and always enjoy them.  This one has the Mage and Carpathian together and it's a perfect fit.

I haven't read every book in this series but it doesn't matter.  This author does an amazing job of helping you understand anything you may have missed along the way.  But it's the world of the Carpathian's that really captures my heart.  I love the Carpathian's.  It's a great world that has so many possible stories.  I love it.

This couple is perfection.  Julija and Isai each bring impressive strengths to the table but together they are unstoppable.  I love how positive and supportive Isai is with Julija.  She has been through some serious struggles through her life but he is such a strength to her.  What I really love about this series is how the fact the couple will work is never in question.  A little resistance but nothing that monopolizes the book.  No, this is about a couple working together to overcome some really incredible odds.  I love that.  They are stronger and better together.  

Isai is an ancient who has waiting a very long time for his life mate.  I love that he has a message for his life mate tattooed on his back.  His willingness to wait for her and the strength he gathers from her to do that waiting is amazing.  It developed his patience that he shows so much with Julija.  He's sexy and strong.  He's there for her.  I fell hard for him.

Julija had me wondering about her at first.  I didn't quite get her for quite some time.  It was later in the story when parts of her became clear that I finally understood her.  There is just a tiny bit of disconnect between who she seems to be and who she really is as the book unfolds.  Not as confident as she first appears, Julija has been through some terrible things.  She pushes Isai away at first but he becomes her strength.

The story moves quickly and develops this couples relationship perfectly.  I enjoyed how nothing is easy for them but they were there for each other.  All the evil comes out against them.  In the end, it is no match for them.  The second half of the book was my favorite.  I loved seeing some of the evil get their behinds kicked.  I, also, loved how the cats became such an important part of the story.  I love Blue.  The cats added so much caring to this story.

If you haven't read this series yet, you should.  Great paranormal romance.




                                 

Dark Water by Lia Davis & L.A. Boruff ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


Dark Water: A Collective World Novel
Lia Davis & L.A. Boruff
(Academy’s Rise, #2)
Publication date: September 13th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Reverse Harem, Romance
As firstborn, my sister, Meda, will be High Alpha to all the lycans and vampires in the world—The Collective. She’s just found her mates and one of the three is heir to a huge witch Circle, which will one day unite the three major paranormal races.
I dodged a major bullet there. Thank Lucifer. I’m not a leader. I’m not someone to look up to. I like to do my own thing and go my own way.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m fighting a mating bond myself. As if I needed three guys hanging on to my every freaking word.
And now, I’m having visions of what’s to come. It isn’t pretty.
My sisters and I must race against time to figure out what the vision means and how to stop the pending evil from destroying everyone we love.
Failure isn’t an option.

EXCERPT:

Halfway through the lecture, which I normally enjoyed, the door opened.
His scent hit me first since I had my forehead resting in my palm, propped up on the desk. I jerked, knocking my notebook off of my desk with a clatter.
Half the room turned to look at me, the other half looked at the hunk of sex appeal that had walked in the room and knocked me over with his scent.
“Holy shit.” A whisper from my right drew my attention, but I couldn’t manage to look away. I knew the speaker from school.

“Andee, you ain’t kiddin’.” We hadn’t been close, but anyone could bond when someone that bad-boy hot walked into the room.

That asshole heard me, and as he inhaled, his head swiveled from greeting my Paw to looking for me. He’d scented me.

The Tall Glass of Fuck Me stared at me as I fought the urge to jump up and claim him in front of the entire class. And my Paw.

Lucifer’s leg hair, the last fucking thing I needed was a third mate. And a vampire, to top it off. Just like Meda. What kind of fated mate, romance novel, made-for-tv bullshit were my ancestors thinking?

The only open seats in the room were up front, directly in front of Paw, and right be-fucking-side me. “Don’t you sit there,” I warned him under my breath. All heads swiveled to me. Everyone but the witches, anyway. The vamps and lycans all heard my warning with their excellent hearing.

The stranger, my mate, smiled. He knew exactly what was going on. I leaned slightly out into the aisle so I could see him from head to toe. Mainly, I wanted to see if he had a boner to rival the lady-boner I had.

His fucking black fucking jeans were so tight on his Adonis-belt style body that the entire room could see the outline of his dick as it pushed against the material.

Everyone except Paw, who walked around the desk and stood slightly behind the blonde. The hollows of his cheeks deepened as Paw introduced him. “This is Kevin, everyone. Kevin, this is pretty much the whole school. I teach history to everyone at once, like it or not.”

“Pleasure,” he said in a British accent.

Every woman in the room, and a couple of the men, sucked in a breath at the sound of his sultry voice, myself included.

Those bitches could breathe as hard as they wanted, this hot motherfucker was mine. As hard as I wanted him, equally, I didn’t. He sauntered forward, the buckles on the leather of his coat jingling softly as he moved his cocky self to the seat beside me.

“Don’t.” I raised my eyebrows at him.

“Don’t what?” Paw asked.

As an empath, this was my idea of torture. The room was a big ball of anticipation, curious what was happening between me and the new sultry, sexy, slender… son of a bitch I couldn’t take it.
Jumping up, I finally looked away from Kevin and straight into the eyes of Randell. His fury and confusion pelted my emotions. Nope. Nuh-uh. I noped it right out of the room, using every ounce of speed I possessed.



Author Bio:
In 2008, Lia Davis ventured into the world of writing and publishing and never looked back. She has published more than twenty books, including the bestselling A Tiger's Claim, book one in her fan favorite Ashwood Falls series. Her novels feature compassionate yet strong alpha heroes who know how to please their women and her leading ladies are each strong in their own way. No matter what obstacle she throws at them, they come out better in the end.
While writing was initially a way escape from real world drama, Lia now makes her living creating worlds filled with magic, mystery, romance, and adventure so that others can leave real life behind for a few hours at a time.
Lia's favorite things are spending time with family, traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her kitties. She and her family live in Northeast Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers, but it's her home and she loves it!


--
L.A. Boruff lives in East Tennessee with her husband, three children, and an ever growing number of cats. She loves reading, watching TV, and procrastinating by browsing Facebook. L.A.'s passions include vampires, food, and listening to heavy metal music. She once won a Harry Potter trivia contest based on the books, and lost one based on the movies. She has two bands on her bucket list that she still hasn't seen: AC/DC and Alice Cooper. Feel free to send tickets.

Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!

This giveaway is sponsored by the tour host.  Stuck In Books is not responsible for selecting the winner or delivering the prize.


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Accidental Rebel by Nicole Snow ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


Accidental Rebel
Nicole Snow
Publication date: September 12th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Accidentally hitched to a dream. Now for the catch…
I didn’t even say “I do.”
One crank call and I’m insta-wife to a tattooed behemoth and mother to his kids.
He’s paying my idiot boss a fortune for the perfect cover.
Because trouble found Miller Rush, and he found me.
A rock hard, overprotective rebel with a cause.
Father of the century.
Abs wound tighter than his attitude, stomping around my house, barking orders.
Something’s got to give, okay?
But it won’t be me.
Not my courage, even when my nosy mother smells drama.
Not my heart set on helping two little angels and their perma-grump dad.
Definitely not my body screaming Mayday because his bedroom eyes are magnets.
Deep breath.
It’s only a few weeks.
It’s only a whole crew of freaky people coming after him.
It’s only pretend and I’m so not letting this Mrs. Rush thing go to my head.
Why didn’t anyone warn me some knots can’t be untied?
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – a high stakes marriage mistake with a twist. One hulking superdad hero goes all-in to save his family and the wife he wasn’t supposed to keep. Full-length romance novel with a Happily Ever After sugar rush.
EXCERPT:
(Gwen)
“You okay, Gwen?”
I snap open my eyes at Miller’s question. My fake husband leans against the short wall that separates the entryway from the living room. And to be perfectly honest, he looks like he just stepped out of one of my mother’s books.
Awesome.
Just what I need right now. A brutal reminder of how huge and hot he is, and how he’s probably as sick of this stuff as I am.
His dark hair is cut short, still rumpled from his nap. His black shirt hugs his broad chest like a second skin. So do the black jeans, and even in his socks, you could just eat him up. Whipped cream optional.
The worst part is, it’s a normal, almost boring look. How can that be sexy?
Hell if I know, but it is. Something hums in my veins I’ve never felt before, this heated rush that has far too much to do with Mr. Rush and not the adrenaline attack of the past twenty-four hours.
“Gwen?”
I try to nod. My name rolls off his tongue like warm caramel drips down the side of a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
His bright-blue eyes no longer look so tired, so worn out. Now they have a shine to them.
There’s more, too. He’s concerned. Rightfully so.
This guy and his twins are on the lam. That’s got to bother him deeply. Heck, I’m not even him, this isn’t my mess, and it’s not any easier for me.
If only that were true. Because I went and made it my mess when I let Manny talk me into helping Miller Rush twice.
I push off the door, hating how flustered I must look. “I’m fine. Let’s just eat.”
“Hoped you’d say that. It’s ready.”
He doesn’t have to remind me. My entire house has never smelled this good in my life. It pales even compared to the time I tried to cook a whole turkey dinner for Mother and her happy little M.E. Court team. She wound up rushing to my rescue. Turns out my cooking skills are far more impressive in my head.
Maybe I’m dreaming this. An overly handsome, wildly sexy stranger in my house has just cooked up a fabulous meal from my meagerly supplied cupboards. That’s more than a dream.
It’s a flipping fairy tale.


Author Bio:
Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.
Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.
Current fan favorites include her Enguard Protectors series, accidental love novels, plus long beloved MC romance thrillers like the Grizzlies and Deadly Pistols.

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Good Grief by Vera Elle Unita ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


Good Grief
Vera Elle Unita
Publication date: September 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
He wanted nothing more than to forget his past.
Until she came along, bringing color back into his world.
Now he’ll do everything to make her his.
Jasmine Frost had imagined the first day at her new job quite differently. How on earth could she have known the arrogant billionaire Cole Ward would insist on her leading the renovations of his mansion?
To oversee the project, Jasmine moves in with Cole. Turns out, the mansion needs more than a little makeover, and she is stuck with that growly bear of a man for weeks. He doesn’t even like her French bulldog—who the hell doesn’t like puppies?
Still, they can’t withstand the strong attraction between them. The dark look in his eyes is intriguing and Jasmine can’t keep herself from digging into his past. But what if she doesn’t like what she finds?
Fast, steamy, insta-love romance novel. Standalone, no cheating, HEA guaranteed.
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
EXCERPT:
Where did he know her from? Cole still hadn’t figured it out. It bugged him since he was certain he’d seen that angelic face some time in his life before. And the colors on her! Only, he remembered her as even more colorful? Unsure, he kept pacing up and down in front of the window in his study.
The past few years, he’d lived solely for his tech firm, had buried himself in work after…no, he refused to think about it. He never ever wanted to think about that again. Back then he’d given himself one week. God, those seven days he’d drunk so much, he only remembered little shreds of it. That was good, though, because it had been the darkest time in his life. Never would there be a darker hour.
First, he’d drunk away his sorrow, then he’d lost himself in work. Over the years, he’d met many, many people. He had never really looked at their faces, though, because they just didn’t matter to him. Since that one night so many years ago, he didn’t care anymore—not for anything or anyone. His life was divided into two parts: before and after.
‘Before’ measured thirty-three years, ‘after’ only five. ‘Before’ had been a bright, happy time, full of laughter and sunshine, but the memories were too painful to let them cross his mind. ‘After’ didn’t contain anything important to him. Yes, his corporation meant a billion-dollar income, but for Cole it was only something to do, something to take his mind off what had happened years ago. He would throw everything away if only he could go back in time and change the past. Anything. For that, he would do anything at all!
Only, the past could never be changed. In one simple night, he’d become hard and cold. During the ‘after’ time he hadn’t really lived, only gone through the motions. No wonder he couldn’t pinpoint Jasmine Frost’s face. Probably she’d worked for one of his many associates and they’d met in a hallway or something. Cole couldn’t remember; it was all distorted in his mind. The last five years he hadn’t really lived, just existed.
When he had first seen her, he’d felt like he’d awakened after an endless sleep. Jasmine Frost had brought color back into his gray world. In fact, she’d done the impossible. Cole hadn’t thought that anything or anyone could ever make a difference in his life again. But she had. Everything had changed; his feelings had been and still were all over the place. After feeling nothing for so long, he wasn’t quite able to control himself. Yeah, that had been pretty obvious, seeing his behavior, or more so lack of behavior, in that elevator.
The only problem? Jasmine didn’t only bring color, no, she’d made every fucking memory come crashing back down on him. Not thinking about the past didn’t work anymore. The door, which he’d closed on his memories, had been ripped open. Now he couldn’t shut it anymore. She needed to fix that…him.
Still pacing, Cole raked a hand through his hair. All night he’d hardly gotten any sleep, had been way too unsettled to close his eyes. There was guilt and want, grief and hope, sadness and happiness all mixed together, rattling and shaking him to his core. For the thousandth time, he glanced through the window onto the long driveway to his home. Still no car, still no Jasmine. Where was she? He was a mess, couldn’t wait to see her face again. How would it feel this time? Would the gray come back into his world and eat everything away until there was nothing left, or would Jasmine awaken him once more with all her bright colors?
Cole wasn’t sure if he should wish for or fear the latter.
When he looked out of the window again, his heart stopped for a second. A car was driving up to his house. Of course, it was a bright yellow Mini Cooper. The sun was coming back to him.


Author Bio:
Due to her father’s many business trips, Vera Elle Unita was born in Germany near Stuttgart in 1990. Since then she has traveled a lot, even studied one year abroad, but finally settled down with her husband and two beautiful dogs back home in the US—hello, Boston! She likes new hair colors, chocolate (who doesn’t?), and reading or writing about strong, perfectly imperfect book boyfriends struggling with their past. Everyone just needs a little love, right?

GIVEAWAY!

This giveaway is sponsored by the tour host.  Stuck In Books is not responsible for selecting the winner or delivering the prize.

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Stacking OUR Shelves ~ 9/15/19


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Make sure to checkout her post with links to all the other participates.

Click covers for Goodreads links



For Review...






Thanks goes to...


Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster)
Avon Books
Harlequin Books
St. Martin's Press



That's what's stacking the shelves this week!  What about you?  Leave us a comment.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

A StuckInBooks Giveaway ~ We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal



We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.


Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.


- Hardcover copy
- US only
- Enter through the Rafflecopter below!




Friday, September 13, 2019

The Fixer Upper by Maggie Mae Gallagher ~ Excerpt & Giveaway

 

The Fixer Upper
Maggie Mae Gallagher
(Echo Springs, #1)
Published by: Blushing Books Publications
Publication date: September 6th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.
Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.
Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed.
The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

Excerpt

The Carruthers’ property was on a half-acre of land. The two-story home had fallen into disrepair. The pale blue paint was cracked and peeling in places. One of the black shutters had slats broken out of the middle. Jed was a mechanic at one of the local garages, who liked his whiskey more than he did working. And it showed. His wife, Clare, had taken herself and the kids to her parents’ house, which was only three miles away.
Nate knocked on the door. “Jed, this is Sheriff Barnes. I need you to open the door and come out with your hands in the air.”
“Fuck off,” came a slurred shout from inside.
Nate sighed. From the sounds of it, the man was already well on his way to being shitfaced. “Jed, don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be. I have a warrant for your arrest. If you come with me now, peacefully, it will help your case.”
Deputy O’Leary stood off to the side of the front door of the ramshackle home with its screen door torn in spots. When there was no response from Jed, Nate nodded at O’Leary, who made his way around to the back to ensure the idiot didn’t try to go out the back door and escape.
“Jed, I’m going to give you to the count of five and then I’m coming in.”
There was a shout from O’Leary around back. Nate took off and sprinted to the edge of the porch, just in time to watch Jed, in a pair of white boxers and nothing else, race around the corner and head toward the street.
“Halt, Jed.” 
Shit.
Nate charged after him on foot. This was why he ran six miles a day—so he could catch morons like Jed who thought they could outrun the police. Nate snagged him by the neck and wrestled him down to the ground. He took an elbow to the chin and swore before he had Jed pinned on the ground with his hands behind his back. Not quick enough, he thought as he slid the cuffs on Jed’s wrists. 
“For that stunt, I will be adding resisting arrest and assault on a police officer, Jed.”
“Piss off, pig!” Jed yelled, uncowed by the fact that he was handcuffed. From the smell of him, he had started early on the Jack Daniels.
Nate shook his head and began reading Jed his Miranda rights. His chin throbbed like a son of a bitch and it wasn’t yet noon. So much for having a slow and easy day.



Author Bio:
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.
Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines. 

GIVEAWAY!

This giveaway is sponsored by the tour host.  Stuck In Books is not responsible for selecting the winner or delivering the prize. 

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Claiming Sarah by Susan Stoker ~ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway


Title: Claiming Sarah
Author: Susan Stoker
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: Montlake




Summary

Sarah Butler isn’t flattered. She’s angry and unnerved. She’s been getting intimate gifts from a man she barely knows. Nothing threatening yet, but there’s just a weird vibe she can’t ignore. Her recourse is Ace Security. Their solution: self-defense lessons at Rock Hard Gym with a personal, hands-on instructor. One look at the bearded, tattooed, green-eyed alpha is enough to take Sarah’s breath away.

Cole Johnson is definitely the man for the job. He’s eager to train her. Eager to get closer. And when it comes to Sarah’s instincts, Cole knows she’s not imagining things. He’s also not imagining the intense attraction between them—and his desire to protect her is growing. But so are Sarah’s fears, the worst of which come true when she disappears.

Enlisting the help of Ace Security, Cole will stop at nothing to find the love of his life . . . before she vanishes forever.


Amazon | B&N


Author Biography

Susan Stoker is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Claiming Felicity, Claiming Bailey, Claiming Grace, and Claiming Alexis in the Ace Security series. A lover of alpha heroes, Susan is also the author of the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes series. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri and California to Colorado and Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. She is a true believer in happily ever after and enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her at www.stokeraces.com.





Opposites Attract: When Cole Claims Sarah

In Claiming Sarah, Cole Johnson is co-owner of one of his town’s most popular gyms. He’s extremely busy since his partner, Felicity, is out of town. He makes an appointment to meet with Sarah Butler, to arrange for some self defense training for her, but he almost loses his chance when she overhears him telling his secretary he’s too busy and to give her an excuse as to why he can’t meet her. The couple (obviously) works out that awkward first meeting and Sarah begins learning how to defend herself from a creepy man who keeps giving her inappropriate presents. Of course the more time Cole spends with Sarah, the more he likes her and they end up dating. When she disappears it’s up to Cole, and Ace Security, to put together the clues to find her before it’s too late.

Cole Johnson is a man who’s used to plowing through his day and when he needs or wants something, he simply gets it. Sarah Butler is more reserved. As a kid who didn’t feel wanted until she was finally adopted she was used to being in the background. Cole and Sarah compliment each other perfectly. Cole is able to ferret out what Sarah wants and needs and he delivers. And in return Sarah keeps Cole grounded. She smooths out his jagged edges.

I think that’s how good relationships work, at least in my books. The Hero is there to protect and shield his woman from anyone or anything that might want to hurt her, and she’s there to keep him grounded and to support him. It seems to just work.

***

Excerpt: Claiming Sarah

“Do you ask out every woman you train at your gym? It just seems . . . fast.”

Cole stared at her for a long moment, and when he frowned, Sarah felt as if she’d somehow disappointed him.

“No, I don’t ask out every woman I train. Not even close. It’s been a long time since I’ve asked anyone out. And believe me, Sarah, I’m looking at you—and I like what I see. A lot. You’ve got an air of innocence about you that I find fascinating. You’ve had a tough life, but haven’t let it harden you. I respect you, and I . . . I’d like to get to know you better.”

She bit her lip and took a deep breath, but didn’t immediately protest, so he went on. “I have a feeling simply being around you will make me a better person.”

Sarah shook her head. “Don’t do that. Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m not some paragon walking around sprinkling glitter throughout the world.”

Cole laughed. Threw his head back and laughed as if she’d said the funniest thing he’d ever heard.

Sarah tugged on her hand again, somewhat offended, but he still refused to let go.

When he got himself under control, he said, “I know you’re not perfect. You’re too trusting. You see the good in everyone, even when there isn’t any there. You probably neglect your own health in order to do something good for someone else.”

“You make me sound like an idiot,” Sarah grumbled, despite being secretly kind of flattered.

“You’re not an idiot. You’re refreshing. And I’m not. I’ve got more than my share of flaws that I’m sure you’ll discover sooner rather than later. But as I said, if you let me get to know you, go out on a few dates with me, I’m hoping you’ll find that you like me back . . . just a little.”

Sarah frowned. “I already like you, Cole, but I don’t understand you. You don’t know anything about me. I could totally be lying to you right now, and you just bought my lies hook, line, and sinker.”

He smiled again. “You’re not lying.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m an expert at reading body language. I’ve been around some bad people in my life, angel. You are who you say you are. What you see is what you get.”

Sarah licked her lips nervously, and his gaze immediately followed the movement.

Cole persisted. “Say you’ll go out with me, Sarah.”

“I thought I was here to figure out how to defend myself.”

“You are. And we’ll get to that. Agreeing to go out with me in no way affects whether or not I’ll teach you some basic moves that will allow you to get away from someone and get to safety.”

“But if I say no, things could get weird.”

“Then say yes,” Cole cajoled. “I swear you’ve got nothing to fear from me. I’ll even get references if that will make you feel safer.”

“It’s not that. I think I feel safer with you than anyone I’ve ever been around . . .” She
hesitated.

“But?”

“I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’ll decide I’m annoying. Too much work or something. I work odd hours, weird shifts. And I looked you up online. I know about your friend and what happened to her. And about the Andersons. The last thing I want is my stalker getting upset when he sees us together—because he will—and taking out any anger on you and your friends.”

“Breathe, angel. Take a breath. Nothing is going to happen to them.”

“You can’t control people, Cole,” Sarah pressed. “They’re unpredictable.”

“Fine. Then we’ll meet with Logan, Blake, Nathan, and Ryder, and make sure they know everything about this Owen guy. We’ll let them investigate and figure out what will make him back off. In the meantime, we’ll hang out at my place. Or here. Or your house. We won’t shove our relationship down Owen’s throat. We’ll be discreet. How’s that sound?”

Sarah could only gape at him. “How’d we go from me wanting some tips on protecting myself to having Ace Security investigating Owen and you and me hanging out at each other’s houses?”

He smiled at her again, but didn’t answer her question.

She took a deep breath and gave him the only answer she could. “Okay.”

He beamed. “Okay,” he said quietly. Then he finally let go of her hand and stood, before immediately reaching the same hand down to her again. “Time for your first lesson.”

Automatically, she reached up and let him help her off the floor. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting. A kiss to seal the deal. A hug. A discussion about when and where their first date would be. But so far, Cole hadn’t done anything the way she expected him to.

“First lesson for today will be how to get a guy to let go of your hand if he’s been holding on too long and you’re uncomfortable.”

Sarah knew he was referring to her feeble attempts to pull her hand out of his, and blushed. But he was right, this was something she should know. It would come in handy at the hospital too, just in case one of the patients or family members got a little too familiar, as they’d done in the past.

Concentrating on his instruction, she did her best to put her nerves about dating Cole behind her.

*** 


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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Shadow Caster by Debbie Cassidy ~ Excerpt & Giveaway


Shadow Caster
Debbie Cassidy
(The Nightwatch Academy #1)
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Murdering humans is a huge no-no and comes with an off-with-your-head sentence. Doesn’t matter if you don’t remember doing the crime.
I killed a human, and no, it wasn’t on purpose, but that shit doesn’t matter to the council. I’m facing death. So, when I’m offered a deal to avoid execution, I’d be a fool not to take it, even if it means leaving the human world and urban life behind to enroll in the Nightwatch Academy – a gothic monstrosity hidden from human eyes, located way too close to the largest tear in the fabric of our reality.
It would be fun if I had any inclination of becoming a member of the Watch or supporting the shadow knights at keeping the Formorian threat at bay. But heck, the monsters beyond the mist aren’t my problem. I have personal demons to deal with.
Once I’m out, the Watch can shove it.
But one sip from the ceremonial goblet and my plans to coast are out of the window as my powers spark to life.
I’m an anomaly, one the Watch won’t be letting walk any time soon.
My only comfort is a man who prides himself on his ability to harness pain. Battle scarred and formidable, he’s my tutor, my mentor, and the object of some super saucy dreams. He’s completely off limits and my only hope of surviving my first test.
I’ll need to harness my powers fast.
There can be no distractions.
But when my fellow cadets start going missing then returning with no memory of who they used to be and my best friend is taken, turning a blind eye is no longer an option.
Allies are limited when you’re a freak. Luckily, I don’t need a cheer squad to get shit done. Whoever is responsible better watch out. I’m coming for them, and I’ll be bringing the pain.
The Vampire Academy meets Game of Thrones in this kick-ass, supernatural academy, Urban Fantasy Romance.

EXCERPT:

“Wake up, Indie.”
A hand landed on my shoulder and had the audacity to give it a shake.
Fuck off was the desired response, but the word that came out was harrumph.
“Indie, come on. You promised you wouldn’t miss today.”
Today? Oh, yeah, the team exercise, as in there is no I in team, as in I didn’t give a shit. But the exam was the last lesson of the evening, and my bio clock told me the sun had only just set.
Still, Minnie’s shadow loomed over me, and the heat of her gorgon glare burned holes in the back of my head.
“The whole day, Indie. You promised to do a whole day.” She reminded me with that stern edge to her tone, which told me that ten-inch-thick steel would break before she would.
Me and my big mouth. Maybe if I faked sickness, she’d piss off and leave me be. Going to shitty classes was the last thing I wanted to do tonight.
I coughed and made a gagging sound.
“Nah-uh,” she said. “The whole frickin’ day and the exam. You skip the test, and we all get a fail. And you don’t want me to fail, do you?”
Urgh. Emotional blackmail, which coming from anyone else I’d be immune to. I rolled onto my back and stared at the pixie-cute woman looking down at me. Her crimson bob grazed her delicate jaw as she leaned over me, and her wide jade eyes were hard with determination.
Over the last two months, I’d learned three things about Minnie Faraday. First, that she wasn’t a stuck-up arsehole like the rest of the Faraday family. Second, she had a soft spot for kittens, and anything small and furry, and third—the most important—that she did not take no for an answer.
Trust me, I’d tried to keep her at a distance. I mean, sharing a room with her didn’t mean we had to be friends. I didn’t need or want any friends here. But Minnie had decided that’s exactly what we were going to be, and she’d pursued me unrelentingly until she’d worn me down.
So, here we were. Two friends in a glare off. One I knew I was about to lose, because yeah, I’d promised not to skip out on the simulation today. Team exercises were graded based on team performance, if one member was a no show, the whole team suffered.
I closed my eyes and blew out a breath. “Fine. Give me five minutes, and I’ll meet you in the lobby.
“Five.” She narrowed her eyes. “I’ll be back to get you if you don’t show.”
I flashed my teeth at her. “Have I ever let you down, pixie -boo?”
“Do not call me that.” She crossed her arms. “You know I hate it.” She sniffed.
“Riiight. So, you just wrote it in the back of your notebook and decorated it with tiny flowers for no reason then?”
She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times and then took a deep breath. “Five minutes.”
She grabbed her book bag and headed out of the room.
The door didn’t slam behind her.
Not too pissed off then.



Author Bio:
Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head - in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.


This giveaway is sponsored by the tour host.  Stuck In Books is not responsible for selecting the winner or delivering the prize.


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Swoon Thursday ~ 9/12/19


Who doesn't LOVE a good swoon?!  We love them for sure!  Check out our swoon below and then add to the fun.

Post anything that made you swoon, past or present read.  Include the cover, blurb and links.  Please no spoilers.



After an unexpected twist of fate, All-Star catcher Easton Wylder is left questioning the loyalty of everyone around him.

Even the woman who shares his bed, Scout Dalton.

But if Easton thought being uprooted to the last place he expected was the only challenge life had to throw at him, he was dead wrong.

With an ailing shoulder and his career in limbo, his decision to make an unexpected change leads him to question everything – Scout’s love, family loyalties, and whether he can conquer the one obstacle he’s never been able to overcome. The secret he’s never shared with anyone.

He may be a man pushed to his limits, but he’s hell-bent on proving his worth no matter the cost.








Swoon...

“Are you okay?”
“Just let me hold on to you, okay?”
“I’ll be whatever you need me to be.”
“You already are.”
It wasn't my favorite by this author but I do love Easton.  Have you read it?


That's our swoon this week! What about you? Leave us a comment & a link.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Until I Fall by Claudia Burgoa ~ FREE Book & Giveaway


Until I Fall
Claudia Y. Burgoa
Publication date: April 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Aspen
I gave my heart to a Navy SEAL.
He took it with him to his grave.
Eleven years later, ignoring the yawning void is as automatic as breathing. Working brutal hours, dating a comfortably commitment-phobic guy, hanging with my best friends. Anything until exhaustion—or an extra glass of wine—claims my consciousness.
My neighbor’s handsome, enigmatic son invades my comfort zone.
He says he’s a tattoo artist. But Anderson Hawkins’ piercing green eyes, mastery of the short answer, weird schedule, and military ink tell a different story.
His touch ignites a long-dead flame inside me. A flame I’m afraid to examine too closely, even as I’m drawn to its heat.
Anderson
I retired from Delta Force
Now I work at a high-intelligence security agency
But working undercover isn’t the adrenaline rush it used to be.
For one thing, my Mom’s illness shifted my priorities to finding a way to save her. For another, her neighbor next door, whose prickly defenses belie the unflinchingly caring heart underneath, has slipped under my skin. Now my mission is to convince her it’s safe to unlock her heart. Because I’m ready to give her mine.
Note: This contemporary romance contains a wary, overworked doctor who’s a military widow in every way but name, an ex-military hero accustomed to treading dangerous ground, brought together by a few unexpected twists and turns—and maybe the machinations of a cute dog.
Read it today
FREE for a limited time only!


Author Bio:
Claudia is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Colorado, working for a small IT. She has three children and manages a chaotic household of two confused dogs, and a wonderful husband who shares her love of all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.



GIVEAWAY!



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