Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cinderella, P. I. and Other Fairy Tale Mystery Stories by Juliet Kincaid Review

Title: Cinderella, P. I. and Other Fairy Tale Mystery Stories
Series: The Cinderella P. I. Mysteries Book 2
Author: Juliet Kincaid
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 120
Price: $2.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Thoughts: LOVED IT!

Book Synopsis:

Together at last, your favorites like “Cinderella, P. I.” and “Cinderella, Undercover” along with SIX NEW STORIES. Join our clever detective as she tracks a missing child into the deep, dark woods in "Cinderella, Sleuth." Travel far and wide with Cinderella and her fairy godmother on the trail of the magic wand (missing again!) in “Cinderella and the Usual Suspects.” Take a wild ride or two with Cinderella and Prince Charming in “The Prince C Letters.” All twelve stories, new and old, have the wit and humor you've come to expect from Cinderella, P. I. And they give peeks into her life twenty years, three kids and a few extra pounds after the ball.

Review:

OMG! I loved this! It's creative, unique, and such a fun collection of stories. I can't recommend this book enough. If you grew up loving fairy tales, you're going to love these stories of Cinderella turned detective.

Kindle Book Deals for November 30th

His First His Second by A. D. Davies
$0.99 (Regularly $2.99)

Meet Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend. She’s nice. Too nice to be a police officer, if she’s honest.

She is also one of the most respected criminal analysts in the country, and finds herself in a cold northern town assigned to Donald Murphy’s team, investigating the kidnap-murders of two young women—both strikingly similar in appearance. Now a third has been taken, and they have less than a week to chip away the secrets of a high-society family, and uncover the killer’s objective.

But Richard—the father of the latest victim—believes the police are not moving quickly enough, so launches a parallel investigation, utilising skills honed in a dark past that is about to catch up with him.

As Richard’s secret actions hinder the police, Alicia remains in contact with him, and even starts to fall for his charms, forcing her into choices that will impact the rest of her life.


Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
$2.99

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 


Murder at Honeysuckle Hotel (Trash-to-Treasure Crafting Mystery Book 1) by Rose Pressey
$0.99 (Regularly $3.99)

It's summertime in Honeysuckle, and everyone is lazing in the shade with a tall glass of lemonade. Everyone except Raelynn Pendleton. She's stuck working at the local store to make the rent while her no-good ex-husband lives it up with a floozy.

When she inherits a Victorian house, Raelynn jumps at the chance to turn her life around. How can she afford the upkeep on such a huge place? Simple. She'll run it as a hotel. Problem is, she has no experience and the décor dates back to the Dark Ages. She'll have to use her secret talent for turning junk into treasure or she'll never snag an overnight guest.

But before the new Honeysuckle Hotel even opens for business, Raelynn discovers the body of a young woman in the garden. As a newcomer in town, Raelynn is blamed for the murder. She's fired from her job, which could mean she'll lose the house. The only way to save Honeysuckle Hotel is to find the real killer - with or without the sexy Sheriff Kent Klein.

One way or another, Honeysuckle will be buzzing.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Correcting Kathy by Patricia Green Review

Title: Correcting Kathy
Author: Patricia Green
Genre: Spanking Romance
Pages: 107
Price: $3.95
Thoughts: Loved it!

Book Synopsis:

Kathy would never have imagined that one of the most embarrassing moments of her life could make her the envy of every girl at her small university, but after a stumble in the cafeteria leaves her blushing and Hal Emory drenched in soup, she is stunned when the incident ends with her meeting the young, handsome professor for dinner.

She is even more taken aback by the fact that he does not hesitate to lecture her over dinner about her smoking—a habit she has tried many times to break without success. When he offers to help her quit by means of “aversion therapy”, she cannot resist the urge to learn more, and almost before she knows it she finds herself bent over the desk of this stern professor for a good, hard spanking.

After a subsequent chastisement leads to lovemaking which is as hard and hot as it is unexpected, both Kathy and Hal must decide if they want to pursue a romance. Can Hal leave the pain of the tragic death of his wife in the past and allow himself to fall in love with Kathy? Even if he does, will she be able to accept not only his love but also his guidance and, from time to time, his firm hand applied to her bare bottom?

Publisher’s Note: Correcting Kathy is an erotic novel that includes discipline spankings and graphic sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Review:

This is probably my favorite book of Patricia Green's so far. I mean, what girl hasn't had a crush on a teacher or professor? It's such a sexy fantasy to play out. I'll definitely be reading this one again.

Wait For Me by B.J. Grinder and T.S. McKinney

Wait For Me by B.J. Grinder and T.S. McKinney
$4.99

Susannah is a dominatrix and FBI agent. Jasper is a younger submissive who wants to surrender to her every desire. The dominant side of her wants him badly, but the age gap holds her back. Susannah’s first assignment introduces her to the sickening world of human trafficking. Jasper, a genius with computers, jumps at the chance to do anything that will allow him to spend time with Susannah.

When Susannah is betrayed; Jasper is abducted. Will Susannah rescue Jasper before too much damage is done to his body…and soul? Will she get the chance to prove her love?

The Black Mountain Saga Book I and II by Cate Dean - FREE!

Rosamond's Heart (The Black Mountain Saga Book I) by Cate Dean
FREE

(formerly When Walls Can Talk)

Book 1 of an exciting YA fantasy series.

A missing prince. A haunted castle. A dangerous man bent on ruling the kingdom - whatever the cost.

When Rosamond convinces her friend Dan to explore a haunted castle, she expects them to find only a ghost or two. Instead they discover the missing prince, and stumble into the middle of a violent, desperate bid for the throne.

In order to save the injured Prince Jaren, and the boy she has loved since they first met, Rosamond must reach beyond her own violent past to find her courage.

And by choosing the path of courage, she may end up losing her heart.

*Includes a preview of Danel of Black Mountain, Book 2 of The Black Mountain Saga, now available.


Danel of Black Mountain (The Black Mountain Saga Book II) by Cate Dean
FREE

Book 2 of the exciting YA fantasy series.

After the painful introduction to his skills as a healer, Dan is at the academy on Black Mountain, honing those skills for his future role as Prince Jaren's court healer. He expects to learn more about himself, and what he is capable of.

He doesn't expect to be caught up in a murder plot that threatens the lives of everyone at the academy, or discover a long-held secret that will change who he is forever.

With the help of friends, both human and not, Dan will hunt for the killer.

Will he find the culprit in time?

Or will an enemy from his past destroy everything he holds dear?

*Includes a preview of Second Son, the prequel to Shattered Throne.

Assassins Bite (Biting Love) by Mary Hughes Review

Title: Assassins Bite
Series: Biting Love, Book 8
Author: Mary Hughes
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 296
Price: $4.24
Thoughts: Fast-paced and kick-ass!

Book Synopsis:

Only her light can burn away his shadows.

Biting Love, Book 8

On her first night as a police officer, Sunny Ruffles takes down three felons…only to be attacked by a gang of vampires who are a whole new level of hurt.

Then a mysterious shadow man intervenes, saving Sunny before he disappears. She runs after him, telling herself her pursuit has nothing to do with his sharp, stubbled jaw, his powerful shoulders, or his sexy-as-hell, kissable lips.

Rescuing the humans makes Aiden Blackthorne late for a critical meeting with the vampire Nosferatu’s daughter. Yet clompy, bumbling Sunny draws him back like wild honey. He kisses her, and he’s almost got her down to her underwear when a bomb meant for him explodes.

The last thing Aiden wants is to drag Sunny into his hellish conflict with Nosferatu. But Aiden’s a loner whose only friend has mysteriously disappeared, and the woman who smells and tastes like his mate is the only backup he has left. He’ll need her, everything he is, everything he was—and everything he might have been—to defeat his evil master and claim the love he never dared hope to have.

Warning: This book contains shadowy assassins shooping off vampire heads, cops bumbling in at the worst of times and opposites attracting, colliding, and exploding in lust—a.k.a., explicit fighting, humor, and sex.

Review:

Funny, sexy, and addictive. I was pulled in from page one and was unable to put the book down. Such a great book and a wonderful addition to the series. Be prepared for a fast-paced, kick-ass read.

Enemy of Mine (The Glimpse Time Travel Book 1) by Red L. Jameson Review

Title: Enemy of Mine
Series: The Glimpse Time Travel Book 1
Author: Red L. Jameson
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Pages: 307
Price: $0.99
Thoughts: Excellent attention to detail.

Book Synopsis:



Kidnapping mortals to different eras is such fun. Trickster muse sisters, Clio and Erato, call it a glimpse, but military historian Minerva Ferguson, Erva, is fairly certain she’s gone nuts when she wakes two hundred miles from her apartment. And two hundred years in the past to Brooklyn, 1776. In an unfamiliar manse, during the American Revolutionary War, she’s not too sure how to regain her sanity. Especially when she realizes whose mansion she’s just woken in, the one British general she studied more than anything else, Lord William Hill.

When Will hears Erva’s screams of panic, he breaks down a door to save her, even if he can’t quite remember why she’s visiting. She calms, though, the instant she sees him, as if they’ve known each other for eons. From the second he sees her dressed in a toga made from a bed sheet to later when she’s with his troops, wooing them with her musket skills, he realizes he’s smitten. But he’s a weary soldier, shrouded in grief, while she reminds him of a sun goddess. Is she too good for him? Lord, how he wants her to want him.

How could Erva not fall for a guy who accidentally quotes a Cheap Trick song? But now she has to get to the bottom of if Will is really a rake, how to stop one of the most important battles of the war, and lastly how to stop her insane crush on the general. After all, he’s going to die in less than a week.

The muses have to work fast for this glimpse. But that’s when they work best. And as explosions erupt through New York, sometimes it’s not from the artillery.

Review:

A unique spin on the time travel romance genre, Enemy of Mine takes readers by surprise and will keep them glued to the page. Personally, I enjoyed the attention to detail in which the author uses proper dialect, vivid descriptions of the setting and characters, and how well-developed the characters were. I can't wait to read book two.

November and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Review

Title: November and the Single Heart
Author: Vi Zetterwall
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $2.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Thoughts: Loved this one!

Book Synopsis:

“Captain, I am not playing nursemaid to a hayseed from Podunk, Montana.”

Icy veteran police officer, Alicia “Novy’ November was coping just fine until a rookie transplant from Montana was paired with her. Now Novy must straddle the line between the modern world and her Coos Indian roots, while a taciturn “Hayseed” from Montana struggles to adapt to big city life and to understand his new partner.
As Novy tries to wash him out, the rookie proves resilient and he joins those who worry about Novy. She bravely faces daily combat on the police beat while only a very few know she also battles an age-old Coos curse brought on by the coming blood moon. In a world gone wrong, Novy aims to find the right path as the calendar moves closer to the day of the blood moon and her foretold rendezvous with certain death.

* A stand-alone story - the eleventh in the Single Heart Series portraying the travels of the Coin of Luck in LIfe and Love and the impact it has on each recipient.

Review:

Loved, loved, loved this one! I'm a crime drama junkie, so the fact that this was set around police officers was awesome. The story was also exceptionally well-written and impossible to put down. I highly recommend this one!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Miss Prentiss and the Yankee by Susan Carroll Excerpt

Miss Prentiss and the Yankee by Susan Carroll
$2.99

A Regency Romance by Susan Carroll, award winning author of The Bride Finder-- Abigail Prentiss was engaged to turn the two Misses Harding from Pennsylvania into proper English ladies, acceptable to the ton. She vowed to do in spite of their brother Nathaniel and his boorish behavior. A truly superior governess would not lose her temper or become ruffled by a barbaric Yankee. Even though Nate Harding had clearly thrown down the gauntlet, Abigail was determined not to fight the revolutionary war all over again. She would be the last to admit that this handsome lusty male had already begun to breach the walls she had so carefully constructed around her heart.

Excerpt:

Heat stung Abigail's cheeks. The man went quite too far.
"Mr. Harding! I do not seem to be making myself clear. I have never dined with the family in any of the noble houses where I served."
"This isn't a noble household, only a simple Yankee one. You have a choice, ma'am. You can come down to the dining parlor or else."
"Or else what?" Abigail said, meeting the challenge in his steely blue eyes.
"Or else I may be forced to carry you!"
Abigail's lips set in a mutinous line, daring him to try it. But when he advanced upon her in menacing fashion, she realized the ruffian was fully capable of executing his threat. Backing up against the landing wall, she felt a rush of apprehension, anger, and a strange, unsettling excitement.
"The truth is, Mistress Abby," he said, his eyes glinting down at her, "you are an infernal snob just like most Englishwomen. That's the real reason you don't wish to dine with us."
"How perfectly ridiculous," Abigail sputtered.
"I can't think that you can find any fault with Helen or the girls, so I suspect it's me you keep turning your nose up at."
"I am sure I have never shown you any disrespect or said anything to make you think—"
"You don't have to. Your eyes say it for you. You've made it quite plain since we first met that you find me an intolerable barbarian."
"Your present behavior is hardly calculated to make me think otherwise," she said. "Are these the sort of rustic manners that won you so many hearts back in Philadelphia?"
Mr. Harding's face washed a full red, and his eyes narrowed ominously. As he pressed closer, Abigail knew a moment of real alarm. She was not certain whether he meant to fling her over his shoulder or strangle her. Or perhaps he had something entirely different in mind, his gaze fixed upon her mouth with a hot, angry intensity.
Abigail's heart skipped a beat. But she was too mortified and too stubborn to cry out for help. Just as she wondered if she was going to have to box his ears, Mr. Harding seemed to snap to his senses.
He flung himself away from her, growling, "Oh, the devil with it! Go on up to your room. You can eat on the roof for all I care."
"Thank you, sir." Though she was feeling strangely weak, Abigail skirted past him and paraded up the second stretch of stairs with injured dignity.
"But—" The sound of his voice stayed her once more. "If you persist in refusing to dine with my family, be warned, ma'am. The truce between us is over."
Abigail paused to regard him warily. "And just what does that mean, sir?"
"It means that if it is war you want, lady, I shall be happy to oblige you." An unholy smile crossed his face.
"Mr. Harding," Abigail protested stiffly, "I never desired—"
But the infernal man was already striding back down the stairs. Abigail watched his militant retreat with indignation and dismay.
If she wanted war, he would give it to her? Abigail could not imagine what devilish design such a remark portended. But she had a sinking feeling she would soon find out.

Secret Identity: My True-Life Adventure as a Superhero by John Phythyon

Secret Identity: My True-Life Adventure as a Superhero by John Phythyon
$0.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Superheroic hijinks!
What happens when an eight-year-old boy decides he wants to be a superhero like the ones he sees on TV? Hilarity!

John Phythyon was not an ordinary kid. Growing up in De Pere, Wisconsin in the 1970's, he was obsessed with superheroes and adventure. And after reading Alvin Fernald, Superweasel by Clifford B. Hicks in third grade, he was certain he too could become a caped crusader.

In this sidesplitting mini-memoir, the author of The Sword and the Sorcerer (amazon.com/dp/B00HI9YMF0/), Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale (amazon.com/dp/B00FKO9QHY/), and the Wolf Dasher series explains his childhood obsession with masked defenders of All That Is Good and True and how he was determined to sneak out of the house one October night in 1976 to join their ranks.

Excerpt:

Every child understands there is one defining characteristic of a superhero. We know he or she should be brave and strong, have either cool powers or nifty gadgets, and generally be out there defending All That Is Good and True. But that’s secondary.
To be a superhero, first and foremost, you need a costume.
A costume is the very foundation of everything about the individual hero. You know it’s Batman, because he looks like a bat. Wonder Woman was fighting for the U.S. in World War II, so, despite being an Amazon, she wears a gold American eagle on her chest and white stars on a blue field on her, um, “pants.” Spider-Man has webs and spiders on his costume.
You can’t just go out into the world and say, “I’m Hero Man!” You have to have a costume that clearly identifies you as a masked defender of All That Is Good and True. And your costume should be evocative of your superhero name.
Moreover, the costume is the superhero’s most important asset. The costume protects his or her real identity. By donning a mask and a garish suit, you hide your true face from the world.
That’s important so that enemies can’t hurt the people you love or track you down at your day job. When the Green Goblin found out Peter Parker was Spider-Man, he kidnapped Gwen Stacey and killed her! Lois Lane gets into gobs of trouble on her own. Imagine what would happen if Lex Luthor knew Superman was really Clark Kent! A secret identity is critical to superheroing success.
It’s also really important if you’re an eight-year-old kid planning to sneak out after bedtime to fulfill your superheroic dreams. If anyone knew who I really was, they might tell my parents!
So I needed a secret identity – a superhero alias. My health and safety depended on it. And that meant I needed a costume.
I also needed anonymity, and that meant no one could be involved in the creation of my costume and the secret identity it afforded.
Well, no one except my brother Dave. A secret this delicious, a plan this awesome, could not be kept all to myself. I had to tell Dave what I was doing. After all, someone had to appreciate it!
Unfortunately, Dave lacked my vision. He saw few opportunities for eight-year-olds to be superheroes. I was utterly disappointed. Despite being only seven years old, he had the sad, worldly skepticism of a grown-up. It was tragic, really.
Of course, he also understood the life-threatening danger of getting caught sneaking out of the house. That was really why I needed him. I was looking for insight into how to escape both the house and the certain doom that would accompany being discovered out of bed. I was looking to hire an accomplice, who could cover for me.
Dave was disinterested. He too harbored a mad passion for superheroes, but he had no desire to boldly put himself at risk to enable me to fight the forces of darkness.
But I was undeterred. I would become a champion of All That Is Good and True just like Alvin Fernald had, whether I had Dave’s assistance or not. Just let him wait. He was going to be insanely jealous when his big brother was making headlines as the world’s first superhero, and he had missed his opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

His Reluctant Rancher: A Three River Ranch Novel by Roxanne Snopek

His Reluctant Rancher: A Three River Ranch Novel by Roxanne Snopek
$0.99

The last place city girl Desiree Burke expected to find herself was living at and working on a ranch, much less butting heads with the ranch's sexy cowboy owner, Zach Gamble. But that's exactly where she ends up after an incident at work leads her to her best friend Rory's doorstep. Desiree is a gifted physical therapist, and Rory knows exactly where her brand of tough love is needed the most.

Zach Gamble (Readers Choice Award nominee for MOST CHARMING COWBOY) has been through hell and back. A devastating car crash left his brother gone, his father paralyzed, and him with mental scars a mile wide. His survivor guilt alone makes him sure he doesn't deserve to find love. But as Des works her way into his ranch, his family, and his life, suddenly the last person who belonged there is the only one he believes belongs...with him.

Moonlight in Winter Park by Samantha Chase Excerpt

Moonlight in Winter Park by Samantha Chase
$0.99

All Hope Cooper needed this year was to have the kind of Christmas her family always cherished. But with her parents gone and her only brother having to work, it doesn't look like it's going to work out for her. There's nothing she can do about her parents, but she most certainly can voice her annoyance at her brother's boss for making him work out of town all through the holidays.

Beckett James hates the holidays and everything that goes with them. They were important at one time, but now the only thing that mattered was his company and its continued growth and anyone who worked for him better feel the same way. If not, they could find employment elsewhere and good riddance. With a major expansion deal on the line, Beckett needs to focus. What he doesn't need is Hope to come barging into his mountain retreat demanding that her brother come home immediately due to an emergency.

Suddenly it's two alone in a snowstorm. Two alone for Christmas. And two alone to fight an attraction that had been there all along. Hope soon begins to realize she may have misjudged Beckett while he comes to see that there really is something special and magical about Christmas. But once they leave their private winter wonderland and return to their normal lives, will the magic still be there?

A modern-day Beauty and the Beast style Christmas.





Excerpt:


He stood there in front of her, looking all kinds of handsome. His dark hair slightly mussed, a gray wool scarf around his neck and a black wool jacket covering his muscular build. It wasn’t fair that he could look so good all the damn time – so calm and completely in control – when her life was spinning in the complete opposite direction.
I…I really need to go,” she said finally and then forced herself to look up and meet his eyes. Damn. They were so dark, so intense and it would be so easy to just look into them forever. A sigh escaped before she could stop it. “Merry Christmas, Beckett,” she said with a bit of a forced smile.
You too, Hope.”
And I guess a Happy New Year, too,” she added and turned to climb into her car when his hand on her arm stopped her again. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask what he wanted, but suddenly his lips were on hers and Hope had to remember how to breathe.
His lips were gentle at first but once she seemed to overcome her shock and relax, Beckett’s hands came up and cupped her face, caressed her cheeks. Hope sighed as her own hands crept up and clutched the front of his coat. It was so unexpected, such a complete surprise to her that Hope needed to keep herself anchored to something or her knees would surely give out and she’d be in a puddle on the ground.
After Beckett seemed satisfied with introducing himself to her through his kiss, he deepened it. His hand traveled up and into the riotous curls on her head as he moved closer to her. The feel of his lean body pressed up against hers sent Hope’s own body into overdrive. Over and over he slanted his lips over hers, his tongue teased hers, his breath mingled with hers. It was glorious and all-consuming and yet all she could do was purr against him.
Long moments later when Beckett finally lifted his head from hers, he stared down into her face. “Happy New Year, Hope,” he said, his voice slightly rough and gravelly. His hand trailed down her cheek to her chin before he let her go and stepped back.
And walked away.

a Touch of Intrigue: The Everly Gray Adventures by L. j. Charles

a Touch of Intrigue: The Everly Gray Adventures by L. j. Charles
$4.49

Tick Tock
Time bombs explode around Everly Gray, uncovering dangerous secrets. After thirty years, the complex web of intrigue created to protect her has begun to unravel, laying bare a shocking conspiracy, and leaving her alienated from her past, and exposed to a master of manipulation.

With her hefty dose of curiosity and a drive to live in truth, Everly is determined to follow the conspiracy to its core and heal the damaged roots of her life.

Tick
Tynan Pierce has been a moving target for most of his adult life—normal for a covert agent working black ops, but not okay for a man who’s fallen in love and wants to build a lasting relationship. He’ll protect Everly at any cost, even if they have to live apart.

Tock
Tynan and Everly’s hearts and souls beat as one, but what will happen when her ESP fingers and his Circle of Nine gifts merge? Will these two strong-willed people be able to share their intuitive gifts and build a future together?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Special Guest Special 20th Anniversary Edition: A Christmas Story by Lee Allen

The Special Guest Special 20th Anniversary Edition: A Christmas Story by Lee Allen
$4.99 or FREE for Prime Members

Here is the 20th Anniversary Edition of this much beloved modern Christmas classic.


Perhaps best said by the former national director of Angel Tree: "The Special Guest is much more than just a well-written family story... it sprinkles the principles of forgiveness with the wonder that is Christmas".

A family dealing with a tragedy when an unexpected guest arrives for the holidays... A stranger who seems to have mysteriously stepped out of the past... A surprising chain of events that will teach the family about the miracle of forgiveness... A special gift left behind Christmas Day that causes the family to realize there are times, when needed the most, that help can come unexpectedly and unannounced... Sometimes from a perfect stranger...

This is a story befitting the most wonderous time of year. A time when we lift our heads from the day-to-day grind of life to look at humanity with our spiritual eyes. When we rejoice to hear the bells chime a message of hope for the world. When we look to believe there really is more to this world than just what we can see and hear with our natural senses...

Open THE SPECIAL GUEST and enter a world we all want to believe to be true. Someone once said, "To feel the brush of the supernatual is to experience, firsthand, the heavenly messengers at work around us." This beloved story will renew your faith in miracles. Even more important, it will renew your faith in your fellowman.

Introduction...


The story opens Christmas weekend with 16-year-old Scott Reid working his bagboy job at the local super market. After watching an elderly man sitting outside in the cold all afternoon reading, Scott decides to approach the stranger to see if he needs help. The man, who is dressed in clothes as outdated as his vintage automobile, explains he was passing through when his car broke down. Not wanting the man who calls himself Zachery to be stranded over the long holiday weekend, Scott invites him home. Soon after the guest arrives, unexpected events begin to unfold that will leave the Reid family to wonder if more than chance brought the stranger to their home. Finally on Christmas morning, they waken to a most unexpected surprise. It's then the family discovers the identity of their guest. What they learn is most surprising and mysterious of all. . .

20 years ago THE SPECIAL GUEST grew from a story first written by Lee Allen for his young children, to a local bestseller in hometown Richmond Virginia, and from there to a national besteller that included a movie project with CBS. The story's timeless message of forgiveness, wrapped in the mystery of a very special visitor, will warm readers' hearts today as much as it did for readers a generation ago.

Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies by Kathi Daley Review

Title: Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies
Series: Zoe Donovan Mystery Book 10
Author: Kathi Daley
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 184
Price: $2.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Thoughts: Another great addition to the series!

Book Synopsis:

When the cat lady of Ashton Falls is found dead in her home just days before Thanksgiving, Zoe must track down a killer while dealing with a house full of socialites who have come to Ashton Falls to bid on Zak in a high class bachelor auction.

Review:

I love this series. The Zoe Donovan books are not only a joy to read, but I love getting to know each character more and more with each addition. I also loved that again, the author managed to send the readers in several different directions, but came up with an ending that's unexpected. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and to try out some of these delicious recipes!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lucy, the kind sea monster by Lady Grimoire - FREEBIE

Lucy, the kind sea monster by Lady Grimoire
FREE

*** A lovely illustrated picture book that provides children with values and teaches about the importance of friendship and tolerance. ***

Lucy is different from the other sea monsters. She finds no fun in scaring people. The sea monster girl follows her heart and—to the horror of all—becomes friends with Vanessa, a human girl, with whom she shares a love for strawberry ice cream. Although Lucy’s classmates at the sea monster school are already starting to whisper behind her back and her parents are wary of her new friend, she holds on to the friendship. Together with Vanessa she is able to finally learn the old, forgotten secret of the sea monsters …

Falling or Flying (Invitation to Eden Series) by R.G. Alexander

Falling or Flying (Invitation to Eden Series) by R.G. Alexander
$2.99

Joely knows the island of Eden and its moods better than most. A pilot for its exclusive clientele and the eyes and ears of Eden’s reclusive Master, she’s finally found a place where she truly belongs. Though kink is as common as coconuts in Eden, she’s not about to risk her position—or her heart—by indulging her private fantasies with invited guests.

Austin Wright’s first invitation to the island was meant to mend his spirit after an accident that changed his life, but each time he’s returned, his desire for the pilot of his dreams has gone unfulfilled. Not this time. Austin’s carefully laid plan for learning her secrets and capturing her heart has already been set in motion. His friend Court’s arrival on Joely’s plane is unexpected…and so is everything that happens next.

Eden has a way of making plans—and routine flights—veer wildly off course, and when Joely and Austin find themselves marooned with the wicked Court and his good intentions, it’ll take a sexy shove, a leap of faith, and a little island magic to bring love home.

Bliss House by Ann Jacobs Excerpt

Bliss House by Ann Jacobs
$2.99

The derelict ante bellum house in the North Carolina mountains called out to Jill Carey, almost as if living beings compelled her to buy it and restore it to its former glory.

For good reason. It’s inhabited by the ghosts of century-old illicit lovers, trapped in the place where they died until a descendant returns to Bliss House, finds a lasting love he is free to marry.

Kyle Randall, great great grandson of one of the ghosts, hates coming to the haunted house but agrees to restore the place for Jill, only to set in motion a dark, sometimes frightening tale of sexual obsession, ghostly intervention—and the healing power of lasting love.

Excerpt:

Kyle settled back with a beer and wondered why the idea of going back to Gray Hollow—to Bliss House—made him feel like his guts were churning.
Hell, it was only a house.
What had gone on there nearly a hundred years ago was ancient history, doubtless without a bit of meaning to anybody except the Randalls scattered about the North Carolina mountains. No one now would give a damn that his great-great grandma had been the infamous Laura Randall, or that she’d died with her lover at the house that still bore his family’s name.
Who was he kidding? Parents in Gray Hollow must still scare their kids with stories about the ghosts of Bliss House, the same way their parents had been doing for generations.
He should call this crazy Jill Carey and tell her he didn’t have time for her damn pet project. But if he did, he’d regret it. He’d won the bid to restore the Gray Hollow courthouse, but the commission had voted to postpone having the work done until next spring. That meant he had to find a project now.
Earlier today, he’d told George Wilson he didn’t know any contractor desperate enough to take on the ghosts of Bliss House. Boy, had he been wrong! In ten short minutes, Kyle had gone from being overbooked with work to a state of minor desperation. Big jobs were few and far between this time of year, especially ones in this part of the country, where he could work and still be close enough to visit Alyssa every weekend.
Kyle’s gaze settled on the child in a picture on his coffee table. His little girl looked so pretty, laid out on a blanket underneath an old oak tree, her dark eyes wide open as if she was looking at something far off in the distance. Knowing Alyssa would never see anything, never walk or talk or be able to learn her name, ate him alive.
He’d never have to put on a monkey suit to walk his baby down the aisle to some guy who wasn’t good enough for her. Or hold a grandchild in his arms. But one thing was for sure. Alyssa would need the total care of people like the ones at Angels Paradise School as long as she lived—and that care didn’t come cheap.Damn her to hell!” Tina, Alyssa’s mother probably was already roasting in the devil’s fiery flames for having passed the results of her lousy drug habit on to their unborn daughter seven years ago before checking out on life with one final overdose. When Kyle thought of Alyssa, he couldn’t help wishing Tina were still alive. He’d have liked to kill her for what she’d done to their child.
The way everybody says Harry Randall killed his faithless wife and her lover.
Where the hell had that thought come from? Was the idea of going to Gray Hollow, bidding on fixing up the house where his great-great grandmother had died, starting to drive him insane? It didn’t matter. He had to bid on that job. Winter was coming—and no matter what the season, Alyssa’s special school expected to be paid.
Draining the last of his beer, Kyle tried to push those odd, scary feelings out of his head but they stayed with him, even as he drifted off into a restless sleep.

* * * * *
Jill yawned. Glancing at her watch, she saw it had been nearly four hours since she had begun poring over the blueprints she’d found tucked away in a moldy wardrobe. She wanted modern comforts along with authenticity, yet Bliss House seemed to call out and beg her to restore it to the way it was when Mortimer Bliss had built it in 1858 for the bride who would arrive the following year from England.
Perhaps Kyle Randall would be able to suggest how she might bring to Bliss House the best of both old and new worlds. For a moment, she tried to picture a face to go with the deep, sexy voice that still rang in her ears. Then she laughed. She was visualizing young and ruggedly handsome, while Randall was probably ugly as sin and old enough to be her dad. Besides, Jill reminded herself, she’d sworn off men—not just Rob, but everybody of the male persuasion.


Still, hearing Kyle’s mellow voice had made her tingle. And the effect lingered in her nipples that now stabbed insistently against her soft silk robe. Idly, Jill ran a finger back and forth against one aching nub, gasping when the flesh swelled and elongated with the slight, warm pressure of her touch.
She didn’t need this. Didn’t want to give in to that insistent noise in her head that reminded her she was still a woman with needs. Sexual needs.
After washing up and brushing her teeth in the closet—like bathroom of the trailer, Jill crawled into her narrow bed. Damn Rob for having taught her never to ignore her own sensual needs, she thought, stroking her aching sex until the tension inside her broke. When she finally slept, she dreamed.


* * * * *


Bliss House shone bright, and sounds of joy came from within. Jill stood in the doorway, waiting for a sad-faced butler to take her velvet wrap. Her gaze wandered from a beautiful chandelier twinkling above her head to the modest ballroom someone had created by opening the front and back parlors of this gorgeous old home to create one highly polished dance floor.
Suddenly she felt naked. All the other guests looked positively Victorian. This black silk minidress didn’t cover nearly enough of her. Damn, had she missed the words “costume ball” somewhere on her invitation? Dancers twirled gracefully to a distinct three-beat tune that sounded as if it came not from a stereo system but from a small live orchestra.
She looked around. Where had Rob gone? Annoyed, Jill stepped inside the ballroom and searched for his angel face. She couldn’t find him. Instead, her gaze settled on a couple whose quaint costumes reminded her of a Victorian picture post card.


The woman’s rose crushed-velvet gown featured a bustle and train that dripped with ecru lace. More of the lace peeked out from a low, heart-shaped neckline and the cuffs of fat leg-o’-mutton sleeves. Her partner wore tails, stark black, with pristine white linen at his wrists and throat—too much for even the most formal of Atlanta balls. Feeling out of place, she hid behind the French doors that normally would have separated the two rooms, and searched again for Rob.
But her gaze kept returning to that mesmerizing couple who seemed to have stepped out of yesterday. The way they looked at each other and the graceful way they moved together kept Jill enthralled. Then a stranger found her, and the spell broke. He pulled her onto the dance floor, seemingly unaffected by the sense of the past that surrounded her.
He was tall and rugged, oozing raw sex appeal. When he looked at her, her sex clenched with anticipation. But then he changed, became Rob again. Suddenly she relived the horror that had sent her running from Atlanta and her memories of how her marriage had begun and ended.
No!” She awakened to the sound of her own screams. Suddenly she couldn’t stay in her sweat-drenched bed another second. Pulling on a robe as she ran, Jill sought peace inside Bliss House. For some reason, she felt that there she’d be safe from the nightmare that tormented her.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Secret Identity: My True-Life Adventure as a Superhero by John Phythyon Review

Title: Secret Identity: My True-Life Adventure as a Superhero
Series: True-Life Adventures, Book 1
Author: John Phythyon
Genre: Memoir-Humor
Pages: 43
Price: $0.99 or FREE for Prime Members
Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed this one!

Book Synopsis:

Superheroic hijinks!
What happens when an eight-year-old boy decides he wants to be a superhero like the ones he sees on TV? Hilarity!

John Phythyon was not an ordinary kid. Growing up in De Pere, Wisconsin in the 1970's, he was obsessed with superheroes and adventure. And after reading Alvin Fernald, Superweasel by Clifford B. Hicks in third grade, he was certain he too could become a caped crusader.

In this sidesplitting mini-memoir, the author of The Sword and the Sorcerer (amazon.com/dp/B00HI9YMF0/), Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale (amazon.com/dp/B00FKO9QHY/), and the Wolf Dasher series explains his childhood obsession with masked defenders of All That Is Good and True and how he was determined to sneak out of the house one October night in 1976 to join their ranks.

Review:

This was such a fun read that actually made me laugh out loud a few times. If you like memoirs in the style of the classic Jean Shepherd who penned the story that became "A Christmas Story", you're going to love this book. It's a fairly clean read that anyone can enjoy and it's such a funny tale. It reminded me of the time I tried to sneak out my bedroom window and the hilarity that ensued. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fanny Packs and Foul Play (A Haley Randolph Mystery) by Dorothy Howell Review

Title: Fanny Packs and Foul Play
Series: A Haley Randolph Mystery
Author: Dorothy Howell
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 134
Price: $4.99
Thoughts: A Great Read!

Book Synopsis:

Amateur sleuth Haley Randolph returns in a hilarious novella from mystery author Dorothy Howell.

Fashionista and event planner to the stars Haley Randolph thinks the Thanksgiving Day feast she’s organizing for the wealthy young owners of the Pammy Candy Company at their Calabasas mansion will be easy—until the hostess is pushed to her death from a second floor balcony.

Money-hungry relatives expecting to dish up a share of the candy company profits, an ex-lover, and a family secret make a tempting recipe for murder. It’s a feast of suspects as Haley gobbles up clues that threaten to turn this warm, welcoming occasion into cold leftovers—but with private detective Jack Bishop in charge of the investigation, things heat up fast.

Haley searches for the designer handbag of her dreams—but finds a hot new attorney instead—and a killer who knows revenge is a meal best served cold!

Bonus content! Includes an excerpt from another Haley Randolph mystery, as well as one of the historical romances Dorothy writes under the pen name Judith Stacy.

Review:

I really love this series and this was such a great read for Thanksgiving. Fast-paced cozy mystery with great characters, hot guys, and tacky fanny packs. Loved it!

Lucy, the kind sea monster by Lady Grimoire Review

Title: Lucy, the kind sea monster
Author: Lady Grimoire
Genre: Children
Pages: 29
Price: FREE
Thoughts: So cute!

Book Synopsis:

*** A lovely illustrated picture book that provides children with values and teaches about the importance of friendship and tolerance. ***

Lucy is different from the other sea monsters. She finds no fun in scaring people. The sea monster girl follows her heart and—to the horror of all—becomes friends with Vanessa, a human girl, with whom she shares a love for strawberry ice cream. Although Lucy’s classmates at the sea monster school are already starting to whisper behind her back and her parents are wary of her new friend, she holds on to the friendship. Together with Vanessa she is able to finally learn the old, forgotten secret of the sea monsters …

Review:

Such a cute story! Not only is it a fun story for the little ones, but it has such a great lesson to teach. I highly recommend this book to parents with young children. I'll be recommending it to all my friends with kids.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thoughts about Being the Best We Can Be by Carrie Louise, author

I believe that we all want to be the best that we can be.
For most of us, this is a need of soul and/or a need of ego.
Wanting to prove someone right or someone wrong provides a starting place.
Proving someone right is consciously or subconsciously based on messages affirming we can be anyone we want to be.
Proving someone wrong is subconsciously aimed at those who said we'd never amount to anything.
What we’re doing about this today has as many paths as there are human beings.
A goal of wanting to connect with the material side of life gives a person one kind of strength.
A goal of wanting to connect with one’s soul-self gives a person another kind of strength.
When faced with a decision, we are often faced with opposing beliefs.
Family, religion, society, peers, and teachers all make inroads into the beliefs we carry within. These beliefs are the origins of our behavior, our goals, and ultimately our degree of success.
Weeding out the unproductive beliefs and resulting behaviors while leaving only those that are productive helps us achieve lifelong happiness and the fulfillment of our goals.
Finding positive motivation is essential. Teachers, books, and gatherings are abundant and provide more than enough choices to encourage and support the life changes we desire. Financial consideration is balanced with the outcome.

Life, Soul Being Soul    Teen Life, Soul Being Soul
Life, Soul Being Soul without Drama



Fatal Chocolate Obsession (Death by Chocolate Book 5) by Sally Berneathy

Fatal Chocolate Obsession (Death by Chocolate Book 5) by Sally Berneathy
$3.99

A bouquet of roses, a bottle of wine, a crystal butterfly…and a dead man in the alley behind Death by Chocolate. Gifts for Lindsay, left in the middle of the night.

Is her ex-husband Rick between girlfriends and pursuing her again? Did he leave the roses and wine? He has done the out-of-season Santa Claus thing before. But when the crystal butterfly appears, Rick is in the hospital after a brutal attack leaves him near death.

If not Rick, then who? Is it someone she sees every day? The tall man who refuses to look her in the eye? The short man who looks her in the eye too long? The skinny man with crossed eyes who might or might not be looking her in the eye?

As the body count rises, Lindsay begins to see danger everywhere. Lindsay, Fred and Trent must catch this psycho stalker before someone else dies. Not bad enough he kills people. He also murders the English language in the horrible poems he leaves for her.

Butterflies are free and so are we.
Come fly away with me for all eternity.
I’ll shelter you from harm,
and always keep you safe and warm.
Anyone who troubles thee
will feel the wrath of me.

For the Love of Romance by Regan Black

Photo by Robert Proksa
As a voracious reader there are plenty of genres that regularly call my name, from fantasy to thrillers, but no matter the genre, most of the books on my keeper shelf have some romance mixed in. Watching interactions blossom into lasting relationships through the course of a story is pure joy to me.

As the holidays approach, stories with romance, holiday spirit, and a bit of intrigue are like a trifecta of happiness. To get lost in tales crafted by my favorite authors is both an indulgence and an escape. It's a renewal and a reward to follow the journey as characters struggle through highs and lows to reach their happily ever.

Delving into my own characters day in and day out is a different kind of joy. The details of the growing relationship and what becomes vital to each character, give me delightful surprises along the way. While the writing process is a different kind of struggle as an author, the happily ever after is no less rewarding.

To me, what makes romance so very special and consistently popular with readers, is the unique perspective each author brings to the story. Though characters, settings, and seasons vary, I think the magic and joy of romance stems from the universal truth that we all want to love and be loved in return.

If you need a little heat and romance to put you in a holiday mood try The Hunk Next Door or the Heroes for the Holidays collection.

Live the adventure!
~Regan

Character Names: Guest Post by Author Patricia Green

What's in a name?
Photo by aldin
Did you ever wonder how a writer comes up with character names? I think everyone has a favorite name—the name they should have given their child. If only their last name wasn't Schmidlapp, Giovanni would have been such a nice choice. Sometimes writers use these favorite names for their characters. They might build the entire character around the name, in fact. 
 
I tend to build my characters and then decide what name fits. Not always, but I have that tendency. I think of whether that character would have a nickname, and how that would sound. Would it be one syllable or two? And if I've already built another character, how would they go together as a couple, or as villain and heroine? I virtually never have two names beginning with the same alphabet letter. I find that confusing to read, and I have read more than once that I'm not alone with that. Having Catherine and Camelia can make a person have to go back and reread to figure out who is doing what. Not a good dynamic between author and reader.

When I come up with last names, I think of ethnicities. Do I want my heroine to be an Italian-American? Would she be of Scots heritage? And how does that contrast or compliment my hero's ethnicity? I'm also really careful about the names of villains. I don't want them all to be of one heritage, or I start to look like I'm picking on one group or culture. When I wrote Eddie, My Love, I wanted to come up with a tech guy and I was aware that there are a lot of East Indian technical gurus in the US, so I gave my villain (a very clever tech guy) an Indian name. I wouldn't make all my villains Indian, of course, but for the purposes of realism in this story, it worked out very well. In my Journey Family series, because the action takes place in the western and southern parts of Texas, I included some Hispanic names. I tried to stay true to the regions by including them. That kind of inclusion helps round out a story, makes it more realistic.

Names are important and can really start off the relationship between reader and writer well or badly.

So what's your reaction to character names? Are you more likely to pick up a book with one of your favorite names among the leading characters?

The Holiday Gig by Erin Brady Review

Title: The Holiday Gig
Author: Erin Brady
Genre: Holiday Romance
Pages: 291
Price: $1.49 or FREE for Prime Members
Thoughts: A wonderful holiday romance.

Description:

From the author of Amazon bestseller, The Shopping Swap, comes a holiday story that will make you smile and believe in the magic of holiday romance.

Taylor Barnes has a dilemma. She is 32 and about to realize her dreams of making partner at her New York City high-powered law firm with a fancy office and a huge salary. She has no time for anything else in her life -least of all a boyfriend. Yet something stands in the way of her coveted promotion: Charles Wigs, family man and managing partner at Gotsall and Craig who questions whether the single Taylor Barnes can project the right image for the firm.

Not only does her own boss question her singledom, but so does her entire family back home! When an invitation to her cousin's Christmas wedding lands on her desk, Taylor must head back to Pennsylvania to face the music.

It seems as if Taylor has to convince everyone that she's got the perfect life with the
perfect boyfriend -all before the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve. But how is she to make this happen?

Taylor thinks she’s found the answer. Why not hire a temporary boyfriend to help her get through the holidays? It’s the best of both worlds and without any of the emotional baggage that comes with a real relationship. However, when handsome Hunter Ryan answers the ad for the position, Taylor finds herself with more than she bargained for. Ryan can certainly talk the talk, but does he have what it takes to walk the walk? Could he possibly cost her that coveted partnership that she has been working for since the beginning of her career? Could something that starts out as a simple employment proposition turn out to have her questioning everything she has worked so hard to achieve? Will this Holiday Gig turn Taylor's professional and personal life on its head?

Review:

Erin Brady does it again, penning another chick-lit masterpiece. The Holiday Gig is about a career woman that doesn't want to make time for silly things like the holidays until she's made partner at the law firm she works for. Unfortunately, her family and even her employee feels she needs to do otherwise. Both are concerned that she doesn't have a man in her life and that's a big problem for Charles Wigs, the family man who holds the key to her success. Thinking she's found the answer, Taylor hires a man to play the role of her boyfriend, but everything backfires and she begins to question what's really important in life.

I really enjoyed this book. I think any woman that's trying to advance her career will be able to relate with Taylor's life on some level. And, even if you can't, you'll still have a great time reading this book. It's filled with laughter, romance, and enough holiday spirit to get you through the holiday season. Grab a copy and curl up in front of the fireplace this weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match: A London Legends Christmas Novella by Kat Latham

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match: A London Legends Christmas Novella by Kat Latham
$2.99

’Twas a week before Christmas, and at the auction house...

At six foot one, Gwen Chambers has felt like a giant her whole life. She’s a calm, capable nurse saving lives in a busy London hospital, but healthy men give her heart palpitations. When larger-than-life rugby player “Little” John Sheldon convinces her to bid on him in his team’s fundraising auction, she discovers how pleasurable heart palpitations can be.

A rugby player was stirring, with desire no one could douse...

John has wanted Gwen since he first saw her, but when he’s injured in a match just before Christmas he suddenly needs her too. Not only can the sexy nurse help him recover, but she might be able to help him look after his daughter—a shy ten-year-old who speaks only French.

But will it be a Happy Christmas for all, and for all a good night?

From decorating the Christmas tree to ice skating at the Tower of London, Gwen helps father and daughter open up and bond with each other—and she bonds right along with them. But when John's agent calls with a life-changing offer, Gwen has to decide how far she’s willing to go for her perfect match. Will their first Noël also be their last?

Excerpt:

The goddess wore a rugby shirt with the wrong number on it.
John Sheldon watched the woman walk through the door of the stadium’s hospitality suite, where he and his London Legends teammates would soon be auctioned off for charity. Outside, snow blanketed the rugby pitch while green and white Christmas lights strung around the stadium blazed with the team’s colors. Inside, rich people were getting pissed on mulled wine and whisky he’d never be able to afford under normal circumstances. John had been trying not to yawn when the woman entered the room.
Her height drew his notice first. How could it not, when the next-tallest woman in the room came to her shoulders? She was the only woman here who wouldn’t make him feel like a towering giant. Her face was angled away from him, and her wheat-blond locks of hair had been twisted and clamped behind her head in one of those casually elegant styles that begged to be undone, mussed up by big, clumsy fingers. Her neck was slender, her shoulders broad, and her rugby shirt had the number ten on it. His captain’s number.
An elbow jabbed him between the ribs, jostling the tumbler of Islay whisky he held and splashing the amber liquid across his hand. “I count three for me, a dozen for the skipper and nil for you, Shelly. What do you make of that?”
John set his tumbler on a table, tempted to lick the alcohol off his hand so it didn’t go to waste. Opting instead for a classiness he usually failed to achieve, he wiped his wet hand on a cloth serviette and looked down—a good eight inches down—at Matt Ogden, who’d recently become the team’s starting fullback. “Nil what?”
“Bidders.” Oggie raised his brows and nodded at the crowd gathered in the suite.
John scanned the people who’d paid five-hundred quid each to be here tonight. They’d come to raise money for several charities by bidding on a player to do pretty much whatever they wanted for a day. Last year John had been “won” to teach a kid rugby skills. That was a lot better than the year before, when he’d had to show up at a stockbroker’s office and pretend to be his best mate. How he’d got through it without lamping the arsehole was a mystery.
And Oggie was right—not a single person wore his number. At the start of the evening, guests received a replica Legends rugby shirt, and they pinned on it the number of the player they intended to bid for. It was an ice-breaker that gave the players a chance to change people’s minds before bidding started. A good dozen guests, including the goddess, wore the number ten—not surprising, since his captain Liam Callaghan was one of the best-known rugby players in the world. But why in God’s green England would three people want to bid for Oggie when he’d barely played until last month, while John had started every match?
Okay, so Oggie was a little above average height, while John was six-nine. He could see how that might intimidate people. And Oggie was apparently good looking—if you asked him—so that explained why all of his bidders were female.
“Fucking hell,” John muttered, the potential for humiliation sinking in. “I’m not standing up there and having no one bid on me.”
“Looks like that’s exactly what you’re doing. Meanwhile, I’ll have to let those three ladies down gently,” Oggie said, his voice betraying the fact that he might be here physically but mentally he was back home, shagging his best friend Libby.
The specter of a crushing defeat loomed over John, and his determination to come out on top finally kicked in. “I may not get as many bidders as you, mate, but I bet I can raise more money.”
“Really?” Oggie laughed and stretched out his hand. “You’re on. What does the winner get?”
“Pride. Bragging rights.” He held up his tumbler. “And a bottle of this whisky.”
“Done. Now go do what you do best. Knock some heads together.”
John knew right where to start. The goddess might’ve started the evening wearing his captain’s number, but by the end of the night she would be calling out his.
#
Wonder if I could wedge those windows open enough to throw myself out, Gwen Chambers thought as another of the women standing near her droned on about her stock portfolio. Gwen had never considered investments a weapon before, but after five minutes she felt like she was being battered into a long, tedious death.
She’d only joined the group so she didn’t look like a loser, standing alone in a corner or hovering by the drinks table. This definitely wasn’t her crowd, though. After she’d spent a twelve-hour shift sprinting from one end to the other of East London’s busiest Casualty department, inserting IVs, shifting patients from gurneys to beds, and dealing with a suspected addict who refused to take no for an answer, these women’s conversation about their retirement funds had the same effect as chloroform.
The women barely glanced at her as she excused herself and turned away in search of a different anesthetic—alcohol. She hadn’t gone far when the air around her sizzled to life. Tingles shimmied down her back, as if the pin her sister had used to attach the number ten to her shirt was rubbing against her skin. The sensation rose, though, from her back to the base of her skull, stroking along her neck and skimming the top of her head.
Someone was watching her. Someone whose gaze could reach over her head.
She fought the urge to hunch her shoulders, make herself smaller. Disappear before she became the arse of someone’s jokes. But she’d battled that instinct for years and refused to give in to it now. As nervous energy bubbled beneath her surface, she carefully focused on composing herself.
A man cleared his throat behind her. Above her, actually. The sound had her turning and—oh, my God—brought her face-to-shoulders with the tallest man she’d ever seen. She actually had to look up to meet his warm brown gaze, a gaze made even more brown by the bruises shadowing the delicate skin under one of his eyes.
At six-one, she’d never felt anything but massive. Overgrown. Freakzilla, as the kids at school had not-so-affectionately called her.
This man gave her a brief taste of what it must be like to be normal. Dainty, petite and feminine. This must be how her sister Tess felt around everyone she met.
The man stuck out his hand. “John Sheldon. Number five.”
She placed her hand in his. Currents of adrenaline made her fingers pulse with a sensation bordering on pain. “Gwen Chambers. Bidding on number ten.”
“Let me get you a drink and tell you why that’s a terrible mistake.” Before she could respond to his flirtatious words, he snapped his fingers. “Chambers…are you related to Tess Chambers?”
“She’s my little big sister,” she said automatically before noting the deepening confusion on his face. “I mean, she’s my older sister but she’s a lot littler than me. It’s something we always say to—you know what? Never mind.” Oh God, just shut up, you fool.
John Sheldon smiled. “Our sponsor’s sister. Very nice to meet you, then.” He gestured toward the number on her back. “And you’re bidding on her boyfriend—why?”
That won a little laugh from Gwen. “She’s making me, actually.”
“Making you?”
“She doesn’t want anyone else to have him. Said she has big plans for him.” Gwen raised both hands and grimaced. “At that point, I stopped asking questions. But since she’s the auctioneer, she said it wouldn’t look right if she bid on him herself. So she gave me some money and asked me to do it for her.”
John’s brows shot up. “And you’re going to be a good girl and do as she says?”
“Well, of course. It is her money. Otherwise—”
“Otherwise…?”
“Otherwise I wouldn’t be here at all. This isn’t really my scene.”
“No? Why not?”
Too many virile men. Her blush deepened as she recognized the corner she’d painted her into. “My dad and sister watched a lot of rugby when we were growing up—”
“Wait—I’ve met your dad. Your sister’s brought him to some of our events. Blonde bloke. Scruffy beard. Short.”
Gwen laughed. Her dad was six-foot six. Only this guy could consider him short. “Yep. Short and hairy. At home, we call him Ewok.”
John had the misfortune to be taking a sip of whisky at that moment. He made a horrible choking sound, bending over and covering his mouth and nose as Gwen patted his back. His broad, strong, warm back. God, she could feel every single muscle. She could outline them with her finger and name them for him, if he let her.
Grabbing a serviette from the table next to him, he wiped his mouth and hand, and stared at her with amused, watery eyes. “You’re having me on.”
“Yeah, we don’t call him Ewok. Mostly we call him The Doctor because, well, he’s a professor of history, so if he could time travel he would.”
“Like Doctor Who.”
“Got it in one,” she said. “Anyway, I never watched rugby with him and Tess. I’m more—”
He waited a few seconds, but when she couldn’t find a less pathetic way of saying a cake-decorating enthusiast he had mercy on her. “More…of a doer rather than a watcher?”
She blinked. “Um, are you asking if I play rugby?”
He wouldn’t be the first.
He grimaced. “Actually, I was trying to flirt. Didn’t come out right.”
Flirt? With me? She caught herself before she said it but blurted out instead, “Are you taking the piss out of me?”
He reared back. “What? No! Why?”
Because he also wouldn’t be the first to do that. When she was sixteen, a boy from the school swim team had bet his teammates he could get a blowjob from her. She’d given him a hell of a lot more than that before finding out he’d won a hundred quid in addition to the dubious prize of her virginity. Her sister had got revenge by distributing a humiliating picture of him getting out of the pool with an unimpressive erection, but the wound he’d inflicted had never truly healed. Every attractive man who flirted with her in the decade since then had paid for that boy’s sins.
John looked so horrified by the question that she immediately felt awful about doubting him, for both their sakes. “I’m sorry. Ignore me.”
“I don’t want to do that, Gwen.”
The sound of her name in his deep, throaty voice gave her shivers. A waiter passed by with a tray of full champagne flutes. John grabbed one and handed it to her. “Let me try again with the flirting,” he said. “Imagine you bid that money on someone other than my skipper. What would you want him to do?”
“Someone other than Liam?” She took a long sip of the champagne, trying to wet her suddenly parched throat.
“Me, for example.” His eyes sparkled with mischief. “Imagine you bid on me. What would you have me do?”
“I’d get you for a whole day?”
“Mmm hmm. A whole day. All yours.” His voice caressed her as seductively as a physical touch. The seed of temptation he’d planted sprouted. If he were hers, what would she have him do? Ruck me, she wanted to joke, but she kept quiet for fear that she might see a flash of revulsion on his face before he was able to cover it.
A gavel tapped a piece of wood three times, and everyone turned their attention to the front of the room, where her sister’s boyfriend Liam leaned over a podium to speak into a microphone. “All right, everyone, we’re ready to get started. Could I have all Legends front and center?”
One of John’s hands skimmed the sensitive skin inside her elbow. He leaned down—what a novelty—and nudged the shell of her ear with his nose. His voice sent shivers of longing through her as he whispered, “All day, Gwen. All yours. Whatever you’d like. Anything at all.”

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