Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Five Nincompoops, the Princess, and One Saviour: How it all went down by K. Edward


K. Edward's Website

Five Nincompoops, The Princess and One Savior: How It All Went Down is a narrative-nonfiction that anecdotally tells of the laughable and sometimes horrific experiences dating of one Princess who oscillates with self while making every attempt to remain true to her spiritual beliefs in search of her one true love.

Curious by R.G. Alexander



#1 Amazon Bestseller!

Are you Curious?

Jeremy Porter is. Though the bisexual comic book artist has known Owen Finn for most of his life—long enough to know that he is terminally straight—he can’t help but imagine what things would be like if he weren’t.

Owen is far from vanilla—as a dominant in the local fetish community, he sees as much action as Jeremy does. Lately even more.

Since Jeremy isn’t into collars and Owen isn’t into men, it seems like his fantasies will remain just that forever…until one night when Owen gets curious.

Warning: Contains explicit m/m nookie. A lot of it. Very detailed. Two men getting kinky, talking dirty and doing the horizontal mambo. Are you reading this? Do you see them on the cover? Guy parts will touch. You have been warned.

(R.G. Alexander, BDSM, spanking, m/m, Hot romance, GFY, friends to lovers, first time)

Life, Soul Being Soul without Drama by Carrie Louise

Discovering the Authentic Self
By Carrie Louise

Life, Soul Being Soul
without Drama
Discovering the
Authentic Self
By Carrie Louise

$9.90 / $6.50 to buy
or free for Prime Members

“I have just had, for me, a life altering revelation. The most destructive behavior/thinking/belief I act out is drama. There are more names and hiding places for drama than I ever realized until a few moments ago. The negative effects include sabotaging Universal synchronicities not to mention drama’s effect on the authentic self and faith.” clh January 2014

How does the process of discovering the authentic self happen? After the introduction, Life, Soul Being Soul without Drama is a compilation of randomly arranged pages, each page with a separate focus on one facet of drama. The process begins with two-minutes of quiet focus as the reader’s intuition chooses his/her daily page from among more than 150 pages. Because the interpretation of the page is left up to the reader (not the author), the content of the chosen page is amazingly relevant for the reader. The reader’s direct involvement in the process: the choosing, the interpretation, the application, and a subsequent awareness is very empowering. Day by day, this awareness translates into choices made, ultimately replacing drama with authenticity.

Please keep in mind that this book’s intended effectiveness will be achieved when reading just one intuitively chosen page each day. This creates each person’s pace and direction, which will be missed if reading cover to cover. It is a book to last a lifetime.

A sample of page titles: Avoidance, Repetitious Failure, Denial, Uncovering and Replacing Fear, Freedom, My Best Friend, Balance, Doing Nothing, Consider an Acting Class, and From Here to There.

To contact the author, write to

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

eBook Deals for September 29th

Fatal Debt (Dana Mackenzie Mystery Book 1) by Dorothy Howell

Dana Mackenzie finds herself working for a faceless financial institution—it’s either this or piercing ears at the mall—and while she’s grateful for a job, she has no intentions of following the corporate offices’ heartless orders.

When she’s instructed to repossess a 42-inch Sony television from an elderly couple, Dana intends to put her own twist on the assignment. But upon arriving at their run down house in a gang infested neighborhood, she’s horrified to find sweet old Mr. Sullivan murdered.

The homicide detective investigating the case is Nick Travis, Dana’s high school crush. Sparks ignite, but a dark secret threatens to keep them apart—unless Nick comes clean about the past.

Dana agrees to help Mr. Sullivan’s grieving family locate his grandson, a guy with a surprising new lifestyle who’s been missing since the day of the murder. Her good intentions put her in the thick of the murder investigation and on a collision course with the killer.

Dead Vampires Don't Date by Meredith Allen Conner

Kate Storm is your typical everyday mortal witch. She owns her own matchmaking business, hangs out with her vampire best friend, Morgan and enjoys the company of Big Al, her hit man channeling Chihuahua. Plus there’s a certain demon that she has her eye on. Life is pretty good until her first important non-human client winds up dead and his body is dumped at her back door. Turns out, disposing of the body is the last thing she needs to worry about. Kate will have to find the true killer if she wants to save her business and her life. And her new found witchy detective skills may not be enough to save her, especially if the demon is involved.

Her Secret Protector by Roxanne Snopek

Naked pictures never die...
A private photograph, taken long ago and far away, has come back to haunt good, sweet Carrie Logan, Cherry Lake's family photographer. For help containing this secret and the scandal it will cause, Carrie turns to Ethan Nash, the reclusive guy with the big dogs and bad attitude.
The big, bad cyber-security specialist takes one look at the photo of young Carrie, dancing in her altogether, and it knocks the stuffing out of him. He's pretty sure she's hooped - once something's on the internet, it's there forever, baby - but he has to try and help her anyway. 
But it turns out that he needs her help far more than she needs his.

DARK SECRETS, A Paranormal Noir Anthology - $0.99!


Barnes & Noble

Six award-winning authors bring you this spellbinding collection of stories about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule.

MARION, MISSING by Rachel Caine

Valentine is a detective with two major problems: he's been offered a kidnapping case that will probably get him killed, and his partner won't let him turn it down. He owes her that much … since his partner's a ghost, and he blames himself for her death. A dark, haunting noir mystery of love, hate and loss.

FEMME FATALE by Cynthia Eden

PI Mick Swayne has seen it all—his clients have included liars, thieves, and even killers. He thinks he can handle anything and anyone. Then she walks into his office. Savannah Moreau is beautiful, seductive, and…a vampire? The gorgeous vamp hires Mick to help her track down a killer who is hunting in Chicago, but as Mick slips deeper into Savannah’s paranormal world, he wonders if he can really trust his new client…


When the devil starts the music, you'd better get ready to dance.

Kathleen Murphy has sold her soul to the devil. Fame, fortune, success...everything she's ever dreamed of is hers, and all she has to do is the devil's bidding. When love comes knocking, the last thing in the world she wants to do is involve Jake in her twisted world, but the devil's started up the jukebox and Kathleen has no choice but to learn the steps

THE CONSORT by Suzanne Johnson

Faulkner Hearne, the captain of the ruthless Fae Hunters, finds his duty at odds with his heart when he’s ordered to capture the consort of Faerie’s cruel Prince of Summer when she flees across the veil into modern New Orleans. Can Faulk turn Liandra over to a certain death at the hands of the prince, or will he risk a war with Faerie in order to save her?

An all-new novella set in the Sentinels of New Orleans multiverse.

HEART’S BLOOD by Jeffe Kennedy, a Twelve Kingdoms novella

A dark fairytale retelling of a princess robbed of rank, husband and even her name.

Nix is nothing. The Princess Natilde—her former waiting woman—attacked her on the journey to wed Prince Cavan, stripping her of everything and taking her place. With no serving skills, Nix becomes a goose girl. Perhaps if Nix keeps her promise never to reveal who she really is, Natilde won’t carry out her vile threats. Prince Cavan entered his arranged marriage determined to have a congenial, if not loving relationship with his future queen—for the sake of both their kingdoms. But, his wife repels him more each day and he finds himself absurdly drawn to the lovely Nix.

With broken vows, anguish and dark secrets between them, Cavan and Nix struggle to find the magic to restore what’s gone terribly wrong... if it ever can be.

THE DJINN IN THE MIRROR by Mina Khan, a Djinn World novella

A paranormal Cinderella story with a young witch as the heroine and a wicked, sexy djinn instead of a fairy godmother.

Dahlia, the step-daughter of a power hungry wizard, promises to free a djinn trapped in a mirror if he rescues her from impending death. But Ashmael the djinn has his own agenda: to trick & seduce his way to freedom. The only problem is he ends up falling for Dahlia. Can he win his freedom and save the girl?



Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA Today, and #1 internationally bestselling author of more than 45 novels that span the categories of horror, suspense, urban fantasy, science fiction, media tie-in, historical, and young adult. She’s also the author of more than 100 short stories.

Rachel began her publishing career in 1991 under the name Roxanne Longstreet with her first novel, Stormriders, a media tie-in novel for the role-playing game Shadow World. In 2003, she began writing as Rachel Caine with the launch of the bestselling Weather Warden series in urban fantasy, followed by spinoff series Outcast Season, the Red Letter Days duology, and the Revivalist series.

In 2006, she began her career in young adult novels with the 15-book Morganville Vampires series. In 2014 she published her first stand-alone YA novel, Prince of Shadows, and in 2015, the start of the new Great Library series, Ink and Bone. She has two further novels in the series coming in 2016 and 2017, as well as a new three-book series beginning in Fall 2016. The Morganville Vampires will see a resurrection in March 2016 with Midnight Bites, a collection of short fiction.

Rachel graduated with a business degree from Texas Tech University, and had a number of careers in the business world, including accounting, tax preparation, payroll administration, insurance investigation, web design, technical writing, and corporate communications. She is a full time writer.

Twitter: @rachelcaine

Facebook: rachelcainefanpage



Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award . Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas.


Megan Hart is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of romance, erotic fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction and horror, as well as young adult fiction under the name Em Garner.

Hart began writing short horror and science fiction stories in elementary school, then added writing romance in the late nineties. Her first novel, An Exaltation of Larks, was published in 2002, followed by more than thirty novels and dozens of short stories in multiple genres.

Hart writes full time in the deep, dark woods of Pennsylvania and on the sandy shores of Delaware. She can’t stand the feeling of corduroy or the smell of Stargazer lilies, but she loves zombies, rainbows, the internet and the ocean. Find her at

Drop her a line at


Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books, including the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award-winning Elysian Fields. Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series for Montlake Romance, including 2013 Holt Medallion Winner for paranormal romance Absolution, as well as The Collectors romantic suspense series, including Lovely, Dark, and Deep, 2015 Holt Medallion winner and 2015 Booksellers Best Award winner for romantic suspense. She starts a new romantic suspense series about Louisiana game wardens, beginning with WILD MAN’S BLUFF in early 2016. Susannah was a finalist for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards in both 2014 and 2015.

A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, and claims an affinity for SEC football, fried gator on a stick, redneck reality TV, and Prince Christof’s best friend, undead New Orleans pirate Jean Lafitte.


Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.


Award-winning author Mina Khan grew up in Bangladesh on stories of djinns, ghosts and monsters. These childhood fancies now color her fiction. She daydreams of hunky heroes, magic, mayhem and mischief and writes them down as paranormal and fantasy stories. Between stories, she teaches culinary classes and writes for about food for her local newspaper. Other than that, she's raising a family of two children, three cats, three dogs and a husband.

Her first published work, The Djinn's Dilemma, won the novella category of the 2012 Romance Through The Ages (published) contest. A Tale of Two Djinns won the 2013 Readers’ Crown for best paranormal romance. Wildfire, her female dragon shifter, won the 2014 Prism for Best First Novel. A Christmas Wish won the Novella division of the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

Blog: Stories by Mina Khan

Facebook Author Page

Twitter: @SpiceBites



Elvis and the Buried Brides by Peggy Webb


Barnes & Noble

You’re invited to the most anticipated wedding of the year! As a bonus, enjoy the short story, ELVIS AND THE DEADLY LOVE LETTERS, plus recipes from cousin Lovie’s kitchen!

Callie is finally saying “I do” again! Lovie’s throwing a bridal shower, Mama’s making plans for grandbabies and Elvis is searching for a four-legged tuxedo. But somebody out there is looking for T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Can Elvis sniff out the crime in time for the nuptials or will hunky Jack Jones be left crying in the chapel?

This cozy has it all – wedding cake, high heels, a bad boy on a Harley, and a famous dog (Elvis made me say that)!

Dare to Seduce by Carly Phillips

Coming November 17th


Barnes & Noble

Alpha billionaire businessman, Max Savage has had a thing for Lucy Dare for as long as he can remember but he values his long standing friendship with her brothers too much to cross the line. When Lucy shows up at an engagement party on the arms of another man, Max doesn’t like the changes he sees in her and vows to make her his own.

It’s now or never. Max can think of one way to convince Lucy she’s with the wrong guy. He’ll dare to seduce her … no matter what the consequences.

DARE TO LOVE Series Reading Order:
Dare to Love Series Reading Order
Book 1: Dare to Love (Ian & Riley)
Book 2: Dare to Desire (Alex & Madison)
Book 3: Dare to Surrender (Gabe & Isabelle)
Book 4: Dare to Submit (Decklan & Amanda)
Book 5: Dare to Touch (Olivia & Dylan)
Book 6: Dare to Hold (Scott & Meg)
Book 7: Dare to Rock (Avery & Grey)
Book 8: Dare to Seduce (Max & Lucy) coming 11/17/15
*each book can stand alone for your reading enjoyment

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lunar Curse ~ 7 Book Box Set - $0.99!


Barnes & Noble

Werewolf Suspense 7 book box set
For a limited time only!

Seven of today’s best selling authors bring you a box set full of myths, legends and lore. Each of these authors has their own take on these monsters. You will be thrown into worlds of suspense, mystery, horror and dark fantasy with this set. 524,293 words!

Original Foreword by Award Winning Author Jonathan Maberry

Lycan Fallout: Rise Of The Werewolf by Best Selling author Mark Tufo
Takes you into a post apocalyptic world torn apart by zombies only to have a greater evil rise.

The world of man was brought to its knees with the zombie apocalypse. A hundred and fifty years have passed since man has clawed and climbed his way from the brink of extinction. Civilization has rebooted, man has begun to rebuild, to create communities and society. It is on this fragile new shaky ground that a threat worse than the scourge of the dead has sprung. One man finds himself once again thrust into the forefront of a war he wants nothing to do with and seemingly cannot win. Follow along as Michael Talbot attempts to thwart the rise of the werewolf.

High Moor by Best Selling author Graeme Reynolds
Brings the very best of a British Horror novel to you in his Werewolf Tale. Start to finish action filled horror.

When John Simpson hears of a bizarre animal attack in his old home town of High Moor, it stirs memories of a long forgotten horror. John knows the truth. A werewolf stalks the town once more, and on the night of the next full moon, the killing will begin again. He should know. He survived a werewolf attack in 1986, during the worst year of his life.

No Such Thing As Werewolves: Deathless By Best Selling author Chris Fox
Up and coming author Chris Fox brings you the werewolves of lore in his action packed adventure.

A plague of werewolves spreads across the world. A sunspot larger than anything in recorded history begins to grow. Yet both pale in comparison to the true threat, the evil the werewolves were created to fight.

Outage by Best Selling author T.W. Piperbrook
Modern day suspense at its best. A roller coaster of a story from start to finish.

When newlyweds Abby and Rob awaken, the power is out, the neighborhood is covered in snow, and the house is freezing. They'll soon find out that the storm is the least of their worries. Somewhere outside, something else is lurking. Waiting for the chance to strike...

The Plan by Best Selling author Christine Sutton
Exclusive peak into Christine’s Burkheart Witch Saga Series. A Short prologue to introduce you to one of the evils that lurks throughout her books.

Autobiography Of A Werewolf Hunter By Award Winning author Brian P. Easton
Brian takes you into the occult with this Book. Horror and suspense at its best.

It takes more than silver bullets to kill a werewolf.
Sylvester James knows what it is to be haunted. His mother died giving birth to him and his father never let him forget it; until the night he was butchered by a werewolf--the night a full moon ruined his life.
To kill a werewolf, it takes a hunter with a perfect willingness to die.

City Under The Moon By Award Winning author Hugh Sterbakov
"Bioweapon catastrophes, government conspiracies, military sieges, historical revelations, psychological warfare and werewolves. You want more thrill from a thriller?" – Seth Green

On New Year's Eve in Manhattan, a werewolf attack sparks an epidemic. Each night the victims multiply. The disease spreads. An army grows.
As authorities scramble to contain the monsters, they discover that one man is behind them.
His name is Demetrius Valenkov. And he has a message for the United States: FIND A CURE.
Tens of thousands are infected. Time is running out.

Life, Soul Being Soul by Carrie Louise Review

Title: Life, Soul Being Soul
Author: Carrie Louise
Genre: Personal Growth
Pages: 208
Price: $6.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers
Thoughts: Life changing.

Book Synopsis:

It has been my discovery that no matter how happy, positive, or content I feel, living with more feels better. For me, "Life Soul Being Soul" makes each day feel better.

"Life, Soul Being Soul" is totally UNIQUE to each reader. Unlike the majority of self-help books, it is based on a daily routine of opening the book to a random page. This author's personal understanding of this process is that the page choice is not random but guided by God, Universe, or the user's belief in a higher power. This method means that each person's daily focus will most likely be different from every other user's.

There are approximately 200 word pages. On each page, there is one positive, inspiring word upon which to focus. The interpretation and use of the chosen word is left up to each reader, thus providing a wide-open avenue for self discovery. The book does not request change, although change is inherent in the process. The book does promote the possibility of discovering the inner self (soul) and becoming more content and involved with life.


I've been a worrier my entire life. Even when I was little, I worried. While I'd been getting better at controlling my worrying, I found that I still spent a lot of time worrying about things that "might" happen. This book really did change all that. From the first day I started using it, I found myself focusing on the here and now. Anytime I started to worry, I just thought about what my word was for the day and how it fit into my life that day. This book is so easy to use and has completely changed my life. I know that sounds corny, but when you go from worrying about things you can't predict to living in the moment, it really is life changing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Keeping the Muse Happy: Guest Post by Author Regan Black

With five urban fantasy novels and several short stories in the Shadows of Justice series, and the fast-paced adventures of the Unknown Identities crew, readers often ask me why I wandered into the lighthearted side of the paranormal romance realm with the Matchmaker series.

My first response is my muse demanded a change-up, and prodded me to explore a world a little brighter and fluffier. I wanted the Matchmaker series to be novels readers could escape with for a few hours, full of characters and romance that would leave them with a smile.

There are definitely elements of my storytelling that cross over no matter the genre. The happy-ever-after of course, but it was exciting to discover whether the story walks on the dark or on the lighter side, my leading ladies are strong women who want to triumph over circumstances, not just get through them.

Alpha heroines are just second nature for me, my muse, and the heroes who fall in love with them. I enjoy writing kick-butt women who can do all the things I can only dream of physically and know what they want most from life. Women who, as Julia Quinn said, ‘I'd happily count among my best friends’.

You can discover more about The Matchmaker Series and the rest of my books that span the genres from paranormal romance to romantic suspense to non-fiction at

Live the adventure!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Love Ever After: Eleven All-New Romances!


Barnes & Noble

For a limited time, get eleven ALL-NEW romances in one EXCLUSIVE collection! Cowboys, rock stars, hockey players, shifters, vampires and more!

Yours To Teach (Captured and Claimed #2) by Cathryn Fox: After an introduction to the darker side of pleasure, Rebecca is anxious to experience the lifestyle to its fullest. Whisked away to a private resort by her lover, she is given a deeper glimpse into BDSM. Humbled that Rebecca has placed her trust in his hands, Quinn intends to take her training slowly. But when he sees her interest, he can’t help but think he needs to start sooner rather than later.

Forever Begins With a Kiss (Wardham #8) by Zoe York: Chase & Mari tie the knot. WARNING: This book overflows with sexy hockey players, frothy wedding details, and frivolous sex scenes.

Reign of the Vampire Book 1 by Sharon Page: Moving to Manhattan to work, Lauren is drawn into the world of seductive biker vampire Batiste Carlyle and his eternal battle with his destructive billionaire brother Renoir. As Lauren uncovers secrets of her past, she begins to trust Batiste, until he takes her captive…

Project Virgin by Megan Crane: First-year lawyer Scottie Grey breaks off her long engagement to a cheating liar and decides it's high time she got rid of her virginity instead of saving it for a wedding day that might never come—maybe to San Francisco's infamous and most intimidatingly sexy attorney Damon Patrick?

Committed (Lost in Oblivion, #3.7) by Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott: With the crash and burn of Simon Kagan's singing career, things have been a little off between him and Margo Reece. The passion is there—it's always there—but he wants to make sure she knows just how invested and committed he is to making her happy. Even if that means breaking out a ring and convincing her to wear it.

All About the Bear by Biana D'Arc: Welcome to Grizzly Cove, where the sheriff has more than the peace to protect. The proprietor of the new bakery in town is clueless about the dual nature of her nearest neighbors, but not for long. Sheriff Brody will clue her in and convince her to stay calm—and in his bed—for the next fifty years or so. Yeah, that might be enough. Then again, maybe he’ll keep her forever.

Tango For Two (Limelight #2.5) - In this Limelight series short story, makeup artist to the stars, Jasmine, agrees to learn and perform a sexy tango live on television for a charity telethon. The only trouble is the obnoxious celebrity she's partnered with AND the fact that she's falling for her charismatic choreographer, Eduardo.

Longing for Langston (Mavericks of Meeteetse Prequel) by Renee Vincent: Tired of living in his brother’s shadow, Brody Galven wants the folks of Meeteetse to realize he’s no longer a bad boy screwup. He also wants his childhood best friend, Olivia Langston, but admitting he loves her is out of the question…even when she’s about to walk out of his life forever.

Laguna Heights (Laguna Beach #2) by Kaira Rouda: Annie and Hank created a perfect life in beautiful Laguna Beach but when a dark secret is revealed, will their marriage survive?

Plush by Nina Lane: She's his wicked stepmother, and he's no prince.

Fighting for Forever (The Springs) by Elena Aitken: Ever since falling in love at The Springs, Rhys and Kari have been living a fairy tale, but fairy tales aren't real. Or are they? When Kari runs from the idea of forever, Rhys will have to fight for them. But will it be enough?

Donovan's of the Delta Boxed Set (Books 1 - 5) by Peggy Webb

$4.99 to $5.99

Barnes & Noble

The boxed set includes all five books of the best-selling romantic comedy series starring the Donovan siblings - Paul, Tanner, Hallie, Hannah and Jacob. Laugh and cry as this beloved family from the Delta searches for happily ever after. The set includes Donovan's Angel, Sleepless Nights, Hallie's Destiny, Any Thursday and Higher Than Eagles.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

One Night With The Billionaire by Lauren Hawkeye Excerpt


Barnes & Noble

Certifiable genius Mari Hart has spent her life focusing on school and getting ahead. Freshly out of school at age twenty, with two doctorates in hand and no idea what to do next, Mari decides to allow herself one night to be young, something she’s never done before. She’s smart, and she’s responsible—what could go wrong?

But at Florida’s hot, kinky new nightclub she sees something that she shouldn’t, and even her incredible intelligence can’t save her—but billionaire Alexios Kosta can. One of the world’s richest men—one with dark secrets of his own—Alexi has the power to make all of Mari’s problems go away.

The catch? To obtain full protection, Mari must become Alexi’s wife. And it isn’t long before their public displays of affection spark something far hotter than either could ever have imagined…

This is book two of the A Virgin, A Billionaire and a Marriage series. It is a category length novel that stands alone- no cliffhangers!

Features an exclusive excerpt from Saint, the NEW upcoming book from bestselling author Sara Fawkes!


You can’t make me stay.” Disengaging the claws, she instead starts to pound on my back. I have the gun in one hand, the other arm wrapped tightly around her legs so that I don’t drop her to the floor. “I can get past your security. I’ll just follow you.”
She will, too.
I guess I’ll have to find some way to prevent that then.” I wheeze a bit when she hits a tender spot—probably my freaking kidney. Mind made up, I haul her into my bedroom and unceremoniously dump her on the bed.
Hey!” She struggles to sit up as I toss the gun on my end table, so I place my free hand flat on her chest, holding her down on the bed.
She squirms, making good use of those damnable nails again. I grit my teeth against the sting as she gouges my skin. Opening the drawer to my bedside table, I pull out a length of chain and two individual cuffs.
Hey, I said I wasn’t into hardcore BDSM. If a woman wants me to tie her up and make her scream, though, I’m game.
Wait. What are you doing?” Digging the heels of her palms into the bed, Mari scrambles to sit up. I grab one slender wrist and close a cuff around it.
And then the other.
Alexi. Stop. Think.” Mari lashes out with her legs as I attach one cuff to the length of chain. I thread it through hooks on the iron headboard, the quickly attach it to the other cuff.
Mari brings her wrists together and regards them with absolute fury.
This is kidnapping.” She hisses between her teeth. “You will pay for this.”
I believe the proper response is: Thank you, Alexi, for keeping me safe and not letting me get killed.” Now that I’ve secured her, I should get up and leave. Yes, yes, I should. And it’s not because I’m worried about her hurting me.
No, it’s because her skin is flushed from the struggle, and her breasts are straining against the thin cotton of her T-shirt. Her glorious curls create an angelic halo around her face, but her charcoal eyes hold more fire than ice. She’s restrained against the forest green sheets of my bed, her body open to exploration.
Why are you looking at me like that?” Mari pulls herself into a sitting position, the length of chain rattling. She has plenty of room to move, but she can’t leave the bed.
I consider playing dumb, but I’ve been honest with her so far. I might as well keep on going.
It’s the way you look right now, with chains gleaming against your skin.” To emphasize my point, I trace a finger just under the cuff that’s circling her right wrist. She sucks in a breath. “It makes me want to sink my hands into your hair and bite that pouting lower lip.”
Alexi…” She shudders. In some women, the arch of her spine, the dilation of her pupils—I might take those as signs to make a move.
But Mari is different from every woman I’ve ever known. I suspect that if I tried to make a move on her now, after I’ve forcibly restrained her, she’d aim straight for my balls.
Still, pulling back from that invitation is physically painful, an ache in my chest that’s echoed in my groin. And no matter how much I want her… I won’t be good for her. I can’t possibly be.
I’m not good for anyone.
And I need to put some distance between us.
Reaching for the Glock that’s resting on the end table, I place my hand on the flat of Mari’s chest again. This time, though, I don’t push her to lie down.
Her eyes widen when she sees the gun. “What—”
I don’t think you know what you’re asking for when you pout that pretty little mouth of yours.” To emphasize my point, I slowly place the muzzle of the gun in the hollow of her collarbone. I’ve put the safety back on, but the meaning behind the gesture is clear.
Alexi. What are you doing?” Strangely, her voice has no fear. She’s looking at the gun, but she’s not shaking.
It’s like she… trusts me?
If she does, perhaps then she’s even more naïve than I thought.
I’m proving a point.” Slowly, I slide the muzzle of the gun down her chest, sliding it between her breasts and over her stomach. Her torso quivers, and I almost groan.
The slightest touch—a touch meant to prove that I’m just as dangerous as the bad guys—and she responds. It fills my mind with images of how she’d react if I did any of the wicked, wicked things currently circling my mind.
And what point is that?” She gasps as I slide the tip of the gun beneath one breast, then slowly circle it. “That you have to have your way?”
The words are full of bravado. Brave little brainiac.
The point is…” I scrape the muzzle right over her nipple and her back arches, thrusting her breasts forward. She cries out, the sound echoing off the high ceiling of the room. “The point is that I’m trying to be good. I’m trying to do the noble thing. I’m not any better for you than the men who want to kill you.”
I move to the other breast, repeating the movement. This time she whimpers, her nipple visibly pebbling beneath the cotton.
This is a reminder that I’m dangerous, Mari.” Abruptly, I pull the gun away, standing and tucking it into the waistband of my jeans. She startles, looking as though I’ve dumped a bucket of cold water on her head.
I’m trying to do the right thing here. But when you look at me the way you are, it makes things very… hard.” I wonder if she’ll catch the double entendre. From the way she arches her brow, she does.
The right thing would be to let me come with you.” She rattles the chains, and it only steels my resolve once more.
No, the right thing is to make you stay.” She glowers, and fuck me, but it’s sexy as hell.
I need to get out of this house. I need a clear head if I’m going to confront the family.
I promise you I’ll be back to release you.” I smile grimly as I turn away, knowing that that’s not necessarily a promise that I can keep. But I’ve scheduled a fail-safe—if I don’t cancel it, my phone will send a text to John, instructing him to release Mari.
I cross to the door, hearing Mari’s muttering behind me. I’m pretty sure that I can make out some of the words, and none of them are flattering.
She calls out my name as I reach the door. I know I’ll regret it, but I pause in the doorway, turning back. “Yes?”
One question.” Her stare is challenging, even mocking. Damn it, is it any wonder that I can’t get her out of my mind?
Fire away.” I lean against the door frame with a nonchalance that I don’t feel. I want to get this meeting over with—I want Mari to be safe.
Why do you have chains in your bedroom?” She seems genuinely puzzled, her brow furrowing.
I swallow the laughter, channeling it instead into a smirk. “Think about that until I get back.”
I can hear the names she calls me all the way down to the garage.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Princess Is Always Right by Stephanie Burkart Excerpt


Barnes & Noble

Sophia may be the youngest Windsor, but she knows her mind. A Princess of York, she's committed to do her duty – prevent Jonas Byron from finding Nikola Tesla and decimating the time line.

Jax Ruston is a rugged metalsmith with curly hair and dimples to die for. A resident of 1855, he's pledged to help Sophia find Jonas. Together, they journey across continental Europe in pursuit of Jonas.  
Despite her duty, Sophia's attracted to handsome Jax. However, he's committed to living in 1855. Can Sophia keep her focus on her mission, or will desire interfere with her task? Only one thing is certain: a princess is always right.


She wrinkled her brow. What did she want? To go home and train horses and pray the press leave her alone? To support charities? Sure, the task was noble, but not...fulfilling. Would she be dispatched through Great Britain as a goodwill ambassador? Did she want to seek higher schooling like Richard had? Was there a balance to be found between her personal life and her royal obligations? Richard and Alice seemed to find that balance, but Sophia felt almost rudderless in this moment. Did she want to remain a princess or enjoy the anonymity that Edmund possessed?

She ran a hand over her hair. She'd never felt so directionless before. Why was that? Because she wanted Jax in her life? They had discussed visiting each other using the time machine before Augustus' uncle passed away, but Sophia believed travel wouldn't be approved just for dating.

"You're a Windsor. Duty first. Love second. That's what I did and the nation benefited because of it." Liz's voice filled with pride.

"I had no idea it was such a thought provoking question." He kept his voice light in an effort to put her at ease.

She placed her hands in her lap. "Surprisingly, it is."

"How so?"

"I have some very serious decisions to make regarding my future." She drew in a breath. "And the direction I want to take it in."

He chuckled. "Remember -- a princess is always right."

She sighed, realizing she could only think of one major problem at a time and her future would have to wait. "I have to be right when it comes to Jonas. I have to catch him."


"Gus? Lord Ridgecroft? Are you here?"

"I seemed to have crushed a bed of dahlias. I'll be all right, Miss Windsor."

Sophia drew in a deep, calming breath, as a strong sense of responsibility settled over her. She had a mission -- find Jonas Byron and prevent him from interfering with Nikola Tesla's life. It sounded easy, but Jonas had a head start and depending on when she landed, she might be days behind him.

"Oww!" Gus' shrill cry pierced the night air.

"Lord Ridgecroft!" Jax rushed to the spot where his cry of distress originated. Sophia scrambled to her feet, unsure of her surroundings, though she believed they landed in the spot they had left from -- the garden behind the Ridgecroft townhouse in London.

The stars provided little light. Kerosene lamps from the street cast long murky shadows over the garden walls.

"Ow! Ow! Ow!" Gus cried.

Jax reached him. "His hand is caught in some type of trap."

Sophia frowned. Augustus "Gus" Darling had been thrust into the role of a nobleman when his uncle, Douglas Dunkirk, passed away. She really should remember to address him as such.
Slowly, she inched toward Jax and Lord Ridgecroft's shadows.

A door slammed. "Who's out there?"

She recognized the voice of Jeeves, the Ridgecroft's butler. Her shoulders relaxed a little.

"It's Sophia Windsor! Lord Ridgecroft appears hurt."


Jax raked a hand over his hair. He did not want her to leave without him. That meant only one thing. He had to go to her and convince her they couldn't be separated. He stood and cast his gaze on Ian. The boy slept soundly. Jax had to find a compromise by doing right by the boy and doing right by his heart.

He closed the door behind him gently and checked on Sophia's room. She wasn't there. Then he went downstairs. Peeking into the study, he saw Lady Charlotte placing covers over Lord Ridgecroft and making him comfortable. Could she be in the kitchen? He continued down the hall and caught a glimpse of two people sitting on a bench. Jeeves and Sophia. Fisting his hands, he drew in a breath and steeled up his courage.

Jax knocked on the glass of the french doors and stepped out. She looked up at him, sadness etched in her face.

"Can we talk?" he asked.

Jeeves glanced at Sophia. She offered the butler a small smile. "It's fine."

Jeeves stood and bowed. "If you'll excuse me, I'll finish my rounds and retire for the evening."

"Good night, Jeeves," Jax said.
The butler nodded and left.

"I had no idea I had a son. This was a surprise."

"It's clear the boy is yours," she said, softly. "And so is your duty."

"I won't deny it," Jax paused. "And I do want to get to know him, but I don't want to lose you either."

"I have to leave tomorrow."

He pursed his lips, frustrated. "I knew Fiona briefly. I was attracted to her because she was kind, but I knew nothing would ever come of us. My father suggested she knew that, too, that's why she never told me."

"I'm sorry." Sophia looked at her fingers in her lap, then up at him. "She should have contacted you. It would have been the right thing to do."

He sighed and took the seat next to Sophia placing her hand between his. He snared her eyes with his stare. "The right thing to do is let me go with you tomorrow. I care for you."

"I know what it's like to lose a parent. I was twelve when my mother passed away. I still remember the little things, like her smile. I remember traveling all over Britain with her. When my mother passed away, a sadness filled my heart that I thought I would never replace. That little boy is hurting right now. He needs you."

"He can come with us." Jax just blurted out the first thought that came to his mind. If Sophia wanted Ian to be close to Jax, then it only made sense to have Ian come with them. Jax thought the idea was inspired.

Sophia's mouth fell open, then she closed it, before she scrunched up her brows. "Are you serious? That we take a five-year-old traipsing all over Europe with us?"

"Why not? It's the only way we can be all together." He had no idea what it would entail, but what better way to solve his problem? He would get to know his son and remain close to Sophia.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

We All Fall Down by K. Marie

$3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


New to Los Angeles, Ethan is slowly finding his place in a Performing Arts school. While he's surrounded by a solid group of friends he's still finding it slightly difficult to adjust. His word is turned upside down when he's attacked one night in a hate crime. It's up to only Ethan to stop himself from spiraling out of control as he battles his inner demons.

The Legend of Tabby Hollow by Kathi Daley Excerpt

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


A cozy mystery series set on Madrona Island, a fictional island within the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. As a fourth generation islander Caitlin Hart is struggling to make her way as the economy and culture of the island evolves toward a tourism based industry. Cait lives in a cabin on her aunt's oceanfront estate where she helps her aunt run Harthaven Cat Sanctuary. When she isn't working with the cats, she helps best friend Tara, operate the coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge they own, named Coffee Cat Books. In the fifth book in the series, Cait and Cody join forces to track down a killer when a body is found in the hollow.

Chapter 1
Monday, October 19

The hollow is a mystical place located in the center of Madrona Island. Given the rocky cliffs that encircle the area, it is protected from the storms that ravage the shoreline. The hollow is uninhabited except for the cats who reside in the dark spaces within the rocks. While most of the island’s residents stop short of referring to the hollow as haunted, it is widely accepted that not everything that happens there can be explained.

I enjoy the pilgrimage I make to the area on a monthly basis. After Aunt Maggie founded Harthaven Cat Sanctuary, I took on the role of guardian to the island’s cats. When visitors first come to our island they’re surprised to see such a large feral cat population. Most assume the immigrants who settled the island four generations ago brought the cats, but the truth of the matter is that the cats of Madrona Island were here before the founding families arrived.

No one knows for certain how the cats came to be on the island, but local legend tells of a man named Ivan Valtranova. Ivan was a merchant from Russia who supposedly found the island when he was blown off course during a storm. He took refuge in the hollow with the twelve cats with whom he traveled. If folklore is to be believed, he fell in love with the beauty and isolation of the island and decided to stay after the storm had passed. Most assume the cats Ivan brought with him served as the base from which the current cat population was bred.

According to the story, Ivan lived alone on the island for a number of years, until the founding families arrived and built the fishing village of Harthaven. It is said that one of the settlers killed the Russian over a land dispute. Although the account of his demise has most likely been sensationalized, it seems that after a hard-fought battle to retain his isolation, he was beheaded and his headless body was left in the hollow. The legend tells us that the head was never found and is in fact buried within the hollow. There are those who believe Ivan’s spirit is trapped in the hollow and that he still wanders the area, looking for his head and exacting his revenge on those who would disturb his solitude.

Personally, I hope the legend isn’t true. I don’t want to believe that one or more of the founding fathers killed the man in cold blood in order to steal the land he claimed. And, although I come to the hollow on a regular basis, I’ve never been bothered by Ivan or any other spirit. But most legends are based at least in part on reality, and anyone who has been around for any length of time will tell you that there have been a number of strange and unexplained deaths in the area over the years.

Whatever their origin, the cats of Madrona Island are considered to be part of its charm. They were allowed to wander freely until Mayor Bradley lost several of his prize koi to the cats, motivating him to pass a law making it legal to remove the feral animals from ones’ property by any means necessary. When Aunt Maggie realized the cats were in danger of being trapped and killed, she founded the sanctuary as a refuge for the beautiful and graceful animals.

Today, I chose to abandon any thoughts of death or vengeance from beyond the grave and concentrate on the beauty surrounding me. One of the things I like best about the hollow is the whispers in the air. Most believe the sound is created as the wind echoes through the canyon, but I believe the whispers are the cats, heralding my arrival.

I took my time as I walked along the narrow footpath, looking for signs of felines in distress. More often than not I leave the cats to their own devices, but occasionally I come across a tabby who is sick or injured. When this occurs I trap it and take it back to the sanctuary, where it can receive medical attention. Occasionally, I’ll come across a cat who seems ripe for domestication, but most of the time I return the healed cats to the place in which I found them.

Today, I’ve come to the hollow for a very specific purpose. Today, I’ve been sent to find a messenger. Tansy hadn’t given me a lot of information about him, other than that he would meet me in the hollow and lead me to that which was mine to find.

Tansy and her best friend, Bella, are rumored to be witches. Neither Tansy nor Bella will confirm or deny their witchy status, but both women know things that can’t be empirically explained. Bella and Tansy live in the touristy village of Pelican Bay, which is located on the southern end of the island. The women own and operate Herbalities, a specialty shop dealing in herbs and fortune telling. While both Bella and Tansy seem to be more in tune with the natural rhythms of the universe than most, it’s Tansy who demonstrates a level of intuition that’s downright disturbing.

While venturing into the hollow to meet a feline messenger may seem like an odd thing to do, Tansy and her cats had never misled me in the past. I don’t really understand why I’ve been tasked with the responsibility, but I know deep in my soul that working with the cats is my calling and destiny.

“Ichabod?” I asked the large black cat with glowing green eyes and pointy ears who had wandered onto the path in front of me.

The cat didn’t answer, but somehow I knew I’d found my messenger.

“Tansy said to follow you, so here I am,” I said aloud. “Lead the way.”

The cat looked me up and down before he turned and started up the rocky trail that didn’t appear to lead anywhere. The trail was steep and covered in shale, creating a difficult and dangerous passage. I run with my dog Max almost every day, so I’m well equipped for a laborious hike, but the sun had already begun its descent and I was concerned that the darkness would arrive before I was able to make my way back down the trail and out of the hollow. Still, over time I’ve learned to trust the felines Tansy sends my way, so I dutifully followed in spite of the risk.

The trail narrowed as it wound steeply up the mountain. My legs burned as I struggled to keep my footing on the unstable ground. The trip back down the path wasn’t going to be fun at all.

Once I arrived at the summit, I paused to catch my breath and admire the view. The setting sun glistened off the still water of the ocean as seabirds glided above the surface, looking for their evening meal. It was too bad I hadn’t thought to bring a flashlight. I imagined that sitting atop the rocky bluff as the sun set with only the cats for company would be a magical experience.

Apparently, Ichabod wasn’t the patient sort because after only a minute’s rest, he began meowing at me to continue the journey. I figured we must be coming to the end of the journey because since it wouldn’t be long before we would run out of trail. I turned away from the spectacular view and continued to follow the cat. He led me inland just a bit and then back toward the sea.

I’m not entirely certain why no one has ever developed this part of the island. I imagine it could be due to the rough terrain, although, while the current trail system is perilous at best, it wouldn’t be all that hard to run a road into the interior of the unpopulated space. There’s a rough dirt road that runs along the perimeter of the hollow. Most use it to access the area before continuing on foot.

I supposed the legend could also play into the equation. Most islanders won’t admit to believing in the power of Ivan’s ghost, yet few seem willing to put the legend to the test.

Ichabod stopped and sat down at the point where the trail met the edge of the cliff. I wasn’t a huge fan of heights, but I walked up beside him and looked over the threshold. Lying at the bottom of the bluff was the body of Mayor Bradley. At least I thought it was Mayor Bradley. It was hard to know for certain because the face of the victim gave evidence to the fact that scavengers live in the area. But the body was dressed in the same suit I’d seen Mayor Bradley wear on many occasions.

Traded to the Desert Sheikh by Caitlin Crews Excerpt


Barnes & Noble

“You belong to me.”

In the desert, Sheikh Kavian’s word is law. So the defiance of his promised queen, Amaya, who flees after their betrothal ceremony, is intolerable! Kavian’s already tasted her sweetness—perhaps his reluctant bride-to-be needs reminding of the pleasure he can give…

Once Amaya is back in his kingdom, Kavian commands her total sensual surrender in the secluded harem baths. Amaya fears such all-consuming lust makes her weak, but she’s proven she can match his desire. Kavian needs a queen who can endure everything about him—can Amaya face his dark past and embrace her desert destiny?


She had no warning.

There had been no telltale men with grim, assessing eyes watching her from the shadows. No strange gaps in conversation when she walked into the small coffee shop in a tiny lakeside village in British Columbia. There hadn’t been any of the usual hang-ups or missed calls on her latest disposable mobile phone that signaled her little noose was drawing tight.

She had a large mug of strong, hot coffee to ward off the late-autumn chill this far north, where snow was plastered across the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the thick clouds hung low. The pastry she chose was cloyingly sweet, but she ate all of it anyway. She checked her email, her messages. There was a new voice mail from her older brother, Rihad, which she ignored. She would call him later, when she was less exposed. When she could be certain Rihad’s men couldn’t track her.

And then she glanced up, some disturbance in the air around her making her skin draw tight in the second before he took the seat across from her at the tiny little café table.

“Hello, Amaya,” he said, with a kind of calm, resolute satisfaction—while everything inside her shifted into one great big scream. “You’ve been more difficult to find than anticipated.”

As if this were a perfectly casual meeting, here in this quiet café in an off-season lakeside village in a remote part of Canada she’d been certain he couldn’t find. As if he weren’t the most dangerous man in the world to her—this man who held her life in those hands of his that looked so easy and idle on the table between them despite their scars and marks of hard use, in notable contrast to that dark slate fury in his too-gray eyes.

As if she hadn’t left him—His Royal Highness, Kavian ibn Zayed al Talaas, ruling sheikh of the desert stronghold Daar Talaas—if not precisely at the altar, then pretty damn close six months ago.

Amaya had been running ever since. She’d survived on the money in her wallet and her ability to leave no trail, thanks to a global network of friends and acquaintances she’d met throughout her vagabond youth at her heartbroken mother’s side. She’d crashed on the floors of perfect strangers, stayed in the forgotten rooms of friends of friends and walked miles upon miles in the pitch-dark to get out of cities and even countries where she’d thought he might have tracked her. She wanted nothing more than to leap up and run now, down the streets of the near-deserted village of Kaslo and straight into the frigid waters of Lake Kootenay if necessary—but she had absolutely no doubt that if she tried that again, Kavian would catch her.

With his own bare hands this time.

And she couldn’t repress the shiver that swept over her at that thought.

Much less the one that chased it, when Kavian’s sensually grim mouth curved slightly at the sight of her reaction.

Control yourself, she snapped. Inside her own head.

But Kavian looked as if he heard that, too. She hated that some part of her believed that he could.

“You seem surprised to see me,” he said. “Surely not.”

“Of course I’m surprised.” Amaya didn’t know how she managed to push the words out of her mouth. A list of things she needed to do—right that second, if there was any hope for her to escape him again now that he’d be fully expecting her to try—raced through her head. But she couldn’t seem to look away from him. Just like the last time she’d met him, at her brother’s palace to the south of Kavian’s desert kingdom for the occasion of her arranged engagement to this man, Kavian commanded her full attention. “I thought the last six months made it clear that I didn’t want to see you, ever again.”

“You belong to me,” he said, with that same sheer certainty that had sent ice spearing through her at the celebration of their betrothal in the Bakrian Royal Palace half a year ago. That same spear felt even colder now. “Was this moment truly in doubt? I was always going to find you, Amaya. The only question was when.”

His voice was deceptively calm, something like silken in the quiet of the small café. It did nothing to lessen the humming sort of threat that emanated from that lethal body of his, all harsh muscle and a kind of lean, austere maleness that was as foreign to her as it was oddly, disruptively fascinating. He looked nothing like the local men who had been in and out of this very café all morning, wreathed in hearty beards and thick plaid jackets to fend off the northern cold.

Kavian wore unrelenting black, relieved only by those furious slate-gray eyes he didn’t shift from her for a single moment. Black trousers on his tough, strong legs, utilitarian black boots on his feet. What looked like a fine black T-shirt beneath the black bomber jacket he wore half-zipped that managed to show off his granite-hard chest rather than conceal it in any way. His thick dark hair was shorter than she remembered it, and the closer-cut style accentuated the deadly lines of his brutally captivating face, from that warrior’s jaw with the faintest hint of his dark beard as if he hadn’t bothered to shave in days, his blade of a nose and cheekbones male models would have died for that nonetheless looked like weapons on such a hard-hewn face.

He looked like an assassin, not a king. Or perhaps a king in hiding as some kind of nightmare. Her nightmare. Either way, he looked catastrophically out of place here, so far across the planet from Daar Talaas, where his rule seemed as natural as the desolate desert and the stark, forbidding mountains that dominated his remote country.

Or perhaps the only catastrophe was the way her heart thundered inside her chest, louder by the second. He was like a shot of unwanted, far-too-tactile memory and adrenaline mixed into one, reminding her of the treacherous, unwelcoming desert where she’d been born and where she’d spent the first few years of her life, wrapped up tight in all that sweltering heat, storming sand and blinding, terrible light.

Amaya hated the desert.

She told herself she wasn’t any fonder of Kavian.

“You are quite enterprising.”

She didn’t think that was a compliment. Not exactly. Not from this man, with his harsh gaze and that assessing way he looked at her, as if he was sizing her up for structural weaknesses he could then set about exploiting for his own ends. That’s exactly what he’s doing, she told herself.

“We almost had you in Prague two months ago.”

“Unlikely, as I was never in Prague.”

That crook of his mouth again, that made her breath feel choppy and her lips sting, and Amaya was certain he knew full well that she was lying.

“Are you proud of yourself?” he asked. She noticed then that he hadn’t moved in all the time he’d sat there. That he remained too still, too watchful. Like a sentry. Or a sniper. “You have caused untold damage with this pointless escapade of yours. The scandal alone could topple two kingdoms and yet here you sit, happy to lie to my face and sip at a latte in the wilds of Canada as if you are a stranger to your own responsibilities.”

There was no reason that should hit Amaya like a blow.

She was the half sister of the current king of Bakri, it was true. But she hadn’t been raised in the palace or even in the country, as some kind of royal princess draped in tiaras and expectations. Her mother had taken Amaya with her when she left and then divorced the former king—Amaya’s father—and Amaya had been raised in her mother’s painful whirlwind of a wake. A season here, a season there. Yachts in the south of France or Miami, artistic communes in places like Taos, New Mexico, or the beach resorts of Bali. Glitzy cities bristling with the rich and famous in their high-class penthouses and hotel suites, distant ranches ringed with fat, sleek cattle and more rustic interpretations of excessive wealth. Wherever the wind had blown Elizaveta al Bakri, wherever there were people to adore her appropriately and pay for the privilege, which Amaya had come to understand was her mother’s substitute for the love her father hadn’t given her, that was where they’d gone—as long as it was never, ever back to Bakri, the scene of the crime as far as Elizaveta was concerned.

That Amaya had returned to the country of her birth at all, much less because Rihad had prevailed upon her after their father had died and somehow gotten into her head with his talk of her birthright, had caused a distinct rift between Amaya and her mother. Elizaveta had been noticeably frosty to her only child since the old king’s funeral, which Amaya had attended and which had been, in Elizaveta’s view, a deep betrayal.

Amaya understood. Elizaveta still loved her lost king, Amaya was sure of it. It was just that Elizaveta’s thwarted love had grown more than a little gnarled and knotted over all these years, becoming indistinguishable from hate.

But there was no point thinking about her complicated relationship with her mother, much less her mother’s even more complicated relationship with emotions. It solved nothing—especially not Amaya’s current predicament. Or what Kavian viewed as her responsibilities.

“You’re talking about my brother’s responsibilities,” Amaya said now, somehow holding Kavian’s hard warrior gaze steadily as if she weren’t in the least moved by his appearance before her. It she did it long enough, maybe she’d believe it herself. “Not mine.”

“Six months ago, I was prepared to be patient with you.” His voice was soft. It was the only thing about him that was. “I was not unaware of the way you were raised, so ignorant of your own history and the ancient ways, forever on the run. I knew this union would present challenges for you. Six months ago, I intended to meet those challenges as civilly and carefully as possible.”

The world, so still already since he’d sat across from her, shrank down until it was nothing but that flame of sheer, crackling temper in his dangerous gaze. Gray and fierce. Piercing into her, beneath her skin, like a terrible burning she could neither control nor extinguish. It seared through her, rolling too fast, too unchecked, too massive to bear.

“How thoughtful you were six months ago,” she said faintly. “It’s funny how you didn’t mention any of that at the time. You were too busy posturing and grandstanding with my brother. Playing to the press. I was nothing more than a little bit of set dressing at my own engagement party.”

“Are you as vain as your mother before you, then?” His voice turned so hard it left her feeling hollow, as if it had punched straight through her, though he still didn’t move at all. “That is a great pity. The desert is not kind to vanity, you will find. It will strip you down to the bone and leave only who you really are behind, whether you are ready to face that harsh truth or not.”

Something flickered behind that fierce gaze of his, she thought—though she didn’t want to know what it was, what it meant. She didn’t want to imagine who he really was. Not when he was so overwhelming already.

“You paint such a lovely picture,” she threw back at him. She didn’t understand why she was still sitting there, doing nothing but chatting with him. Chatting. Why did she feel paralyzed when he was near? The same thing had happened the last time, at their celebration six months ago. And then far worse—but she refused to think about that. Not here. Not now, with him watching her. “Who wouldn’t want to race off to the desert right now on such a delightful voyage of self-discovery?”

Kavian moved then, and that was worse than his alarming stillness. Far worse. He rose to his feet with a lethal show of grace that made Amaya’s temples pound, her throat go dry. Then he reached down, took her hand without asking or even hesitating and pulled her to her feet.

And the insane part was that she went.

She didn’t fight. She didn’t recoil. She didn’t even try. His hand was calloused and rough against hers, hot and strong, and her stomach flipped, then dropped. Her toes arched in the boots she wore. She came up too fast and once again, found herself teetering too close to this man. This stranger she could not, would not marry.

This man she could not think about without that answering fire so deep within.

“Let go of me,” she whispered.

“What will you do if I do not?”

His voice was still calm, but she was closer to him now, and she felt the rumble of it like a deep bass line inside her. His skin was the color of cinnamon, and heat seemed to blast from him, from his hand around hers and his face bent toward her. He was bigger than she was, tall enough that her head reached only his shoulder, and the fact that he’d spent his whole life training in the art of war was like a living flame between them. It was written deep into every proud inch of him. She could see the white line of an old scar etched across the proud column of his throat, and refused to let herself think about how he might have come by it.

He was a war machine, this man. Kavian is of the old school, in every meaning of the term, her brother had told her. She’d known that going in. She couldn’t pretend otherwise.

What she hadn’t realized was how it would affect her. It felt as if she were standing too close to a wicked bonfire, her face on the verge of blistering from the intense heat, with no way to tell when the wind might change.

Kavian tugged on her hand, bringing her closer against his chest, then bending his head to speak directly into her ear.

“Will you scream?” he asked softly. Or perhaps it was a taunt. “Cry out for help from all these soft strangers? What do you think will happen if you do? I am not a civilized man, Amaya. I do not live by your rules. I do not care who gets in my way.”

And she shook, as much from the sensation of his breath against her ear as the words he used. Or maybe it wasn’t either of those—maybe it was that he was holding her against that body of his again, and she was still haunted by what had happened the last time. What she hadn’t done a single thing to stop—but that was desert madness, nothing more, she told herself harshly.

She had no choice but to believe that. It was the only thing that made any sense.

“I believe you,” she hissed at him. “But I doubt that you want to end up on the evening news, uncivilized or not. That would be a bit too much scandal, I think we can agree.”

“Is this a theory you truly wish to test?”

She yanked herself back from him, out of his grip, and it wasn’t lost on her that he let her go. That he had been in control of her since the moment he walked into this café—or before, she realized as her stomach flipped over inside her again and then slammed down at her feet. It must have been before.

Amaya looked around a little bit wildly and realized—belatedly—that the café was unusually empty for the early afternoon. The handful of locals who remained seemed to have studiously averted their gazes in a way that suggested someone had either told them to do so or compensated them for it. And she could see the two brawny men, also in head-to-toe, relentless black, standing at the front door like sentries and worse, the sleek black SUV idling at the curb outside. Waiting.

For her.

She jerked her gaze back to Kavian. “How long have you been following me?”

His dark eyes gleamed.

“Since we located you in Mont-Tremblant, all the way across this great, wide country in Quebec ten days ago.” Kavian was calm, of course. But then, he’d already won. Why wouldn’t he be calm? “You should not have returned there if you truly wished to remain at large.”

“I was only there for three days.” She frowned at him. “Three days in six months.”

He only gazed back at her as if he were made entirely of stone and could do so forever—and would, if it was required. As if he were a monolith and as movable.

“Mont-Tremblant was your favorite of the upscale ski resorts your mother preferred whenever her winter tastes ran to cold weather and ski chalets. I assume that played a part in why you opted to go to university in Montreal, so you could better access it in your free time. I’ve long suspected that if you were likely to return to any of the places your mother dragged you over the years, it would be there.”

“How long have you been studying me?” Amaya managed to scrape out, her heart right there in her throat. She was surprised he couldn’t see it.

And Kavian smiled then, a quirk of his absurdly compelling mouth that made her doubt her own sanity. But there was no doubting the way it wound in her, tightening the knot in her belly, making her feel unsteady on her feet.

She had the strangest notion that he knew it.

“I don’t think you’re ready to hear that,” he told her, and there was something else, then, in those slate-gray eyes. Inhabiting that warrior’s face of his, stone and steel. And he was right, she thought. She didn’t want to hear it. “Not here. Not now.”

“I think I deserve to know exactly how much of an obsessed stalker you are, in fact. So I can prepare myself accordingly.”

He almost laughed. She saw the silver of it in his gaze, in the movement of that mouth of his, though he made no sound.

“What you deserve is to be thrown over my shoulder and bodily removed from this establishment.” She’d never heard him sound anything but supernaturally calm and almost hypnotic in his intensity, and so that rough edge to his voice then shocked her. It made her jolt to attention, her eyes flying wide on his. “Make no mistake. If I’d caught up to you in a less stuffy place than Canada, we wouldn’t be bothering with polite conversation at all. My patience ran out six months ago, Amaya.”

“You threaten me, and then you wonder why I ran?”

“I don’t care why you ran,” he replied, ruthless and swift, and she’d never heard him sound quite like that, either. “You can walk outside and get in that car, or I can put you there. Your choice.”

“I don’t understand this.” She did nothing to hide the bitterness in her voice, the anguish that she’d walked into this trap six months ago thinking her eyes were open, or the fear that she’d never get out of it again. “You could have any other woman in the world as your queen. I’m sure there are millions who lie awake at night dreaming of coronations and crowns. And you could certainly ally your country to my brother’s if that was what you wanted, whether or not your queen was related to him. You don’t need me.”

Again, that smile, dangerous and compelling and world-altering at once. The essence of Kavian, boiled down to that small quirk of his too-hard mouth.

“But I want you,” he said, deep and certain. So very certain, like stone. “So it amounts to the same thing.”

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