Monday, August 29, 2022

Courting Trouble: A Romantic Comedy (The Texas Two-Step Series Book 5) by Kathy Carmichael



Updated version -- Sweet romance. The Texas Two-Step series is a reader favorite. All of the stories in the series are sweet, charming and emotional contemporary romance. Each story in the series stands alone, but all Texas Two-Step novels and novellas feature love stories about members of the Nelson, Murphy or Palmer families — and sometimes, all three!


Diedra Palmer likes her men in neckties and starched collars—all the better for mussing—and attorney Alec Sparks is the starchiest man Diedra has ever met. Trouble is, Alec lives to maintain control, and Diedra's an accident waiting to happen. Electromagnetically challenged, Deidra unintentionally burns out light bulbs, stops watches, and makes appliances go berserk when her emotions run high. Alec would love to have nothing more to do with Diedra. But his law partner's marriage to Diedra's sister is on the rocks, and Diedra's promising to get out of his hair if he'll just agree to her hair-brained scheme to reunite the pair. Yet, how will he ignore the sparks Diedra is setting off in his heart? Courting Trouble is the fourth sweet romance in the Texas Two-Step contemporary romance series from USA Today bestselling author Kathy Carmichael. Previously titled: Stuck on You

THE TEXAS TWO-STEP, in series order:
Western Pleasure (A Novella) (Book 0) (Prequel)
Chasing Charlie (Book 1)
The Lassoed Bride (A Novella) (Book 2)
Country Courtship (Book 3)
Courting Trouble (Book 4)
My Southern Bride (Book 5)
Abby's Cowboy (Book 6)
Christmas at Nelson Ranch (Book 7)

"Debbie Macomber fans will love CHASING CHARLIE.” ~


Friday, August 26, 2022

FREE Trial by Fire by Taylor Lee



Riveting Full Length Sequel to Bestselling Sizzling Romantic Suspense “Playing with Fire”.

“The sexiest, most outrageous hero I’ve read in a long time. Snappy, laugh out loud dialogue, and a Sizzling HOT romance makes this wildly exciting murder mystery a true page-turner.” J. John
“A spellbinding police mystery thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Pulse pounding action and steamy romance. A cast of unforgettable characters that will capture your heart.” Action Junkie

•A badass cop flaunts every regulation and finds himself the # 1 suspect in a violent murder
•A vicious killer who makes Hannibal Lecter seem tame
•Two wounded lovers haunted by the past

“A love story so poignant makes you want to cheer for Nate and Erin as they struggle to overcome the ugliness from the past.”RomanceReviews

Love Kaylea Cross's heart pounding romantic military thrillers? Sylvia Day’s and Maya Banks red hot sexy heroes, feisty heroines and high adrenaline action? Fern Michael’s compelling characters? Grab Trial by Fire and prepare to be addicted. 

Chapter 1

“What have we got, Jim?”
Seeing the Medical Examiner huddled with a cluster of techs and members of the
evidence team, Nate Stryker waited for the verdict. Jim Thompson’s face flooded with relief and
something akin to wonder when he saw Nate. Nodding to Dan Coulter, the wizened little man
turned his attention to Nate.
“We’re waiting for you, Nate. I’ve kept everyone out. Knew you’d want this one clean
until you saw it. Plus, I wanted to get your first impression. Sure as hell, it’s something I never
thought I’d see in Chicadia Falls, Minnesota.”
“Point me to it.”
Yanking on the latex gloves and paper booties one of the techs handed him, Nate
followed the diminutive medical examiner into what looked like a library. The opulent room
screamed money. It could have been the centerpiece of any well-appointed lounge in a
Gentleman’s Club; overstuffed leather sofas, matching armchairs, and occasional tables carved
out of teak contributed to a sense of masculine comfort. Dark hardwood floors and hand-woven
area rugs underscored the expensive taste of the owner. Guests had access to a bar stocked with
premium liquors and a cigar cabinet with all necessary accoutrements. Walnut-paneled walls,
hundreds of leather-bound books, a native stone fireplace complete with a flickering fire, spoke
to a room meant to be enjoyed, and--knowing the owner--envied.
And no doubt, before this evening, that was precisely the reaction this room and every
other room in the lumber baron’s ostentatious mansion received from all who were fortunate
enough to be invited in. Nate shook his head. So much for first impressions. From this night on,
Mike Peterson’s showplace library would be known as his funeral pyre. Humph. He should be
so lucky to have been burned to death. Would have been a hell of a lot quicker.
Dan’s muttered expletive said it all.
Nate nodded to his partner.
“That about sums it up, Dan.”
Exchanging a glance with Dan, who was rooted to a spot by the sofa, Nate moved toward
the makeshift cross in the middle of the room. Jim Thompson didn’t exaggerate. Wasn’t only

Chicadia Falls that hadn’t seen a scene like this. Nate was damn sure this one would go down in
police annals everywhere. Hell, their little township could become famous. Or infamous, Nate
snorted. Leave it to Peterson to go out in style. Fucking show-off. Couldn’t even be murdered
without drama.
Nate approached the naked man hanging on the cross. Fortunately for Mike, he’d relied
on his wealth to attract women. Sure as hell wasn’t his physique. Scrawny, sagging skin liberally
sprinkled with age spots, and a pendulant belly about summed up the former ladies man’s body.
And granted it wasn’t fair to judge a guy’s dick when it was stuck in his mouth, but c’mon! The
best that could be said was at least Mike didn’t choke to death. It was a cinch that little nubbin
didn’t reach much past his front teeth.
No, more likely Mike bled out. Inch-deep cuts marked his torso and limbs.
Systematically placed, the slashes were made by a pro. Someone well-schooled in the art of
slowly whipping a man to death with as much pain as possible. Of course, that open area
between his legs that used to anchor his manhood, contributed to the blood clotting on the floor.
From the way the blood had dried on his pale skinny thighs, that unkind cut was made early on.
Either Mike was unwilling to give up the information his tormentor wanted or the end goal was
torture, plain and simple.
Dan’s voice was shaky. Smearing a gob of mentholated ointment under his nose, he
offered Nate the slim metal tin.
“You want some of this, Nate?”
Nate shook his head and moved closer to the cross. Over the years he’d become inured to
the smells of death. Particularly violent deaths. Mike’s qualified--big time. The acrid smell of
blood, piss and evacuated bowels were all common odors at a violent death scene. Mike’s had all
three and then some. The stench was enough to deck a rookie officer. Nate barely noticed it.
Staring at the vicious slashes covering Mike’s body, Dan’s expression was as strained as
his voice.
“Jesus, Nate. What makes those kinds of cuts? I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nate shrugged.
“My best guess is a steel-tipped flogger, or could be a one-tail. Unlikely just leather could
go that deep. But, hell, the guy who wielded it was a master. From the looks of it, he enjoyed it.”

Dan began documenting the scene, his low voice droning into the ‘notes’ app on his
iPhone. Nate listened for a moment then got lost in his visual examination. Erin always used her
phone to capture the images at a fire scene. It was a great technique, but Nate was a visual kind
of guy. At least for him, the disadvantage of a verbal recording was that you only recorded what
you saw at the time. Once Nate saw a scene, it was imbedded in his memory. And there it lived--
forever. Days, even weeks later, he could retrieve it in technicolor. Experts called it eidetic
memory. Nate called it a pain in the ass. But as annoying as the unbidden replays were, he’d
learned to trust his gut. When the scene kept intruding, he knew he’d missed something. The
details were there from the beginning but often got lost in the crush of the crime scene. In the
past, they were the minor details that had helped him break a case when no one else could.
“You about done, Nate?”
Nate nodded to his partner.
“I’ve got everything I need for the moment.” He motioned to the door. “Go ahead and let
them in.”
As the troop of evidence clerks and uniformed officers flooded the room, Nate sought out
the M.E. Taking a deep breath, he asked the question that had been stalking his mind since they
got the call.
“Where’s Laura?”
Jim Thompson gave him a knowing nod.
“They have her upstairs in her bedroom. Dr. James and a couple of the EMT’s are with
her. She was pretty beat up.”
Nate’s gut clenched.
“She was hurt?”
Thompson frowned and shook his head. “No, she wasn’t here. She’d been out
Nate quirked a brow and murmured to Dan. “No surprise there.”
Dan’s lip curled in response.
Not hearing Nate’s offhand comment, the M.E. continued.
“Apparently she arrived home about an hour ago. She was the one who found Mike and
made the 911 call.”
“She conscious?”

“Yes. They had to dope her. She made quite a scene. Hysterical when the first
responders arrived. But I guess you can’t blame her. I doubt any of us are going to forget this
shocking bloodbath any time soon.”


Nate trudged up the circular staircase, running his hand over the opulent hand-carved oak
railing. Damn, he knew Mike was a lumber baron, but did he have to include every kind of wood
known to man in his home? In the library alone there were four different kinds of wood. By the
time Nate made it through the grand foyer he’d counted two more. Given Mike’s penchant for
pretention, what should have been beautiful was overkill.
Overkill didn’t begin to describe the bedroom they entered.
If the library was the epitome of masculine opulence, and the foyer was an adventure into
a Tuscan grand hallway complete with columns and multicolored tile floors, the bedroom was
Barbie’s playhouse. The last time he’d seen this much pink and white was when his little cousin
forced him to be Ken in her never-ending nine-year-old’s version of grown-up play. Once
again, in the Peterson household, the motto seemed to be, if it worked once, why not use it
multiple times? And in this bedroom, just in case you were sight-deficient, two of the walls were
floor to ceiling mirrors. Nate stifled a laugh at the incredulous expression on Dan’s face when he
glanced up and spotted the huge mirror above the bed. Apparently his straight-laced partner
didn’t know the woman dramatically stretched out on the pink velvet chaise lounge. Nate could
have told Dan, wherever Laura was, there were mirrors.
Laura was surrounded by worried-looking medics and a short, graying man Nate
presumed was Dr. James. Moving through the throng that separated to let him pass, Nate made
his way to the semi-conscious woman. He spoke quietly.
“Laura, its Nate.”
Laura immediately came to life. With a wild cry, she jumped up and threw herself at
“Oh God, Nate. Oh thank God you’re here. You need to help me. Please! Somebody
needs to help me. Mike… Oh God, Nate. Something awful… somebody hurt Mike… I need
you, Nate!”
Her stammering, incoherent speech ended in an uncontrolled wail.

Nate let her cling to him for a moment, then carefully unwound her hands from his waist
and helped her sit up against the back of the tufted lounge. His voice was calm but loud enough
to be heard over her jerky sobs.
“Yes, Laura. I saw him. Dan and I just left the scene. I’m sorry. It is a terrible crime.
I’m especially sorry that you had to see him like that.”
He stepped back, putting distance between them.
“I’m going to need to ask you some questions, Laura.”
At the sound of a small cough, Nate glanced at the clearly concerned little man hovering
by Laura’s side. Nate raised a questioning brow.
The doctor shook his head and motioned for Nate to follow him. They stood at the side
of the room.
“I’m Dr. Andrew James. She’s in shock, Detective Stryker. This is not a good time to
interview her. You are unlikely to get useful information. She’s coherent for short moments and
then becomes agitated, then hysterical. I’ve given her a significant amount of Valium, a much
larger dose than I like to give. I’m hoping that it will allow her to sleep.”
As if to punctuate his point, Laura’s head lolled to the side. Her breathing deepened
perceptibly and she appeared to fall asleep. Nate grimaced. Although she’d just discovered her
murdered husband’s body, and her life had turned upside down, Laura looked as beautiful as
ever. Her long blond hair hung down her back in shiny waves of gold. Dark lashes shadowed her
rosy cheeks. Her plump bee-stung lips were moist, even inviting. The peek-a-boo clothing she
always wore showed her voluptuous body to perfection. Her bountiful cleavage spilled out of
her abbreviated halter top. And, even asleep, she’d managed to hike up her short skirt, revealing
the lacy edge of her panties.
Seeing the EMT’s trying to look away, not to gawk, Nate gave a soft snort. He could
have told them not to bother. It didn’t matter. Even sleeping, Laura made sure she got attention.
Always had. Always would.
When it was clear that Laura was sleeping soundly, and questioning her was a non-
starter, Nate gave Dr. James his card.
“Please let Mrs. Peterson know that I will be back in the morning.”
The doctor responded with a polite nod.

The library buzzed with activity. Well-equipped technicians, EMT’s and cameramen
were hard at work, in colonies of specialized activity. Nate spoke with each of the uniformed
men in the room and then went to talk with the men positioned outside. He greeted cops that had
come in from several neighboring jurisdictions, who were working under the leadership of Sgt.
Charlie Hanson, one of Nate’s key men. According to Charlie, they’d barricaded the roads
surrounding the estate, building a five hundred yard perimeter around the house. Knowing that
there was nothing they could do until morning, Dan circulated among the men, indicating that
Nate wanted everyone at the station at 6 a.m. sharp.
From the doorway Nate took a last look at the pitiful shell of the man still hanging on the
cross. No question that in life Mike Peterson was an arrogant asshole. Hell, so was he. Nate
grimaced. He and Mike had something else in common. They’d both had the misfortune to have
been married to Laura.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Undercover Holiday: Brotherhood Protectors World (The Guardian Agency) by Regn Black

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


She insists she is not the target...

When Hannah Lynch learns one of her sisters isn't coming home for Christmas, she knows something is seriously wrong. A Guardian Agency tech assistant, Hannah starts digging and discovers her sister is caught in the middle of a crisis that threatens the whole family. Determined to prevent disaster and save her family's Christmas, she takes the case to her bosses--who insist on sending a protector with her.

Her undercover fiancé strongly disagrees...

Former Navy SEAL Seth Mathison is new to the Brotherhood Protectors team and more than a little curious that his first solo assignment is going undercover as Hannah's fiancé for the holidays. The case turns into the balancing act of his life, watching for danger while pretending to be madly in love, amid a flurry of family traditions.

As Seth and Hannah play up their fake engagement, they must scramble to expose the threat closing in or they'll lose out on an unexpected love that has become as real as it gets.

If you like your holiday romance packed with sweet family traditions, spicy passion, and a dash of breath-taking danger, you'll love Undercover Holiday!

Chapter 1

H: When do you arrive?

S: Xmas eve. Late

No way. Hannah Lynch stared at the text message from her sister-of-choice, utterly baffled. She and Sonya Inman were always together for the holidays. Had been that way since freshman year of college when their suitemate, Harper Ellington, invited them to join her family over the break when the dorm was closed.

Over the past decade, Hannah had discovered the holidays could be filled with fun traditions, joy, and loads of laughter with loved ones. So much better than the sullen mood swings and drunken brawls she’d grown up with as an only child. Sonya had gladly escaped different issues and no-less serious troubles. It was unthinkable that the three of them wouldn’t be together at the Ellington resort in South Carolina in just a few days. Though they talked often and tried to get together frequently, Christmas was their singular, non-negotiable event. What could possibly keep Sonya away until the last minute?

Concerned, Hannah checked her call logs. Why hadn’t she noticed that the last time Sonya had spoken to her was back in September? There had been plenty of text messages, but they’d gone way too long without a real-time, in person call. She fired off a text to Harper, asking if she’d heard from Sonya, and then she started digging.

As a Guardian Agency researcher, she knew how to delve into a background or personal history. Recruited out of college, years of training and experience had molded her into one of the best when it came to finding people and the secrets they wanted to keep.

She should probably feel guilty about prying into her sister’s life. She didn’t. Neither Sonya nor Harper knew the full truth about who employed her or the nature of her work. It wasn’t a great feeling keeping that particular detail from the two people who were closest to her, but it was a necessity.

The Guardian Agency, managed by the law firm of Gamble and Swann, made a habit of keeping their protection and investigation services under the radar. Clients came by word-of-mouth referrals only. Zero advertising. They’d experienced a surge of growth, reach, and collaboration in recent years to accommodate their clients, but prior to that, anonymity even between employees had been standard procedure.

Hannah came up for air a couple hours later, only to see Harper’s text reply. She hadn’t spoken to Sonya lately either.

Not cool.

Hannah shoved her glasses to her forehead and rubbed her weary eyes. She should’ve noticed the trouble sooner. Then again, Sonya was a pro at keeping people at arm’s length. The woman hated feeling like a burden. Ten years and she still struggled to accept how much she was loved and valued by Hannah, Harper, and all of the Ellingtons.

“Whatever is going on, you’re not going through it by yourself,” Hannah vowed into the quiet surroundings of her office.

Pulling her glasses back down to her nose, she sent a bogus reassurance to Harper. The white lie made her a little queasy, so she shifted her focus. Sonya needed her. If her sister had known Hannah’s real role with Gamble and Swann, she might’ve reached out. Instead, she was on the run. Alone. Not for much longer. Cracking her knuckles, Hannah began compiling the report for what might be the most important case of her career.


After nearly forty-eight hours of pacing, nail-biting, and monitoring, Hannah finally got the summons to Swann’s office. She had to believe her bosses understood what she’d found and the imminent risks that Sonya and Harper were facing. Both of her bosses were good people and they definitely wouldn’t leave her sisters hanging. If, for some reason, they didn’t like her initial conclusions and suggestions, they’d have better ideas.

Taking a deep breath, she stepped to the door. “Hi,” she said.

Swann waved her in. “Sit down, please.” When she’d taken a seat in front of his desk, he studied her for a long moment. “You’re really concerned for your sisters.”

“That’s putting it mildly.” She was supposed to fly out first thing in the morning. Hopefully, she’d go with a Guardian Agency plan backing her up.

“You usually spend a couple of weeks over the holidays with the Ellingtons.”

“Yes,” she confirmed. “We’re at the Ellington resort on Isle of Palms, South Carolina this year.” Sometimes they stayed at the family-owned hotel in downtown Charleston, and every few years they traveled to one of their other properties.

“You’ve given me a thorough report,” Swann began. His gaze dropped to the open file on his desk. She could see he’d made notes in the margins. Did he agree with her or was this meeting some way of telling her she’d gone down a rabbit hole?

In addition to outlining the crisis Sonya was in, Hannah had made some action suggestions based on a couple of small leaps of logic. The threats hanging over her sisters were real. Surely the intel she’d gathered showed that much.

Looking up, he asked, “What would you like us to do?”

She’d prepared for this question, debating and rehearsing the best answers from the moment she’d emailed the file to her bosses. “From what I’ve pieced together about Sonya’s situation, I don’t expect her to be at the resort. My primary concern is that her absence increases the threat to Harper. Ideally, one of our agency protectors in the area could vacation at the resort with me. Well, not with me,” she added in a hurry. She knew of three protectors living in the Carolina area. Brett, Carson, and Ethan were all married now. “Maybe they could be on hand as backup, in case there’s trouble.”

Swann tapped his pen against the file. “You think Sonya’s boss knows her habits as well as we know yours?”

“I’m sure of it. She’s worked in the same brokerage office in Atlanta for over five years. Which means they know the people who matter to her.” Hannah inched to the edge of her seat. “Sonya has damaging evidence against her boss, Mr. Tenney, and he intends to silence her before she can give it to the authorities.”

Swann’s eyebrows arched. “She told you this?”

“Not directly. I’ve been digging. Creating a map of her actions, communications, and movements over the past few months. I pinpointed the week she stopped making voice and video calls to Harper and me and started from there.” Not that she had to justify her research here. Swann understood the nature of her work.

“I’ve looked into Tenney and other employees as well. Sonya stopped going into the office a few days after her last phone call to me. Her cell phone history shows several calls to police, FBI, and a finance reporter prior to her going radio silent with us. Everything indicates she’s gone into hiding. Hasn’t been at her apartment for over a month. She is still listed on the company website and she is still drawing a paycheck.”

More facts Hannah hadn’t known in time to intervene. She curled her hands into fists, frustrated by the secrets her sister had kept. She reminded herself she was taking the right steps now, giving all these details to her boss. “I’m just scraping the tip of the iceberg with Tenney.” She nodded toward the report. “I’ve logged some questionable meetings and calls he took before Sonya stopped going in and several more in recent weeks. No ugly rumors of bad press or ironclad criminal activity have popped up yet, but all of it is highly irregular and out of routine.”

Swann turned to another page in the report. “You discovered a team watching your sister’s apartment?”

“Yes.” Thankfully Sonya seemed to have anticipated the tactic and gotten out before they’d set up camp. “Twenty-four-seven surveillance isn’t a typical benefit for brokerage employees.” Hopefully, they could soon identify one or more of the men who had been on rotation in the utility van across the street. “I can’t ignore the way she’s dodging Christmas. She wouldn’t do that unless the risks were unbearable to her. That tells me she’s certain about what she knows and the impact it could have. Now that Tenney has lost her, he must be feeling the pressure. It’s a fair bet he’ll try to draw her out by threatening someone she loves.”

“Someone like you.”

Hannah jerked back. Sure, Sonya loved her, but Harper was the obvious target. “No. Like Harper. If I go missing, it will hardly make the news.” Harper was an heiress. Her parents would pull out all the stops to get her back.

Swann rubbed the bridge of his nose. “I agree Harper is at risk. And I admire that you want to take on an observation detail over your holiday vacation.”

“I’ll be on location anyway.” Wouldn’t be much of a vacation if something bad happened. They were talking about the fate of her sisters. She definitely wanted some talented backup nearby if things did go wrong, because she didn’t have any real field skills. She couldn’t take any chances with the people she loved most, the people who’d taught her that a family could be beautiful, fun, and supportive.

He flipped the report closed. “Let’s assume you’re right about Tenney and Sonya caught him doing something illegal. If she is holding incriminating evidence, he doesn’t need to make the news. Low profile and quiet is actually better. He only needs to get his hands on Sonya and whatever she has on him to make his troubles go away.”

Well, true enough. Still, no one other than the Ellingtons and her coworkers really knew Hannah. She lived alone and she wasn’t currently dating anyone. If Tenney had wanted to use her against Sonya, he’d have done so already.

Hannah could be effectively summed up as the slightly nerdy pal Harper had dragged home that first winter break. Until college, she was content to study life and people from a safe distance. The Ellingtons didn’t let her stay an outsider for long. They’d welcomed her from day one, surprising her with their acceptance and insistence that she dive in and become part of the family. Through the last decade, she’d grown close to all of them. Harper’s brother Rhett felt like her own brother now, and she’d been calling Mr. and Mrs. Ellington Dad and Mom for years. These days Harper’s aunts gave Hannah and Sonya as much affectionate grief over everything from manners to marriage as they did the niece they’d known since birth.

“Are you certain the texts you’ve received are coming from Sonya?”

The question pulled her back to the immediate concern. “Yes, absolutely. Her syntax, her pacing, her emojis.”

“Nothing that suggests she or her accounts are being manipulated?”

“No.” More comfortable with the conversation back on track, Hannah leaned forward again. “With time, I’m sure I can locate her.” Being on site was bound to help, just in case Sonya reached out or dared to visit for the holiday.

“I agree.” Swann checked his watch. “While you’re there, I’m adding another researcher to the case.”

“Who?” That wasn’t a typical approach, but she was distracted and pleased that Swann referred to the situation as a case. “Why?”

Swann’s mouth kicked up at one corner. Her reputation for curiosity was unmatched at the agency. “Connor Brady,” he replied. “I’m pulling him in because we have so many unknowns. The more eyes, the better. He’ll bring a fresh perspective to tracking her as well.”

“Right. Of course. I get it.” And she did. Hannah reeled in her reaction to the news. There was no reason to feel pushed or unsettled. Sonya needed help from any and all sources.

Brady hadn’t been with the agency for too long, but he was efficient and thorough and had proven himself an asset. During her years here, she’d tracked down plenty of people she didn’t know beyond a name in a file. Although tracking Sonya should be easier for her, that didn’t make her immune to overlooking a pertinent detail. The Guardian Agency valued individual strengths and approaches among their researchers as well as the protectors who went into the field.

“I understand the additional pressure, the challenges, when it’s personal,” Swann said. His gaze moved to a point over her shoulder and he lifted his chin.

She turned as the office door swung open and her mouth went dry. She froze, half twisted in her chair, staring at the man who entered. He was tall, golden, and utterly gorgeous. Radiating confidence, he reached out to shake Swann’s hand. The trim dark slacks and dove gray cable knit sweater he wore didn’t mute his solid build. Broad shoulders, trim hips, strong thighs. Strong hands. Why was she such a sucker for hands? His wavy blond hair was cropped short and a neatly trimmed, deep golden beard highlighted his square jawline. Sharp green eyes scanned the room, locked on her. He smiled.

She swallowed.

Though she’d never laid eyes on him before, he might as well have stepped out of her most vivid fantasies.

“…Hannah, Seth Mathison.” Swann wrapped up the introductions, but all of her attention was on that strong, fascinating hand the newcomer held out. Belatedly, she shook his hand, her insides melting as her palm met his. Warm, lightly callused, the hand of a man who engaged in physical pursuits. 

She tried to repair her tattered composure as he released her hand. “Pleased to meet you,” she managed.

“Likewise.” Good grief, his voice was as thrilling and sexy as the rest of him.

“Have a seat,” Swann directed.

Mr. Gorgeous gracefully folded himself into the chair beside hers. She barely kept her silence as questions bounded through her brain one after another. Why was he here? Why now? Did he know Sonya? Was he with the police or FBI? He had such a presence it seemed to fill the office, winding around her and his masculine scent teased her nose. Her response to him was ridiculous, but she couldn’t seem to shut it down. It took every ounce of willpower to keep her gaze focused on her boss.

“Seth will be your protector,” Swann stated. “Hank Patterson, founder of the Brotherhood Protectors, loaned him to us for the duration.”

“Duration?” she echoed.

Swann arched one eyebrow. “Of the case. While you’re on vacation in South Carolina, Seth will be with you, protecting you and Harper.”

“What about Sonya?”

“Her too, if she shows up. After some brainstorming and discussion Seth and I agreed it’s best if he poses as your fiancé. That gives him a solid reason to stick close to you and Harper.”

“Fiancé?” Her stomach twisted. Would her family even believe a man like Seth proposed to her? “I don’t get any say in this?” She was supposed to leave in the morning. How would they go from total strangers to a believable couple in less than twenty-four hours?

Her boss scowled. “Do you have a better idea?”

She thought her proposal had been clear enough. With a shrug, she said, “I don’t need a shadow, just backup.” This would be an uphill argument, but she had to try. “No way will my sisters buy this.” She snorted, waving a hand in Seth’s direction.

“They’ll get over the shock,” Swann assured her.

Hannah shook her head. “A fiancé only introduces more questions. More trouble,” she insisted. A fiancé would likely share the suite with her at the resort. Something akin to panic rippled across the back of her neck. “The idea that I fell in love and accepted a marriage proposal without so much as a mention of his name along the way is ludicrous. Let me call Uncle Bruce, he’ll make sure there’s a room and–”

“I’m not taking chances with your safety,” Swann said, cutting her off. “Whatever you need to do, make it work. Make them believe it.” He flattened his palms on the file. “I know you, Hannah. You’ll keep digging on Tenney, keep searching for Sonya. And that’s fine. But it could easily bring trouble down on you fast. This report indicates a significant threat. Do you want to just tell them the truth?”

“Not particularly,” she admitted. But a fiancé? Selling that familiarity and intimacy would take storytelling skills she did not have.

“Fine. Great. We all agree.” Swann bit out each word. “Undercover fiancé plan still works for you?” he asked Seth.

“Yes, sir.” He gave a firm nod. “I’m here to get the job done, whatever it takes.”

Hannah couldn’t tell if the butterflies in her belly were swarming in dread or anticipation. Shifting in her seat, she faced her new golden, larger-than-life shadow. “Seriously? You don’t have any reservations about this?”

“Well, I don’t know your family,” he began. “But my sister just got engaged. Sudden is a tame word for the situation. My whole family’s thrilled, even though none of us had a clue they were involved until it was a done deal.”

That didn’t give her much comfort at all. Glancing back at her boss, she realized there would be no changing his mind. “Then I guess we’d better get to work on our story.”

“Hannah, you need to get to Tipperman’s first,” Swann said. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a business card. “They can loan you an engagement ring to use over the holiday. I need to go over a few things with Seth.”

Her hand trembled as she took the card. Shopping for her own engagement ring? The craziness just kept churning. With a nod for her boss and a last glance for her soon to be fiancé, she left the office.

Dread, she decided. The butterflies were in an uproar because they could see this entire effort was going to fall apart in a spectacular fashion.


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Love Has Many Voices by Linda Wisdom



Witch, princess, monster, or minstrel—Holly Sutton could speak in a million voices. A whirlwind of casual creativity, a magnet for every kid within calling range, she made a handsome living doing TV cartoon voice-overs. Her life in Thousand Oaks was ideal—except for Jonathan Lockwood, her stuffy neighbor. A banker, he might have been the model for Scrooge—if Scrooge had had hazel eyes and a body to die for. So why had Holly agreed to accompany him to San Francisco’s most elegant hotel? And why was she suddenly trying to make herself over in his image? They were worlds apart and ne’er the twain would meet…unless they could learn to speak in the voice that understood the intimate need that bound them beyond every difference—the very special voice of love.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Family Way: A Big Uneasy Short Story by Pauline Baird Jones



Alex and Nell are expecting!

At Nell’s baby shower, she’s hoping for a ceasefire between the law-enforcing Bakers and her criminal cousins (not to mention her scary grandmother, the mob doyenne).

The girls just want to have fun, but when the silly shower games are interrupted by some unexpected guests, it takes the “fun” right out of this dysfunctional family shower.

Can Baby Baker help these families inch closer to neutral ground and begin to heal old wounds and fractured friendships?


Monday, August 22, 2022

Country Courtship: A Western Romantic Comedy (The Texas Two-Step Series Book 4) by Kathy Carmichael



The Texas Two-Step romantic comedy series is a reader favorite. All of the stories in the series are sweet, charming and emotional contemporary romance. Each story in the series stands alone, but all Texas Two-Step novels and novellas feature love stories about members of the Nelson, Murphy or Palmer families — and sometimes, more than one!

Book Description:
When Kelli Palmer meets Bobby Gray Nelson at a family get-together, their attraction is immediate. But Kelli's kid sister already has dibs on Bobby Gray.

Bobby Gray Nelson never takes no for an answer, a resolve that made him a rodeo champion.

But Kelli is standing her ground.

Now Bobby Gray must do something he's never done: woo the woman who's already claimed his heart, and earn permission to place his brand on hers.

Country Courtship is the third sweet romance in the Texas Two-Step contemporary romance series from USA Today bestselling author Kathy Carmichael.

Previously titled: Kissing Kelli

THE TEXAS TWO-STEP, in series order
Western Pleasure (A Novella) Prequel (Book 1)
Chasing Charlie (Book 2)
The Lassoed Bride (A Novella) (Book 3)
Country Courtship (Book 4)
Courting Trouble (Book 5)
My Southern Bride (Book 6)
Abby's Cowboy (Book 7)
The Cowboy Prince (Book 8) Coming Soon

"Debbie Macomber fans will love CHASING CHARLIE.” ~

Friday, August 19, 2022

FREE In the Still of the Night by Taylor Lee



•Jake and Lexie are at it again. Hotter than ever!
•They call her the Blonde Barracuda. The press loves her, the politicians fear her, and the mob is out to kill her
•Jake, the sexy special agent, comes to the rescue whether Lexie wants him to or not! 


“Can even Lexie’s and Jake’s red hot passion survive a dark haired seductress and a classy Hapkido fighter both out to come between the lovers? Romance as hot as the action. Couldn’t put it down!” RomanceRules

Love Kaylea Cross's heart pounding romantic military thrillers? Sylvia Day’s and Maya Banks red hot sexy heroes, feisty heroines and high adrenaline action? Fern Michael’s compelling characters? Grab In the Still of the Night and prepare to be addicted.


The Blonde Barracuda OMNIBUS Collection Taylor Lee's Sizzling Hot Romantic Suspense Best Selling Collection. INCLUDES Big Girls Don't Cry, In the Still of the Night and Every Breath You Take plus FOUR additional EXCLUSIVE NOVELLAS

Ladies of the Night, Taylor Lee’s NEW Sexy Suspense Collection: Sapphire, Book 1; Ruby, Book 2, Topaz Book 3, Diamond, Book 4 . The Ladies are covert agents in a secretive, off the grid security organization. Highly trained fighters, they’re as gorgeous as they are dangerous. The only thing these formidable women are NOT is “ladies.”

The Man in the Arena Series: The Courage to Dare; The Courage to Love; The Courage to Triumph is A tribute to the Teddy Roosevelt quote—The Man in the Arena. Taylor Lee introduces her most challenging and complicated hero yet.

The Red Rock Collection Sexy Romantic Suspense. Bestselling in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Mystery Thriller. The Collection INCLUDES: Red Rock Rises, Red Rock’s Revenge, Red Rock’s Redemption: Book 3 PLUS THREE Novellas.

The All Fired Up OMNIBUS Collection, Taylor Lee's Bestselling #1 Hot New Release—the ULTIMATE Sizzling Romantic Suspense collector's edition! INCLUDES Playing With Fire, Trial By Fire and Ring of Fire and the EXCLUSIVE You Light My Fire: Short Story Finale

The Dangerous Affairs Collection Sizzling International Intrigue. Best Selling in both Romantic Suspense and Military Romance and Women's Sleuths ! INCLUDES: The Moscow Affair, The Bangkok Affair, The Rio Affair PLUS THREE Novellas.

The Grandmaster’s Legacy Collection: If you think Shades of Gray is HOT, snatch up Taylor Lee's "The Grandmaster's Legacy," a four volume Collection of Erotic Historical Suspense. Warning: Intense, Explicit, Steamy HOT!

The Bad Ass Brigade: Bad Guys Beware, The Good Guys Are on the Prowl." A Sampler of Sizzling Romantic Suspense. Cops, Firefighters, Special Ops, Covert Agents, and Bad Ass Poker Players--HOT Men and HOTTER Women kick up a storm--and heat up the sheets in the process.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Read Chapter 1 of Undercover Boyfriend by Regan Black

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


During his Army career, Jake Welch had his head on straight until three of his closest friends died when a mission went sideways. Returning home, his relentless quest for any kind of justice nearly landed him in jail. The Guardian Agency rescued him, gave him a new focus, and just assigned him to protect a woman he hasn’t seen since high school.

After her fiancé was killed in action, Sloan Mathison gave up on dating. Especially the bold, heroic type. But when an interested coworker begins stalking her, she must find help. Fortunately, her brother’s friend Jake is back in town. Even better, he’s willing to pretend to be her boyfriend to keep her safe.

Sloan and Jake didn’t count on one fake kiss igniting an undeniable, red-hot chemistry between them. And neither of them anticipated her stalker resorting to deadly measures. Although Jake will gladly give up his life for the woman he’s fallen in love with, Sloan will not sit idly by, waiting to grieve the man who healed her broken heart and rekindled her faith in love.


Chapter 1

Sloan Mathison sipped on a tall mug of piping hot coffee and admired the stunning view. A wispy fog drifted across the deep blue water of the still lake. By noon, the surface, as smooth as glass, would offer a perfect reflection of the sky above. Over the peaks of the mountains in the east, the sun was still only a hint of hopeful color on the horizon.

“This makes it easier to understand what you were thinking when you made this move,” she said to her brother, Seth.

“Hush. You’ll scare off the fish,” he scolded with a smile.

It was an argument they’d been having since their first fishing trip over two decades ago. At thirty, Seth was the oldest, but she liked to think she’d done almost as much living in her twenty-seven years. He’d followed the family expectations and joined the Navy, eventually becoming a decorated SEAL. To her father’s lingering disappointment, Sloan had chosen a different path, taking a civilian approach to a career of serving others. He’d been so convinced she would be an asset to the Navy as an officer. That wasn’t her idea of a good time. Five years into her career as a physical therapist at the VA clinic, her father had almost come to terms with it.

One of the fishing poles arched and Seth stood up to reel in the catch. “Feels big enough,” he said, working the line. The short fight was over quickly and he grumbled. “Gone.”

Smothering a laugh, she made sympathetic noises. She watched him closely as he baited the hook and cast it back into the lake. Seth had struggled for a year to rehab a shoulder injury. To her expert eye, he was back to one hundred percent, with full range of motion and balanced strength. The Navy disagreed, insisting Seth was no longer fit for duty with the SEAL teams.

Seth wasn’t ready to hang up his skills in favor of a desk job. He’d reviewed his options and made a decision in record time. When he’d told Sloan about being recruited to a private security group, she’d only been surprised by the Montana location. They’d been raised on one coast or another through the years. Personally, she couldn’t imagine living this far inland. The lakes and rivers were gorgeous, but she needed the ocean waves as much as oxygen.

Over the past several days, she’d met Hank Patterson and many of the men and women Seth would work with as part of the Brotherhood Protectors team. So far, she liked them all. Everyone involved demonstrated integrity, loyalty, kindness, and sincere camaraderie. She was certain Seth would fit right in.

A former SEAL himself, Hank understood the transitions her brother was going through. If and when Seth hit any speedbumps on the road between military and civilian life, he’d have support. It made her feel better about being so far away from him.

“You know, I assumed you’d find your new career in California,” she mused.

“Aww, will you miss me?”

She rolled her eyes. “No.” They both knew she meant yes. That was both the problem and the perk of being close siblings. “Your new boss is really generous,” she said, changing the subject with zero finesse. When Hank had heard the two of them sharing stories about their fishing trips as kids, he suggested they come out to this lakeside cabin for the last two days of her vacation.

Seth chuckled. “Everyone says he’s the best.”

The sun cast a soft, golden glow over the trees and water. Filling her lungs with the bracing morning air, Sloan deliberately steered her mind away from anything beyond this lake, this moment.

Any trouble waiting for her back home in Oceanside, California wouldn’t be solved by worrying away the last of this special time with her brother. She hadn’t seen him, hadn’t spent any real time with him in nearly two years. His service and her career had kept them apart. She intended to savor every minute of this break.

He rolled his shoulders and checked the poles. Apparently, they hadn’t found the most appetizing bait for the fish this morning. “I’m hungry.” He stretched his arms overhead. Dropping them, he patted his flat stomach.

“That’s not news.” She poked him in the chest. “You can solve that problem since you’re on breakfast duty.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He glanced back at the water. “Don’t let anything worth keeping get away.”

“In other words, don’t follow your example.”

With a snort, he moved past her and headed up the path to the cabin. “I’ll be back.”

Of course he would. The Mathison family were imminently reliable. It was part of the genetic code, according to their mother.

Alone, Sloan soaked up the peacefulness of the quiet morning. With the stillness came the deep sense of calm she usually only found when she was out in the ocean waiting for the next good wave.

This complete relaxation was such a treat for her mind and body. Now that Seth lived here, she should make a point of visiting more often. She hadn’t realized all the raw beauty and natural treasures Montana had to offer.

Her phone hummed in her pocket, startling her. She thought this pocket of heaven was out of range. Had been counting on the respite of being out of contact for a bit longer.

The text message from a coworker scrolling across her screen made her groan.

Making sure you haven’t been eaten by a bear.

As if she couldn’t take care of herself. The guy would not quit pressing her to be more than professional associates. Montana was an hour ahead of California and it seemed ridiculously early for an attempt at banter.

Another message came through before she could delete the first one. This text offered a ride home from the airport. Why wouldn’t he give up already? She’d been clear that she wasn’t interested in dating. Not him or anyone else.

She was giving serious thought to tossing the device into the lake. Not much of a solution unless she opted for a new cell phone number. She pushed a hand through her hair. Dwelling on the inconvenience of that would wreck the morning.

“Trouble?” Seth asked from behind her.

Crap. She hadn’t even heard her brother on the path. Turning around, she gave him a bright smile and focused on the platter in his hand. “Breakfast burritos? They smell amazing.”

“Good.” He set the tray on the table between two Adirondack chairs. “Come here and eat up. Then you can tell me who the troublemaker is.”

She took a seat and ate slowly. Refilling her coffee mug from the thermos, she stalled for as long as possible. Involving Seth wouldn’t fix anything. Peter Driscoll was a decent guy. Just because he was wrong for her didn’t mean she wanted or needed her brother to intervene.

“Come on, Sloan,” Seth began. “Talk to me.”

“It’s nothing.”

Seth’s eyebrows shot up. “Agree to disagree. Whoever it is has been pestering you the entire week.”

“Pestering is a strong word,” she argued.

“It’s also the right word.”

“I appreciate the support,” she said, treading carefully. “This isn’t a big deal.” When she got back, she’d remind Peter, again, that she wasn’t ready to dive back into the dating scene. One heartbreak was more than enough for her lifetime, thank you very much. Although her family believed her lingering heartbreak would heal, Sloan had decided love wasn’t in the cards for her. Last year she’d made a deliberate choice that her family, her close circle of good friends, and her work made for a full, satisfying life.

She had zero desire to let love crush her all over again.

Her phone buzzed again and Seth scowled. “Let me talk to him.”

“Stop.” She jerked the phone out of his reach. “This is the clinic.”

Though it was odd for them to call at this hour. As a physical therapist, her patient schedule was firmly set within regular business hours Monday through Friday.

“You’re on vacation,” her brother grumbled the reminder as she answered the call.

“Hello.” No one replied. “Hello?” She repeated herself twice more, to no avail.

“Give me that.” Seth made another grab for her phone.

She dodged him easily, then noticed the call ended. “Must’ve been some fluke technology deal.”

“Right.” Seth’s expression turned stormy. “Basic logic says the pest works with you.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’ve got that whole mission-ready look on your face, but this isn’t a crisis.”

“It’s more than nothing.”

Her phone chimed with another incoming text and she powered it off without even looking at the message. “There. Vacation mode activated. Let’s check the fishing poles.”

“The Brotherhood Protectors have resources,” Seth said. “Let me help.”

“No,” she said firmly. “Thank you.”


“I mean it, Seth. There’s nothing to help with. You’re reading too much into this.”

“Fine.” He held up his hands in surrender. “I’ll back off on one condition.”

“Just one?”

He ignored the jab. “If it escalates, promise me you’ll ask for help.”

She relented. His heart was in the right place and he only wanted what was best for her. “I promise.” And she meant it. If this situation with Peter became a true problem, she would seek out help. Being independent didn’t mean being foolish. Still, asking for help didn’t necessarily equate to calling in a team of former elite warriors. They were way overqualified for a simple case of pest control.

She’d always valued being raised in a Navy family. She loved her parents and brother, was grateful the four of them remained close. Their concern for her was rooted in love.

But there were times when she wondered why they couldn’t seem to reconcile that she was an adult. An independent, capable woman utilizing all she’d been taught and building a good life on her own. That included her ability to deal with a persistent man who wanted more than friendship. True, Peter made her uncomfortable, but that didn’t mean she’d give in to his doggedness or give him hope when there wasn’t any reason for it.

She’d be a broken record and tell him no as many times as it took for him to get the message.

As the sun climbed overhead, Sloan focused on the fishing, changing the conversation toward more comfortable topics, namely how he planned to adapt to the area and which of his friends would come up for a visit first. Though they were used to going months between visits, it was hard knowing his home would be over a thousand miles away from hers.

Her line started running and she worked with the fish, following Seth’s tips and eventually landing it. After checking the size and taking a picture, she freed the hook and released the fish again. First fish honors went to her, but by the time they packed up for the day, he’d caught three more than she had.

“I could go back with you,” Seth offered a few hours later. “Hank would give me the time off and whoever this pest is, he’d definitely get the message.”

They were sitting together at the fire pit making s’mores for dessert. She pulled her marshmallow away from the heat before it could scorch and sandwiched it between the graham crackers and chocolate.

“No need,” she assured him. “Just focus on you and the new gig for a while. You deserve to take the time and settle in. Maybe find someone special.”

He choked on his s’more and she smiled to herself.

Going the day with her phone off had given her time to process the situation in the back of her mind. She’d go back home, clearly state her position one last time and then block Peter’s number. That way she’d never even see the texts or voicemails begging her to meet for coffee or anything else.

“I know you can handle yourself,” Seth said, circling back to the topic she thought was closed. “Just like you know how big brothers work.”

Mm-hm. At this point, doesn’t that just make you old?” she teased. “I mean, I’m all grown up and you’re older than me. It’s simple math.”

“You’re a smart ass.”

“Lessons I also learned from you.” She gave his shoulder a soft shove. “I can take care of myself.” She ignored the tiny voice in the back of her head questioning her assertion. One way or another, Peter would not continue to be a problem. If she absolutely had to do it, she’d report his unwelcome tenacity to the Human Resources department.

“You know who it is, don’t you?” Seth asked.

No sense lying. “Sure. He’s harmless, just supremely annoying.”

“If that changes, you’ll call me?” Seth pressed.

“I already promised I would. Please stop worrying. You’ll wreck my sugar high.” She stuffed a big bite of the treat into her mouth.

“Okay, okay.”

He mimicked her, somehow fitting an entire square into his mouth. Some things never changed. They laughed like a couple of loons and her world seemed to click back into place.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Read an Excerpt from O'Malley's Quest by Linda Wisdom



Bored with excitement, archaeologist Kate O'Malley was ready to settle down until her scheming Irish grandfather teased her with a proposal of one last adventure. And what a doozy!


As sleazy bars in tiny, sleazy Mexican border towns went, this one was no better and no worse than the others. And it didn't have to be a Friday night to bring out the regulars with the requisite number of typical barroom brawls to liven up the customers' evenings, He sat at a back table in the tavern where he could see the entrance. A bottle of tequila and a cloudy glass were the only objects on the table in front of him. With the chair tipped back on its rear legs and his sweat-stained hat pulled down over his eyes, he looked relaxed, perhaps even asleep, which would be impossible considering the noise level. But those who had met him before knew differently. The gringo was not to be bothered.

Those who had the alcohol-induced courage to challenge him usually ended up with more than a few bruises, and one sober challenger was treated for a broken collarbone. No, this man who appeared in the bar every so often seeking information or meeting people was not a man to be taken lightly. A few passed by the table murmuring a respectful "Hola, J.C.," but other than that terse greeting they left him to himself.

Which was just fine with him. His less than clean chambray shirt was left unbuttoned to combat the heat in the small bar that intensified with every live body that entered the room. He poured tequila into the glass and sipped the fiery liquid while keeping his eyes on the doorway. It would appear he was waiting for someone.

It was late when the stranger entered the bar. For a moment, silence descended on the bar as the men stared at the woman standing near the entrance. Women coming in there were not unusual but white women who were young and not looking shopworn were.

J.C. didn't move from his corner as he observed the visitor. He had to admit she was dressed appropriately for the occasion. Well-worn jeans, snug fitting but not too tight. A white cotton shirt that was buttoned high enough not to reveal any cleavage. No jewelry, not even a watch. Her boots looked scuffed and broken in. Her honey-blond hair was pinned back in a conservative style that emphasized her delicate features. Good, nothing to grab on to in case of a fight. The lady obviously knew what she was doing. When entering a strange situation, don't try to draw attention to yourself.

She walked confidently, looking neither right nor-left until-she reached the bar. If she was aware of the men watching her with hungry eyes she gave no evidence of it.

Pedro, the bartender, looked at her with little surprise in his eyes. He'd been working there too long to think it unusual to see a lovely senorita who was obviously not a prostitute walk into his bar.

From J.C.'s vantage point he could hear every word she spoke. He gave her points for fluent Spanish in the region's dialect. He hid a smile when she asked for a glass of tequila.

"Senorita, are you sure?" Pedro asked, looking a little worried. .

She smiled. "Very sure."

J.C. smiled. Good girl. If you want information, you have to be ready to drink with the natives.

She didn't flinch when Pedro deposited the bottle on the bar, displaying a pale worm curled up in the bottom. She downed her drink quickly without one flicker of emotion on her face.

"I'm looking for Joaquin;" she told Pedro. "I'm told he can usually be found here."

The bartender looked worried. "Oh, Senorita, a lovely lady like you would not want Joaquin. He is a very nasty man." Something occurred to him. "Unless you happen to work for him." He looked her up and down. "If you do, you must leave and return to his house. I do not want any trouble here from his women."

"I don't work for Joaquin, but I am looking for him to work for me. I understand he sometimes guides people into certain mountain regions," she explained, being deliberately vague. "I was also given Luis Ventara's name." She tapped the rim of the glass with her fingernail, indicating she would take a refill, and laid money on the bar.

"If you want a guide, you should speak to J.C. first," Pedro advised, gesturing toward the rear corner table. "He does not guide, but he can give you names of men who are very reliable. Men you can trust."

She barely spared him a glance. He didn't mind because he knew exactly what she saw. A man with several days' growth of beard, face pretty much hidden by the hat, a shirt that hadn't seen a laundry in weeks. He probably looked like a drunk who recently passed out and no one bothered to throw him out just yet. He hid a smile. She didn't look very impressed with what she saw, although nothing in her expression gave her away. He just sensed it. He couldn't wait to see what she thought of Joaquin or Luis.

"What about either of the other two names I mentioned?" she asked coolly, returning her gaze to the bartender.


Monday, August 15, 2022

The Lassoed Bride (A Novella) by Kathy Carmichael


Barnes & Noble


The Texas Two-Step romantic comedy series is a reader favorite. All of the stories in the series are sweet, charming and emotional contemporary romance. Each story in the series stands alone, but all Texas Two-Step novels and novellas feature love stories about members of the Nelson, Murphy or Palmer families — and sometimes, more than one!

Book Description:
A Novella. Six years ago, Barbara Palmer fell head-over-heels for cocky cowboy Ben O'Shea. He was devastatingly appealing, and he knew it. He had her heart—until the day he stood her up and disappeared. Now he’s back, determined to take up again where they left off—even though she's about to marry another man.

Despite all the growing up Ben has done in the past six years, including the highly successful dude ranch he's built that's made him a millionaire—he's never forgotten Barb and he wants her back.

But her wedding grows closer every day. He has to win back her love and her trust, before she's lost to him forever.

THE TEXAS TWO-STEP, in series order
Western Pleasure (A Novella) Prequel (Book 1)
Chasing Charlie (Book 2)
The Lassoed Bride (A Novella) (Book 3)
Country Courtship (Book 4)
Courting Trouble (Book 5)
My Southern Bride (Book 6)
Abby's Cowboy (Book 7)
The Cowboy Prince (Book 8) Coming Soon

"Part of her Texas Two-Step series, this book has all the things I enjoy in Kathy’s writing. Packed with humor, tenderness, and loads of romance, (the hunky cowboy hero is fabulous too) My Southern Bride is a wonderful addition to the series.” ~ USA Today bestselling author, Regan Black (My Southern Bride)

Friday, August 12, 2022

FREE The Rio Affair by Taylor Lee



The Eagerly Awaited Book 3: in Taylor Lee’s #1 Best Selling Dangerous Affairs OMNIBUS Collection.

Praise for The Rio Affair.....

“The team of special agents heads to one of the most dangerous cities on the planet determined to clear the name of a former special operative accused of instigating a police massacre that killed hundreds of innocent children. Nail-biting action and sexy exploits that will take your breath away.” Action Junkie

“The most powerful Drug Lord in South America is also the most charming. The Latino Heart Throb intends to add illegal assault weapons to his drug cartel enterprise and take Nicki in the process. One of the most exciting sexy thrillers I’ve read.” SMT Reviews
“I didn’t think anything could top The Bangkok Affair for sheer sizzling Romantic Suspense. But The Rio Affair was worth waiting for. Memorable characters and a sizzling love story keeps you on the edge of your seat.” Upping the Ante

•Nicki and Rafe head undercover to Rio de Janeiro, the beautiful city on the bay--which happens to be the 5th most dangerous city in the world.

•The charmingly dangerous international Drug King-pin sets his sights on Nicki.

•He doesn’t know that no one can out-charm OR out-kill the indomitable ISA leader 


“Now, Nicki! Attack! Come at me as if you mean it.”

Waving his fingers in a "come and get me" gesture, Rafe Boudin upped the ante. “C’mon, Princess.  Pretend like you really can take me down.”

            With an outraged shriek, Nicki dove toward him. Easily sidestepping the redheaded typhoon, Rafe caught her in one strong arm and spun her away from him. His tactic would have brought a less skilled fighter to the ground but his intrepid warrior turned Rafe’s move to her advantage. Reversing her spin she rose up on one foot in a graceful pirouette, her other knee high in the air.  The nimble dancer-like movement never failed to fake out an unsuspecting opponent. But Rafe knew what was coming and prepared for the onslaught.  Turning the elegant ballet posture into a fearsome strike, Nicki Powers extended her raised leg and drove her heel toward his shoulder.

Rafe grunted in appreciation at Nicki’s daring attack.  Parrying the fierce strike with his forearm, he caught her heel in his massive hand. With a quick twist he threw her to the ground.

Ignoring her angry squeal, he praised her.

“Good move, Princess. Ninety-nine percent of the assholes you fight would’ve fallen for that fake. Unfortunately little girl, you’re fighting a master.”

He grinned and added, “Your master!”

Nicki rolled away from him then rose up on her hands and knees. Rafe stepped back preparing for the attack that was sure to come. He allowed himself a moment to glory in the gorgeous woman who in some other context would have killed him if she could.  Crouching in an attack position, her topaz eyes flashing in fury, Nicki resembled a she-wolf in the wild.  Her attempt to tame her fiery curls into manageable braids only emphasized her flushed cheeks and swollen bee-stung lips.  The skin-tight jumpsuit clung to her lithe body, accentuating her curvy hips and long, toned legs. The unforgiving fabric fought a losing battle to contain her bounteous breasts.  Every ragged breath she took brought the pale globes dangerously close to the top of her suit.

Rafe reveled in the fact that his fiery she-wolf was dangerous.  Dangerous to her enemies.  He’d made sure of that. Even those who knew that the redheaded bombshell was a trained warrior like the rest of Rafe’s infamous fighting force were nonetheless taken off guard by Nicki’s seemingly fragile beauty.  Adversaries underestimated Nicki--once.  Once was enough. With Rafe’s expert tutelage, Nicki’s already fearsome skills had become legendary.  She was a lethal weapon the rest of the ISA squad relied upon in their most perilous encounters.  

Rafe scoffed silently. If Nicki was dangerous to her enemies, she was downright deadly to him. He chided himself, acknowledging that he’d created a monster. But at least she was his monster; a dangerous, sexy monster that played havoc with his fabled self-control.  Fighting his rising desire, Rafe tried to ignore the gleam of sweat between Nicki’s heaving breasts.  But when she bit down on her bottom lip, the tip of her pink tongue escaping her luscious mouth, Rafe groaned softly, conceding the futility of restraint.  The sight of that moist interior was a siren call to his ever ready prick. Although he was sure the suggestive gesture was unconscious on Nicki’s part, it was nevertheless an erotic invitation, ratcheting his pent-up sexual desire to a fever pitch.  The thought of forcing open her lips, of entering that enticing space and tangling with her tongue and teeth turned his staff iron hard. Knowing that Nicki would be outraged if he turned their sparring session into a sensuous attack only inflamed Rafe's lust further.  Hell, this was the kind of fight he relished.  One in which they both would win.  Once Nicki stopped resisting him and gave into his superior strength.

“C’mon, pussycat. Show Daddy your claws.”

At her angry growl, Rafe laughed aloud.  Purposefully taunting her, he stepped back and waggled his fingers at her, urging her to come forward.  With a low roar that became an earsplitting warrior yell, Nicki sprang into action.  Uncoiling her powerful steel spring body, she launched herself into the air, literally flying through space aiming her heel at his chin.  Having taught her himself, the never-fail move, Rafe was ready for her. Rather than trying to stop her attack, a surefire way to suffer a broken jaw, he dropped to his knees and captured her sailing body as she flew overhead. With a roar as fierce as hers he rose to his feet, holding her high over his head. Whirling in a circle, he tossed her to the ground, breaking her fall with his muscular torso.  Rolling over, he pinned her writhing body to the ground, crowing in delight at the angry torrent of volcanic expletives erupting from her mouth.

“Jesus, Princess.  Who the hell taught you to talk like that?  I think I’m going to need to wash your mouth out with soap--after I finish ravaging it, that is.”

Rafe smashed his lips against her mouth but Nicki fought back. Tossing her head from side to side, she frantically resisted his effort to kiss her.

“Oh no you don’t!  Dammit, Rafe, that’s not fair!”  Her voice rose, underscoring her anger.  “You… you don’t take me seriously. Rafe, listen. Just because you’re bigger and stronger--”

He interrupted her tirade with a hearty chuckle.

“I‘m glad that you acknowledge that I’m bigger and stronger than you are, because Princess, I am.  But as for not taking you seriously? You couldn’t be more wrong.”

Rafe’s voice dropped.  “No, my little she-wolf, nothing could be more serious than making love to you.” Running his tongue against the tender skin under her ear, he bit down on her lobe.  At her squeal, he murmured gruffly, “Ahh, Princess, when I enter your sweet body--the way that I’m going to do now--nothing in the world could ever be more serious. Dammit, baby, when I come inside of you, you hold my soul in your hands.”



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