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Death Watch by
(Soul Reader #2)
Annie Anderson
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: April 27th 2021

A prison break, a secret admirer, and a boatload of lies. Just about everything Sloane Cabot knows about her past is a big old pile of malarkey. Couple that with the blank spot of how her family died, and she needs answers, like, yesterday. But when a man shows up dead on her family’s grave, she knows it somehow has to be tied to that fateful night a year ago. Too bad you can’t question the dead… or can you?

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Death Watch Excerpts

Excerpt 1

A pair of guards opened the giant doors, bowing at Thomas as he guided me through. It was an actual struggle not to freeze at the entrance and stare. But man, did I want to. This place—while definitely what I would consider on-brand for a vamp nest—was one of the most magnificent buildings I’d ever been in. I wasn’t particularly interested in other churches, but this cathedral was just a beauty. A gallery of pews sat to the left and right of a wide aisle that led to a raised dais. Vampires filled the seats, dressed similarly to Thomas and me, their voices a low buzz of conversation. More people were sitting in the upper gallery, their opulent gowns and sharp tuxedos a happy reminder that Thomas had my back. Had I walked in here with leather pants and a whip on my hip, I had a feeling I would have been just a touch out of place.

Thomas continued his leading, guiding me down the aisle toward a stunningly severe woman sitting on what appeared to be a throne. Skin paler than death, eyes vamped out in a way that seemed permanent, and painted lips the color of blood, she was the most beautiful and yet most frightening woman I’d ever seen. Dark hair was piled on her head in purposefully haphazard curls, a few tendrils snaking out of the complicated up-do to artfully caress her neck. She wore a brilliant green gown that was so simple, and yet so achingly complex, it had to have cost a fortune.

We reached the end of the aisle, and Thomas bowed his head slightly. I copied him, wishing I would have received an etiquette lesson on the hour-long drive here. All I’d gotten was Thomas’ clenched jaw and silence.

“You have some nerve,” a woman growled, drawing my gaze from what had to be the queen of this nest to her right.

I quickly realized that the voice did not belong to a woman at all but a child. Pale-blonde hair and blue eyes were set in an elfin face of a vampire who had likely been no more than ten when she was turned. And that had to have been centuries ago. This little whisp of a “girl”—and I use that word lightly—had the look of a being older than dirt. Dressed in a black lace confection appropriate for a child beauty queen, she stood from her chair.

She then launched herself at Thomas.

I couldn’t exactly say why I did it. I mean, she had me by centuries, and Thomas could take care of himself. But as soon as her feet left the dais, I had the knife Clem had given me yanked from its sheath and was in front of the man in an instant.

Thomas owed me, not the other way around, but he’d been kind to me when I’d needed it, and I wouldn’t let him get attacked. No way, no how.

It was as if everyone froze. Conversations halted, guards stood stock-still, and even this slip of a thing stood arrested at the end of my blade, which was poised at her throat.

To this tiny—but by no means less deadly—vampire at the point of my knife, I said, “Settle down there, Blondie, or we’re going to have a problem.”

I had a feeling we probably already had one.

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Excerpt 2

“Haunting rooftops again, I see,” Bastian called from behind me, startling me out of my intense stare-down of an inanimate object, namely, a door.

The only thing special about this door was that behind it lay a raging arcane club. The music radiated up from the ground, through the building, rattling my bones even from across the street, but that door was nothing more than a metal barrier to the world beyond. I’d always wondered what went on in clubs like those. Would it be sex and alcohol and dancing bodies—which wasn’t much different from a human club in that scenario—or would it be darker? Blood and death and all the dark things about the arcane world that I hated? I was smart enough to know that the human world had its darkness, too, but it seemed the more I lived in this world, the more I realized that what I thought was evil didn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

“It’s a hobby,” I muttered, shaking my head to clear the dark thoughts as I stretched from my crouch, my joints protesting loudly. One thing about this life that was the same were the aches and pains. I’d sat in one spot too long, staring at that stupid metal door to that stupid arcane club that wouldn’t provide any more answers than the last one had.

My search so far had given me one dead end after the other, and after two straight months of nothing, I was starting to get annoyed. It was bad enough that I had the habit of haunting rooftops before the man who’d killed my parents left a note on my pillow.

Now, it was an obsession.

In the last two months—in between bounties and training—I’d been scouring every nook and cranny of Ascension. And my questioning methods hadn’t exactly been in line with what I would call pleasant.

Bloody would be a better descriptor.

Hopping off the ledge, I knocked the dark hood from my white hair, letting the spring air cool me down. Sweltering under my lightweight jacket, I yanked it off, trying not to rip the fabric. Clem would be pissed if I ripped another one, and as the house’s weapons keeper and person in charge of my solid food intake, pissing her off would not be a smart move on my part. Plus, if Bastian found me, there would be no more sleuthing tonight, and the need to hide my beacon of a hair color was no longer necessary.

I’d need to pick harder to find locations if I wanted him off my ass. Well… I kind of wanted him on my ass, just not while I was in the middle of my special project. I stared down at the skull don’t-find-me ring I’d conned Simon into making for me. Leave it to Bastian to find a way to work around Simon’s magic.

Bastian stood in the darkness, the faint light barely kissing the high points of his face and leaving the rest in shadow. To everyone else, he was a bruiser with his heavy dark brow and bulking frame. To me, he seemed akin to a big teddy bear—a giant, angry teddy bear, but one, nonetheless.

Even if he was spoiling my stakeout.

“Some hobby,” he groused, snagging my hand and reeling me in. “You know, instead of skulking around, you could actually go inside one of those clubs. Take a night off from your ‘creature of the dark’ persona and actually have fun.”

Fun. It was a struggle not to audibly scoff and even harder not to show the derision on my face. I hadn’t had fun in ages. Hell, I didn’t even know what that word meant anymore. And I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a night off—definitely pre-orphanhood, for sure.

“‘Creature of the dark?’ What am I, a Batman villain? Do I get a cool costume? Is there a car in this deal?”

Bastian’s smile gave me legit butterflies, the wide, white pull of his full lips making me all giddy.

Ugh, hormones. Why must you betray me like this?

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57228952-death-watch

Purchase:

Amazon: https://geni.us/dw-amazon

Bookbub: https://geni.us/deathwatch-bb

AUTHOR BIO:

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Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she’ll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life… interesting.

Author links:

https://www.annieande.com/

https://www.instagram.com/annieande/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnieAnderson

https://www.pinterest.ca/AnnieAnde/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6108766.Annie_Anderson

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Is it a curse? Blitz

LisaWells ItsACurseThing  - Is it a curse? Blitz It’s a Curse Thing
(Singles Town, #2)
Lisa Wells
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance
Publication date: April 27th 2021
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It’s not forever. It’s not freaking forever.

What’s a witch to do when her magic’s been hacked and her tongue wickedly cursed! No matter how hard Eloise Redd concentrates on keeping her thoughts to herself, she blurts them. The only option is to lie low and wait for the hacker’s ransom note —and hope the demands aren’t too steep. In the meantime, she hides out in a haunted town as a palm reader. What could possibly go wrong reading palms?

Jeffrey Bales, Chief Operating Officer of Think Tank Innovations, is excellent at peopling. What he’s not good at is fending off a multitude of women convinced he’s their souls’ missing puzzle piece. This thanks to the town’s magical palm reader. A woman whose mouth should come with a hazard warning. He has no choice but to turn his charms on her to silence those wayward words. Just a tiny, fake relationship should work…

Unless it takes place under the roof of a bewitched house. One determined to bind them together eternally. That ransom demand can’t arrive soon enough.

What if this is forever?

EXCERPT ONE:

“Welcome to Hand Picked.” Eloise struck a pose at the top of her stairs and spoke to the gentleman who stood in her doorway, looking very much like a shabby prince with his stiff stance and sexy-as-hell five o’clock shadow. Was he her three o’clock?

If so, she now wished she’d reapplied her Rouge Louboutin Velvet Matte lipstick after her cup of tea. Perhaps living in Knotty would be more than bores and snores after all. A little hot weekend sex would make the months go by faster.

“Thank you,” he said.

About to take a step forward, she paused, left foot dangling above the stair. Hmmm. What do we have here? His voice sounded familiar. She tilted her head to the left and tried to get a look at his profile. Nope. His face, what she could see of it in the shadows, didn’t ring any bells. Perhaps she’d overheard him talking while she’d explored the town last weekend. “Have you come to have your palm read?”

Not waiting for his response, she lifted her floral, floor-length, multi-ruffled skirt and glided down the stairs, aiming to appear like a royal subject entering a magical ball being held in her honor. Not to impress the man. Not much anyway. But mostly because presentation mattered when one read palms for a living. With her skirt, she wore a black long sleeve bodysuit and a headscarf that had beads that dangled over her forehead.

She’d been just as meticulous regarding her appearance when she had practiced law. Only then, instead of every aspect of her projecting flamboyant exuberance, she’d projected the appropriate image of strength and intelligence and the ability to cut your throat in a courtroom without leaving any traces of blood on her Louboutin heels.

At the bottom of the stairs, she got her first shadow-free view of her latest customer. A view that caused her world to tumble and land ass up. Balls. Balls. Balls.

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EXCEPT TWO:

Eloise stood outside Jeff’s house and waited for the lovely old Victorian to welcome her and her cat inside. Charm, the moodiest cat ever, had been MIA ever since she’d been forced to move to Knotty with Eloise.

“Who are you?” the house barked in a voice gruff with age. Not even a hint of the English accent Eloise had expected.

“Eloise Redd, of the Salem Redds. And you are?” Eloise stood straight and unafraid. This was not her first conversation with a house.

“Gwinifer. You may call me Ms. Gwinifer. And the feline?”

Eloise held her cage out in front of her so Gwinifer could get a good look. “Charm. Of the Salem Charms.”

“I’m not particularly fond of cats,” Gwinifer said.

Charm’s back arched. “Hiiiiissssss.”

“Neither am I.” Eloise gave Charm a behave-yourself look and sat the cage on the ground. “But I’m a witch. They’re required. Along with a cauldron, but I left that in the trunk of the car.”

A nose appeared on the front of the house and it sniffed the air around Eloise. “I can’t say I’m fond of witches either.”

“Neither am I. But, as they say, one doesn’t get to pick their birth family.” Was Jeff inside watching her talk to his house? If so, why hadn’t he come outside and made proper introductions, instead of forcing Eloise to announce herself like a commoner? Surely, if the house was talking to her, it had also spoken to Jeff on his move-in day. Who was she kidding? If the guy was skeptical about palm readers, there’s no way he had ever admitted to himself he heard a house talking. He had probably blamed whatever he had heard from Gwinifer on the wind whistling through tree branches and playing tricks on his ears. 

She glanced away from the nose and admired the house. She didn’t want Gwinifer to feel rushed into making a decision. A house that felt forced into welcoming a guest could be quite abusive to said guest. Cold showers. Creaking floorboards. Drafty rooms. Dead mouse smells.

On the outside, Gwinifer was a sassy lady. Her colorful eclecticism and intricate excess so fit the town itself. Her facade had an elaborately decorated gable and off to one side, a round tower. Her steeply pitched and complex roof perched like a jaunty hat, giving her further style. It was in the window of her dormer that Eloise got a nod of approval. A wink.

“You’ll do,” Gwinifer said in a haughty tone.

Eloise could practically here the house’s eyes rolling. She smiled and gave a curtsy. “Thank you.”

“Don’t make me regret allowing a witch inside my sanctuary,” Gwinifer snapped. “I have a temper. The last time I got mad at a witch, a tornado took out the town.”

AUTHOR BIO:

Lisa Wells writes romantic comedy with enough steam to fog your eyeglasses, your brain, and sometimes your Kindle screen. On the other hands, her eighty-year-old mother-in-law has read Lisa’s steamiest book and lived to offer her commentary. Which went something like this: You used words I’ve never heard of…

She lives in Missouri with her husband and slightly-chunky rescue dog. Lisa loves dark chocolate, red wine, and those rare mornings when her skinny jeans fit. Which isn’t often, considering the first two entries on her love-it list.

Author links:

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https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisa-wells

https://www.facebook.com/lisa.wells.737

https://www.instagram.com/lisawellsauthor/

http://lisawellsauthor.com/contact.html

http://www.lisawellsauthor.com/

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Game? More? Our Author tells us…

MTTG - Game? More? Our Author tells us... More Than the Game
by Jenni Bara
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: September 14th 2021

Trending on social media is her nightmare.

Beth Evans, former Olympic golden girl, known for a national scandal and daughter of a rising political star, is more than happy to stay out of the spotlight, living life as a normal single mom in a small Jersey town. The last thing Beth needs is Twitter’s favorite bad boy–Marc Demoda–walking into her life to stir things up.

Marc lives for the three b’s; baseball, bars, and ball bunnies, until the unthinkable happened. An accident destroys his shoulder and his career, leaving him desperate to get back in the game. Too bad no one hires notorious bad boys to coach. With his reputation on life support, Marc finds his saving grace might be the feisty blonde he can’t get out of his head.

When pictures of Beth and Marc’s chance encounter blow up on Twitter, they strike a deal to avoid further scandals and fix their image. But even in the harsh public spotlight, their fake relationship begins to feel real. Beth’s growing feelings for Marc have her questioning if she can permanently handle the limelight, just as Marc wonders if Beth might mean more than the game.

MoreThanTheGameTourBanner - Game? More? Our Author tells us...

OUR AUTHOR SAYS:

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about?

 My job is heavy and rarely do I see a happy ending – so the happily ever after of romance is a great escape to balance that. And I think if you add in some laughs along the way it makes people feel good.

What appealed to you about it?

The lightness which is the opposite of most things in life. Real life is heavy enough for me, I want something that makes me laugh and ends up happily ever after.

Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

With More than the Game, using social media to help drive the story was different and appealed to readers. They love seeing the tweets getting a peak at things sometimes the characters didn’t even know yet.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it?

I don’t really think about a topic and decide to write about it. Its more the characters just start yapping in my ear and will not stop. The start telling me about who they are and the crazy weird thing that happened to them which becomes the meet cute. And the more I try to ignore them the louder they yell their story at me. Is this not normal? Does this not happen to everyone? LOL

Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

 No I’m weird and plot things out in my head. I get a general idea of the characters where the story is going. And then I just sit down and write it.

How long does it take to research a topic before you write?

 So I research probably way more than I need to write my story. For example, my second book I need some farm knowledge – I spent waaaaay to much time learning about equipment and field rotation. But I like to have a working knowledge that the character would have even if I use almost none of it for the book. It helps me get to know my characters better.

And for this book?

I was lucky enough to know a pitching coach in MLB for this book. He answered a lot of questions for me and talked me through a lot of stuff. He also let me talk to a few pitchers and it helped a lot to get in Marc’s head space.

What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I mean I start with google, but talking to people is the best. Find someone who does it and ask them ALLLLLL the questions.

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics etc when you say you want to write about them?

 I do know a few police officers, a few firefighters, some emt, etc. They would be helpful but I haven’t gotten to write a story using them yet. 

How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

Oh man. So many. And yet not nearly as many as I’ve heard others have gone through. I queried 25 agents total with this book.  I had two offers of representation. And both women were super helpful and detailed when I asked so many questions.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

 So neither self nor traditional publishing is wrong or not real. Its more about what you want. Both have pros and cons and both are A LOT of work. I think too many people think I’ll just self-publish because it is easier, that is not true. You have no help and have to wade through the mind field of the industry without back up. And if you don’t do it correctly and check the boxes rarely, are you successful. I also think people wrongly assume if you traditionally publish the publishers do the work for you. No – you still have to edit; you still have to Market- A LOT. I think if you are an author looking to publish a book, you need to do your research and look into both option and understand what you are getting into before you decide which route you want to go.

Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened? Right now for me – no – it doesn’t. Might it in the future. We will see.

What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

Or what is the funniest thing that has happened to you when writing / researching a book?

What do you read when you are ill in bed?

I’m a mom – do we get to be in bed when we are ill??? Man I’m definitely going to tell my kids they’ve been withholding sick days from me.  LOL. No seriously when I’m down I always pick up anything by Susan Elizabeth Philips. Her stories are my favorite medicine.

What is your favourite genre?

Romance – contemporary especially if it can make me laugh.

If you could recommend a living author – who would it be?

Susan Elizabeth Philips is my favorite.

Which author had the most influence on your writing? Your writing style? Your writing genre? Susan Elizabeth Philips. The first book I ever read by her—It had to be You—hooked me to romance forever.Her perfect balance of laughter and real-life issues grips your heart while make everyone in the room look at you like your nuts for laughing out loud over a book. My job is heavy and rarely do I see a happy ending – so the happily ever after of romance is a great escape to balance that.

In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?

 I really love Max Monroe for a laugh. That duo cracks me up pretty much every time.

Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

Not really. I have way of telling a story whether verbally or on paper that is very me. However there are plenty of authors that I think do a great job of balance the art of laughs with creating relatable characters that the reader can connect with and I hope to do that as well.

What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?

 Lost them. LOL. I’m one of those people who doesn’t hang on to stuff.

Do you have any pets?

Yes

If so, what are they?

We have a Cat – who flips between sweet as sugar and mean as a snake depending on her mood. So basically – I have a normal cat. And then we have paint turtles that my son hatched from eggs eights years ago.

And what are they called?

The cat’s name is Jags. The turtles are named after the seven dwarfs but don’t ask me which is which only my son can tell them apart (and really I think he just makes it up)

Do they help you write? Eg our cats like to sit on my desk/computer and play with my mouse.

No but Jags does sit with me a lot.

What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing?

Mostly she and Andy (my three year old) spend time terrorizing each other. One minute Jags is scared of Andy the next Andy is scared of Jags. Like ping pong balls.

Which of your books / series are you most proud of?

 I don’t know yet.

What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

 My kids are and always will be my greatest accomplishment and what I am the most proud of in life.

Do you have an unusual hobby?

Writing was my unusual hobby. Now its because more of a job. Still adjusting to that. lol

Which is your favourite place to visit? Do you incorporate it into your books?

We have a family house on the coast of Maine. The house is called Poppy’s Point. And it is my favorite place. One of the Evans brothers’ story will take place in Maine. I’m having so much fun with that one. I’m not sure if it’s the setting or Luke. Because he is one of my beta readers favorite characters.

If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?

Belle from Beauty and the Beast because I want to live in a castle with a MASSIVE library.

If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

 I’d move to the coast. Any coast, I just want to be on the water. I’ve heard that control freaks should live by the water just to be reminded that the tide comes in and out everyday without there in put or okay and life still goes on. Not that I’m a control freak or anything.

What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?

 I find this to be a mean question I get three? The Bible. One of Susan Elizabeth Philips books. And some book that teaches me all the skill I need to survive on a desert island because without that I wouldn’t make it long.

Do you people watch to find characters for your books? How do you do this?

 My husband always calls it nosey because I do listen and watch people around me all the time. Conversation, mannerism. We will be out to dinner and the conversation of the people in the booth behind me has my full attention. It makes my hubby crazy.

Or do you add some traits from your family and friends into your characters?

 Its been pointed out that a lot of my heros have some of my husbands traits. But no I don’t purposely do this. However the support, love, annoyance, teasing, friendship, that the Evans family has, is something that comes from my own family.

What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same? Its different with each book and characters. Although I will hear an arrant song and add it to each novels playlist because each has a tone.

Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person?

Mostly people would say I am a tidy person, my husband who is a total neat freak would say I am not. I write mostly at home, at the table or counter or on the sofa. I don’t have a space.

Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its?

The funny answer is of course not these people exist in my mind how could I forget them!!! But really, I have a doc on my computer so I don’t forget stuff. Because its surprising hard to remember so many details especially after you are five or six books into a series.

Were you inspired by any folk stories? If so which ones? And what was it about them that inspired you?

No

Should monsters /criminals be given a second chance? Can they be reformed? What is the best type of prison for them? (you can include paranormals here)

 I think anyone can be reformed if THEY want to be. But someone else cant want it for them, they have to want it for themselves.

Who is your favourite pirate and why?

 I have nothing. . . . I cant think of a single pirate’s name. Does that make me boring? It’s probably the lack of tv and movies I watch.

Do you enjoy sailing? On a lake or the sea?

This is actually funny. My dad loves to sail. Always has. I get super sea sick. So does my brother Rob. We tried but we spent a lot of time green at the gils and my dad always felt it was unfair that he kids that got seasick. His grandkids have his back though.

Has the pandemic inspired you with any new stories to write? If so, what is the story premise? Not really. But it made me release how much I miss alone time. I don’t know when the last time I was alone, having all the kids and hubby at the house all the time, has been weird.

How many books did you write during Covid19/Lockdown?

I wrote and edited during Covid. But between having all four of my kids home 24-7 and dealing with work – which got busier during covid. It wasn’t an easy time.

If you were asked to write a family saga which century would you place it in?

 The Evans series is a family saga and I picked now.

What about turning your best seller into a film or TV series – would you want to write the script or be on the production team?

 If this ever happened – I’d want to be able to be including and maybe have some veto power in stuff but really thats not my strong suit. I do not watch any tv or movies, so I wouldn’t know how to do it right.

Do you prefer doctors or nurses as your hero/heroine? Why?

 No preference, I come from a very medical family and if I picked one or had an opinion, I’m sure I’d hear about it for YEARS.

What about ‘snark’? is it good or bad?

It has it place, but I think it’s best used sparingly.

Is it easy to write humour?

 I think it depends on the person. Some people force humor and its not funny. I’ve heard I write it well. But I don’t think anything about writing is hard. Editing – publishing – marketing – all that stuff is HARD. The actual writing is the fun part.

How easy is it to write a good sex scene? Or baking scene? And do you have to have experienced these things do you think, to write about them successfully?

 Hmm Sex and Baking quite the combo. I think I’d write a crappy baking scene. But I’ve never tried to write one. So I guess maybe we’ll see in the future if I give it a go. Sex scenes can be tricky its almost like a game of taboo you need to get the point across without using any word too many times. But the key to a good sex scene is tension, you need to build it for the reader leading up to it.

A challenge: Write 500 or more words including in it at least two of the following statements and 1 of the words.             And invent some new words to include in the story.

  • Feed me now or forever clear up when I poop in your shoe
  • Pink? I am a tutu wearing cat but never pink!
  • May your fur be rainbow coloured and your tail a feather
  • Poopalicious
  • Humphthingalong
  • Scatishly
  • oopsadaisytuttuttut

If my cat could talk it would say I was a …pain in her neck. You have no idea what it’s like to deal with an owner who spend half of her time in lala land. Her mind is mostly in the Evansverse with her imaginary friends and I have to remind her to feed me now or forever clean up when I poop in her shoes. It’s crazy to think it makes this human mad that I would even consider popping in the things she put on her stinky feet but she really yells when I do it. Doesn’t stop her from containing to sit and peck away at the keyboard instead of giving me my third meal most days. So, I end up sitting on her lap just to make sure she doesn’t forget to include fur babies in stories. To make it worse her first book included dogs! What does a dog have that a cat doesn’t? She said one time it’s because dogs don’t randomly sneak up and attack their owners’ feet, but I think she was annoyed that I left hair on her pants. Its not my fault I shed, and to be fair, my hair is much shorter than the hair she sheds everywhere she goes. And even if she doesn’t admit I know she loves it when I snuggle on her legs keeping her warm. Even if she still kicks me off her lap when one of the little people that rule the house yell from the bathroom that they need her help because they had a poopalicious poop and need wiping. The lengths cats have to go to deal with humans is just beyond me.

if you could be an animal which animal would you be? Give three reasons. You may NOT choose to be a dog or a cat.

 I would be a fish. I love the water. To be able to be in the peaceful silence of the ocean every day is a dream. And to get to see what the ocean looks like when no humans are around is too cool to give up. Plus I’d love to see what its like to be a fish when the water get crazy in storm are they flipping around like crazy? Or do they not even notice? The questions that haunt me – lol

How many ‘packs’ should a hero have? Are 8 too many and what might a character lick off them? Why?

 8 – 10 -12 the more the merrier. Haha. Maybe 12 is too many. Truthfully it depends on the character, one who works out should have a pack. One who doesn’t wont. My second book the guy doenst have any sort of pack. And that doesn’t make him any less sexy. I vote for licking coffee off of them. Because we all need more coffee in our life. 😊

What music inspires you? And which instrument is best for which scenes?

 I play the piano so I use that in my second book. But all music inspires me.

AUTHOR BIO:

Screen Shot 2021 07 20 at 2.25.48 PM - Game? More? Our Author tells us...

Jenni Bara lives in New Jersey working as a paralegal in family law, writing real-life unhappily ever-afters every day. In turn, she spends her free time with anything that keeps her laughing, including life with four kids, or five, if you count her husband. She is just starting her career as a romance author writing books with a great balance of life, love, and laughter.


Author links:

https://www.jennibara.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Jennibarabooks/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21723606.Jenni_Bara

https://www.instagram.com/jennibarabooks/

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Make new again: Author Interview

renovate - Make new again: Author Interview Renovated: A Workplace Romance
Blake Brothers #1
Nikki Kiley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: August 5th 2021

They’ve been hired to remodel a mansion. Will they end up getting a room? Marisa Sanchez has grand designs for her future. After taking over her grandfather’s construction firm, the successful vlogger and civil engineer is about to take the next step with a new show on the Home Design Network. But she’s not pleased to find out she can only have the lucrative gig if she agrees to work with a handsome rival. Levi Chance takes the responsibility of providing for his brothers seriously. So when his biggest client asks him to come into the spotlight to co-host a new program, he reluctantly accepts. But he fears the pretty, camera-loving partner he’s been assigned might bring his top-notch reputation tumbling down if she can’t deliver the goods. Discovering her teammate is quite capable, Marisa battles her attraction to him as she ambitiously turns the project upside down. And the more Levi works with the smart Latina, the more he worries he’s about to push the “no sex” morality clause in their contract into forbidden territory. Will Marisa and Levi’s fixer-upper turn into a happily together forever? Renovated is the charming first book in the moving Chance Brothers contemporary romance series. If you like sparkling attractions, comedic moments, and steamy action, then you’ll love Nikki Kiley’s well-built romp.

RenovatedTourBanner - Make new again: Author Interview

Nikki Tells All:

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

My fascination with home renovation began as a superfan of HGTV, Discovery, and E! Entertainment.  I couldn’t help but imagine myself as the homeowner that needed to confront the various scenarios, budget, choices, the letdowns when things didn’t work out, and the joy of the final walk-through with the TV host. It’s corny; my husband and I would–and still do–watch the shows where the guests travel to foreign countries and choose between three different homes, and we’ll make a game of guessing which they decided, based on the future homeowner’s personalities. When the lockdown became our reality, I put my imagination to work on overdrive. I immersed myself in the behind-the-scenes of tv production companies and learned what happens in the production of Home Renovation shows and Home construction for TV. I had the idea of a protagonist, a mid-twenties Latina with the preparation, looks, and desire to make a name for herself in reality TV, focusing on home design. It was just a matter of getting it down on paper (or on my computer, haha)

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a notebook where you write down topics that appeal before deciding as to which topic this time?

The idea behind Renovated percolated for close to a year. I dreamt of it, gave it shape, plotted in my mind until I could no longer fight the words that needed an outlet. I thought about the series, their future partners, tropes, and the misbeliefs. In each story I ask my characters, “Okay, what’s your issue? How are we going to find the one? Who will it be, and how can I create enough conflict to make it riveting”.

What resources do you use? In general, and for the last book that you wrote?

 I started using excel spreadsheets, then I discovered PLOTTR (game changer), Scrivener(I’m probably using a tenth of its potential), Microsoft Word(when in the editing stage).  I use a mix of Save the Cat and Gwen Hayes Romancing the Beat to outline. I’m 100% a plantser: I do very detailed outlines but swerve off the path when my characters develop a mind of their own and deviate from my storyline.

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police, medics, etc when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

My experience has been very positive when asking professionals for feedback about their profession or even advice. One of the books in my series will be about a home stager that falls for one of the Chance brothers. I was fortunate that I knew in Miami a very successful home stager,  my sister’s sister-in-law.  I spent the day observing and asked numerous questions of everyone that worked the home staging process. People love sharing what they know, and if they love what they do, even more so. 

I will say, “I am writing a book. Can I pick your brain for purely research purposes?” In my experience, thus far, people are flattered that you have an interest in their life or job and are more than happy to answer questions and share details about their profession.

If you need specialist knowledge to write a book, how do you obtain it? For instance, do you interview people? Go to the location? Use Google Earth? Apps?

I’ve googled so much during the lockdown. My book takes place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Miami, Florida. I know those places extremely well. For Tennessee, I googled for details. When things are a bit easier, I would love to go and visit Nashville to do some reconnaissance. My book is about the behind-the-scenes of the Home Renovation production company and the individuals that make up that world. Thank God for Google once again. There’s a lot on the internet, and It’s easy to fall through the research rabbit hole.

Did you need to self-publish on ebooks before a publisher took you up?

 I chose to self-publish from the very beginning. I never entertained the idea of looking for a publisher. I wasn’t waiting for someone else to make my dreams of becoming a published author a reality.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I never entertained the thought of a publisher since I decided that I was going straight to Indie.  But if I am blessed enough to garner an audience and am approached by a publishing house I would consider it. One thing people who aren’t in the industry hardly realize is that you have to put on a lot of hats with self-publishing. You are not only the writer, but you are also the advertiser, the researcher, etc.  

I consider self-publishing and building an audience similar to the concept of the newsletter. It’s essential to make a connection with your readers, and at the end of the day, your fans belong to you, follow you, and will back your books.

What do you read when you are ill in bed?

When I am sick––which thankfully doesn’t happen very often––it’s Paranormal romance for me. I get to stretch my imagination and construct the author’s world-building in my mind. I forget that I’m sick for a while. I am a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston (Her shifter romances), Lora Leigh (Breed Series), and Laurann Dohner(New Species). Alpha Males that have animal DNA. Wait, there’s a pattern there somewhere.

What is your favorite genre?

Romance, Paranormal, Contemporary, Rom Com––all Steamy.

If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?

 Penny Reid, Roni Loren, Devney Perry, Shelly Laurensten, Vi Keeland,  the list could go on and on. All of them are fabulous at their craft. I love their writing: clever writing, strong women, great conflict, and a guaranteed HEA or HFN.

In your opinion, who is the funniest author now writing?

Penny Reid – Winston Brothers Series

 Pippa Grant is Rom-Com personified.

Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

 There are so many talented and fabulous authors. I just want to write my story in the best way possible. I know what’s good. We all know good writing and literature. But it’s when you are putting actual words on the screen that you realize how damn hard the process is.

Do you have any pets?

  1. If so, what are they?  I have a bullmastiff named Kira, the epitome of a gentle giant. She‘s even written into my book Renovated and will be the family dog in all the Chance Series.
  2. And what are they called? Kira
  3. Do they help you write? Kira sits with me all day. Until she wants food, to walk, water, or a treat, then she’s the boss.
  4. What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? Kira just sleeps a lot. But at nine years old, she can do what she wants.

Which of your books are you most proud of?

Renovated is my first book, so I am partial to it. I am proud of the fact that I realized I could finish a book and get it published. I slew that monster, and now I’m on to the next.

What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?

On a personal level, raising my children to be two incredible young adults and my thirty-two years with my husband, on a professional level, passing my CPA exam and holding my book in paperback. Nothing says a published author more than having the evidence in your hand.

Do you have an unusual hobby? Is it related to the books you write? Or is it for relaxation? Is it dangerous/ adventurous/ requires travel?

I love to travel. I live in Puerto Rico. Therefore we have to travel by plane to get everywhere. There’s no getting in the car and traveling to the next state over.  Learning about the world and experiencing their cultures is extremely important to me as an individual and family.  Pre-pandemic, we traveled to South Africa and stayed on a reserve, traveled to Zimbabwe, sailed the Nile, and climbed Machu Picchu. Hopefully, one day we can all return to a normal where we can travel and visit without fear.

Which is your favorite place to visit? Do you incorporate it into your books?

 I love Florida, and it plays a central figure in my book, the different cultures that make up the state’s personality are front and center in my book.

If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?

When I was young, it was Nancy Drew. As I got older, it was Mrs. Marple. Then I read J D Robb__ Eve Dallas.  I think I see another pattern forming. Funny, I love romance but see myself as Angela Fletcher of Murder She Wrote.

If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

Rome, Italy, or San Sebastian, Spain. I believe I’m motivated by the food in those countries. London, England because I’m a secret anglophile. But deep down inside, they would all be to visit. I love the United States and could not see myself living in any place other than here.

What music – if any – do you think inspires you to write? Is it different for each novel or the same?

I create a Spotify list for each book, within songs that inspire the trope. In Renovated, it’s a Puerto Rican girl raised in Miami, so my mix has many Spanish songs. I get into the zone, don’t even hear the words after a while. You can link the playlist here https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4oSpGIl0iONNoDY6NIqaMb?si=68e1f00b33704916.

Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person? If away from home – where and why?

Since the lockdown and the pandemic have not been very conducive to coffee shop writing, I write at home.

I have a home office, but when the muse leaves me, it’s in bed from nine to midnight, just me and my laptop. My husband’s a saint and sleeps by my side while I write into the night.

 Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its? How do you remember important items about your characters like height, weight, coloring, likes and dislikes, etc.? 

Plottr (not sponsored) has been instrumental in creating my timelines and character descriptions. I have now started using the Enneagram for character development. In Scrivner, I also keep a detailed character sheet that I transfered from Plottr, which I then add to.

Do you enjoy sailing? On a lake or the sea? And what about tall-masted ships- are they better than engines or?

I’m more of a motorboat person, I want to get to the endpoint, to start the trip and the fun fast. Not so much into the journey, more the destination. I wonder what that says about me.

Has the pandemic inspired you with any new stories to write? If so, what is the story premise?

The pandemic inspired me to finish my first book finally made me realize that life is too short not to acknowledge your deep-seated dreams.

Do you prefer doctors or nurses as your hero/heroine? Why?  

I’ve been married to a doctor for over thirty years, and my daughter is studying medicine, so from a practical perspective, I have more input from them. Since he was a med student, I have been with my husband, and I have seen my daughter go through the same thing. Plus, my day job is running my husband’s office, and I’m a witness to the ins and outs of hospitals and patients.

But, on the other hand, writing a romance with a doctor as the protagonist is a bit difficult since I have first-hand experience of how little free time doctors have––especially when they are starting, so a hero/heroine that’s a nurse is a bit easier to make realistic (But I’ll have to research that premise since I really haven’t investigated that either)

What about ‘snark’? Is it good or bad?

I love reading snarky characters, but I have now realized how difficult they are to write because there is that fine line between snarky and being considered bitchy.

Is it easy to write humor?

Writing humor is not easy at all. It’s incredibly different from in-person humor, as you really have to have a mastery of writing to be able to look at every aspect of a scene to find the humor in the situation, then exploit it for all it’s worth.

How easy is it to write a good sex scene? And do you have to have experienced these things, do you think, to write about them successfully?

Ugh, I sweated the sex scenes. I’ve taken classes on creating sexual tension and writing sex scenes, read books and blogs. It was crucial for me to write them because I wanted to write the type of book I liked to read. I love books with steamy sex scenes, and I take my hat off to all those authors who make it look easy. I need to delve into all the senses, so much of the sex scene is mental, and you have to keep that constantly present in the execution of writing it. It’s what your characters are thinking, feeling, experiencing at the moment, all immortalized on the page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikki - Make new again: Author Interview

Nikki Kiley is an aspiring author of Contemporary Romance. Since she was a young girl, she dreamt of writing stories that would entertain and move her readers, like she was and still is, by talented authors.

When not working the day job running a medical office, she spends hours crafting and writing stories about heroes and heroines earning their chance at love. She makes her home in Puerto Rico with her husband, two young adult children, and a gentle giant, the bull mastiff, Kira.

She loves the beach, her Nespresso maker, and cupcakes (S’more in particular).

https://www.nikkikiley.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21568574.Nikki_Kiley

https://www.facebook.com/authornikkikiley

https://www.instagram.com/authornikkikiley/

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Comet’s First Christmas tbc

comet - Comet's First Christmas tbc Comet's First Christmas
The North Pole Chronicles Book 1
by Delilah Night
(Adult) | Romance
GPub Date 20 Oct 2020
three star - Comet's First Christmas tbc

A bad Santa is turning believers faster than melting snow. Can the mystery be solved in time for Christmas? Claudia I’ve dreamed of this day for years, and now it’s reality. I’ve been called up for the Big Show. Official Pole phone and email, Naughty-or-Nice login, and upgraded I.D. with my new job title—Comet. In three weeks, I’ll be part of the team flying Santa around the world. In an instant my life goes from peaceful, if boring, to a blizzard of last-minute flight preparations, route planning, and anxiety-triggering stress. The moment I meet my P.A., Jillian, her beautiful smile and sparkling blue eyes are an oasis of calm. But I’ve barely got enough time to wonder if her plump lips taste as sugarplum sweet as they look. Disturbing news has popped up on Santa’s radar. Someone is turning Santa’s most fervent believers into non-believers overnight. If we can’t find and stop this hacker, there won’t be enough reindeer cutout cookies and hot chocolate in the world to restore balance to Santa’s Naughty-or-Nice list in time for Christmas Eve. Note to reader: What sweet Christmas romance would be complete without reindeer, The Nutcracker, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and New York pizza?

This lgbtq novel is not full length but rather a sweet novella. It is full of magic and elves. And as it is set at the North Pole we also have reindeer shifters and blue snowmen. But the storyline is all about the grinch who wanted to steal children’s belief in Father Christmas and the magic of the presents that came from their letters and wishes as told to the department store (etc) stand-ins.

It was sweet but…the main issue with all novellas is that they are too short to really develop the characters and the storyline. Thus, it was all too easy to solve the mystery and get things organised at the very end..

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Please don’t chase!

Chasing - Please don't chase! Chasing the Duke
12 Days of Christmas, #7
by Tracy Sumner
Historical Romance, Regency
Independently
Pub Date 7 Dec 2020
four star - Please don't chase!

With her final season in the ton a surprising success, Lady Camille Bellington retires to her family’s Yorkshire estate for Christmas with a marriage proposal in hand. Beautiful and charming, but too independent for society, Camille has given up on the hope to marry for love. So she will marry for duty. The man of her childhood dreams hasn’t been home in three years, even to secure his dukedom, and her heart went with him. His best friend's little sister is lost to him… War hero Tristan Tierney, Duke of Mercer, returns to his ancestral home for the holidays to find himself burdened with a title and the woman he left behind betrothed to another. As he’s only seen death and destruction for years, he’s come to believe true love is a myth. His aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire, to possess Camille Bellington. Childhood friendship gives way to something altogether more dangerous as two people give love a second chance. If you like mischievous heroines and devilish dukes with a splash of Regency splendor thrown in, then you’ll adore Chasing the Duke.

Another nice historical romance.
I like the way authors take the name of real seats of the aristocracy and then change their location – hence Longleat masquerading as Chatsworth.
Set after the Battle of Waterloo we have the soldier back from the wars with trauma hidden in his psyche. And a less than stellar relationship with his father. All of which makes him melancholy and less than jovial. But hiding his pain from all but his friend’s sister who had had a young crush on him that resulted in a very public and very unfortunate action in a church.
And we have a young woman with an unusual hobby for the ton – a scientific one at that and so she has a keen mind and is well read.
We then have a courtship of the usual type and trope that goes up and down with many mis-adventures. Whilst we know from the first chapter that all will be well at the end, it is always nice to read how the author will get them there – if the style of the written word is good and contents are well plotted.  
 

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Charity Heroes: Book Blitz

911 Anthology Final FINAL - Charity Heroes: Book Blitz Heroes with Heat and Heart:
A 9/11 Charity Anthology
Carina Alyce, EmKay Connor, LoLo Paige, Karigan Hale, LC Taylor ,Samantha Thomas
Genre: Military Romance, Contemporary Romance,Medical Romance, First Responder Romance
September 1, 2021

In honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, some of your favorite romance authors joined forces to create a charity anthology to raise funds to honor the memories of the heroes we lost that day. Starting in September, every single dollar without exception goes to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

So grab a fan for some heat and tissues for some tears, and fall in love with the men and women first responders in this collection of heroic romances.

Heroes with Heart FB Banner 1 1024x452 - Charity Heroes: Book Blitz

Heal your heart with stories of love and heroism!⁣

⁣In honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, some of your favorite romance authors joined forces to create a charity anthology to raise funds to honor the memories of the heroes we lost that day. Starting in September, every single dollar without exception goes to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.⁣

⁣So grab a fan for some heat and tissues for some tears, and fall in love with the men and women first responders in this collection of heroic romances.⁣

⁣Featuring stories by⁣:

Carina Alyce⁣

EmKay Connor⁣

Karigan Hale⁣

Lolo Paige⁣

LC Taylor⁣

Samantha Thomas⁣

⁣To keep up to date on the progress of our donations, join our newsletter at

https://carinaalyce.com/911-charity-newsletter/

HEROES with HEAT and HEART 1 1024x1024 - Charity Heroes: Book Blitz

Excerpts:

TEMPTED by Carina Alyce

“You are a professional,” ER Clerk Cassie Odon reminded herself, wheeling her computer through the MetroGen ER. The wee morning hours of Thursday night shifts in the minor care pod were supposed to be slow. 

The triage nurse at the front door was having a ball because her triage reasons became more outlandish as the night wore on. 

Seriously, why were Fabio and Glen sharing a room? And what did “get checked out” mean? They couldn’t be too sick if they were in the minor care pod and not one of the two standard care pods. At nineteen and twenty-eight years old, they shouldn’t have been taking a ton of meds.

STD testing, perhaps?

No, the triage nurse’d have written ‘personal concern w/testing’ on that.

Object in the butt? While everyone said ‘they fell on it,’ it usually appeared as ‘OITB.’

Drunken sex accident? Ideally, they weren’t drunk. Drunk guys, regardless of their orientation, were obnoxious when she had to file their insurance.

She opened the door to Room 78 and understood triage’s note.

There sat two shirtless firefighters ‘getting checked out.’ Even better, she recognized one of them, who had been similarly naked during their last conversation.

And he looked fabulous naked . . .

BRAVE ENOUGH TO LOVE by EmKay Connor

I hooked my fingers around the door jamb and leaned in. “You wanted to see me?”

Lieutenant Niad looked up and nodded, chin jutting toward the door. “Shut it.”

Several inches over six feet, Jack Niad had the weathered look of a career military officer. He wore khakis and a golf shirt with the department logo that revealed corded muscle in his forearms and a still-flat abdomen. His face was angles and slashes—narrowed eyes that made him seem eternally suspicious, thin lips, and a narrow-ridged nose. He was tough but fair. Because of his role as team commander, he needed to maintain a few degrees of separation, but Katie and I were well-acquainted with him and his wife, Denice.

“I hear we might have a problem,” he growled. A kick to his throat at a bar fight in Nice, France, on his first deployment with the Navy had permanently damaged his trachea, resulting in a voice that sounded like sandpaper being dragged over a cinder block.

“Wha—” The word hung in the air as he continued.

“I already know too much about what’s going on with you and Katie.” He bent his elbows and folded his arm on the edge of the desk, reminding me of a praying mantis. “She and Denice had lunch yesterday.”

I pursed my lips, wondering about the conversation between the two women but not sure I really wanted to know. It was out of character for Katie to overshare, even though the guys and their wives were like family to us.

“I can’t afford to have one of my team members distracted, Lou.” His tone softened, but his ice-blue eyes hit me like twin lasers. “Should I be worried?”

Should he?

I was worried.

The problems in our marriage were my fault. Somehow, despite the month-after-month disappointment, Katie remained patient and loving. She endured my broody silence without judgement and tried to entice me back into her arms when I avoided her. She should have been angry. She should have shouted accusations. She should have called me out for being a coward.

Her request that we attend couples counseling had been her line in the sand. She would not continue to tolerate my behavior. Something had to change, and that something was me.

I wanted to change. I hated knowing she was unhappy, and the cause of that misery was me. Not just my failure to make a baby with her, but my inability to open up and reveal my vulnerabilities.

INCENDIARY by Karigan Hale

My unit pulled up to the scene, a small shed at the back of our ghost-town of a mall, where several bystanders were already watching the blaze.

“Let’s set a record, boys,” I called to my team, who sprung expertly into action. In no time, the only reminders of the once hungry flames were the seared carcass of the storage shed and the thick, gray smoke billowing into the air.

I pulled off my helmet, rubbed the ache in my neck, and walked over to the bystanders, hoping to find the first on scene. A hand on my arm stopped my momentum before I could reach them. I followed the arm up to the man it belonged to: Marcus Dunlevy. My brain and body warred with their reactions to his touch.

As a nosey reporter, general pain-in-my-ass, and ex-big mistake, Marcus caused my brain to want to recoil from his touch and douse him with the fire hose. As a Hollywood handsome hunk with a panty-melting smile and very skilled hands, Marcus made my body want to climb him like a ladder truck and hang on for the ride.

ALASKA DAWN by LoLo Paige

McGuire plopped down on the grassy riverbank and Tara sank down next to him.

He slipped his arm around her shoulders and goosebumps rose on her arms, despite the heat. “Thanks for today. You’re an expert at river running.” He nodded at the raft, resting on the gravel.

“Thanks. I do my best.” She smiled.

He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers in a light, lingering kiss. She tasted beer mixed with the brownies she’d made before bed last night. A tendril of hair fell from her messy bun, and he brushed it back. “Is there anyone I should be concerned about besides your dad?”

“What do you mean?”

“Anyone else that would object to my dating you?” His solemn look made her smile.

She thought for a minute. “Maybe the Lolo Hotshots.”

He pulled back startled.  “What, like you dated the entire fire crew? So, you’re one of those women?” he teased.

She laughed. “Ha, no, they’re protective of me because Dad used to work with them. We still spend holidays and birthdays together. They’re family, like having a bunch of aunts and uncles.”

“Glad you told me that. I’ll make sure I tread lightly.”

“How do you plan to do that?” She gave him a seductive look.

“You tell me.” He removed his sunglasses and pulled her close. His mouth covered hers and she became lightheaded when he rubbed her bare back and deepened the kiss. The murmuring river and the slight breeze in the treetops faded, as she lost herself in him.

When his hand paused at the clasp of her bikini top, she tensed.

McGuire broke the kiss and Tara opened her eyes. “We’re officially dating. I don’t kiss just any guy like that.”

“I hope not. Now that I’ve snagged you without a hook.” He stood and offered her his hand. “Let’s grab a pizza on our way home.”

She squeezed his hand. “Pepperoni.”

Tara still reeled big time from his kiss. Her body tingled as she started her Toyota and drove them to get McGuire’s car upstream. Before he got out, he leaned across. “I need one for the road.”

She met him halfway and they swished tongues in a lingering kiss before he climbed out.

Tara liked this new guy in her life. He was a breath of fresh air; someone she wanted to spend time with. Not to mention he was hot as hell. Back when they’d walked around the Smokejumper Base, Tara had inwardly compared him to the wall photos of other jumpers. No one came close to McGuire’s striking looks and splendid brawn. She couldn’t believe that she had snagged him—without even casting a line.

But deep down she knew many would judge, especially Dad and Jim Dolan. Which made McGuire even more alluring—like a bad boy. That excited her more than anything. From what she knew of McGuire so far, he was far from it. So, let everyone else think the opposite.

She liked that even better.

KERRIGAN by LC Taylor

The sun was finally setting, causing the sky to take on an eerie vibe. The fire was out, but smoke continued to billow into the tainted air. My stomach tightened as I took in the casualties of today’s events. The ground was littered with the wounded, waiting to be assessed. But what really got me. What really made my throat burn with bile was all the dead that laid before me. Bodies were laid out on the Pentagon grounds, covered in sheets. There were so many that didn’t survive today’s terrorist attack—and the ones that did would never be the same. Me included.

As I sat down in the grass, I kept my head on swivel. I still hadn’t heard from Kara, and now my phone was dead inside my pocket. If I just sit here, maybe she’ll find me. I stood when I saw the fire chief from Kara’s station cutting across the parking lot. He’d spotted me and immediately made a beeline towards me.

“Kerrigan.” He blew out a breath. “Have you heard from Kara?”

I furrowed my brows and clenched my jaw. “What do you mean? Haven’t you been in contact with her?”

“No. Once the plane crashed, all hell broke loose. I know she and her partner were in the area and were first to respond, but dispatch hasn’t been able to raise them since.”

“Fuck.” I pushed my fingers through my hair. “You’re sure she was here?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll go look for her. Meet me back here in thirty minutes. Maybe one of us will have come across her by then.”

“Ok.” The chief took off in the opposite direction.

I pushed through the chaos I was feeling inside and started looking for my wife. Coming up empty-handed, I headed back to the rendezvous spot to meet the Chief. Maybe he had better luck and Kara would be there, too. I paced the grass, scorching a path from my constant motion.

“Kerrigan.”

I glanced toward the Chief who was moving toward me, my best friend, Hayward, following behind him. Even from the distance, I could tell something was wrong. Hayward’s body was tense, and his jaw was set in a grimace. My head shook, even before he made it all the way to me.

“No.” I refused to let him speak, afraid of what he was going to say.

“Kerrigan.” Hayward’s voice cracked as his eyes welled with tears. “I’m so sorry.” He paused, trying to get his emotions in check. “She was inside the building when the plane exploded for the second time.”

“No.” I cried out. “You’re wrong.” I pointed my finger into his chest and bit back a sob. “Please. She can’t be in there, Hayward. She can’t be.”

His arms wrapped around my shoulders as he pulled me into an embrace. This couldn’t be happening. My wife couldn’t have been inside. But as he spoke his next words, I already knew. Kara had made the ultimate sacrifice, leaving me alone on this earth without her.

 “I’m sorry, Kerrigan. Kara’s gone.”

AN IRRESISTIBLE SPARK by Samantha Thomas

“I should have,” replied an earnest Mackie.

How was she supposed to stay mad at that? She had to give him some credit for at least coming after her to apologize. Most guys would have made it their mission to make sure she was embarrassed by what happened. He wasn’t doing that. It was obvious he meant it, and if she didn’t forgive him, she was definitely the jerk. She was going to have to give in, at least a little.

“I may have overreacted,” conceded Cassie.

Mackie didn’t say anything. If he was expecting more, then he would be waiting a while.

He gave a low chuckle and then he looked back at the bar, then back to Cassie. “Do you want to come back to Brews? Play some darts or something?”

He looked so hopeful, that Cassie almost caved. Almost. “I’m good thanks.”

Mackie gave her that boyish grin. “Do you think that now you’ve forgiven me, you might agree to drinks one day.”

He was incorrigible. Absolutely no shame, and for some sure to be regrettable reason, she found herself liking him, a little more with each moment that passed.

“All things are possible there, cowboy. How about you take the win for today and leave it at that?”

“You realize that’s a yes in my book, Cassie Peck.”

“I know you think it’s a yes,” she smiled and shook her head.

“Alright.” He gave her a wink and then walked back to the bar.

Buy Links:

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B099MC6VL6/

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heroes-Heat-Heart-Charity-Anthology-ebook/dp/B099MC6VL6/

Amazon AU:  https://www.amazon.com.au/Heroes-Heat-Heart-Charity-Anthology-ebook/dp/B099MC6VL6/

Amazon CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/Heroes-Heat-Heart-Charity-Anthology-ebook/dp/B099MC6VL6/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58666974-heroes-with-heat-and-heart

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/heroes-with-heat-and-heart-a-9-11-charity-anthology-by-carina-alyce-and-samantha-thomas

Author Bios:

Carina Alyce is a full-time practicing physician who moonlights as a steamy romance writer and mother of six. Her MetroGen Downtown series is described as Grey’s Anatomy + Chicago Fire+steam+actual medicine. She joined the anthology because she worked for years in the ER side-by-side with many firefighters and EMTs.

EmKay Connor is the author of contemporary romantic fiction infused with quirky humor and engaging characters. Her bright and breezy romances are set in small towns, tropical locations, and glamorous destinations where her heroes and heroines discover passion and fall in love. As a former Navy wife who lived on a military base in Washington, DC, during the 9/ll attacks and aftermath, she believes in honoring those serve and sacrifice for the USA.

Karigan Hale is a wife, mother, high school teacher, and photographer who is highly allergic to poison ivy and early mornings and highly addicted to fountain sodas and true crime. She writes steamy, slow-burn romantic comedies full of sarcastic females and the hot males trying to keep up with them. She chose to participate in this anthology to honor the amazing first responders that not only were heroes during the attacks on September 11th, but also during the recent pandemic.

LoLo Paige is an award-winning author who lives in Alaska and writes full time. Her Blazing Hearts Wildfire Series are action-adventure, romantic suspense stories set in the dangerous and exciting world of wildland firefighting loosely based on her experiences as a wildland firefighter in Montana, California, and Alaska. She joined the anthology because she supports all firefighters who put their lives on the line daily.

LC Taylor is a full-time educator that moonlights as a romance author. Starting out as a paranormal romance author, LC found she loved writing about Alpha Male Heroes. Which led her to writing about first responders. As a former police officer and married to one, LC found her niche in writing. Most of her recent books have a police, fire, military, or EMS undertone. And everyone gets their happily-ever-after. The reason LC chose to participate in the anthology because she worked alongside police officers and firemen for several years. 

Samantha Thomas is an author who loves to write sweet, clean books, filled with lots of fun banter, good-hearted men, and the happiest of ever afters. Participating in this anthology is a privilege that allows me to honor the New York community, as well as my family and friends that work as first responders, in all capacities, every day

Social Media Links:

Carina Alyce on Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads

EmKay Connor on Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads

Karigan Hale on Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads

LoLo Paige on Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads

LC Taylor on Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads

Samantha Thomas on Facebook | BookBub | Goodreads

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