Dead and Gone
Grave Talker #2
Adult, Urban Fantasy
February 23rd 2021
There are few things worse than being on the Arcane Bureau of Investigation’s naughty list. To keep herself out of hot water, Darby Adler has made a deal with the devil—using her skills as a grave talker to help the ABI solve some very cold cases. But there is something mighty amiss in this task—especially when quite a few of these cases lead Darby right back to her hometown of Haunted Peak and the secrets buried there.
“Out less than a minute and already talking to spirits and punching ghosts. Way to go, Adler.”
That smooth voice did not belong to my best friend, J. Oh, no. I wasn’t that lucky. The big hunk of man-meat Siobhan had been talking about was not my partner, but the death mage ABI agent who’d simultaneously saved my bacon and torched it.
I swung my head to face Bishop La Roux, straightening my shoulders like I was going to have to punch him, too.
Dressed in a criminally hot pair of jeans and a T-shirt that should be illegal in at least five states, Bishop held out a bag with a very familiar logo on it like he was warding off a lion. Ignoring his messy hair and scruffy beard, I met his coal-dark eyes with suspicion. But instead of punching him like I had Hildy, I snatched the Si Señor bag from his hands, opened it, and dug in. The prison fare was a step above cat food, in my opinion, and just the thought of that yummy bit of heaven made my mouth water.
“Good to see tacos still work,” he said, chuckling. “You need a ride home?”
The last time he’d needed to bribe me, he’d done it with these tacos. Good god in heaven, I was a pushover. I ignored the ridiculously hot man in favor of unwrapping a taco one-handed and shoving an end in my mouth. My teeth crunched into the blissfully crispy half-steak, half-pork taco, and my eyes rolled back in my head.
“Maybe,” I said around a mouthful of food. If he were any other man, I might have felt weird about my rudeness, but just like Hildy, Bishop was on thin ice. Though, tacos were an excellent way to strengthen his footing.
That taco was gone in another two bites, and I swallowed the yumminess before continuing, “How’d you hear about me getting out? Even I didn’t know until today.”
Bishop gave me a sly smile. “A little birdy told me.”
“I suppose you could give me a ride if you don’t have anything better to do,” I conceded, my tone only mildly petulant.
“No, Adler,” Bishop said, his voice a hell of a lot closer than it had been a few seconds ago. I whipped my head back to find him solidly in my space. “I don’t have anywhere else I want to be.”
Well, okay then.
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.
(Silver Skates, #1)
Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance
January 18th 2021
When a pair of magical skates helps me find my fated mates, the last thing I expect is to get rejected, betrayed, and framed for a crime I didn’t commit.
I moved to Silver Springs to escape my past. Fell in love with the small supernatural town. Made friends with its quirky residents. Even got my dream job.
But just when life’s finally looking up, disaster strikes. The cleaning company I work for falls under threat, and I’m framed for a crime I didn’t commit.
Then, I find my fated mates:
A shifter hockey player who knows how to handle his stick.
A sweet journalist who shifts into a block of ice but is oh so hot.
And a mage detective who already broke my heart once.
This should be the happiest time in my life, but my mates reject me, one by one.
As the new life I built starts to crumble around me, can I work things out with my mates and catch whoever framed me? Or will I end up broken-hearted, alone, and behind bars? Because I may be the best magical maid in town, but my life is one mess no spells in the world can fix.
When a pair of magical skates helps me find my fated mates, the last thing I expect is to get rejected, betrayed, and framed for a crime I didn’t commit.
If you like sassy witches, wonky magic, panty-melting fated mates, and intriguing mysteries, you’ll love this steamy, laugh-out-loud paranormal romantic comedy with all the feels!
Wynter by @miaharlanbooks is a standalone in the Silver Springs shared universe and comes complete with a happily-ever-after. Click here to read this fun, quirky romance today ➞ https://amzn.to/2ZaGYfl
“I thought I’d test out the rink,” I tell Hockey Hottie—who I really can’t keep calling that, even just in my head. Not unless I want to risk blurting it aloud. “I’m Zoelle Wynter. Zoe for short.”
“Wynter, eh?” He lets out a deep, throaty chuckle that I can feel right down to my toes.
Then he extends one large hand, palm up. For a second, I think he wants me to cross the distance between us to shake it. But then he looks up at the sky and watches as the snowflakes drift down onto his skin. They melt against his bare palm and suddenly, I want to melt against his palm, too. To feel his hands all over me. To see what those long fingers of his can do.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a strong reaction to a man. Not at first sight. I’ve had one-night stands before, but I’ve never wanted to strip a man naked outdoors, in the dead of winter. Or wondered if a hockey player might want to do any other type of scoring on the ice.
“Leaf,” he calls out.
“What?” I stare up at him, wondering if I just zoned out on half of what he was saying. Why else would he be talking about leaves? Unless he means the Maple Leafs? But why even bring up a human hockey team, when as far as the NHL is concerned, supe teams—and supe players—do not exist?
“My name.” He rewards me with a throaty chuckle. “Scottish mother. Jewish father.”
“And they called you Leaf?”
“Leith, with a TH.” He grins as he spells it out for me. “It actually means wet. So nothing to do with leaves.”
“Wet,” I repeat and swallow hard.
Leith rewards me with a knowing grin. One that has my body reacting in… well… the way his name would entail.
Mia Harlan lives in Canada with her husband (who’s definitely Not a Vampire) and their adorably fluffy cat. They recently welcomed a Mini Mortal (a baby girl) into the world and are happy to report she doesn’t have fangs. Mia is a librarian by day and an author by night. She’s been reading romance since she turned thirteen and published her first one in mid-2019. She writes humorous, quirky (and mostly paranormal) reverse harem romance.
The Hero I Need: A Small Town Romance
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Thriller
Publication date: January 22nd 2021
He knew I was trouble the instant I showed up with a stolen Bengal tiger. But Grady McKnight didn’t flinch like a sane person—he took us in. Bruce the tiger found shelter. I met a hero grump. And Grady got a hot mess. Namely, me. Born-to-sizzle single dads and rogue zoologists don’t play nice. So freaking what if I said I’m his nanny? We needed a story when his two sweet daughters barged in. Hiding a contraband tiger isn’t easy. Neither is pretending he isn’t sending my pulse to pitter-patter heaven. Cupid, you sneaky little nugget. There’s only room for one hulking, growly, mesmerizing beast in my life. I don’t belong at warm family dinners, or in the fortress of his arms. Saving Bruce is my mission—not falling in love. This won’t end well. The longer I stay, the more he grins. Walls come crashing down. And my heart becomes willing prey for his carnivorous eyes. I must resist Grady flipping McKnight. Even if a scared, aching part of me knows I’m already his. Even if I know he’s the hero I need… Full-length romance thriller with the growliest Happily Ever After. It’s claws and effect when a wounded single dad saves a firestarter—along with her tiger, his girls, and his own beat-up heart.
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow returns with a fierce and hilarious office romance where two sworn enemies make undeniable lovers.
The Hero I Need by @nicolesnowbooks is a full-length romance thriller with the growliest Happily Ever After. It’s claws and effect when a wounded single dad saves a firestarter—along with her tiger, his girls, and his own beat-up heart!
“Car trouble?” a deep voice booms behind me.
The back of my head smacks the steering wheel in my rush to get up. Ow.
Pressing a hand against the stinging pain, I stand up, close my eyes, and say a quick prayer in my head.
The gruff voice isn’t Niles or Priscilla Foss’, but only God knows who they’d send after me if they’ve figured out Bruce the tiger is gone.
“Lady? You okay?” the stranger thunders again, this time closer.
“Yes! Never better,” I strangle out. Not easily with my heart pounding in my throat.
“Funny kind of better,” the voice growls to my back. “Looks more like you could use a hand.”
Hoping it’ll help, I gather my hair in one hand and lift it off the back of my neck, which is slicked with sweat in the humid night air, and finally turn around.
I have to release my hair in order to tilt my head back far enough to see more than a massive chest covered with a black t-shirt sporting a picture of a purple bob cat. Mouth open. Teeth showing.
And it turns out that slab of a chest is attached to a mountain with arms and legs.
He’s tall, dark, shredded, and deliriously handsome.
I won’t call him muscular because it would be an injustice. Like calling Samson a bodybuilder.
This man looks like he could hoist Bruce over his head without breaking a sweat.
Moving my eyes up over shoulders that’d make Atlas seethe with jealously and a thick neck worthy of a bull, my gaze lands on a face. An amused one, with deep manly lines around flinty hazel-dark eyes.
This looks like a face that’s used to smiling, even if he’s rocking that scary-hot vibe like he invented it.
Only, right now, there’s a smirk carved on his chiseled face that says he might be insane enough to try lifting a full-grown tiger as a feat of strength.
If there’s one thing I can’t do—besides let this guy climb inside my head and eat crackers nice and slow—is let him catch on to the fact that I’m hauling around some very illegal cargo, and it’s alive.
“What kind of trouble are you having?” he asks, his eyes twinkling in the dim light.
At the moment, breathing.
Next up, peeling my eyes off him and finding the willpower to mutter more than a squeak in reply.
His jaw is square, his nose straight, his hair short, but not too short. And his mouth, that smile, it’s—
It’s officially too much to handle.
I huff out a loud breath to stop a heavenly fantasy from forming and get my thoughts back to hell. Because that’s where I’m actually at right now, blundering around an isolated parking lot in the middle of the night with a strange man and a not-so-well concealed monster in my trailer.
Nicole Snow is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. She found her love of writing by hashing out love scenes on lunch breaks and plotting her great escape from boardrooms. Her work roared onto the indie romance scene in 2014 with her Grizzlies MC series.
Since then Snow aims for the very best in growly, heart-of-gold alpha heroes, unbelievable suspense, and swoon storms aplenty. With over a million books sold, she lives for the joy of making two people fight with every bit of their soul for a Happily Ever After.
Melanie A. Smith
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Wicked Dreams Publishing
Publication date: February 8th 2021
Mia Anderson has been living a life that was chosen for her. But her impending thirtieth birthday is the wake-up call she needed to stop wasting time on all the wrong pursuits. Just as she’s figuring out what she wants to do about it, her beloved grandmother falls ill and Mia drops everything to be with her. What she didn’t expect to find in her grandmother’s tiny mountain town is the courage to quit working for her father, supplied by a little tough love from her Gran. Now faced with an uncertain future, the last thing on her mind is finding love. Nate Edwards is living a solitary life deep in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. He’s content, or at least he thinks he is — until the granddaughter of a good friend shows up and he starts having feelings he thought he’d never have again. But Mia’s future isn’t in Alpine Ridge, so acting on it would lead to nothing but heartbreak. Still, their connection is undeniable and circumstances continue to push them together, despite their resistance. Will Mia stick to her decision to carve her own path? And if she does, will it be with Nate? Or is he doomed to an isolated life?
Sometimes you need a bit of tough love to get where you’re supposed to be
From award-winning and international best-selling author @melanieasmithauthor comes a standalone steamy contemporary romance about life choices, love, and finding yourself in between.
I roll my eyes at the obvious setup. Which totally worked. Dammit.
“Uh-huh. So since you’re not trying to get Nate and I together, you won’t mind me telling you I have no intention of dating him. This is a pitstop, Gran. I’m not staying forever, so there’s no point.”
Gran shrugs. “May as well have some fun while you’re here.”
“Nate seems … okay and all, but I wouldn’t exactly call him fun,” I point out. Smoking hot, yes. A towering, intense hunk of man I can imagine having fun between the sheets with, absolutely. But not in my Gran’s house. And in another life where I was the type of person to have casual sex. One where I also wasn’t in a tailspin.
She waves a hand airily. “You have to get to know him. Trust me, he’s plenty fun.”
I cock an eyebrow at her. “I still think it’s you who has the hots for this guy, Gran,” I tease her.
She blushes just enough to confirm that’s true.
Melanie A. Smith is an award-winning and international best-selling author of steamy contemporary romance fiction. Originally from upstate New York, she spent most of her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Los Angeles for college. After that, she spent almost fifteen years in the Seattle Area, and now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas with her family.
A voracious reader and lifelong writer, Melanie’s writing began at a young age with short stories and poetry. Having completed a bachelor of science in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s in business administration at the University of Washington, her writing abilities were mainly utilized for technical documents as a lead engineer for the Boeing Company, where she worked for ten years.
After shifting careers to domestic engineering and property management in 2015, she eventually found a balance where she was able to return to writing fiction.
Melanie is also a Mensan and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and driving with the windows down and the stereo cranked up loud.
Autumn had come, and I was powerless to stop it—this time. A yellowed leaf clung to its branch, mocking me with its splash of color. The rest of Central Park clung to the hope of summer. I stood on my toes and snatched at it, but a chilly wind ripped it from my reach.
The leaf landed on the path several steps away. When I reached it, I crushed it beneath my boot.
“Wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, Allison?”
I twisted my heel while wrinkling my nose. With light brown hair and creamy skin prone to burning rather than tanning, Mark would never be my tall, dark, and handsome, though he was good looking and aggressive with his money. With my sort of luck, he’d never account for anything more than an occasional lunch buddy who needed my help with his finances. Then again, maybe it was better for both of us that way.
Some girls had all the luck. Me? I had more money than I knew what to do with, most of it acquired from Mark in management fees like I was some sort of modern-day vampire. Too bad money couldn’t buy me a life.
“Who said I went to bed last night?” Hopefully, he wouldn’t think too long or hard on my delayed quip.
“What’s got your tail in a bunch?”
I shoved my hands in the back pockets of my jeans and swallowed my relieved sigh. No tail. Good. Last thing I needed was to sprout a tail on Halloween at noon. “N-nothing. You’re always ‘blah, blah, blah, something’s wrong.’ Nothing’s going on.”
Mark arched his brow at me. “So what did that poor little leaf do to you?”
“It failed its calculus test twice.”
#2, from Winter Wolf:
I slammed my car’s door, spun on a heel, and swore I would have a perfectly normal visit to the mall. All I needed was one little book. Even I could walk into a bookstore, pick up a novel, and leave without causing any trouble.
This time I wouldn’t blow out the lights. There wouldn’t be a single power surge. I wouldn’t turn on every unplugged device in the electronics store on my way across the mall. In the ten minutes it would take me to get in and out, the only thing anyone would notice about me was the fact that I wore a high-collared sweater in late summer. I had a mission, and I would complete it without fail. The novel my agent insisted I read would be mine.
For a long moment, I considered turning around and getting back into my car. Dominic would forgive me if I didn’t start reading the book until tomorrow. I could call in a favor and ask someone to pick up a copy for me. Then I definitely wouldn’t run any risk of blowing anything up. If I had been smart, I would’ve just ordered the damned thing on the internet, but I had waited too long.
Fishing my cell out of my pocket, I unlocked the screen with a swipe of my finger. The charging icon mocked me. Despite running every battery-draining app I could find, the battery held a full charge. I opened another app, a devilish program capable of killing the battery in ten minutes. It wouldn’t, not with me around, but if I was too busy keeping my phone topped up, maybe my mall shopping trip would prove to be mundane.
I shook my head, laughing at my foolishness.
No one would notice my phone. No one would notice me for more than a second. They’d notice my clothes, and then they’d file me away as yet another weirdo wearing something strange to catch attention. L.A. was full of people like that.
I had no reason to worry. Even if I managed to embarrass myself yet again by losing control of my powers, no one would know I was the cause of unplugged electronics turning on or unusual power surges.
Straightening my shoulders, I fixed my eyes on the line of glass doors and marched my way across the parking lot.
In and out. No blown lights. No power surges. No feeding power to unplugged electrical devices. No charging batteries for strangers. I was in control, and I would charge only my phone.
Making my way to the entry, I paused long enough to hold the door for a little old lady who insisted on making her way through the regular doors despite her walker. I couldn’t blame her. If I lived to be her age, I wouldn’t want to rely on automatic doors either.
She thanked me with a pat on the arm. Flashing her my best smile, I slipped inside.
I could handle ten minutes in the crowded corridors. Maybe if I told myself that enough times, I’d believe it.
I stuck to the center of the hallway, dodging kiosks as I worked my way to the bookstore. Despite being so near to closing time, the place was busy, leaving me to navigate a sea of bodies. I considered stopping at one of the jewelry kiosks. There was something appealing about the humble, cheaper baubles, but I didn’t quite dare.
In and out. No stops, not even to admire the gemstones twinkling under the display lamps. This time, I wasn’t going to break anything, not even a single light.
#3, from Blood Diamond:
The world was full of corpses, and I, Dante Jackson Emmett Anderson, knew them by name. Unfortunately for me, my brother knew my secret.
When my brother asked for help, it usually involved unidentified bodies or paperwork. When he had shown up at my door, I hadn’t expected an invitation to join an Inquisition field operation, one dangerous enough to warrant the use of my brother’s armored truck. He had me dead to rights when he told me I’d be driving, and judging by the way he had smirked while spinning the keys around his finger, he had known it.
I doubted the red-painted, tempting seductress of a monstrosity could be eliminated by anything other than a missile or a tank; even if someone wanted to blast their way in, they’d need a ladder to reach the door. I wasn’t small, not at six foot three, and I needed the help of the step rail and roll bar to climb in. The rest of the team needed me to give them a hand.
I drew a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. I should have refused my twin and ignored the lure of driving his absurd, stupid truck. I should have told him I would do a stint at the Inquisition headquarters shuffling papers and naming dead people instead of pretending I was trained for field operations.
Drumming my hands against the leather wheel, probably the only normal thing in the truck, I waited. The manila envelope on the dashboard mocked me, reflecting in the windshield as I watched the darkening forest for any signs of the team’s return. Once I opened it, I’d know more about the operation and its Inquisitors than I wanted. I’d know the names and faces of the dead, and if my bad luck held, I’d get a glimpse of their final moments.
The dead were vindictive like that.
I leaned forward, resting my forehead on my hands. My brother had been in enough of a hurry to get me into his truck and on the road I hadn’t had time to change out of my suit. Combat boots, fatigues, and Kevlar protected the Inquisitors. I wore a silk dress shirt and an equally thin jacket a bullet would ignore before tearing a hole through me.
Clenching my teeth, I bumped my forehead against the wheel as I cursed my idiocy.
A smart man would’ve put the idling engine into gear and left. If I did that, I’d be the target of my very own Inquisition operation. I doubted even the Red Beast could withstand a pack of angry Fenerec armed with more firepower than the military. They had missiles, and I had supplied all six warheads to them. If they launched one at the truck, they’d blow it—and me—into scrap metal and unidentifiable bits.