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What begins – but how does it end?

Violent Beginnings Book Cover Violent Beginnings
A Dark Enemies To Lovers, Mafia Romance
by C. Hallman & J.L. Beck
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Romance
Independent
Publication date: November 28th 2020

The deal was sealed the moment she stepped onto that stage.

It was like seeing a ghost. Sunshine blonde hair, pale skin, and azure blue eyes that held a thousand secrets.

I didn’t know what caused her to end up on that auction block.
And I didn’t care either.

All I knew was that I had to have her…no matter the cost.

One-million dollars later and she became just that.

Mine to break.
Mine to use.
Mine to keep.

But we all have secrets and when I discover hers no one will be able to save her from me.

Excerpts: 

“What’s your name?” I ask after we’ve been driving for a few minutes.

“Fallon,” she whispers, almost inaudible.

“I already know that. What’s your last name?”

 I need to make sure she’s not related to Victoria before I let this go any further.

“Brice,” she says hesitantly.

Brice… I tap my fingers against the steering wheel. I’ve never heard of anyone by that last name before, but I’ll still have someone look into her when we get to the safe house. I have to be sure. I know just the person to do that.

Although, I’m sure my brother will not be happy that I’m contacting him for a favor.

I think further on questions I should ask her like this is a fucking date, and I didn’t just pay one million dollars for her body.

“Where are you from, Fallon?”

“Sun Valley.” She doesn’t offer any more than the bare minimum.

“Have you always lived there?”

“Yes.” A second passes, and then she asks the question that dooms both of us. “What are you going to do to me?”

Gripping the steering wheel a little tighter, I grit my teeth and answer her truthfully.

“I don’t know yet.”

I just don’t fucking know…

Excerpt: 

“If I don’t matter to you, then why did you kill that man the other night? Why didn’t you just let him go?” I fire back. What could possibly be his excuse? 

Markus’s nostrils flare, and I swear he wants to murder me. The look in his eyes tells me he’s completely done with my shit. It’s a miracle I’ve made it as long as I have. I’d have run by now, but there’s something I need from him, and also, I don’t want to die. 

“I killed him because, one, you’re mine. Two, I paid good money for you, and I don’t plan on wasting that money. Three, you’re fucking mine. He came here, showed up uninvited,  intending to get close to you. He’s lucky that death was the only thing he got.” The possessive tone of his voice frightens me. 

 He really does only see me as an object and not a breathing, living person.

Excerpt:

ly in the eyes and expecting to live. 

Stalking toward me, he wraps a hand around my wrist and pulls me into his chest like a rag doll. “You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know a liar when I see one?” 

He doesn’t give me a chance to answer him before he twists me around, forcing my back against his chest. I’m facing the nameless man now, and I can feel the tears in my eyes threatening to break free and run down my cheeks. 

Wrapping an arm around my middle to hold me in place, he slips his hand into my sweatpants, and I freeze. My entire body becomes an iceberg. 

What is he going to do? 

            His thick fingers move down over my smooth skin, trailing lower and lower while my heart races faster and faster in my chest. When he makes contact with my mound, I almost scream. The only reason I don’t is that I’m sure that’s what he wants, to terrify me, to get a reaction out of me. 

            “You like this, don’t you? Seeing me so close to the edge. That’s why you won’t tell me? You want to see how close I’ll get before I completely lose it?”

            My bottom lip trembles, and I’m about to tell him, no, that this is wrong, that he needs to stop and let this man go, but two fingers slide between my folds and find my clit. The world around me spins. 

AUTHOR BIOs:

J.L. Beck is a USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, she has written over fifty different romance novels. She started her journey of writing back in 2014 and hasn’t slowed down a second since then.

She’s captivated by real romance, and loves reading about strong “ALPHA” males, as well as sassy heroines that know or may not know what they want. She is best known for delivering a happily ever after but has ended things on a cliffhanger a time or two.

When she’s not typing away at her next book you can find her being a mom to her two adorable kiddos and wife to her high school sweetheart.

She’s obsessed with Starbucks, social media, and is definitely more of a dog person than cat.


Author links:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJLBeck/

https://www.instagram.com/authorjlbeck/

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/k4ordpbhzu

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8425041.J_L_Beck

Born and raised in Germany, Cassandra moved to the United States when she was eighteen. She always had a love for reading, that love slowly transpired into writing. She put fingers to the keyboard and started writing about the dark side of romance. 


Cassandra is one half of the international bestselling author duo Beck & Hallman, who are most knows for the writing the Northwood University series.
The pair also write under the pen name Jenna Reed.

Author links:

https://www.facebook.com/CassandraHallmanhttps://www.goodreads.com/user/show/90264458-cassandra-hallmanhttps://www.instagram.com/cassandra_hallman/https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cassandra-hallmanhttps://twitter.com/CassyHallman

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And now the spirit flows…

The Christmas Spirit
Alexandrea Weis
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Rosewind Books
Publication date: October 27th 2020

SOMETIMES IT TAKES ONE BROKEN HEART TO HEAL ANOTHER.

Courtney Winston is a writer on a deadline. Eager to finish her book and get over a recent break-up, she ditches Christmas with her family and retreats to a secluded cabin in the mountains.

Appliances rarely work, and cell service is spotty, but Courtney senses there is more to her rustic rental—something dark and haunting.

Then Peter, the attractive Stone Mountain Lodge owner, and a meddling cook, Mrs. Finn, keep coming around, shattering her peace and offering advice on how to fix her heavy heart.

Courtney grows closer to Peter, but Mrs. Finn warns her of his troubled past. Undaunted, Courtney sets out to win him over. But being with the brooding stranger may end up costing her more than she ever imagined.

Alexandrea answers my question.

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

The Christmas Spirit came as a mixture of my agent telling me I needed to write a Christmas romance with snow in it, and my fascination with Christmas lore from around the world. I blended both concepts and came up with a modern woman, Courtney Winston, thrown into a world where witches and ghosts are real.

I am known for my dark characters and ghostly tales, and I did not stray too far from those themes in this adventure set in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. What appealed to me about the story was bringing legends from Sweden and Germany and weaving them into a modern American tale. There are even Norwegian Forest cats, which were my favorite.

I wanted to give a fresh perspective of Christmas lore by incorporating some legends people may know about. The blending of so many Old-World ideas gave this romance its unique flavor. The added scary bits where dark forest creatures and supernatural elements play a part, provide an unexpected twist.

In my hometown of New Orleans, Christmas has always had a ghoulish edge, and I wanted to share that tradition in this book. Fortunately, I was able to find a lot of European legends with a darker and sinister feel to weave into this story. Many of the older Christmas myths usually involve children being eaten by some goblin or witch, like Halloween. It was that vibe I wanted to bring to The Christmas Spirit.

Our heroine is a rational and no-nonsense person, and sticking her in a forest where all is not what it seems intrigued me because of the offbeat characters and situations I could create. But the ghoulish creatures do more than set Courtney on edge; they teach her to appreciate her life, and no matter how heartbroken and down on her luck she may feel, life and love matter more than anything.

It was the lesson about never giving up on life that I wanted to impart with this story.

Like any good Christmas tale, Courtney should end the book a little wiser and a little more grateful than when she began. All the things she held dear, all the desires she wanted to achieve, didn’t matter. Only love of family and friends meant anything. And it will take a brief battle with spirits to teach Courtney a life lesson about the wishes we want versus the wishes we need.   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author, screenwriter, advanced practice registered nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

Weis writes romance, mystery, suspense, thrillers, supernatural, and young adult fiction and has sold approximately one million books. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans where she is a permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and rescues orphaned and injured animals.

She is a member of both the International Thriller Writers Association and the Horror Writers Association. 

www.AlexandreaWeis.com

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Early in the morning I went walking….

Dawn with a Duke Book Cover Dawn with a Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas #9
Erica Ridley
Fiction
Erica Ridley
September 4, 2020
200

From a New York Times bestselling author: Secrets and scandal abound when two delightful, strong-willed opposites are snowbound together in this laugh-out-loud, feel-good romance! As the daughter of a duke, Lady Isabelle’s pristine reputation is paramount. Her high status is how she’ll attract the titled suitor her mother insists she wed. When Belle’s chaperone falls ill en route to a party, she must pose as an independent widow to avoid gossip. Why not have a wee innocent flirtation with a handsome tailor staying at the same inn? She’ll be gone in the morning… A sudden blizzard upends Calvin McAlistair’s plans when he’s snowbound at a posting-house. He has no time to play lady’s maid to the helpless beauty next door, no matter how much he enjoys unbuttoning the straitlaced widow. His future depends on impressing an important investor… who will ruin them both once they realize Calvin has spent a scandalous fortnight with Lady Isabelle! The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes! THE 12 DUKES OF CHRISTMAS: 1. Once Upon a Duke 2. Kiss of a Duke 3. Wish Upon a Duke 4. Never Say Duke 5. Dukes, Actually 6. The Duke's Bride 7. The Duke's Embrace 8. The Duke's Desire 9. Dawn with a Duke 10. One Night with a Duke 11. Ten Days with a Duke 12. Forever Your Duke

Number 9 in the Dukes of Christmas stories / novellas.

As always in this series a very sweet story with a soupcon of feminine issues in the 19th century. Here we are thinking about the fact that women, especially in higher levels of society, were items for sale or barter. They were to do as they were told in all aspects of their life and their husbands, fathers, brothers or other male relatives were their owners. And mothers and older women reinforced this attitude as they had succumbed to it. Women of the higher ranks must never go anywhere without a female companion not be seen alone with a male. And of course the garments that they wore were not designed to be easily put on and off without help. It wasn’t until 1848 that corsets were made with front lacing so that a person could take them off herself. And whilst coats (pelisse)  might have front frogging fasteners, most upper-class dresses were fastened at the back so as not to spoil the line/effect.

Ready to wear clothing of any style and quality were not available, most people mad either own or employed someone to make them for them.

This story looks at how the first manufactured garments began in the nineteenth century and how ready to wear clothes could be made and sold. In fact ready to wear clothing has a much older history than this -The Short History Garment Industry from Bellatory says that ancient Babylonia shipped and distributed some ready-to-wear garments as early as 1400 BCE (BC). In Ancient Rome, garments were produced in workshops of up to 100 workers to outfit the military. But even in the 19th century, whilst ready to wear was still developing, most garments relied on hand stitching and it wasn’t until the late 1800s that factories were supplying large quantities of clothing.

THE 12 DUKES OF CHRISTMAS:

1. Once Upon a Duke

2. Kiss of a Duke

3. Wish Upon a Duke

4. Never Say Duke

5. Dukes, Actually

6. The Duke’s Bride

7. The Duke’s Embrace

8. The Duke’s Desire

9. Dawn with a Duke

10. One Night with a Duke

11. Ten Days with a Duke

12. Forever Your Duke

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Tempt me not?!

Midnight Temptation
Ravens Hollow Coven Book 2)
Shari Nichols
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
City Owl Press
jun 30th 2020

What are the stakes for falling in love?

That’s the question tarot card reader Gillian Howe ponders when she hosts a supernatural speed dating event. Making the perfect match is her passion, too bad she can’t find one for herself. A chance encounter with a wealthy vampire provides her an opportunity to attend an exclusive after-party and prove she isn’t opposed to love. But she finds herself plunged into a secret society of trancing, blood bonds and human escort rings. The night ends in a police raid and of all the vampire detectives in Raven’s Hollow, Garrett Mulroney shows up at the scene. Even if he is scorching, hot, he accused her of a crime she didn’t commit and nearly ruined her life.

Fate has thrown them together again…

Garrett has been down this brutal road before and it didn’t end well. His sire tried to force him into a life of debauchery, but he chose to uphold the law instead. The fact    that the one woman he can’t seem to get out of his mind or out of his lust-filled dreams is at the center of his investigation doesn’t bode well. It’s a good thing she hates his guts, because it helps douse his growing desire for her and focus on the case. But when Gillian’s cousin is kidnapped into the Du Sang Brotherhood, she becomes the prime witness. Now they’re forced to put their differences aside and go undercover by pretending to be a couple. The more time Garrett spends with Gillian, the more he wants her in his life—and in his bed.

Knowing who to trust and who to love becomes a matter of survival, and possibly the only way to take down the Brotherhood.

Book Cover

As this was a series, I decided to set the scene with book 1 of the series.This was useful to understand the background if not the characters per se, as they were very minor in book 1.

I also hoped that the writing would have improved as so often happens, as the authors develops the series and setting. And it had.

But only marginally.

I didn’t feel though that this book could stand alone. It needed to be set within a series. And unlike the work of RJ Blain, these vampires were standard. Mostly blood drinkers of unwilling victims. But with our hero fighting against tis sterotype.

I found the witches rather unconvincing in the spellwork – too simplistic in the word usage – and thus too easy to be misapplied. And their potions were made too easily – lack of effort all round really. Which meant that the story line lacked drama. And I found the ending unsatisfactory.

And is it a vile or a vial? What holds a potion in US spelling? Author please let me know.

As you can’t allocate half points, I’m giving this a 4 when for me it was really 3.5.

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Books and yet more to read

The Lending Library Book Cover The Lending Library
Aliza Fogelson
Fiction
Lake Union Publishing
2020-07
300

A heartwarming debut novel about a daydreamer who gives her town, and herself, an amazing gift: a lending library in her sunroom. When the Chatsworth library closes indefinitely, Dodie Fairisle loses her sanctuary. How is a small-town art teacher supposed to cope without the never-ending life advice and enjoyment that books give her? Well, when she's as resourceful and generous as Dodie, she turns her sunroom into her very own little lending library. At first just a hobby, this lit lovers' haven opens up her world in incredible ways. She knows books are powerful, and soon enough they help her forge friendships between her zany neighbors--and attract an exciting new romance. But when the chance to adopt an orphaned child brings Dodie's secret dream of motherhood within reach, everything else suddenly seems less important. Finding herself at a crossroads, Dodie must figure out what it means to live a full, happy life. If only there were a book that could tell her what to do...

A novel written by my soul sister – a bibliophile and eclectic reader. So many new authors and books for me to check out – and for my husband too. From classics to books with recipes in – and I love the idea of a reading group with recipes to try out from the book.

My fantasy bookshop would be run alongside a café and deli. Every week we would choose a recipe from a book – cookery or not just as her reading group did – and showcase it in the café, then sell the ingredients and book in the deli, ready packaged in the correct amounts. The recipes might be exotic or just simple like an apple pie with interesting spicing, it doesn’t matter – everything would support the other elements of the store.

A book group would sample the recipe and discuss the book – and the knitting group would attempt to knit a representation perhaps? But that needs really experienced knitters. There is an artist who does make amazing  knitted foods items.

And there are lots of knitting patterns to make food too.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it followed the romance trope but it was the library and descriptions of books and the book-marks that sold it for me. By the way, what did happen to her library when the real one opened?

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