Monthly Archives: September, 2015

✰✰Great reads! (Review Post)✰✰

Have you read…

His For Tonight by Ravenna Russo? Check out it out!

H4T

Blurb:

I was only supposed to belong to him for one night…

The limo pulls to a stop in front of the city’s most expensive hotel. In a luxury suite upstairs, a wealthy, powerful man is waiting for me. For tonight, I belong to him. He has bought and paid for me.

I know him only by his code name, Mr. West. We’ll never know each other’s real identities. And after tonight, he’ll never see me again. That’s how I want it. Even as I submit to him, I’m the one in control.

But I never expected him to be so young–or so hot. The agency didn’t tell me he was a tattooed, superstar athlete.

We were only meant to spend one night together. Romance wasn’t supposed to be part of our arrangement…but no guy has ever made me feel the way he makes me feel.

And emotions weren’t covered in our contract.

Please note: His for Tonight Book 1 is a New Adult romance novella of 19,000 words (about 70 pages). Contains graphic sex and language. Cliffhanger alert! This is Book 1 of a 4-part serial. H4T Book 2 is on sale now!

Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ravenna_Russo_His_for_Tonight_Book_1?id=nSAwCgAAQBAJ

Amazon:

 http://amzn.com/B013RUXO9I

Review by Dana Marie~

What a great way to be introduced to this author. It’s a great start to this  four part serial. I’m looking forward to the next installment of Ms. Snow and Mr. West’s story.

I recommend this read to anyone looking to test their hotness boundaries. As the story progresses, things start to heat up. There is a dominant/submissive encounter between the two main characters that leaves you wondering what will happen in round two. Nothing off the charts as this is just the first installment, but still steam your windows worthy.

P.S. I loved the meeting place at the end. Also, I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. (4.5 Stars)

Visit the author here:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ravenna-Russo/e/B013SAI2VC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14217303.Ravenna_Russo

Website: http://www.ravennarusso.com/ready-for-more/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RavennaRusso

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The crimes of the past echo in the present…

Tear Drop
by Joanne Clancy
Series: Detective Elizabeth Ireland, Book 1
Genre: Mystery/ Police Procedural
Release Date: August 27, 2015

The crimes of the past echo in the present…

Ross Campbell vanished almost a decade ago, and since then nothing has been heard from the serial killer known as Teardrop…until now.

An Irish newspaper receives a chilling letter claiming to be from Campbell, which promises a new reign of terror. As death stalks the dark streets of Cork City, it soon becomes clear to the police and the media that a serial killer is on the loose.

Elizabeth Ireland, a former detective with The Metropolitan Police, was the lead investigator on the original case when Campbell vanished. However, only she believes that Campbell didn’t send the letter.

She embarks upon a frightening psychological journey to uncover the killer’s identity, where she’s pulled into a lethal game in which the killer sets the rules and waits for her next move. With the crimes of the past echoing in the present, can she find the killer before he comes for her?

Chapter One

The cold rain fell relentlessly, shrouding Cork City in its misty veil. Elizabeth Ireland sat by the window of her favourite coffee shop, where the smell of fresh scones and strong coffee cocooned her from the encroaching winter. The place was quiet and rundown but it was the one place in the city that cherished silence as much as she did.
Elizabeth scanned BBC London’s website for any news from home. She glanced up as the door chimed and watched the man violently shake off the rain. A moment before their eyes met, she averted her gaze, knowing he was looking for her; Brendan Mahon didn’t have the intelligence or subtlety to feign an accidental meeting. She ignored him, hoping that he’d take the hint and leave her in peace, instead he headed straight for her table.
“Good morning, Elizabeth,” he said, revealing a smile that didn’t reach his hazel eyes.
“Morning,” she said curtly. She watched him run his fingers through his dirty blond hair, in a way that someone with a cruel sense of humour must have told him was attractive.
“It’s a day for the ducks,” he said.
She shrugged and turned back to her iPad.
Brendan Mahon was a journalist with The Examiner, one of Ireland’s leading newspapers. When his editor couldn’t find anyone with anything more incisive to say, Brendan was handy to fill a column or two. Elizabeth had never liked him, and she had no problem making her feelings known.
“May I join you?” he asked.
“No.” She sighed at his predictability.
He laughed and pulled up a chair anyway. It amazed her how he always took her blatant rudeness for sarcasm. He placed a brown envelope on the table between them. She didn’t give him the satisfaction of looking at it. If he wanted something from her, he’d have to ask.
“Would you like anything?” he asked instead.
“I’ve been coming here most mornings for the past nine years, Brendan. I think I can order for myself.”
“What did you have to eat?” he asked, ignoring her brusque tone. He picked up the menu, and she closed her iPad, already missing her lost solitude.
“Same again, please, Nora,” Elizabeth said to the waitress.
“I haven’t seen you in here before,” Nora smiled down at him.
“This is Brendan, a reporter from The Examiner.”
Nora’s tired eyes lit up. “A reporter? How exciting.”
Brendan leaned back in his chair and basked in the unexpected attention.
“He’ll have an Americano and a scone, please,” Elizabeth interrupted, not in the mood for flirting at that hour of the morning.
“Coming right up.” Nora scurried away.
“Let’s skip the niceties and get straight to the point, shall we? What can I do for you, Brendan?”
“I need your help.”
“What sort of help?”
“I have a story.”
“It must be big news if you’re talking to me.”
“It’s big.”
She glanced at the envelope that sat tantalisingly between them, and silently cursed for showing an interest. “Spit it out!” she snapped.
“A letter was delivered to my office.”
“For you?”
“Yes, for me; it happens, occasionally. It arrived a few days ago. Only my editor and I know about it. We want to publish it, but first we want to check the facts.”
“And you’d like me to check them out?”
“Yes, if you’re interested.” He smirked.
“So I’d be a consultant?”
“You’d be our expert. You’d write a few background and follow-up pieces with your impressions and opinions. You’d be paid, of course.”
“Of course you’d bloody well pay me. I won’t write for your rag for less than twenty grand.”
“Don’t be daft.” He sat bolt upright. “That’s crazy money.”
“Okay, fifteen, but that’s my final offer.”
“My editor’s a reasonable man. He’ll be more than happy to offer you a fair deal.”
“Okay,” she said, relenting. “I’m interested but why me? I’m sure I wasn’t top of your list.” She averted her gaze from the sight of him stuffing a scone into his mouth as if it had been days since he’d last eaten, then again, maybe it had been days; he was certainly looking skinnier than usual.
“Someone you used to know sent the letter.” Time stood still. She knew what he was about to say. The name chimed in her head before his lips formed the words. “Ross Campbell aka Teardrop.” She glanced out the window at the rain and the dark streets, longing to close her eyes and make Brendan disappear. “Did you hear me?” He searched her face that had turned pale beneath her tan.
“I heard you.” She gulped her coffee, willing her face to return to normal. She looked at him over her cup, but he didn’t seem to realise that anything was wrong. For once, she was grateful for his stupidity.
“Do you remember him?” he asked.
“Of course I remember him. How could I forget?”
Nine years previously, she had arrested Ross Campbell on suspicion of the murder of five women in London. The killer had carved a teardrop on the victims’ faces and left a note with quotes from the Bible on their bodies, shoved inside their underwear or grazing their skin in a final, vicious act of intimacy.
Campbell was picked up in one of London’s notorious red light districts. Licence plate checks proved that he’d been in the area on the nights when two victims had disappeared, DNA evidence linked him to their deaths.
Predictably, he protested his innocence, hounding newspapers and some influential acquaintances with his plight, but he was charged with the murders. However, the prosecution’s case against him collapsed when Elizabeth was falsely accused of planting DNA evidence to secure a conviction.
When she won her case for defamation against The Met, she decided to retire to Ireland, where she had spent many happy childhood summers. Shortly afterwards, Campbell vanished, and no one had heard from the killer known as Teardrop, until now.
“Ross Campbell is dead,” she said, realising that the silence had gone on too long.
“Vanished isn’t the same as dead,” Brendan replied.
“Nobody’s seen or heard from him in almost a decade. People like Campbell are noticed, whatever they do; they can’t help it. Someone somewhere would have seen him.”
“Maybe not. I’ve read about serial killers lying dormant for years.”
“Trust me, serial killers can’t stop killing.”
“Not according to the letter.” He pushed the envelope towards her. “Apparently, he’s alive and well.”
“Does it explain why he’s suddenly reappeared?”
“He wants to set the record straight.”
“Why did he contact you?”
He looked at her indignantly. Elizabeth stifled a smile. She knew all about the book on serial killers that Brendan had recently written, but she wanted to see him squirm. The book was mostly sensation and an insight into Brendan’s uninspired mind. “He wants to correct some facts in my book and he wants us to publish his letter.”
She burst out laughing. “Are you seriously planning on having a serial killer write a column in your newspaper? Maybe he should take over the problem page. I know: he could be your new resident agony uncle.”
“Keep it down,” he hissed, glancing over his shoulder at Nora who was busy behind the counter. “We need to keep this quiet for now.”
“I suppose it’s good publicity for your book.” She gazed out the window at the city that was slowly coming to life. The first of the early-morning commuters were venturing out. “What else is in the letter?”
“He says he’ll kill again.”
“Any details?”
“He gave a name.”
“Does he say when or where?”
“Not really. The letter’s vague, but he says it will happen in Cork.”
“Have you taken the letter to the police?”
“Not yet. It could be a hoax. Don’t look at me like I’m some moron. This is a good story. We’ll pass it on to the police when we’re ready.”
“How do I fit into your little plan?”
“We’d like you to read the letter and tell us if it’s genuine. You know Campbell.”
“I knew him: past tense.”
“Okay, you knew him. Sorry. You knew him better than most. Read the letter and tell us if it’s him, that’s all we want to know.” He paused, waiting for her reply, but she wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Besides, his use of “we” and “us” was starting to irritate her. Clearly, he was getting too friendly with “the powers that be”, as he liked to call them. If it meant so much to him, she’d make him beg.
“Please, Elizabeth. Will you read it?”
“I’ll think about it, that’s all I’m promising. Call me later.”
“It’ll be worth your while. This is front-page news. There’ll be big money in it for all of us.”
“I thought you weren’t sure about printing it yet.”
“Well, you know how it goes.”
She knew.
“I have to go.” She stood up and pulled on her black parka. She was tall and striking. Her dark looks, which she’d inherited from her Italian mother, made her exotic among the mostly pale-skinned, freckled Irish. Her nose was slightly crooked from a childhood accident, and there was an edginess about her, like a bird about to swoop on its prey.
“Don’t forget the letter.” He picked it up reverently. “Promise you won’t show it to anyone?”
“Of course I won’t show it to anyone.” She reached for the envelope in irritation.
“Promise me?”
“I promise. Give me the bloody envelope.”
He handed it to her solemnly, and she grabbed it, stuffing it unceremoniously into her cavernous bag. She tossed her long, black hair over her shoulder and went outside into the rain, leaving Brendan to pay.
She sensed him watching as she forced herself not to run. There were only a few more steps before she turned the corner, out of sight. No one believed that Campbell was dead because only she knew the truth. Campbell had haunted her from the last moment she had seen him. He wasn’t coming back. He was dead, and she knew it because she’d killed him herself.

Joanne Clancy is a Kindle All-Star and an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarter-finalist. Joanne is an Irish mystery writer, from Cork, Ireland. She is an avid reader, a self-confessed Kindle addict, and a tea fiend!

Her books combine murder, mystery, and suspense with a twist of psychological drama.

Her crime books have consistently hit the Amazon paid bestseller lists in Crime, Thrillers & Mystery.

Joanne’s latest release is TEAR DROP (Detective Elizabeth Ireland Crime Thriller Series, Book 1). She is currently working on her twenty-sixth book, INSINCERE (Detective Elizabeth Ireland Crime Thriller Series, Book 2) which is available to pre-order now at Amazon and will be released in October 2015.

Sign up for Joanne’s mailing list at JoanneClancy.com to receive three best-selling mystery books for FREE!

BOOKS BY JOANNE CLANCY
**Crime Novels:
*Tear Drop (Detective Elizabeth Ireland, Book 1)
*Insincere (Detective Elizabeth Ireland, Book 2)

*Open Your Eyes
*Return to Me
*I Should Have Told You
*Before I’m Gone
*The Gift
*The Detective’s Wife
*If You Tell Anyone
*Traceless

*Killing Time
*Watched
*A Daughter’s Secret
*Killer Friends
*Shattered
*The Offering

**Romance Novels
*The Unfaithful Series:
*Unfaithfully Yours
*Revenge
*Web of Deceit

*The Secrets & Lies Trilogy:
*Secrets & Lies
*Aftermath
*Redemption

*Unforgettable Embrace
*The Wedding Day

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Sweet Christmas Kisses 2
by the Sweet Romance Reads Authors
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Welcome in the holiday season with 19 heartwarming and wholesome novellas from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.

Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 takes you from the Smoky Mountains to Florida’s sun-drenched beaches, from the Italian Alps to Paris, France, and even to a quirky little town in Arizona. The Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 bundle features all-new, stand-alone stories that are sure to make you laugh, sometimes bring tears to your eyes, but always put you in the Christmas spirit. Foreword by New York Times bestselling author, RaeAnne Thayne.

Christmas Papa by Mona Risk
Living for three years in her grandmother’s respected house helps Monica forget the horror of her youth and reform her wild streak, and even dream of a normal life, similar to her stepsisters’, with a loving husband and children. Geez, she’s pretty enough to attract any man she wants, but to keep him is a different ballgame. The moment they learn of her past or meet her adorable twins, they feel the urge to move two-thousand miles away. Until Michael kisses her…

Gingerbread Kisses by Beate Boeker
Carol spends Christmas at the luxurious Hotel & Spa “Dolomitissimo” in the snowy Alps of Italy where she’s busy creating gingerbread men as name cards for her younger sister’s wedding. When things start to go wrong, she finds help in the form of Tom, the attractive hotel manager, but then, her sister manages to create havoc and Carol has to fight for her happiness.

Boycotting Christmas by Melinda Curtis
Bachelor Nick Santolli needs someone to help him give his niece a Christmas to remember. Back in the day, no one did Christmas better than Joy Encastle. But times have changed and Joy would prefer to boycott the festivities this year.

A Christmas to Remember by Denise Devine
Katie McGowan is returning home from a business trip when a blizzard forces her to take refuge at Lakewood Resort and miss celebrating Christmas with her family. The resort is overflowing with people, including Ryan Scott, an avid snowmobiler who’d come to Lakewood to escape the holidays. Ryan and Katie join forces to help others in need and learn the true meaning of Christmas.

An Angel for Christmas by Raine English
Alexa Stevens needs a job, or she and her daughter might wind up living out of the car. Blake Collins needs a nanny to help with his spoiled ten-year-old. What seems like the perfect match turns out to be anything but when the two girls and a rambunctious mutt create havoc at Christmas.

The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride by Aileen Fish
When veterinary student Tara seeks shelter in a snowstorm with handsome rancher Dylan, she quickly writes him off as boyfriend material since he’s more temperamental than an unbroken horse. Thanks to a job lined up half a state away, she’s not even tempted by a friend’s request that she move to White Oak, until she learns what has damaged Dylan’s spirit. Will a sickly calf and the magic of Christmas help her heal Dylan’s heart?

Lucky Break Christmas: Second Honeymoon by Patricia Forsythe
Lily is convinced that her new marriage to Marc is cursed because of a string of fiascoes. Marc knows she’s wrong. It takes the intervention of three body-building wedding planners and most of Lucky Break to change her mind.

Beach Walk by Grace Greene
Twelve years earlier, Kelli, a teenage runaway, was taken in by a kind woman named Margie who gave her a home, and safety and security. When Margie dies, her long lost nephew and only blood relative, arrives with plans of his own. Kelli loves her life at Emerald Isle, but how far will she go to keep it, or will Christmas bring a change of heart?

An Irish Christmas Blessing by Roxanne Rustand
When Eve travels to Ireland to run an old friend’s quaint village bookshop over the Christmas holidays, the trip is a dream come true—all the more because of the beautiful Irish countryside and the quirky locals in the village. And then there’s the charming, enigmatic stranger who just might steal her heart…

Christmas Wedding by Magdalena Scott
Jim Standish is ready—right this minute—to marry the love of his life, but Melissa Singer wants the day to be one they’ll look back on forever. Planning and execution time: 25days. Will it be possible to create the perfect Christmas Wedding?

Finding You at Christmas by Kristin Wallace
After years of looking out for everyone else, preacher’s daughter Janie Worthy is ready to get a life of her own. A stalled car and a stranger on a motorcycle puts that plan in a tailspin…and leads to the best Christmas present she could ever find.

Christmas Laurel by Christine Bush
Female army veteran Laurel Covington and her retired bomb dog have retreated to a cabin in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. She’s dealing with PTSD and a mind full of ugly war memories, and wants nothing more than solitude, quiet, and an escape from the clamor of Christmas. But then she meets the tall handsome mountain man who shares the mountain, and who has his own ghosts from the past to put to rest. Sometimes, the true meaning of Christmas can bring both healing and love when you least expect it.

Country Christmas by Lois Greiman
Emily Kane was tossed into the deep end of the foster care system years before, making her cautious of love and commitment. Securing her dream job at the Lazy Windmill, a working farm turned guest ranch, has begun the healing process. But the past can’t be shut out forever. Will familial reunions cause her to bolt back into hiding or will the magic of Christmas heal her heart and allow her to find her happily ever after?

The Christmas Crusade by Shanna Hatfield
Levi Clarke is on a crusade to create a merry Christmas for the patrons of Center for Hope community center. He’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it means seeking a sponsorship from Kat Kingsley, the woman too stubborn to realize she’s still in love with him.

The Christmas Charm by Susan R. Hughes
Gemma and Chris were childhood best friends until their lives took separate paths, both leading to heartache. Fifteen years later, a surprise reunion at Christmastime offers them a second chance at happiness.

Evergreen Romance by Julie Jarnagin
After giving up her plans for college to care for her ailing grandmother, Jillian Rogers has a shot at being promoted to project manager at the local nursery, but the owner’s son comes back into town and tries to take the job. Monty Nelson spent the last five years playing triple-A baseball after college but never made it into the major leagues. Now, he has returned to Lakota, Oklahoma, driven to show his parents he can succeed, but they stick him with running the Christmas tree lot with smarty-pants Jillian Rogers. When old sparks reignite, Jillian and Monty must determine whether their romance will wither or if they’ve found everlasting love.

My Christmas Cupcake by Shaleen Kapil
Clare thinks she is doomed to spend the holiday alone managing her new cupcake bakery until a handsome stranger appears just as she is closing up on Christmas Eve. Despite an instant attraction, Starfish Beach is a tourist town, and Clare has learned to be wary. How can she tempt Garrett, a university professor, to move to her small town when all she can offer are cupcakes?

A Christmas Spark by Ciara Knight
Sara Foster blames herself for her failed marriage. On Christmas Eve, she hides away in the family cabin, the same place her father abandoned her twenty years ago. Dalton Scot is unable to face the family holiday after his divorce and discovering he can never have children of his own, so he chooses Christmas Eve to fix his buddy’s cabin. Both search for a secluded spot to mourn their Christmas pasts, but instead are snowed in at the cabin for the holiday where they discover the power of the Christmas spark.

Sweet Blizzard by Milou Koenings
He’s an ex-con, she’s a socialite. He saves her life when a blizzard strands them together, but she could make or break his. Will love make it all right in time for Christmas?

Only 99¢
Meet with the Authors at Sweet Romance Reads

Meet the Authors Individually:

A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, writes contemporary romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion, sprinkled with a good dose of humor and set in the fascinating places she visited— or in Florida, her paradise on Earth.

~*~

Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. She writes sweet sophisticated romantic fiction and mysteries, many of them set in beautiful Italy. While ‘Boeker’ means ‘books’ in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with happy endings?

~*~

Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today bestselling author. She writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet, light-hearted romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes the sweet romantic comedy Bridesmaid series, and fun, traditional romances. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “…Wonderfully entertaining.”

~*~

Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic comedy and she also writes inspirational fiction. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at thirteen and has been writing ever since. She writes about true love, happy endings and stories that touch your heart.

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USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romances, as well as hotter paranormal and Gothic romantic suspense. She lives in New England with her family and her French bulldog, Bailey.

~*~

USA Today bestselling author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.

~*~

Patricia Forsythe grew up in a small copper mining town in Arizona where she had the opportunity to observe a great many interesting people who have since turned up in her books. She has written many romances for Harlequin books (as Patricia Knoll), as well as indie-published books and enjoys creating the kinds of stories she hopes people want to read.

~*~

Grace Greene writes novels of romance, mystery and suspense. A Virginia native, Grace has family ties to North Carolina. She writes books set in both locations. The Emerald Isle, NC Stories series is set in North Carolina where “It’s always a good time for a love story and a trip to the beach.” Or travel down Virginia Country Roads and “Take a trip to love, mystery and suspense.”

~*~

USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand is the author of  thirty-five traditionally published novels, plus four indie novels. She was a  Golden Heart  finalist twice, and a Golden Heart winner in 1995.  She has won two RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and was nominated for an RT Magazine Career Achievement Award. Her earlier books were secular, but she now writes sweet indie romance, and inspirational romance for Love Inspired.

~*~

USA Today bestselling author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance and women’s fiction with small town settings. She invites readers into her world to find out what’s hidden just below the surface of those tiny dots you can barely see on the map—mystery, romance, and the occasional unexplained occurrence.

~*~

Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational, contemporary and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith.” Her popular series include the Covington Falls Chronicles and Shellwater Key Tales.

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Christine Bush is an award winning author of many sweet romances, mysteries, and novellas.  When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or (mostly) spending time with her twelve grandchildren.

~*~

Lois Greiman is an award winning author who has penned more than 50 heart-warming, laugh out loud novels. She currently lives on a small farm in Minnesota with her best friends, some of whom are human.

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Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen one story at a time. Her bestselling sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real.

~*~

Susan R. Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels set in Canada. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children.

~*~

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched, but these days she lives in a not-so-big city with her husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks.

~*~

Shaleen Kapil is new and upcoming author. Her first book, None But You, debuted in 2014. Her latest stories are built around the Emerald Coast of Florida, a favorite vacation spot. She created the Starfish Beach series to allow readers to enjoy a taste of romance in a laid-back beach setting.

~*~

Ciara Knight writes ‘a little bit of edge and a lot of heart’ with her bestselling sweet romance and young adult stories that have topped the Amazon charts. When not writing, Ciara enjoys her own happily ever after with her husband and three sons living in suburbia, GA.

~*~

Milou Koenings writes heartwarming romance novels because she believes sweet stories with happy endings are like chocolate – they bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. She’s lived all over the world, working as an editor and newspaper columnist, but loves staying home with her family most of all.


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Falling For Her

 

by Sandra Owens

 

Series: K2 Team, #3

 

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

 

Release Date: September 29, 2015

 

 

Known to the K2 Special Services team as “Saint,” Jamie Turner lives by his own strict rules to compensate for his past sins and the two-ton boulder taking residence in his heart. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He never swears. And he only dates nice, safe women until he meets Sugar Darling, the fill-in receptionist at K2. She’s as sweet as her name, but this wild woman is definitely trouble, with something to hide. He knows he should avoid her…but can he?

Sugar isn’t hiding something—she’s hiding everything. And K2 seems like the perfect place to lie low, thanks to the big, protective guys who work there. The drop-dead-handsome Saint makes her heart race, yet he keeps his distance. When Sugar’s traumatic past rises up to haunt her again, she desperately turns to Saint for help, and he has to decide what’s more important: playing it safe or risking everything for love.

Jamie backed the twenty-three foot Sea Ray away from the dock. Sugar sat on the padded seat next to him, her arms wrapped tightly around her waist. He loved his boat and wanted her to love it, too. Why that mattered, he chose not to think about.

 

By the color of her face, however, he thought she was only minutes from hanging her head over the side. It hadn’t occurred to him to ask if she was prone to seasickness, but they were only a few yards from the marina, the water as smooth as glass.

 

To divert her attention, he slipped his arm around her and pulled her onto his lap. “You steer.”

 

“Shit, no.”

 

She tried to scramble away, but he held onto her. “Easy, sweetheart. Just put your hands here.” He brought up her unwilling hands and wrapped her fingers around the wheel. Her knuckles turned white. “I won’t let you run into anything.”

 

An annoyed breath huffed from her. “Shows what you know. If there’s anything within a hundred miles I shouldn’t run into, you probably won’t be able to stop me. Have you already forgotten the beer truck near miss?”

 

“I remember. Gave me nightmares.” Jamie pressed his mouth to the side of her neck and grinned, although the reminder should probably have him quaking in his flip-flops and in fear for the life of his boat. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, she liked having control. Already, her fingers were turning back to a healthy pink, and the green was fading from her cheeks.

 

As she darted alert glances left and right, he eased up the throttle, giving her a little more speed. Minutes later, she gave a delighted laugh as they bounced over the small waves coming in from the inlet.

 

“Where am I supposed to be going?” she called over the roar of the motors.

 

“Straight ahead.” He wrapped his arms around her waist, liking the feel of her against his body.

 

She peered back at him, her eyes as wide as saucers. “In the ocean?”

 

“You a scaredy cat?” Unless he missed his guess, the woman wouldn’t refuse a dare.

 

Her lips thinned into a determined line. “Hell, no.”

 

It took every bit of his control not to laugh when she tossed her straw hat aside, stood and practically pressed her nose to the windshield. Any desire to laugh died at the sight of her eye-level bikini clad bottom clearly visible through the gauzy cover-up. Unfortunately, the parrot painted on the back blocked out enticing parts of her. Figuring more speed would keep her focused on her driving, he moved the throttle forward some more.

 

“Just keep going in the direction you are. You want to keep inside the red and green buoys.” He’d checked the weather before inviting her, and knew there’d only be slight swells on the gulf.

 

“Piece of cake,” she said, and he heard the excitement in her voice. “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.”

 

Her steady stream of self-encouragement brought a grin to his face. “What are you, the little choo-choo that can?”

 

Laughter flowed from her. “Yep, that’s me.”

 

Giving in to the need to touch her, he placed his hands at her knees, then trailed his fingers up her legs, his thumbs stroking the soft flesh of the inside of her thighs. He slipped under the cover-up, and when he reached that lovely ass in front of his face, her rounded cheeks rippled as the pads of his fingers danced over her skin. So, she liked that.

 

And he liked the little yellow bikini. Very much. All he had to do to get it off was pull the bows dangling down the sides of her hips. To test her reaction, he gave one a light tug and got swatted.

 

“Stop it.” She brushed his hand away. “I can’t concentrate when you do that.”

 

He’d get her out of it before the afternoon was over. He hoped. For now, she was coming up on the inlet, and she didn’t have the experience to get them through the pass. Standing, he pressed against her and eased back on the throttle. With his hands on her shoulders, he talked her past the shoals and incoming waves.

 

“I did it!” she cried when the last of the rock wall was behind them.

 

“You certainly did.” The excitement dancing in her eyes when she looked back at him reminded him of a child on Christmas morning. Once into the Gulf of Mexico, the boat rode the gentle swells as easily as a bobbing cork. He reached his arms forward and put his hands over hers, turning the wheel to the left.

 

She laughed, then pushed his hands away. “This is so great. I’ve never been on a boat before, and I love it.”

 

Jamie sat back down, letting her have the wheel. His Sea Ray was his one true love, and his heart gave a little flip at her words. The October day was perfect, warm enough not to be chilled by the wind, but not so hot they were sweltering. A line of pelicans flew overhead, their fat bodies and long beaks outlined by the stark blue sky.

 

When they took the lead, Sugar bounced on her feet. “Can we go faster? Please. Oh, pretty please.”

 

“The throttle’s there at your right hand. Just remember, we’re not on a NASCAR racetrack and you’re not Earnhardt.”

 

She let out a shriek and pushed the throttle forward, catching up with the pelicans. “Y’all have nothing on me, ya beady-eyed bastards,” she yelled heavenward, shaking a fist at them.

 

Her enthusiasm was contagious, and laughter spilled out of him, coming from places he thought he’d closed and locked the doors to forever. He tried to imagine Jill—or any of the other women he’d dated the past ten years—racing a flock of birds and…giving them the finger?

 

“Sore losers,” she muttered.

 

Jamie glanced behind him to see the pelicans veer off toward shore. “Appears they are. Is this where I’m supposed to soak you with champagne?”

 

“A simple, you’re awesome, Sugar, will suffice.” She glanced back and shot him a grin.

 

The woman was pure awesome, a fact he couldn’t deny. A funny thing happened then. As clear as day, he saw a fork in the road. One kept him going in the direction a scared, young man once decided was his destiny, a way to honor the parents he’d killed. The other might lead him to hell or heaven. There was no way to know which, only that a beautiful, vibrant woman with the unlikely name of Sugar Darling dared him to follow.

 

 

 

 

A best selling, award-winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She’s jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed thrilling stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing.

Sandra is a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, CRAZY FOR HER. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.

 

 

♡Not Vanilla♡SPANKING♡ (Review Post)

Not Vanilla
Spanking
by Jennifer Lynne and Roz Lee
Genre: Erotic Romance/ BDSM
78 Pages
A tempting 2-in-1 bundle that is so erotic it will turn your cheeks pink!
First Time by Jennifer Lynne
On their anniversary weekend away, will a spanking paddle help re-kindle Grace and Henry’s waning libido, or will their first kinky time also be their last?
Domestic Discipline by Roz Lee
How can April tell the man she’s promised to marry that she needs more in the bedroom…that she needs a good spanking?

Jennifer is a mother, wife and slave to three cats. She works by day in admin and at night writes erotic stories from her home in Melbourne, Australia. She lives in hope that readers will continue to enjoy her novella-length tales of love and lust!

Never miss a new book release! Sign up for Jen’s e-newsletter: http://www.eepurl.com/ITeTv or find out more at her website: http://www.JenniferLynne.com.au
 
Never miss a new release! Subscribe to Roz Lee’s Newsletter – http://bit.ly/1arVpIx

USA Today Best-Selling author Roz Lee has penned over a dozen erotic romances. The first, The Lust Boat, was born of an idea acquired while on a Caribbean cruise with her family and soon blossomed into a five book series published by Red Sage. Following her love of baseball, she turned her attention to sexy athletes in tight pants, writing the critically acclaimed Mustangs Baseball series.

Roz has been married to her best friend, and high school sweetheart, for over three decades. Roz and her husband have two grown daughters (and a new Son-in-law) they couldn’t be more proud of.

Even though Roz has lived on both coasts, her heart lies in between, in Texas. A Texan by birth, she can trace her family back to the Republic of Texas. With roots that deep, she says, “You can’t ever really leave.”

When Roz isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. No trip is too small, no tourist trap too cheesy, and no road unworthy of travel.

Roz is a member of New Jersey Romance Writers, Los Angeles Romance Authors, Liberty State Fiction Writers, and Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.

Visit Roz’s website – www.RozLee.net
or www.authorrozlee.blogspot.com
 
 c0552-reviewed

 

Domestic Discipline by Roz Lee:
Another great story in this length from this author. It’s well written and proves communication is the key, in every aspect. This one will surely spark your not vanilla side. This is a tale of moving past apprehension and allowing new experiences to happen. I enjoyed April and Brendan’s story.

First Time by Jennifer Lynne:
Letting go with your partner isn’t always easy. The connection is there and written in a way to make you feel the give and take needed from both partners. This is another enjoyable quick read about surrender and letting go of your demons and trust. Grace and Henry’s story is a heartfelt one.

Although, not quite as emotionally charged as Not Vanilla (Bondage), this erotic duo still packed a punch of feels. The steamy interactions and relatable characters make both of these stories great. I definitely recommend this read. A perfect length for a tantalizing read before bed. This is the second book in this series I have had the pleasure of receiving a copy in exchange for an honest review. (4.5 stars)

#eNovAaW Women of Words (Multi-Author Book Blitz ~ September 23 – 27)

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Multi-Author Book Blitz (Day #4)

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Southern Heat (Review Post)

Southern Heat
A Game On Novel
by Parker Kincade
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance 
 
 
Tyler Brady earned his reputation as the bad boy of baseball the old-fashioned way: by playing hard—on and off the field. After suffering a shoulder injury, he faces his first summer off in twenty years. Between the endless physical therapy sessions and missing the season, Tyler’s patience is about to blow.
After suffering a devastating breakup, Gabriella Marano is ready to play the field. Who better to reacquaint her with the pleasures of sex than a devastatingly handsome ball player? Tyler is well equipped to give her what she needs: a little harmless fun.
As their passion soars, Tyler realizes the woman who fires his blood holds his future in the palm of her hands.
In more ways than one.
 
 
USA Today Bestselling Author, Parker Kincade, writes edge-of-your-seat-sexy romantic suspense, hot and steamy sports romance, and erotic western romance. Her first novel, One Night Stand, won the 2013 Reader’s Crown Award for Best First Book, the category of Best Erotic Romance in the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Golden Claddagh contest, and was named finalist in the Romance Writers of America/Passionate Ink Stroke of Midnight contest.
Parker lives in the southern United States. She loves to read, play golf, spend time with her family and friends, snuggle with her beloved boxer, ice cream from the ice cream truck, and watching old musicals.
Author Media Links:
Reviewed!
If you like sports romances, this will be right up your alley. However, you definitely don’t need to be a sport enthusiast to enjoy Southern Heat. It’s a sweet and steamy read that most are sure to enjoy.

The pace picks up as you start to get to know the characters. Ty is a ball player with an injury and is dying to get back into the game.  Gabby might be just the person to get him there. Watching these two as they fell for each other was enjoyable.

There were a few places where I think the flow of the story had a little bump in the road, but other than that you won’t hear any complaints from me. It was a really good read that I’d happily recommend.

#eNovAaW Women of Words (Day #3)

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Heart Melter ***Sale***

 
Heart Melter
Sophia Knightly
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
 
 
He swore he’d never forgive her. But now someone wants her dead.Dr. Ian MacGregor knows better than to get involved with Natasha White. The tempting heartbreaker has a way of getting under his skin, but he couldn’t live with himself if anything happened to her. 

Sweeping her away to his Highland castle, Ian becomes her fiercest protector as he vows to safeguard her against the mob who will stop at nothing to eliminate her. He’ll guard her till the end, even if that means giving them a second chance at love. 

As passion intensifies between them, Ian and Natasha must face their darkest secrets, secrets that bring them closer, but may threaten their newfound intimacy. Natasha is hiding more than Ian realized.

 But he has secrets of his own… 

Chapter One

“You’re flat,” Simon called out from the third row of the dark theatre.

“No, I’m not.” Natasha White gritted her teeth and raised a challenging eyebrow at the director. Her hands curved on the waist of her fawn satin teddy as she tamped down her simmering temper. Simon Worth was referring to her pitch, not her breasts, although he had spent most of the morning ogling them while she danced. It was the third time he’d rudely interrupted her song, and he’d made Freddie the choreographer change her tap number so many times, her muscles were screaming in protest. But she ignored the pain; it was worth having the starring role of Legs LaRue in “The Bee’s Knees”, a new roaring twenties musical sure to be a Broadway hit.

Simon was pushing hard during dress rehearsal—unfairly so. But what else could she expect from the control freak who had written the songs and lyrics of “The Bee’s Knees” and was also directing it? The thirty-nine-year-old musical genius was temperamental and rude, but that wouldn’t have stopped Natasha’s mother, legendary Broadway diva, Anitra White, from letting loose a rant that would have singed Simon’s bushy black brows. Where her acerbic mother would have screamed, Natasha held her tongue, even if she felt like strangling Simon. She didn’t want any comparisons with her drama queen mama, not now, not ever.

“She was pitch perfect,” her accompanist, Bruce, said instantly. Her white-haired defender pushed his horn rimmed glasses up on his high-bridged nose and glared at Simon. Bruce was an experienced, old school Broadway accompanist and nobody dared contradict him, not even Simon.

“Sounded gorgeous to me. Piss off, Simon.” Freddie the choreographer’s jaw clenched beneath his trim salt-and-pepper goatee as he sent a supportive nod Natasha’s way. He had already had a meltdown this morning over Simon’s intrusive meddling in his choreography. His compact dancer’s body was coiled tightly, ready to spring on the director if he continued to bully Natasha. Not that she needed protecting. If she could handle her mother’s tough criticism all those years growing up, she could certainly endure Simon’s.

“Thanks, guys,” Natasha said, blowing them kisses. She alternately rolled her neck and shoulders, and then peered into the theatre, her gaze zeroing in on her understudy, Lisette Raye, who watched with rabid ambition.

It was no secret Lisette was hot for the starring role—and the director. The pushy twenty-one-year-old actress and Simon were already sleeping together. Once he’d plowed through the ensemble and slept with most of them, Simon settled on Lisette, who eagerly pleased him in all areas. Well, she could have the pompous gasbag. Musical genius or not, he didn’t appeal to Natasha, and she’d be damned if she’d sleep her way to the top. She’d seen too many failed “showmances”—mostly hook-ups that thrived during shows, but rarely made it past the last curtain call. Hanging around backstage as a child during her mom’s Broadway shows had taught her to steer clear of romances in the business. It had also toughened her enough to let Simon’s insults slide and not affect her performance.

“Let’s take it from the top, and this time make sure your E makes me weep,” Simon drawled caustically, ignoring the collective groans from Bruce and Freddie.

An hour later when Elisha, the stage manager, called lunch break, Natasha fled the theatre intent on grabbing a bite to eat and taking her Pomeranian puppy, Evita, for a quick walk. Evita was a gift from her childhood friend, Ronnie, and Ronnie’s gorgeous new husband, Nick Cameron. They’d given her the puppy before leaving on their honeymoon. The moment the puppy emitted a melodious, crooning howl while Natasha sang, she promptly named her Evita, after the musical.

Natasha hurried across Times Square, her nerves frayed from Simon’s heedless interruptions and unwarranted criticisms. Something wasn’t right; she could feel it in her bones. Thinking back to her horoscope this morning, maybe she should heed Sydney Taggert’s advice: Keep an eye on your back and an eye toward the future.

She zipped her tan leather jacket against the blast of ice cold air swirling around her. A bit early for such frigid weather in October, but everything this month seemed off.  She usually made her way home at a brisk trot, but today her leg and butt muscles quivered from the morning’s repetitive variations of the same dance. She was used to grueling workouts, but Simon had gone overboard. It was almost as if he were trying to push her to the breaking point. Well, it wasn’t going to happen. He had underestimated the kind of grit she had developed over the years. She wasn’t about to relinquish the plum role of Legs LaRue to a greedy newbie like Lisette.

With her head bent forward and her heavy dance tote slung across her chest, Natasha wove through the teeming crowd of tourists. She was two blocks away from her apartment when she felt a firm jerk on her dance bag. As she grappled to hold onto it and not lose her footing, a sharp pain sliced across her outer right thigh.

“Ouch!” She craned her neck to the side to see where the jab had come from. A quick glance at her leg made her gasp at the slash in her jeans and the long red line on her skin revealed by the gaping fabric. Within seconds blood rose to the cut’s surface. With shaky hands, Natasha pulled her long knit scarf off her neck and tied it tightly around her upper thigh, forming a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

She stepped onto the curb and frantically hailed a taxi. Within seconds, a cab drove up and she clambered inside.

“Where to?” the driver asked, turning to stare at her when she didn’t answer right away.

Natasha could barely breathe, let alone speak as she stared at the driver. She swallowed and said through trembling lips, “Take me to the closest emergency clinic.”

No, that wouldn’t do. If she went to an emergency clinic, she’d be there all day. With Simon’s foul mood and Lisette itching for her starring role, Natasha had to get back to rehearsal ASAP.

When the driver turned on 40th Street onto 6th Avenue, she remembered Ian’s medical clinic was on that street. Her heart leaped at the thought of seeing her ex-fiancé again and it brought an onslaught of painful memories. Given the way they’d split up seven years ago, would he even agree to see her? At this crucial moment, who cared? She needed his expertise and who better than brilliant renowned cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Ian MacGregor, to treat her wound and not leave a disfiguring scar?

Knowing Ian, he’d take care of her too. He was a doctor first and foremost. Years ago, he’d been strong and protective of her…and they’d been passionately in love. Did she really want to go there after struggling for seven years to get him out of her heart? How would he react to her unexpected visit? She’d soon find out, she thought, quaking inside as she made a rash decision.

When she recognized Ian’s building, she told the driver, “Stop here. Please. I’m getting off.” She handed him a ten dollar bill and bolted out of the cab.

Inside the building, Natasha gulped air and tried not to look at her wound as she pressed the elevator button. Thankfully, it was empty and she rode up to Ian’s office alone. But the moment she entered the reception area, she panicked at the roomful of patients waiting to be seen. Summoning strength—and courage—she limped toward the counter and tried not to put too much pressure on her injured leg.

“Excuse me,” she said to a gray haired woman whose narrowed gaze was fixed on the computer screen before her. “I need to see Dr. MacGregor.”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No, but it’s an emergency.”

“I’m sorry. Dr. MacGregor doesn’t take walk-ins,” the woman replied briskly. Her name tag said Carla and Natasha wondered if she was the office manager.

“But I’m hurt,” Natasha said, her voice rising in anguish. She motioned to her injured leg, hoping Carla would take pity on her.

“You’re bleeding! You need to go to an emergency center. Now!” Carla said with a disapproving shake of her head.

A collective gasp sounded behind her and Natasha didn’t need to turn around to confirm that all attention was riveted on her, from the buzzing voices of waiting patients to the concerned faces behind the glass reception counter.

She leaned forward and clutched the counter. “I don’t feel very well. Please tell Dr. MacGregor that Natasha White needs to see him. He knows me.”

“I can’t interrupt him while he’s with a patient,” Carla said firmly.

Natasha closed her eyes and drew in calming breaths. How on earth was she going to get past Ian’s gatekeeper to see him? Desperate times called for desperate measures. She swayed on her feet and collapsed, making sure to land carefully on her uninjured side. Good thing her acting classes had included pratfalls, she thought wryly, as she lay on the floor pretending to be unconscious.

Carla rounded the corner immediately. “Good Lord! She fainted. Get Dr. MacGregor. Quick!” she yelled, patting Natasha’s cheek.

Seconds later, Natasha heard a deep male voice say, “What’s going on, Carla?” He reached Natasha’s side in seconds. “Tasha? Oh God. What happened?”

The hairs on Natasha’s arms stood on end and butterflies swarmed her belly at the sound of Ian’s rich voice, resonant with a Scottish burr. She opened her eyes and slowly met his—silver-green wolf eyes densely rimmed with sooty black lashes. Her heart pounded riotously as his arresting gaze locked with hers and a familiar weakness overcame her making it hard to breathe.

Ian’s sheer male force engulfed her, held her in thrall as she lay before him, almost sick with anticipation of his next move. A jumble of potent emotions blindsided her. Longing, excitement, trepidation, despair. She hadn’t realized how much seeing him again would affect her and she needed a moment to pull herself together.

Natasha closed her eyes and let her body go limp again.

Muttering “bloody hell”, Ian lifted her up and carried her down the hallway and into a room. She didn’t dare open her eyes. Please let him think I’m unconscious, she thought, mortified she’d had to resort to fainting like a damsel in distress. Before Ian, of all people.

He gently deposited her on the examining table and made short work of removing her jeans with the help of a nurse named Judy. While the nurse cleaned the wound, Ian examined it and Natasha kept her eyes closed the whole time.

“It’s superficial. I’ll take it from here, Judy. Please go to Mrs. Phillips in room six. I’ll be there shortly.”

“Yes, Doc,” Judy said and hustled out of the room.

“Nobody faints for that long. Open your eyes, Tasha,” Ian said in a voice laden with irony.

Tasha. Hearing Ian’s pet name for her made Natasha’s heart squeeze. Her lashes fluttered as she blinked at the bright lights and focused on Ian’s face. He loomed above her, handsome as ever with a straight, aristocratic nose, a firm jaw and sensual lips that rivaled any Michelangelo statue. Thick dark brows formed straight slashes above narrowed crystal green eyes that raked over her with concern. Ian’s vibrant wolf eyes stirred her blood and a tremor coursed through her as his steady gaze held her immobile.

“Ian.”  Natasha took a deep breath of the sterile air in a fruitless attempt to calm her racing heart. “I…I…” she stammered.

Ian arched one brow and stared at her meaningfully.

She rubbed her arms against the shivery sensations he aroused, fervently hoping he couldn’t tell how unhinged she felt. She stared back, trapped in his penetrating gaze. For the life of her, she couldn’t think of anything to say. He had to be wondering if she’d lost her marbles.

“I’m sorry I passed out and bled all over your carpet out there. I’ll have it replaced,” she finally managed to say. She held her breath and waited for Ian to do something. A smile, a frown—anything to break the crackling tension between them.

Ian’s mouth tightened. “I don’t care about the bloody carpet. Let’s turn you on your left side so I can tend to the cut.” He placed a supporting hand on Natasha’s upper back and carefully eased her onto her side.

The moment his warm skin touched hers, gooseflesh spread on Natasha’s sensitized skin and zips of excitement shot to her pleasure points. It had always been like this with him. Ian’s touch or a look from his heated eyes was all it took to set her aflame.

She huffed for air before meeting his gaze. “I probably shouldn’t have come here, but I don’t trust anyone else with my legs. You’re the best.” The moment the words left her lips, she regretted it. Where was her filter for God’s sake?

Ian raised a sardonic brow. “Oh?”

This was no time for modesty, but she couldn’t help feeling utterly exposed in nothing but her blouse and bikini panties. A light blanket was draped over her hip, but her legs were bare to his gaze from thigh to ankle. He kept a blank expression, professional as a doctor should, but still…

She gave a shaky laugh. “Wait, that didn’t come out right. I meant you’re the best physician.” She cleared her throat and looked at her thigh. “Is the cut very deep? How bad is it?”

“It’s not deep at all. You’re lucky your jeans were in the way or it would have been worse.” Ian’s angular jaw was set in taut lines and his clipped tone spoke volumes.

Natasha lifted her eyes to meet his steady gaze. She was still reeling from his touch and the electrifying moment their eyes had met after so many years. Now the sexy sound of his Scottish burr and his nearness were making her heart pound and her senses buzz. This wouldn’t do. Ian’s intense gaze wreaked havoc on her composure as she wondered what lurked beneath the stillness.

She shivered inwardly, dropping her gaze to compose herself. He could read her like a book and he wouldn’t tolerate any artifice or acting on her part. He knew her too well.

“Are you going to stitch it up?” she asked, finding her voice.

“No. I’ll close the wound with tissue glue. It should heal without a scar.”

“No scar? Oh good.” She heaved a sigh of relief. No stitches and no scar. Now if she could just get him to smile, she’d feel a lot better.

“Be sure to keep the area clean and dry for 24 hours.”

“I will. Thanks, I appreciate it.” Ian’s expression didn’t soften when she smiled at him. With a sigh, she stared at the unyielding set of his mouth. The same mouth that had once smiled at her with heart-melting tenderness, had crooned Scottish endearments while making love to her, had kissed her everywhere into quivering acquiescence. All of it had been wonderful until seven years ago when she’d broken off their engagement and he’d thundered, “Stay out of my life!”

“How did you get cut like that?” he asked, jarring her from her musings.

“I don’t know. One minute I was rushing home on my lunch break, and the next I felt a tug on my dance bag. When I pulled back, something sharp sliced across my thigh.”

He touched her leg again and she jerked in response.

“Hold still,” he said firmly. One masterful hand held her thigh immobile as the other treated the cut. “Are you in pain?”

“A bit.”

He slanted a sympathetic look her way. “I’m almost done. I’ll give you something for the pain before you leave if you still need it.”

Natasha nodded and bit her lip. It wasn’t so much the pain that was jolting; his touch was making her heart race and awakening every nerve portal of her body. She closed her eyes and cast aside the thrilling memory of his hands caressing her legs when they’d first made love. Think of him as a doctor, nothing more.

When he finished tending the wound, he straightened and folded his arms over his chest. “When was the last time you ate?” His keen eyes bored into hers.

“I had breakfast this morning. Why do you ask?” She drew aside the light blanket to inspect the large bandage wrapped around her thigh

He studied her with thoughtful deliberation. “You passed out earlier and you’re thinner than I remember. Have you been on some crazy diet?”

“No, of course not,” she said, wincing as she sat up. “It’s all the dancing I’ve been doing.” She wasn’t about to divulge that Simon had rudely told her, “Better not lose those round tits and ass, babe. The role calls for it.”

Ian’s dark brows furrowed. “You used to love food.” His elegant surgeon’s hand turned her face toward him and his eyes settled on hers with the familiarity born of intimacy. Their eyes locked like lovers, electrified by the memory of their ill-fated passion years ago when his mere touch could set her on fire. The feel of his long fingers gently touching her face made Natasha’s heart hurt. His unswerving gaze was fathomless as he stared at her.

“I still do.” She drew in a heavy sigh and broke eye contact as she struggled to tether unraveling emotions. Did he remember how amazing it had been between them? Even in his sterile office, and despite the sharp headache budding behind her eyes, Ian aroused turbulent emotions inside her. She felt hot and cold and shaky at once reliving the memory of their heartbreaking split. He’d been her first and only love. No man she’d dated since had filled his shoes…or captured her heart. Especially not the last guy she’d dated. Tony Martin had been the exact opposite of Ian. Try as she might to forget Ian by dating Tony, it hadn’t worked—especially when Tony revealed his violent personality. After he unleashed his nasty temper on her, she ended things right away.

Natasha’s phone beeped with a text message bringing her back to her present predicament. On the way to Ian’s office, between panicking and fighting nausea, she’d texted the stage manager and alerted Elisha that she’d had a minor accident and would be late.

“Will I be able to dance tomorrow?” she asked, fighting the urge to check the text.

“No. Not for several days.”

“Several days?” Her shoulders slumped in spite of her resolve to be strong.

He frowned. “Do you want the wound to open again?”

“No, but…” How could she tell him this show was crucial to her career, when it was her career that had been the catalyst of their break-up?

“Follow my directions and you’ll be as good as new. When was your last tetanus shot?”

Natasha shrugged. “A long time ago. Just before summer camp.” A vision of Simon’s snarling face suddenly made her frantic to leave. She swung her legs over the side. “I have to get back to rehearsal.”

“You’re not leaving until you get a tetanus shot. And you’re not going to rehearsal today.” Ian’s steely eyes brooked no arguments. He was annoyingly authoritarian, yet a brilliant physician and a born healer. She had a scrapbook filled with newspaper and magazine articles about Dr. Ian MacGregor, the eminent laser surgeon and dermatologist, who worked magic removing disfiguring scars and birthmarks. His recent laser invention had catapulted him into celebrity status and garnered him billions.

But it was his work with underprivileged children and adults that made Natasha’s heart swell with pride. Since she’d last seen him, he had traveled extensively with Doctors Without Borders and The Smile Train, removing the stigma of disfiguring cleft palates and port wine birthmarks for those who couldn’t afford it. Ian would insist on not letting her leave until he could “fix” whatever was wrong with her, but she couldn’t stay a moment longer.

“I don’t want a shot. I have to leave now!” Not going to rehearsal was out of the question.

Ian’s silver-green eyes darkened to gun metal grey as they zeroed in on her with such ferocity she fought the urge to squirm. “What in bloody hell is going on, Tasha?”

She lifted her chin. “I’m starring in a new show and we start previews tomorrow. If I don’t get back to dress rehearsal, I’m going to get fined, and possibly replaced.”

Ian’s lip curled as he shook his head. “Nothing has changed. The show must go on. Comes before everything. Right, Tasha?”

His ironic tone irked the hell out of her. “Yes, that’s right. Just like your patients always come first,” she retorted. His accusation rubbed a raw spot as they faced an impasse. He was right. Nothing had changed—he was as stubborn and narrow-minded as ever when it came to her.

Natasha inched toward the edge, ready to get off the table, when his hand clamped down on her shoulder.

“Don’t get up. Tetanus shot first,” he said, turning to the table beside her.

She twisted her neck to see if the syringe was there, but she couldn’t see over his broad shoulders. “Fine, I’ll take the shot. In my arm and from someone other than you.”

“I wasn’t planning on it,” he said coolly. “Judy will be in shortly.” He turned and stalked away.

Natasha got off the examining table when he shut the door. She promptly called her agent, Marty Cranshaw, only to get the bad news that Simon had replaced her temporarily and called a put-in rehearsal for Lisette.

“No sense in going to the theatre now. Most likely they’ll be there all night. Go home and rest, hon,” Marty said in a caring voice.

“I will, but make no mistake, Marty. I’ll be back on that stage stronger than ever for opening night,” she said fervently.

Marty chuckled. “I know you will. Have I ever doubted you?”

“Nope, and that’s why I love you. Bye, Marty,” Natasha said, hanging up with a smile.

A smiling, middle-aged woman walked in holding a pair of blue scrubs in one hand and a small metal tray with a syringe in the other hand. “I brought these pants for you to put on after I give you the shot. We keep a few extra pairs in the office for the nurses.”

“Thanks. That’s very kind of you. I can’t exactly leave here in a leather jacket and panties,” Natasha said grimacing. “Which arm do you want? Right or left?”

“Neither. Doc ordered it in your gluteus muscle. Bottoms up,” Judy said cheerfully.

“Great.” Natasha rolled her eyes and privately cursed Ian. “Let’s get it over with then.”

“First a tiny jab, then a bit of stinging as the liquid goes in. Relax your muscles so it won’t hurt,” Nurse Judy said. She pulled on plastic gloves and lowered the edge of Natasha’s panties, rubbing alcohol on the spot she’d inject.

Natasha gritted her teeth and silently endured the needle even though it hurt when the liquid went in.

“Okay, we’re finished, dear. If the area gets sore or swollen, put an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies on it. That should take care of it,” Judy said reassuringly.

With a nod, Natasha turned over and reached for the scrubs.

“I love your hair color. I want to dye mine the same shade of red, but yours looks natural,” Judy said, patting her short curly brown hair.

“It is.” Natasha smiled. “You should go for it. It would look great on you.”

Judy grinned broadly. “Thanks, I think I will. You’re the Broadway actress aren’t you?” she asked as she helped Natasha into the drawstring pants.

“Yes. Do you like musicals?”

Judy’s big brown eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. “I love musicals. They’re my biggest indulgence. I heard you’re starring in ‘The Bee’s Knees’. When is it—”

A few sharp raps on the door interrupted her question as Ian entered. “All done?”

“Yes. All done, doc.” Judy winked at Natasha and left the room.

“Are you planning any more surprise jabs before you let me go?” Natasha inquired with a sleek lift of one brow.

Ian’s lips twitched. “You needed the shot, so don’t complain. You can leave now, but you’ll have a hard time finding a taxi at this hour. My car service will take you home.”

“Thanks, that’s kind of you,” she said, grateful for his consideration.

“Are you still in pain?”

Natasha gave a half-shrug. “Not too much. I’ll take a painkiller when I get home if it feels worse.”

He handed her two prescriptions and written instructions. “Come back in a week for a recheck. I’m leaving for London tomorrow. Carla will give you an appointment with my partner, Dr. Delacorte.”

Natasha hid her disappointment. He didn’t intend to see her again? Ian was acting so detached, it made her nostalgic for the Ian of before—the young man who’d told her she was his first love, his only love. If he hadn’t been so dead set on making her leave everything behind to join him in Scotland, things would have worked out between them. It was ironic he was still in town. All that time wasted apart. He had been too damn proud and stubborn to take her calls afterward, making her withdraw and immerse herself full force in her career to heal the pain of their split.

“Tell me something,” she said, on impulse. “Why are you still living in New York when you were so eager to make Scotland your permanent home?”

A flash of annoyance hardened his features. “I intend to move back as soon as my clinic is ready. It’s taken longer than I’d planned,” he said in a strained voice.

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear it,” she said softly. Natasha recalled his Aunt Maggie, whom she’d stayed in touch with over the years, telling her that Ian’s inheritance was still unresolved. Was it because of that? Better not go there. The shuttered look on Ian’s face silenced further questions.

Ian’s eyes narrowed on Natasha. She might sound concerned and have a kind heart, but there was no room in it for him. Her fair cheeks glowed pink and her wide blue eyes were clouded with disappointment, yet he felt no compunction to feed her curiosity. Not now, especially when reclaiming Glenhaven was so close at hand.

The first time he’d set eyes on Natasha was when she’d visited from the States with her parents. She was a dreamy-eyed dazzler, recently graduated from Juilliard and ripe for romance. Ian’s father, Malcolm, and her father, Walter, had known each other since they were students at Oxford, but it was the first time Ian had met Natasha. From that moment on he couldn’t get enough of her. Her warmth and sparkling wit were just what he’d needed during the lowest point of his life when he’d learned many disturbing things about his late father. Drawn into the cocoon of her beautiful heart, Ian had immediately set out to keep her in Scotland as long as he could and make her fall in love with him as rapidly, and completely, as he had with her.

She’d stayed the whole summer and captivated not only Ian, but also his Aunt Maggie and Uncle Ranald, the caretakers of Glenhaven Estate. Tasha had embraced Scotland as if she’d always lived there. He had loved sharing his homeland with her and she’d been as delighted as a kid at Disneyworld. She’d wanted to explore every castle, sample the local food and fine Scottish whiskey and meet his friends and neighbors. By the end of that glorious summer, he wanted to keep her with him forever, but they embarked on a long-distance romance for two long years, taking numerous passion-filled trips back and forth while she performed in America and he finished his doctoral degree in biomedical science. The moment he graduated, he proposed and she accepted, tears of joy flowing down her cheeks.

Sharp desire made him shift his stance as he stared at Tasha, a stunning woman now. More enticing than ever.

“If anyone can solve this, it’s you, Dr. Who,” Natasha said, jolting him back to the present.

Ian stiffened at hearing her nickname for him and the teasing intonation in her voice.

“Don’t you remember I used to call you that?” she said, a soft smile playing at her rosy lips.

“No,” he lied, looking away from her tempting mouth. Of course, he remembered. Tasha had loved the popular British sci fi show since she’d first seen it.

“I think you do.” The tiny dimple at the left corner of her mouth deepened seductively. It was the same dimple that had lured him to kiss her for the first time. Ian’s palms grew damp while he scrutinized Natasha’s face. Still the face of an angel—a wayward one. Her creamy complexion, flushed pink now, was framed by long, burnished copper curls. Luminous, curly-lashed blue eyes tantalized him, and her mouth, lush and pink, held his attention. It was the sweetest mouth he’d ever kissed—and the most deceptive.

I want a chance to make it on Broadway. Theatre is my life. I love you, Ian, but I would be miserable without performing. She’d said those words when she’d broken off their engagement—after telling him for months that she loved him and couldn’t wait to be his wife! He had offered his love and a wonderful life complete with a castle and servants in Scotland, but she had made an immediate about-face right after her controlling mother had interfered.

Anitra had flown to Glenhaven from New York the previous day to muck things up between them. He recalled their meeting as if it were yesterday. The witch had laughed mockingly in his face as she’d spewed hateful words. Natasha needs to spread her wings. She’s destined to be a Broadway star like me. You didn’t really think she’d give up her career to marry you and move to Scotland, did you? To be a country doctor’s wife surrounded by sheep? My daughter adores the theatre, much more than she’ll ever love you!

Ian had barely held onto his temper and hadn’t given into the urge to drag Anitra’s bony behind out of his castle for good. Unfortunately, her harsh words were confirmed the next day when Natasha ended their engagement—by phone. He’d never forget the feeling of being gutted by her and he wasn’t about to waste another second trying to figure her out. Impatient to end their little visit, Ian took hold of her elbow and helped her down from the table.

“Does your mother know you’re injured?” he asked curtly.

“No, and I plan to keep it that way. I’m not the same girl you knew seven years ago. I’ve made it on my own, without Anitra’s help.”

“Still not calling her mum?” he said with a shake of his head.

“Nope. As far as Anitra’s concerned, she’s too young to have a thirty year old daughter,” Natasha said ironically.

Ian snorted. “So that’s how it is. Pity that.”

“I don’t want to talk about Anitra. Can’t we make peace, Ian? Or are you going to continue scowling at me?”

Natasha’s gaze was direct as she waited for his answer. Now that she’d brought it into the open, he couldn’t summon the initial bitterness he’d felt at seeing her again. He just felt empty inside. She had once held the deepest part of his heart and soul captive and he’d loved her ardently, but they had no future together.

Ian headed toward the door and said, “Time to go, wee nyaff.”

“Just a minute.” Natasha grabbed his sleeve and faced him with fiery blue eyes as she tossed her flaming curls. “Don’t call me an irritating little person!” She thrust her chin up and smiled slyly. “Dunderheid,” she retaliated, daring to insult him.

Ian stifled the rumble of caustic laughter rising in his chest. They hadn’t spent more than an hour together and they were already trading insults. Tasha had a way of getting under his skin and provoking him more than anyone else could, yet her quick wit never ceased to entertain him.

Striding out the door, he squashed the powerful urge to turn and grab the maddening redhead and kiss her senseless. And that wasn’t all he felt like doing.

 
 
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Sophia Knightly, cooks up hot romance and delicious humor in her feel-good stories. Whether it’s romantic suspense, romantic comedy or chick lit, sexy and heartwarming contemporary romances feature hot alpha heroes and strong, smart women.Traditionally published by St. Martin’s Press, Kensington, and Samhain Publishing, her popular Tropical Heat Series books and Heartthrob Series books have consistently been on multiple Amazon best selling lists and sold over 100,000 copies.

When not writing or reading, she loves walking the beach, exploring museums, going to the theatre, enjoying good food, and watching movies. One of her favorite pastimes remains simply watching people, especially those in love!

“Like” her Facebook author page at: http://on.fb.me/vGfJ5t
Visit her website at: http://www.sophiaknightly.net
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Write to her at: sophiaknightly@gmail.com
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