#ReleaseBlitz “My Image of You” by Melanie Moreland #myimageofyourelease @MorelandMelanie @Starange13

  Title: My Image of You
By: Melanie Moreland
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House LLC/Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A globe-trotting bad boy chases the one that got away in this addictive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Contract.

My name is Adam Kincaid, and I’m the best at what I do. After losing my parents, I decided to follow in their footsteps, and now I’m the most daring freelance photographer in the world.

Maybe some think I’m a loner, but I don’t care. All that matters is the shot: braving danger and devastation in search of a single image with the power to tell someone’s story. But as good as I am, accidents happen—and thank god for that, because it’s what leads me to her. . .

Alexandra Robbins. My nurse. My savior.

With her fiery red hair and crystal-clear blue eyes, the camera loves her . . . and I have to have her. We soon find that we’re perfect together. We just fit, physically and emotionally. And yet something isn’t right. Something from her past is haunting her, and no matter what I do to help her break free, I lose her.

Today is the day I try to win her back. Not only do I need an explanation, I need her in my bed once again. I don’t just want a damn picture—I want her. Because what we have is a love that never fades away. . .

“There are so many things I want to do with you,” I assured her, and licked my lips as I stared at her, my voice husky. “To you.”

“Tell me,” she insisted, her fingers curled into fists at her sides.

I stepped behind her, wrapping my arm around her waist and pulling her to my chest. I smoothed my fingers up her arm, trailing them along her skin. Small goose bumps broke out, pebbling the surface as I dropped my head down into her neck, kissing and swirling my tongue. “I’m going to explore you—everywhere. I’ll touch and discover every part of you. I want to know what makes you gasp, what drives you to distraction. I’ll find out what I can do to make you groan and beg me to take you. I’ll know your body better than you do.” I drew her skin between my teeth, biting and sucking. “I want to kiss you . . . taste you everywhere.” I slipped my hands under her shirt, teasing the softness of her stomach and side, stroking upward until my hand cupped her breast lightly. “I bet you taste different all over. Sweet some places”—I dropped my hand down, running it along the edge of her waistband—“musky and tangy others.”

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

 

Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.

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#NewRelease “Once Every Spring” by Janell Michaels @authorjmichaels #Fantasy #PN

BLURB:

Together in a land all their own…until reality pulls them back to separate worlds.
Dana’s about to write off her birthday when she finds herself taken to a world that may not exist. There, she meets Adam, a man she apparently dreamed up as her guide to an unsettlingly real hallucination.
Or is it? 
Alone together in paradise, she can’t stop herself from falling for the man that may only live in her imagination. Unless, of course, he’s somehow real. But perfect as Adam seems, he’s keeping secrets from her—secrets about his life on the other side.
As the day they will part draws near, she can’t convince him to talk about the real world. When reality pulls them back, she must either discover the truth about his existence or resign herself to only seeing the man she loves…once every spring.

EXCERPT:

With a slight wobble, Dana wandered out from the tree for a better view. Sunlight fell like a beacon across the field they stood in, the flat vista broken up here and there by gently sloped hills dotted with groupings of trees. Silken green grass covered everything, with splotches of sweet clover and wildflowers the only interruption to an endless emerald blanket. Maybe she was in Oz, after all.
She was both drawn to the beauty and reluctant to venture into it. The jacaranda tree felt like a lifeline—her last link to anything solid or real. Perhaps leaving it behind wasn’t a smart idea.
The warmth of the strange man’s body heat penetrated her when he moved close to stand beside her. His voice held a note of reverence. “It is beautiful, isn’t it? Powerful, and yet soothing. Like nothing could go wrong in the world so long as it stays like this.”
She nodded in silence, trying to keep her thoughts cemented on something other than the fear that she’d never claw out of whatever hallucination she’d fallen into. The whole scene was entirely too vivid. Then again, if one was going to dive off the deep end, one might as well go over with style, right?
Still, there were some notable oversights in her fantasy, such as any sign of civilization. Why hadn’t her imagination conjured up a five-star hotel, complete with endless room service and a free mini bar? She closed her eyes and strained hard, forming that very image in her head. She willed it to appear while trying not to wonder why she wasn’t just wishing herself back home instead.
After a moment, the man beside her stirred. “What are you doing?”
“Shh. I’m focusing my thoughts on a resort hotel.”
He laughed. “I tried something like that the first time too. It won’t work.”
She whooshed out an exasperated sigh and turned to face him. “Not with that negative attitude, mister. And you’re messing up my concentration.”
“You’re not imagining things. This place is real, even if I don’t know where it is.”
“It can’t be real. How do I leave? Maybe I can zap myself back.”
“We can’t control leaving. Only whether or not we arrive.”
That figured. “How long have you lived here?”
“I told you, I don’t. It’s more like I have a sort of vacation home here.”
Her snort was less than kind. “A vacation home? You mean you come and go?”
“This is my third cycle.”
“Who else is here?”
“No one, so far as I can tell. You’re the first other person I’ve encountered.”
She shook her head, feeling the first throbbing beats of a headache. Too bad her break with reality hadn’t been kind enough to bring her coffee along for the ride.
“I don’t understand. You say you don’t know where this is, but you can visit whenever you want?”
He turned to her, the sun hitting his green eyes in a way that made them light up with a fire that sparked in her abdomen. “Not whenever I want.” Then he started walking away.
“How, then?” She had trouble matching his long, easy strides as she followed. “Do you wish yourself here? Did you know what would happen the first time? Can you leave any time?”
He stopped with an amused grin and outstretched hand. “Hi. I’m Adam, by the way. And you are?”
She burst out laughing.
He arched a brow. “What’s so funny?”
Adam?” She shook her head, still chuckling. “Adam who?”
He hesitated. “Just Adam.”
Her chuckle turned into a belly laugh sufficient to squeeze tears into the corner of her eyes, and she had to clutch her abdomen to contain it.
He looked less than amused. “So what’s the joke?”
“You, I guess. Me. This.” She gestured around. “I’ve cracked my block and teleported myself into Dreamsville with a handsome guy. My very own Garden of Eden, complete with none other than Adam himself.”
He broke into a grin that tingled along all new nerve bundles in her spine. “You think I’m handsome?”
She folded her arms, mentally berating herself for saying it right to his face. But then, he was only a figment of her deluded subconscious. Why play coy?
She shrugged. “If I’m going to have a mental meltdown, a gorgeous guy may as well be in the fantasy. Right?”
His look burned into her. “Now I’m gorgeous?”
“Yeah, well, don’t let it go to your head. The last thing I need is a delusion with delusions of grandeur.”

BUY LINKS:

Available on Amazon
Print: https://www.amazon.com/Once-Every-Spring-Janell-Michaels/dp/1975754360/

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0753CVH4B

LINK TO BOOK TRAILER:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQMdM0LgW4o

AUTHOR BIO

Award-winning story writer Janell Michaels resides in Southern California with her triple-A husband (an Author, Artist, and Actor), their youngest daughter, and Tina the wonder pup. Secretary by day, romance writer by night, she has authored more than thirty books under three different pen names. This is done with steady infusions of coffee, imagination, and chocolate. During rare moments when she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, binge watching her TV shows, and the occasional guilty pleasure of video games (Minecraft is a favorite).

Site: http://janellmichaels.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/authorjmichaels
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AuthorJanellMichaels

#PromoTour “Val & Pals” by Margaret Lashley

VAL & PALS series
by Margaret Lashley
Genre: Humor/Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit

The first 2 books will be specially discounted to 99 cents on Sept 19th.

Absolute Zero: Misadventures From A Broad

A Midlife Meltdown…with a Side of Fries.

Val’s long-suffering life as a patient daughter, dutiful wife and reliable workhorse has turned her into a snarky, miserable nag.

She has the house, the husband and the career. The only thing missing is the happy.

Before she’s set out to pasture, Val wants one more go around the track. Unbridled. In Italy.

La dolce vita or bust.

Will Val find her happy ending abroad? Or someplace she never thought to look? And will she get there before her money and her sense of humor run out…

If you’ve ever dreamed of ditching your life and running off to Europe, now’s your chance! Join Val on a roller-coaster ride through Europe that will leave you gasping! From gut-busting hilarity to gut–wrenching gaffs, finding yourself again is always worth the price of admission. Buy it now!

The plane came to a halt. A mechanical bell binged. I looked around nervously. I slung my purse across my shoulder and sardined myself into the line of passengers inching their way down the narrow aisle. When I reached the plane’s exit door, I paused hesitantly, like a convict who’d gotten free of her cuffs without anybody noticing. My mind swirled with excitement and abject terror. Goosebumps rushed across my body. The hair at the base of my neck pricked up like a scaredy-cat.


What the hell was I doing?

Mere days before, I’d slammed every single door – including the screen one – on my life back in Florida. The last chance to change my mind had come and gone, as unheeded as a speed limit sign at a NASCAR rally. Every safety net I’d ever known was thousands of miles away, across the Atlantic Ocean, out of sight and out of reach.

I took a deep breath to steady myself, then stepped off the plane into the complete unknown. I glanced back and waved goodbye to the Air Italia flight crew. I turned again and meandered down the gangplank behind a frail, elderly couple holding hands. Their long-standing marriage triggered flashbacks of my own, long-suffering one.

Seven weeks ago, I’d signed the final divorce papers ending fifteen years of matrimony to Jimmy Johnson, a man I no longer knew. I envisioned the beautiful house Jimmy and I had shared together. I’d sold it and my advertising business just days before the flight. After splitting the pot with Jimmy, I’d netted a hot-damn jackpot of $473,000. I pictured my best friend, Clarice Whittle. I’d left my Ford in her garage, along with a few boxes that held the final remains of the cranky, resentful woman I hoped this trip would get rid of for good.

I’d brought next to nothing with me. I’d left even less behind. No kids. No pets. No job. No husband. No responsibilities. No nothing.

I’d spend the last forty-one years in perpetual motion – Val Jolly’s non-stop stint as dutiful daughter, long-suffering wife and brown-nosing business woman. I’d catered to everyone else’s needs for as long as I could remember. Somewhere along the way I’d turned into a crabby, shrill woman that even I didn’t like. I’d forgotten who I was and what I wanted. This trip was going be my R&R&R – relaxation, romance and re-invention.

I was in Italy to try my hand at living irresponsibly, like my trampy cousin Tammy Jeter. She’d always done as she damn well pleased. Up ‘til now, I’d thought she’d been selfish. Especially when she left Whitey Large and their five pit-bulls (One with puppies!) to run off with Tater Johnson. Turns out, that girl had had it right all along.

Available for only 99cents Sept 15-19

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Glad One: Starting Over is a …!

How Many Do-Overs Do You Get in One Lifetime?

One crazy old lady. Two gin & tonics. Three wacko beach-bum friends. Will Val’s fourth stab at starting over add up to a big fat zero?

Val’s down, but don’t count her out just yet. Broke, but not broken (just seriously cracked), Val Fremden returns to her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida to find everything she knew squashed under the heels of change.

With nothing left to go on but her own dry sense of humor and the life coach advice of a beer-guzzling old lady she meets at the beach, can her life get any crazier? Just wait.

Glad One is a satirical look at divorce, single-hood and climbing back up the social ladder. It’s told through the eyes of a snarky, reluctant, midlife-crisis survivor who lost everything — but regained herself.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Val? Or is that just the headlamp of another train wreck heading her way? Knowing Val, it’s probably both.

If you like wacky, deeply flawed characters and laugh-out-loud situations, you’ll love Glad One! It’s the second book in Margaret Lashley’s hilarious, irreverent Val & Pals Series of seriously funny women’s fiction.

A puff of jaded air forced its way between my pursed lips like steam from a relief valve. I needed a good cry. But this was not the time or place for it. To distract myself, I started counting my blessings.

One decimated pocketbook. Two cottage-cheese thighs. Three maladjusted ex-husbands…. Crap!

Whoever was running the show up there had a wicked sense of humor – and I was getting damn tired of being the punchline. I scrounged around for my powder compact and opened it, intent on repairing my makeup after the nine-hour flight. One glance in the mirror at my worn-out face made me snap it shut. Why bother?

In forty-five years, I’d accumulated a good portion of wrinkles, a fair amount of belly fat, and, apparently, precious little wisdom. These questionable assets, along with $5,726 and a suitcase full of inappropriate clothes, were all I had left to launch my latest life makeover. I slumped back into my seat. I was bone-dragging tired. Even so, a wry grin snuck across my lips like a stolen kiss from a stranger. I was not defeated. Not yet, anyway.

The way I saw it, I still had two viable options. One, I could finally learn to laugh at myself. Or two, I could drink myself into oblivion. I fished around the bottom of my purse for a coin to determine my fate. I flipped a tarnished nickel into the air with my thumb. It did a triple gainer, plunged into my coffee, and splashed a nasty brown stain on the crotch of my white stretch pants.

Awesome. Let the festivities begin.

***

My last life makeover had begun over seven years ago, and had turned out to be a spectacular, downward spiral reminiscent of diving off a cliff with a bowling ball in my pants. Drowning in dullness and fueled by movie-inspired stupidity, I’d ditched a tiresome marriage and lucrative writing career, sold all my belongings and took off for Europe. In Italy, I met a German and fell in love with the idea of life with a stranger in a strange land. Things had been great for a while. But then the shiny wore off and the cracks showed up, like they always did.

On my arrival back in St. Petersburg, Florida, I’d discovered that seven wasn’t such a lucky number. In fact, seven years abroad had been just exactly long enough for my entire credit history to be erased – just like most of my money. I’d gotten off that plane with no driver’s license. No place to live. No credit card. No phone. No resume. And, worst of all, no friends. Incredibly, I’d somehow managed to become a foreigner in my own homeland.

As a lifelong lover of irony, I’d had to smile at my own ingenuity. How many other people on the planet could have claimed such a monumental fuck-up?

Available for only 99cents Sept 19-22

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Two Crazy: Fickle Finger of Fate

The World is not a Safe Place for Figurines.

When you’re pushing 50 with an industrial bulldozer, birthdays can be a bitch. What was intended as a gag gift for Val ends up making her gag all right – and lands her in a whole heap of trouble with the law.

With one hot cop on her tail and a mean one on her trail, Val turns to old friends and new ones to help prove she’s not into human dismemberment.

Who’s the good cop? Who’s the bad? And who’s the dwarf in the Halloween mask?

Will a pair of falsies help Val stumble onto the truth? If not, she’s got to rely on her wacky, beach-bum friends if she’s going to escape the fickle finger of fate.

Two Crazy is a satirical look at how life seems to take pleasure in screwing up all of our well-laid plans. It’s told through the eyes of a snarky, middle-aged woman with major trust issues and dubious, yet highly original coping skills.

If you like deeply flawed characters and laugh-out-loud situations, you’ll love Two Crazy. It’s the third book in Margaret Lashley’s hilarious, irreverent Val & Pals Series of seriously funny women’s fiction.

I woke the morning after my birthday party with a cop in my bed and a dead body in the kitchen. Okay, it was just a roach carcass. But I swear it was big enough to draw a chalk line around. It was legs-up in the middle of the floor. I’d fumbled, bleary-eyed, toward the cappuccino machine in nothing but Tom’s t-shirt, and had managed, of course, to step right on it. The disgusting crunch of its carapace underfoot made me scream like a little girl.

“Aaahhhh!”

As a native of the Sunshine State, I’d grown up learning to deal with the worst that Florida’s flora and fauna had to throw at me. Poison ivy. Cabbage-palm spikes. Daddy long-leg spiders. Fire ants. Kamikaze tree frogs. Ghoulish house geckos. Deadly rattlesnakes and cottonmouths. Even the occasional gator on the road or in a swimming pool. I’d managed to make my peace with all of them – except one.

Let a roach get anywhere near me – especially a flying one – and my bravado disappeared faster than Oreos at a Weight Watcher’s convention. When I’d stepped on that nasty bug, I’d let out a scream that could be heard on the International Space Station. If that marked me as a sissy, so be it. But there was something abhorrently primeval about a creature that could live for months without its own head.

“What’s going on in there!?”

Tom dashed into the room. He was naked except for his state-issued revolver. The sight of his tan, muscular body almost made me forget about my predicament. Almost.

“A roach,” I grimaced. I held up my foot like it needed stitches.

Tom grinned at me and shook his head.

“There appears to be no permanent damage. What happened to my fearless partner? Valliant Stranger?”

“Hey. Roaches are my kryptonite, okay?”

“Duly noted. I thought you put out some traps. Roach Motels, right?”

I took a paper towel off the roll and ran it under the tap. I bit my lip in disgust and wiped my foot.

“Yeah, I did. I guess there was no room left at the inn.”

Tom sniggered. “Don’t those things come with ‘No Vacancy’ signs?”

“Very funny, Mr. Morning Sunshine. Can we please change the subject now?”

“Okay.”

A dirty grin crept across his face. Tom sidled up to me and put his hands on my hips.

“Have you got a vacancy that I can fill?”

I knocked his hands off of me.

“Geeze, Tom. I think that may go down in history as the most disgusting foreplay line ever.”

Tom scooped me up into his arms. His naughty grin deepened his dimples and crinkled the corners of his hypnotic, green eyes.

“Okay, how about this? I’ve got a gun, lady. Better do what I say.”

Both my hormones and my imagination went haywire.

“Now that’s something I can work with.”

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Three Dumb: Wheelin’ & Dealin’

Baloney and Cheesed.

They say three’s the charm. But charming isn’t Val’s style.

Val Fremden is a lot of things. Quirky. Jaded. Disaster prone. But more than anything, she’s afraid of commitment.

When boyfriend Tom tells her he loves her – then trades away her mom’s ashes for a tiki hut – Val’s just not feelin’ it.

On the warpath with Tom, Val’s forced to rely on her oddball friends to help track down her mom’s cremains. But three botched stakeouts and two disasters later, she still hasn’t got peanuts. Through trial (but mostly error), Val discovers it’s not easy to outwit a mobile master of disguise when she’s stuck driving a paddy wagon full of nutcases.

She loves Tom…she loves him not. Knowing Val, she’s gonna need a bigger flower….

Three Dumb is a satirical look at how life, over time, changes our perception of love and the things we value. It’s told through the eyes of a snarky, middle-aged woman with legendary commitment issues and a gnawing reluctance toward romance.

If you like deeply flawed characters and laugh-out-loud situations, you’ll love Three Dumb. It’s the fourth book in Margaret Lashley’s hilarious, irreverent Val & Pals Series of seriously funny women’s fiction.


I’d spent Sunday evening alone, cooling down slowly, like the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. I’d avoided a critical meltdown, and when I woke up Monday morning, I’d found myself on the verge of no longer being a lethal danger to other life forms.After a cappuccino and a long, cool shower, at 8 a.m. I called Lefty’s Hauling again. It rang fifteen times, unanswered. This was, of course, totally unacceptable. It was time for Plan B.I slipped on a sundress and sandals, put my hair in a ponytail and climbed into the red pleather driver’s seat of Maggie, my 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible. With a little encouragement in the form of smashing her gas pedal to the floor, Maggie carried me north along Gulf Boulevard. The four-lane road, lined with two- and three-story beach resorts, skirted the Gulf of Mexico like stiches in a hem.

Year round, tourists flocked to the quaint mom-and-pop motels and sugar-white beaches. I couldn’t blame them. All-in-all, St. Pete Beach was a great place to be.

I turned east on 107th Avenue. Immediately, the salt air and kitsch beach shops disappeared, replaced with anywhere-USA strip malls. At 66th Street, I turned north in the direction of good-old Pinellas Park.

Every major metropolitan area had a section designated especially for rednecks. How they found each other, I didn’t know. Maybe they were all related, or there was some special redneck hotline I wasn’t privy to. At any rate, in Pinellas County, the mecca for country bumpkins and politically incorrect-and-proud-of-it folks was definitely Pinellas Park.

If it weren’t for Florida’s history of hurricanes and tropical storms, Pinellas Park would have choked to death on doublewide trailers decades ago. But in 1993, a freak storm took out all but the very highest quality manufactured homes. It had been dubbed the “1993 Storm of the Century” by some, the “’93 Super Storm” by others, and the “Great Blizzard of 1993” by the Yankees up north. But we locals simply called it the “No-Name Storm,” because it had come up so quickly and unexpectedly not even the weather forecasters had had time to register it with an official moniker.

It had begun on March 12th as a cyclonic storm in the Gulf of Mexico, then quickly grew into a beast that stretched from Cuba to Canada. It moved into Florida around midnight, catching us unaware with winds over 100 mph. It spawned 11 tornadoes and a storm surge in St. Pete that topped out at seven feet. For folks along the coast, bay and rivers, it had been devastating. It wiped out or damaged over 18,000 homes in the Sunshine State and killed 47 of our citizens, more than Hugo and Andrew combined. Suffice it to say, it was not a good time to be living in a tin can on wheels.

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WHAT FOUR

November 7, 2017

Most Definitely Contains Nuts.

All Val wants is a quiet holiday away from her oddball family. But a promise pried from her lips earlier in the year has blown that wish out the henhouse window.

When Val and her boyfriend Tom arrive at her mother’s house in Hicksville, USA, the annual Family Fruitcake Competition is well underway. And there’s more than a few fruits and nuts in the running.

But the biggest contest is between Val and her mom.

As their battle of wills heats up, unexpected ingredients get thrown into both women’s batter. It may be time to call in a referee….

Who will get best in show? Who will get their just desserts? And will Val’s half-baked family turn out to be too much baggage for Tom to handle? Order a copy and find out!

If you like deeply flawed characters and laugh-out-loud situations, you’ll love What Four. It’s the fifth book in Margaret Lashley’s hilarious, irreverent Val & Pals Series of seriously funny women’s fiction.

Like the characters in my novels, I haven’t lead a life of wealth or luxury. In fact, as it stands now, I’m set to inherit a half-eaten jar of Cheez Whiz…if my siblings don’t beat me to it.

During my illustrious career, I’ve been a roller-skating waitress, an actuarial assistant, an advertising copywriter, a real estate agent, a house flipper, an organic farmer, and a traveling vagabond/truth seeker. But no matter where I’ve gone or what I’ve done, I’ve always felt like a weirdo.

As a child I lived in my own pretend world of tickling fairies and talking cats. I began writing when I found an ancient black typewriter on my grandparent’s back porch. (Inspired by my brothers, Boys are Stupid was my first masterpiece.)

I’ve learned a heck of a lot in my life. But getting to know myself has been my greatest journey. Today, I know I’m smart. I’m direct. I’m jaded. I’m hopeful. I’m funny. I’m fierce. I’m a pushover. And I have a laugh that makes strangers want to join me at restaurants. In other words, I’m a jumble of opposing talents and flaws and emotions. And it’s all good.

In some ways, I’m a lot like Val Fremden the main character in my Val & Pals Series. My books featuring Val are not autobiographical, but what comes out of her mouth was first formed in my mind, and sometimes the parallels are undeniable. I drink TNTs. I had a car like Shabby Maggie. And I’ve started my life over four times, driving away with whatever earthly possessions fit in my car. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that friends come from unexpected places.

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A sexy, sassy, summer read “Girl on a Plane” by Cassandra O’Leary @cass_oleary #HarperCollinsUk

Girl on a Plane
by Cassandra O’Leary


Blurb
 
A sexy, sassy, summer read. CLIMB ON BOARD . . .

When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.
The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .

Girl on a Plane is currently on sale for 99 cents across US retail sites. Buy links –
books2read.com/GirlOnAPlane 

Cassandra O’Leary is a writer/corporate wordsmith and communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things.
In 2016, her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was released globally as an ebook with Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK. She’s now in the process of writing her third full-length novel. Contemporary romance and romantic comedy are her main genres, but she has a few shorter novellas and other projects on the go, always, probably simultaneously.
She is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous.
Cassandra was a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest run by the Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest run by Romance Writers of Australia, of which she’s a proud member.
Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK!
Twitter – @cass_oleary

 

Excerpt
Mermaid Airlines Flight 180, Melbourne to London

Showtime! Sinead Kennealy sucked in a deep breath and squared her shoulders. Time to get it over and done with. The molly-coddled first class passengers wouldn’t entertain themselves, apparently.

She sensed her colleagues Yuki and Deanna on either side of her usual position, centre front of the cabin. Yuki flicked her shiny black ponytail over her shoulder and flipped on the PA system. The airline’s theme song, a hackneyed rendition of the “Macarena”, blared from the plane’s speakers.

Hey! Mermaid Airlines.

Sinead’s heart sank like a stone dropped in a bucket of water even as she plastered on the airline’s trademark happy smile. Her jaw ached with the enforced perkiness, all day long. It was only breakfast time and she had a crick in her neck. A few more hours and they’d land in Dubai. She might have time for a massage at the hotel spa.

She shimmied forward in a practised and synchronised routine. The move she hated. The booby shake. A couple of mature men eagerly watched her from their premium seats with an over-excited gleam in their eyes.

One of the men mumbled, “Shake it, baby!”

Heat crawled up her throat to her cheeks and she wanted to slink away to the bathroom. Surely she couldn’t die from embarrassment. But it was a close call.

How much more of this job could she take? As an eager twenty-one-year-old recruit with Mermaid Airlines (The funnest airline in the world! so the tag-line went) she’d been bouncing off the walls with glee. The travel! The glamour! The most exciting job ever. Five years on, either her patience had run out or her expectations had grown.

Shimmy, shimmy, shake!

She kicked her leg. Shook her hips. A grown woman. Fluent in French, German and English, plus a sprinkling of Gaelic. A first-aid expert. Calm in an emergency. She had some mad skills these days. She’d even talked down an over-zealous pilot keen to initiate her into the Mile High Club. But look at her shaking her money-maker. Was it too much to ask for something more challenging?

Shimmy, shimmy, kick!

While she was ranting, why didn’t her male colleagues ever have to shake their tails to keep the high-flying passengers happy? Fecking Damian smirked at her over the passengers’ heads, from the rear of the cabin. Skiving off again. She gave him the evil eye, a slight pinch of her eyebrows the passengers wouldn’t notice. But he sure noticed, and scurried away like a little mouse back to the galley where he was meant to be preparing breakfast. She’d deal with him later.

Shimmy, kick!

She bowed. Enthusiastic applause from the whole cabin drowned out the roaring engines as the music died. She grabbed the microphone from Yuki.

“Thanks ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Mermaid Airlines flight 180 from Melbourne to London via Dubai. We will be serving breakfast shortly. In the meantime, please watch this short safety video.”

Mirroring the gestures in the safety video, she pointed out the nearest exits. Her arms went off on their own merry way, demonstrating on auto-pilot. A yawn rose up in her throat. So tired. She could have shut her eyes and slept where she stood. But her lips stretched upwards, and she nodded at the passengers in front of her.

 

#PromoTour “Twins” by @KimHeadlee @MoBPromos

TWINS

The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, the novella genesis of book 6

by Kim Iverson Headlee

Genre: Epic Historical Fantasy

From the award-winning, critically acclaimed pen of Kim Iverson Headlee comes the fall of Camelot as you have never seen it before.

The death of their mother knells the death of any hope for a joyful future for Gyan’s identical twin daughters, Gwenhwyfar and Gwenhwyfach. Their father, Arthur the High King, wastes no time in announcing firstborn Gwenhwyfar’s betrothal to Medraut—the man whom Gwenhwyfach secretly loves. And Gwenhwyfar is in love with Angusel’s son Lannchu.

The twins conspire to defy Fate and trade places. They know how ambitious is their scheme, for Gwenhwyfar is trained in the domestic arts and Gwenhwyfach has chosen the warrior’s path, yet the sisters are confident of success. The wedding and its accompanying night come off without a hitch… for both of them.

Fate, however, shall not be defied.

Incorporating ancient Welsh legends of the “False Guinevere” and “Feasting the Hungry Man,” and featuring many characters introduced in Dawnflight, Morning’s Journey, and Raging Sea, this glimpse into their destiny, thirty years after the setting of those novels, reveals the destruction of Arthur’s realm that’s unique in all of Arthurian literature.

Praise for other Arthurian works by Kim Iverson Headlee:

“Intense.” USA Today (Dawnflight)

“Solidly entertaining.” Publishers Weekly (King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court)

He crushed her to him with startling force, thrusting his tongue into her mouth to probe its secrets. Too soon, he shifted his focus to her chin, her throat, her neck, each kiss torturing her with promises that could never be kept. A raw blend of pleasure and pain forced a moan from her lips.

“It would be best to remain a virgin for your wedding night,” said a new voice.

With a startled cry, Gwenhwyfar straightened and looked about. Hand to dagger, Lannchu whirled. When the intruder stepped from behind a nearby piling, Lannchu folded his arms.

“Gwenhwyfach.” Gwenhwyfar didn’t care how her sister had found them; the pertinent question was why. “Don’t expect me to bid you well come, because you aren’t.”

Gwenhwyfach tossed her braids, uttering a light chuckle. “Not even if I were to give you the solution to your dilemma?”

“What would you do? Guard our backs as we run away?” A romantic notion, but not a feasible one. “Father would kill us all. If Medraut didn’t find us first.”

“You’re right. My plan is simpler.” She extended her open-palmed hand. “We trade places.”

✯✯✯✯✯ Short, but Packed full of delightful content!

By CLM on August 19, 2017

I have to confess, the names were a tangle for me.

But that aside, I never got lost. This is a short but packed full of content delight.

I was shocked many times in this story.

There appears to be a chance for love. Two twins, one experienced with a sword and the other experienced running the castle decide to switch identities so each can have the one they love.

Kim Headless puts so much into her stories. Even this short story is filled with so many court intrigues.

DawnflightMorning’s JourneyThe Color of Vengeance

Raging Sea: ReckoningsRaging Sea: Enemies and AlliesThe Challenge

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight first edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian Legends for nigh on half a century.


#Pre-orderTour “For Tempted by Mr. Wrong” by @jacqbiggar @MoBPromos

TEMPTED BY MR. WRONG

by Jacquie Biggar

Genre: Contemporary Step-Brother Romance

How can something so wrong, feel so right?

Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give him whatever he wants.

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.

And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.

Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.

Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.


Tammy-Jo Hawthorne limped down the side of the highway, broken shoe in hand, and cursed everything from the gravel cutting into her bare foot, to the drizzling rain making her mascara run. But most of all, she cursed fate for ever introducing her to her no-good, dirty, rotten scumbag of an ex-husband—Timothy Hawthorne the third, and don’t you forget it.

Her cheeks flamed again even as goosebumps of embarrassed anger chased themselves over her flesh. They’d escorted her out; she still couldn’t believe it. Not one person had stood to defend her either. Ten years she’d belonged to that stupid high-falutin club, and no one had supported her in her time of need. Well, screw them.

A semi-trailer flew past, and a sheet of water drenched her to the bone.

“Ooh.” She raised her shoe in the air and shook it at the fading taillights. “Thanks for nothing.”

Disheartened, she dropped her Louboutin in the grass, careful to keep it off the scratchy gravel, and wrung out the hem of her shirt. Tim had a lot to answer for; not least of which was the fact her Jaguar had been towed away while she’d been inside the country club. It was becoming clear that this had been a well-choreographed plan on his part. He’d thought of everything too. When she’d tried to call for a cab, she found her phone had been cut off. She’d stomped over to a nearby gas station to use the payphone, and found her bank and credit cards had been cancelled as well. He’d taken her love and stomped it beneath his wingtips and now he wanted her pride too.

Well, he couldn’t have it, damn him.

If she had to walk the entire twenty miles to home, she would.

And then she was going to sue that bastard for every red cent he owned.

The traffic snaked by in a never-ending ribbon of color, the noise a match to the static in her head. She thought about doing like she’d seen on television and lift her thumb to catch a ride, but fear held her back. Those were the same shows where the unlucky traveler was never seen again. She didn’t plan on giving her soon-to-be ex that easy of an out.

The rain was falling harder now, coating everything in sight with a silvery glow. If she wasn’t so cold—a combination of nerves and early spring weather—it would be pretty. Okay, maybe that was a stretch. There was nothing remotely pretty about being stranded in the middle of nowheresville thanks to the man you’d promised to love and honor until death did you part. The last of which was looking tempting right now.

If only she knew a hitman.

A throaty engine gearing down set her heart to leap-frogging in her chest—he’d changed his mind and returned her car. She swung around, a relieved smile tipping her scowl upside down, but instead of her beautiful silver Jag, a black-as-sin Mustang idled behind her in the parking lane, its driving lights blinding her with their brightness.

Now her heart pounded for an entirely different reason. She glanced into the ditch, but the forest seemed impossibly far away and the traffic never even hesitated, unaware and uncaring that her life could be in danger.

T.J. shaded her eyes, but she couldn’t see the driver. She clutched her handbag. It wasn’t much, but the soft lambskin purse held the keys to her house and her car—once she got it back—her identification, all the odds and ends a woman deemed necessary, and the proof that her husband was the reason she was in this predicament. She wouldn’t give it up without a fight.

She picked up the only weapon at her disposal, her shoe, and inched backward, dismayed when the car stalked after her. Panic overrode decorum and she turned to run, but the ditch was slippery with the mud and rain and she lost her footing, careening down the steep embankment with a little screech. She landed hard on her butt and sat there for a minute, stunned. How the mighty had fallen. The Hawthorne couple were the envy of Magnolia, South Carolina. Everyone wanted to be them, have the same kind of loving relationship they had. What a joke.

And it was all on her.

A car door opened and a few ominous seconds later, T.J. heard footsteps on the gravel meridian. Even through the rain and early evening light, her white shirt practically glowed a neon here I am signal to anyone looking. And of course, someone was. She hunched over, doing her best to become one with the mud, and prayed like she’d never prayed before. Not hard, since she’d never followed any religious beliefs, but she promised anyone who was listening that she’d change. Just don’t let her die.

“Tammy-Jo Hawthorne?” scary stranger dude called down the hill, his voice filled with amused aggravation.

What did he have to be aggravated about? She was the one sitting in a cold, wet ditch while a stalker… well, stalked her.

“Go away,” she yelled, fed up with men and life in general. She swiped at a clump of ooey-gooey crap clinging to her leg below the silk pencil skirt she’d no doubt have to throw in the trash after this episode. Just one more reason to shoot Tim.

“I was at the club today,” he said, and the sympathy in his voice made her squirm. “I heard about your car, thought you could use a lift.”

She threw back her head and let the rain wash over her face. The humiliations just kept coming. The moment he’d mentioned the club she’d known who her dubious savior was; her evil step-brother.

Jason McIntyre.

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JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her website. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or email her via her web site.

Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can join her street team on Facebook, her exclusive Review Crew or sign up for her newsletter.

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#NewRelease “True Identity” by @AmandaMacey43

TRUE IDENTITY
by Amanda Mackey

The Lost and Found Series, #1
Release Date: August 15, 2017

BLURB:
I don’t know who I am.
I can’t remember my name, where I come from, or how I ended up in the hospital with a bullet wound to my chest. When I think back, searching for a memory, all I see is a big black hole of nothing.
But I recall her voice…the sweet, angelic sound that reached out to me through the coffin of black, pulling me back to the light.
I might not know anything about my past, my life, my identity—but the moment I opened my eyes and stared straight into hers, I knew I wanted her. I knew there was no way in hell I would let her go.
Now I need to piece back together the missing fragments of my life so I can figure out where she fits into it—or if she fits into it at all.
The only problem is if your past is buried beneath a shroud of darkness, you have no idea when it might come back to haunt you.

Available on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited
Paperback

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amanda Mackey was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia when she was 12 years old with her family, where she has lived ever since. She has loved books since an early age and is an avid reader. This has helped lay the foundation for her writing. She’s published 7 novels to date with plenty more on the way. An author with Limitless Publishing, she loves to spend time with family when she’s not writing or reading. Amanda hopes to make writing her full-time career and travel in the near future

Facebook ** Amazon ** Twitter 

 

#BlogTour “A TOUCH OF FLAME” by @CarisRoane #PNR #Giveaway @reviewbycrystal

A Touch of Flame
Flame Series 5
By Caris Roane

Caris is giving away A Purple PNR bracelet (International Winner Receives Gift Card), A $25 Amazon Gift Card, A $15 Amazon Gift Card. to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here

~*~*~*~*~*~
WOW! Something extra from Caris Roane! 
Just leave a comment for a chance to win!
Caris Roane here and I’m so glad you’re touring with me. Be sure to visit as many blogs on my tour as you can and leave a comment at each one to be entered into this WOW giveaway! Don’t worry if you miss a couple of blogs, visiting every blog isn’t required, it just increases your chances of winning! I’ll be creating a second bracelet for the WOW giveaway (International winner receives gift card) similar to the bracelet in the Rafflecopter. I will choose the winning blog then choose the winning comment some time after midnight, September 5th, Arizona time. I will use Random dot org to make the selection. Let’s support our bloggers who give us so much! Hugs, Caris

~*~*~*~*~*~

BLURB:

A powerful alpha wolf. A gifted witch. Each haunted by death. Can passion drive them to an everlasting love? Or will the enemy forge a hopeless chasm?
Braden should have died in the Graveyard, but the witch, Maeve, saved him. The call of his wolf is on him and he wants her. She can be his alpha-mate. But she has powers that can destroy him and a disrupted memory that holds the answers to his wife’s murder. Can he ever trust a woman who can kill with the power she streams from her bare hands?

Maeve has known only horror, death and destruction since her arrival in Five Bridges as a transformed alter witch. She goes to the Graveyard nightly to rescue those left for dead by the evil rampant in all five territories of her new world. She fears the power she possesses and the gaps in her memory frighten her more than anything else. But when she rescues Braden from an attack in the Graveyard and she realizes she’s drawn to the handsome wolf, the nightmare really begins.


Buy Links:
Caris Roane’s website | Amazon

~*~*~*~*~*~
EXCERPT:

Maeve held Braden’s fur tight. She didn’t want to let him go. The moment he’d pushed her onto the floor in his massive wolf state, desire exploded. Somehow, all that black fur and the sight of his fangs got to her.

She knew then he’d spoken the truth. Though she was a witch, she could bond with this Border Patrol officer and serve as his alpha female.

Slowly, he shifted back to his human form, a seamless process reflecting his decade in Five Bridges. She released his fur as it disappeared through her fingers.

His green eyes held hers tight. She couldn’t have looked away if she’d wanted to. He said, “I need you to understand what you’re getting into here. This will be without one shred of emotion. What happens here is strictly physical, very physical. I have no interest in you otherwise, despite your alpha-mate capacity.”

She smiled. “Got it. No strings and yes, I’m game.”

He leaped to his feet, reached down and plucked her off the floor like she was feather. He lifted her into his arms then carried her into the bedroom, slamming the door shut with his foot.

She’d been wanting this for weeks. Months, maybe.

He took her to the bed but before he let go of her, he pulled the covers back. Then he dropped her so she bounced on the mattress.

She would have been happy to get her clothes off, but he went to work like a madman. He tugged off her shoes and jeans, then flipped her onto her stomach.”

“You’ve got a beautiful ass, Maeve…”

Read More of the Excerpt Here

 

Author Info: 

Hi, Everyone! Caris Roane here! I’m a NY Times Bestselling Author and I write super-sexy paranormal romance books. With every book I create, my goal is to take you away ~ far, far away ~ from the difficulties and frustrations of your life.

I began my career with Kensington Publishing and wrote Regency Romance as Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times Magazine honored me with a career achievement award for my Regency work. To-date, I’ve published eighty-nine books. Thirty-nine of those are paranormal romances, some self-published and some with St. Martin’s Press.
Though my stories conjure up hunky PNR warriors, like vampires and wolf-shifters, the romance is everything, including a satisfying Happily Ever After. My hope is that you’ll become engrossed in the lives of my tortured heroes and my worthy women as they wage war, as they make love, and as they face the tough issues of life and relationships! 
I live in the Phoenix area, in the city of Buckeye. When not writing, I’m a real homebody. I love gardening, sewing, and cooking. (Um, cleaning, not so much!) I also enjoy creating jewelry and I frequently offer my handcrafted, PNR bracelet giveaways to my newsletter and blog subscribers. You can sign up for both on my Home Page.
My motto: Live the Fang!

Caris Roane

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#ReleaseBlitz “Captive” by Zoe Blake @Zblakebooks #captivereleaseblitz @StarAnge13

Title: Captive
Author: Zoe Blake
Publication Date: August 2017
#captivereleaseblitz

This book is a rerelease of the previously titled, “Captive of Chance”.

Captain Jacques “Le Chanceux” (The Lucky) Tavernier is a pirate. He is not the bastard son of a wealthy duke, or some tortured hero in disguise on a noble quest. He is a pirate. He does and takes what he wants… and he wants Isabelle.

Isabelle is getting very tired of not controlling her own fate. First, her father ships her off to England to marry some decrepit lord, and now pirates have attacked the ship and taken her captive. No longer willing to be biddable and obedient, Isabelle decides to fight the pirate captain at every turn, even when his forceful seduction and creative punishments give as much pleasure as pain.

The fate of Isabelle’s companion, Marina, is no better. Claimed by not one but two pirates to be used for their own dark pleasure.

Isabelle is playing a dangerous game. Denying a pirate something he wants is never a good idea, especially when that pirate is powerful, handsome and determined to bend you to his will. Will Isabelle’s pirate captor become her master, or will she capture his heart?

AMAZON US – http://amzn.to/2wKznEK
AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/kc872p

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

The alarm bell startled the two women out of a deep, if not restful, sleep. Sitting up in their cots, they looked about the small cramped cabin in confusion.

“What could it be, miss?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea, but there is only one way to find out.”

Isabelle grabbed her dressing gown from the end of the cot and swung it over her shoulders as she approached the cabin door. She felt a tug on her nightgown and looked to see her companion, Marina, holding tight.

“Don’t do it, miss. Let’s just stay here till the captain comes.”

Pulling the fabric free, Isabelle continued to the door. “Posh! If there is something truly going on, we cannot wait for that old blowhard to come and let us know!”

Isabelle, well to be correct, Esmerelda Leonor Isabelle Catalina de Recalde el Rojo, did not cower easily. Perhaps it was her father’s Spanish blood or even her mother’s English courage. One thing was certain, she did not possess the gentile temperament of the typical female or the patience, for that matter.

Releasing the latch, she threw open the door to a chaotic scene.

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

Seaman were scrambling about in various states of undress while the cabin boy, who had been bringing them their meals during the long voyage, vigorously rang the sleep depriving bell.

“All hands! All hands on deck! Captain’s orders!” he shouted over and over again.

“You there. Boy! Boy!” shouted Isabelle. “Yes, you!” she clarified when he gave her a confused look as if surprised to see a partially dressed woman addressing him. “What is going on?”

“Pirates! There are pirates! We’re about to be attacked! Best get back inside and bar the door,” said the boy impatiently as he went back to his duty.

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!

Isabelle quickly shut the door, threw the latch and turned and braced her back against it for good measure.

“Oh lord! Oh lord! Oh lord!” wailed Marina. She had signed on as companion to the fancy lady for a bit of adventure and fun. True she was hoping to catch the eye of some strapping young seaman because what was adventure without a lusty man by your side, but she did not sign up for pirates!

“Stop that nonsense, Marina! I need to think,” groused Isabelle. Then feeling poorly for shouting at her frightened companion, she crossed the cabin and gave her a quick hug.

“We cannot panic. The captain may be a slovenly man, but he runs a good merchant ship. I’m sure they are prepared and have fought off, well, hundreds of pirate attacks with great success.” Isabelle said with a false sense of confidence.

“Do you really think so, miss?” asked Marina, her eyes filled with hope and fear.

No. “Why of course, I think so!” she said with authority. “Now help me out of my nightgown and into my corset and dress. If we are to be attacked, I don’t want them finding me in my skivy!”

Marina went to do as she was bid while Isabelle was left to ponder for a moment the real possibility of being taken captive by pirates. Her father was a wealthy Spanish noble. Ransom would not be an issue. She could provide the pirates with plenty of gold and jewels, but was that all they would ask of her? She shuddered at the thought.

How bitterly ironic, Isabelle thought. When she set out on this journey, her every thought was how very much she did not want to reach her destination. Fate was cruel. Isabelle had been forced by her parents to leave her beloved warm and sunny Azores islands to travel to cold and dank England to become the betrothed of some stodgy, old English lord. Even the painted miniature he had sent with his marriage proposal showed a thin hairline and at least two chins. One had to assume the painter was being judiciously kind, and in actuality her betrothed had even less hair and probably one or two additional chins!

She had begged, pleaded, stormed and stomped but to no avail. Her parents were stalwart. She would marry the English lord and secure an English title for the family. Her parents also felt Isabelle’s upbringing on the somewhat remote colony island was leading to “unladylike” behavior as her mother put it. They were sending her back to the continent not a moment too soon in their minds.

So it was Isabelle, who found herself alone with only a hired companion for company on a merchant vessel bound for England. In the hold were trunks of silks, jewels and gold. Her dowry. Her father had chosen the well-armed vessel to carry his precious cargo. The galleon had at least fifteen guns. But would it be a match for a pirate ship?

“Not that one, Marina,” said Isabelle when a satin walking dress was pulled out of their trunks. “The heavy worsted wool one.”

“What, miss?”

“The worsted wool one!” shouted Isabelle.

The noise and clamor all around them was getting louder. Above their heads they could hear the pounding of boots and the screeching scrape of wood on metal as the thirty-six pound long guns were rolled towards the gun ports. Indistinct shouts and curses filtered through the wooden beamed ceiling of their cabin. Even without hearing the words, both women could tell from the excited tenor of the shouts, the seamen were scared.

“Hurry, Marina! Hurry!” urged Isabelle.

When both women were dressed in their warmest gowns, they sat on the cot and waited and listened. All the harried activity had suddenly stopped. There was a strange, tense calm.

BOOM! Silence. BOOM!

The women screamed and held their hands over their ears as the whole ship shook and rattled as each long gun was fired. Dust and debris were shaken loose from the ceiling and fell down on them like rain. Marina clutched desperately at the lapels of Isabelle’s dress. Isabelle held the frightened woman tightly to her side. Rubbing a soothing hand down her back, she said, “The sound of the guns is a good thing. I’ll bet they are sending those nasty pirates scattering away.”

Marina raised her head off Isabelle’s shoulder and gave her a look filled with doubt. Isabelle’s attempt to soothe and calm had fallen short. Unfortunately, even she didn’t believe her words anymore.

Her inherent lack of patience came to the fore. Isabelle jumped up and grabbed Marina’s hand. “Come. We cannot stay here like two geese for the slaughter!”

“But where are we to go? It must be safer in the cabin!” complained Marina.

“If they take the ship, they will search the cabins and the hold for treasure. We must find a place to hide where they will not think to look. Hopefully, none of the seamen will betray there are women on board. Now come on!” shouted Isabelle as she forcibly dragged a trembling Marina out the cabin door.

The passageway was strangely quiet compared to the chaos moments before. All the men were above deck fighting off the attack. Isabelle continued to drag Marina down the passageway where they came to a steep wooden ladder leading down to the hold. “This way. Mind your skirts,” ordered Isabelle as she awkwardly descended the ladder. Reaching the wooden floor beneath, she helped Marina on the last few rungs. Taking a look around the dimly lit interior, Isabelle saw the entire space stacked with crates, provisions for the voyage, and trunks. Somewhere in this mess was her dowry trunk, she thought queerly.

“This should be a good hiding place,” offered Marina as she took in all the dark nooks and crannies.

“Usually I would agree, but they will probably come straight to the hold to see what cargo the vessel is carrying. We would be found out. No,” said Isabelle, “we have to go further. Somewhere they won’t think to look.”

Isabelle tried to calm herself and think back to all those boring dinners in the officer’s quarters she had suffered through the past few weeks. They often talked about the ship.

“The bilge!” said Isabelle. “We need to head to the bilge.”

“The bilge? That sounds awful!” whined Marina.

“If what I remember from the officer’s comments, I’m afraid it is going to smell even worse.” groaned Isabelle.

They stumbled and groped their way through the hold, making their way to the back and the side of the ship.

“The bilge is the lowest part of the ship and quite nasty with water and such. There will be no reason for the pirates to go there,” explained Isabelle as she tried not to breathe through her nose the closer they got.

Leaning against the side of the ship, she gingerly stepped into the cold, foul smelling water and lowered herself into a crouch. Pulling Marina down by her side, once again they waited and listened. The sounds of battle were muffled from their low perch. They could better hear the lapping of the waves against the side of the ship. After what seemed liked hours, even the faint sounds of gunfire died out. As much as they were praying for the roaring sounds to cease, the silence was worse. Much worse.

The women were left to wonder what was happening far above them. Had they won? Isabelle cursed her current fate under her breath.

* * *

“You have lost, Captain, but have good cheer. By surrendering, you have saved the lives of, well, what’s left of your valiant crew,” said the pirate captain sardonically as he stood over the prostrate merchant ship’s captain.

“I’ll see you hanged for this!” ground out the man.

The pirate captain sighed. Turning to his first mate, he said, “Why do they always say that? After I was being so pleasant.”

“They don’t always say it. The last bloke said he would see you drawn and quartered,” answered the first mate helpfully.

“That is true. And that puff piece of a captain before that did say he wanted my head on a pike,” offered the pirate captain with amusement. “But on the whole, I’d say I get threatened with ol’ Jack Ketch the most.”

“Fairly put,” said the first mate.

The two men made a striking pair.

The pirate captain stood well over six feet with broad shoulders emphasized all the more by his narrow hips and wide-legged stance. His swarthy complexion from years spent at sea and shoulder-length jet-black hair gave him a sinister air. The malevolent appearance was helped by the leather brace that held no fewer than five loaded pistols. Attired in unrelenting black, with shiny black knee high boots and a long, black oilskin coat, it was no wonder hardy seamen trembled at his approach.

He was Captain Jacques Tavernier “Le Chanceux”, The Lucky. Named so for the countless attacks he had survived without so much as a scratch. He was legendary among his men and beyond. Called Captain by his men and Chance by his friends, of which there was only one, his first mate Drake.

Drake stood only an inch shorter than his captain. His almost white blond hair a stark contrast. Although it would be a deadly mistake to assume Drake was any less formidable. Standing by his captain’s side since they were two young bilge rats swabbing the deck of an English navy ship, he was fiercely loyal and just as fierce in battle.

Chance placed his cutlass under the chin of the merchant vessel’s captain, forcing him to meet his gaze. “Now, good sir, why don’t you tell me about the cargo you are about to gift to me for sparing your life.”

“Go to the devil,” spat out the merchant captain.

“Tsk, tsk. Such manners,” admonished Chance before leaning down on his haunches and whispering in a low and threatening voice, “Bravado such as that gets a man killed. So unless you want me to slit your ungrateful throat from ear to ear and add your blood to this deck, I suggest you speak with more respect, vous comprenez?”

The merchant captain nodded his head slightly, not wishing to cut himself on the razor sharp cutlass that was still wedged against his throat.

“Bien! So let’s try this again. What nice trinkets can we expect from your hold?” asked Chance.

“We stopped in the Americas before the islands. I carry tobacco, sugar and cotton. There is also a dowry chest full of gold and silks. It is yours if you leave my ship and crew unharmed,” stammered out the merchant captain.

“It already is mine,” laughed Chance before turning to his first mate. “Drake, be so good as to direct the crew to empty the hold of our bounty. Leave enough food provisions to get the merchant crew to the nearest port,” ordered Chance. While having a bloodthirsty reputation during an attack, Chance was known for his benevolence once a ship surrendered… as long as they cooperated.

“Yes, Captain,” responded Drake sharply before ordering some deck hands to help him below in the hold.

Turning back to the anxious merchant captain, Chance asked in a calm tone that belied the question, “Now, Captain, shall we discuss the woman you have hidden on board? The one who belongs to the dowry chest?” he helpfully provided when it looked like the merchant captain was about to deny it.

It was too late. The merchant captain realized his terrible error. Not being one to protect a woman over his own hide, he willingly told the pirate captain all he wanted to know about his beautiful passenger.

USA Today and International Best Selling Author in Dark Romance

 

 

We are all attracted to the forbidden. Addicted to the rush we get from reading something naughty…something kinky. We love to lose ourselves in the fantasy. The powerful lord who sweeps the lady away to his remote estate to ravish her. The cowboy who takes the sassy city girl over his knee to teach her a lesson. The devilishly charming pirate who seduces his beautiful captive. I write those erotic fantasies.

Dark Romance Historical Titles

The Submission of Little Emmie

Disciplining the Maid

Penelope’s Punishment

Chosen to be His Little Angeline

The Duke’s Possession

Captive

Papa’s Little Pain Princess

His Dark Obsession

The Dark Forest Anthology

Contemporary Titles

Worth Fighting For

Ride Hard Historical Western Series

The Cowboy’s Revenge, Book One

The Gunfighter’s Pursuit, Book Two

The Rebel’s Secret, Book Three

Box Sets

Little Victorian Ladies

A Little Submission

Check out Zoe’s Website at https://zblakebooks.com/

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