What do you do when the person you love is off limits?
Military regulations prohibit personal relationships between senior officers and their juniors.
Violation of these rules is a serious offense. Unfortunately, for Layla and Ethan, they don’t discover each other’s military status until after they’ve already fallen for each other. With the threat of disciplinary action and their careers at risk, the lovers are faced with an impossible decision.
Layla is an enlisted member of the US Navy. On a weekend trip, she meets and grows close to the perfect guy. Her world is turned upside down when she later discovers he’s a Navy lieutenant, which means a personal relationship with him is forbidden. Is Layla strong enough to walk away from the only man to hold her heart?
She’s everything Lieutenant Ethan Parker wants, and during his darkest moment, Layla was everything he needed. Learning that a relationship with her is off-limits catapults the decorated officer into a place darker than the one she helped pull him from. Ethan is forced to choose between the profession that means everything to him and the woman he’s waited his entire life for.
Can military regulations separate lovers destined to be together?
For the next forty-five minutes, my coworkers spoke, but I hadn’t a clue what any of them said. My mind was busy replaying the events of the day I first met Ethan. Piercing blue eyes. Beautiful dimples. Coffee. Bathroom. Flirting. Not once had he said anything about the Navy. He had mentioned his new position, but never revealed that he was third in command at an aviation training facility… Had he?
At the conclusion of the staff meeting, everyone emptied the room, but I remained seated, waiting for a chance to confront Lieutenant Parker. I pulled my cell from my pocket, pretending I had a reason to linger. The message notification on my phone startled me.
Ethan: My office. Now.
Me: Are you kidding? I can’t just walk into your office.
Ethan: We need to talk. Wait a few minutes, and then knock on my door.
He stood and left the room without a glance in my direction. The sight of Ethan in uniform made my heart flutter a little.
Memories of nights I’d spent wrapped in his arms flooded my consciousness. How could neither of us know the other’s military status? How could neither of us think to ask?
The door to his office was ajar. Should I just go in? Should I knock? I figured I’d better follow standard procedure just in case anyone saw me. I knocked on the door and spoke immediately after. “Request permission to enter, Sir.”
“Granted.” He rose from his desk, walked past me, and shut the door.
Tension radiated through every muscle in my body. We stood for a beat, staring at each other. He had to be thinking the same thing I was: What the f-?
“Layla, what the hell is going on?”
Was he accusing me? Did he think I somehow planned this shit? “You tell me. You never said you were in the Navy. That you were an officer! That you work here. Do you know what this means?”
“Of course, I know what this means. I thought you were a student.”
“I am. I was.”
“You didn’t say you’re also an instructor.” He started to pace. “Here.”
“It didn’t come up. I had other things on my mind.”
“Like what?” Those vivid blue eyes held my gaze.
He was too smart to be that clueless. “Like you.”
His expression softened.
“You didn’t tell me you were the new Director of Training at one of the Navy’s best training facilities.”
“We’ll talk about this later at the hotel.”
“What are you? Crazy? We can’t meet at the hotel. We can’t talk. We can’t text. We can’t anything.”
“We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”
“What we’re going to do? There’s nothing we can do. This is it for us. I finally meet the perfect guy… and I can’t have him.”
A knock at the door startled us and we quickly backed away from each other. My heart beat wildly as the Commanding Officer swung the door open and came right toward us.
Sha Renée is a native New Yorker who joined the US Navy right after high school. She now lives in New Jersey where she creates stories on the pages where duty, honor and passion unite. A true nature lover, Sha enjoys spending time outdoors with a camera in her hands. She’s a fan of auto racing, military air shows and TheX Games and dreams of someday riding her own motorcycle.
Sha loves watching bulldozers and diggers work, and believes every day should begin with a strong cup of coffee and end with a glass of chilled wine.
Learn from the past or forever be doomed to repeat it.
Accused of her husband’s murder, Kylah McKinley, a practicing Druid, travels back through time to her past life in 1324 Ireland and brings the true killer to justice.
Two months of hell change Kylah’s life forever. On her many past life regressions, she returns to 14th century Ireland as Alice Kyteler, a druid moneylender falsely accused of murdering her husband. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or forever be doomed to repeat it.
An interview with Diana about Dark Brew
Where did the story come from?
The story took 12 years from start to finish. I’m a longtime member of the Richard III Society, and in the spring of 2004, I read an article in The Ricardian Register by Pamela Butler, about Alice Kyteler, who lived in Kilkenny, Ireland in 1324, and faced witchcraft charges. After her trial and acquittal, she vanished from the annals of history. I couldn’t resist writing a book about her.
How did you decide to make it a paranormal?
I’m a believer in reincarnation, and I go on paranormal investigations whenever I can. I’ve gone on several past life regressions. Cape Cod has a lot of history and paranormal activity. I’ve been on many ghost walks and ghost hunts there. I wanted to connect Alice in the past with someone in the present, her reincarnation.
Was Alice Kyteler famous in 14th century Ireland?
Not at all but she was the richest woman in Kilkenny, and for that reason the villagers hated her, especially the men. They accused her of killing her first husband, but she was acquitted. Then they accused her of killing her fourth husband, John LePoer, with witchcraft, the accusations more absurd than those of the 1692 witch hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts. Chancellor Edward de Burgh arrested Alice because her stepsons claimed she had murdered John by casting a witch’s spell with malefecia…and she used the enchanted skull of a beheaded thief as her cauldron.
She went to trial and her dear friend Michael Artson had her acquitted, but she vanished into the annals of history. According to legend, she went to England. But no one knows for sure.
Why did you make it a time travel?
Because my heroine, Kylah McKinley, is a druid and has done many past life regressions, she knows she’s the reincarnation of Alice. So she has to go back and find out what happened to Alice, because too many weird things are happening to her in this life that parallel Alice’s life.
Kylah lives on my beloved Cape Cod. She’s a druid, a ghost hunter and owns a new age store in a restored Revolutionary War-era tavern. She was also the target of a hit-and-run. Another hit-and-run crippled her husband Ted. That’s no coincidence—she’s convinced someone’s out to get them both.
She brews an ancient Druid herb mixture, goes back in time and enters Alice’s life to find out exactly what happened and who killed her husband.
These two months of hell change her life forever. Kylah’s life mirrors Alice’s in one tragic event after another—she finds her husband sprawled on the floor, cold, blue, with no pulse. Evidence points to her, and police arrest her for his murder. Kylah and Alice shared another twist of fate—they fell in love with the man who believed in them. As Kylah prepares for her trial and fights to maintain her innocence, she must learn from her past or she’s doomed to repeat it.
Have you ever spoken to Pamela Butler, who wrote the article about Alice?
Yes, we’ve corresponded. She lives in New Mexico, so we’ve never met in person. I asked Pam what inspired her to write about Alice. I’d never heard of Alice until I read her article, “Witchcraft & Heresy. She replied:
“You asked why I wrote about Alice Kyteler, who preceded Richard by a century-and-a-half. I only wrote it because others on the listserv encouraged me to write about witchcraft, a subject about which I knew very little. I ordered three books from Amazon.com on the subjects of witchcraft, heresy, Satanism, etc. for research reasons. That was my basis, plus I searched the Internet. The Malleus Malleficarum was published in 1487, just two years after Richard’s death, so it’s almost contemporary. I chanced across Alice in this reading and thought that it was an interesting case. Witch burning was fairly rare in Ireland, and wasn’t as bad in England at that time as it had been on the Continent. I wish that the M.M. had never been published; still, the fact that it was published and accepted may reveal the mindset of those times.”
An excerpt from Dark Brew
Kylah shut Ted’s den door. She couldn’t bear to look at the spot where he gasped his last breath. His presence, an imposing force, lingered. So did his scent, a blend of tobacco, pine aftershave and manly sweat. Each reminder ripped into her heart like a knife. Especially now with the funeral looming ahead, the eulogies, the mournful organ hymns, the tolling bells . . .
These ceremonies should bring closure, but they’d only prolong the agony of her grief. She wanted to remember him alive for a while longer, wishing she could delay these morbid customs until the hurt subsided.
Throughout the house, his essence echoed his personality: the wine stain on the carpet, the heap of dirty shirts, shorts and socks piled up in the laundry room, the spattered stove, his fingerprints on the microwave. But she couldn’t bring herself to clean any of it up. Painful as these remnants were, they offered a strange comfort. He still lived here.
“I’ll find that murderer, Teddy,” she promised him over and over, wandering from room to empty room, traces of him lurking in every corner. “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure justice is served. Another past life regression isn’t enough anymore. I know what I have to do now. And I promise, it will never, ever happen again—in any future life.”
She inhaled deeply and breathed him in. “Go take a shower, Teddy.” She chuckled through her tears as the doorbell rang. She cringed, breaking out in cold sweat when she saw the black sedan at the curb.
“Not again.” No sense in hiding, so she let the detectives in.
“Mrs. McKinley, we need your permission to do a search and take some of your husband’s possessions from the house,” Nolan said.
“What for?” She met his steely stare. “I looked everywhere and found nothing.”
“Mrs. McKinley, the cupboard door was open, four jars of herbs are missing, and the autopsy showed he died of herb poisoning. Those herbs,” Nolan added for emphasis, as if it had slipped her feeble mind. “Foxglove, mandrake, hemlock—and an as-yet unidentified one,” he read from a notebook. “The M.E. determined it was a lethal dose.”
Sherlock Holmes got nothin’ on him, she thought.
“Where’s this cupboard, ma’am?” Egan spoke up.
“Right there.” She pointed, its door gaping exactly the way she’d found it that night. Nolan went over to it and peered inside.
“Ma’am, it would be better if you left the house for a half hour or so. Please leave a number where you can be reached,” Egan ordered.
Nolan glanced down the hall. “Where is your bedroom?”
What could they want in the bedroom? “It’s at the top of the stairs on the right. But we didn’t sleep together,” she offered, as if that would faze them. It didn’t.
After giving him her cell number, she got into her car and drove to the beach.
An hour later, she let herself back in and looked around. They’d taken the computer, her case of CDs, her thumb drive, her remaining herb jars, Ted’s notebooks, and left her alone with one horrible fact: This was now a homicide case and she was the prime suspect.
DARK BREW is set on modern-day Cape Cod, when Kylah isn’t traveling back in time to 1324 Ireland. I have a home on the Cape, and spend as much time there as I can when the weather cooperates. The Cape Cod Irish Village is a restaurant/pub/hotel where my husband and I have been going for many years. We have a traditional Irish dinner there and dance up a storm to the live Irish music they always have. I mention the Irish Village in DARK BREW and their great Irish cuisine.
Traditional Irish fare has been a long-standing theme at the Irish Village where Chef Chris Lynch has headed the kitchen for the better part of 16 years. New American cuisine with a slant on old Irish staples is how Chef Lynch would characterize the menu at the Irish Village. Having spent many years honing his craft in kitchens all across the Northeast, Chris realized that most of the guests who come to the Cape and have frequented the Irish Village for decades in some cases want to feel at home and his team tries to match the daily specials to their memories of meals taken at the tables of their own families. Simple and plentiful is a formula that has kept many repeat customers coming back to the Village year after year.
Here’s a recipe from Chris for “Breadan Eireann”
This recipe serves 4 people
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
4 ea. – 6oz Salmon Fillet
4 ea. – Jumbo Shrimp
12 oz. – medium sea scallops
4 cups mashed potato
1 cup sauteed onions & mushrooms, sliced thin
6 oz. dry sherry
8 oz. clarified butter
In a baking dish or in individual casserole dishes arrange salmon, scallops & shrimp closely together. Pipe mashed potatoes around salmon and seafood encircling all of the fish. Pour 1 ½ oz. of sherry and 2 oz. of butter over the fish and potatoes. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until salmon flakes under the touch. Remove and top with ¼ cup sautéed onions & mushrooms. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes to finish browning the potatoes and to heat the onions & mushrooms. Serve immediately.
Keri’s Christmas Wish is the first, original fiction story I’ve written in its entirety since 2009.
Although I don’t normally write “paranormal”, Keri’s Christmas Wish is the second book I’ve written that contains paranormal elements. The Visionary is my first.
There were times after my husband’s death that I actually saw and felt his presence, therefore Keri experiencing something similar with her sister didn’t seem strange to me. The main difference is her sister never actually lived on earth as her mother miscarried the child a year before Keri was conceived.
The hero in KCW, Jeremy is an Energy Medicine Practitioner. I have personal experience with this form of homeopathic healing and know several EM practitioners.
The use of essential oils as demonstrated in KCW are being used more and more in naturopathic/homeopathic medicine.
For as long as she can remember, Keri Jackson has despised the hype and commercialism around Christmas so much she seldom enjoys the holiday. Will she get her wish and be free of the angst to truly enjoy Christmas this year?
A devout Christian at heart, Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Medicine Practitioner has studied all of the world’s religions and homeopathic healing modalities. But when a rare bacterial infection threatens the life of the woman he loves, will all of his faith and training be for naught?
In Keri’s Christmas Wish we get a glimpse into the life and spiritual practice of an ordinary woman who goes through an extraordinary experience.
Keri Jackson is an accountant who, although she loves Christ, abhors the hype, commercialism and controversy of His birth. As she embarks on a spiritual quest to determine why she feels this way, a rare bacterial infection threatens to take her life before she can find answers.
Jeremy Hinton, a Psychotherapist whose practice is a bit unorthodox as far as the medical community is concerned, has been enthralled by Keri from the moment the two meet. He feels she is a highly intelligent, deeply emotional, intensely complex human being. He has studied the human psyche and spiritual evolution for as long as he can remember. Keri’s attitude toward Christmas baffles him, but Jeremy is sure together they can get to the bottom of it. Until she is beset by a rare infection that she may not recover from.
But what Jeremy and the doctors don’t know is that while her body is under attack, Keri’s soul is alive and well in another realm.
We travel this journey with Keri as she discovers a spiritual truth that is sure to set many people free from preconceived notions about heaven, angels, Christ, Christmas and the value of a relationship with Jesus.
Excerpt: An image began to form in her mind…a young girl being led around on a horse by an ethereal figure. As the trio came closer, Keri felt as though she looked in a mirror. Her heart swelled. Tears clogged her throat, filled her eyes, and slipped down her cheeks.
The childlike voice reverberated through her entire body. Keri smiled and whispered, “Hello.”
Excitement lit the youngster’s eyes. Brilliant colors vibrated around her. “Do you know who I am?”
“You’re me as a little girl. That’s Spark, my horse who died when I was a teenager.”
Spark nodded his head as the girl giggled—a joyous melody that rang through the atmosphere. “No, silly, I’m your big sister. Only, I didn’t live very long.”
Tension seeped in, a mixture of shock and awe.
“Don’t be afraid. Ask mom.”
And then the mirage disappeared.
Author Bio: Award-winning author, is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
Blurb for My Future Step Brother Lyndsey Turner only wants to have fun. She doesn’t care if her dad marries Travis Clark’s mother. Travis is super-hot and sets her body on fire every time he steps near her.
Travis has other ideas. He understands Lyndsey’s wild streak and wants her attention on him. All seems to be working according to his plan until his mother discovers she may have breast cancer.
Now, Travis wants to solidify his relationship with Lyndsey and start planning for their future.
Will Lyndsey commit to be his alone or does he have to play the dating game a while longer?
If you love romance, don’t miss this short story from the popular Executive Wives Club series
Excerpt: “So what do you plan to say to my dad tomorrow night?” Lyndsey interrupted the on-screen monolog, hoping to find out why he’d insisted on having dinner with her father. Their families had been acquainted for years. Travis’ dad had been an executive at her father’s company, Mama Turner’s Logistics until Jack Clark and several other executives had died in a car wreck.
With the death of Lyndsey’s mother, her father had turned to Marianne Clark for support. The two of them had grieved together. Now, they were dating and the entire executives wives’ club had a stake in their affair, seeing as all of them had remarried except Marianne.
Travis toyed with her hair, his fingers lightly tugging on the strands. “Not sure, I’m hoping if he sees us together he’ll begin to accept us as a couple.”
Unhappy with how the evening was progressing, Lyndsey drew her sweatshirt further down over her jeans. Tonight, they had agreed to have an in-house date with items picked up from the supermarket’s deli and a rented DVD. She’d hoped with no interruptions that they might move their relationship into a more intimate arena. “He’s seen us together at Brie’s and Jason’s, and Sylvia’s party to celebrate her marriage to Vince. Why will this time be any different?”
Other books in the series Marketing Exec’s Widow
IT Exec’s Baby
Read 1st Chapter at www.tinagayle.com
Tina Gayle’s Bio Her first romantic novel published in 2008, Tina Gayle has written over thirty romantic books under two different pseudonyms. Her novels span several different genres from contemporary to fantasy and sweet to erotic. She enjoys the challenge of drawing a reader into a story and having them travel down the same road as her hero and heroine. Married thirty years, she enjoys spending time with her husband on the golf course.
A decade ago, Tori Rourke, and her cousin, Vivienne, ran from the Irish mob after witnessing a brutal murder. Tori was framed by the mob, and while she served time in prison, she worried that the killer, Seamus McGinn, had kidnapped her missing cousin.
Attorney Grady D. Fletcher, defender of the wrongly condemned, appeals Tori’s case and wins her release. Now, going by Victoria Morningstar, she runs a food truck from a seedy waterfront neighborhood, hoping to find her cousin’s kidnapper.
When Grady agrees to defend a new client, Samuel Peterson, who’s been accused of beating to death the wife of a noted professor, the evidence mounts. The professor is missing, as well as his laptop that contains data dangerous to national security.
And Seamus McGinn is back, and rumors of a massive annihilation is about to begin. As they race to assist the FBI, the bonds between Grady and Tori are about to be tested. It becomes clear Grady and Tori are falling fast for each other, but what to do about it is a different story. He’s a divorced dad who wants more time with his kid. She brings danger to his front door.
Grady has questions of his own; Is Vivienne at the center of the mob’s operation? How much will it cost Tori before she learns the truth? All Grady knows is the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.
“Don’t let the anxiety of freedom consume you.” Attorney Grady Donahue Fletcher clenched his teeth and rehearsed what he’d say to his client, Victoria Morningstar. He’d won her appeal and drove to pick her up at Gladstone Penitentiary. “At least you won’t be placed in solitary.” That was worse.
Six months earlier Grady had phoned a reporter at the Los Angeles Globe. “Drew Barker. Grady Fletcher here.”
“Ah, the lawyer. Calling about a tip?”
“I am. Here’s something you can investigate. Tori Morningstar, did she murder Irene Brennan?”
“I wrote that story many years back,” the journalist had said. “I assume you have new discoveries.”
“Fraud, illegal testimony. Do you want the story first?” A second passed. “Otherwise, I’ll call the Orange County Guardian.”
“Okay, okay. We want it.”
Three days later Grady had a hand in writing the first article in Drew Barker’s column. “The public labeled Tori Morningstar as an undesirable. Not black and poor, but disfavored, accused, incarcerated, and wrongly condemned. Her cellphone has been recovered. Her call to 911 identified her voice and substantiated screams of the victim in the background. Could she have beaten someone while speaking to dispatch at the same time?”
The reporter had written the second article. “People who get their ideas about criminal lawyers from TV probably would be disappointed in Grady Fletcher. He lacks flash but stands up straight, his posture neither ramrod nor slouched. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t wear thousand dollar suits. His voice is soft and low, one of his assets. He speaks truth with a voice inviting confidences.”
As nice as that was, Grady’s stomach cramped over pressure and strain from Drew Barker’s final article with the headline, Tori Morningstar, Released Today. Picked up by the online service, Newser, KTLA, and CBS Los Angeles, they planned to broadcast his arrival to escort his client from Gladstone.
Tori’s decade-long prison sentence ended today but with a sobering fear over tomorrow.
When was a July morning this hot? Grady balanced her release papers on his lap as he rolled up one sleeve then the other while gripping the damp steering wheel. Sweat blossomed on his throbbing forehead, wrapped like a python’s grip. He adjusted the dial for the AC and embraced the challenge of helping another client get back on track. Embrace and conquer. Or at least sound like it.
Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Writing a romantic suspense Irish American series for Tirgearr Publishing, Deadly Alliance is followed by Unholy Alliance with a release date of March 29, 2017. Keep an icy drink handy while reading these hot stories.
Other books are sweet new adult such as Lily’s Pad and the Intervenus Series: A Brand New Address and Betrayal at Crater’s Edge.
Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels. She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write. If you’d enjoy news, sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at http://www.kathleenrowland.com/
Sometimes there’s more to a house than bricks and mortar.
Hillcrest House is one such place. Perched on a cliff in the picturesque town of Angel Falls, there is more to this Victorian mansion than meets the eye. When referring to the house, the locals use the word haunted on a regular basis. Strange visions appear in the windows, especially the second-floor ones over the side porch. Even stranger events take place within its four walls.
Rumour has it, the original owners, Asher and Maggie Hargrave, never left their beloved home. They claim the couple and their family are responsible for driving people away. Over the years, Hillcrest House has changed hands numerous times. No one stays long. Renovations begin then stop and the house is once more abandoned. The latest in this long line of owners is Jessica Maitland.
Will Jessica be the next one to succumb or will she unravel The Secret of Hillcrest House?
Melanie Robertson-King’s latest novel serves up a delightful blend of the supernatural and spicy romance, Lynn L. Clark, author of The Home Child, and Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, & The Accusers
Intrigue, dark buried secrets, hot romance and a neat twist in the tale make this riveting reading, Sheryl Browne, MA Creative Writing, Choc Lit Author
A fun read that keeps you guessing right up to the surprise ending, Dayna Leigh Cheser, Author of Janelle’s Time, Moria’s Time, Adelle’s Time, & Logan’s Time
A native of eastern Ontario, during her pre-school years, Melanie lived in a winterized cottage on the shore of the St Lawrence River.
Growing up as an only child, Melanie was an avid reader, and remains so to this day. It was through this love of the written word that she knew that one day she would become a writer. When she wasn’t talking about her dream of becoming an author, she wrote stories and began honing her skills at an early age.
“Keys. I’ll need them unless you want me to break in.”
Transfixed by the image, Jessica couldn’t look away. She extended her arm and dropped her ring holding her house and car keys into his hand.
“You stay here,” he ordered before sprinting to the front of the house.
The face appeared to be that of a young child. After a few minutes, the image faded. She blinked thinking it vanished because she’d stared at it for so long, but even that didn’t help.
Frightened by the disappearance, she dashed after the officer.
When she stepped through the door, the pungent smells of damp and stale assailed her nostrils. Out of habit, Jessica reached for the light switch. She discovered an old-fashioned push button one indicative of knob and tube wiring. That was another expense she wasn’t prepared for.
At one time, the dark wainscoting in the foyer shone. Now it was dull, dingy and covered with dust. The paint above it and on the ceiling had peeled and curled. Flakes littered the floor and stairs. She grabbed a loose piece of paint from the wall and gave it a tug. It pulled away with little resistance.
Two large rooms stood on either side of the main hall. Jessica entered the one to her left. Pocket doors, off their tracks, cut off part of the large doorway. Yellowed wall and ceiling paper hung from crazy angles. The plaster it once covered now exposed. Sheets covered the furniture. At one time, they had been white but now, layered with dust. Jessica thumped her hand down on the back of a sofa forcing a cloud of the grubby powder into the air. Choking, she scurried out and into the room across the corridor.
It, too, was in the same state but in here, boards didn’t cover the windows. Sun shone through grimy panes of glass, and dust particles floated in the air trapped by the beams of light.
The sound of footfalls on the stairs echoed through the house. Jessica turned. She gasped and clapped her hand over her mouth. On the back of a sheet-covered sofa, lay a pristine, long-stemmed red rose.
The officer stepped into the room, securing his truncheon to his belt. “I thought I told you to stay outside.”
She didn’t reply. Stood shaking and pointing at the flower. Tried to speak but no sound came out. The room started swimming in front of her eyes. Her mouth went dry. She felt cold and clammy.
Blurb: Suspended between two worlds—belonging to neither—April must let go of her dreams and embrace her duties in the afterlife to win the man she loves.
April Carter is a high school history teacher who dreams of finding the perfect man to whisk her away from her small-town life. She wants it all—the husband, the house, the kids, the car. But her dreams of living the perfect life are shattered during a school shooting. Now she must learn to accept her fate if she’s ever going to find the life she loves.
Damian Perkins is April’s Guardian Angel, though no one would guess that based on his attitude. A tragic event in his past has left him bitter and resentful, and he won’t let anyone get close enough to care about him. He’s tried to make April hate him, but she sees through his abrasive exterior and awakens a part of his soul he thought had burned out long ago. Damian must let go of his past and accept his responsibilities or he’ll spend the rest of his existence alone and miserable.
Damian lay on the bed behind her with his arm across her body. God, I wish I could feel her. The memory of the way she fit in his arms tightened his chest, and he yearned to feel her warmth again. To feel her soft curves pressed against his body. She could’ve used some real affection. But as much as he wanted to give it to her, it wasn’t his place. He’d have to settle for comforting her from The In-Between.
She took a few deep breaths and slowly drifted to sleep. The tension in her body relaxed, and her pulse slowed to a steady, rhythmic beat. Rest was exactly what she needed to chase away the fear and guilt that must’ve been coiling inside her. To be betrayed by someone who was supposed to love her. He couldn’t imagine what she must’ve been feeling.
Well, yes he could…
He breathed in her intoxicating scent and closed his eyes. He was getting in too deep, and he needed to get away.
But as the last of the tension left her body, she exhaled and whispered, “Damian.”
Hearing his name dance from her lips made his heart lodge in his throat. Was she dreaming about him?
“I’m here, April. You’re safe.”
A soft moan vibrated from her chest, and she nestled her head into the pillow.
She couldn’t possibly be dreaming about him, could she? He’d tried so hard to make her hate him. What dream could possibly be twirling through her mind? She was sound asleep, and he knew it was safe to leave her alone.
But he stayed.
As much as he hated to admit it, he liked holding her, whether he could feel her body pressed to his or not. There was nowhere in the universe he’d rather be. And he desperately wanted to hear her whisper his name again.
Get it together, man. It’s not gonna happen.
The sun set, and soft moonlight filtered through the window, giving her skin an angelic glow. Even with her tear stained cheeks and disheveled hair, she was magnificent. The soft rise and fall of her chest, her gentle breath, her fragile posture. He could’ve held her forever.
But he needed to leave. To get away from her before his thoughts went any farther down the path he’d been avoiding all this time.
He pulled his arm from around her and prepared to Jump. She moaned and reached to the place where his arm had rested moments before.
“Please don’t leave me, Damian.”
He froze, his body paralyzed in anticipation, and swallowed down the lump in his throat. Did she sense him? Did she know he was there with her? No, it wasn’t possible. Charges felt comfort from their Guardians, but they never knew why.
Liquid warmth flowed from his core, out to his limbs. His heart raced at the sleepy sound of her voice. He imagined it was how she’d sound in the morning, after a long night of lovemaking.
But he could not think about her that way. There was no way in hell he’d ever fall for a Charge. Not if he could help it.
Author Bio: Carrie Pulkinen has always been fascinated with the paranormal. Of course, when you grow up next door to a cemetery, the dead (and the undead) are hard to ignore. Pair that with her passion for writing, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an exciting storyteller.
Carrie spent the first part of her professional life as a high school journalism and yearbook teacher. She loves red wine and chocolate, and in her free time, she likes to read, take pictures, and spend time with her family.
Blurb Jasmine Stewart (Jazz to her friends) falls for the blond stranger when he spanks and seduces her at a Washington soiree. Later, when she discovers her flatmate is trying to draw her into a spy ring, she goes to the authorities. The ensuing publicity costs her her job, her security, and her future. Starting over in Westhorpe Ridge is her only option.
Sean Mathews, former SEAL and Westhorpe Ridge’s sheriff, can’t forget the woman he spanked when he visited Washington, but he thinks she’s a spy. When she turns up in Westhorpe Ridge, he tries everything to make her leave town. Despite their misunderstandings, though, they can’t keep their hands off each other.
As Year’s Eve looms, the spy ring resurfaces. Jazz will need all of Sean’s SEAL prowess to survive. But because his wounded leg cost him his speed in the water, will it be enough?
Excerpt A police car pulled up. “Sheriff Mathews, ma’am. Can I be of assistance?”
His voice flowed over her like molasses, rich, thick, and so sweet she wanted to taste its owner. Instead, she panted slightly but kept moving. “I’ve had a blowout, but my spare tire’s under all my stuff. Don’t worry. I can manage, thank you.”
When she turned back to the car, Jazz’s eyes widened. The man in the uniform looked enormous, blond, and way too familiar. Handsome didn’t come close. In his long-sleeved fawn shirt and standard-issue brown trousers, he looked like a sex god come to earth. And are those handcuffs dangling from his belt? I can find a way to put them to good use.
Given their history, drooling over him felt wrong. Despite what the doctors had told her, traces of the spies’ lust drug must still linger in her system. Her heart beat faster and her pussy grew damp. Even breathing seemed hard around him. “Ethan Mathews? I thought you were a scientist involved in some hush-hush stuff, not a sheriff. Why are you in Westhorpe Ridge? I thought you were some high-flying scientist. And isn’t impersonating a police officer a criminal offense? Shit, you’re driving a real police car. Are you really a sheriff?”
He did a double take, glowered right back at her. “Jazz Stewart? What the hell are you doing here? Have you jumped bail? Keep your hands where I can see them while I radio in and run a check on you.”
Jazz shivered despite the winter sunshine. Everyone except the CIA had made her out to be the bad guy, her former employer included. The damn sheriff was treating her like a criminal, but he’d been at that damn party too. Judging by the way he’d climbing on his high horse, he probably believed everything he’d read about her in the papers. Out of everyone she knew, she’d wanted the man she’d been dreaming about since the soiree to be on her side. He’s even sexier than I remembered, but what’s with this running a check on me? Surely he knows the truth by now. She hated the way he smirked at her, but she couldn’t resist taunting him. “So, Sheriff, spanked any other females lately?”
About Kryssie Fortune Kryssie Fortune writes the sort of hot sexy books she loves to read. If she can sneak a dragon into her paranormal books she will. Her paranormal heroes are muscular werewolves, arrogant Fae or BDSM loving dragons.
Kryssie likes her contemporary heroes ex-military and dominant. Her heroines are kick ass females who can hold their own against whatever life – or Kryssie – throws at them.
Kryssie’s pet hates are unhappy endings, and a series that ends on a cliff hanger.
Her books are all stand alone, even when they’re part of a series. Plot always comes before sex, but when her heroines and heroes get together, the sex is explosive and explicit.
Once upon a time, the younger brother of a marquess fell in love with his sister’s companion. He was sent off to war, and she was just sent off, and they both landed in very different worlds.
Now Virgil Radcliffe has returned from his self-imposed exile on the Continent to take up his late brother’s title and discover the whereabouts of the only woman he’s ever loved.
Abandoned by her lover and dismissed by her employer, Ameline Dawes has found a respectable identity as a Waterloo widow, a new life as a midwife, and a safe, secure home for her twin girls. Called to London at Christmas to attend her benefactress’s lying-in, she finds herself confronted by an unexpected house guest–a man determined to woo her anew and win her again.
But, is loving the new Marquess of Wallingford a mistake Ameline cannot afford to repeat?
Ye gods, but her ladyship needed more maids, and a couple more footmen with both arms and both legs, at least for this type of fetching and carrying.
Ameline chided herself for being insensitive and balanced the steaming bucket. She set down the lamp momentarily to gather her skirts, along with the lamp handle.
A pair of men’s boots moved into view and the lamp bobbled. Fine boots they were.
She sighed, gritting her teeth. Lord Hackwell’s visits had unnerved his lady, and Ameline had counseled him to leave.
Very well, she’d thrown him out, once almost literally. He would wonder what she was doing below stairs. He might send for the accoucheur he was mumbling about, and his lady would not like it.
“I’ve just popped down to the kitchen for a word with Alton, my lord,” she said. “All is going well, except he’s a bit short on staff.”
“We have noticed that.”
The skin on her back rippled and she shivered. This wasn’t Hackwell—it was him.
Panic flared in her and her hands and ankles began to tingle. He carried no light. She let her own lantern dip lower and stepped to one side. What was he doing on the servants’ staircase in the middle of the night?
If he saw her, he would remember her, but he would not want to, unless he would think to befriend her again. Heat flamed in her.
She took in a breath. “Let me pass, Lord Hackwell,” she said.
“Let me carry that bucket for you.”
“No.” She forced in another breath, willing herself to speak calmly. “That is, no thank you. I shall send a servant for you when it is time.”
Footsteps scurried on the stairs. “Mrs. Dawes?” Jenny called, breathless.
Her heart raced again. She’d tarried too long in the kitchen. “I’ll be right—”
Heat touched her hand as the bucket came out. The lantern, too, lifted higher, and she looked up into the face of Lord Virgil Radcliffe, now the latest Lord Wallenford.
“Mrs. Dawes?” His eyes widened and then narrowed, and his lips curved down.
Anger spiked in her. “LordWallenford.”
He moved down to the step below her, putting them at eye level, and crowded her against the hand rail.
“Give me the bucket, sir. I can manage quite well without your help.” Quite, quite well.
“Can you, indeed?” he drawled, sounding just like his brother the day he’d sacked her.
Blast him. Blast the Wallenfords. Blast the Hackwells. “Alton has a bottle set out. Best go and fetch it.”
His lips quirked.
She gritted her teeth. “Give me the blasted bucket, Virgil.”
Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.
She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, and a 2016 National Reader’s Choice Award finalist, Liliana’s Letter, as well as her latest release, The Marquess and the Midwife. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!
I’m so thrilled about my latest release, a Western romance set in the California Gold Country, specifically Grass Valley, 1868. My husband and I visited the area some years ago and I fell in love with it. Grass Valley was especially interesting to me because of the large Cornish population in the 19th century. This area had deep gold veins that couldn’t be panned. Cornish miners were encouraged to come because of their experience in the tin mines of Cornwall, which were petering out. To this day, the Cornish pasty is a local treat, and the city still celebrates a Cornish Christmas.
A shorter, sexier version of this story was previously published by Amber Quill Press. When I got the rights back, I realized I now had the opportunity to tell the tale as I’d originally intended, as a sensual romance. It was fun to revisit Lily and King’s world and spend time with them again. They are two of my favorite characters. I hope readers will agree.
Lily & the Gambler By Linda McLaughlin
Sensual Western Historical Romance
Respectability is in the eye of the beholder. Or so Lily Penhallow hopes when she assumes the guise of the widow Albright. She has learned the price of flaunting convention and is determined to obey society’s rules from now on. After her lover, Nigel Albright, was killed in a duel over a card game, Lily dons widow’s weeds and travels to Grass Valley, California where she plans to marry the man her uncle works for, a respectable mine owner named Hugh Ogilvie. Then, on the riverboat from San Francisco, she meets Creighton ‘King’ Callaway, a professional gambler, just the kind of man she should avoid.
King believes that since life is a gamble, there’s no point in planning for the future. You have to trust Lady Luck. After meeting Lily, King knows he has found his Queen of Hearts. But can he convince her to pass up a sober businessman for a foot-loose card sharp?
Only Lady Luck knows for sure…
(Previously published in a shortened version by Amber Quill Press)
Lily smiled at him. “That was quite a trick. Do you tell fortunes, too?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. Is the lady interested?”
“Perhaps,” she said, aware he was flirting with her again and annoyed with herself because she was enjoying it. “There should be a deck of cards here somewhere.”
“No cards required. Just let me see your palm.”
Unable to stop herself, Lily stripped off her gloves and let him take her hand. He held it in his left hand, and with his right index finger, traced the lines on her palm. Shivers ran up her arm at each caressing touch. His scent, a mixture of bay rum, male musk, and a faint hint of tobacco, overwhelmed her.
“What do you see?” she asked, her voice suddenly breathless.
“Health and long life.”
“What, no handsome stranger?” she joked.
He raised his head and stared into her eyes. “Oh, yes, I see romance ahead for you. With a dark haired fellow. But he isn’t a stranger.”
For what seemed an age, she stared into his green-gold eyes while her pulse quickened and warmth stole through her veins. It would be so easy to surrender to the feelings he evoked.
“I also see a fork in the road ahead,” he added softly. “You have a decision to make. A very important decision.”
She snatched her hand away, knowing she couldn’t afford to be distracted by him. It wasn’t as if he had made her any promises. “I think you need to practice your fortune-telling skills, Mr. Callaway.”
He chuckled. “There’s something else I’d like to practice.” Cupping her chin, he stared at her, his eyes full of half promises. “Oh, hell, I may get my face slapped for this, but…” His hand moved to the back of her neck as he lowered his head and captured her lips in a kiss that stole her breath away.
For a moment, she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the kiss. Then a door slammed somewhere in the house, reminding her of where they were. She pushed him away. “How dare you?” she hissed.
He gave her a lazy grin. “What’s that old saying? Nothing ventured, nothing gained?”
“I think you’d best be going.”
He paused at front door, turned and held her gaze for a moment, then left.
She sighed and leaned against the doorjamb. What had she been thinking to let him kiss her, however briefly?
Author bio: Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it’s only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic
romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O’Farrell. A native of Pittsburgh, PA. she now lives in Southern California.