Monday, October 21, 2019

Dirty Secret by Mira Lyn Kelly

Title: Dirty Secret
Series: Slayers Hockey #1
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 19, 2019


In my defense, I didn’t know she was his sister

"Sexy and fun with a delicious hockey hero, DIRTY SECRET is great for fans of Elle Kennedy, Toni Aleo, and Sawyer Bennett. I devoured this book!" -NYTimes Bestseller Lexi Ryan

This team hates me. Something about my chronic case of resting prick face and that thing with the captain when the season started.

My fist, his jaw. Yeah, we go back and not in a good way. 

Coach says no more “confrontational BS” or I don’t play at all. And that’s a hit my career in the NHL can’t take. 

So the plan is simple. Keep my head down and finish out my contract with my fists checked.

There’s just one problem. 

Allie. The girl from Vancouver eight months ago. The one with the sexy, shy, and sinfully bold smile and the sweetest, wettest mouth I ever tasted. The girl who blew my mind and then blew out of my life without giving me her number. 

Turns out she’s the captain’s little sister. 

And even though my career depends on it... I can’t stay away from her. 

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When I get home, I kick my Chucks into the corner by the closet and look around my empty apartment feeling at loose ends. I don’t trust myself with the replay of the game I just watched. I can’t handle seeing Vaughn Vassar looking at me like that again tonight. Not without risking things neither of us ought to risk.
Closing my eyes, I slowly lower myself to sit at the stepdown to the living area and try to focus on all the reasons leaving the bar was the right thing to do. Telling myself that kiss from this afternoon was a mistake, no matter how good it felt.
So good.
I could be back at the bar in—
Knock, knock, knock.
Sucking in a startled breath, I push to my feet. My heart speeds as that restless feeling in my belly turns into a kind of instinctual pull that draws me to the door.
I don’t have to check to know this isn’t my brother.
It’s not George looking to chat, or Helene showing up with snacks and office gossip.
Not tonight.
My fingers tingle as I reach for the knob, my heart races, and my mind empties of all the reasons this is a mistake. Of everything except the relief surging through my veins as I swing the door open. Vaughn is braced against the frame again. He’s lost the suit jacket, and his big arms are flexed and straining as he barely holds himself back.
“I shouldn’t be here,” he says, the words gravel rough and rubbing against me in ways that only make me want to hear more. “I don’t even have a fucking excuse to check on you.”
“But you came anyway,” I whisper, drinking him in.
“I came anyway.”
The muscle in his jaw jumps over and again as his silver eyes swirl with an intensity that matches the energy coming off him in waves. I shouldn’t be reaching for him, but I don’t think I could stop if I tried. I want this. I want him. My fingers curl into the gap between the buttons of his dress shirt and I tug.
There’s a beat of resistance when he pulls back and our eyes connect—and then he’s launching forward on a growl so savagely possessive, I feel it through the deepest part of me. That big arm I couldn't stop staring at sweeps around me as his mouth crashes against mine in a feral kiss. This isn’t tender or tentative. It’s desperate and hungry and has me half climbing his body before my shoulders hit the door he just swung shut with his foot.
Hands roaming over my thighs and ass, he alternates between gentle and desperate, stroking one second and gripping the next. Making me groan around the thrust of his tongue. Making me rock into that thick, steely ridge lodged between us.
“Allie, tell me this isn’t a mistake.”
I need more of his mouth, more of his kiss. More of his huge chest pressing hot and hard against my own so I can’t feel anything but him. “It’s not a mistake.”
It’s critical. Necessary.
It’s my first full breath in weeks, months. “We just—we just need to get it out of our system. That’s all.”
His nostrils flare, and his eyes burn over me as his hand tightens in my hair. “I don’t think—” But instead of finishing whatever he was going to say, he blows out a harsh breath and gives me a single nod.
And then I have it, the crush of his kiss.

Author Bio

Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire. Mira Lyn Kelly is the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen sizzly love stories with over a million readers worldwide. Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy… only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in Minnesota, where their four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs provide an excess of action and entertainment.

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DARK N DEADLY by Tee Fallon

Today we have the release blitz of Dark ‘N Deadly by Tee O’Fallon! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!


Author: Tee O’Fallon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Dark ‘N Deadly:

They’d never so much as kissed, but Tess McTavish never forgot the handsome, dangerous agent, Eric Miller, who vanished in a shroud of mystery. Now the last thing she needs is an ATF agent with his own agenda. Doesn’t matter that Tess and her brother are innocent. If Eric learns the truth of their past, they’ll never be free. Eric’s drive for revenge against the man who targeted him and his colleagues in a deadly explosion still burns hot inside him. Another bomb is about to be detonated and he’s sure there’s a connection between that man…and Tess’s family. But Eric and Tiger will do everything they can to protect the woman he’s falling for from what’s coming...

Order Your Copy:

Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Catch Up On the Series:

Book One

Lock ‘N Load

Book Two

Armed ‘N Ready

Exclusive Excerpt:

With each clash of their hips, his gaze was drawn to Tess’s khaki shorts, and the sleekest, smoothest, prettiest sun-kissed legs he’d ever seen. A snug green tank top that he guessed would match her eyes perfectly, contrasted with the orange, red, and yellow scarf drawn through her belt loops. As she danced and swayed, sunlight pouring through the window glinted off the purple polish on her toes and fingers, and the long, beaded earrings. Slurping drew his attention to the kitchen floor by the cooktop. Tiger eagerly licked up what looked like a mixture of scrambled eggs and melted cheddar that had fallen onto his once-clean floor. He opened his mouth, about to say something along the lines of what the hell? but stopped, and instead, crossed his arms and leaned against the door jamb. “Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good,” they shouted so loudly he cringed, although in reality they were pretty good at holding a tune, and he was… What? Envious. They were having fun, something he and his sister had never been able to do as kids. There’d never been music or laughter in his family’s kitchen. If he and Maggie had ever been caught doing the Karaoke-thing, they would have gotten their asses paddled so hard they wouldn’t have been able to sit for a week. Excited by all the noise, Tiger barked, insinuating himself between Tess’s and Jesse’s legs. She turned to give the dog a pat on his head when she caught sight of Eric. Her eyes went wide, confirming his thoughts on the color of her shirt, then she grabbed the phone and turned off the music. Jesse ruffled Tiger’s ears, which his dog seemed to love, judging by the way he leaned into the kid’s hand and groaned. “I’m sorry. I hope we didn’t—” Tess gasped. “Holy shit, dude,” Jesse whispered. Eric pushed from the door with one singular thought singing in his head: caffeine, then reached for the clean mug she’d set on the counter and poured a cup. Tilting the mug, he downed half of it before coming up for air. When he turned, Tess and Jesse were staring at him. More specifically, at his chest. While he’d been drowning in caffeine, Tess had come closer and now stood only inches away. She smelled like the honeysuckle shampoo his sister had left behind in the guest bathroom. With her mouth half-open, she touched her fingers to his left pec, grazing one of his scars. Her fingers were warm and gentle, and his pectoral muscle twitched as if it had a life of its own. She dropped her hand, her green eyes soft and brimming with compassion. Compassion he didn’t want, but it was his own damn fault for waltzing down here without putting on a shirt. Something else he’d have to get in the habit of doing. “My god, Eric.” Her voice was barely above a whisper. “What happened to you? How did you get all those scars?” “Dude, you look like you got peppered with shrapnel, and that one on your back…” Jesse whistled. “That musta hurt like a bitch.” It had. Not nearly as much as losing his friends. The scars all over his torso weren’t raised and red anymore, and they were gradually fading, day by day. The pain of losing his friends, however, would always be there. Along with the survivor’s guilt that shadowed him every day of his life.  

About Tee O’Fallon:

Tee O'Fallon is the author of the Federal K-9 Series and the NYPD Blue & Gold Series. Tee has been a federal agent for twenty-three years and is now a police investigator, giving her hands-on experience in the field of law enforcement that she combines with her love of romantic suspense. Tee's job affords her the unique opportunity to work with the heroic men and women in law enforcement on a daily basis. When not writing, Tee enjoys cooking, gardening, chocolate, lychee martinis, and all creatures canine. Tee loves hearing from readers and can be contacted via her website where you can also sign up for Tee’s newsletters.

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Chemistry by Tess Oliver

Title: Chemistry
Author: Tess Oliver
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 21, 2019


Their chemistry inspired a generation. It's been nearly a decade, can the spark be revived?

Jameson and Kinsey were sizzling hot magic together on-screen in Forever Kisses nine years ago, but as their relationship continued off screen, the real drama began. With the paparazzi chasing them down for every stolen cup of coffee together and their entire relationship being broadcast through tabloid channels, the relationship quickly fell apart. Hearts were broken, harsh words were hurled and ugly rumors spread like wildfire through the silver screen world.

Forever Kisses was destined to become an instant cult classic, but Jameson's and Kinsey's careers weren't so lucky. The pair, who were once considered box office gold, were being whispered about as poison.

Now, they each need a box office hit, and Sawyer Croft, Forever Kisses' director, is convinced he has the perfect project. Will Jameson and Kinsey find that chemistry they once had or will this be the final piece of heartbreak, the end of the movie and quite possibly their careers?

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Free in Kindle Unlimited


I stared out at the rowdy, spontaneous party going on around us, but all I could think about were his hands touching me, his arms holding me against him. So this was what Cassie meant when she said the rest of the world peeled away and the only things left were the two of us. It was as if nothing else existed at that moment, just Jameson and me, moving slowly around the dance floor. We were no longer moving to the rhythm of the music. We were just moving in unison, pressed closely against each other, dangerously close. Every part of me reacted to his touch. The strength of his arms, the warmth of his body, the scent of his soap, it was all so damn intoxicating I couldn't help but fantasize about Jameson taking my hand, pulling me back to his trailer to rip off my clothes and restart where we'd left off nine years ago. 

Author Bio

Tess Oliver is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. With over 1 million books sold she has topped the charts in nearly every store. She is well known for her relatable characters who "become your friends" as you journey with them and for intriguing stories that will have you "devouring her books in just one day". Tess lives in Southern California, the land of perpetual sunshine and traffic, with her husband, kids and a small herd of pets. She recently left her career as a teacher for her dream job of full time author and has never looked back. 

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MOST ARDENTLY by Susan Mesler-Evans

Today we have the release day blitz of Susan Mesler-Evans Most Ardently! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

Title: Most Ardently

Author: Susan Mesler-Evans

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Most Ardently:

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.   From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats -- which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Charlene had gotten stuck dancing with Colin again. Well, maybe “stuck” was the wrong word. He’d been very polite about asking, and he was actually a pretty good dancer. And they’d been right next to a speaker, so the music was able to drown most of his latest speech out. She had ducked into the bathroom, and was about to leave her stall to wash her hands when the door opened again, and three sets of feet walked in. They all stopped at the mirror, doing their makeup. And gossiping. “I can’t believe Bobby has been talking to her all night,” a familiar voice said. It was either Cora or Louise, but Charlene had no idea how to tell them apart. “It isn’t her birthday.” “I know. And she’s not even as pretty as his last girlfriend,” the other twin said. “And her family.” “God, I know. I’m embarrassed for them. Even the one that’s not actually related to them.” “The middle sister is so boring. And ugly.” Charlene felt her chest tighten on Maria’s behalf. Option 1: Burst out of the door and scream at them both for being judgmental brats, and probably prove their point. Option 2: Stand here and do nothing. Ugh. This is bullshit. “And the youngest… God, what a train wreck, am I right?” Both twins laughed. “She’s a teen pregnancy waiting to happen. I hope Bobby gets over Julia or whoever soon. Then he can go back to girls actually worth his time, right, Darcy?” That explained who the third girl was. “I don’t do gossip,” Darcy said. “Oh, come on, we’re alone.” Charlene barely repressed a snort. “You can be honest.” “Yeah, didn’t you get stuck dancing with the fat one?” the other twin asked. “Her name is Elisa,” Darcy said, voice suddenly sharp. “And I wasn’t stuck. I could’ve said, no.” “We saw her screaming at you earlier.” Oh, Elisa, what did you do now? “She wasn’t screaming. It was just a disagreement. Very mature.” “She looked really pissed off.” There was a pause. “What are you thinking about? You have that look on your face.” It was a moment before Darcy answered. “Not much. Just the… joys of a spirited girl and a pair of fine eyes.” One of the twins snorted. “Man, you’re weird. Who talks like that?” “I knew getting her that word-a-day calendar was a bad idea,” the other said. “Come on, Cora, let’s go dance. I think they’re back to good music.” Cora and Louise left, and Darcy was quick to follow. Finally free, Charlene popped out of the stall, and washed up as quickly as possible so she could find her friend. She couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d overheard. She had a bad vibe from Cora and Louise right from the start, but she’d tried not to judge too much. (Leave that to Elisa.) But it looked like in this case, her first impression had been correct. Darcy, however, had been a surprise. Not only did she not participate in the Benitez family trash-talking, she’d even kind of stood up for them. Well, for one of them. And Charlene was willing to bet all the money she had that she knew exactly who that spirited girl was, and who those fine eyes belonged to. She paused, going back-and-forth in her head. She’d never meddled in Elisa’s love life before, but that was mostly because she had no love life to speak of. Her first instinct was to let her know she had an admirer – but given that the admirer wasn’t her favorite person, was that really wise? But they did have a lot in common. Those two dating would be kind of amazing. Or it could lead to the end of all human civilization. Win-win.  

About Susan Mesler-Evans:

Susan Mesler-Evans is a writer, college student, D&D enthusiast, theatre nerd, and horrific procrastinator. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Susan now lives in Florida, and can often be found reading, scrolling through Tumblr until 2 AM, overanalyzing her favorite fictional characters and relationships, bingewatching comedies on Netflix, thinking about writing, and even, on occasion, actually writing. Most Ardently is her first full-length novel. You can find her at

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R.S. Grey's next romantic comedy, HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, releases November 14th! See the gorgeous cover below and find out more about HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS!

About HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS (available November 14th)

I’ve spent eight years wishing I’d fall out of love with Derek Knightley. Blowing out birthday candles, chasing after shooting stars, making it rain spare change into mall fountains—every time it’s the same wish: forget about Derek.

But the day he walks back into my life, I realize there are two things time has yet to soften: my feelings for him and his chiseled jawline.

It’s infuriating that my heart still races when he walks into a room. I refuse to fall prey to old unrequited love, so I decide the less I’m around him, the better. Avoidance is key.

Unfortunately, Derek isn’t going to make it easy. As a teenager, I would have crawled on my hands and knees to attract his attention. Now I can’t seem to escape it.

I’m not sure why he’s bothering. He’s not just out of my league—he’s out of my tax bracket. As the sole heir to the Knightley Company, he’s as close to American royalty as you can get. As for me, I’m just a part-time princess at Knightley’s flagship magical theme park.

I spend my days playing make-believe, but Derek has no use for fairytales. His unwavering confidence makes it clear he thinks I’ll surrender in the end.

He’s just biding his time.

Making me sweat.

His Royal Highness always gets what he wants.

And he wants me.

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS releases November 14th - you'll be able to preorder your copy for .99c a few days before release!

Keep an eye on R.S. Grey's Facebook page for the link!



About R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at

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WICKED FIRE by Marie Johnston

Get your hands on a new paranormal romance from Marie Johnston today - WICKED FIRE is available now!


His thoughts are less than angelic around her.... Jagger Hancock is a fearsome warrior for the angelic realm, slaying demons left and right on Earth and protecting the human race. But when a powerful senator is murdered, he’s reduced to acting as a bodyguard for the grieving daughter. Too bad she’s the same female who ruined his one and only chance at happiness. Felicia Montclaire looks as angelic as the rest of her kind, but she hides her scars well. Yet the male who gave them to her is not just after her again, but seeking conquest over the entire realm too. While her life goes up in flames once more, the last thing she needs is a cranky bodyguard…even if he’s the only one who can keep her alive. Jagger and Felicia might not survive each other, much less the constant attacks from their enemies. But when danger drives them back to the angelic realm, they’ll discover their past is waiting for them—and it’s far more dangerous than anything on Earth. Wicked Fire is book 2 in the Angel Fire series, an exciting new paranormal romance series by an award-winning author.

Get your hands on WICKED FIRE now!

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Read some of WICKED FIRE:

Chapter One “The team needs me.” Julian Hancock, or Jagger to everyone but his mother, managed not to sound pleading as he addressed his former team leader. Bryant Vale was the warrior director now and less interested in hearing his arguments. “With you off the team and no replacement yet, my place is here.” Jagger should be in his typical uniform of black tactical pants and a long-sleeved black shirt specially designed to fit around his wings. It seemed sacrilegious to sit in his boss’s office wearing a blue T-shirt and a pair of black athletic shorts. But it was necessary for his latest assignment. He couldn’t take another day shadowing Felicia fucking Montclaire. She was in some danger he only knew vague details about and she’d demanded him as her bodyguard. Demanded. Like the spoiled priss she was. Spoiled and superficial and haughty…and strong and gorgeous and willowy. Her legs went for miles and haunted his dreams. He clenched his jaw and steadied his gaze on his new director. Felicia Montclaire was only an obstacle to what he really wanted. Someday, he’d have his own team to lead and he couldn’t do that stuck among humans, babysitting the aimless daughter of a senator. A flash of guilt flared. Felicia was still technically a senator’s daughter, but her father had been murdered a couple of months ago. She’d weathered the news well, but then he hadn’t expected her to get weepy or be derailed by her grief. He hadn’t expected her to show any feeling at all. And he’d been right. His director, Bryant Vale, was as expressionless as a wall. A dark, glaring wall. “I understand your complications with Ms. Montclaire—” “Forget our history,” Jagger gritted out. He hated that anyone knew the story between him and the vexing angel he was protecting. Or rather, the lack of a story, the result of Ms. Montclaire not setting the record straight and letting everyone think he was a cheating asshole. “The team needs me.” He said it as much for himself as to make a point. “If Felicia truly requires protection, then she should stay in the realm, in a designated home, with a designated guard.” Director Vale’s demeanor had hardened as soon as Jagger had cut him off. Damn. Jagger had meant to use a lighter touch, not charge in like a bull at his first sight of red. “Sit down.” Jagger took his time selecting the backless seat across from the obnoxiously large mahogany desk. He draped his wings over the edge but couldn’t force them to relax. “Director Vale—” “Shut it.” You could take the warrior off the team, but you couldn’t soften his personality. Director Vale leaned across the desk, his eyes blazing. “I can’t believe you’re dense enough to think that Felicia is safer here. She can help identify her attacker and lead us to the people behind the conspiracy against this realm. The ones who could tell us just what this conspiracy entails. Have a think on it.” Jagger refused to drop his gaze, and that was a harder challenge than most when Director Vale was pissed. The scars encompassing half the male’s face didn’t make him easy to look at on most days. The director wasn’t finished. “Her family’s mansion was burned to the ground by angel fire while over half our team was inside. While my mate was inside. Director Richter—” His gaze cut away. Leo Richter was no longer the director. He’d lost both legs at the knee thanks to the fire and was still recovering. “Felicia can hide among the humans better than in our realm. Numen isn’t safe for her. And do I need to go into the main reason why you shouldn’t be tied to the investigation, why you’re too close to the case?” Jagger’s teeth should’ve cracked under the pressure of his jaw. His father, James Hancock. His good-for-nothing, cheating father, who’d risked their entire race by spilling the news of their existence to his human side piece. His father, who’d had several human side pieces, and probably a few angelic ones, while he’d had a committed mate. His father, who’d had his wings taken, been declared a fallen, and tossed out of the realm forever. His father, who was working with the creatures of Daemon to take over Numen, the realm where his own son resided. If he were a weaker male, he’d feel like his father had chosen the demons of Daemon not only over the angels of Numen, but over him too. Now the man would work with anyone or anything if it served his agenda. Archmasters, symasters, sylphs—the new “Jameson Haddock” didn’t seem to discriminate. But then if Jagger had ever meant a damn thing to his father, then perhaps Jameson would still be an esteemed senator of Numen. Not that his father’s multilayered betrayal affected him. He kept his voice even. “Our team is two short. Dionna took over as leader, but we no longer have you, and with me tied up…” Literally, if Felicia had her way. His team was everything to him. Having lost his father so young, and his mother… Well, Chanel Hancock wasn’t known for her nurturing nature. She’d turned twice as cold and ten times harder than marble after what she referred to as “your father’s unfortunate choices.” “I understand.” Director Vale sat back. “But they aren’t functioning as a traditional warrior team, not until this is over. They—you—are under my personal direction. You’re the only ones I completely trust now.” The director’s unwavering trust mollified him. For now. He’d grown up getting side-eyed by his peers, as if they wondered when he’d follow in his father’s footsteps. And then he’d weathered the Felicia storm, which had broken the trust of the one most dear to him. Without those experiences, Director Vale’s words wouldn’t have meant as much. To still have Bryant Vale in his corner after they’d learned his own exiled father was the one behind the trouble in the realm was humbling. And he needed to make sure he continued to earn it. Even if he had to deal with the fallout of the maelstrom that Felicia Montclaire brought to his life.      

About Marie Johnston

Marie Johnston writes award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance and is a RITA® Finalist. Before she was a writer, she was a microbiologist. Depending on the situation, she can be oddly unconcerned about germs or weirdly phobic. She’s also a licensed medical technician and has worked as a public health microbiologist and as a lab tech in hospital and clinic labs. Marie’s been a volunteer EMT, a college instructor, a security guard, a phlebotomist, a hotel clerk, and a coffee pourer in a bingo hall. All fodder for a writer! She has four kids and just as many cats.

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The Highland Outlaw by Heather McCollum

Today we have the release blitz of The Highland Outlaw by Heather McCollum! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

Title: The Highland Outlaw

Author: Heather McCollum

Genre: Historical Romance

About The Highland Outlaw:

Shaw Sinclair, chief of the outcast clan of Sinclairs of Caithness in northern Scotland, has made a deal with the devil. Despite his strength and lethal skills, he needs help—specifically from a woman—to accomplish his mission to bring a bairn to safety to the coast. When he meets the brave and beautiful Alana Campbell at a Samhain Festival, he decides she's the one. Alana Campbell is ready to show the world she's just as skillful with a sgian dubh as any man. Attracting the attention of the brawny chief who coerces her to join him on his journey to the coast of Scotland gives her that very opportunity. Sparks flash between them as they're forced to act as husband and wife to accomplish the deadly mission. However, when secrets threaten to tear them apart, they have to decide if their differences outweigh the reality of their feelings...

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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Just give us the child, and we might let you live.” “She is my babe,” Alana lied. “I will never give her away to English devils bent on killing innocent children.” “It is not your babe, and it is not innocent,” the soldier who seemed to be in charge yelled back up. “Drop it to the ground, and we will let you stay in your tree.” “How can a babe not be innocent?” she yelled, her eyes wide, fingers squeezing the dagger as she slowly stretched her throwing arm behind her. “A newborn babe is the most innocent creature alive.” “She is a bloody Catholic,” the soldier yelled back, spitting on the ground as if the word had tainted his mouth. There were two muskets. One of them seemed wet from fording the river. The other was dry as if the soldier had been clever and strong enough to hold it over his head as he crossed. He pointed the barrel at her, and Alana’s haphazard thoughts came together to focus onto one spot, the man’s forehead. With a full breath, she inched back her arm and put all her fear and anger into the forward flick of her wrist as she whipped the blade around to sail through the air. Thwack! Bang! The gun discharged as the sgian dubh lodged through the soldier’s skull right between his eyebrows. Alana felt the burn of the musket bullet skim like a trail of fire across her temple and screamed, pulling back behind the tree. She reached up to her head where blood, warm and red, trickled down like a macabre, soaking rain. A scream, born of panic, flew up her throat and cut through the cold air as she stared at the red smeared across her hand. *** Shaw was in mid-leap over a bramble when the musket fired up at Alana. Her scream tore through him, his arms pumping at his sides as he ran toward her, his sword clutched and thirsty for more English blood. He watched as one soldier slumped forward, face smacking into the leaves and roots of the large maple that the clever lass must have climbed. A second soldier held his musket up at the tree but then threw it down when it wouldn’t fire, racing to grab up the musket of his fallen man. Alana screamed again, a long, fear-filled yell that tore through Shaw. He wouldn’t let her die in such panic. Nay! He wouldn’t let her die at all. He hurtled over another bramble as the second man quickly reloaded the matchlock musket that had just fired. The soldier was well trained and raised the gun toward Alana, whom Shaw could see hiding behind the trunk up over the man’s head. “Deamhan Die!” Shaw yelled, his roar making the third soldier turn toward him, sword out. Alana screamed again, as if she had just refilled her lungs with air, the sound shattering through the trees around them like lightning striking Shaw’s entire body. But the soldier with the sword blocked Shaw’s path to the one with the musket. He met the man’s blade with his own just as the large hound pushed off the trunk of the tree, charging directly toward the soldier holding the gun. His bark changed into a ferocious growl. Shaw swung at the English soldier before him, his daily training giving him the advantage. It was as if Shaw knew where the man would strike before he swung, easily blocking his advance. His focus slid behind his opponent to the massive dog who had leapt directly onto the soldier with the gun. The man screamed, the dog’s jaw locked around his arm as he yanked the man completely off his feet, whipping him around in the leaves with incredible strength. The soldier fighting Shaw sneered as he came in close, their swords crossed. “The babe will die either today or on another, but God willing, it will die along with all the blasphemous Catholics.” “Well, God and I had a talk this morn,” Shaw said, his words seething, “and He decided that ye will die today instead.”

About Heather McCollum:

Heather McCollum is an award-winning, historical romance writer. She currently has twenty published novels and is an Amazon Best Selling author. She is a 2015 Readers’ Choice winner and a member of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.   The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entranced Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination when she visited there years ago. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since.   When she is not creating vivid characters and settings, she spends her time educating women on the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. She has recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

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