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Sworn to Protect

Sworn to Protect

Susanne Matthews

Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. A forensic accountant, she agrees to look at a company’s books in a divorce case, trying to find hidden assets, but her meeting with the lawyer goes terribly wrong when the restaurant is attacked.

The moment US Marshal Neil Copeland discovers his wife has been shot in a Baltimore restaurant, he rushes to her side, determined not to let her down again. As the police investigate, evidence suggests the attack was a ploy to hide a specific hit. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear that she was the target and whatever’s going on is a lot more complicated than they think.

When Nancy awakes after a month in an induced coma, not only does she not remember the attack on the restaurant, she doesn’t remember marrying Neil.

Faced with the challenge of protecting his wife from a powerful, faceless enemy, Neil must bring her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something will jar her memory.

As he races against time, can he save her from an unknown assassin and convince her to give the love they once had a second chance?

Excerpt:

“You’re firing me right now? Without any notice? You can’t do that,” she whispered, so shocked she could barely speak.

This couldn’t be happening. Her heart thundered in her ears as the reality of the situation sunk in. How would she pay her bills? She’d refused alimony from Neil. Sure she had a few personal tax clients and could always do more forensic accounting work for Meredith and some of the other lawyers, but those jobs were hit or miss. Three years of her life down the drain just like that. She wasn’t the low man on the totem pole, so why cut her, why let her go?

“I can assure you we can, and we have. Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be. I’m sure with your abilities you’ll find work elsewhere.” He glared at her.

What on Earth had she done to piss him off this way?

“Will I at least be getting a letter of recommendation?” She’d need one to find another job.

“By all means. Mrs. Willis has it ready for you. You can pick it up with your check. Good day, Ms. Frost.”

“I’m sorry, Nancy,” Clive said, opening the door for her, his thin lips drawn in a smug smile.

“You bastard!” She spat the words at him. “Just because I wouldn’t sleep with you is no reason to feed me to the dogs. I could sue you for sexual harassment.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.” He looked down his nose at her as if she were some kind of bug. “And as far as suing me,” he said, chuckling, his sapphire gaze boring into her. “It’s your word against mine.”

Shaken by the icy animosity in his voice, she swallowed her retort. “Who will take care of my clients?” she asked, grasping at straws. “I should talk to them and bring them up to date.”

“I’ll look after them, and believe it or not, I can do the job as well as you can.” He dismissed her, entering his office without a backward glance.

“This way,” the goon reached for her arm again, and she yanked it away.

“Touch me again, and you’ll regret it,” she hissed. “I know where my office is.”

Mustering all the dignity she could, Nancy led the way back to the small space she’d called her own. In her absence, someone had emptied her desk and packed up her photographs and other memorabilia. The partially filled box sat in the center of her blotter.

“If you’ll put your arms out at your side, I’ll search you.”

Gritting her teeth, her cheeks burned.

“Oh no, you won’t. I warned you what will happen if you put your paws on me again. There are no pockets in this skirt or jacket, and I’m not about to let you cop a feel,” she ground out, her chest heaving in her fury.

Buy Links:

Sworn to Protect is available from Amazon:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MHFQJF

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Sworn-Protect-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B072MHFQJF

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sworn-Protect-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B072MHFQJF

 

About the Author

Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Her first novel, Fire Angel, set the tone for an exciting new career. While most of her books are romantic suspense, Susanne writes stories that range from contemporary to sci-fi and everything in between. She is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America. 

When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traveling to interesting places she can use as settings in her future books or as interesting entries for her blog, Living the Dream. During the summer she enjoys camping with her grandchildren and attending various outdoor concerts and fairs. In winter, she likes to cuddle by the fire and watch television. 

Follow Susanne on her: Website Facebook page Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page and Goodreads author page

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No Good Deed

No Good Deed

Susanne Matthews

Psychological chills and thrills are woven around a heartwarming love story in this action-packed romantic suspense novel.

Escaping from her abusive fiancé, Alexa O’Brien pulls into a gas station only to walk in on an execution. She’s in protective custody until she can identify Nicoli Zabat, Montreal’s mob boss, at his trial. But her safe house has been compromised, setting in motion a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.

Lieutenant Mike Delorme on the Sûreté Du Québec has spent the last eighteen months undercover in narcotics to take down Zabat, the man he blames for the death of his wife and unborn child. He doesn’t have the interest or patience to babysit a woman whose memory isn’t clear—but he’ll carry out his assignment to show the brass he’s a team player.

As Mike and Alexa dodge danger, it appears she’s in deeper than merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the mafia hit she witnessed is revealed to be just the tip of an international terrorist’s plot, they must rely on each other to survive—but only if they can learn to trust their instincts and let love map out their next move.

Excerpt from No Good Deed

Alexa O’Brien white-knuckled the steering wheel, her foot barely touching the accelerator as she followed the taillights of the pickup truck ahead of her. She didn’t dare stay any farther back. If she did, she wouldn’t see the guiding lights at all and would end up in the ditch. Of course, if the truck went off the road, she would be up Shit Creek without a paddle.

She snorted, fluttering her lips. “Damn you, Mother Nature. You’re supposed to be on my side.”

The tires on the old wreck she’d bought were almost as bald as her stepfather had been. What a lecture he would give her if he could see her now. Another man who’d claimed he knew what was best for her. In this case, he was probably right, but he’d been wrong too many times to count. It was her life—her mistakes to make—and while some of them had been doozies, she’d taken control once more.

Pray God she didn’t have to brake suddenly.

She’d planned her escape so carefully, timed it to coincide with Richard’s trip to Africa, and now this. Where the hell had a foot of snow come from? It was the middle of April. Even in Canada, that meant spring.

The distance between her car and the vehicle ahead shortened. Alexa eased up on the accelerator. What was she doing? Twenty miles per hour? Maybe twenty-five?

The lights ahead turned a deeper red. She was coming up on the truck too fast.

“Holy shit!”

She moved her foot from the gas pedal to the brake, pumping the pedal twice, but it didn’t help. She screeched. Like Bambi on ice, the car swerved, spun around twice, and then skidded to the right. Time stood still—the car didn’t.

Buy links:

No Good Deed is available from:

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/No-Good-Deed-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B071F7N8M4

Amazon.ca https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B071F7N8M4

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071NZS7HY

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-good-deed-susanne-matthews/1126398214

i-Tunes https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/no-good-deed/id1236917968

Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Susanne_Matthews_No_Good_Deed

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/no-good-deed-29

Simon and Schuster: http://www.simonandschuster.ca/books/No-Good-Deed/Susanne-Matthews/9781507205631


About the Author:

Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Her first novel, Fire Angel, set the tone for an exciting new career. While most of her books are romantic suspense, Susanne writes stories that range from contemporary to sci-fi and everything in between. She is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America.

 

When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traveling to interesting places she can use as settings in her future books or as interesting entries for her blog, Living the Dream. During the summer she enjoys camping with her grandchildren and attending various outdoor concerts and fairs. In winter, she likes to cuddle by the fire and watch television.

Follow Susanne on her: Website Facebook page Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page and Goodreads author page

Tuesday Tales – Glass

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Hey everyone! It’s time for Tuesday Tales. Ok, I fibbed last time. This is our last week with Sloan and Abbey in Family Ties. They are still on the hunt to find their daughter Ame and her friend Dakota who were abducted by men working for the Butcher.

Don’t forget to check out the other incredible Tuesday Tales excerpts!

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The whiskey burned as it slid down Sloan’s throat. The sensation brought comfort. He slammed the shot glass down on the oak stained bar then motioned to the bartender for another.

Words swirled around his head. No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t make them go away. He could hear both Liam and Gordon forbid him from having a family. It was dangerous. They would be used for collateral. He could hear Abbey accuse him of this whole mess.

She didn’t need to. The moment he realized Ame was gone he blamed himself. He had every second since. “You were right, lads,” he mumbled to himself. “Getting married, falling in love. Huge mistake.”

“How many have you had?” a deep voice from behind chastised. Robert slumped onto the barstool beside him.

“Five,” Sloan said just before slamming another shot of whiskey. He set the glass in his hand on the bar beside the others. That’s six.”

“How is getting drunk going to rescue the kids?”

“Everything else we tried failed. Why not try this?” Sloan waved to the bartender for another.

Robert stood and stopped the man. “Ginger ale.”

“What the bloody hell are you doing?” Sloan demanded.

“Stopping you from making a huge mistake,” Robert answered simply. “What happened?”

Sloan exhaled slowly. “Abbey blamed me for Ame’s abduction. Gordon and Liam warned me about a family. I should have listened.”

“So you’re saying you wished you never met Abbey?”

Sloan sat in silence. “No. There is no life without her. Hearing her accuse me with such hate…” His words trailed off as he shook his head.

“We’ll find Ame, Sloan.” Robert looked at him, puzzled. “Where’s that photo you found in Prague?”

Sloan dug in his pocket and slapped it on the table. Robert picked it up to study it. After a few seconds he started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Sloan questioned.

“I know why your wife came unglued.”

Sloan took a sip of the ginger ale. “Enlighten me.”

Robert flipped the picture around towards him. “It’s you and Heidi.”

“I know. I have no idea how the Butcher got that picture. I’m pretty sure that’s the only time we were within a hundred feet of each other in public. It was certainly the only time we were affectionate.”

“Right. You were affectionate. She saw a couple in love. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Abbey insecure and jealous. Did you see it tonight?”

A smirk graced Sloan’s lips. “Aye. I’m surprised I didn’t recognize that little demon when it struck.”

“Like I said, it’s been awhile. She’s upset over the abduction. But the idea of you happily in another woman’s arms? That’s really your issue.”

Don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales blogs!

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Tuesday Tales – Picture Prompt

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Welcome to Tuesday Tales! This week were veering away from The Heartbreaker. This week’s excerpt is from the sixth and final book of the Black Irish Series, Family Ties. Let’s catch up with Sloan and Abbey…

Don’t forget to check out the other amazing authors of Tuesday Tales!

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Abbey stretched out on the sofa, a folder full of papers on her lap. Slipping the earbuds in her ears, she turned up the Linkin Park song already playing. She scanned the document on her iPad. Putting seven kids to bed each night was always an adventure. It left very little time to catch up on overdue work.

As she electronically signed the document, she opened another. She nearly jumped off the couch when a hand clamped on her ankle. “Abigail.”

Her eyes shot up to the source of the voice as she tore the earbuds from her ears. Sloan stood in front of the roaring fireplace holding a bottle of wine with one hand and two glasses in another. His dress shirt was unbuttoned showing a tantalizing amount of sculpted chest. His grin was oh-so-sexy. “You’re going to wake the kids and then you can put them back to bed,” she chided.

“Put the tablet down,” Sloan demanded.

“We break ground in Rio tomorrow,” Abbey reminded.

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“I don’t care. We’ve been working too hard lately. Between the kids and the company we haven’t had enough time for each other. This morning was a distinct reminder of that. I’ve spent all day thinking of the parts of you I want to taste first. So put the tablet away and come enjoy a glass of wine with me.”

Abbey sighed as she closed her document and tossed the iPad on the end table. She found a spot on the plush rug to settle. As she reached up to accept her glass of wine, her eyes met Sloan’s ice blue ones. Instinctively, she wiggled herself until her skirt rode up to highest part of her thigh. Sloan lowered himself beside her and laid a hand on her bare leg, moaning deep in approval.

Don’t forget to check out the other Tuesday Tales blogs!

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Secret Cravings Publishing 4th Anniversary Blog Hop

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Welcome everyone to the Secret Cravings Publishing 4th Anniversary Blog Hop!  I’m so glad you can join us!  I am so lucky to be a part of Secret Cravings Publishing – it’s my dream come true!

*I have prizes to give away!  Four lucky commenters below will win their choice of four of my e-books!  Just comment below with your e-mail.  I will draw on Sunday evening!*

Don’t forget to hop back to the Blog Hop to Visit More Incredible Blogs by Clicking Here!

Now, I would love to introduce you to each of my books but in an unique way – through excerpts!

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Find Black Irish Here!

Sloan watched from a distance as Aubrey fought to keep Abbey from dashing away, a frightened doe in the terrifying forest named New York. Apparently, up to this point, the vicious predators of the city hadn’t sent her fleeing home.

Until he entered her world, obviously.

Sloan had to admit something about her alarmed him too. He knew many women and had been with several. But none of them like her. Innocent. Naïve. True. Or so she seemed at first glance.

He couldn’t pull away from her wide-eyed, burning, hazel gaze. He wanted to free her shining, brown tresses from her ponytail and bury his fingers in the locks. He wanted to taste her plump, rose lips. He wanted to caress her curves, feel her warmth.

Sloan could hear Abbey beg for another illustrator. He heard Aubrey counter that there was none better. He was part of the deal, or there was no deal. She was ready to walk away from a contract worth potential millions over a fear of him.

He wouldn’t let her do that. He wouldn’t let her leave his life before she ever became a part of it.

Slowly approaching the two women at the end of the hall, Sloan asked, “Aubrey, can I have a moment please? Let us talk it out and see if we can come to an agreement.”

Aubrey looked uneasily from him to Abbey then nodded. “Sure.”

Sloan waited for Aubrey to return to the conference room. He shot a warning glare at the associates that had gathered to watch the scene unfold before turning his attention back to Abbey.

“What’s the matter, miss?” Sloan took Abbey’s hands in his as he smiled encouragingly.

“I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re very talented. But I don’t think I would be comfortable working with you,” she confessed.

“You don’t even know me.”

“I know. And I’m sure you are a perfect gentleman. But, you see, I don’t think Michael would be very happy with me working with a…gifted man such as yourself.”

“Michael?”

Abbey blushed. “My boyfriend.”

Ah. There it is. A boyfriend. Sloan silently berated himself. He should’ve known a woman so beautiful would have already given her heart to someone. He couldn’t, however, allow her to get away so quickly. Perhaps he couldn’t have her, but that didn’t mean he had to let her go.

Thinking quickly, Sloan pressed one of her hands to his lips. “No worries, luv. I’m no threat.”

“How can you say that?”

“I’m gay.”

Her face brightened with relief. “Really?”

“Yes, Abbey. Gay.”

She blushed pink. “I’m so embarrassed I overreacted. Please forgive me?”

“Of course I forgive you. Now, will you stay and undertake this project with me?”

Abbey beamed. “Of course. I would love to.”

Sloan motioned for her to precede him back to the conference room. He watched her walk before him, his gaze transfixed on her hips, her slim waist, and her luscious curves. A little white lie. She’ll never know.

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Find Heartland (Black Irish #2) Here!

Abbey stared at him with wide hazel eyes. “Yes? And you are? And more importantly—how did you get up here?”

The man extended his hand to her. “Nathan Paulson. I am Mr. O’Riley’s attorney. Bartholomew escorted me.”

Abbey breathed a silent sigh of relief. “I’m sorry, Mr. Paulson. Sloan is in San Francisco. I don’t know when he’ll be home.”

Nathan smiled at her. “I’m here to speak to you, Abigail.”

“Me? Why me?”

Nathan nodded to the interior of the apartment. “May I come in?”

Abbey stepped aside to open the glass door wider. Nathan brushed past her into the spacious, opulent penthouse grasping the handles of a bulging leather briefcase. Before she could offer him a seat, he sank into the chocolate brown leather armchair.

She wrinkled her nose in disgust. That was Sloan’s chair. It’s where he sat to watch SportsCenter and read the paper. They cuddled in that chair. They made love in that chair. Seeing another man sitting in it seemed wrong. Very, very wrong.

“Can I get you something to drink?” Her voice slightly betrayed her insincerity. She really wanted him to leave.

“No, thank you. Sit,” Nathan commanded. He reached across to the sofa and patted the cushion. “We have a lot of ground to cover, and I have another appointment in an hour.”

Abbey complied hesitantly. “If we need to do this another day…”

Nathan unzipped his briefcase and pulled free a stack of documents. The pile was easily over two inches thick. “No, we need to do this today. Sloan insisted.”

“Do what?”

Nathan carefully arranged the stack of paper into several neat piles. “Sloan called me the other day to have me draw up some additional contracts for San Francisco. He told me the news of your nuptials and the little one coming. I advised him that we strong arm you into a post pre-nup to protect his investments.” Nathan looked up at her from sorting. His glare gave Abbey the chills. “By the way, congratulations.”

Classy. Abbey fought the sneer from her face. “Thanks,” she responded sarcastically. “So, this is the pre-nup?”

“No. I barely got the word pre-nup out before Sloan laid into me. Hard. I’m glad he’s in San Francisco, or he would have torn me limb from limb. After calling me some very colorful names, he very distinctly and clearly ordered me to add you to his accounts. Immediately.”

“His accounts?”

“As his wife, you share in his assets—bank accounts, properties, car titles, etc. Billions of dollars’ worth of assets.”

Abbey’s eyes flew open wide. “B-b-billions?”

“You heard millions? When San Francisco took shape, Sloan went from a millionaire to a billionaire.”

She shook her head. “No, I can’t allow this to happen. Sloan worked too hard for that money.”

“That’s what I said,” Nathan agreed. He picked up a pen from amongst the stacks. “But Sloan disagrees with us. And he holds all the cards in this game. So, could you start signing so I’m not late for my next appointment?”

TheTroubles_LRG

Find The Troubles (Black Irish #3) Here!

Sloan stood at the glass wall of his bare, undecorated office, staring down at the streets of Zurich, Switzerland. The twilight moon lit the room in a cold, slate blue. He felt like a god overlooking the world below. He watched the headlights of the cars in the street, the people below scurry in and out of the rain. Rushing home to their loved ones, I suppose. Their families. I want mine.

Within a couple of weeks, he had established a firm foundation for Sloan Enterprises. He worked every minute of the day and expected his staff to do the same. He had already fired three assistants and four lawyers. He had purchased the property for two new complexes. He had slapped his name on the building he was standing in. None of it was a salve for what he had had to sacrifice.

He couldn’t stop thinking about Abigail. Nathan should have delivered the papers to her by now. He knew how much a divorce would hurt her. It’s killing me. The thought of letting her go destroyed him. I should have walked away from her in the beginning. I should have never let her in my heart. That wee woman brought me to my knee, and I no longer remember how to stand.

Sloan glanced back at his office. There were no reminders of home—no pictures of Abigail or Ame, no tokens, nothing. The black bookcases that lined the walls were empty except for a few decorative tomes. The steel and glass coffee table was adorned with only a couple copies of trade magazines. The pieces of art on the wall were simple colors. His desk was almost bare except for the phone and computer.

The room was cold. Prison cells had more warmth. He had to close that chapter in his life. He would find a way to move on, letting Abigail go, knowing she was alive. I have no choice. It would be the end of me if I held onto her, and she would be killed.

Then, he swallowed back a growl. Just because he could never be with another woman didn’t mean Abigail wouldn’t give her heart to another man. I can’t stop her. Or beat him within an inch of his life for touching her. The thought that Ame could call another man “Daddy. My daughter. Being his child. Another man making love to my Abigail. Another man making her his. Abigail carrying his child. Abigail telling another man she loves him. Not me. Him.

He felt his temper peak. He wanted blood. I don’t care who he is. I will make him regret it.

Sloan’s clenched his eyes closed. The pain of missing her was too much. He could call her. Just hearing her voice would be enough. He didn’t even have to talk. He could listen to her answer and hang up. It was admittedly immature, but the quick rush would be worth it. Maybe this whole situation was all an overreaction.

He opened his eyes and stepped to his desk. His breath caught in his throat as his eyes fell on the green silk box that sat beside the phone, the only decoration in his office. It didn’t reside here. It went everywhere with him. A constant reminder of what was at stake.

Letting go a deep sigh, he slumped into his chair. He ran his fingers hopelessly across the cold fabric, his eyes studying the gold embroidered, Oriental pattern. Picking it up, he opened it. He shuddered as his gaze fell on the contents inside, contents that made his stomach churn at the thought of the damage they could inflict.

He struggled to breathe as he shut the box and placed it beside the phone again. He ran his hand through his thick, black hair then rubbed his tired eyes.

It’ll be another sleepless night. I might as well get back to work. He turned to his computer and nudged the mouse to wake it. Seven signed contracts sat waiting in his inbox, along with the digital blueprints to both new complexes. He should be overjoyed. His company was going to be a success. His empire was growing.

My empire will never be complete without its queen. There is only one. One I can never have again. If I dwell on this much longer, I’m going to lose my mind. I’ve already lost my heart.

TrialByFire_MED

Find Trial By Fire (Black Irish #4) Here!

Sloan stared out the window at the asphalt as the wheels of the jet skidded across the black surface. He was back.

His gaze took in the Belfast International Airport, flicking around, looking for military vehicles or platoons of troops ready to take him prisoner. All he found were flight crews darting about on baggage carts to prepare the next flight, and the occasional traveler peeking out the window of the terminal.

He let go a large sigh, his sensual, trademark smirk gracing his lips. I knew there was nothing to worry about. He glanced over to Gordon and Liam, meeting their scowls. They almost seem disappointed that Fitzgerald told me the truth.

His thoughts quickly returned to Abbey. He couldn’t shake her from his mind, his heart, since their lips had parted in Minneapolis. As soon as he checked into his hotel, he would call her and tell her he was safe. Then, he would send the jet back to get her, Maggie, Mary, and the children. In a day or two, she would be back in his arms, his face buried in the sweet curve of her neck, his hands roaming her body.

Once the celebratory lovemaking was over, he would take her to rediscover all the precious places of his childhood. He wanted nothing more than to share his past with the woman he loved, at least the parts of it that had been pleasant.

Once the jet had crept to a halt, the men rose and made their way to the door. They slowly descended the rolling staircase to the tarmac. Sloan’s grin widened. All was still good.

His smile faded when he heard the cock of a gun. He glanced to the side as over three dozen soldiers marched from around the aircraft, guns drawn and pointed at him.

“Well, well, well. Look who’s back,” a voice boomed over the crowd.

Sloan clenched his eyes shut. “Brown,” he growled.

The tall, balding man, dressed in his impeccable uniform, strode between the troops and stopped in front of Sloan. “I was hoping to get to say this again. Sloan O’Riley, you’re under arrest.”

“Go to hell.”

Sloan’s vision blurred as the butt of a rifle was slammed against his temple then into his rib cage. His knees buckled from the force. He fought to stay on his feet, to face his enemy standing tall and proud. He lost the battle as he crumpled to the ground. He grunted as his arms were wrenched behind him and cuffs were clamped on his wrists.

“Let him go!” Sloan could hear Gordon struggle against the men restraining him.

Fionainn, I suggest you let the men do their job.”

Sloan’s head snapped up. Through the still-lingering haze from the blow, he could see Fitzgerald standing over him, his gaunt face beaming. “Welcome home, boy.”

“You set me up.” Sloan’s voice was violent through clenched teeth. His eye became hot as it began to swell. “I completed every task you gave me, completed every order. And you turn me over to the enemy?”

Every task? Not everyone, Sloan.” Fitzgerald leaned into him, his hot breath inflaming Sloan’s ear. “I wanted blood, boy. Innocent, guilty…it didn’t matter. I wanted Northern Ireland in my grip. But you wouldn’t hit the targets I gave you. No. You set your sights on the military. Not the good, obedient soldier you thought you were.

“And then, you tried to leave. You met with those recruiters from the All Blacks that those imbeciles I let raise you invited to watch you play rugby. So, I fixed it so that you could never leave. I took one of your precious toys to London and left it there loaded with enough C4 to blow up say…a marketplace?”

For a moment, Sloan’s veins turned to ice as the revelation hit him like a shard of lightning. It had been Fitzgerald who had set him up, destroyed his life, and forced him to flee from his Ma and Maggie to save himself. It had been Fitzgerald who had murdered all those innocent people and pinned it on him.

Rage quickly replaced the chill within him. He rose in a lunge at Fitzgerald. Sloan was quickly brought back to his knees as the butt of another rifle cracked him across the skull.

Fitzgerald’s laugh echoed across the airfield as he strutted past Brown. “He’s all yours, Commander Brown. See to it that he is hanged, will you?”

“It’ll be my pleasure, Jack,” Commander Brown crooned.

Two soldiers roughly tore Sloan from the ground, dragging him to his feet. Sloan shook his head violently to clear the fog that had invaded his senses. His head throbbed. Fitzgerald’s confession echoed in his brain. Although Sloan knew the truth, it wouldn’t change a thing. His words meant nothing in a court of law. Here, he was a terrorist. A murderer. No amount of protesting would change anyone’s mind.

He looked up slowly, his eyes catching Liam and Gordon’s. Both men were restrained by at least three law enforcement officials apiece. Sloan ripped his gaze away from them. He couldn’t take the looks of horror on their faces. He knew what they meant.

He closed his eyes, clinging to the image of Abbey, Ame, and Ethan that he held in his heart. He had been a fool to leave them. Now, he would never see them again.

There’s no way out of this one. I’m as good as dead.

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Find Breaking the Cycle (Hard Drive Series #1) Here!

Max near snarled. He’d had enough. He rose to his feet, set his plate on the coffee table, and followed. When he was out of earshot and fully blocked the door, he crossed his arms over his broad chest and stood his ground. “Talk, Chloe,” he snarled. “I tried to do something for you. For your mom. How am I repaid? You won’t talk to me.”

“I didn’t realize you needed to be paid back,” Chloe murmured, her eyes trained to the floor. She leaned against the counter beside the sink. “I’ll pay you back whatever you spent.”

“I don’t want your money. I want to know what I did to you that was so wrong?”

Chloe looked away as tears pooled in her eyes. “My dad left when I was eight. Because of me. Because of this stupid thing I have. It broke Mom’s heart. She loved him so much. She has spent every day since loving him and hating him all at the same time. I don’t want to be like her. I don’t want to love and hate…” Her voice trailed off.

Max’s face softened. He took the few steps to her then tilted her chin so her eyes met his. “Don’t want to love and hate what, Chloe?”

She swallowed hard. “I don’t want to love and hate you at the same time for the rest of my life. So, I’m trying to not fall in love in the first place. But when you do such incredible things like you did today…”

A sweet smile spread across his face. “Hey, you can’t blame me for being charming.”

“Max.”

“Chloe. I would never hurt you. I promise you. Never.”

“You say that now.”

“I’ll say that forever.”

“Chloe! Max! What are you two doing in there?” Liz called from the other room.

“Just talking, Mom.” Chloe offered him a small smile as she slipped past him. Max turned and watched her go. She doesn’t want to love and hate me at the same time when I leave. The solution to that is simple. I’ll never leave.

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Find Breaking the Silence (Hard Drive Series #2) Here!

Rico sauntered to the counter, where a tall, lanky redhead waited to take his order. After paying for a cup of coffee, he stepped back, winking at a girl sipping on a glass of iced tea. His eyes raked over her as she giggled. He grinned then glanced up behind the counter again.

He lost his breath. He felt his pulse pick up a notch. The last thing on earth he believed in was love at first sight. But in this moment, he was a true convert.

The barista barely came to his chest. Her long, blonde hair wisped in curls around her shoulders. Her frame was small, with perfect curves in all the right places. Her lips were a soft, very kissable pink. And when she looked up at him to hand him his drink, her eyes glittered a clear, crystal blue. She smiled then turned to fulfill the next order.

She never said one word to him. Him. Rico Choate. MMA superstar Rico Choate. His picture was on posters, in magazines.

And she didn’t say one word.

He was baffled. He gripped the coffee and rushed out the door. It wasn’t until he parked his Jeep at Hard Drive that he realized he hadn’t gotten one number, not from any of the women in the shop.

He rubbed his forehead, puzzled. He didn’t want any number. He just wanted the barista’s. But for the first time in his life, a woman wasn’t interested in him. He was still shaking his head when he strode into gym and plopped the paper cup down in front of an equally perplexed Chloe. Before she could even utter a syllable, he stormed out of her office and onto the mats.

Rico spent the rest of the afternoon working the speed and punching bags, hoping for a little bit of relief from his memory of the barista. He couldn’t get her out of his head. After a couple of hours, he couldn’t take it anymore. He jogged up the steps two at a time then ducked his head into the office.

“Need another cup of coffee?” he volunteered.

Chloe lifted up the empty cup. “I just finished this one. I’m—”

“Another cup coming right up.” Before Chloe could object, he was down the stairs and out the door. He hopped in the front seat of the Jeep, fired it on, and sped away. He brushed his fingers through his thick, brown hair as he waited at the lone stop light that separated Hard Drive from the coffee shop. He glanced at his reflection in the rearview mirror.

Then, he checked again. Yes, he looked incredible. The barista may have been able to blow him off before. She certainly wouldn’t miss him this time.

Rico stepped inside the cool, dimly lit store and glanced around. There were fewer people lounging than there were earlier. A couple of girls that had been there before waved in his direction. He ignored them as he approached the counter, frowning as he did so. The redhead greeted him with a goofy grin. “Need another jolt of java, bro?”

“Ummm…yeah.” Rico scanned behind the counter as he paid for the coffee. “Where’s the blonde who was here earlier?”

The redhead shot him a puzzled look. “Avery? You know her?”

“Not yet. But I’d like to.”

“Her shift is over. She’s heading to class. She just left to wait for the bus.” The barista handed him a paper cup. “Hey, aren’t you that MMA guy? I think I’ve seen you fight.”

“Yeah, probably.” Rico grabbed the drink and raced outside, never looking at the girls who now were vying for his attention. He searched up and down the sidewalk for the blonde barista. He picked up his pace again as his eyes landed on her standing at the corner, still dressed in her white blouse and khakis from the restaurant. A large, sky blue backpack nearly bursting at the seams was slung over her shoulder. She checked her watch as the bus crawled to a stop before her.

“Hey! Hey!” Rico shouted as she stepped on. She never turned, never acknowledged him. The door closed behind her, and the large beast chugged on its journey, leaving a dumbfounded Rico behind.

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Find Queen of Savon Here!

Cassandra firmly capped the bottle of herbs with a cork and slipped the container in her bag. She marked her books, stacking one on top of the other. Glancing out the window, she watched as Matthew gently kissed Stephana before helping her into the carriage.

Sighing, she pulled herself away from the window to gather more herbs. She picked up her books and the bag of bottles. Then, she hobbled to the door and struggled to open it with her one free hand.

Cassandra jumped back, startled, as she discovered Matthew standing in the doorway. He clung to the doorframe as he stared at her.

“How may I serve, my lord?” she greeted as she awkwardly bowed to him.

“Where are you going?” he asked, barely audible.

“Home. I have much to do before I return in the morning and you leave for battle.”

Matthew paused. “I did not propose to Stephana.”

Cassandra set her items on a table nearby. “That was unwise, my lord.”

Matthew stared at her as he dug his fingernails into the wood of the frame. “Cassa, do not leave me like this.”

Cassandra swallowed as she heard the urgency in his voice. “Like what, my lord?”

“Like this—the formal address, the subservient nature. This.” Matthew stood up straight, taking a step to grip her arms in his hands.

“Tell me her name,” Matthew demanded.

“There is no one.”

“Tell me her name,” Matthew begged. “Tell me, and I will give her my heart and make her my bride. I swear this.”

Cassandra stared at him, tears filling her eyes. “What if she belongs to another man?” She looked away as the words she spoke seemed to crush him. He closed his eyes, fighting to defeat the truth, the truth he already must know. Capitalizing on his weakness, Cassandra pulled away. “I told you there is no one.”

He grasped her hand, pressing it to his heart. “No, my lady, I will win her. I will fight, and I will not stop until she is cradled in my arms. This I promise you. Do you hear me? This I promise you.”

Her tears burst their floodgates as she slipped her fingers from his. “I must go,” she stumbled out. “I have much to do. I must go.”

Cassandra scooped up her books then swept by Matthew and ran down the stairs. She cringed as she heard him call her name, his voice betraying his pain.

Cassandra could not sleep. She lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling of her room as the night passed by. As dawn brushed the sky, she pulled herself from her covers, dressed, and trudged her return to the palace.

In no time, she stood in the courtyard, the soldiers around her completely oblivious to her presence. She glanced up as Victor rode next to her. “Lock yourself in the tower. I will see you when I get back,” he instructed as he kissed her on the cheek.

“Stay safe,” she murmured.

Cassandra looked to the ground as Victor’s horse trotted away. Then, she raised her head as she heard hoof steps approach. Matthew wandered across the courtyard, leading his stallion behind him. His eyes, yearning and desperate, locked on her.

She shuddered as he approached, his stride determined as he wove his way around the soldiers scattered around the courtyard. He stopped, dropping the reins of his horse, when he reached her.

Without warning or care for decency, Matthew cupped Cassandra’s face in his hands drawing her lips to his and parting them in a soul-wrenching kiss. She clung to his arms as he tasted her, clearly searching for confession, answers—her love for him. As he pulled away, he whispered, “Lock yourself in. I could not live another day if anything happened to you.”

Matthew’s fingers caressed Cassandra’s skin once more before they slipped away to grasp his horse’s reins. He glanced at her over his shoulder before he disappeared behind the wall. Cassandra hugged herself tightly, her limbs shaking in uncertainty.

Collecting herself as much as possible, she wound her way to her tower blindly. Her thoughts were incoherent. Matthew? Victor? She rubbed her fingertips against her swollen lips. Both had made their feelings for her abundantly clear. And both were riding out to battle. Above all, the vows she had taken as a child dictated she could have neither of them.

Tears filled her eyes as she collapsed onto her cushion. The only thing she knew with clarity was that she needed to get her thoughts together. It wouldn’t be long before she would be joining them on the battlefield.

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Find The Thirteenth Knight Here!

Miranda swept silently down the dirt path beneath the lush, fragrant canopy of the towering pine trees. The light of the full moon above cast everything in an unearthly, pale glow. Her heart raced in anticipation. Although she had seen Thatcher several times in the past few days, the thought of his eyes gazing on her as Miranda, and not as Ewen, made her tremble in excitement.

A soft laugh escaped her throat. Count Brunon was disgusted that his betrothed seemed to have such a weak stomach. Miranda did not even have to fake it. Brunon craved meats and delicacies that made Miranda cringe. However, Brunon happily avoided his sick beloved in case her malady happened to be contagious, which made it easy for Ewen to appear and volunteer to gather firewood.

Miranda stopped short as the path reached the creek. Her breath caught in her throat as her eyes found Thatcher. He stood, his tall, chiseled, muscular frame draped in a linen shirt and chocolate brown trousers. He watched the moonlight glimmer off the water. He ran a strong, powerful hand through his short, black hair. Miranda sighed, hopelessly in love.

Thatcher’s head spun at Miranda’s whisper-soft sigh. In just a few long strides, she was caught in his strong arms, his sweet lips prying hers apart in a soul-wrenching kiss. “Miranda,” he breathed after they parted.

Miranda caressed Thatcher’s cheek, her fingers grazing the stumble there. “I cannot stay long.”

“I know, my love. Our forced separation will be brief. I will free you from Brunon.”

Miranda smiled gently. “I know.”

The emotion in his eyes became intense. “I will not let him wed you. I will die before that will happen.”

“I know, my love,” she assured him.

He chuckled. “I owe Ewen a debt of gratitude for bringing you to me. I wasn’t sure he would.”

“He shouldn’t have.”

“I am surprised he didn’t join you.”

She scrambled for an answer. “He is keeping watch at the edge of the forest. He wanted to give us privacy.”

“He is a good man. There is something about him.” Thatcher gazed at Miranda. “He has your beautiful eyes. Are you related to him?”

“Perhaps.” Miranda pulled Thatcher’s face to her. She bravely parted his lips with hers, kissing him deeply, possessively. The mystery of Ewen seemed to flee Thatcher’s mind as he held Miranda close.

Their time together was far too brief. Thatcher clung to her hand as she turned to go. It took all the will in Miranda’s heart to pull free. All she wanted was to run away with him and leave the kingdom behind. Tears burned her eyes as he disappeared from her sight.

Thanks again for stopping by.  Click here to return to the Blog Hop!

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Triple D Dude Ranch by Beverly Ovalle

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Triple D Dude Ranch

By Beverly Ovalle

Published by Secret Cravings Publishing

October 4, 2014

Tagline:

One look ignites a smolder between Dan and Blaire, one touch sparks a wildfire that burns out of control, hotter than the Texas sun.

 

Blurb:

Blaire is a freelance photographer on assignment. She is heading home to Texas, armed with her camera to do a photo feature for the Tribune. Taking photos of the dude ranch, she gets an eyeful of an uninhibited cowboy through her lens. The summer heat of Texas has nothing on the heat he generates in her.

Dan was expecting a photographer but not the sexy urban cowgirl that arrived. He knew it was hot out, he just hadn’t expected the hot and sexy woman to make him burn the minute he caught sight of her. One look and he had to quench this fire inside.

One touch between Dan and Blaire sparks a wildfire that burns hotter than the Texas summer and is just as hard to put out.

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Available:

Clean Excerpt:

Graduation had her moving to Chicago. After a couple of years of living and working there, she realized that Chicago couldn’t give her the life she thought she’d wanted. What she wanted was right here in Texas, so when she got this assignment she packed her bags, subletted her apartment, and headed home.

The GPS announced she was there. Looking around, Blaire spotted the driveway; it was hard to miss. The wrought iron arch over the drive simply proclaimed Triple D Dude Ranch. She frowned. The drive was just as dusty as the road and there was not a hotel in sight.

Sighing, Blaire put on her signal and pulled over. She stopped and grabbed her camera. A picture of the arch, with the wrought iron words showcasing the name, would be a perfect shot. Blaire opened her door and groaned as the leather made a sucking sound as she peeled herself off. Maybe she shouldn’t have shucked her panties at that last stop. She hadn’t thought about peeling herself off the leather seats, only how infernally hot the day was. Stepping out, she looked both ways before she minced to the opposite side of the road. The heels of the unfamiliar and recently purchased cowboy boots and the long drive had made her a bit wobbly.

Blaire lifted her camera, uncovering the lens and holding the cap in her hand. No dust on the lens, she was glad to see. It wouldn’t have surprised her at all if there were. She felt like every crevice of her body had grit in it. Her cute Western outfit might never be the same. She felt wilted from head to toe. Lining up the arch in her lens, Blaire cursed as she dropped the lens cap on the ground. One of these days she’d remember to attach it with the string to the camera itself.

“Damn it!” Bending over from the waist, she picked up the cap from the ground; after all, it was a good opportunity to do one of her daily stretches. Blaire tucked it in the pocket on the front of her cute little denim skirt as she stood, like she should have in the first place.

Lining up the arch once again, Blaire could see that the dust continued, the drive a little smoother than the road coming in. Shaking her head, she snapped a picture. Moving around, she tried to capture it from different angles. She could always delete the ones that didn’t work.

Finishing, Blaire decided she’d had enough of the arch. There had to be at least one good one. She started back to the car when she heard a noise and whirled around.

Her breath caught and she instinctively lifted the camera for a shot. Holy hotness! That was         a real cowboy. Her eyes widened as she looked through the lens, quickly snapping a picture.

 

Adult Excerpt:

She was in a white bandana halter from what he could see. Tied at her nape and waist, he could see her smooth toned back. Her hair was tied up in a pink bandana and Dan wondered how long it was. Her short denim cut off skirt gave just a peek at toned, heart shaped butt cheeks. His gaze traveled lower and he had to stifle a laugh. She had on four-inch spiked cowboy boots. Pink, no less.

Dan’s breath caught as she cursed and leaned over to pick something up off the ground. He had to wonder if she knew he was there. She took a deep breath and leaned over from her waist. He swallowed, mouth suddenly dry. Raising his binoculars he confirmed what he thought. No panties; not even the teasing peek of a thong. As she bent he had a perfect view of her ass and pussy. His cock grew, throbbing to come out and play. She either thought it was too hot for panties, or she liked to go commando. Either way Dan was appreciative.

She stretched further, spreading her legs slightly. Dan wanted to run his hands over the curve of her ass and sink into the delicate pink folds he was staring at. He stifled a grown. Her lips spread as she arched down with a groan, giving him an unrestricted view of her snatch, daring him to fill it. Her clit, which was nestled there, peeked out like it wanted to be noticed. Boy did he notice!

Dan sat there on his horse, cock aching as she moved. She twisted and turned with grace, giving Dan an eyeful. She paid no attention to her surroundings as she looked through the lens taking shots. Dan loved curves and she had them in spades. Not only did she have a world class ass and a pussy that was just begging to be fucked, but the bandana top she wore barely covered her. White, it was damp and clung to her breasts showcasing her pink nipples through the fabric. So large, they had to be triple-D’s. He swallowed.

Dan realized Mike’s warped sense of humor was why he said he had the perfect photographer. Shaking his head at Mike’s choice Dan grinned. Sending this particular bombshell with triple-D boobs to the Triple D Dude Ranch was right up his alley. Watching them quiver as she moved, Dan wanted nothing more than to latch on and suckle them until her nipples hardened and stood out. Dan groaned watching her, knowing he would have to call and thank Mike.

His jeans grew even tighter. Dan shifted on his horse, becoming more uncomfortable as he watched her. Fumbling, watching through the binoculars, he unbuttoned his Levi’s, hissing as he scraped against the denim as his cock sprang free. Letting the reins rest across his leg and making sure his horse would stay steady, he grabbed and fisted himself. Pumping, he imagined he was inside the pink glistening pussy of the wannabe cowgirl, he tightened his hand.

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Author bio:

Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 25 years and two Chinese Water Dragons. Having her own Dragons is expected as she is dragon crazy and anyone that walks in her house can tell. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines. Her daughter Susannah visits from time to time to make sure us ‘old’ folks are alive and kicking.

 

Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell. Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

 

Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.

 

Contact Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyOvalleAuthor

Website: http://ovalleba.wix.com/beverly-ovalle#

Blog: http://beverlyovalleromance.blogspot.com/

Tumblr: http://ovalleba.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ovalleba

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ovalleba/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Ovalle/e/B00BOGT8MU/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/BeverlyOvalle

Yahoo: http://about.me/beverly.ovalle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SSLYblog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SslySmileSomebodyLovesYou

Blog: http://SSLYblog.wordpress.com

 

 

Secret Cravings Sweet and Historical Blog Hop!

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Hi everyone!  Welcome to the Secret Cravings Sweet and Historical Blog Hop!

Almost all my books with Secret Cravings are sweet romances, including both of my series.  Since I just had a release a week and a half ago, I am going to share one of my series with you – the Hard Drive Series.

Can you tell I have a weakness for MMA? 

And…at the end of the blog hop I will choose TWO lucky commenters to win e-book copies of both books of the Hard Drive Series – Breaking the Cycle and Breaking the Silence!  Leave a comment below and I will draw Sunday night!

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My newest release – Breaking the Silence (Book Two of the Hard Drive Series)!  A portion of the proceeds from Breaking the Silence goes to Operation First Response to Operation First Response to support our nation’s wounded, injured and critically-ill Heroes and their families.

Rico Choate is a MMA bad boy with a love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude.  That is until he meets Avery Walker, a deaf Marine who lost her hearing when her transport was destroyed in an I.E.D explosion in Afghanistan.  He falls hard for her, even learning sign language from his friend, Chloe, so he can talk to her.

Avery has worked hard to overcome her deafness. She doesn’t need anyone’s sympathy. She’s living a perfectly normal life and has no time for celebrities who have everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Because of Avery’s pride, Rico to keep his career in mixed martial arts a secret.  But how long can he keep such a huge part of his life separate from the woman he loves?  And if she does find out, how will she react? Can Avery set her stubbornness aside, or will secrets and pride keep these two apart?

Excerpt:

The weekend finally arrived, but it was no break for Avery. She still had her early Saturday morning class to attend. She trudged down the steps wearily. Of all the times for the air conditioning to go out, this was the worst by far. The ninety-degree day seeped into the building, making the rooms hot and stagnant. Every last person in the classroom was drenched in sweat. Even for one class, it was unbearable.

Her face brightened as she stepped out the door and found Rico in his Jeep waiting for her. She nearly ran for the vehicle. Dropping her backpack on the floor, she climbed in beside him.

He looked at her concerned. Are you all right?

No air. I baked for the last hour.

Do you still want to do something?

Yes. You are the highlight of my day.

Where do you want to go?

Someplace cool.

Rico thought for a moment then grinned. I know the perfect place. But you are going to want to bundle up.

It is the middle of summer. Where are you taking me?

You will see.

Rico drove her home then waited in the Jeep for her to get clothes. Apparently, he wasn’t about to push his luck with Lindsay.

He then stopped at his place. Instead of having her wait in the car, he escorted her inside. His apartment was a loft in an old, renovated warehouse, complete with the freight elevators. It was sparsely decorated with a leather sofa and chair. It was the typical guy’s apartment.

There were several MMA magazines scattered on the end tables. He must really be into mixed martial arts.

It only took a moment for Rico to come out of his bedroom changed. Instead of the shorts and T-shirt he had worn before, he now had on a pair of jeans and a snug fitting Henley that accented his muscles. She swallowed back a moan. She hadn’t thought he could get any hotter.

He smiled. Ready?

Yes. Avery took his outstretched hand in hers. She waited as he locked the door then walked with him to the elevator.

Rico weaved from one interstate to the other until they were in Saint Paul. The entire time, he held her hand in his. He parked the car in front of a large, concrete building lined with windows.

Ice skating? she signed

He laughed. You wanted to be cool.

That is true. But I can’t do this.

He frowned. Why not?

I can’t ice skate.

You do not know how?

I do. When I was young, I was very good at it. But I cannot do it now.

Because you are deaf?

Yes.

He smirked at her. I did not realize that you ice skate with your ears.

That is not funny, Rico.

Come on, Avery. We’ll have fun. I promise I will not let you fall.

She gazed at him as he grinned at her. Her eyes wandered over his chiseled physique. He certainly could keep his word. She sighed as she hopped out of the passenger seat and turned back to him. All right. Let’s go.

Absolutely! Rico jumped out with her and raced around the vehicle to take her hand. He pulled her close and wrapped his arm around her waist as they strolled in.

Rico paid their admission as Avery slipped into the restroom to change into her lightweight sweater and jeans. She watched his eyes wander over her head to toe as a smile spread across his face. He certainly seemed pleased. He took both pairs of skates the attendant offered before following her to a bench. Then, they tugged on their skates and, carefully stepping on the thick, black mat on the floor, they made their way out to the ice.

They skated around the rink laughing, sometimes hand in hand, sometimes trying awkwardly to race each other. Avery hadn’t been ice skating in years, not since she’d lost her hearing. It had ended up on the virtual list of activities she stubbornly believed she could no longer do. Rico had proved to her she could.

She gazed up to him as he smiled at her. He certainly was turning out to be her hero. Not that she needed one. She didn’t. But it was definitely nice to have one, just in case.

They were so wrapped up in each other, neither of them noticed the little boys that flew between them until it was too late. The last one hooked his skate with Avery’s. She was off her feet in a split second. She clenched her eyes in anticipation of the cold impact on her butt. Instead, two strong arms kept her from falling. Her eyes fluttered open, and she glanced around.

Rico had caught her just as he’d promised. Her eyes locked with his sapphire blue ones. She wanted to protest, to joke just how cliché this was. Here he was, cradling her in his arms after saving her from falling, his lips dangerously close to hers. They must have looked like they belonged on the front of a romance novel. But her breath caught in her throat as she clung to him, her gaze drifting to his mouth.

She gasped as he gathered her closer and softly kissed her. Her fingers buried into his hair as he deepened it, his lips parting hers as his tongue slowly grazed across her teeth then tangled with hers. Their eyes met for a moment as the kiss broke. Avery fought against her breath coming out in ragged gasps, but it was no use. So, that’s what kissing Rico Choate is like. It was light years better than she had imagined.

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And we can’t forget Breaking the Cycle (Book One of the Hard Drive Series)!  A portion of the proceeds goes to the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association for research to find a cure for CVS.

Max is excited when Chloe, a girl that works for the same gym he does, agrees to go on a date with him.  He is disturbed, though, when she becomes violently ill after he kisses her.  Max can’t shake how he feels about her.  He sacrifices his job and does everything he can to find an answer to her illness.  But is it enough to save their relationship – and save her?

Chloe can’t believe Max Thomas, the hottest guy at Roadie’s Gym, wants to go out with her.  When their date is a disaster, she thinks she’ll never see him again.  She is stunned when he reappears in her life and tries to find the answer behind whatever has made her sick since she was a child.  However, will he stick around or abandon her like her father did?  Can she trust him enough to let him into her heart?

Excerpt:

Max stepped inside the gym. It was deserted. He glanced around. The place was no Roadie’s. There was no perfect, stainless steel trim. There was no state-of-the-art equipment. He scrutinized the cardio machines that were lined three deep along a wall of frosted windows then scanned the weight equipment alongside it. Everything looked like it was in working order.

The rest of the room was lined with vinyl wrestling mats. There were signs indicating locker rooms back in the hallway. A staircase leading to a walkway on the second floor led to a couple offices and a conference room.

Suddenly, its door opened. Max steeled himself as a young, well-built, suit-clad man stepped out and leaned against the metal rail. His slicked–back, black hair made him look like a used car salesman. He smiled down at Max.

“Hey, Jack,” Max greeted coolly.

“What brings you to Hard Drive, Max?”

“I came to talk to you about the job offer you gave me.”

Jack laughed. “How many times did I offer a job to you?”

“At least a dozen times.”

“And how many times have you turned me down?”

“Just as many.”

“Why would I offer it to you again?”

“Because, to quote your own words, ‘I’m the best you could possibly dream of getting’.”

“So, you suddenly got over your hang ups about working here?”

Max took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “No. I am still vehemently against training your guys to the best of my ability so that you can toss them into an octagon and let them beat the crap out of each other. Seems to make the job pointless, don’t you think?”

“I don’t toss them in there. They fight of their own free will.”

“Is the job available or not?”

“Of course, it is.” Jack was smug.

“I have stipulations before I agree to it.”

Jack snickered. “Of course, you do. More money? Do you want me to buy you a better car?”

Max glared at him. “I want an assistant. Full time with benefits, especially medical. I write her schedule. She answers to me. Your fighters don’t touch her. If they do, we’re both out of here. Don’t raise the salary you offered me. Lower it, if you must. But I get my assistant.”

“You really think you need an assistant?”

“How many MMA fighters do you have here?”

Max could see Jack’s brow crunch as he computed the numbers in his head. “Thirty.”

“Then, yes, I need an assistant.”

“And you realize that you aren’t going to teach Tae Bo here, right? You’re training my MMA fighters. And your assistant will be, too.”

Max paused. “Yes. I know what I’ll be doing.”

Jack pushed himself away from the rail and stood straight. “You’re hired. And so is your assistant. There’ll be no change in your salary. I’ll negotiate your assistant’s with you at a later time. I promise it’ll be fair. Be here Monday to sign your contracts. And give Roadie your two weeks’ notice. You belong to Hard Drive now.”

Jack strode back into the conference room, closing the door behind him. Max shot one last glare at the door before he walked out the front door.

Thanks for stopping by!  Make sure you stop back at the Secret Cravings blog and keep hopping!

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The NEW Breaking the Silence Trailer!

Check out the NEW Breaking the Silence (Hard Drive Series #2) Trailer!

Get your copy on Sweet Cravings Publishing, Amazon and All Romance E-books!

 

My Book Boyfriend Blog Hop

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Welcome to My Book Boyfriend Blog Hop!  I am glad you have stopped by!  Thank you to Harper A. Brooks and TF Walsh for having me!

Lately I’ve had a problem.  My heart is torn in two.  For the past year my heart has been wholly devoted to my alpha hero from my Black Irish series, Sloan O’Riley.  Black hair, blue eyes, the body of a Greek god, my Irish millionaire has a bit of a dark past.  When he meets naïve children’s author Abbey Wright, he’ll do anything to keep her in New York City with him including lie by telling her he is gay.

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Abbey’s heart thundered in her chest. She was alone with Sloan. He betrayed her. Yet she couldn’t stop thinking about him. It was time for answers. Her stomach twisted at the thought of asking for them.

“I’m glad you’re here. I was running out of gift ideas,” Sloan crooned. “Does this visit mean you’ve accepted my offer?”

“I have some questions first.”

“Of course.” He motioned her forward.

She timidly stepped into the living area. Compared to the opulence of the space and its owner, she in her waitress uniform was certainly the thing that didn’t belong.

Taking a deep breath, she asked quietly, “Why did you lie to me?”

Sloan paused. “I couldn’t have you leave.”

“Why not?”

He didn’t answer.

“You said it wasn’t the money or the visa. Then why? Why couldn’t you let me leave?”

Sloan slowly crossed over to her. He gently caressed her cheek with his fingertips. “I needed to know if there could be something between us,” he answered softly.

Oh wow! Her knees turned to jelly. “And do you think there could be something between us?”

His mouth turned up in a sexy smile as he gazed into her warm, hazel eyes. “I’d like to think there could be.”

Oh, double wow. Abbey’s heart picked up its rapid pace. “Sloan, I’ve been wondering. Did you ever get to a lawyer? I mean, I didn’t. I didn’t have the money. Are we still…”

She felt his breath on her face as he leaned closer to her. “Married? Aye. We’re still married. I did not get an annulment.”

“You’re still my…” Her voice failed her again.

“Husband. Aye, luv, I am.”

“And I’m still your…”

“My beautiful, wee wife.”

We’ve had the perfect relationship – he antagonizes me, I get angry with him, he reminds me with that oh-so-sexy brogue who is really in charge (in full detail!) and then I write. 

Handsome shirtless young man with boxer's gloves

But then…he stepped into my life.  MMA Bad Boy Rico Choate.  Granted we had met before in the first book of my Hard Drive series, Breaking the Cycle.  He intrigued me then.  But now as I wrap up his book, Breaking the Silence (Hard Drive Series #2), I have fallen head over heals in love.  Cocky, confident, love ’em and leave ’em attitude just dying to be tamed.  I am totally smitten.  Please don’t tell Sloan.

The sun was low in the horizon when they finally stood to leave.  Avery beat him to the blanket, folding it neatly and tucking it in her arm before Rico could get a hand on it.  He picked up the basket then hand in hand they walked back to the Jeep.

They sat outside Avery’s house for several moments before Rico walked her to the door.  You will pick me up in the morning? she asked.

Of course I will.  I will do anything to spend time with you.

She blushed.  Rico grinned.  He’d do just about anything to tinge her cheeks pink like that.  What are you doing this week? he continued.

Studying.  I have some big tests coming this week.  What about you?

Working then the gym.  Like normal.  Want me to help you study?

She laughed.  You know as well as I do, Rico, if you try to help we will not be studying.

He chuckled with her.  True.  But I will be on my best behavior.  Just as long as you are on yours.

Avery gasped indignant as she slapped him on the arm.  I am always on my best behavior.

Really?  So you are saying I am the bad influence?

She giggled.  Yes.  I am.

It is good to know we are on the same page.

Avery giggled again.  Rico studied her face.  Lord, she was beautiful.  Her features were normally so cool and collected.  She used to be a Marine.  Not much fazed this woman.  It was one of the things he loved about this woman.

But right now her eyes held a wicked glimmer.  She slowly reached across his seat.  Her fingers weaved themselves in his hair.  The sensation alone sent his heart racing.  She pulled her to him and parted his lips with hers.  It didn’t take long before her tongue tangled with his.  Instinctively he pulled her tight against him.

Feeling her curves mold against his body, the taste of her on his lips set him on fire.  The old Rico, the one who couldn’t remember the names of half the women he slept with, started to creep to the surface.  He could take her back to his place.  One night with her would be incredible.

He looked into her eyes as the kiss broke.  She was perfect.  He couldn’t ruin what they had.  He didn’t want her for one night.  He wanted her forever.  He wanted to promise eternity to her.  He wanted to raise a family with her.  He couldn’t risk everything on one night.

He nuzzled his nose against hers and brushed another kiss against her lips.  He didn’t think before he talked.  The words just tumbled out.  “I love you.”

An amused smile graced her lips as she signed.  I love you too.  I guess I better go in.

I guess so.

He grabbed the picnic basket out of the back seat.  He wrapped his arm around her and tucked her close to him as he walked her to the house.  He could see Lindsay glaring at him through the window.  Rico didn’t care.  As they reached the front door he pulled Avery to him for one last, soft kiss.  She sighed as she took the basket from him and looped her arm through the handles.  See you in the morning?

Cannot wait.

Rico waved to Lindsay as he held the door open for Avery to pass through.  A grin spread across his face as he jogged down the steps.  The whistling started again.

Now that I have introduced you to my TWO book boyfriends (does that make me a book slut?), I would like to let you get to know them a little more intimately.  So, leave a comment below and I will award four commenters their choice of e-book in their choice of format.  You can choose of one of Sloan’s books – Black Irish, Heartland or the Troubles – or Rico’s current published book, Breaking the Cycle.  Which of my book boyfriends would you like to spend the night with?

Don’t forget to get your name in the Rafflecopter drawing for the grand prize! 

And click here to jump back to the Blog Hop!  Thanks for visiting!!

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Seduced by The Game ~ A Charity Anthology

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Seduced by The Game ~ A Charity Anthology

It’s time to drop the gloves and fight! Support the Fight Against Cancer that is. This anthology of 8 brand new novellas is hot enough to melt the ice these players skate on. Featuring stories from popular New York Times & USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble bestselling authors, including Toni Aleo, Cassandra Carr, Cindy Carr, Jami Davenport, Catherine Gayle, Jaymee Jacobs, V.L. Locey, Bianca Sommerland, and Nikki Worrell. #SBTG

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1qgxa8R

Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1kkyNoC

Giveaway ~ http://www.seducedbythegame.com/giveaway.html

ARe – http://bit.ly/1lGD7fg

Kobo – http://bit.ly/1oKtvoe

iTunes – http://bit.ly/R2Pecm

And now for an excerpt from V.L. Locey, one of the authors of Seduced by The Game ~ A Charity Anthology.  WARNING…it is an M/M excerpt that contains a bit of adult language.  If you are sensitive to that sort of thing, best to stop here.

Turns out the Kaufmann Clock was this old, gold clock with naked Grecian men on either side of it. It`s a damned impressive clock that is a Pittsburgh landmark I would learn later. It seems that it is quite the thing to meet someone under this over one hundred year old clock. It was where I found Cam, bundled up in a thick blue parka, sipping a hot beverage. The corner of Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street was pretty quiet. I pulled up in front of Macy`s, parked, then jogged over to Cameron.

“You could have picked somewhere warmer to meet,” I said. Cam began walking. I fell in beside him.

“Like where?” the man asked, his face nearly concealed by the huge hood over his head. “Tell me one damned place in this town that we could meet to talk without someone knowing it was us.”

I padded along beside him with no reply for his comment. He was right. Everyone knew his face in ‘The Burgh’. The longer we walked the more I accepted that I would freeze to death. We made two complete laps in total silence. Cam stopped to drop his empty coffee cup into a trash can. We stood under a street light, our breath twin clouds of steam hovering in front of us.

“You have to understand that this . . . I don`t know how to go about . . . shit.” He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his parka. Again we started walking.

“Look man, if I knew for sure what we were dealing with, maybe I could help a little better,” I said. A biracial couple hurried past us. I burrowed into my flimsy coat until all that stuck out of the collar were my eyes.

“I have a daughter. She`s a senior in high school.”

“Awesome,” I mumbled into my coat. My forehead was extremely cold. Like ice cream eaten too fast cold. We kept walking that block.

“She is awesome.” I peeked over at him. I wished he would drop that fucking hood so I could see his face. “And not aware of how things were with her mother and me.”

“How things were or how you were pretending they were?” I chanced it. What the hell? He would either slug me, call me a mother-fucker, or stalk off. Whatever happened it had to be better than roaming around this fucking city block when the temperature was a balmy four degrees. “I mean, that is what your dancing around, right? That you`re so far back in the closet you just discovered Narnia? Why not just admit that much to yourself before we both succumb to fucking hypothermia.”

I should have known that Cameron Evans was a man of action. I mean, I followed his career all though my school years. He was fast. My back was against the wall under that old clock before I could register the shove. Cam then got all sorts of in my face. I did not raise my hands. His angry exhalation was flavored with vanilla.

“Are you calling me a queer?” I shrugged one shoulder.

“I call them as I see them. Now, you can either step off or you can kiss me.” I threw the challenge out without a second thought. I stared into the shelter of his hood, finding his dark eyes in the shadows. They flickered down to my blue lips. “Whatever you decide to do, do it fast. I`m cold, tired, and hungry.”

He did. He captured my mouth with a kiss so aggressive my teeth ground into my lips. Yeah. This was it. This was what I had been pushing him to do . . . hoping he would do. His hands slapped to the wall on either side of my head. I grabbed his hooded head then ran my tongue over his bottom lip. The tempting taste of his latte lingered on his tongue. Then he lost the fingertip hold he had found on the slippery slope of sexual honesty. Cam stumbled backwards. I remained flat to the wall, my lips warmed nicely. He threw horrified looks up then down the street.

“Cam, man, it`s okay. It is okay to kiss a dude on the street. It is totally acceptable.”

“No one knows.” He pulled his hood even further over his face.

“Then tell them. Go to your daughter, tell her. Tell your ex-wife, unless she already knows?”

“No, she doesn`t know, but she suspected. I need more time to . . . think this through.”

“Cam, don`t you think you`ve lived a lie long enough, dude?” I asked as he retreated further into his parka.

“It`s so much easier to hide in the dark,” he murmured then he left me under the clock, back flat to the wall, lips tender from our kiss.