February 2, 2016

Promo Post: Special Agent: Austin by Joni Hahn

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Special Agent: Austin by Joni Hahn
D.I.R.E. Agency Series, #6.5
Genre:Action Adventure, Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Special Agent Austin by Joni Hahn
Special Agent: Austin by Joni Hahn
D.I.R.E. Agency Series, #6.5
Genre:Action Adventure, Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
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synopsis
Special Agent: Austin Rose
Objective: Make the D.I.R.E. Agency
Credentials: None

Twelve years ago, Austin Rose silently stood by while his mother sent his brother away from home and their stepfather’s abuse. Now that he’s learned the truth behind his family’s lies, Austin is a changed man, determined to make things right with the D.I.R.E. super agent - and himself - by making the elite security agency.

A hit gone bad changed assassin, Belle Mason’s life forever. Assigned to San Diego for a D.I.R.E. agent’s wedding, she’s determined to bring down D.I.R.E. while its vulnerable, and give her sisters a new life. What she doesn’t count on is interference from the distracting, forbidden Austin Rose, or his knack for dispelling her lifelong truths.

When Austin’s chances of making the agency hinge on going undercover with Belle – literally – he’ll do whatever it takes to make the team.

But, when Belle decides to put her own life on the line, only one truth remains, and Austin won’t silently stand by…
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about author
JoniHahn
By day, award-winning author Joni Hahn keeps her secret decoder ring hidden while she works as a mild-mannered contemporary romance author. She believes the world can never have too many superheroes, and anxiously waits for the call when one will need help saving the world… or getting into his costume. Joni was born with a hopelessly tender heart and believes there is nothing on earth more exhilarating than falling in love. A native Texan, she thinks cowboys are the epitome of masculinity, and that country music is the other soul music.

Joni is a member of The Authors Guild, the Romance Writers of America, and its Published Authors Network. She is a member of several RWA sub-chapters and has served in numerous board positions with the San Antonio Romance Authors. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, going to movies and concerts, and spending time with family and friends.

Books 1 through 6.5 in Joni’s sci-fi romantic suspense series, The D.I.R.E. Agency, are available now. Look for the epic series finale, Book 7, Agent U7: Keegan coming mid 2016!

Blog Tour Book Review: Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson

at 2/02/2016 12:00:00 AM 0 comments

Releasing on February 2, 2016
Loveswept


Fans of Katie McGarry, Simone Elkeles, and Tammara Webber will love Against the Wall! As teenagers, they fell for each other despite the odds. But now that Eric and Meghan are all grown up, they’re reunited by fierce passion and dangerous secrets.

Eric Hernandez is the bad boy of every schoolgirl’s fantasies—and every mother’s nightmares. But after serving time for manslaughter, he’s ready to turn his life around. He just needs a chance to prove himself as a professional tattoo artist. The one thing that keeps him going is the memory
of the innocent beauty he loved and left behind.

Meghan Young’s world isn’t as perfect as it looks. The preacher’s daughter is living a lie, especially now that Eric is back. Tougher, harder, and sexier than ever, he might be the only person she can trust. But there’s no telling what he’ll do to protect her if he learns the truth, and that’s a risk Meghan won’t let him take. And yet, back in the arms of the troubled boy with the artist’s soul, Meghan can’t help surrendering to the man he’s become.
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Noah exchanges a glance with April and takes Jenny into the kitchen. It’s awkward, being on his turf. I don’t belong here. I belong in Castle Park, the down-and-out neighborhood where I used to live with my grandma. Now she’s in Mexico with the rest of my family, and I have nowhere else to go. Nowhere safe, that is. I’m supposed to stay in a stable environment, and I can’t leave San Diego. It’s one of the conditions of my parole.
“Let’s get you settled,” April says brightly.
I grab my backpack and follow her. On the phone she told me I could sleep in the den. It looks sort of like an office with a small bed in the corner. I spot a vintage desk and an old-school record player I recognize as Meghan’s.
I’m struck by memories of the last day I spent with her. She had a room upstairs back then. When we first met, it was just Meghan and Noah living here. She put on some music and I laid her down on her bed. I took everything she had to offer and then some. I can’t even bring myself to regret it. That memory, more than any other, has sustained me on lonely nights in my cell. I’ve jerked off to a thousand variations of it.
I know that Meghan moved out a few months ago, but I imagine her lingering presence. The smell of her hair on the pillows.
“This was Meghan’s room?” I say, my voice hoarse.
April opens the closet, which is half-full of girl clothes. “I can ask her to move her stuff.”
“No,” I say. I don’t need the space; everything I own fits inside a backpack.
“Are you sure?”
I sit on the bed, nodding. This arrangement is temporary, anyway. “Which room are you going to use for the nursery?”
April waves her hand in the air. “I want the crib in my room. You can stay here as long as you like.”
I wonder if Noah is on board with this. He can’t be thrilled about having an ex-con under the same roof with his pregnant wife and stepdaughter. He got promoted to the homicide division, but money might be tight. I should cut out as soon as possible. I’m not a charity case, and even though Meghan’s not here, it doesn’t feel right to inhabit her space.
It feels . . . dangerous. Tempting.
I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her I didn’t want her. She stared at me with soft blue eyes and trembling lips, pale from shock. Hardest fucking lie I ever told—and I’m an accomplished liar. But I couldn’t let her waste three years on me. I couldn’t let myself wish for something that far beyond my reach. I had to be cruel to be kind.
At least, that was how I justified my actions three years ago. Looking back, maybe I just wanted to be a dick. Getting locked up has that effect. It touches every raw nerve and stirs every violent tendency. It stokes prejudices and festers resentments. The only acceptable outlet for male prisoners is rage.
“When you’re ready, come out to the backyard. Noah’s grilling some carne asada.”
My stomach rumbles loud enough for her to hear. Smiling, she slips out the door and down the hall. She looks happy. That’s the difference in her, along with her rounded belly and fuller curves. She’s not exhausted anymore. Noah takes care of her. Or she takes care of him.
They take care of each other.
April hooked up with Noah around the same time I started seeing Meghan. He interviewed her about the murder of one of her coworkers, a waitress at Club Suave. Cops aren’t supposed to date anyone involved in their investigations, but apparently he couldn’t resist. They fell in love before I went to prison and got married shortly after. 
Noah has been good to April and Jenny. Much better than Raul was. Even so, my urge to leave grows stronger. I don’t want to cause problems or be a burden to anyone. I’ve never been part of a nice family. I don’t know how to act civilized anymore.
This isn’t my scene.
I glance around, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans. There’s a nightstand by the bed. I open the first drawer and peer inside. Unlike the closet, it’s empty. I close it in mild disappointment. I’m not sure what I expected to find in there. Some random girl stuff, like makeup and perfume.
I remove the clothes from my backpack and toss them into the empty drawer. I have three shirts, an extra pair of pants, and some basketball shorts. Then I bring out my prized possession: my portfolio.
I like art. I can draw almost anything from memory. My favorite medium is spray paint on a fresh concrete wall, but in prison the materials are limited. Most of my drawings are ink on lined paper.
I also do ink on skin. It’s how I survived in the joint.
I was only twenty when I went in. I’m about five foot ten, not the biggest guy on the block. I’ve got muscles and I’m strong, but I’ll never be huge. I have a lean build and features they call handsome. To say that I needed protection is an understatement. Despite my unlucky size and face, I had three things going for me when I went in. First, I was down for CVL, my local clique. The Chula Vista Locos pay dues to the Mexican Mafia, also known as La Eme. So I was already connected to a powerful prison gang.
The second advantage I had was my best friend, Junior. We both got locked up at the same time and sent to the same prison. It’s not unusual for San Diego criminals to do sentences in Chino or San Quentin—they’re the two largest correctional facilities in the state. Junior wasn’t in my cellblock, but we saw each other in the yard. He became a captain for La Eme. If anyone fucked with me, Junior made them pay.
The third advantage was my talent for art. I can hold my own in a fight, but I didn’t want to earn my keep that way. I didn’t want to be anyone’s bitch, either. Instead of offering those services, I sold drawings and tattoos. I was the best in my block.

Tattooing has been the only bright spot in my life. Without my art, and my best friend, I’d probably be dead.
If you have read the previous book, The Edge of Night, you will know who some of the background characters are. I did not know about the first book (this is the sequel), but it was written well enough that I didn't have to read the first book to know enough about the characters to distinguish who's who. This book features Eric Hernandez, a young man who was recently finished a three year sentence in prison for murder. The setting is Chula Vista, in the gangster-influenced sections. Despite being a resident of California since I was born and live in an area with Latin influences, I know nothing about Latin gangsters and what areas are their territories.  Back to the story, Eric's former "sister-in-law" April and her new cop hubby Noah, throw him a homecoming party. For those of you who read The Edge of Night, April and Noah were the main characters. They make an appearance among the cast of Against the Wall. Now this is where things get a little complicated. Eric's deceased brother, Raul, was April's abusive partner. After his death, April and Noah got married and raise Jenny (April and Raul's daughter). Eric's ex-girlfriend and first love, Meghan, happens to be Noah's younger sister. Eric and Meghan got together around the same time that April and Noah did, but unfortunately Eric was sent to prison soon after. After a three year absence, Meghan has moved on with her life and with someone else. First speed bump here, let's talk about Chip. Chip is a misogynistic stereotypical jock; all brawn and no brains. It was no hardship disliking this character; not because I knew the endgame was Eric, but because of his ego and obliviousness to Meghan's needs and wants (though Meghan should have said something) I just found him too unlikeable.

Let's address the elephant in the room. Before Chip knew about Eric, Chip's behavior as a boyfriend gave me the impression that Chip saw Meghan (tall, leggy, busty blond) as a status symbol, especially among the other jocks at school. From Meghan's accounts, it seemed like he could care less about her pleasures and was selfish in bed. Not to mention the high-handed behavior when they were in public. When Chip met Eric, his actions toward Meghan could be passed off as possessive, but I thought they were the signs of a potentially abusive partner. When their relationship finally came to the first physical strike, I did feel a bit sympathetic towards Chip (it didn't last long). I think he personally believed that he was everything Meghan could want in a boyfriend and that he genuinely loved and wanted her, but his self-doubt and anger towards Meghan and her inability to love him, warped him into someone capable of hitting a woman. After he hit Meghan, he took out his anger on the apartment they shared together and ultimately ashamed at his actions to the point of sobbing (mourning his former self?). I am not saying that Meghan did not play a part in the destruction of their relationship, but she let their relationship carry on for way longer than she should have. Now before the comments about me "victim blaming" Meghan start flowing in, just remember it takes two to tango. Meghan herself said that she wasn't even invested in her relationship with Chip and just went along with what he wanted because it was easier to go with the flow than to fight against it. Their relationship was doomed from the start, but Chip seemed to be way more invested in the relationship than Meghan.


The moment Eric is back on the scene, Meghan and Chip's relationship deteriorated even faster. Not that Eric encouraged Meghan into torching her relationship. He actually thought it was best if they didn't get back together. He has a lot going on. Readjusting to life outside a cell is hard, from what I've heard. Finding a job and a place to stay is paramount. He's temporarily staying with April and Noah; Noah does not approve of Eric as a potential partner for Meghan. On top of everything, his old gang affiliations are sniffing around to settle out scores. Eric is trying is best to stay on the straight and narrow, but you know what they say about best laid plans. Eric is a complex character. While in prison, Eric honed his skills as an artist, trading tattoos in exchange for a leave off. While he wants Meghan (a lot), he feels that he might taint her with the darkness he feels that is still inside him. He's realistic about his life and the options he currently has. As an ex-con, you are disqualified from certain government programs and have to admit to serving jail time on job applications. 

Life can be hard inside prison, but it can be even harder on the outside. Unlike most ex-cons, Eric has a safety net on the outside. He has his sister-in-law to provide a roof over his head and his sister-in-law's new husband who lined up a job and vouched for him. The few highlights of this book were the scenes between Eric and Meghan near the end of the book. Overall the book was a good read, but I thought Eric and Meghan's characters could have been more developed, but considering they are still in their 20s and have more maturing to do, everything was okay. I did appreciate that the author used (authentic?) Spanish slang in the book to make the characters more real, but despite growing up in California and surrounded by lots of Spanish speakers, I did not know any of it. There are still things in the book that were left hanging, but it's not that important. 
3.5 stars

Jill Sorenson is the RITA-nominated author of more than a dozen romantic-suspense novels. She has a degree in literature and writing from California State University. Her books have been selected as Red-Hot Reads by Cosmopolitan magazine, and have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Sorenson currently lives in the San Diego area with her family. She’s a soccer mom who loves nature, coffee, reading, Twitter, and reality TV.

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January 30, 2016

Blog Tour Promo Post: Blood on the Bayou by Heather Graham

at 1/30/2016 12:00:00 AM 0 comments
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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review/Excerpt Tour for BLOOD ON THE BAYOU by Heather Graham! BLOOD ON THE BAYOU is A Cafferty & Quinn Series Novella brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights. It is available now, so grab your copy of this sexy novella today!
Blood on the Bayou - cover

About BLOOD ON THE BAYOU: A Cafferty & Quinn Novella


From New York Times bestseller Heather Graham...

It's winter and a chill has settled over New Orleans, binding a stream of blood that leads a tourist to a dead man, face down in the bayou.

The man has been done in by a vicious beating, so violent that his skull has been crashed in.

It's barely a day before a second victim is found . . . once again so badly thrashed that the water runs red. The city becomes riddled with fear.

An old family friend comes to Danni Cafferty, telling her that he's terrified, he's certain that he's received a message from the Blood Bayou killer--It's your turn to pay, blood on the bayou.

The two quickly become involved, and--as they all begin to realize that a gruesome local history is being repeated--they find themselves in a fight to save not just a friend, but, perhaps, their very own lives.


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Excerpt
“People in this area all know the legends about the rougarou. Someone out there might be using the legend. In this day and age, it’s quite possible to fake a monster.”
They both looked at him with huge eyes, seemingly wanting to trust in him.
“Sound like a plan?” Quinn asked Larue.
The detective nodded. “Let’s move, though. We have to get out to Honey Swamp. We’re going to help the task force with the investigation.”
Ten minutes later they were at the hotel where the young women were staying. Quinn inspected the balcony while they gathered their belongings together. The room sat on the second floor, but the balcony might have been easily accessed from the street. There was a heavy pipe near enough for someone to crawl up and gain a grip on one of the wrought iron rails. “How did someone walk through the French Quarter all dressed up without being noticed?”
“This is New Orleans,” Larue said. “Not far from Bourbon Street. Think about it, Quinn. Does anyone really notice crazy around here? I mean, there’s a lot of crazy.”
“Something like the rougarou? A giant man with a wolf’s head?”
“Somebody walked stark naked down Bourbon Street about two days ago, and it took that long for anyone to report it to the police,” Larue told him.
“That’s not a rougarou.”
Larue shrugged. “Okay. I’ll give you that.”
“To put a spin of logic on this, I’d say that it was more than possible for a man to dress up, then crawl up here to scare Jane and Lana. It’s also possible that whoever was here had nothing to do with the murder in the swamp, or maybe someone got wind of the situation and knew that the two young women had been on the tour and decided to scare them. They’re visitors, yes, but they know the city and they might have met a young man anxious to scare them. Then he comes along and offers his presence as protection against whatever has them frightened.”
Larue did not argue.
“At any rate,” Quinn said. “Let’s go meet your friends from Pearl River.”

Heather Graham’s BLOOD ON THE BAYOU
Review and Excerpt Tour

January 27th
Bea's Book Nook – Excerpt
From the TBR Pile – Review & Excerpt
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt
January 28th
Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt
January 29th
Brooke Blogs – Excerpt
Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt
Parajunkee's View – Excerpt
January 30th
Evermore Books – Excerpt
TMBA Corbett Tries to Write – Review & Excerpt
January 31st
DayReader Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Us Girls & A Book – Review
Romeo &Roo Books – Review
February 1st
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review & Excerpt
BooksPieAndCoffee – Review
Book-o-Craze – Review & Excerpt
February 2nd
Write for Your Life! – Review & Excerpt
The Sassy Bookster – Review & Excerpt
Books-n-Kisses – Review & Excerpt
February 3rd
Books Need TLC – Review
Liz's Reading Life – Excerpt
The Two Brains of Book Reviewers – Review & Excerpt
February 4th
Amazeballs Book Addicts – Review & Excerpt
DRC Promotions – Review
Fictional Reality – Excerpt
Indy Book Fairy – Excerpt
February 5th
alpha book club – Review & Excerpt
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About Heather Graham
Heather Graham Headshot
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.

Heather was a founding member of the Florida Romance Writers chapter of RWA and, since 1999, has hosted the Romantic Times Vampire Ball, with all revenues going directly to children’s charity.

She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages, and to have been honored with awards from Waldenbooks. B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times, and more. She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, People, and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including local television and Entertainment Tonight.


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January 29, 2016

Blog Tour Book Review: The Knave of Hearts by Elizabeth Boyle

at 1/29/2016 12:03:00 AM 0 comments



THE KNAVE OF HEARTS
Rhymes With Love #5
Elizabeth Boyle
Releasing on January 26, 2016
Avon


In the fifth novel of the captivating Rhymes With Love series from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, a young woman's hopes of a match encounter a wickedly handsome complication . . .

Lavinia Tempest has been eagerly anticipating a spectacular season. But one disastrous pile-up on the Almack's dance floor derails all her plans. Add to that, the very stunning revelations about her mother's scandalous past have become the ton's latest on dits. Lavinia's future has gone from shining bright to blackest night in one misstep.

Alaster "Tuck" Rowland admits he's partly to blame for Lavinia's disastrous debut. But it's not guilt that compels him to restore her reputation. Rather, he's placed a wager that he can make Lavinia into one of the most sought-after ladies in London. Who better than an unrepentant rake to set society astir?

Tuck's motives are hardly noble. But in teaching the lovely Lavinia how to win any man she wants, he suddenly finds himself tangled in the last place he ever imagined: in love.
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For a young lady who had made a study of all things proper, Miss Lavinia Tempest always seemed to find her fair share of mishaps.
The small fire at Foxgrove. The bunting incident of ’08. And the rather infamous trampling at the Midsummer’s Eve ball two years earlier.
Sir Roger still claimed he didn’t miss those toes.
Of course, he was joking. He’d been very fond of those toes.
And worse, every time Lavinia attended a ball, soiree, or even just the weekly meetings of the Society for the Temperance and Improvement of Kempton, someone (usually Mrs. Bagley-Butterton) had to remind one and all of one of her more recent follies.
So when Lavinia entered the hallowed halls of Almack’s, it was with, she vowed, a fresh start.
A clean slate.
And so it seemed she was right. No one pulled their hem out of the way as she drew near for fear of it being trod upon or worse, the lace being completely ripped away. No one whispered behind their fan, or laid wagers as to who or what would be broken by the end of the evening.
She was, for the first time in her life, merely Miss Tempest, the daughter of the respected scholar, Sir Ambrose Tempest.
“It is just as I imagined,” she said in awe as she and her sister Louisa handed over their vouchers. The perfect place to launch herself into the lofty reaches of London Society.
After all, she’d spent most of the afternoon planning out her evening (when she hadn’t been reading her favorite Miss Darby novel).
First and foremost, she was wearing her new gown—a demure and respectable dress done in the latest stare of modest fashion. And while she had longed for brilliant sapphire silk that had been on the shelf at the modiste’s shop, that color would never do for a debut such as this.
After all, the very rule was on her list:
Proper Rule No. 3. An unmarried lady always wears demure and respectable colors. Such as white. Or a pale yellow. Or an apple green, but only if the occasion permits.
So the blue silk could only be eyed from a distance, and she’d consigned herself to the muslin, for propriety was the order of the evening.
That is if she was to gain the highest obligation of every young lady making her debut Season in London:

Proper Rule No. 1. Marriage to a respectable, sensible, well-ordered gentleman is the order of business for every proper lady.

So she had the gown, entrance into the very heart of the Marriage Mart, and now all she had to do was finish the evening without incident.
But this was Lavinia Tempest, and that was easier said than done.
“No dancing,” Louisa whispered to her as their chaperone, Lady Aveley, led them into the Wednesday evening crush. Her sister held out her hand, pinky extended, and Lavinia wrapped her own finger around it and the two sisters bound their promise together.
No dancing.
In Lavinia’s defense, she had made her promise most faithfully with every intention of remaining safely at the side of the dance floor.
She had demurred when Lord Ardmore had asked. Begging off in a charming fashion that she was “too nervous to dance,” this being her first visit to Almack’s.
She’d even refused the very handsome and dashing Baron Rimswell—though she had been sorely tested for it was only a simple reel, but then one glance at Lord Rimswell’s glossy boots and she’d thought better of it and remained firm to her promise.
No dancing.
But apparently no one had told Mr. Alaster Rowland. Now in his favor, Mr. Rowland’s boots hadn’t a fine gloss and he was rather squiffy from an indeterminate amount of brandy, so even if she had stepped on him, he was drunk enough that it would most likely dull the pain.
Like Eloisa James, Elizabeth Boyle was one of the authors whose books I practically inhaled. This is the fifth book in the Rhymes with Love series that E. Boyle has started a number of years ago. I started this series around this time and then college happened, so I lost track of the series. I am glad that I started reading historical fiction again! So in this book, we have Lavinia Tempest, twin sister to the heroine in book 4. The timeline of this book coincides with the timeline from book 4, just from the other twin's POV and what happens in her story. Lavinia is a klutz; to put it nicely. Whenever she is in attendance at a social event, there's a tendency for something to go terribly wrong. How much trouble can one young minx cause? Quite a bit. At the biggest event of the season, Lavinia tries her best to not cause a ruckus, but as best laid plans go…. Unfortunately with the help of one Mr. Alaster Rowland, Lavinia accidentally causes a scandal of epic proportions. With her reputation in tatters and chances of landing a good match out the door, Lavinia has no choice, but to return to the little town of Kempton and live out her days as a spinster. This is where Rowland a.k.a. Tuck, comes to the rescue. He hatches a plan to make Lavinia the most sought after young lady by the end of the season. Quite a feat, but not impossible. While Tuck does his best to help Lavinia, other plots are going on behind the scenes. Was Tuck's offer of assistance made in good faith or was it a mask for something else entirely? As the two work together to get Lavinia back on the marriage mart, they become closer and to me, they make the best couple, but as all love story goes, it takes a while for the players to acknowledge this little fact. All in all I thought it was a great addition to the Rhymes with Love series. I don't think there will be more stories in this series. All of the Kempton single ladies have been married off, to my best recollection, but E. Boyle might write up more stories. :D I certainly hope so.
4.5 stars


ELIZABETH BOYLE has always loved romance and now lives it each and every day by writing adventurous and passionate stories that readers from all around the world have described as “page-turners.” Since her first book was published, she’s seen her romances become New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and win the RWA RITA Award and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards. She resides in Seattle with her family, her garden and always growing collection of yarn. Readers can visit her on the Web at www.elizabethboyle.com.




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Release Day Blitz: Devious Minds by Colleen Helme

at 1/29/2016 12:00:00 AM 0 comments


(A Shelby Nichols Adventure Series #8)
by Colleen Helme

It’s been almost a year since a near-fatal gunshot wound left Shelby Nichols with the ability to read minds. In that time she’s faced one problem after another. She’s been shot at, framed for murder, and targeted by a serial killer, just to name a few. Now she’s trying to help her lawyer husband win a murder trial that will enable him to become a partner in his law firm. Sounds easy, right? But nothing ever goes as planned when it comes to Shelby Nichols.

When special agent, Blake Beauchaine, shows up to collect a debt from Shelby, things get even more complicated, and Shelby is soon on her way to Paris. A routine meeting with a rogue agent reveals a sinister plot, putting Shelby into the cross-hairs of a known terrorist. Even worse, she doesn’t speak French, so it seems her mind-reading abilities won’t help her this time.

Things go from bad to downright dangerous for Shelby, especially since her usual guardians, Uncle Joey, and his hit-man, Ramos, are back in the states. Lost and on her own in the streets of Paris, can Shelby escape the cold-blooded killer in time to stop his devious plans, or will this be the end of the line for Shelby Nichols?

Available for purchase at 


Excerpt

TEASER from Devious Minds: A Shelby Nichols Adventure
Copyright 2016 by Colleen Helme

The first day of spring arrived, filling me with an overwhelming sense of freedom. Even though the temperature wasn’t real warm, it meant that winter was officially over. Even better, a ride on the motorcycle behind Ramos was now a possibility.
I’d missed that and I’d missed him. He’d been gone for two weeks helping Uncle Joey take care of some out-of-town business. I wasn’t exactly sure what that entailed and... believe me, I didn’t want to know. Jackie, Uncle Joey’s secretary and wife, told me they were both due back in the next few days, and deep down where I didn’t want to admit it, I could hardly wait to see them again.
That probably made me a bad person, since I worked for Uncle Joey, and he was a mob-boss. Ramos was his hit-man and he’d saved my life a few times. I had to admit, it was a far cry from the first time I’d met Ramos almost a year ago, when he was thinking he might have to kill me for the big boss.
I’d had to tell Uncle Joey my secret that I could read minds to stop that from happening. Since then, my skills had come in handy for Uncle Joey, and gotten me into a lot of trouble. But he’d always been there to bail me out, both literally and figuratively.
So now I helped Uncle Joey, not because I was forced into it, but because I wanted to. That was just twisted on so many levels, and he wasn’t even my real uncle. But I couldn’t seem to stop, so I did my best to keep on the right side of things.
Ramos was another part of that story. He was one hot and swoon-worthy man any woman would fall for. I had to keep reminding myself that I was happily married every time I laid eyes on him. He was the quintessential bad boy and, like a decadent chocolate dessert with whipped cream and a cherry on top, something that I might want in the worst way, but would also be very bad for me.
If I wasn’t married with kids... well, who knew what could happen, but I loved my husband and children, and Ramos respected that. Even so, there were still times when my heart seemed to have a mind of its own around him, and I’d have to rein it in or lose control, which was not an option.
Only a handful of people knew I could read minds, and I liked it that way. I told everyone else I had premonitions, and that mostly worked. I also had my own consulting agency, which included helping the police along with my own clients. Because of that, I managed to get into even more trouble, and that wasn’t counting the mob-boss part.
Like now.
My husband, Chris, had asked for my help on a hard case. He was an associate partner in the prestigious law firm of Cohen, Larsen and Pratt. This case was the single most important event of Chris’ career, mostly because the partners were looking to replace the Cohen part of the firm, and changing it to Larsen, Pratt and... Nichols.
This was a huge deal, and I wondered if the fact that Chris handled all of Uncle Joey’s accounts had something to do with it. Probably, but I wasn’t touching that with a ten foot pole. This put a lot of pressure on me. Not as much as Chris, but still… I didn’t want to screw it up for him.
That brought me to my problem. I wasn’t sure I wanted to help Chris, mostly because he was defending a woman accused of killing her husband, and ten million dollars from the life insurance policy was in the balance. To complicate matters even more, the husband’s company was one of Chris’ biggest clients.
If they won, Chris’ firm would get a nice, fat share, and also keep the company as a client. But from everything he’d told me, she sounded guilty as sin. If I listened to her thoughts, I’d know for sure, and that would just ruin everything. It made me realize that sometimes my ‘gift’ wasn’t so great. Not when I had to use it to get someone off who actually deserved some jail time.
But... wasn’t that what I did for Uncle Joey? So how was this any worse?
In fact, I’d recently made a deal with a government agent to keep Uncle Joey out of prison. In exchange for my help on one of his cases, he’d agreed to make any charges against Uncle Joey disappear. When Uncle Joey found out what I’d done, he wasn’t too happy with me. Especially since he thought I’d told Blake Beauchaine I could read minds.
Once he knew I hadn’t, and Blake just wanted me for what he thought were my mad interrogation skills, he’d calmed down. Still, Uncle Joey told me he could have handled anything Blake might have thrown at him without my deal. To be honest, it kind of hurt my feelings. Then he made me promise to involve him if Blake ever came to collect.
So now on top of everything else, I had Blake’s phone call to look forward to, and Uncle Joey to involve after that. It was enough to give me an ulcer.
“Shelby? We’re ready for you,” Chris said, poking his head out of the conference room.
The Shelby Nichols Adventure Series
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About The Author
As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble… I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

               

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