23 December 2016

Succubus: Blog Tour




Title: Succubus
Author: Brandon Varnell
Publication Date: Dec. 1, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | B&N
Other Books by Author: A Most Unlikely Hero | A Fox's Love
Christian is the Catholic Church’s best executioner. Dedicated. Devout. Deadly. Ever since the Church saved him from the decimated ruins of his hometown, his commitment to their cause has been unshakable.

Then he’s sent to execute Lilith, who lives in Seal Beach, California. He’s baffled. Lilith is afraid of men. The Church believes she’s a succubus, but he just can’t see it. Yet the way men—both human and monster alike—act as if they’ve been possessed whenever she’s near is disturbing.

With lustful men attacking Lilith and monsters attacking him for being near Lilith, Christian must uncover what’s really going on, and soon, or innocent blood will run through the streets—as will his own.

Love. It can kill a man.



Brandon Varnell is a writer... the end.

... Just kidding.

Brandon Varnell is the writer of the American Kitsune series. He has absolutely no skill at anything aside from writing and looking half-baked. He used to play guitar, but due to laziness, he never went anywhere with it. He also used to play a lot of video games, but after suffering this terrible affliction called book addiction, he only plays occasionally these days. Brandon lives mostly within his own imagination, but can occasionally be found in Phoenix, Arizona.

For several years now - at least three - Brandon has dreamed of becoming a full-time author. He would love it if the time came when he could wake up, write several thousand words, and then call it a day. To reach this goal, he tends to write. A lot. He writes fan fiction, he writes original fiction, he writes Erotic fiction... oh, wait. No, he doesn't. He just writes stories with a lot of fan service.

Aside from being an avid writer, Brandon also likes to cosplay. You can generally find him at the local Comicon dressed as various characters from movies, video games and anime. It's also not all that unusual to find him walking around town in a red trench coat, no shirt and carrying a large sword on his back. Kudos to those of you who get the reference. His current favorite people to cosplay are Han Solo (who doesn't want to be a roguish smuggler?), Cloud Strife (he likes the big ass sword), Dante, and Squall Leonhart. He has also thought of trying to cosplay as Darth Vader or Zero (Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass), but has decided to stay away from all black cosplay since he lives in Arizona - it's really hot in that state, you know.

He also loves anime, which makes a lot of sense, seeing how the entire American Kitsune series is basically just one big anime parody.

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How Christian Met Lilith

Seal Beach really was a beautiful place, Christian mused. It was a perfect fusion of modern architecture and quaint shops in a tropical setting. It was also relatively quiet and peaceful; nothing at all like Los Angeles. At this time of day, LA would have been bustling, with crowds of people walking down the street and cars honking in jam-packed traffic. The repugnant scent of a thousand bodies mixing together would overwhelm his senses, leaving him doing everything humanly possible not to gag. Such was not the case in Seal Beach. Only a few people walked down the street: a small family getting an early start on the day, a young couple going out for breakfast, and a middle-aged man talking on his cell phone. That was about it. Only a few cars driving down the road. Christian counted no more than twelve. Yes, this place was truly a bastion of peacefulness and tranquility. If only he could have been stationed here instead of Los Angeles. It was regrettable that this place didn't warrant an Executioners office.
Christian looked down at the map on his tablet. His location was shown as an arrow, his destination as a blue dot. A green line connected the arrow to the dot, showing which streets he should travel. The Crema Café was less than a mile from his location. According to the reviews that he had read when checking his phone, this was one of the most popular cafés in the vicinity; good food, a peaceful atmosphere, and excellent customer service—just what he was looking for. Maybe he could even read a chapter or two of his light novel when he arrived.
That would be nice.
“ Ah!”
As he turned a corner, a much smaller body crashed into him. A feminine yelp knocked him from his thoughts, and also knocked him off balance. Being bigger than whoever crashed head-first against his chest, he didn’t stumble backward more than a few steps, though he did almost drop his tablet. Only his quick reflexes stopped it from cracking against the pavement. Shaking his head and internally berating himself for his lack of awareness―a Warrior should always be aware of his surroundings ―Christian looked down to see who he had crashed into...... and froze. A young woman around his age sat on the ground before him. Blond hair cascaded down her back like an effervescent waterfall, the sunlight reflecting off each strand, granting her an otherworldly, almost heavenly, appearance. Her face, illuminated by the sun, looked like it had been lovingly crafted by angels. A cute button nose sat below azure-blue eyes. Above the gentle rise of her chin were pink Cupid’s bow lips, which glistened in the light as if she was wearing shiny lip gloss.
Christian glimpsed beautifully crafted thighs and shapely calves. Her small feet were adorned with sandals that left her cute little toes free to wiggle about. A light blue sundress flattered her figure. Her beauty was not the reason that Christian froze. There was no mistaking this girl. He’d made sure to memorize her picture before coming here. While she was far more beautiful in person, there could be no doubt in his mind about her identity. Was it fate, or perhaps will of God that he would meet his target so soon after arriving in town? Truly, the Almighty Creator must have been smiling down at him, delivering his target right into his grasp. Now that he had found her, all he needed to do was get her alone somewhere, someplace where no one else would tread, perhaps an alley, where he could finish her off. A butterfly knife to the heart was not the most efficient way to kill someone, but it would have to do. “ Ouch.” The voice sounded like the tinkling of wind chimes. He focused on the girl sprawled on the sidewalk. She was rubbing her apparently sore backside. “ What hit me?” “ I’m really sorry about that,” Christian said, his tone polite. If he wanted to get her somewhere alone, he needed to play this cool. “ Here, let me help you up.” Before he could even offer the girl his hand, she froze. He wondered if something was wrong. Maybe that fall had injured her more than he had assumed. Those thoughts were dispelled when the girl looked up at him. Christian was shocked at the terror etched on her face. Her eyes were wide, her pupils were dilated, and her mouth hung open in abject horror. He had seen this look before, on the faces of monsters right before he killed them. The most telling sign of her fear was not the look on her face, though it certainly completed the image, but the way her body shook, as if the mere sight of him caused her body to lose control of its muscles.
Why does she look so afraid of me? I haven’t done anything to warrant such fear yet.
“ Miss, are you—”
“Kya!”
Christian’s face scrunched up at the odd noise. “ Kya?” He watched, surprised, as the succubus scrambled backward, away from him. She was still on the ground, using her hands and feet to crawl away like some kind of crustacean. Her face remained frozen in terror. What was going on? “ Um... excuse me?” He took a step forward. “ M-m-m―it-it’s a-a MAN!” the girl shouted, and scrambled to her feet. Christian could do nothing but stare as the blonde beauty bolted, running away from him like Satan was nipping at her heels. She disappeared around the next corner. After several seconds of staring at the now empty sidewalk, Christian summed up his thoughts in a few short words.
“What in God’s name just happened?”
***
Lilith didn’t know how far she ran. The only thing that mattered was getting away from that man. All she wanted to do was run so far that there was no chance of him catching up to her, provided he was even aware enough to chase her down. She hoped that she was lucky, and that he was too stunned by her to move. She eventually stopped between two buildings, her forehead covered in sweat. She quivered in fear and exhaustion as adrenaline left her system, draining her of what litt le energy she had possessed.

She leaned against the red brick wall of a small convenience store, breathing heavily. Her legs felt weak. They were shaking, and she wondered how long it would be before they gave out on her. It took her a long while to regain her composure. The task was harder than she remembered it being, but that didn’t surprise her in the least. Ever since the incident that had destroyed her life, Lilith had been unable to even look at a man without feeling the stirrings of fear, never mind going near one. She’d had a few close calls since then, and each one left her a shaking wreck. The last time she encountered a man, Maria had been forced to come to her college because she’d locked herself in a science lab, refusing to come out unless Maria was there. Thankfully, her workplace didn’t have any male employees, though a few dads stopped by to pick up their children. She did her best to not be present when they showed up. Several seconds passed before the shuddering ceased. With one final glance in the direction she had run from, Lilith began walking to work. She needed to get her mind off what had just happened, and the best way to do that was to spend time doing something that required her full, undivided attention.

***
Christian was still reeling from the events that had transpired with his target. He kept trying to wrap his mind around what he had witnessed. Try as he might, he couldn’t quite comprehend what that had been about. That girl, the one that he felt sure was his target, had run away from him with terror in her eyes. He was positive that she didn’t know his identity. How could she? But if that was the case, then why did she run away? With a shake of his head, he entered The Crema Café, his mind pondering the events of a few seconds ago. The café was pleasantly busy. A few people sat around the scattering of tables and booths, chattering away. There was a bit of a line in front of the register, where people were ordering meals. Waiters and waitresses walked to and fro between tables and groups of people, smiling at customers and making idle conversation. Christian moved to the back of the line. When his turn came, he decided to go with the oatmeal banana buttermilk pancakes and a coffee. The young girl at the register, who couldn’t have been older than sixteen, gave him a small holder with a number on it, told him to find a seat, and assured him that his order would be right up. He decided to sit outside. It was too crowded inside for his taste―he’d had more than enough of crowds from living in Los Angeles―and it was a beautiful day anyway. Enjoying the mild weather and clear blue sky sounded a lot better than being stuck in a small space full of tables and people. While he waited for his food to arrive, Christian tried to read his light novel. It was beginning to get good. Kazuma, the main character, was just about to have a showdown with his father, who had kicked him out of their family nearly a decade before the start of the story. Christian was anxious to find out what happened next. Unfortunately, despite how much he normally enjoyed reading light novels, the encounter with the girl that Intelligence claimed was a succubus remained on his mind. In spite of not wanting to think about what happened, he did, and it hampered his ability to focus on anything else, leaving him unable to even enjoy his favorite pastime. “ Here ya go, hon.” The voice and a plateful of delicious-looking pancakes being placed in front of him shook Christian from his musings. He looked up to see an elderly woman serving him. She put an empty cup on the table next to the plate, and then looked at him with a kind smile. “ Coffee will be ready in just a minute. Is there anything else that I can get you?” “ No.” Christian shook his head, but was suddenly struck by inspiration. He quickly called to the woman just as she was about to leave. “ Actually, there is something that I’d like to ask you.” The woman turned around. “ Oh? What would you like to ask me?” “ I accidentally bumped into this girl on the way here. She dropped her stuff and forgot to pick it up.” He reached down and grabbed the bag full of food that his target had dropped in her haste. He had picked it up and, not knowing what else to do, took it with him. “ I wanted to give it back to her, but don’t know where I should go to find her.” “ Ah, you met Lilith.” The woman had an understanding look about her. Christian had the distinct impression that she knew something he didn’t.“ Lilith?” He feigned ignorance. “ The girl you ran into; long blond hair, blue eyes, absolutely gorgeous. Makes supermodels cry in envy.” “ Yes, that’s the one.” “ Hon, you’d best just forget about returning that to her. Even if you did manage to find her, she’d just run away again.” “ I’m not sure I understand.” Christian didn’t need to feign confusion this time. “ Why would she run away from me?” “ You must be new here or you wouldn’t be asking that,” the old woman said. “ The reason you won’t be able to come anywhere near her is because Lilith has androphobia. She’s deathly afraid of men.” Oh, well, that made sense. His target was afraid of men. If that was true, then it was only natural that she would run away from... him...... Wait. What?

22 December 2016

Heir of Thunder: Blog Tour & Giveaway





Title: Heir of Thunder
Author: Karissa Laurel
Publication Date: Sep. 26, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads | B&N
Other Books in Series: Moonlight Falling
The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne, unprepared to rule Inselgrau in his place. Weeks before Evie’s ascension to the throne, revolutionaries attack and destroy her home. She conceals her identity and escapes under the protection of her father’s young horse master, Gideon Faust. Together they flee Inselgrau and set sail for the Continent, but they’re separated when a brutal storm washes Evie overboard.

In her efforts to reunite with her protector and reach allies on the Continent, Evie befriends a band of nomads who roam the world in airships fueled by lightning. She also confronts a cabal of dark Magicians plotting to use her powers to create a new divine being, and she clashes with an ancient family who insists her birthright belongs to them.

If she’s to prevail and defeat her enemies, Evie must claim her heritage, embrace her dominion over the sky, and define what it means to be Heir of Thunder.






Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you'll find her on the slopes.


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EXODUS FROM INSELGRAU

Chapter 1


A rumble of thunder woke me. I shifted under my quilts, turned towards my window, and searched the sky for clouds. Storms always made me smile; made me feel a little less lonely. Black clouds, lightning, and rain reminded me of better times, when thunder was a regular event in our household. My father used to make the loveliest thunder—more like percussion in a heavenly orchestra than cannonade and ordnance. I had never mustered the necessary energy to expulse that kind of force. My attempts always sounded more like the blast of a large pop gun.
Another report rippled through the air, but it sounded wrong this time—a little too sharp and cold for something as organic as thunder. A third, angry blast proved the source was nothing harmonious with nature. The clamor had a cadence, a rhythm, and when I slid out of bed, the vibrations from it quaked through the stones under my feet.
Boom!
“1... 2... 3... 4....” I counted off a half-minute and—Boom!—another explosion. I counted a half minute again, which concluded with another detonation.
My bedroom door flew open, and Gerda rushed in still wearing her rumpled nightgown. The braid she wore for sleeping had slackened during the night, and stiff rust-colored curls sprang around her face. Fear and worry crackled from her like static from a wool blanket. “Evie, my dear, you’ve got to get dressed.” She pulled me to my feet and yanked my sleeping gown over my head.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Gideon was just at my door. He told me have you out to the stables as quickly as possible.”
“Did he say why?”
“He did not, but I won’t be the one to contradict him. The look on his face was murderous.”
“How is that different from any other day?”
Boom!
Gerda didn’t laugh, and that worried me more than the persistent racket. “What in the world is making all that noise?” I asked.
“I haven’t had the time to look, but whatever it is, it can’t be good.”
“I figured out that much for myself,” I said under my breath.
If she heard me, she chose to ignore it and tossed me a pair of wide-legged trousers disguised as a skirt.
I slipped them on while she scurried to unearth my boots. “I take it we’re not using the carriage?”
“Gideon said you would be riding.”
“What about you?”
Gerda backed out of my wardrobe, wide rump first, and turned to face me. A stern expression hardened her face as she clamped her hands to her hips, and in a sharp tone said, “You are our main concern, Evie. Let’s get you safely away, and then I’ll worry about myself.”
“Safely away from what?”
Boom!
Glass shattered in a room somewhere below us and the whole house shuddered.
“From whatever is making that horrible clatter. Quit asking questions and get dressed!” Gerda rarely lost her temper, especially not with me.
Her abnormal temperament stirred me into action. I wrestled a high-collared blouse over my head, buckled on a wide belt, buttoned up a short suede waistcoat, and laced up my favorite riding boots.
She shoved me onto a stool beside my vanity and yanked my hair, forcing it into a tight braid. “Your hair’s straight as a stick and slick as a snake. I can never seem to weave it into a proper plait, even when I have plenty of time and my hands aren’t shaking.”
“Forget it. I’ll twist it up like usual.” I reached back to take over the familiar routine, but Gerda smacked my hands away.
“No, I’ve almost got it.” She grunted once and yanked again.
I winced but had the sense to keep my protests to myself.
“There.” She retrieved a ribbon from one of her ubiquitous pockets, wrapped it around the end of the braid, and double-tied the knot for reinforcement. “I don’t want any of it coming loose while you ride.”
I reached back and patted the careful arrangement. “Thank you, Gerda. Now, you get dressed and we’ll go.”
“No!” She stomped a stubby foot. “Gideon was clear. He only wants you. You must go. Now.”
Another explosion rocked the floor, and Gerda stumbled against the wardrobe. She leaned on the heavy piece of furniture until she regained her footing. The house shook and groaned as something structural gave way. Yells and shouts carried up from the lower floors.
“Are you going to meet us?” I asked. My heart raced, dancing a flittering beat. “Do you know where we’re going?”
“I don’t, but Gideon will take good care of you.”
Tears welled in my eyes, but the steely look on her face kept them from falling. “What will you do?”
“I’m going to get dressed and gather up Stephen and our boys. We’ll be out the door a short bit after you.”
“Then why can’t you go with me?”
“Now’s not the time for whining, Evelyn. Be a good girl. Do as I say.” She used the same mother-hen tactics she had employed when I’d proved to be a tempestuous child. It set the proper tone to rouse me from my panic.
“Hug me,” I said. “I’ll miss you.”
She threw her thick arms round me and pressed me into her abundant bosom. “I’ll miss you too, my girl.”
I inhaled her scent—a mixture of all the herbs in her garden, and especially comfrey, her favorite cure-all.
She squeezed me again and broke away. “Gideon will keep you safe, if you’ll listen to him and not let your impetuousness get in his way.”
She gathered my raw silk cloak from its hook by the door and tossed it at me.
I snapped it from the air and swirled it over my shoulders. When the cloak caught a beam of sunlight streaming from the window, the fabric shimmered with rainbow swirls like a soap bubble.
“Go now. Hurry.” Gerda yelled her final command over the screaming of tortured metal, as if a giant-toothed creature had bitten into the soul of the house.
I hugged her again and dashed out the door.
In the hallway, several of the house’s other occupants hurried past me in various states of dress. Tolick, the all-purpose houseboy, ran toward the stairwell. He had managed to button on his trousers but had neglected to remove his nightcap.
On the bottom floor, I turned for the kitchen.
The cooks had abandoned their breakfast preparations. A large porridge pot bubbled over on the stove, and thick strips of bacon burned on a griddle. A babble of excited voices drifted in from distant corridors, but no one came my way as I scurried toward the rear door of the kitchen. Beyond the exit, my route led me through Gerda’s garden, a sanctuary of herbs and vegetables protected by a stone wall enclosure rising high overhead. Thick vines of ivy and budding wisteria climbed the tops of those barriers. She would need to prune them soon, but we were all running, fleeing these familiar walls.
Would we return before the ivy took over? Would the house survive long enough for it to matter?
I ran past the garden’s iron gates and my breath puffed in thin, vaporous spurts. Spring had arrived less than two weeks ago, and the mornings still lingered in the recent days of winter. I pulled up my hood and wrapped my cloak tighter around me as a shield against the cold.
At that moment, I could have turned around for an unobstructed view of my house, but that would have meant witnessing its destruction. The house cried to me, but what relief could I offer? A feeling of helplessness settled in my gut like curdled milk. Father would have known what to do, but I was merely his daughter, his masterwork left incomplete by an untimely death.
I hacked a derisive cough at that thought. As if death ever comes at an appropriate time.
Curiosity overrode my fear. I slowed, stopped, and turned on my heel. As I wheeled around and looked up, my heart plummeted to my feet.
The house stood ablaze, smoke billowing from several of the first floor windows. Its wooden floors and beamed ceilings would surely feed the flames and turn the billows into a monstrosity of acrid, black plumes. The exterior might survive the fire—an ancestor had constructed Fallstaff from large granite blocks that had withstood tide and time for hundreds of years—but it wouldn’t survive the volley of explosive fodder from the trebuchet now installed on the front lawn.
One of my father’s war manuals showed illustrations of that vicious machine, but I had never seen one in reality. Someone with a brain for engineering had rigged this one with a system of levers, pulleys, and gears. A steam engine automated its processes, and every few seconds a conveyer belt fed another iron missile into a waiting bucket attached to a long wooden arm. From this distance, the trebuchet looked like an assemblage of toothpicks and hungry metal teeth, yet its ammunition tore holes through Fallstaff’s stone and mortar like a moth devours a wool sweater.
A group of men stood around its base, guarding the machine with rifles and crossbows. No one tried to engage them or fight back, as all were too concerned with escape. From that distance, they appeared as little more than stick figures.
I stepped closer in hopes of recognizing their uniforms or gear.
“Evie, what are you doing?” Gideon’s unmistakable bellow interrupted my thoughts. My father’s young horse master waited at the gate of the small paddock beside the stables, clutching two reins in his fist. One leather line led to his giant black stallion, Gespenst—a Dreutchish name meaning specter, or ghost. The other tether led to my horse, Nonnie, a gray-coated mare with a dappled rump.
“Gideon, what’s happening?” I jogged toward him. Something exploded behind me, and the aftershock sent me stumbling, but Gideon’s free hand shot out and latched around my elbow. I locked eyes on his stoic face and refused to look back.
“This is no time for an explanation,” he said. “Mount up, we’re riding south.” He tossed my horse’s reins in my direction and slid onto Gespenst’s back with an ease that demonstrated his familiarity with the saddle.
Nonnie snorted and rolled her eyes, announcing her displeasure over the noise and brusque treatment she had inevitably received from Gideon as he’d arranged her tack.
Nonnie and I managed most of our adventures on nothing more than wild oats and a few apples lifted from the larder. This journey would undoubtedly last longer than any we had taken in all our years together, and she must have felt some of the same trepidation as I. She stomped an eager hoof as I mounted, and when I nudged her forward, she fell into a canter behind Gideon and his horse.
Gespenst bore saddlebags stuffed to the brim. The tip of Gideon’s compact repeating crossbow, Sephonie, poked from the edge of the flap.
I thought of my own crossbow, which I’d never felt a need to name, and wondered if it had made its way into Nonnie’s packs. Gideon could take a stag from horseback with one shot; I could shoot a slow moving rabbit... if I had time to focus and plenty of solid footing.
I had no idea where we’d go, but at least we wouldn’t starve on our way there.

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21 December 2016

Skirting the Ice: Blog Tour & Giveaway





Title: Skirting the Ice
Author: Jennie Marts
Publication Date: Dec. 8, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Other Books in Series: Icing On the Date | Worth the Shot
"The Bannister Brothers series has everything I love...hockey, humor, and heart!" - Kristin Miller- New York Times Bestselling author

Buttoned-up accountant Jack Bannister lives an uncomplicated life until his teenage crush moves back into the house next door…all grown up and sexy as hell. Murphy Ryan is still wild and reckless, and danger has followed her to Colorado. Jack will do whatever it takes to protect her, even it means letting her go…again.
Murphy Ryan is focused on building a new NHL women’s hockey team. But staying on her game is hard with the distraction, and the memories, of the hot nerd in the house next door. Jack Bannister had been her first kiss, and she wants him to be her last. With his dry humor and sexy glasses, being smart never looked so good.
Jack’s been given a chance to win back the one that got away, but worries this gorgeous hockey player is still out of his league. He’s kept his heart on ice, but now that Murphy’s back, she might be the one to finally thaw it.



Jennie Marts is the USA Today Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.”

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends.

Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, the hunky hockey-playing men in the Bannister family in the Bannister Brothers Books, and the small-town romantic comedies in the Lovestruck series of Cotton Creek Romances.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



5 Reasons Smart Just Got Sexy

In SKIRTING THE ICE, the third and newest book in the Bannister Brothers series, a hot nerd meets his match with a wildcat hockey player. Sparks fly in this second chance romance where opposites attract and a cute nerd gets a chance to win back his teenage crush.

Buttoned-up accountant Jack Bannister lives an uncomplicated life until his teenage crush moves back into the house next door—all grown up and sexy as hell. Murphy Ryan is still wild and reckless, and danger has followed her to Colorado.  Jack will do whatever it takes to protect her, even it means letting her go…again.
Murphy is focused on building a new NHL women’s hockey team. But staying on her game is hard with the distraction, and the memories, of the hot nerd in the house next door. Jack Bannister had been her first kiss, and she wants him to be her last. With his dry humor and sexy glasses, being smart never looked so good.


This story is a wild ride that will make you smile and root for the underdog, which in this case is a hot accountant with glasses, asthma, and great abs. But brains can overcome brawn and here’s 5 Reasons why Smart Just Got Sexy:

*The Glasses – There’s something about when a guy takes off his glasses that is oh so hot! It’s like he’s undressing his face and letting you see his vulnerable side.

*Smart guys know how to research, and they pride themselves on getting things right. (wink, wink)

*Smart Guys are punny—they know how to use clever word play and sometimes quote poetry. They also sometimes quote algebraic equations- but in Jack’s case, it comes out quite romantic.

*Bowties—imagine a hot nerd mixed with a Chippendales dancer

*And lastly, let’s just say: Clark Kent, Felicity Smoak (from Arrow), Zachary Levi (as Chuck), Ben Affleck (as the Accountant), Jeff Goldblum (that voice!) and Chris Pine (as Captain Kirk).

Well, that ought to put you in the mood for some hot nerd action.

I fell in love with Jack and Murphy as I wrote their story, and I hope you do too. This book is full of snappy dialogue, a little suspense, and plenty of sizzle. And if you’re already a fan of the Bannister Brothers series, you’ll be happy to know that all of the brothers make at least one appearance in this book, and you’ll get to meet the youngest brother, Beau.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my new book. To keep on top of all my news, including sales and new releases, please visit www.jenniemarts.com to sign up for my newsletter and I would love to invite you to join my street team, Jennie's Page Turners. Click HERE to join on Facebook.

Thanks again and I hope you love the new book. Happy Reading!

Jennie

The sound of a screen door banged behind him, and he heard a woman’s voice shout, “What the hell do you think you’re doing with my dog?”
He froze, his chest contracting as he lost his breath.
He knew that voice.
But it couldn’t be.
He turned around, facing the back porch of the house and the tall angry blond standing on it. Her long hair was pulled up in a ponytail, she held a baseball bat in her hands, and her eyes flashed with a mix of anger and fear.
He may not have seen her in years, but he knew it was her.
She looked different, older, but he recognized that tight set of her mouth, the flash of annoyance in her narrowed eyes, the way she held her shoulders in a posture of pride mixed with attitude.
“Murphy?”
She took a step closer, her eyes widening as her expression changed from anger to surprise. “Jack, is that you?”
He couldn’t believe it—couldn’t believe she was standing in front of him. He’d dreamed of this moment so many times, imagined running into her on the street or in a crowded airport. But he’d never imagined he’d see her again while he was standing amidst a yard full of weeds, shirtless and sweaty, his arms full of his squirming dog.
Although this was exactly where he should see her—in the same spot he’d stood when he’d first met her all those years before.
A stray hockey puck had flown into John’s yard, and he’d hopped the fence to get it. She’d come out on the porch then too, with the same prideful stance, a huge chip evident on her shoulder, and looking just as gorgeous as she did now.
Except she was a girl then.
She was a woman now, in a pair of black shorts and a snug white T-shirt, her body a mix of hard and soft. Her legs were toned hard with muscle, but the thin cotton T-shirt clung to soft curves that she didn’t have when she was a teenager.
His lungs tightened, and he struggled to wheeze in a breath. He couldn’t breathe.
No, seriously, he couldn’t breathe.
Shifting the dog under his arm, he used his free hand to pull his inhaler from his pocket as he fought to get enough air. Inhaling as he took a puff, the spray filled his lungs, opening his airway.
“Jack! It is you!” She dropped the bat and ran down the steps of the porch. The bat rolled off the porch as she crossed the yard then stopped short, as if unsure if she should hug him or shake his hand.
A happy grin covered her face, lighting her eyes, and sending a swirl of butterflies careening around his stomach. “Jack Bannister. What are you doing here? Besides trying to steal my dog?”
He shook his head, still stunned to see her.
Murphy Ryan.
“Um, I’m not, I mean…” he stuttered, falling back into the role of the shy teenager that he’d been when he’d last seen her. “I’m not stealing your dog. This is my dog.”
She smirked and gestured to the fence behind him. “Yeah? Then whose dog is that?”
He turned to see another Sheltie standing on the other side of the chain link.
His sheltie.
Shit.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, handing her the dog in his arms. A dart of heat raced down his spine as her fingers brushed against the skin of his bare chest. “I saw her running around in the yard, and I just thought she was mine.”
Murphy took the dog then set it on the ground to run over to greet the other sheltie. “Except she is actually a he. But I can see why you made a mistake. They do look a lot alike. Almost identical.”
He took off his glasses and cleaned them with the end of his shorts. “My dog’s always breaking out of our yard, and my glasses were foggy, and I just assumed it was my dog. I usually wear contacts, but tore one this morning.” He didn’t know why he felt like he had to explain why he was wearing his glasses. Or why he felt like he was babbling.
He should just stop talking now. He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry.
He couldn’t stop staring at her. She looked amazing. He scrambled for something to say—anything that might sound halfway intelligent.
“Holy crap—your dog is peeing on my shoe.”

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20 December 2016

Unforgettable: Blog Tour & Giveaway





Title: Unforgettable
Author: Cindy Skaggs
Publication Date: Dec. 12, 2016
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Vicki Calvetti made it out of the mob—or so she hoped. But when the old family hitman, the FBI, the Justice Department, and a smoking hot man from her past crash land on her doorstep, she learns she’s not quite done.An undercover cop chasing revenge, Blake Reilly gets the shock of his life when Vicki walks back into his life and into his club full of more drug dealers than a pharmaceutical convention.

Catching up doesn’t take long, and their undeniable chemistry is full-speed-ahead until someone ends up dead, putting both their lives at risk unless Vicki can remember the secrets she paid to forget.



Cindy grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Most of those stories were even true. She has ten siblings, some of whom are older than her mother, has nieces and nephews older than her, and once went to a horse auction with John Wayne. Well, with him in the sense that he was there, and she was also… there. She was the munchkin in line for his autograph with tangled hair and bruised knees that liked to dance on her daddy’s dusty cowboy boots and listen to his tall tales.

With her love of storytelling and heroes, it’s no wonder she turned to books and stories after her father died. She skipped most of the eighth grade to bury herself in books while hidden in her closet, because she was still looking for the perfect story and the last honest man. Her search took her around the world with the Air Force as well as around the world with her education. She’s visited more countries than she can remember, nearly every state in the U.S., and has more degrees than the Tin Man.

As a single mom, she’s still gambling, betting on herself for the first time in her life, turning her lifelong love of storytelling into the one thing she can’t live without: writing. She writes 10,000 words a week in cafes and coffee shops, and some of those 10,000 words are even worth reading. She has an MA in Creative Writing, is working towards her Master of Fine Arts, and has three jobs, two kids, a Pushcart Nomination, more pets than she can possibly handle, and more works in progress than the crew filling potholes after a long Colorado winter.

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This wasn’t a kiss. It was an incendiary device.
“Blake.” Even she heard the begging in her voice. And she was too wound up to regret it.
“Mmm.” He nipped and kissed his way up her neck. “What, darlin’?” His tone lowered on the second syllable, and the roughness was the tinder lighting her whole body on fire. She was hot, achy, and angry. “Let me use my hands.”
He chuckled against her throat. “Not a chance.” He pulled her hands behind her back, manacled them together. The move arched her back, exposing her to his touch. There was no rushing like they’d done the first time a million years ago. The heat was there, the alchemical reaction of skin to skin, but he took the time to explore. He was relearning her, telling her with each stroke, each kiss, each nibble, that he had missed her.
He caressed up her side, the underside of her breast, teasing her nipples into hard pebbles. Anticipation radiated from his touch. When she arched her breast into his hand, he released a hot breath on the spot behind her ear. Delicious tingles shimmered on her skin.
Nostalgia blurred her vision, destroyed her thoughts, and sent flutters to her chest. She didn’t want to feel. “Why?” she asked, pulling her hands against his grip.
“Because you want to rush it, and if you lay your hands on me, I’ll let you win.”
“Problem with that?”
“I warned you.” With his free hand, he rubbed his thumb under her jaw, nudged her face up to meet his gaze. “I like the chase.”
Her brain was numbed by the ache he built inside her. “Are you talking foreplay?”
He ran his tongue over her lower lip, then sucked it into his mouth before releasing it on a bite.
A spark of electricity shot through her chest. She took his response as a yes. “Baby, I excel at foreplay. Let my hands go.”
“You excel at making a man wild, stirring him so he’ll do anything you want.” He went back to the spot behind her ear and nipped. Another flash of desire zapped straight to her core.
“Seriously? Why is that a problem?” She wanted her hands on him so she could turn the slow smolder into a blaze.
As if he knew, he moved a hand between them, rubbed over her clit through the jeans while his mouth bit down on the tendon joining her neck to her shoulder. Her traitorous body bowed back. She was so aroused she could come by the friction of his hand on her jeans.
“I’m not a boy anymore. And I won’t be controlled.”
“I don’t want to control you.”
Another gritty laugh. “Liar.”

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19 December 2016

Troublemaker: Blog Tour & Giveaway




Title: Troublemaker
Author: Linda Howard
Publication Date: Dec. 27, 2016
Find: Amazon | B&N | Google | iTunes | Kobo
Other Books by Author: Mr. Perfect | After the Night | Open Season
A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.

For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.

The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.

The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.






Linda Howard is the award-winning author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Gadsden, Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.


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From TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard. Copyright © 2016 by Linda Howard. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


It was dark, the other side of nine-thirty, when he pulled into his parking slot at the condo. It had been late when he’d docked the Shark, then he’d cleaned his tackle and locked it away before heading home. He’d also made a brief stop at a grocery to cover his basic food needs; he hooked the plastic bags on his fingers and dragged them with him as he slid out of the seat. A click of the remote locked the truck.

The condos were at least thirty years old, six rows of two-story buildings made of brick and pebbled concrete. He supposed the effect was supposed to be modern and uncluttered—and maybe it had been thirty years ago, but now it was nothing more than butt-ugly. Each ground-floor unit, like his, had its own little patio, while the upper-story condos had balconies that struck him as fairly useless but that were used a lot during the summer for grilling and such.

The plastic bags rustled and banged against his left leg with every step, reminding him of why he hated buying groceries. After the fact, he always thought that he should throw a backpack in his truck and leave it there for hauling in what few groceries he bought, but he wasn’t home often enough for it to be a habit so he’d forget about the backpack. He’d also almost forgotten he didn’t have any coffee left, but the grocery’s sign had caught his eye and he’d whipped into the parking lot without time to signal, resulting in a few indignant horn blasts. Couldn’t be helped; he had to have coffee.

A concrete support pillar and some tall shrubbery partially blocked his view of the condo building, something that grated but the homeowners’ association wasn’t willing to do away with part of its mature landscaping and shady trees just because he didn’t like it. He couldn’t explain that the greenery provided points of ambush because civilians simply didn’t get shit like that, so he dealt with it. It wasn’t as if he had a lot to worry about; the crime rate in these units was very low, and was in fact a selling point for the young families who made up the majority of residents.

Still—habits were a bitch, but he couldn’t ignore half a lifetime of training. To keep from walking around a blind corner, he swung wide into the street the way he always did so he was approaching straight on; there wasn’t a lot of traffic in the condo development, and he didn’t often have to wait until a car passed.

But even with a direct approach, he still didn’t like it. Sometimes, such as now, he liked it less than at other times, and he couldn’t have said why. He didn’t have to; instinct was what it was.

He stopped in his tracks.

Sometimes . . . such as now.

The sudden surge of awareness was like an electric shock, sending all of his senses into hyperalert. He instinctively moved his right hand to the pistol snugged into the holster at the small of his back even as he tried to pick up any movement in the shrubbery that shouldn’t have been there, anything that was responsible for making the back of his neck suddenly prickle. He couldn’t see anything, but still his senses were screaming. Something was there, even if it wasn’t anything danger—

The thought hadn’t completely formed when the shadows of the shrubbery moved slightly, black on black. More adrenaline shot through his system, and Morgan acted without thought, training taking over as he dropped the plastic bags and dove to the left, leaving his right hand free as he pulled his weapon.

His body was still airborne, stretched out, when he saw a faint flash and a sledgehammer hit him in the chest.

He had two distant but clear thoughts: Suppressor. Subsonic round.

He slammed to the ground, the impact almost as jarring as the sledgehammer to the chest. He rolled with it, the pistol grip fitting into his palm as if his hand and the weapon had been made together, one functioning unit. One part of his brain knew he’d been hit and hit hard, but the other part stayed ruthlessly focused outward, intent on doing what he needed to do. He fired toward where he’d seen the flash, the sound sharp in the crisp night air, but he knew only a rank amateur would stay in the same place so he tracked his next shot away from the shrubbery, following the barely seen black-on-black shadow, and pulled the trigger again.

His mind disconnected from the shock waves of pain rolling through his body because that was the only way he could function. His thoughts raced, analyzing probabilities and angles of fire, selecting the best option even as adrenaline overrode the devastation and kept his body moving. Without being aware that he was moving, he rolled behind a fireplug, and didn’t realize where he was until he was already there. A fireplug wasn’t much cover, but it was some.

His vision was wavering, things rushing at him then drawing back, as if pushed and pulled by an invisible tide of air. Peripherally, he was aware of entrance lights coming on, of curtains being pulled back as his neighbors peeked out to see what the hell was going on. He blinked fiercely, trying to stay focused. Yes—the increase of light brought a man’s form into dim view and he fired a third shot, controlled the upward kick of the muzzle, fired again. The dark form toppled to the ground and lay still.

God, his chest hurt. Shit. This had really fucked up his tattoo.

His vision wavered again, but he grimly held on, keeping his weapon trained on the downed threat. “Down” didn’t mean “out.” If he let go, let the darkness come, the other guy might get up and finish the job. Dead didn’t count until it was confirmed dead, and he couldn’t confirm shit right now.

But doors were opening, people were shouting. The sounds were distorted and strangely far away, the lights fading. Through the growing shadows he thought he saw some of the braver souls venturing out, investigating the gunfire. Words swam at him, around him, and some of them sank into his consciousness.

“Shawn! Are you crazy?” A woman’s voice, both angry and afraid.

“Just call the cops,” said a man—maybe Shawn, maybe someone else.

“I already did,” said a third voice.

“What the hell is going on?”

More noise, more voices added to the chorus as people began approaching, cautiously at first, then with more confidence when nothing else happened. Morgan tried to call out, say something, make any kind of noise, but the effort was beyond him. He could feel his breath hitching as the distant pain rolled closer, like a tidal wave that was about to swamp him.

This might be it for me, he thought, and was almost too tired to care. He tried to control his breathing because he’d heard that hitching sound before and it was never good. He didn’t have to hang on long, he thought—maybe half an hour, if people would get the lead out of their asses and get him to the hospital. But half an hour seemed like an eternity when he wasn’t certain he could hang on even one more minute.

He rested his head on the concrete sidewalk, feeling the chill of it. His outstretched hand was just resting on the winter-dead grass at the edge of the sidewalk and he had the distant thought that it was kind of nice to be touching the earth. If this was it for him, well, it sucked to go, but all in all this wasn’t too bad, considering all the grisly ways he could have gone.

But, damn it, he was fucking pissed because if he died, he didn’t know who had killed him or, more importantly, why.

Someone bent over him, a vague shape swimming out of focus. He had to send MacNamara a warning, and with his last ounce of strength he gasped out, “Ambush.”

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18 December 2016

The Sound of Rain: Blog Tour & GIveaway





Title: The Sound of Rain
Author: Gregg Olsen
Publication Date: Dec. 13, 2016
Find: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Former homicide detective Nicole Foster has hit rock bottom. Driven off the force by her treacherous partner and lover, she’s flat broke and struggling with a gambling addiction. All Nicole has left is the dream of a warm bed at a homeless shelter and the haunting memories of three-year-old Kelsey Chase—whose murder case ended her career.

As Nicole obsesses over the old facts, she realizes everything about that case felt off: a disinterested mom, a suicidal pedophile, and too many questions left unanswered. When the little girl’s grieving father begs Nicole for help, she’s drawn back into the investigation…and given one shot at redemption.

But the deeper Nicole digs, the more evil she uncovers, including betrayals that hit painfully close to home. Will a shocking discovery be the key to finally getting justice for Kelsey and resurrecting her own life?





Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, nine novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner's Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen's Snapped, Court TV's Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E's Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People,Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington's Secretary of State for the book's contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

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